Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Story of a Marriage. Book Review

The Story of a Marriage. Book ReviewThe Story of a Marriage is about a bisexual love-triangle set in 1950s San Francisco. Pearlie and Holland, high school sweethearts who rekindle their relationship after World War Two, have settled into a fairiy typical nuclear family scenario. Their son suffers from Polio and they are poor, with Hofland's twin aunts helping out with the bills. All seems normal, if in a rut, when Buzz, an old wartime friend of Holland's shows up on their doorstep. Buzz's arrival seems to inject life back into the household. After spending a few months insinuating himself as the family's best friend, he reveals to Pearlie why he has really come: to take back his lover, now her husband, which he wants her help to arrange. In exchange, he will settle most of his wealth on her, enabling her to provide more for her child.

Andrew Sean Greer is a true literary novelist well versed in his craft. Where this novel succeeds is as a showcase for his considerable skill. The story unfolds in layers, like a flower of overlapping petals slowly opening petal by petal. Greer is totally in control of what he wants you to know. The story moves forward, then backwards in time, revealing bits of information specifically designed to reverse the reader's perspective on a character, after being deliberately sent in the wrong direction. Perhaps this strategy is to create in the reader an experience similar to the shock Pearlie must have felt when she discovered her husband was far different from the man she thought she knew.

Greer can drop in a seemingly innocent detail that later becomes a major plot point. He creates suspense by foreshadowing with themes of neighborhood gossip and tales of dangerous affairs snaking through the story. He delights with a beautiful turn of phrase and adds touches like making Countee Cullen the husband's favorite poet—a wink of the eye to readers who know that Cullen was bisexual and a married man. We feel that we are being drawn towards the heart of a fascinating story, blooming with possibilities and brimming with drama. Unfortunately, it never fully delivers.

The Story of a Marriage is not only set in the 50s but seems as though it was written then as well. For a story about a bisexual love triangle—it is surprisingly devoid of sex. But the biggest mistake the author makes is avoiding the most interesting character in the novel: HoUahd, the bisexual husband torn between the woman he left his boyfriend to marry and the lover he is considering leaving his wife for.

Pearlie is the story's narrator, and although we are privy to her thoughts, it's unclear as to why she goes along with interloper Buzz's plan, without even speaking to her husband. All her conversations about the possibility of Holland leaving her are with Buzz. Through those dialogues we know that Buzz is passionate about getting Holland back, but we don't know how Holland feels. We don't know why Holland never wrote to Pearlie after he left for war, why he left Buzz to marry her two months after meeting her again or why he is now considering leaving his wife to return to his lover. When he left Buzz and married Pearlie, was he trying to marry the gay away.' Or did he love Pearlie more.' When Buzz tracked him down four years later, why did he consider leaving, even though he now had a wife and child.' Why did he want to stay.' Was he more in love with one than the other.' Pearlie and Holland's motivations are obliquely hinted at but never defined, since they never discuss their marriage.

Why Greer made tiie choice to leave out the most interesting perspective on the story is a mystery. Instead of mining the thoughts and feelings of the character at the fulcrum of the drama, or mining drama from the conversations that Holland could have had with his wife and his lover, all the conversations about the impending decision are between Pearlie and Buzz, with the drama confined solely to finding out the answer to the question, "will he stay or will he go.'" Although we eventually find out his decision, we are never privy to his reasons or his feelings about what he gave up. Not surprisingly, the possibility of them staying together as a threesome was never explored, even though all three seemed to be having the most fun when they were together.

It is also odd that there is no indication that most of the characters are black until it is suddenly dropped in, 48 pages into the story. After that, issues of race are addressed, but it seemed like it was deliberately held back for shock value, rather than to make a political or social point.

The Story of a Marriage is a masterfully well-crafted.' but ultimately, unsatisfying story.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Strategies and Games: Theory and Practice. Book Review

Strategies and Games: Theory and Practice. Book ReviewA good textbook should be comprehensive and readable; it should also be intuitive, but with enough rigor to adequately explain its points. These conditions are met by Professor Dutta's new game theory text.

