Friday, November 19, 2010

Wait for it...Waiiiit for it....

I have friends who are reporters and anchors with various affiliates.  It's often funny when things screw up, but it can be absolutely hysterical when they literally implode.  WGN never disappoints.

(From WGN News)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Running on Empty...But at Least I'm Not This Guy

I am SO sorry not to have posted in awhile; my jobs have been keeping me very busy burning candles at every end. Currently I'm learning of this concept called "Weekends", during which I hear people actually relax and don't work. It's a strange custom, but I've tried it a few times and think I could learn to like it.

Not much to say today, so I will instead let the great Stephen Fry do the honors. He hosts a wonderful quiz show on BBC called "QI", and it's more than your average game show. The people who grace the panel each night are actually smart folk who know a thing or two about the world. But even these enlightened and erudite luminaries get stumped every once in a while. And everyone who either watches or guests on the show runs the risk of learning something new. Have fun watching this. It'll boggle your mind, appall you, and at the same time make you laugh.

(From BBC's "QI")

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

We're All Born Ignorant, But One Must Work Hard to Remain Stupid (B. Franklin)

...However, I somehow think that these folks came by it naturally. I can't imagine maintaining this level of idiocy and actually putting effort into it.  

Ladies and Gentlemen:  These are the people in charge of running the country.  Remember when Jay Leno was likeable and he had that little skit on his show--"Jaywalking"?  I used to almost fall over in disbelief when I heard the utterly inane and brain-dead responses to basic questions from average Americans.   Wait, scratch that. If they'd been average, they might have actually gotten the answer right to: "What are the words to the 'Star-Spangled Banner'?"

Oh, but this is much worse.  These are people who, by some twist of universal anarchy, got elected to office.  They're in charge of who gets money, when they get it, whether or not school and social programs will continue or not, and vote themselves raises.  I'm completely in the wrong line of work.

You may need a face mask to protect yourself from the odiferousness.  This kind of shit just seems to spread without quarter. I don't know who compiled these gems -- it wasn't me--but if they would like credit, I will joyfully give it to them. 

A DC airport ticket agent offers some examples of why our country is
in trouble!
1. I had a New Hampshire Congresswoman (Carol Shea-Porter) ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window. (On an airplane!) 

2. I got a call from a Kansas Congressman's (Moore) staffer (Howard Bauleke), who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information, and then he interrupted me with, ''I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts.'' 

Without trying to make him look stupid, I calmly explained, ''Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa .'' 

His response -- click. 

3. A senior Vermont Congressman (Bernie Sanders) called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando . He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that's not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the

He replied, 'Don't lie to me, I looked on the map and Florida is a
very thin state!'' (OMG) 

4. I got a call from a lawmaker's wife (Landra Reid) who asked, ''Is
it possible to see England from Canada ?'' 

I said, ''No.'' 

She said, ''But they look so close on the map.'' (OMG, again!)

5. An aide for a cabinet member (Janet Napolitano) once called and asked if he could rent a car in   Dallas. I pulled up the reservation and noticed he had only a 1-hour layover in Dallas. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, ''I heard   Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time.''  (Aghhhh)

6. An Illinois Congresswoman (Jan Schakowsky) called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:30 a.m., and got to   Chicago at 8:33 a.m.

I explained that   Michigan was an hour ahead of   Illinois , but she couldn't understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told her the plane went fast, and she bought that.

7. A   New York lawmaker, (Jerrold Nadler) called and asked, ''Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?'' I said, 'No, why do you ask?'

He replied, ''Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said 'FAT', and I'm overweight. I think that's very rude!''

After putting him on hold for a minute, I looked into it. (I was dying laughing.) I came back and explained the city code for   Fresno, Ca. Is (FAT - Fresno Air Terminal), and the airline was just putting a destination tag on his luggage.

8. An aide for Senator John Kerry (Lindsay Ross) called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, ''Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii ?''

9. I just got off the phone with a freshman Congressman, Bobby Bright (D) from AL who asked, ''How do I know which plane to get on?'' I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, ''I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on

10. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) called and said, ''I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola, Florida . Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?''

I asked if she meant fly to Pensacola, FL on a commuter plane. She said, ''Yeah, whatever, smarty!''

