Viewing blog entries in category: Books - Page 2

  • realitybites
    Nothingness = a closed spherical spacetime of zero radius

    Can you imagine nothingness? Right now I am reading a book titled, Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective story. About halfway through the book, I came across a wonderful passage. The author, Jim Holt, speaks with physicist Alex Vilenkin about the difficulty in imagining sheer nothingness. Vilken helps make this possible with a thought experiment: Imagine spacetime as the surface of a sphere. Now suppose that this sphere is shrinking, like a balloon that is losing air. The radius grows smaller and smaller. Eventually—try to imagine this—the radius goes all the way to zero. The surface of the sphere disappears completely, and with it spacetime itself. We have arrived at nothingness. We have also arrived at a precise definition of nothingness: a closed spacetime of zero radius. This is the most complete and utter nothingness that scientific concepts can capture. It is mathematically not only devoid of stuff but also of location and duration.

    With this characterization in hand, Vilenkin was able to do an interesting calculation. Using the principles of quantum theory, he showed that, out of an initial state of nothingness, a tiny bit of energy-filled vacuum could spontaneously “tunnel” into existence. How tiny would this bit of vacuum be? Perhaps as little as one hundreth-trllionth of a centimeter. But that, it turns out, is good enough for cosmogonic purposes. Driven by the negative pressure of “inflation,” this bit of energetic vacuum would undergo a runaway expansion. In a couple of microseconds it would attain cosmic proportions, issuing in a cascading fireball of light and matter—the Big Bang!

    Ted Talk: Jim Holt: Why Does the Universe Exist?
  • realitybites
    I have put together a collection of my writings on atheism. Download PDF by clicking attachment at bottom of page.

  • realitybites
    [​IMG] Author Martin Amis on coping with the loss of his best friend Christopher Hitchens...

    When Christopher Hitchens died in December, Martin Amis lost his best friend. The British author says his immediate desolation gave way to a much greater love of life, something Amis believes Hitchens had in spades and bequeathed to him when he passed away.


    Watch video and read complete article HERE.
  • realitybites
    *Update September 24, 2012 ~ Just finished Mortality. It is a short book... can be read in one or two sittings. I highly recommend it to all Hitchens fans and anyone else interested in the personal dialogue that goes on in one's head when dealing with cancer and terminal illness.

    The late, great Christopher Hitchens' book, Mortality, is being published posthumously on September 4, 2012.

    [​IMG] Remember, you too are mortal—hit me at the top of my form and just as things were beginning to plateau. My two assets— my pen and my voice—and it had to be the esophagus. All along, while burning the candle at both ends, I'd been "straying into the arena of the unwell" and now "a vulgar little tumor" was evident. This alien can't want anything; if it kills me it dies but it seems very single-minded and set in its purpose. No real irony here, though. Must take absolute care not to be self-pitying or self-centered.

    "Based on his columns in Vanity Fair that chronicled his year-and-a-half battle with esophageal cancer, Mortality is Christopher Hitchens at his most honest and reflective. Thoughtfully meditating on the harrowing effects of illness and treatment on the body, and on the impermanence and acceptance of a life ending, Mortality is Hitchens' magnum opus, and in true Hitchens form, he has the last word." Source

    Publisher’s note: These fragmentary jottings, published as the last chapter of Christopher Hitchens’ new book, Mortality, were left unfinished at the time of Hitchens’ death in December. Annotations by Slate editor David Plotz.


    In her afterword to Mortality, Hitchens' widow, Carol Blue, writes of how she misses "the unpublished Hitch: the countless notes he left for me in the entryway, on my pillow, the emails he would send while we sat in different rooms in our apartment." For writers less productive than Hitchens—that is, all of us—the idea of unpublished Hitch is inconceivable. He was everywhere—on TV when he wasn't giving a speech, his latest book either just published or about to be published, the author of pieces in Slate, Vanity Fair, and theAtlantic in the same week. How could anything have gone unpublished? How could there be any stories, any jokes, any insults, any perfect Wodehouse citations that were never silver-tongued out into the world? Yet despite writing as much as he did, he left some behind, either for friends and family, or, in this case, as notes.