The author covers all the major topics of game theory. He divides the book into five parts. The first section, the introduction, shows readers where game theory can be usefully employed, and also introduces the basic terminology of game theory. The second section discusses strategic form games. In this section the author examines the core of game theory. Readers learn about dominant and dominated strategies, iterated elimination of dominated strategies, Nash equilibrium, and mixed strategies. Along the way, the author has detailed chapters on the tragedy of the commons, Cournot duopoly, and zero-sum games. Section three examines extensive form games. Here the reader learns of backward induction, subgame perfect equilibrium, finitely and infinitely repeated games, and dynamic games. Applications of theory include OPEC, the NASDAQ market and the research and development game. In the fourth section the topic is games of asymmetric information, and here the author analyses moral hazard, games with incomplete information, and mechanism design. The final section reviews background material necessary to understand the book's contents, including utility and expected utility theory, calculus and probability.

Although the book does an excellent job of covering the basics of game theory, it stays too close to both theory and economics. None of the surprising results of experimental economics (for example, how subjects in experiments actually play the prisoner's dilemma or public goods games) on game theory are presented. Although including much of this information would have greatly lengthened the book, some discussion of this research would improve the book. Another minor quibble concerns the almost exclusive use of economics examples. This book is so well written that anyone with a basic understanding of economics and calculus can grasp it. As a result, students from other disciplines (for example, political science, anthropology, psychology, and evolutionary biology) may be interested in reading this book. Unfortunately, there are very few non-economic examples. While this is good for economists, it may alienate others who would benefit from this book.

The author manages to immediately interest the reader in his topic with an excellent introduction. He also provides three excellent background chapters on calculus, probability, and utility and expected utility theory. While none of these chapters go into great depth, they give any reader with a basic knowledge of calculus and introductory microeconomics a wonderful, quick review of these topics. In fact, Dutta's explanations are very intuitive and help the reader remember these concepts.

Concepts are explained clearly, using verbal arguments, figures, and mathematical arguments. The author combines these three forms of explanation effectively. He uses enough mathematics to make his point, but never overwhelms the reader. In addition, his interpretations of the mathematical results increase the reader's understanding. The figures and graphs are easy to understand, and also help illustrate the points made in the text.

The book is well organised. Chapters are short and to the point. When a particular example threatens to overwhelm a chapter, Professor Dutta wisely creates a chapter for that example. As a result, for many sections the pattern of the book is: theory, example, theory, example.

These example or application chapters are excellent explanations of real economic situations. The author does a wonderful job describing the situation, describing the intuition behind applying the particular theoretical model to that situation, and then working through the model and its implications. These chapters are great examples of how game theory should be used to analyse real world situations.

At the end of each chapter there is an extensive list of questions to help the reader further understand the issues covered. Although these questions are useful, if the author had provided the answers to some of the questions, the book would be better.

Professor Dutta has produced an excellent textbook for upper level undergraduate and beginning graduate students. His book is clear, concise, and provides many illustrative and enlightening examples. Any teacher planning to teach a course in game theory would be well advised to examine this book.

Monday, May 04, 2009

no wonder he's mad at me. I deserve that. Anyways, the biggest apology goes out to you allrite? (whoever you are) BAD GIRL!! *slap*slap* how can I write such things about him in my last blog...haih...allrite....mintak maaf wonder u treat me so bad. But Ude, U dont worry. as long I WILL get the mini Ipod, I wont bad mouth you...*wink*wink* just playing...hehhe....he is soo baik!!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

So does he have guts or has he gone nuts??

Having beaten Stockport 2-3 on the last game of the season convincingly, with Nicky Wroe's first senior goal and one from Birch and Neil, people and reporters at the match said the usual end of season win shpeil 'Looks positive for next season with this performance.'. Only to find that the retention list had 16 players on it and 9 have been told to go which are...
Peter Handyside, Craig Ireland, Gary Monk, Alex Neil, Tony Gallimore, Steve Hayward, Dean Gorre, Brian O'Callaghan, Danny Alcock.

with 2 of the retained players Betsy and Lumsdon told they can leave....this leaves the following in our squad...

