Food (NaPoWriMo 2016)

The official NaPoWriMo prompt for today is a challenge to “write a poem about food. This could be a poem about a particular food, or about your relationship to food in general.”

Given the importance and prominence of food in all our lives, you’d think this would be a fairly easy task. Instead, I found my mind circling around the topic, jumping from one aspect of food culture to another, thinking about food in a variety of contexts. So rather than try to focus on one isolated idea, I used that jumping-circling itself as the jumping off point for my poem.

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Fair Game (NaPoWriMo 2016)

Let’s say we make a game:
We create a field,
Assign positions,
Agree on the rules.

You pick your spot,
I pick mine,
Each according to
Our individual talents.

We all play our game
As best we can.
We follow the rules.
We play fair.

But the game doesn’t work.

Continue reading “Fair Game (NaPoWriMo 2016)”

Book Review: The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey

Cover of the book The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey
The Everything Box
by Richard Kadrey
Harper, 2016

This review was first published by Booklist on April 1, 2016.

Coop is a thief who specializes in thaumaturgical snatch and grabs. His cohorts are poltergeists, strongmen, telekinetic lockpickers, and women who can make things invisible—one of whom is his ex-girlfriend. But wait, there’s more. Like an angel who was supposed to destroy the Earth after the Flood but botched the job, cops who specialize in “peculiar science,” gangsters, bumbling demon-worship cults, vampires, werewolves, zombies, and monsters of all ilk, all living in secret in a surreal version of L.A. And it seems that everyone wants Coop to steal them a very special box. The Everything Box is what you would get if Carl Hiaasen and Kinky Friedman had written Good Omens (1990) instead of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. It offers a similar setting of the real world blended with the paranormal—complete with a looming apocalypse—but the writing has an edgier, racier sense of humor. The story is fast, the twists keep turning, and the resolution is satisfying. This strongly PG-rated, ribald romp is a good set-up for a potential new series.

Book Review: The Science of Growth: How Facebook Beat Friendster—and How Nine Other Startups Left the Rest in the Dust by Sean Ammirati

Cover of the book The Science of Growth: How Facebook Beat Friendster--and How Nine Other Startups Left the Rest in the Dust by Sean Ammirati
The Science of Growth: How Facebook Beat Friendster—and How Nine Other Startups Left the Rest in the Dust
by Sean Ammirati
St. Martin’s, 2016

This review was first published by Booklist on April 1, 2016.

So you’ve started a business, now what? Ammirati seeks to answer this question in this sequel of sorts to the standard texts on the science of startups. In response, Ammirati offers a science of growth—a guide on how to scale your business once it’s successfully established. Why did Facebook beat Friendster? How did Tesla outdo Fisker? Why does McDonald’s boast over 35,000 locations worldwide, when White Castle has fewer than 500? Ammirati examines 26 well-known companies to discover what separates the success stories from the failures. He draws examples from diverse industries and isolates several variables: prerequisites for growth, catalysts for growth, and foundational elements to sustain it. An authority in the field of the startup economy, Ammirati teaches the subject at Carnegie Mellon and heads of the country’s most successful startup incubators, and it shows in the way his book is thoroughly researched. It’s also accessible, easy to read, and eye-opening. This is a necessary and welcome addition to the business canon.