Books of January

I was never one for New Year’s Resolutions, mostly because I know full well that I won’t keep them. But this year, I decided to do one I thought I could keep. See, when I was a kid, I used to read all the time. Around six or seven years old, I was reading thick epic stories like Mossflower which were well over four-hundred pages. Considering it’s been thirty years since I’ve last read it, perhaps I should read it again. I still have my book from nineteen-eighty-whenever. Anyhow, somewhere along the line, I stopped reading so much; I think it must have been somewhere in high school. With the exception of a story here or there, I almost never read anything.

So the resolution that I made was to read one book a month for the year of 2019. This resolution was actually inspired by a PewDiePie video. I don’t even watch his videos, but for some reason, that was one caught my eye. After watching, I was inspired to get back into my own reading ways and with the month of January now over, I can say I have completed four books.

Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota by Chuck Klosterman

A friend from church gave me a copy of this book. Having read it himself and know that I love ’80s metal, gave me a copy. The book was hilarious, insightful, and constantly entertaining.

Naked by David Sedaris

This hilarious memoir from David Sedaris is laid out like a collection of essays, each detailing what I can only describe as a messed up chapter of his life. I’m not saying he’s messed up, just that messed up stuff seems to happen to him. He covers strange topics such as that time he was hiding in his parents closet and watching his mom come in, put on a wig, and go to sleep. Or the time he lived in a nudist camp. Or his misadventures in hitchhiking.

In Broad Daylight by Henry N. MacLean

So, this one I listened to the audiobook instead of reading the actual book, but it’s still a book nonetheless. In Broad Daylight tells the true story of Ken McElroy, the town bully of Skidmore, Missouri and his murder right in the middle of the day with nearly fifty witnesses. And none was prosecuted. To this day, the case remains unsolved. The narrator did a fantastic job and I would listen to this book on my way to and from work, many times not wanting to exit my car upon arrival so I could hear what happened next. Not a wasted word anywhere, this book was fantastic front to back.

Apparent Danger: The Pastor of America’s First Megachurch and the Texas Murder Trial of the Decade in the 1920s by David Stokes

Goodness, I haven’t seen a title that was such a mouthful since The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. That said, this was quite a fascinating book. I could give you run down, but the title really says it all. Literally. One of the incredible things about this book is that all the dialogue was taken from actual court transcripts, newspapers, magazines, etc., so you know everything that was said in this book was actually said. I read the Kindle version which doesn’t appear to be available anymore, so it appears you may be stuck with hardcover. That said, it’s definitely a great read and a very interesting piece of Church/Court history.

That’s all I have for January, but I’ve already started another audiobook and plan to start reading another tonight or tomorrow. I’ve left links to the four books I read this month in my brief descriptions of them if you are interested in any of them.

Of Beards and Presidents

I stopped shaving sometime back in October in preparation for Grow-vember. Grow-vember came and went and I kept on not shaving. I’d thought about it, but then I remembered last year when the day after I shaved, we got the coldest weeks we’d had all winter. I’m not going to fall for that again. When spring arrives is when I’ll go back to my traditional appearance. My beard has become quite full over the months, so much so that my wife has informed me that I’m starting to look like the 19th United States President Rutherford B. Hayes and that it turns her on. Had I known that my wife was into well dressed bearded old men, I’d have perhaps updated my wardrobe and spoken more gruffly. As it stands, I have some work to do.

sexyrutherford

Bringing sexy back.

Rutherford was one of only five Presidents to have a beard and one of only twelve to have facial hair of any sort. The last president to sport facial hair was William Howard Taft from 1909 to 1913, who had a moustache. It’s been over one hundred years since we’ve had a president with hair on their face which I’m sure has been of great detriment to our great country. Oh, sure, the founding fathers were clean shaven, but look at the time and what was taking place. A good shave was probably one of the few great luxuries they could enjoy, and yes, shaving can be luxurious if done proper. Between war, disease, back breaking labor, FOUNDING AN ENTIRE COUNTRY, and a myriad of other problems, the shaving ritual probably felt like one the few moments of pure bliss and delight. If you’ve never had a proper shave with a hot towel and a straight razor, you’ve never shaved a day in your life.

americancleanshavenrevolution

Exactly what it feels like after a proper shave.

The last candidate to run for president with any kind of facial hair whatsoever (until now) was Thomas E. Dewey in 1948. Some have gone so far as to credit his moustache with the reason for losing. Both times. Now I’m not saying there’s any correlation here, but I find it mighty suspicious that the last time we see facial hair in the highest seat in the country is just before women got the right to vote. Now we’ve had a hundred plus year absence of the stuff. Then again, maybe it just goes with the fashion of the times. The longest streak of presidents with facial hair was 6 over a period of twenty years. That’s half of them in a twenty year span in the roughly two hundred and forty years we’ve been a nation. Still, until recently, there’s never been a century long gap in facial hair either. Perhaps todays ladies find facial hair threatening. Now that I think about it, perhaps this is the real reason Ben Carson won’t win.

scarybeard

“Oh, god! What the hell is that on his face!?”

Let that be a lesson to the next Libertarian who want’s a shot at winning the presidency. Find a way to get the Republican and Democrat nominees to both have facial hair, then come out with a smooth face. There’s no way he could lose.

schopenhauer

“The beard, being a half-mask, should be forbidden by the police – It is, moreover, as a sexual symbol in the middle of the face, obscene: that is why it pleases women.” -Arthur Schopenhauer