    Read an edited version of Carol Blue’s afterword to Mortality: Christopher Hitchens: an impossible act to follow

    Carol Blue speaks with Charlie Rose.
  • realitybites
    **7/21/12 ~ Update at bottom of post...
    *7/10/12 ~Update near bottom of post...

    Just as the temperatures outside reach their highs, my cultural pursuits hit all-time lows. Can it get any worse than consuming all three books in the Fifty Shades of Grey series in less than a week’s time? And if that weren’t enough, to continue the obsession by blogging about the books—twice—as if I hadn’t already spent enough time reading the texts? There was the artwork—the painting of Christian Grey. Then the pondering of the upcoming film—and who should be cast in it. There I was, hunting down photos, reading bios, checking ages, availability… silly me. I think I'm done for now. But I may have a relapse.

    But now I really know I’m playing in the lowbrow sandbox because last night I was reading the book Brangelina. This is bad on so many levels. But… the book is actually a page-turner, if you’re into that sort of thing—celebrity gossip, which I am. It’s light, mindless reading. But, there’s a little dirt involved. I like that.

    Sinking deeper, I am now watching the first season of Gossip Girl. I’m late to this mean girls party. I'm surprised I was invited at all. It’s Heathers plus Cruel Intentions on steroids. Ouch!

    Can it get any worse than this? Maybe. I hear August is even hotter than July.

    *7/10/12 Update ~ Finished Brangelina. The brand isn't even mentioned until chapter 17 out of 19. This book reveals nothing that hasn't already been written about in the press. The author is a paparazzi with a pen who suffers from ADD—unable to focus on the subject of the book. He trails off in odd directions, talking about breaking into a mental institution, attending a support group for Sibs—all with the intention of getting answers to Angelina's mysterious behaviors. None of his investigations pay off and it leaves the reader scratching her head as to why he even mentioned his efforts—unless it's all filler—which it certainly is. Don't bother with this one, unless of course you are stranded in some remote location and it is the only thing to read—which we know will never happen.

    I'm enjoying the teenage characters on Gossip Girl but could do with out the parents and their arrested development storylines. What demographic are the writers appealing to if I am the parent's age cohort, yet am more interested in the kids? Senior citizens perhaps? Do they watch this show?

    Love, love, love Blair Waldorf's bathroom window. Jealous.


    Haven't thought about Christian Grey for days. I think he was just a passing fancy. Aren't they all?

    *7/10/12 Update ~ Just finished seasons one through five of Gossip Girl. Talk about binge watching! The show definitely has its charms i.e. the setting, the clothing, and the delightfully manipulative, socially ambitious, love-hungry characters.

    My faves are Blair Waldorf, Chuck Bass, and Dan Humphrey.


    I could do without Serena, Jenny, and Eric. They're all whiny, brainless, and self-absorbed--in an irritating way. Fortunately, two of them are no longer full time cast members. Too bad Serena is still around.
  • realitybites
    I am going to play casting director and post my picks for who I think should play the characters in the soon to be made film adaptation of the book Fifty Shades of Grey. The list is ongoing and subject to change.

    Christian Grey: Alex Pettyfer


    Why? He's the hottest young actor out there right now. He has Christian's chiseled, gorgeous face, his lean, muscular bod, his generous height, and his messy hair. Plus he is fairly new on the scene and would be able to devote a few years to the series—unlike a megastar like Ryan Gosling, who otherwise would have been my choice to play Fifty. (If by some miracle Gosling is cast as Christian Grey, my list will need to be revised.) I think with the right effort and attitude (Pettyfer has a diva rep, but, Christian is a bit of a diva himself.) he could pull off Mr. Grey's American accent and mercurial disposition. Pettyfer can currently be seen in the 2012 film Magic Mike.

    Anastasia Steele: Lily Collins


    Why? She's young, beautiful and can act. Also, she can pull off innocence as well as feistiness. She recently played Snow White in the 2012 film Mirror Mirror.

    Mrs. Robinson (Elena Lincoln): Cara Buono


    Why? She has the looks of Elena and the acting chops to play this villainous vixen. You may remember her as Dr. Faye Miller from Mad Men.

