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SFG's Coffeehouse....a curmudgeonly caffeinated library & cantankerous free for all

Discussion in 'Member Book Reviews/Journals/Blogs' started by SFG75, Apr 25, 2014.

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Who won the debate?

Poll closed Feb 20, 2016.
  1. New atheism

    1 vote(s)
    100.0%
  2. New religion

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    New religion vs. New Atheism. . . . . . .new atheism on the ropes?

     
  2. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    Hi SFG! Cantankerous allowed, eh? Well then, I haven't watched your link -- yet -- to eager to post :D
    But:
    Gimme that old time religion!
    It's good enough for me. :D

    I'm a straight Nicene-creed man here.
     
  3. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    The "new atheist" in the debate admits he is miffed by that title. From what I can gather, it was coined after the likes of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens made it big. Evidently, the distinguishing feature of the new atheism is it's strident, non-compromising attitude towards theism. I'm not sure how that is different from say.....Robert Ingersoll or Darwin's pitbull also known as Julian Huxley. If someone could explain the difference between the former and the latter gentlemen, I am all ears.

    Yes, more cantakerous curmudgeonly observings to come.........
     
  4. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    The Good Rat; Jimmy Breslin

    Just finished this one last week. Jimmy Breslin is a noted journalist with extensive history with the mob. In utilizing a "rat" named Burt Kaplan, Breslin goes behind Kaplan's story to detail a history of two crooked cops who kill for the mob and who provide intelligence to them. Breslin then mixes in famous vignettes about prominent mafia figures. The teflon Don, Joe Bananas, and Sammy the Bull are but a few of the notable ones in this book. The underworld economy of loan sharking, of goods "accidentally" falling off trucks and being resold, as well as gambling are detailed. This book covers the golden years of the mob, but most of the events occur in the '80s and early '90s. If you have an interest for this genre, crime, or generally like a good story telling, this book will make you an offer you can't refuse. :star3:
     
  5. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    No can do.

    Not much respect for Dawkins re religion.
    Didn't bother much with Hitchens either.
    Their old-time bashing not worth reading IMO. Or listening to, either.
    :devillook
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
  6. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    My interest in this book arose from Jimmy Breslin's book that I reviewed previously. In more than a few instances, I've read of the "last godfather" and became very curious. Joey Massino started out in the delivery truck business, the bad side of it. The book has the usual familiar stories to those who love mafia lore. While Gotti sought the lights and the fame, Massino was circumspect and determined to rebuild the Bonanno family. In a move similar to Al-Qaeda, Massino split his captains and their underlings into "cells" that could survive a "rat" infestation. He was careful to insulate himself from daily business, even going to the length of requiring people to not mention his name, but when desiring to indicate him, they were to use a tug at the ear. Most shocking of all, was Massino's jump to the otherside, becoming a government witness. This from a man who bragged that his family was the only one without turncoats. These larger items mesh well with minor stories about how Massino and Gotti lived in a nearby neighborhood and that in a few instances, Massino was the heavy player in the underworld. Nicknames, you have to love the nicknames- Louie Haha, Lefty Guns Ruggerio, & Paddy Muscles. Some new ones I hadn't heard before. :star2:
     
  7. Conscious Bob

    Conscious Bob Well-Known Member

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    New religion will always win because life has to mean something? There has to be divine reward or divine punishment because if there's nothing after death and the great and the good and the insignificant and the evil don't get rewarded or punished then what's the point right?

    We will always have religion to soothe the fear and anyone that says different particularly those that make uncomfortable discoveries about our universe are party poopers.

    Who in their right minds respects Dawkins or Hitchens, scientists, always testing stuff and looking for proof... Do they not know it's already written down by people who already knew everything about everything.
     
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  8. 753C

    753C Active Member

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    People who have real trust in their religious beliefs don't "fear" science. Most scientific discoveries tend to magnify the glory of God, not diminish it. Learning about our world, universe, life, etc., is faith building to people who have true faith. It is only when science requires us to have "faith" that we have to balk. Science shouldn't require that, unless....
     
  9. 753C

    753C Active Member

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    These look good! Have you read the original Donnie Brasco, by Pistone? The movie was so-so, but the book was full of all sorts of stories, details, and tons of hilarious real nicknames.
    I will check out "The Last Godfather".
     
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  10. Conscious Bob

    Conscious Bob Well-Known Member

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    When I mentioned the fear I meant fear of death.

    I don't think people should have faith in science either, our technological prowess is probably the biggest single factor that will hasten our extinction.

    Faith is religion's operating system.
     
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  11. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    I have an old copy of that book and read it a few years ago. I do remember it for some of the stories. In Last, there are a few passages about Massino being on to Pistone and wanting him rubbed out. The guy had a knack for knowing "bad" cars and "bad" people. Of course, the word "bad" meaning informants or undercover policemen. Another good story has it that Massino told an investigator about all the unmarked police vehicles, their makes, models, as well as a description of the men who drove them to the investigator's stunned surprise. The man was not stupid, no doubt about that.

    I like Conscious Bob's point, without a grand narrative, everything is relative and we have nothing more to look forward to than being in the asylum dying of syphilis like Nietzsche(o.k., it was perhaps brain cancer, but syphilis has a more dramatic effect) One criticism of the "new atheists" is that their certainty mirrors the black/white fatal flaw of reactionary fundamentalism. I think on that point, there is something to consider. I'm reading a lot of Brain D. McLaren books as of late, review to come soon!
     
