25 April 2012

Book Recommendations From Hell: A Cry For Help

I recently (well, if you consider a couple of months recent) began reading A Frolic of His Own by William Gaddis.  My reason for choosing it was because several "what-to-read-next?" websites recommended it as being like Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.  I can't think of any way that the two books resemble one another.  Now, if I had typed in Catch 22, by Joseph Heller, say, or maybe even A Broom of the System, by David Foster Wallace, A Frolic as a recommendation, would make sense.  But, Gravity's Rainbow?  Well, I guess you live and learn; you can't always trust technology to steer you in the right direction, can you?

How do those things even work?  I've noticed on YourNextRead.com, that there is an option to thumb-down a recommendation.  PLEASE, if you come across one that you know is NOT a good recommendation, thumb that shit down!  It does NOT mean that you don't like either of the books; it DOES mean that someone looking for a similar book will be baffled by that recommendation, and said bafflement may cause recommendationophobia or something.  Do you want to be a cause of these persons contracting an extending case of Luddititis?  I mean, come on!  If you have read, say A Frolic of His Own and Gravity's Rainbow, and you see one of those being recommended because of the other, what are you going to do? THUMB-THAT-SHIT-DOWN! Repeat after me: THUMB-THAT-SHIT-DOWN!  You can give each book five stars, LIKE I DO.  They are both excellent literary fiction.  BUT, they are not alike.  Okay, I guess I have probably beat the holy bejeepercreepers out of this dead horse.  You get me.

Don't misunderstand.  I like A Frolic, but every time I pick it up to begin reading, all I can do is think about how much it is NOT like Gravity's Rainbow and that just knocks me right down.  I'm trying not to give up and try some other year.  I guess I'll just keep at it and bitch away here on my trusty blog....
Later gators.

20 April 2012

Complacent or Vigilent?

Sometimes, the most cautious are still caught unaware by severe weather, e.g. my friend in Joplin, who was driving home with his family from his daughter's graduation, in May 2011, when their world was turned upside down by that unexpected change in the weather.

Today, in the news, they are asking:
Could better tornado warnings cause complacency? - msnbc.com

Meteorologist Rick Smith said he hopes that for residents who prepared and were spared, that their work doesn't lead to complacency.
"I don't want people to think preparedness efforts are ever wasted," Smith said. "The weather radios people bought, the plans people reviewed on Friday and Saturday, it's not like you're never going to use those again.
"If you didn't use them on Saturday, you should be thankful and glad."
Having myself lived in an area where tornadoes are prevalent, and watching peoples' reactions to them, I have come to the conclusion that people are going to be what they are: that is: if they are already complacent, they will continue to be; if they are not, they will continue to be vigilent.  All things considered. Still, I agree with Rick Smith quoted above, that preparedness is not wasted.  People need to take that stuff seriously, without regard to how many times they have survived or their relatives have survived or whatever.

Those people involved in developing these warning systems are doing all of this to save as many lives and as much property as they can.  When people disregard their warnings (even if they turn out to be not as bad as they sound at the time of warning) they are, in a sense, slapping the developers, scientists, storm-chasers, and all the others involved in warning them, in the face.

I moved away from that part of the country, and one of the major decided factors in my doing that was the weather.  I had grown up with that as a child, and don't remember being overly cautious or frightened.  But, as an adult with a family, it was a completely different game.  I know some people can't move, or refuse to for whatever reason: family, land, fear of the unknown, jobs.  This list could go for days.  But, if they stay, they should be vigilent and give heed to the warnings.  The warning system does save lives.

There is probably a metaphor, or a symbol of some kind in this.  At least a lesson that could be shown in a story without going all Aesop on the reader, right?  Kind of like the movie The Day After Tomorrow is a lesson about screwing up the environment....  Hmmmm....