    Kate Kavanagh: Shailene Woodley


    Why? Kate is a strong character, thus, a strong actress is needed to fill her shoes. Plus she has Kate's long, beautiful hair and lovely face. You may recall having seen her as Alexandra in The Descendents (2011).

    Jose Rodriguez: Diego Boneta


    Why? He's not only a hottie, but he is adorable and likable as well—just like Jose. Boneta can currently be seen in the 2012 film Rock of Ages.

    Jack Hyde: Samuel Page


    Why? He is charming and good looking but also plays evil so well. You may remember him from Desperate Housewives and Mad Men.

    Leila: Emily Browning


    Why? She has that ethereal thing down pat. Not convinced? Check her out in Sleeping Beauty (2011).

    Mia Grey: Ronan Saoirse


    Why? She is cute and engaging and is a fine young actress. You may have seen her in Atonement (2007) and Hanna (2011).

    Jason Taylor: Channing Tatum


    Why? He has the bodyguard bod and rugged good looks of Jason's. Plus he is a charming and talented actor. You can see him strut his stuff in Magic Mike (2012).

    Ethan Kavanagh: Chace Crawford


    Why? He has Ethan's good looks, charm, and playful personality. Plus the gurrrls love him! You can see him in the television show Gossip Girl.

    I can only post up to ten images per entry, so I have provided links to images for the remaining cast picks.

    Elliot Grey: Armie Hammer

    Why? He's handsome, charming, and a great actor. Plus he can be playful just like Elliot. You may have seen him in Mirror Mirror (2012) and The Social Network (2010).

    Carrick Grey: Christian Bale

    Why? Why not?! Yes he is a little young to play Christian's father. But Bale is a chameleon. With a little help from the makeup department, he would be perfect. Plus, being that Fifty Shades is a BDSM themed story, a cameo from American Psycho's Bale would be a real treat. I know that his megastar status might keep him from accepting a low paying, supportive role, but here's hoping. You have probably seen him in several films, including Batman Begins (2005.)

    Dr. Flynn: Bret Easton Ellis

    Why? OK, so he is not an actor. He is, however, obsessed with the Fifty Shades series and has been campaigning on the Internet to get the rights to pen the screenplay for the first film. As the author of American Psycho, he has shown that he is knowledgeable regarding the subject matter. So if he doesn't get to write the screenplay, allowing him to be in the film seems like a cool thing to do. I'm sure an acting coach could do wonders for Ellis.

    Dr. Grace Trevelyn-Grey: Tilda Swinton

    Why? Did you see the 2011 film We Need to Talk About Kevin? Was she the ultimate mother to a damaged child, or what? Plus she is a brilliant actress and could pull off any role, I'm certain.

    Gail Jones: Christina Hendricks

    Why? She can play nurturing and sexy equally. Remember, Gail is the love interest of Jason Taylor, so the actress playing this role needs to be attractive. Christina is that! You can see her in Mad Men.

    Mr. Rodriguez: Antonio Banderas

    Why? He would be great as the elder Rodriguez. He is handsome, charming, and can act. Did you see him in the 2011 film The Skin I live in?

    Carla May Wilks (Ana's Mother): Diane Lane

    Why? She is a likable, versatile, and seasoned actress. She can be seen in Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) and the upcoming film Man of Steel (2013). (Mom of Steele, haha.)

    Raymond Steele: John Cusack

    Why? Oh, wouldn't you love to see him onscreen again in a lovable role? Remember him in Say Anything (1989)?
  • realitybites
    *Update: June 1, 2012 ~ Listen to Slate's Audio Book Club discussion of Fifty Shades of Grey.

    *Update: June 2, 2012 at end of post.

    Rarely do I read fiction. The last novel I read was Lolita a few years ago. And I don't think I have ever read a romance novel, unless you count The Thornbirds. An erotic book? Does American Psycho count? But after listening to the Cultural Gabfest Podcast's hosts talk about the book Fifty Shades of Grey, my interest was piqued. I read the first book in the trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, in less than three days. I then quickly devoured the second book, Fifty Shades Darker. And, I am now halfway through the third book, Fifty Shades Freed.