11. Mary Landrieu (D) LA Senator called and had a question about the documents she needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded her that she needed a visa. 'Oh, no I don't. I've been to China many times and never had to have
one of those.''

I double checked and sure enough, her stay required a visa. When I told her this she said, ''Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!''

12. A New Jersey Congressman (John Adler) called to make reservations, ''I want to go from  Chicago to Rhino, New York .''

I was at a loss for words. Finally, I said, ''Are you sure that's the name of the town?''

'Yes, what flights do you have?'' replied the man.

After some searching, I came back with, ''I'm sorry, sir, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a 'Rhino' anywhere."

''The man retorted, ''Oh, don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!''

So I scoured a map of the State of New York and finally offered, ''You don't mean  Buffalo, do you?''

The reply? ''Whatever! I knew it was a big animal.''

They are among us.  They have offspring.  They have driver's licenses.  I'm going to go dig a hole, jump in, and take some Gatorade with me.  


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lost Without LOST

I loved LOST.  I miss LOST.  But it's nice to know that I'm not the only geek out there who revels in the geekdom.  We don't wanna let go.  Which is good, you see, because the stuff geeks come up with is way better than most of the crap that's on television these days. I miss Hurley and Sawyer. I miss Michael Giacchino's epic music. I even miss the Smoke Monster.

This is hilarious.

(From Newsweek and ABC Television's LOST; Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, producers)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's Got Juice

My Mom sent this to me. Only in New York, folks. 

(Update: Since the original post, I've learned that this is a group of actors/performers who routinely invade public places and joyfully flummox their fellow citizens with displays of song, dance, and general buffoonery on a level not seen since television's Fame.  Love it!)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Maybe I Should Emigrate to New Zealand

It just hurts less to laugh than to cry. Read on, and brace yourselves. I did not research or compile the following examples of The Next Generation's utter and complete hopelessness, but I wish I had.  If and when I find the person responsible for raising the alarm, I will most readily give credit. 

The following questions were set in last year's GED examination.  These are genuine answers (from 16 year olds)............and they WILL breed.

Q. Name the four seasons
A. Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar

Q. Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink
A. Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists

Q. How is dew formed
A. The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire

Q. What causes the tides in the oceans
A. The tides are a fight between the earth and the moon. All water tends to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins the fight

Q. What guarantees may a mortgage company insist on
A. If you are buying a house they will insist that you are well endowed

Q. In a democratic society, how important are elections
A. Very important. Sex can only happen when a male gets an election

Q. What are steroids
A. Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs (Shoot yourself now , there is little hope)

Q.. What happens to your body as you age
A. When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental

Q. What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty
A. He says goodbye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery (So true)

Q. Name a major disease associated with cigarettes
A. Premature death

Q. What is artificial insemination
A. When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the cow

Q. How can you delay milk turning sour
A. Keep it in the cow (Simple, but brilliant)

Q. How are the main 20 parts of the body categorised (e.g. The abdomen)
A. The body is consisted into 3 parts - the brainium, the borax and the abdominal cavity. The brainium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs and the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels: A, E, I,O,U..

Q. What is the fibula?
A. A small lie

Q. What does 'varicose' mean?
A. Nearby

Q. What is the most common form of birth control
A. Most people prevent contraception by wearing a condominium (That would work)

Q. Give the meaning of the term 'Caesarean section'
A. The caesarean section is a district in Rome

Q. What is a seizure?
A. A Roman Emperor. (Julius Seizure, I came, I saw, I had a fit)

Q. What is a terminal illness
A. When you are sick at the airport. (Irrefutable)

Q. Give an example of a fungus. What is a characteristic feature?
A. Mushrooms. They always grow in damp places and they look like umbrellas

Q. Use the word 'judicious' in a sentence to show you understand its meaning
A. Hands that judicious can be soft as your face. (OMG)

Q. What does the word 'benign' mean?
A. Benign is what you be after you be eight (brilliant)

Q. What is a turbine?
A. Something an Arab or Shreik wears on his head.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Frivolity

I was originally going to write a spleen-venting post about the do-si-do Congress is playing with HR 4312, but you know, I'm just too tired to get that pissed off.  Besides, I'd rather start the weekend with a smile than a growl.  So, for your viewing pleasure, may I introduce Maru.  He's a happy cat living in Japan, and his owner somehow captures the most darling video of him.  Whenever I need a smile or a good belly laugh, he always comes through.  Enjoy.

