I guess it's been a few days since I've posted. You know how the Christmas holiday can be . . . family time, relatives, and of course, playing with all your new toys. I suppose I've neglected some of the more significant pieces of news, such as Saddam's recent demise, but what is there to say? He earned it.
Let's talk about something much more trivial but still fun.
Aside from family outings, what's been occupying my time recently? Well, Twilight Princess, for the most part, but that wasn't a Christmas gift. I'd bought that with my Wii, but held off since I figured it'd be best saved for after finals. (As an aside, I managed to pull off two A's and an A-, so a certain former research advisor can bite me)
In terms of Christmas gifts, I've been enjoying some time rocking out. I picked up a new bible. The New English Translation is pretty good, and relatively new, but the biggest draw to it (for me, at least, are the translator's notes. All 60k+ of them.
I have other reading to do, though. I received a copy of Robert Spencer's newest book. It seems interesting enough, and I love the premise: Why listen to endless "experts" tell you what Islam is all about when you can go straight to the source? The book is practically a synopsis of the Islamic scriptures and theological and scholarly commentary on Muhammad, especially those that shape the world around us today.
However, the book that's occupied most of my time thus far has been Mark Steyn's America Alone. I'm about 2/3 through the book, but it's been pretty gripping so far. The premise for the book is fairly similar to a column of his I wrote about before. Birth rates in the Western world are dismal; America is the only country with a replacement birthrate (2.1 children/woman), and the rest of the West is sinking past the point of no return. For example, Canada is similar to Europe as a whole (1.8) while the lowest point in Europe is sterile Spain (1.1). The problem is that between muslim immigration and the extraordinarily high birthrates of the incoming immigrants, Europe is going to be facing a demographic crunch in a few decades. What will happen to the culture of France if it becomes majority muslim? He also highlights the problems that the welfare state and politics will bring into this mix, but the end result seems to be that America, alone, will be the bastion of Western civilization in the coming generations.
Whether you agree or disagree, it's an interesting premise and a well-written book. My only gripe is that he hasn't taken a very scholarly approach to his book. While he cites countless statistics, facts, and stories, he uses no footnotes and offers no citations. So unless he says specifically where he found his data, you're left to wonder if it's real. I've no reason to think he'd make such things up; it's not like it would be hard to fact check the birth rate of these countries, but that's the type of criticism you open yourself up to if you're not thorough.
Anyhow, I'm distracted in the meantime, but things should be back to normal after the start of the new year.