Monday, August 21, 2006

Lost and Found

So far, none of my posts for the month of August have shown up on my blog. Not sure what's going on, here, but I'm determined to get to the bottom of it.

There! That's better! Although I'm not sure what caused the problem (guess it could have been memory cache overload), I've obviously figured out how to solve it.


Friday, August 11, 2006

Tenderloin Steak Masquerades as Spam

A couple of weeks ago, an unsolicited e-mail landed in one of my most obscure “in” boxes. Had it not borne a site relevant subject line, I would have deleted it immediately, just as I did with the spam that accompanied it. There was something about this one, though, that wouldn’t let me blow it off so easily. I dared to open it.

A woman by the name of Yolanda Carden introduced herself as a publicist for FSB Associates, a New Jersey firm that specializes in promoting books, for authors and publishers, on the Web. She asked me if I’d be interested in reading a book she was promoting and writing a review of it to post on my Web site. After reading a brief description of Anonymous Lawyer (which Yolanda provided in her initial e-mail) and visiting the author’s blog at, I agreed.

Within two days of my acceptance of Yolanda’s offer, the USPS delivered a brand new copy of Anonymous Lawyer to my door. So far, so good! Not long after, I was fully immersed in the book and anticipating the writing of a favorable review.

Well, I finished reading the book and writing the review (which you can read online), and I gotta tell you that Anonymous Lawyer is the funniest book I’ve read this year, and maybe the funniest book I’ve read in the last couple of years.

That’s not to say that Isle of Dogs, by Patricia Cornwell, Skinny Dip, by Carl Hiaasen, The Road to Ruin, by Donald E. Westlake, Tricky Business, by Dave Barry, The Light-years Beneath My Feet, by Alan Dean Foster, and Tanner’s Tiger, by Lawrence Block aren’t funny stories. They were, and are, among the funniest, but don’t construe that to mean that their authors are the only writers capable of writing with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Jeremy Blachman, author of Anonymous Lawyer, is the new kid on the block, both capable and worthy of inclusion in this elite company of best-selling authors with a flair for humor.

The great thing about humor is that it can take many forms, and be expressed in many ways. In the end it’s all about the laughter. It’s the only thing that counts.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

China Poised to Become the World's Next Great Superpower

Are we on the brink of World War III? Judging by recent and current events in the Middle East, it seems safe to answer that question with an unqualified “yes.” What we’re seeing now is the spark that leads to ignition—and a raging inferno.

U.S. troops occupy Afghanistan. More U.S. troops conduct a failing ground war in Iraq. And, in Lebanon, U.S. ally Israel continues its outrageous slaughter of the innocents—and its wanton destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure—as it wages war against a largely civilian population in an attempt to root out Hezbollah.

On another Israeli border, the Palestinians, as always, are restless. The stability of the entire region is threatened. How long before Syria is drawn into the picture? How long before the U.S. or Israel looses a preemptive strike against Iran? How long before the Saudis, the Egyptians and the Turks are sucked into the conflict?

As tensions rise and hostilities spread across the region, it won’t be long before Russia and all of Europe is fully engaged in the madness. Add to this mess North Korean ambition and you have an RSVP invitation to the biggest weenie roast in history.

Can any single nation hope to survive a global conflict and emerge from it a winner? Clearly the U.S. cannot, short of unleashing a firestorm of nuclear weapons early on. An all out nuclear war, however, would likely render the planet uninhabitable for most of the higher life forms, including humans. No winners here.

Early and protracted engagement in a global conflict will consume resources and erode capacities and capabilities of nations so engaged. One by one, the European Union, Russia and the U.S. will fall, leaving their allies vulnerable to takeover by invading forces.

China, inscrutable as always, is poised to be the big winner of WWIII, providing she can postpone her involvement until most other nations have been depleted and defeated, and the end of hostilities draws near. Through careful planning and timing, China can conserve its resources and vast reserves of manpower, using them efficiently to conduct strategic mop-up operations and police actions in far-flung countries where populations, resources and infrastructure are so diminished that citizens and governments lack the will or the means to resist.

Sun Tzu (a name used collectively by several Chinese writers) wrote The Art of War, which contains the guiding principles of successful combat, between about 450 B.C. and 220 B.C. Many of the principles contained therein are as valid today as they were more than two millennia ago.

Providing that China’s political and military leaders adhere to and apply Sun Tzu’s principles of war, there’s no reason not to think that that nation of a billion people has the capability of becoming the world’s next great superpower.