2004: (partial list)
1. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. It is a page turner. The first chapter discusses the disgusting profession of one of my high school classmates. It goes on to lay out the history and future of the fast food business, its labor practices, and the connection to meat safety. Meat processing practices and labor methods are also discussed.

2. Running Scared: The life and treacherous times of Las Vegas Casino King Steve Wynn by John L. Smith. In interesting book that gives some history of casino practice in this country, along with an in-depth description of Steve Wynn. Mob connections are discussed and the secret war between Donald Trump and SW is interesting fodder. It also got me thinking a lot about organized labor and the potential mob connections.

3. Jet Streams: How do they Affect Our Weather? by Elmar R. Reiter. Finally a down to earth book that lays out the history of the jet stream science as well as a very readable description of the jet stream and its influence on weather. We would not have weather to speak of without jet streams. It is a big picture book written by an expert that intends for his audience to really understand the subject from an intuitive level upon finishing the book. The photographs and figures in this book are outstanding. It is a good book to read if you have some scientific writing to do, as it reminds you that such prose can and should be readable.

4. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. A fantastic book covering cosmology, biology, life, geology, physics, chemistry, and all in a way that is very informative and very enjoyable. Yes, very enjoyable! Image that, science books that are actually enjoyable.

5. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. A book about Bill and his friend as they quest the Appalachian Trail. It is a book about improbable mountaineers trying to walk the Appalachian Trail, and as such is really about our quests in daily life. We are all on our own trails that we follow with dogged determination and we learn along the way, some more than others. We gather out of our trails what we are physically and mentally capable of taking in, even if we can't manage to easily take it all in for whatever reason. This book answers the question,'why would anyone want to walk the Appalachian Trail'? Or any other long trail for that matter.

6. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steve Covey. The quote following expresses my opinion as well. "I have read a lot of so-called "self-help" books regarding both business and relationship issues. This is absolutely the best of breed; if you have never read a book like this, start with this one. I cannot recommend this title strongly enough." The bottom line is that we live in an interdependent world and need to develop from being dependent, to independent, to interdependent. We must work together to form win-win solutions that are NOT compromises, but are emergent ideas that go beyond the imagination of the individual parties. The basic premise is that our combined imaginations need to mix in a way that produces results not possible with individuals (nonlinear mixing of imaginations).

7. America's Secret War, George Friedman, founder of Stratfor, a private global intelligence company out of Texas. This is an intelligent book with deep analysis of the reasons for 9/11/2001, as well as the war in Iraq. My view is that Stratfor is aiming to put some intelligence behind the decision to go to war in Iraq. I think they are very likely a GOP construct aimed at damage control for the Bush administration. Saudi Arabia was behind the attack of Sept 11, not Iraq. The Bush administration had its eye on Iraq well before Sept 11, and Sept 11 was a God send to this administration in the sense that it somehow justified and made necessary the attack on Iraq. If this Bush administration was so wise in attacking Iraq, as is the premise of the Stratfor book, then how could they have blundered so massively on the post war 'victory' steps that were to bring Iraq with flowers and open arms into an American style democracy? If the Iraqi people had wanted to get rid of Hussein they would have done so themselves, maybe not this year, but some where along the line. Now Rumsfeld is running around saying that security is really up to the Iraqis themselves... as if they had asked to be invaded, and are now reluctant to take responsibility for it. It is extremely hypocritical for this administration to aim at such a cowardly withdrawal from Iraq. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, Wolfowitz, Pearl, Rove, and their likes should really be on the front lines in Iraq if they so believe in it. Even Bush Senior avoided going all the way to take out Hussein because he knew an exit strategy does not exist. The Bush administration bellied up to a known crook, Ahmed Chalabi, who has arrest warrants out in some of our supposed Arab allied states such as Jordan for bank fraud. Iran will see to it that the Shiites have a big part of a future Iraq, and civil war is in her interest. The main reason the Bush administration has had its eyes on Iraq for so long is to further its fascist goals -- the marriage of business and politics for monetary gain of the few at the expense of the many -- a disrupting model for civilization that has found its downfall in eventual revolution from below. The GOP is really a soft-fascist party, just as Demos represent a soft-socialist party, at least at present.