  12. 753C

    753C Active Member

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    Yeah, he was pretty sharp. I think any of them that make it to that level and not only stay alive, but are successful, have to be pretty intelligent, or at the very least extremely cunning. It is the stories and the dialogue that make or break these types of books. I remember from Brasco, the part where he is trying to explain to the surveillance guys what "forget about it" really means. I remember thinking that in print, that little part was soooo cool. It didn't translate as well in the movie.
     
  13. 753C

    753C Active Member

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    Oh! almost forgot. If you are looking for another one, you might try "The Murder Machine", by Gene Mustain. It is about an outfit of Mafia hitmen in the 1980's led by a guy named Roy DeMeo. It is retold from eye witness, informer testimony. Even Paul Castellano and John Gotti were nervous about these guys. They are estimated to have killed a couple of hundred people. I read it a long time ago, I think when I was in high school, and couldn't put it down. Here's a B&N review if you are interested :

    First-rate story of a Mafia murder crew so deadly that even John Gotti turned aside a contract on its leader. New York Daily News reporters Mustain and Capeci (coauthors, Mob Star, 1989—not reviewed) tell the fascinating and repellently detailed story of Roy DeMeo and the gang he raised from teenagers in Canarsie—a Brooklyn neighborhood where death by natural causes is "six bullets in the head," according to one cop. The middle-class DeMeo, a natural criminal, was carrying cash in brown paper bags and driving a Cadillac by his high- school senior year. After establishing loan-sharking headquarters at his Gemini Lounge in Brooklyn, he shipped scores of stolen luxury cars to Kuwait, distributed drugs (one of his crew was the chief supplier of cocaine at Studio 54), and wholesaled child pornography. When the inevitable business disputes arose, his crew simply made the other parties disappear. The victims were lured into a clubhouse behind the Gemini Lounge, where they were shot and dismembered ("it's just like takin' apart a deer"), then secured in Hefty Bags and tossed on the Canarsie dump. One murder led so easily to another that soon the "Gemini method" was used on anybody who got in the gang's way or annoyed them. DeMeo presented three of his coke-crazed crew with sets of custom carving knives, which they kept in their car trunks in case a quick assignment arose. When a special NYPD/FBI task force cracked the DeMeo gang, it tagged the criminals for 75 murders. DeMeo (who was rubbed out by fellow mobsters as the cops closed in) bragged of one hundred personally, making him far more destructive than any known US serial killer. Vivid, hair-raising, day-to-day-in-the-life-ofnarrative: the best mob book in recent memory. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)
     
  14. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    Or sitting on a pile of gold coins, more like it? Isn't that the top of selfish ambition? A bigger pile than anyone else.

    I too like the idea of a grand narrative, preferably a normative one, and one with general acceptance.
     
  15. Conscious Bob

    Conscious Bob Well-Known Member

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    Our society venerates rich people.
     
  16. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    Certainly more than it venerates any grand narrative.
     
  17. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    753c-I will have to
    I'm not certain when "liberation theology" gave way to the likes of Joel Osteen. I'm not certain which is worse really.

    Phyllis Tickle and Brian McLaren write extensively about "emerging christianity" which is more about getting back to the roots and remembering THE reason for faith, as well as compartmentalizing hot button issues that people get hung up on, needlessly the authors would argue. Can't wait to do another review fo a McLaren book, I'm excatly half way through one now.
     
  18. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    Just finished this book and the title caught my attention, great "hook" for the caffeinated set. Howard Behar was president of starbucks and presided over a tumultuous time that saw the expansion of flavors, rapid growth of the company, as well as introduction of the automated coffeemaker. Behar traces his leadership principals from selling furniture to finding his passion. He credits a mentor with helping him learn that his greatest skill was working with people, not necessarily feeling a passion for what he sells. At starbucks, Behar is quite to point out: We are in the coffee business serving people" and not "we are in the people business serving coffee." Simple items about teamwork and allowing all voices to be heard are easier said than done. Behar highlights how internal dialogue was pushed for and encouraged by him, especially when the flavors and automatic machine issues came up. A strong contingent felt that starbucks was losing its very identity with the proposed changes. You truly need people to let you know if the emperor isn't wearing any clothes and a solid work culture cannot arise if people don't feel they can speak freely with you. There are many stories told by Behar about the culture at starbucks. One of my favorite is about how Behar personally wrote a personal card to every employee, even when starbucks exploded from a tiny, niche company into an international business. Time on flights, in the terminal, in-between meetings, at night, were utilized to accomplish the endeavor. That kind of dedication to a mission statement is just amazing to me.

    :star2:
     
  19. Conscious Bob

    Conscious Bob Well-Known Member

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    I don't see any connection between catholic political movements and prostestant pastors although as far as I'm concerned the latter's worse. I'm no fan of mixing religion and politics but at least the former takes it's lead from Christ's teachings with regard to the poor as opposed to some charismatic individual that has spent the majority of his time building his pile of cash.

    I don't think there can be a grand narrative with compartmentalisation because in effect that means there are areas where the grand narrative doesn't apply which makes a nonsense of the whole concept. For example there are plenty of rich evangelical preachers that have a direct point of view on Leviticus 18:22 but don't apply quite the same rigorous logic to Mark 10:25.
     
  20. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    I would go slow on identifying the Catholic church as typical of Jesus' teachings, and rich evangelical preachers as typical of Protestantism.
     

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