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Frankie as dragon

Hipster book club! 09 ed!

I LOVED The Book From The Sky. I really really loved it.

I thought Rancho Weirdo was pretty good too.

Did I never read The Stone Diaries before because it was written by a woman? Probably.

There was things I liked about Rock Bottom, but mostly I thought it was good for its subject matter (failing rock band) and I liked its adherence to the ideals of Greek theater of unity of time and place, and man's fall due to hubris.

Also, a bunch of pretty people came up with top 5 lists.
mst3k

The Myth of Joe the Plumber

During last night's debate, Presidential candidate John McCain continually referred to someone named "Joe the Plumber." He tried to indicate that Joe was a real guy with a real problem--he was ready to start a business and Obama's tax plan would not allow that to happen.

Whether or not Joe is a real guy or not, here's the problem with the Joe the Plumber mythos: if Joe doesn't understand basic money management skills, it's not Obama's tax plan that will force his business to fail. Joe presumably has been working as a plumber these past few months, and no doubt he's experienced a slowdown in his business. A big part of a plumber's work is installing plumbing in new houses, and there is no growth in that area right now. While Joe may be ready emotionally to start his business, if he hasn't analyzed the plumbing situation in his area his business is doomed to failure, regardless of whether or not Obama revokes his tax cuts.

Additionally, it's not clear whether or not Obama's tax cuts would affect Joe's nascent business. Obama plans to raise taxes on those making over $250,000 a year. Is Joe making that? And will he make that as a new small business owner in today's economy? Both seem rather unlikely. We all know how overpaid actual plumbers are. My friend's plumber drives a Land Rover and wears a Rolex. But over 1/4-mil? That's attorney money, and only private sector corporate attorneys. Even senators don't make that much.

If Joe _is_ making over $1/4-mil, and he still wants to start his own business, what is his motivation? If it's money, he's needs to re-evaluate. He's already making a lot. If it's autonomy and the dream of small-business ownership, he should expect that he'll be experiencing a cut in salary during the first few years anyway.

What would be the point of _not_ taxing Joe more? In theory, his riches will trickle down. In reality, his money will go to internet porn and a stable of polo ponies. There is very little trickling down, unless we're talking about semen. The theory of trickle-down economics hasn't really worked in many many years, as rich people just continue to keep the money among themselves and their friends, and invest in foreign countries.

Also, how sympathetic will a single mom working at WalMart be to Joe's plight? Not very. When her plumbing breaks she has to fix it herself. She can't afford Joe's services.

McCain, or his campaign, must have believed that somehow this Joe the Plumber was some sort of archetype that the average American could ID with, but Joe's lifestyle is something very few of us will ever be able to attain, and that's not Obama's fault.
Frankie as dragon

New Hipster book club!

is here

I review abortion and life, How Fiction Works (that really is me and not Brian Hurley), and I have a column about political memoirs. I hate them!

I'm very conflicted about the Abortion and Life review. I liked the book, I didn't love it, but I thought it did a good job of showing where some of the problems are for both the pro-choice and pro-life camps. I hope I didn't come off as not pro-choice because I am pro-choice. It's a hard wire to walk in a book review. I'm trying to be fair, people! It's hard for pro-choice women to even discuss emotional issues that surround the choice to have an abortion because some people may say that feeling ANYTHING means it must be wrong. Life is full of hard choices, though, and these days more for women than for men.

How Fiction Works is friggin' awesome. Absolutely amazing. Goddam, that guy is smart.