    Let me just say that this series is not for prudes or radical feminists. It is, however, for anyone who wants to get lost in a romantic, sexually-charged fantasy for a little while. Of course the sex is over the top, as is the Cinderella story. But it's harmless fun—not to be taken too seriously. I recommend this trilogy to anyone who likes to read a good love story—because essentially, that is what it is.

    This is how I picture Christian Grey. Inspired by a photo of actor Alex Pettyfer.


    Fifty Shades of Grey parody:


    Update 6/2/12 ~ Well, I have finished Fifty Shades Freed. Ah what a release. No more kinky fuckery, submissive specials, bitch troll, compromises, negotiations, and food fights. Oh, but will I ever miss Christian Grey and the unbelievably sexy way his pants hang off his hips. Laters, baby.

    Update 6/2/12 ~ A little later in the day...

    Holy mother of gawd, just came across these pics of Alex Pettyfer, published today in Men's Health UK magazine. Wow, these really lend clout to my campaign for Alex to play Christian Grey in the soon to be made film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. Yes, he's a bit younger than Christian—22 V 27. And he is British, so a voice coach will be in order. But he more than makes up for it in the looks department. I bet he would look marvelous in pants hanging off his hips.

    Fit to tie.




    Fit to be tied.

  • realitybites
    I read a lot of books. Probably 99.5 percent are non-fiction. Although I have been routinely listing and critiquing the films I see every year, I have never done this with books. Better late than never. This will be my first list. I am starting it at the beginning of the year rather than at the end, because if I wait until December, I will have forgotten many of the ones I have read. This will be an ongoing list--to be updated regularly. I will give each book a rating of one to four points. And I will only list books which I have read in their entirety. Below the list of books I have read so far, is a list of books that I am currently reading. Once each is read, I will rate it and add it to the finished list.

    My favorite book that I have read this year is The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins. The audio book is just as wonderful as the illustrated book, as Dawkins reads his book himself, along with his wife, Lalla Ward. Listen to the first chapter of the book here. For the best experience, download or open the file and listen with VLC media player.


    Books Read ~ January 2012 - December 2012:

    Mortality ~ 4
    The Magic of Reality ~ 4
    Poorly Made in China: An Insider's Account of the China Production Game ~ 4
    One Day ~ 3.5
    Steve Jobs ~ 3.5
    Hunting Eichmann ~ 3.5
    Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story ~ 3.5
    Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account ~ 3.5
    The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization's Best Bits ~ 3.5
    The Great Big Book of Horrible Things: The Definitive Chronicle of History's 100 Worst Atrocities ~ 3.5
    Lost on Planet China: One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation ~ 3.5
    Most Talkative: Stories From the Front Lines of Pop Culture ~ 3.5
    Your Movie Sucks ~ 3.5
    Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert ~ 3.5
    Fifty Shades of Grey ~ 3.5
    Fifty Shades Darker ~ 3.5
    Fifty Shades Freed ~ 3
    Little Girls in Pretty Boxes ~ 3
    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking ~ 3
    A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing ~ 3
    Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures ~ 3
    Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired--and Secretive--Company Really Works ~ 3
    China in Ten Words ~ 3
    Life Itself: a Memoir ~ 3
    Off Balance: A Memoir ~ 3
    The Guru Papers ~ 3
    The Royals ~ 3
    Why People Believe Weird Things ~ 3
    The Sex Lives of Cannibals ~ 3
    Pauline Kael ~ 2.5
    Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-in-Training ~ 2.5
    Is Eating People Wrong?: Great Legal Cases and How they Shaped the World ~ 2.5
    The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup ~ 2.5
    The Price of Everything ~ 2.5
    Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us ~ 2.5
    The Art of Caregiving in Alzheimer's Disease ~ 2
    23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism ~ 2
    The Story of Sushi ~ 2
    Brangelina (Should I really be disclosing this?) ~ 2
    A Sociopath Beside Me ~ 2
  • realitybites
    *Update January 28th ~ Just received a very nice email from someone who downloaded my book yesterday and read it in its entirety last night. I am very pleased to learn that this reader enjoyed my writings. Feel free to email me as well. Address is on last page of book.

