Compare and contrast

I read two books this summer. The first was a post-apocalyptic vampire story titled, "The Passage" by Justin Cronin. The second was an historical fiction by David Mitchell titled, "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet."
Below is text I highlighted from each.

The Passage

". . . you started to tell a story about who you were, and soon enough the lies were all you had and you became that person."
"How surprising death was, how irrevocable and complete, how much itself."
"What were the living dead, "Wolgast thought, but a metaphor for the misbegotten march of middle age?"
"You took their bad ideas and, for whatever reason, made them your own. That was the truth he'd learned on the carousel with Amy, . . . "
". . . that was how it felt. So many years gone by--the passage of time itself a kind of marvel. . . "
"And it was true: once you knew that the world was a place that swarmed with death, the child you'd been no longer seemed like you at all."
"A baby wasn't an idea, as love was an idea. A baby was a fact. It was a being with a mind and a nature, and you could feel about it any way you liked, but a baby wouldn't care. Just by existing it demanded that you believe in a future: the future it would crawl in, walk in, live in. A baby was a piece of time; it was a promise you made that the world made back to you. A baby was the oldest deal there was, to go on living."
"This strange new being grew inside you and by the time it was all over, you were someone different, too."
"She made them want to remember. She made them want to die."
". . . foam of voices."

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

". . . and the shuddering newborn boiled-pink despot howls at Life."
"Jacob finds himself as little able to evade the man's gaze as a book can of its own volition, evade the scrutiny of a reader. The silent observer twists his head, like a hunting dog listening to the sound of its prey."
"A he-rat, the young man realizes, mounting his she-rat Listening, he becomes enwrapped by memories of women's bodies."
"He spews out a dragon of phlegm."
"'Loyalty looks simple,' Grote tells him, 'but it ain't.'"
". . . professorships kill philosophers."
". . . she is on a momentous journey, but she is going nowhere."
". . . like a struck tuning fork, Jacob reverberates with the parts and the entirety of Orito, with all the her-ness of her."
"To list and name people, he thinks, is to subjugate them."
". . . even terror can pale into monotony."
"The stream of scholars and sightseers was an antidote to monotony."
"The well-oiled bolt slides home."
"The scarcity of facts leaves holes where rumors breed."
"But an ink brush, she thinks, is a skeleton key for a prisoner's mind."
"His Japanese rendition is streaked with mysticism, but so is the original."
". . . solace."
". . . the human mind as a loom that weaves disparate threads of belief, memory, and narrative into an entity whose common name is Self, and which sometimes calls itself Perception."
"To implant belief, Orito thinks, is to dominate the believers."
"'Whatever a man is busy with, that is what, or whom he values.'"
"'To a believer in Fate,' replies Shuzai, 'it's not you who is involving me.'"
"The rain's innumerable hooves clatter on the streets and roofs."
"The two men listen to the percussion of dripping water."
"'A story must move,' Master Chimei opines, 'and misfortune is motion. Contentment is inertia.'"
"Storytellers are not priests who commune with an ethereal realm but artisans, like dumpling makers, if somewhat slower."
"Pictures of the past, and the might-one-day-be. This mind's mind exerts its own will, too, and has its own voice.'"
"'Better an honest drowning than slow death by hypocrisy, law, or debt.'"
"West to east, the sky unrolls and rolls its atlas of clouds."
"Celibacy is for vegetarians."
"'. . . we have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love.'"
"'. . . a promise is a promise, even in a myth--especially in a myth.'"
"'The truth of a myth, Your Honor, is not its words but its patterns."
"The world, he thinks, contains just one masterpiece, and that is itself."
". . . but perhaps the luckiest are those born from an unthought thought: that the intolerable gulf between lovers can be bridged only by the bones and cartilage of a new being."
"Crows smear rumors across the matted, sticky sky."
"So the stupidest speech I ever heard, he thinks, was the very last."
"A well-waxed paper door slides open."

Guess which one I liked more.

Not my demo

So, I've tried and tried and tried to give Modern Family a chance. I think I've seen a total of 10 episodes and my laugh count is less than that. The situations are stale and the use of the documentary camera is lazy. I find CougarTown to be more amusing.
So will someone please elucidate this show's humor for me? What makes you laugh when you watch it? My parents like the show, but they like According to Jim, King of Queens, and the Raymond show.
The only character I find the least bit intriguing is Manny. The rest are cardboard thin, some bordering on insulting.
Also, how in the world is Nurse Jackie a comedy? Sure, it straddles the line, but I think it favors the serious over the zany.


What's the situation?

