486. Save your ticket stubs.
So glad my dad saved some of his most important stubs - even if they weren’t important games to the world, they were important to him. Many of them were games he went to with his dad, who died when I was 2. Those stubs felt like a connection to the grandpa I never knew.
Correcting Internet DisInformation: The American Space Pen / The Russian Pencil
thank you for this.
And then from his initial investment of >$1,000,000, the Fisher Pen Co. was able to make a lot of money and grow the overall size of the U.S. economy and create lots of jobs.
So essentially a story that is supposed to be about government inefficiency turns out to be a story about how the U.S. government worked with a private company to make space travel safer while also stimulating economic growth.
The moral of the story is not that the Soviet Union was more efficient. The moral of the story is that by failing to allow private investment in innovation, the Soviet Union was doomed.
Incidentally, Paul Fisher, who invented the Fisher space pen, was a fascinating guy. He had this plan to eliminate income and property taxes with a progressive asset tax and even ran for President. And the Fisher Space Pen Co. is still a going concern, still employing people, and still generating a return on Fisher’s million-dollar investment.
Best Books of 2013
Thanks to my iPhone and my Kindle, I read (and listen) to a large amount of books every year. If you had told high school Chris that adult Chris reads 30 to 50 books a year, he’d laugh in your face. But, here I am. And thanks to GoodReads, I can track my reading progress.
I read 51 books this past year. Of that 51, 11 were fiction, 21 were nonfiction, and 19 were graphic novels.
I’d like to share my favorites of the books I read last year. These are not books that were published in 2013, just the ones I read in 2013.
Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlman
Great, expansive look at America in the time of Nixon. Whenever I think of the late 60s and early 70s, I know that things like moon landings, Vietnam, race riots and Nixon presidency all happened, but I always looked at them as events separate from each other. Nixonland ties them all together wonderfully. This isn’t a Nixon biography, it’s a story of all the cultural forces that brought about and resulted from the ascedency of Richard Nixon. If you want to get a better idea of where our modern political and cultural landscape was birthed, this book gives you a pretty good idea.
While this book might initially sound like another in a too-long line of “Turns Out!” books, The Signal and the Noise takes a different, more scientific and statistically sound approach than your typical Gladwell or Lehrer pulp nonfiction. Covers plenty of good stuff, from the political polling that made Silver famous, to sports stats to weather prediction.
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Based on stories of the author’s grandfather’s time in Leningrad during the Nazi siege in World War II, City of Thieves is historical fiction at its finest. It’s set in the style of a memoir and reads like you’re sitting at grandpa’s feet listening to him tell his old war stories. A coming-of-age story with some good buddy comedy mixed in, CIty of Thieves is heartwarming and tragic, and a great glimpse into a part of World War II that often gets lost in the hundreds of American-focused stories. Even if you’re not a WWII fan, or even a fan of historical fiction, I can’t recommend City of Thieves enough.
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
As the fine folks at The Incomparable described it, The Rook is based around the supernatural equivalent of England’s MI–5, specifically one woman with a superpower who’s trying to discover the person within the organization who’s trying to kill her. Tired of superheroes and supernatural fiction? Does the The Rook just sound like Hellboy or the X-Files? Think again. This book is full of great plot twists, and unlike a lot of fiction from the same genre, doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Best Graphic Novel
Locke & Key by Joe Hill & Gabrield Rodriguez
I read a decent amount of comic books. I am, however, not a big fan of superhero comics and serial comic books that seemingly go on forever. Much like television, I prefer a comic series with a definite ending point. Locke & Key is one of my favorites. Written by Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son (so that should tell you a little about the story-writing capability), centers around the Locke famliy, their ancestral family mansion and a set of keys that unlock supernatural and odd occurances throughout the house. If you like mystery, suspense and a little bit of horror, you’ll love L&K. Don’t believe me? Listen to the folks at The Incomparable rave about it. The series just wrapped up this year, so starting know means you’ll be able to finish the entire series of 6 volumes without having to wait for conclusion.
The list is pretty insane: On the Road, Atlas Shrugged, The Cat in the Hat, The Untouchables, From Russia with Love — and those are just the books. Check out the films and music as well.
Sadly, under the copyright laws that exist today (even though all of these works pre-date the newer laws), none of these works will enter the public domain until 2053.
Dollar Shave Club disappoints
I wanted so much to like Dollar Shave Club. I love the idea of subscribing to stuff I need to buy on a regular basis, and I wanted a good alternative to the crazy expensive 8-bladed monstrosities available at grocery stores.
But, I cancelled after one installment. The blades are just not good.
I got the 4X, the middle of the three blade options. Honestly, if the blades I got hadn’t chopped up my neck and head so badly, I might have been willing to go up a notch and try the top-level blade. But after each of my three shaves with the blades I got, I look like I fell in a rose bush. I haven’t had this much cutting, nicking and reddening since I first started shaving.
While I love the idea of shaving like my grandpa and loved when to do it when I was only shaving my neck/face, the recent addition of shaving my head to my grooming regimen made that option too lengthy. So, I’m back to the grocery store blades for now. While they’re all expensive, my experience with Dollar Shave Club has proven you get what you pay for. I never cut myself with a Gillette Fusion Pro Glide or a Schick Quattro, even if I used them weeks after I should have thrown them out. Luckily, Amazon has blades on Subscribe & Save.