Beresford, Austin, Kay, Crooks, Burns, Stallard, Boulding, Shuker and then the youngsters. Hart as ripped the backbone out of the current squad.

So does he have guts or has he gone nuts??

Well he def has guts i'll give him that, my work mate who is a forest fan says he never was impressed with Harts ability to sign players, always had irons in the fire but never really pulled anything off. I think the barnsley fans have been impressed with the style of play since he took over, but the results weren't brilliant. Played 12 won 3 drawn 5 lost 4.

It's about time a manager had the chance of a clear out, something we haven't really been able to do for a couple of seasons cos of admin, our inability to bring in new players restricted us because of administration.

Success next season is a combination of this...players we bring in(lots of decent players with no club at the mo) of play adopted(will be much of the same as last season under hart)....number of fans who buy season tickets(may drop).....and overall attendences(may drop). I say back Paul Hart. Its the first time in a long time we have started with a clean slate. I feel we will have exciting times at Oakwell next season and it depends on the above.

Too bad about Gorre, a light in a not so great season. Will be sadly missed.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Dead Horse

Young Chuck in Montana bought a horse from a farmer for $100.

The farmer agreed to deliver the horse the next day.

The next day the farmer drove up and said, "Sorry son, but I have some
bad news... the horse died."

Chuck replied, "Well, then just give me my money back."

The farmer said, "Can't do that. I went and spent it already."

Chuck said, "Ok, then, just bring me the dead horse."

The farmer asked, "What ya gonna do with him?"

Chuck said, "I'm going to raffle him off."

The farmer said, "You can't raffle off a dead horse!"

Chuck said, "Sure I can, Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's

A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, "What happened
with that dead horse?"

Chuck said, "I raffled him off.

I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $998."

The farmer said, "Didn't anyone complain?"

Chuck said, "Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back."

Chuck grew up and now works for the government.

He's the one who figured out how this "bail-out" is going to work.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Celebrating a 50th anniversay

At Saint Mary's Catholic Church in South Philly they have a weekly husband's only marriage seminar. At the session last week, the Priest asked Luigi, who was approaching his 50th wedding anniversary, to take a few minutes and share some insight into how he had managed to stay married to the same woman all these years.

Luigi replied to the assembled husbands, "Wella, I've a-tried to treat-a her nizza, spenda money on her, but besta of all is that I tooka her to Italy for the 20th anniversary!"

The Priest responded "Luigi, you are an amazing inspiration to all the husbands here! Please tell us what you are planning for your wife for your 50th Anniversary."

Luigi proudly replied, "I'm agonna go get her."

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Beautiful Blonde Pole Dancer

Hope you don't mind a bit of risque',

No one knows if you take a peek ...

So go ahead and watch the Blonde Pole Dancer, you owe it to yourself.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Giving Shoulders....

A blonde and a brunette were taking the elevator to the 25th floor. On the 3rd floor, a very handsome looking man with great hair, but an obvious amount of dandruff, gets into the elevator. The women exchange a look acknowledging just how good looking this man is.

The man gets off the elevator on the 12th floor.

The women watch him exit the elevator. Then the brunette turns to the blonde and says, "God, was he good looking, but someone ought to give him some Head & Shoulders."

To which the blonde replies, "How do you give Shoulders?"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Only 11 more weeks in the semester then I get to move in with Kel and Mike (YEAH) and go to Europe with Kel, can' wait....

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

hey..i want to write like what baby wrote...

if you still read it over here, please forgive me. I need to let my emotions out.

Monday, February 02, 2009

another month and two days, i'll be home for good. cant wait to meet my Tyiana & Saty, and everybody over there especially Baby, the pretty one! and also Ilyani, the poetic girl. I am so girl obsessed rite now coz I dont get to mix with a real friend rite now.