(Credit for the preceding video belongs to the Amazing Maru and his Person.)

Friday, June 04, 2010

All Dogs Go to Heaven...

...Where, in some future time and place, they'll be waiting to see us again.

(Photo by Jorge Garcia)

Jorge's beloved Nunu died on Monday after having been hit by a car.  She was a happy, loved, and loving companion to him and Beth, and they doted on their little morsel.  Who wouldn't, with that face?

One day, I believe they'll see her again. After all, there is no "now" there...

Namaste, Nunu.  We love you.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

All the News That's Fit to Print

Jorge Garcia had a rather scandalous picture on his blog I joked that if the tabloids got hold of it, he was in trouble with Nunu.  Me being who I am, I figured I'd get the jump on them.  After all, I am a writer.  And I was a publicist.  And I'm Irish with a seasoning of Spanish, which means I have a warped sense of humor.  But thank God I never had to stoop to actually working for a real tabloid. 

(Canine and Garcia photos belong to Jorge Garcia, except for drunk Chihuahua, which is from an unknown source. Cowboy photo is also  from Unknown Source, but your friendly Irish Girl will be pleased to offer credit to the authentic owners of  these images, if they really want them.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Something to Smile About

I just love this video.  Dunno why.  It just makes me smile.

(All credit and deference to DreamWorks, Puss, and Antonio Banderas.  Some credit to Nancy Sinatra.)

The World That Woke

Ninety-Eight years ago on this date, the Titanic sank.

 The RMS Titanic departing from Southampton, England for the first--and last--time, April 10, 1912.

In 1912, steamship was the mode of overseas travel, and the Atlantic shipping lines were veritable freeways of steel hulls and massive engines traversing the divide between Europe and America.  These were the last days of the Golden Age, the Age of Innocence--when men dressed in silk hats and fine cravats and ladies wore corsets and gloves as a matter of course.  Immigration from the Old Country to the New World was in a boom; hundreds of thousands made the long journey with little more than what they could carry on their backs, brimming with optimism at the promise of starting anew in a prosperous land that welcomed everyone. To do it on the most famous, the most beautiful, and the largest liner ever built was something of a coup, even for the third-class passengers.  It was a marvel of human ingenuity: miles of deck and cabins and luxurious recreational facilities, restaurants, even a Turkish bath.  You could walk the length and breadth of it and still not cover the same ground each time.   Even Charles Lightoller, the Second Officer, said that it took him nearly two weeks to navigate its layout with any confidence, and he was a veteran of many voyages and many ships.  Such was the immensity of Titanic that it seemed nothing could ever hurt it. 
"The history of the R.M.S. Titanic of the White Star Line, is one of the most tragically short it is possible to conceive. The world had waited expectantly for its launching and again for it's sailing; had read accounts of its tremendous size and its unexampled completeness and luxury; had felt it a matter of the greatest satisfaction that such a comfortable and above all such a safe boat had been designed and built- the "unsinkable lifeboat"- and then in a moment to hear that it had gone to the bottom as if it had been the veriest tramp steamer of a few hundred tons; and with it fifteen hundred passengers, some of them known all the world over! The improbability of such a thing ever happening was what staggered humanity."
-Lawrence Beesley, Titanic Survivor
The whole period was full of optimism, full of supreme confidence in the domination of man over any and all obstacles, including nature.  Looking back in hindsight, we might judge society then as being almost naively arrogant, almost asking for a good ass-whooping.  Hubris is something we usually only see after the fact, while we're picking up the pieces of the latest disaster.  It was no different on that night, when over 1500 people died in the cold water of the Atlantic, and a world was paralyzed by shock, disbelief, and grief.
"There was peace, and the world had an even tenor to it's way. Nothing was revealed in the morning the trend of which was not known the night before. It seems to me that the disaster about to occur was the event that not only made the world rub it's eyes and awake, but woke it with a start, keeping it moving at a rapidly accelerating pace ever since with less and less peace, satisfaction and happiness. To my mind the world of today awoke April 15th, 1912."
-Jack B. Thayer, Titanic Survivor
I don't need to go into the specifics of the sinking--unless you've been wrapped in cotton wadding and sealed inside a hyperbaric chamber all your life, you know how it all happened.  How there were so many "ifs".  If the crew hadn't misplaced the binoculars.  If the captain hadn't gone to bed early that night.  If the radio operators had relayed the iceberg warnings more quickly to the bridge. If the Californian hadn't turned their radio off.  If J. Bruce Ismay hadn't insisted on increasing speed across an ice-infested course.  If the Titanic had changed course. If Frederick Fleet had seen the iceberg just an instant sooner; if the bridge had hit the berg head-on instead of sideways. If Thomas Anderson had won the fight to have more lifeboats on deck. If, if, if.
"I still think about the 'might have beens' about the Titanic; that's what stirs me more then anything else. Things that happened that wouldn't have happened if only one thing had gone better for her. If only, so many if onlys. If only she had enough lifeboats. If only the watertight compartments had been higher. If only she had paid attention to the ice that night. If only the Californian did come. The 'if only' kept coming up again and again and that makes the ship more then the experience of studying a disaster. It becomes a haunting experience to me, it's the haunting experience of 'if only'." -Walter Lord, Titanic historian and author
None of that mattered, of course, to those who followed Titanic to the bottom, two miles below the surface. Or to the survivors, who struggled with grief and guilt for the rest of their lives.  Some endured international and unforgiving censure--most particularly J. Bruce Ismay, Chairman and Managing Director of the White Star Line, who climbed aboard one of the last lifeboats at the very end and paid for it until he died a quarter-century later.  He defended himself at the inquest, insistent that he had done nothing wrong.

