Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Public Health Readings

The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped our History
Like The Great Influenza, a narrative of a disease with historic/scientific implications. Nice easy read, if you're into that sort of thing of course.

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History
(Spring 07)
Basically what the title says; describes both successes and failures of government/military and public health/medicine at curbing the pandemic.

New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers: Tales of Parasites and People
(Spring 07)
Parasites. Guh-ross. The book however offers an informative and sometimes amusing spin on the tales.

Federal Bodysnatchers and the New Guinea Virus: Tales of Parasites, People, and Politics
(Spring 07)
Somewhat of a sequel to the above Tapeworm/Grandmothers book, this one brings in some more of the politicking, etc. Focuses a lot on Malaria.

Suggested Readings to Spur Thinking and Debate

This is the attempt: theoretically I can update this as new books are added. I shall try to put the approximate date on which I finish the book, however with a good chunk of the ones that I read in Iraq, etc. that will be impossible to remember at this point. I will link to the books on Amazon (please notify me of any missing/broken links) and provide a brief synopsis.


Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World
Expounds on the wester tradition of "just war." Written primarily in support of the war in Afghanistan with a new epilogue written in relation to Iraq.

Baghdad by Bus: Or,.......
(September 07)
First person narrative from two entrepreneurs plying their special brand of ingenuity and charity in Baghdad. Highlights glaring flaws in CPA method of occupation of Iraq.

Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism
(September 07)
Explains the logic/success of using suicide terror against an "occupying force" from a foreign,democratic nation whose religion differs from your own and how religion is an enabler, not a root causation.

Striking Back: The 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and Israel's Deadly Response
(August 07)
What the title says; not the book the movie "Munich" is based on. Mostly a "this is what happened" rather than critical commentary, it does criticize the German government, but doesn't delve too much into the right/wrong of Israel's response.

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
(August 07)
Examines types of killing (close vs. ranged) and their association with PTSD, as well as association of other battlefield conditions with PTSD. Also describes military conditioning to kill and how some aspects of modern society condition violence through entertainment. Everyone in the military should read this.

How to Lose a Battle: Foolish Plans and Great Military Blunders

(June 07)
What the title says; also, in a nutshell: get good intel, don't be stupid.

A Rumor of War
(June 07)
Autobiographical, coming of age in Vietnam story from Phil Caputo. Personal as well as historic.

The Collapse of the Common Good: How America's Lawsuit Culture Undermines Our Freedom
(Spring 07)
Describes how lawsuits and fear of them have helped contribute to lack of judgment, fear of making rational value assessments, and loss of authority.

Muzzled: From T-Ball to Terrorism--True Stories that Should be Fiction
(Spring 07)
The ridiculousness extremes of being PC. Goes somewhat along with the Common Good book in exposing how PC contributes to lack of being rational and fear of getting punished for offending someone. I mostly agreed with this book until the last chapter or two; can't remember why, but I'll re-read them again to see.

Heart of a Soldier
The poignant story of Rick Rescorla, British academic/adventurer turned American in the US Army during Vietnam. Later becomes head of security at Morgan Stanley, where his predictions of danger to the Twin Towers go unheeded. Dies on September 11 after evacuating thousands of occupants from one of the towers.

The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America
Historical perspective explaining misunderstandings and distorted world views as the primary reasons for conflict.

Shadow Warriors: Inside the Special Forces
History of the SF from Vietnam to now; reasons, mistakes, future uses, etc.

Battle Ready
The life of warrior-diplomat Marine General Tony Zinni. Part biography, part auto-biography, part political commentary on the use of America's military.

The Fall of Man

Well, it's starting to feel like fall. At least up in Northern IL. Not so much yet here in Saint Louis, although there has been a cooler snap or two. For me, fall always takes me back; funny how a season associated with decay and death so frequently makes me think of so many things from my past that scream "life." I suppose that's always part of the dialectic though, life and death and so on and so forth. So anyhow, fall always takes me back to days of cross country, marching band, football games, campouts, Knox, etc. I don't think I'm the only one that feels this way though, perhaps that is one reason why homecoming is in the fall (that and of course football season being a bigger draw than basketball or baseball; heh). Additionally, it always seems to be around this time that I hear from people I haven't heard from in a while. I think being several months into the "school year" without seeing people you remember seeing then is part of it. Anyhow, this weekend I heard from two girls I hadn't spoken with in a while (one in about a year!) and last night I heard from the last roomie at ISU who I hadn't spoken with since early summer. I think the feeling remembered is just as important as the remembering. I would like to take this moment to encourage everyone to just call up a friend they haven't talked to in a while just to see how they're doing, let them know you're still alive, and that you still care, even if you don't always get the chance to hang with them or talk to them on a regular basis. Okay, enough with the sappy nostalgia.

Now the practical question becomes should I go to homecoming this weekend? Many people are saying yes, but I do sort of have plans to attend Fright Fest at 6 Flags. I suppose I could do Fright Fest another time, but I'm also supposed to get a good chunk of the rest of my possessions this weekend. Decisions, decisions.

In other news, I did terrible on PT test this weekend. Well, on the run part anyhow. I have about 180 days to remedy the situation. Went running last night, and shall continue to do so. On the plus side, I did shoot pretty well at rifle qualification. I wish we got the chance to shoot more often. The best part was when I got to help "expend all ammo," i.e. shoot-up the excess ammo that wasn't quite enough to box back up and return to supply.

Considering making a list of non-fiction books that I have read that I consider to be excellent reading for those interested in military/politics, or public health. Not quite sure how to make that work on this page, but I'll figure it out soon I hope. Until next time, Turbo Teddy out!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wedding, etc.

So, Mike and Megan's wedding totally rocked my face off. The van ride out was fun with the family and a few friends, except for the part where I was driving in Ohio in road construction with the beastly 12-passenger vehicle and then ran into fog to boot. The sheer number of semis on the main east-west cargo route wasn't helping any either. Made it to Delaware in time for dinner, although I had missed the rehearsal. I wasn't the only groomsman to miss the rehearsal though, so the next day at lunch Mike instructed us with an impromptu sand table made with table items while we ate lunch. Knives served as pews, hot pepper & oregano for the bride and groom, and salt & pepper shakers for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Wedding party gifts for the guys were well thought out t-shirts, each with a super-hero reflecting some aspect of our individual personalities. The wedding itself was in a nice little eastern sea-town church, and wedding photos were taken on the beach. Fantastic. Except for the random guy who came up and snagged a pic and claimed to be a wedding photographer himself. Creepy much? And does that constitute intellectual theft? IDK. The best part of of the photos of course was the human pyramid of groomsmen. Classic. The reception had great food and free rock candy, and the bride's friends seem to mesh fairly well with the grooms friends. For me overall, the best part (other than of course seeing Mike & Megan so happy) was that Margaret was able to come as my date. That whole living in Phillie thing means I don't get to see her near enough.

Really besides that not too much exciting has been going on. Jon and I did go to IL to play trivia for charity Saturday night with Mu and some of his college buds from the area. We tied for fourth out of nine teams; many of the questions pre-dated the knowledge of our young team. It was fun though, and we won a few door prizes. Sadly Mu broke the snow-globe he won, which resulted in a collective "awwwwww" from the room.

Guard this weekend, and then hopefully get the rest of my furniture etc. next weekend. Will be missing homecoming, but that's okay as I don't believe too many of my compatriots will e there anyhow.

Oh! SLU's School of Public Health may get bought out by WashU. What this portends remains to be seen, but the motivation appears to be to move up in the rankings for each of the schools involved. Hokay, back to homework. Just cause the school might get bought doesn't mean it's stopping operations!