Italian Author, Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose Is One of the Most Compelling Books I’ve Ever Read

This book was spectacular, as my post title indicates. I read it a month ago (maybe longer now) and have been wanting to write this review for a while. Of course, the distance between me and the book grossly jeopardizes the thoroughness, accuracy and quality of my assessment but I suppose that’s a risk you just have to take

….and if you’re still reading have decided to take.

The brilliance with which this book reflected its time period (the first half of the 14th century) is simply marvelous, but I suppose that Umberto Eco is a scholar of the Middle Ages. I once wrote a post about my love of historical fiction and how important I find the accuracy of historical fiction to be, and I think that this book just takes the cake in the quality with which the period was understood and researched. In fact, though the story itself revolves around a series of disturbing deaths in a monastery in Italy, it also focuses heavily on a few key religious issues that were important at the time. Had the characters themselves not been distracted by these issues and literally had their own fascinating story thrust into the middle of them, then the book would never have been as accurate as it was.

One of these issues was the papal seat being moved to Avignon and the decadent lifestyle being lived there. This, of course, contrasts with the centrally important theological issue of Jesus’ poverty (or not) and whether that meant that all devout men (i.e. monks or those associated with the church) should be poor. Obviously the Pope and the wealthy bishops and cardinals insisted that Jesus was not destitute and to whatever degree he lacked property didn’t think that others should, and many different sects of monks insisted the opposite. Some monks took to condemning the pope as an impostor and the anti-Christ and were branded as heretical and persecuted by the Inquisition which had just started to get warmed up at the time. These central issues (pope at Avignon, Jesus’ poverty, heresy of disagreeing monks) were crucial to the time period.

Outside of these fascinating topics were intense and highly relevant philosophical conversations about the value of reason and revelation, learning and knowledge, life and death, the place of religion and so much more. But none was mentioned in some high-minded independent fashion. Rather, it was imbedded in the fascinating story that revolved around these murder mysteries.

Truly, The Name of the Rose is a work of genius. A wonderful book. Get your copy of The Name of the Rose today.

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Linda Bacon’s Health at Every Size is a Life-Changing Experience about Weight, Food and Life

Anyone who wants to change his or her life for the better and do him/herself a huge favor should read Dr. Linda Bacon’s book, Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight.

This book is counter-culture and earth-shattering in scope and quality. Bacon, a revered researcher of weight and related issues, single-handedly takes on the misguided and erroneous notions that pervade our society about weight loss, dieting and health. This book is well-researched and excellently cited – two huge criteria for me when reading anything of this nature – and actually breaks down and explains why and how America has been made to believe that fat kills and weight is ugly.

Well fat doesn’t kill and big is just as beautiful as anything else. We’ve been lied to by health professionals, researchers, our government and nearly everybody else.

What makes this woman – who apparently few people agree with – right, you ask? That I can hardly tell you in this brief post. I can only beseech you to go on Amazon.com or wherever you prefer to order your books and buy this one. It will change your life.

It you’re fat, it will be the beginning of a whole new life of feeling good without dieting and hating your body. If you’re thin, it will make you understand an oppressed segment of our population and hopefully it will also change your relationship with food and your weight for the better. I’m not a big guy but I will never understand food or weight the same again – and I mean that in a good way.

Click HERE to buy this book now and change your life (those of you familiar with my book reviews will know that I don’t ever attach links for a book to be purchased, but this one is too important not to).

The Boys Uncover the Cough Syrup Conspiracy in South Park Episode 811, “Quest for Ratings”

In this episode, the boys have a South Park Elementary television show, and they’re competing with Craig’s show for ratings. If they can’t do better than he does in teh ratings their show will be canceled and they will all fail. At first, they dramatically alter what they’re giving their viewers, adding all kinds of ridiculous elements and making fun of local area news.

They decide that they need to do some real investigating in order to break a real news story, and for inspiration they drink a bunch of cough syrup and trip balls. What they end up uncovering is that everyone is doing cough syrup – how they come to this conclusion is something that you’ll need to watch the episode to find out.

I think the episode is a good commentary about a. the terrible quality of local news, b. the unnecessary emphasis on television ratings and how that can destroy a show’s integrity and actual quality and c. the crappy television that children like to watch…and why.

What did you think of this episode?

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The 9/11 Conspiracy is Finally Revealed in “Mystery of the Urinal Deuce,” South Park episode 1009

A lot of people think that 9/11 was not a simple terrorist masterminded plot, but a far more elaborate conspiracy, the extent of which nobody really knows. Personally, I’ve watched Loose Change, a movie about one of these conspiracy theories, and though creepy, I could have used some concrete factual confirmation to support the string of “evidence.” In fact, I felt pretty similarly to the way I did when watching Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

In any case, this episode mocks those who think that 9/11 was a conspiracy that had anything to do with our government and tries to make them feel foolish, petty and unpatriotic. I can’t say that it’s my favorite episode, but it certainly is making a point. What’s great is Mr. Mackey’s many names for poop since the whole thing starts as a search for who went number 2 in the urinal.

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