"What do you think I am? Do you believe that I'm the sort that would have left that ship as long as there were any women and children on board? That's the thing that hurts, and it hurts all the more because it is so false and baseless. I have searched my mind with deepest care, I have thought long over each single incident that I could recall of that wreck. I'm sure that nothing wrong was done; that I did nothing that I should not have done. My conscience is clear and I have not been a lenient judge of my own acts."  -- J. Bruce Ismay
Certainly Stanley Lord, captain of the Californian, whom the world blamed for retiring early and leaving the Titanic's increasingly desperate calls for help unheeded, was regarded as a pariah and, if not heartless, a bumbling goon.  It didn't matter, in the aftermath, that he had rushed to join the Carpathia the next morning, as soon as he heard of the sinking.  He never recovered from the debacle of blame and recrimination and retired, in disgrace, never to sail again.

The morning of April 15, 1912 marked the beginning of a harsher, more hardened outlook on life by a society that had suffered a devastating blow.  It was hard not to be cynical; a goddess had been toppled on her maiden voyage--a goddess that had been built over four years by the love and mastery of Irish shipbuilders, conceived by the demigods of the time, and borne into solid reality with the finest minds in construction, innovation, and engineering.  No wonder people had so much confidence in her; she was a stunning, sleek, luxurious behemoth who carried such luminaries of the day that it seemed ludicrous that anything could possibly go awry. 

"I thought her unsinkable and I based my opinion on the best expert advice."
-Phillip Franklin, White Star Line Vice President
"You weren’t there at my first meeting with Ismay. To see the little red marks all over the blueprints. First thing I thought was: ‘Now here’s a man who wants me to build him a ship that’s gonna be sunk.’ We’re sending gilded egg shells out to sea."
-Thomas Andrews, Managing Director of Harland and Wolff Shipyards
Control your Irish passions, Thomas. Your uncle here tells me you proposed 64 lifeboats and he had to pull your arm to get you down to 32. Now, I will remind you just as I reminded him these are my ships. And, according to our contract, I have final say on the design. I’ll not have so many little boats, as you call them, cluttering up my decks and putting fear into my passengers."
-J. Bruce Ismay, Director of the White Star Line
"The press is calling these ships unsinkable and Ismay’s leadin’ the chorus. It’s just not true."
-Thomas Andrews, Managing Director of Harland and Wolff Shipyards
To his credit, poor Thomas Anderson tried.  He really did.  He was an excellent design engineer who would constantly carry around a little notebook, marking down improvements and correcting flaws right up to the day of sailing.  He was onboard the Titanic, and was jotting stuff down even then, when most engineers would have sat back and basked in the glory of their accomplishment.  He lamented the fact that he had been overruled on his proposition to carry more lifeboats--a decision he regretted not fighting harder, even as the ship was sinking underneath him--and one that the White Star Line never lived down. It was also the decision that prompted a maritime law stating exactly that--each ship had to carry enough lifeboats for ever single soul on board. No exceptions.  Andrews would have applauded that, if he had lived, though I think he would have been bitter at the fact that over a thousand people had to die to make it so.