Tonight we were watching Jersey Shore, and The Situation was wearing a shirt that I saw in New York. I liked it so much that I took a picture of it.
Seeing him in it made me question my, as Nina Garcia would say, "taste level."
Decide for yourself:


Whipper snappers

This list is sent out to Professors at Beloit college who teach incoming Freshman. They update it every year. It is depressing and funny.
1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.
2. Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.
3. “Go West, Young College Grad” has always implied “and don’t stop until you get to Asia…and learn Chinese along the way.”
4. Al Gore has always been animated.
5. Los Angelinos have always been trying to get along.
6. Buffy has always been meeting her obligations to hunt down Lothos and the other blood-suckers at Hemery High.
7. “Caramel macchiato” and “venti half-caf vanilla latte” have always been street corner lingo.
8. With increasing numbers of ramps, Braille signs, and handicapped parking spaces, the world has always been trying harder to accommodate people with disabilities.
9. Had it remained operational, the villainous computer HAL could be their college classmate this fall, but they have a better chance of running into Miley Cyrus’s folks on Parents’ Weekend.
10. A quarter of the class has at least one immigrant parent, and the immigration debate is not a big priority…unless it involves “real” aliens from another planet.
11. John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.
12. Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.
13. Parents and teachers feared that Beavis and Butt-head might be the voice of a lost generation.
14. Doctor Kevorkian has never been licensed to practice medicine.
15. Colorful lapel ribbons have always been worn to indicate support for a cause.
16. Korean cars have always been a staple on American highways.
17. Trading Chocolate the Moose for Patti the Platypus helped build their Beanie Baby collection.
18. Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.
19. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.
20. DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.
21. Woody Allen, whose heart has wanted what it wanted, has always been with Soon-Yi Previn.
22. Cross-burning has always been deemed protected speech.
23. Leasing has always allowed the folks to upgrade their tastes in cars.
24. “Cop Killer” by rapper Ice-T has never been available on a recording.
25. Leno and Letterman have always been trading insults on opposing networks.
26. Unless they found one in their grandparents’ closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.
27. Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive.
28. They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.
29. Reggie Jackson has always been enshrined in Cooperstown.
30. “Viewer Discretion” has always been an available warning on TV shows.
31. The first computer they probably touched was an Apple II; it is now in a museum.
32. Czechoslovakia has never existed.
33. Second-hand smoke has always been an official carcinogen.
34. “Assisted Living” has always been replacing nursing homes, while Hospice has always been an alternative to hospitals.
35. Once they got through security, going to the airport has always resembled going to the mall.
36. Adhesive strips have always been available in varying skin tones.
37. Whatever their parents may have thought about the year they were born, Queen Elizabeth declared it an “Annus Horribilis.”
38. Bud Selig has always been the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
39. Pizza jockeys from Domino’s have never killed themselves to get your pizza there in under 30 minutes.
40. There have always been HIV positive athletes in the Olympics.
41. American companies have always done business in Vietnam.
42. Potato has always ended in an “e” in New Jersey per vice presidential edict.
43. Russians and Americans have always been living together in space.
44. The dominance of television news by the three networks passed while they were still in their cribs.
45. They have always had a chance to do community service with local and federal programs to earn money for college.
46. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.
47. Children have always been trying to divorce their parents.
48. Someone has always gotten married in space.
49. While they were babbling in strollers, there was already a female Poet Laureate of the United States.
50. Toothpaste tubes have always stood up on their caps.
51. Food has always been irradiated.
52. There have always been women priests in the Anglican Church.
53. J.R. Ewing has always been dead and gone. Hasn’t he?
54. The historic bridge at Mostar in Bosnia has always been a copy.
55. Rock bands have always played at presidential inaugural parties.
56. They may have assumed that parents’ complaints about Black Monday had to do with punk rockers from L.A., not Wall Street.
57. A purple dinosaur has always supplanted Barney Google and Barney Fife.
58. Beethoven has always been a dog.
59. By the time their folks might have noticed Coca Cola’s new Tab Clear, it was gone.
60. Walmart has never sold handguns over the counter in the lower 48.
61. Presidential appointees have always been required to be more precise about paying their nannies’ withholding tax, or else.
62. Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine.
63. Their parents’ favorite TV sitcoms have always been showing up as movies.
64. The U.S, Canada, and Mexico have always agreed to trade freely.
65. They first met Michelangelo when he was just a computer virus.
66. Galileo is forgiven and welcome back into the Roman Catholic Church.
67. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always sat on the Supreme Court.
68. They have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.
69. The Post Office has always been going broke.
70. The artist formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg has always been rapping.
71. The nation has never approved of the job Congress is doing.
72. One way or another, “It’s the economy, stupid” and always has been.
73. Silicone-gel breast implants have always been regulated.
74. They’ve always been able to blast off with the Sci-Fi Channel.
75. Honda has always been a major competitor on Memorial Day at Indianapolis.


A brief post

about the gayness that is Burlesque.
Certainly the gay blogs have been simmering for quite some time about this Cher / Christina Aguilera vehicle, but I dismissed it as something that would be watched on tv on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
However, Phil and I went to see Step Up 3D today (don't judge--A.O. Scott and the Stranger liked it--ok, and I saw the first two) and the trailer was on the reel.
This looks like the type of campy brilliance that Glitter only wished it was (not that I've seen Glitter). Plus, Kristen Bell!