Waiting for Liane to call me back for the furniture. She called me just now asking me to return her call back but then she was nowhere!! damnn....but thats allrite...i'll be here until 10.30 maybe for that floor meeting.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

sunday's delight

I went over to my childhood friend mohan's place. He was still asleep at 10:30AM. I had to wake him up. Then we headed out in search of digital cameras. It was a disappointing experience since the shops were closed and those open did not have many models.
In the afternoon, we went to the movie " The pirates of the carribean" . It was really good. A good movie after a long time. Jonny depp was wonderful as a honest pirate. The setting , story really scores.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The MAC Mini is released

MAC logo Live the digital life in stylish simplicity. Just 6.5 inches square and 2 inches tall, Mac mini provides what you need to have more fun with your music, photos and movies — right out of the box. And it boasts a miniscule price to match: Mac mini starts at approx. $699.

Mac Mini

Get a Mac for Less

The modular design of Mac mini lets you upgrade your current system to the elegance, simplicity and reliability of Macintosh. BYODKM:* If you already own a monitor, keyboard and mouse, you can get up and running in minutes. Or choose any combination of new devices to match your setup. And yes, Mac mini will take advantage of your two-button USB mouse with scroll-wheel and your favorite USB keyboard. Just plug them in.

Mac Mini Back View

It Just Works

Manage your music for iPod or organize and share your digital pictures with ease. Connect your digital camcorder to Mac mini and start editing your masterpiece. Or plug in your electric guitar or keyboard and make music. How? With iLife, a suite of easy-to-use applications ready to turn your life into a digital wonderland. And Mac OS X makes it effortless — you won’t have to install extra drivers when you add hardware to your system.

Mac Mini

Mac mini also offers all the software that you need to finally enjoy the Internet hassle-free — including email, chat and a web browser that blocks popup ads. You also get a DVD player, calendar software, an address book, faxing and a way to download your contacts to your cell phone or iPod. You can balance your check book with Quicken 2005. And when you want to take a break, play the 3D games Nanosaur 2 and Marble Blast Gold.

Inexpensive, But Never Cheap

All that, and not an inch of wasted space. Apple engineers designed this small wonder from the ground up to deliver the most Mac for the least dinero. Inside its petite 2-inch tall, 6.5-inch square anodized aluminum enclosure, Mac mini houses a 1.25 or 1.42GHz G4 processor, 40 or 80GB hard drive, a slot-loading CD-R/DVD-ROM optical drive, 256MB DDR SDRAM and ATI Radeon 9200 graphics chip with 32MB dedicated DDR SDRAM — all whisper-quiet.

Complete Mac Mini

Connect your digital devices, such as cameras, iPod, printer, camcorder or keyboard to the Mac mini over USB 2.0 or FireWire. Built-in 10/100 BASE-T Ethernet and a 56K v.92 fax modem give you access to broadband or dial-up connections to the Internet. A headphone/audio line-out jack lets you listen to stereo sound.

Rearrange the Furniture, Anytime

Believe it or not, all this technology weighs just 2.9 pounds. Imagine… a desktop computer you can easily move from your study to the kitchen on a whim. Mac mini won’t break your back when you want to shuffle things around.

Enchanting Enhancements

Mac mini offers plenty of juice to power your digital life, but you can kick it into overdrive with extras. Add the SuperDrive option to burn DVDs of your home movies or to make a backup of the music or audiobooks you buy at the iTunes Music Store. You can minimize the desktop clutter of cables with wireless connections. Surf wirelessly with an AirPort Extreme Card installed in your Mac mini. Or configure your Mac mini with internal Bluetooth to use wireless keyboards and mice. You can also choose up to 1GB RAM and increase the 40GB hard drive to 80GB. Some of these options must be installed by Apple at the factory; the rest can be added in-store at an Apple Store or an Apple authorized reseller.

The Mac mini. Everything you ever wanted, nothing you don’t need. Take it for a spin at an Apple Store or reseller near you. Bring it home for $699.