Even now, most people think that those who perished on Titanic drowned.  Not so.  The majority of them died of hypothermia.  The waters of the North Atlantic are paralyzingly frigid, and in April, the bergs are thawing after a long winter's sleep, breaking free and sliding in to drift along the massive currents.  It's like dropping an ice cube into a drink, only on such a leviathan scale that it's almost incomprehensible to imagine being submerged in it.  But the passengers, desperate to escape the groaning tonnage of iron in its final death throes, found out very quickly just how devastating it was to the human body.  At the end, when the ship rose out of the water at a terrifyingly steep angle, it was impossible to hold on any more. 
"Just then the ship took a slight but definite plunge - probably a bulkhead went - and the sea came rolling along up in a wave, over the steel fronted bridge, along the deck below us, washing the people back in a dreadful huddled mass. Those that didn't disappear under the water right away, instinctively started to clamber up that part of the deck still out of water, and work their way towards the stern, which was rising steadily out of the water as the bow went down. It was a sight that doesn't bear dwelling on - to stand there, above the wheelhouse, and on our quarters, watching the frantic struggles to climb up the sloping deck, utterly unable to even hold out a helping hand."
-Charles Lightoller, Second Officer aboard Titanic
"Striking the water was like a thousand knives being driven into one's body. The temperature was 28 degrees, four degrees below freezing."
-Charles Lightoller, Second Officer aboard Titanic
That's the kind of temperature that will kill you in minutes, and they didn't have survival suits back in the day.  Most people didn't even know how to swim.  Those passengers fortunate enough to find floating debris or a remaining capsized lifeboat clung on for dear life, hoping that help would arrive before they succumbed.  Those passengers even more fortunate to have boarded lifeboats two hours earlier floated a distance off, unwilling to return and help those in the water, screaming for someone to return and pull them out.  It was a sound that haunted survivors ever after.
The agonizing cries of death from over a thousand throats, the wails and groans of the suffering, the shrieks of the terror-tricken and the awful gaspings for breath of those in the last throes of drowning, none of us will ever forget to our dying day."
-Colonel Archibald Gracie, Titanic Survivor
"The sounds of people drowning are something that I can not describe to you, and neither can anyone else. Its the most dreadful sound and there is a terrible silence that follows it."
-Eva Hart, Titanic Survivor

"The partly filled lifeboat standing by about 100 yards away never came back. Why on Earth they never came back is a mystery. How could any human being fail to heed those cries."
-Jack B. Thayer, Titanic Survivor
The Cunard Line Carpathia charged steaming through the early morning hours towards Titanic's last known position, 58 miles away.  His was the only ship in the vicinity besides the long-suspected Californian, and even then he was nearly four hours away.  Captain Arthur Rostron had ordered an immediate change of course as soon as he heard of the disaster and, mindful of what had befallen the Titanic, put extra lookouts on the bow of the ship, scanning anxiously for more icebergs even as he rushed at a then-breakneck speed towards the survivors.
"Icebergs loomed up and fell astern and we never slackened. It was an anxious time with the Titanic's fateful experience very close in our minds. There were 700 souls on Carpathia and those lives as well as the survivors of the Titanic herself depended on the sudden turn of the wheel."
-Captain Arthur H. Rostron, Commander of Carpathia

It was only at daybreak, in the light of the morning sun, that Rostron saw the ocean was littered with bergs--small and large--through which he had steamed over the previous hours.  "I shuddered," he said, "and could only think that some other hand than mine was on the helm that night."

The arrival of the Carpathia was almost too good to be true for the survivors who had endured the cold, shock, and uncertainty of the night.  Passengers aboard the rescue liners gave up their own cabins in order to house the refugees, and when the last was rescued, Rostron turned for New York, leaving the now-aware Californian to keep looking for more survivors, if any.

By the time the Carpathia arrived in New York Harbor, the entire world of course had heard of the disaster, but hoped against hope that it was only a rumor, or at least that most had survived.  But instead of a triumphant liner completing her maiden voyage and docking in her designated sloop, only the lifeboats were lowered in tribute to the water--the last remains, as it were.  Then it was real. 

