Friday, April 12, 2013

Steve Jobs

By: Walter Isaacson
Reviewed by: Stephanie
4 out of 5 stars

Steve Jobs was a damn dirty hippie.

He didn't much like to shower or wear shoes. He believed his diet kept him from getting stinky, not true apparently. In fact he was quite odd and obsessive about his diets, he would go on kicks where he would eat nothing but carrots for long periods of time until he turned orange (maybe John Boehner is on this diet, no pretty sure it's Cheetos). This makes me wonder if these strange eating habits brought on his cancer. Who can say.

Steve Jobs was an asshat.

He was an ass to everyone, even Steve Wozniak, who by everyone's standards is one of the nicest guys there is. Wozniak was Job's only friend at times, and looked up to him always, but Jobs screwed him over time and again. Jobs didn't even claim his first born daughter (until much later) as his own even though there was no doubt she belonged to him. He also was a very emotional man, lots of crying and snot when he wanted something. Impossible to please, even down to the color of things. I seriously don't know how anything got finished, I really don't.

Steve Jobs was a super genius.

Despite of (or because of) all this he created the most amazing things. Because he asked for the impossible, he would get it. I love my Ipod and my Ipad. I'm very attached, I don't think I would like to live with out them now. I use the Ipod for my audiobook and podcast addiction. I'm even learning how to draw caricatures on the frik'n cool.

Thank you Steve for being a damn dirty hippie, asshat super genius. Your creations have enhanced my life.
Review also appears on goodreads

Salt Sugar Fat: How the food giants hooked us

By Michael Moss
Reviewed by: Stephanie
4 out of 5 stars

I can honestly say I am one of the first people on the planet to have eaten a Chicken Mc Nugget.  

My dad is a mechanical engineer and a total genius.  Before I was born my dad had to find a job to support his family (they already had my older sister).   My parents wanted to stay near family, so dad started looking around in the Sandusky Ohio area……He got two job offers, one with NASA  (yes….NASA)  and one with Stein Associates, a brand new company that saw the need for mass food production…..processing it, if you will.    They needed someone to design breaders and fryers that ultimately went to companies like Mc Donald’s, Tyson, and Mrs. Pauls, and my dad was the man (Stein offered 10 cents more, NASA lost). They were the only ones out there doing this and had a monopoly on the industry.  If it’s been breaded and fried and you didn’t do this yourself,   thank my dad. 

Dad loved his job was good at it.  Really good, he has numerous patents and a Da Vinci Award (a big F’n deal).  For years he stood at the end of the line taste testing the food.  He brought it home for us as well….hey, anywhere you can save a buck with four kids to feed.   He traveled the planet working with various companies to get their production lines working.   Japan, The Soviet Union (where he was followed by KGB, he wanted to turn around and point out to them that they asked him to come, but he  was wise enough not to), England…..pretty much everywhere. 
All of the travel resulted in bad eating habits not to mention the ‘taste testing’ took its toll.   He gained weight and eventually became a type 2 diabetic, and has many other weight related health problems.

I don’t know if working at NASA would have been better for his health or wallet, but it would have been way cooler.  If I would have ended up with a skinny, healthy dad?…..even cooler.
In Salt, Sugar, Fat the author calls out these big food companies.   The CEO’s of companies like Kraft and Nabisco actually sat down one day after studies shown that Americans were getting fat, and it looked like it was their food that was causing the problem.  On the chart (they had) showed a steady rise in the average Americans weight after 1980, while before that date we chugged right along at a normal weight.  What changed?  We didn’t suddenly lose control, in mass, for no reason.  It was because of what was being done to the food…..don’t get me started on high fructuous corn syrup.   So, these asshat CEOs thought about the problem, thought about making a change, actually tried and failed at a few ideas, and in the end they said “fuck it, let’s just make money”.
The stuff they do to the processed food is done in such a way it actually causes a person to become addicted to certain foods.  It activates the same part of your brain as heroin does.   I can’t go into all the details about the subject; you’ll have to read the book for that.
Moral of the story, don’t eat processed foods if you can get away with it.  Don’t eat fast food like Chicken McNuggets.  Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, and avoid all the bad things that taste sooo good.

Review also appears on goodreads

Coming of Age in Mississippi

Anne Moody
Dell Publishing
Reviewed by: Nancy
4 out of 5 stars

Plot Summary

Born to a poor couple who were tenant farmers on a plantation in Mississippi, Anne Moody lived through some of the most dangerous days of the pre-civil rights era in the South. The week before she began high school came the news of Emmet Till’s lynching. Before then, she had "known the fear of hunger, hell, and the Devil. But now there was…the fear of being killed just because I was black." In that moment was born the passion for freedom and justice that would change her life.

An all-A student whose dream of going to college is realized when she wins a basketball scholarship, she finally dares to join the NAACP in her junior year. Through the NAACP and later through CORE and SNCC she has first-hand experience of the demonstrations and sit-ins that were the mainstay of the civil rights movement, and the arrests and jailings, the shotguns, fire hoses, police dogs, billy clubs and deadly force that were used to destroy it.

A deeply personal story but also a portrait of a turning point in our nation’s destiny, this autobiography lets us see history in the making, through the eyes of one of the footsoldiers in the civil rights movement.

My Review

I recently read Kathryn Stockett’s The Help and while I enjoyed this story tremendously, I wanted to read something that was less uplifting, more realistic, and told from the perspective of an African-American.  Anne Moody’s powerful memoir was the perfect choice. 

This is a well-told and fascinating story about the author's life growing up in rural Mississippi, and her fight against racism.   Her story is chronologically told, from the author's youth in rural Mississippi, her education, family relationships, poverty, racism, violence and finally, her involvement with the Civil Rights Movement. 

The last section of the book devoted to Moody’s activism was riveting and deeply disturbing.  She participated in the heavily publicized Woolworth sit-in, which was known for its violence, and was deeply shaken by the deaths of four black girls in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. 
1963 Woolworth Sit-in, Jackson, Mississippi

Once a religious child, she questioned her faith in God. 

“Now talk to me, God.  Come on down and talk to me.  You know, I used to go to Sunday school, church, and B.T.U. every Sunday.  We were taught how merciful and forgiving you are.  Mama used to tell us that you would forgive us twenty-seven times a day and I believed in you.  I bet you those girls in Sunday school were being taught the same as I was when I was their age.  Is that teaching wrong?  Are you going to forgive their killers?  You not gonna answer me, God, hmm?  Well if you don’t want to talk, then listen to me.   As long as I live, I’ll never be beaten by a white man again.  Not like in Woolworth’s.  Not anymore.  That’s out.  You know something else, God?  Nonviolence is out.  I have a good idea Martin Luther King is talking to you too.  If he is, tell him that nonviolence has served its purpose.  Tell him that for me, God, and for a lot of other Negroes who must be thinking it today.  If you don’t believe that, then I know you must be white, too.  And if I ever find out you are white, then I’m through with you.  And if I find out you are black, I’ll try my best to kill you when I get to heaven.”

Moody provided details about intimidation, beatings, shootings, and other acts of violence enacted by the Ku Klux Klan against African Americans and their white supporters and about the institutionalized racism that kept many black families mired in poverty.  I just wish that Moody had spent more time with the story of her activism and the efforts and sacrifices of Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, and others,  rather than mundane details about childhood.  

I am thankful to Anne Moody and all the other young people who sacrificed their jobs, safety, and lives to make a stand against injustice and change the course of our history and for their stories that keep them alive in our minds and hearts.  

Also posted at Goodreads