    Here is my book for free in PDF format.


    Click attachment below to download.
  • realitybites
    Beat the Heat With a Good Read!

    Summer Special realitybites eBook $.99.

    Read on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, and Android with free Kindle Reading Apps!

    Or read my book on your Kindle.
  • realitybites
    I am having a difficult time focusing on reading one book at a time on my Kindle. Depending on my mood, I’ve been selecting one book over another each night I settle into bed for my nightly reading. Last night, I was in the mood for something light, as I was tired from editing my print book earlier in the day, so I read a bit of Rob Lowe’s autobiography Stories I Only Tell My Friends. It’s a real page-turner. He is a very entertaining and engaging writer and actually wrote the book himself—without a ghost writer. I recommend it to anyone from the Gen X demographic. Another well-written book I’m nursing is Russell Brand’s My Booky Wook. I’m really surprised by how intelligent and articulate he is. I’m about fifty pages into this one. A third book I’m reading is The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. Anything to do with psychopaths is of interest to me. The book is a little bit of old news for the well educated in this area. But I’m enjoying it nonetheless.

    I’m making a list of the books I'm juggling. My goal is to finish them before starting a new one(s).

    I’ll cross off each book after I finish it.

    Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe (*finished 6/20/2011 ~ Good book.)

    My Booky Wook by Russell Brand

    The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson (*finished 6/30/2011 ~ Funny and interesting.)

    The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker

    The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker

    Seal Team Six by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin

  • realitybites
    Here's my (kick the) Bucket List ~ So Far:

    Go to London
    Become a grandmother
    Publish a book
    Have my art displayed in public areas
    Find a best friend
    Be free of regret
    Drive a racing boat
    Have a love affair with Keanu Reeves
    Publish an illustrated children's book
    (* New addition 6/1/11)

    Well, I have good reason to celebrate, indeed! I can cross off an item from my Bucket List. Want to guess which one? I’ll give you a clue, I am officially a published author. You can buy my new book here:

    US Amazon Store
    UK Amazon Store
    DE Amazon Store

    Printed Version Coming Soon


    So what should I tackle next?

    I'm thinking Keanu. :p But that is my greatest challenge. I probably should go for one of the easier goals.

    I’ll keep you posted.

    After I published my book, I did a search on Amazon for realitybites. I found my book. But I also found this. Apparently I am referenced fifteen times in the book and several of my color palettes are used as design inspirations for the reader. How cool is that.
  • realitybites
  • realitybites
    Socrates famously declared, "The unexamined life is not worth living." I would agree with that. But how about this one by me, "The edited life is worth writing?"

    I am currently editing my journal of seven years to be published as a Kindle book on There are over five-hundred entries to sift through. I hadn't read the majority of them after they had been originally published here at Morrissey-Solo and/or at my MySpace blog. Some of them don't warrant being put in a book e.g. lyrics, copy and paste articles and poems. Others are dull or too simplistic e.g. one-liners such as "I am happy."

    Some are quite blunt and politically incorrect--possibly causing offense. Others may appear antagonistic. And then there are those unguarded moments of sensitive introspection and disclosure that may cause embarrassment to those I love. I hope not, because I never aim to gratuitously hurt the feelings of others, and I am not a spiteful nor revengeful soul. And yet, I don't aim to please nor placate. That's not my style. (* Edited 5/26/11 ~ Felt some remarks were insensitive. I guess I do care how my words affect others. If I didn't, I'd have no business writing a book.)

    I am not including any comments. Sorry folks. But when put inside a book format they just don't work e.g. one-liners without interesting commentary, profanity, vulgar ad hominem attacks to my fragile ego. And although sweet compliments given to me are much appreciated, they probably are only cherished by me as well. But if comments are your cup of tea, you can always peruse them here in my journal archives or at my blog on MySpace.

    Some chapters of my life have sort-of-gone missing, like my marriage from 2005-2010. Wishful editing?

    Is this edited version life of mine worth writing? I think it is. But I'll let you be the final judge.

    Cover of Book