The sixteen lifeboats at Titanic's empty dock in New York Harbor.

Let the Truth be known, no ship is unsinkable. The bigger the ship, the easier it is to sink her. I learned long ago that if you design how a ship’ll sink, you can keep her afloat. I proposed all the watertight compartments and the double hull to slow these ships from sinking. In that way, you get everyone off. There’s time for help to arrive, and the ship’s less likely to break apart and kill someone while she’s going down." -Thomas Andrews, Managing Director of Harland and Wolff Shipyards 

The infamous bow of the Titanic, where it has rested for 98 years, two miles below the Atlantic surface.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

You Say Potato

I got the same chain email from a few people this week; it was a photo of President Obama carrying a book entitled "The Post-American World" by Fareed Zakaria.

In the email, the original sender (whoever he or she is) urged friends to forward the image on to their email lists, intending to "bring the bugger down through the internet".  The email went on to say:

"Post" America means the world After America! Please forward this picture to everyone you know, conservative or liberal. We must expose Obama's radical ideas and his intent to bring down our beloved America! 


Now, I'm a fervent believer in expressing one's opinion--even if I disagree with that opinion.  These individuals have a perfect right to say what they wish about Zakaria's book or the fact that Obama was reading it--back in the summer of '08, by the way--before he was even president.  They even have the right to point out that Zakaria is Muslim, although I find that distinction rather unnecessary and churlish and smacking of bigotry.  However, what I do have a problem with is people expressing opinions based on erroneous assumptions or misinterpretation.

"The Post-American World" is NOT about the world after America has been "brought down".  It is a treatise/thesis on the impact of the United States' in fostering global democracy, and how other countries have taken up the US model in economics, industry, and cultural development as a free society.  It also talks about how America has been the foremost world power for over a century, and how other countries such as China have risen to become powers in their own right in a post-industrialized and more global society.  One day, the United States may be neck-and neck with China in terms of world influence and power; Western civilization, and to a great extent, America, has had a huge impact on that development. What I understood from reading Zakaria's work is that this book is not about the fall of the United States.  It's about the progress and growth of--well, everyone else, and what the US role in a world of equals or near-equals may be. A quote from the book:

The world is moving from anger to indifference, from anti-Americanism to post-Americanism. The fact that new powers are more strongly asserting their interests is the reality of the post-American world. It also raises the political conundrum of how to achieve international objectives in a world of many actors, state and nonstate.
Far from being a book calling for US annihilation, it holds the US as being a primary force for development and stability in the modern era that is being emulated by other countries and societies.  Ultimately, with such growth, it would be optimal for those developing and increasingly influential societies to act in concert to achieve common goals that affect the entire planet.

Zakaria, a Muslim, is a naturalized US citizen of Indian descent. Growing up in India, he had an extremely open and secular upbringing, singing Christian hymns at school as well as celebrating both Hindu and Muslim holidays. (Frankly, it doesn't matter to me if he sang Irish Shanty songs and worshipped the Greek pantheon.) He is a graduate of Yale University with a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.  He was also editor of Newsweek International and wrote a famous cover essay for the publication after the 9/11 attacks entitled, "Why They Hate Us".  His argument was that Islamic extremism's roots lay in dysfunction and stagnation of the Arab world--people clinging ferociously to the old ways of doing things and smothering their own growth with anger and rage. 

In that article, he defended the US and called for more inter-generational efforts in the Muslim world to create more open, dynamic, and fluid Arab societies--insisting that Islam should be brought into the modern world, and not remain stuck in the fugue of fundamentalist violence begat by antiquated laws, fear of change, and archaic, literal interpretation of the Koran.

If you would like to read that article, try this link:  The Politics of Rage

Other books by Zakaria include:  From Wealth to Power: the Unusual Origins of America's World Role, and  The Future of Freedom. He was co-editor of The American Encounter: The United States and the Making of the Modern World.  He is a prolific and respected commentator and writer on international relations, trade relations, and American foreign policy. 

The day we become anti-American for reading a book, we're in deep trouble.  And the old adage applies here...don't judge the book by its cover.  Let's at least find out what's between the pages before condemning it.