Jan 28 2012
Some people see Elvis. Some people get mail from Robert Heinlein.
Opinions, about almost anything
Jan 28 2012
Some people see Elvis. Some people get mail from Robert Heinlein.
Jan 08 2012
My title is worthy of a creative award, don’t you think?
Reading a decent freebie Kindle murder mystery, I’m annoyed at the carelessness of the author. One night it’s moonless after a storm clears intimating a certain time of the month. The next night it’s a 3/4 moon. I feel mislead by the first description of the weather and lack of clarification of whether it was cloudy.
This one is better than some of the other free novels. At least the author manages to keep his characters’ names straight. I would have been happier with some waxing accuracy instead of waning. I would have been impressed had the author described it as a gibbous moon.
Via DrX, Buying the Body of Christ. In that excellent essay about how the communion wafer entered the capitalist marketplace, there’s a mention of a “Chasid Cup” which I didn’t find a link to but I did find the “Celecup” which also packages the grape juice and wafer together in easy single servings:
I think it’s “Time Saved During Church Services” that is really strange. “Andale, andale… we haven’t got all morning ya know!” Followed by an admonishment not to litter and maybe a reminder to help the arthritics who may not get theirs opened quickly enough.
Nothing above is meant to disparage Christianity, but I cannot imagine ever being comfortable or feeling worshipful in a church that used this product on a regular basis, especially one that used it to save time.
I’m not sure why my husband decided to buy a bottle of Glenfiddich 15 year old Scotch for me, but I’m grateful. It is very nice. And it follows the Christmas gift of Samalens XO Armagnac from my sister. Y’all keep this up and I’m not going to be satisfied with box wines.
Oct 05 2010
I mentioned a while back that I’m into a novel-reading phase. I’ve always liked medical, military, cop, crime novels. One of my favorite books and probably my favorite movie is Hunt for Red October. I also like science fiction and westerns. (For what it’s not worth, my 2nd favorite movie is Airplane.)
Considering the genres I like, you know I’ve read some crap. But some of it was fairly well written with believable, if predictable, plots and characters.
I’m also not a very forgiving reader when my quite forgiving tolerance level is not met. An author who churns out a few obvious pot-boilers, takes advantage of his/her reputation by publishing previously unpublishable work, or doesn’t even make a half-assed effort to get well-known technology straight gets stricken permanently from reading list. Tom Clancy finally made that list. It will take a lot for someone to persuade me to read anything new by him again.
And it’s also typical of me that I don’t remember the name of the book that I threw against the wall that put him on my never bother to read again list.
So, I find myself out of town recently with an uncomfortable computer setup and without my stash of reading material. On a trip to the local WalMart (18 miles away) I decide to pick up a novel. I see one by Robin Cook. I vaguely remember the name and reading some of his medical mysteries in the 1990s and earlier. And I wondered why I hadn’t heard of him lately.
Here’s the caution: ALWAYS read the Amazon reviews. If I had, I’d know why I hadn’t heard about him in years and would have not considered buying it. The book I bought – Intervention – garnered 62 (out of 99 total) 1 star reviews. At least one of those reviewers said it got one star because Amazon doesn’t allow zero stars. Several reviewers echoed my thought exactly: The worst book I’ve ever read.
Feb 23 2010
It is the vitality of Henrietta Lacks and her descendants that captured my imagination while reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
It’s just a darned good story and it pushes all my “I want to read that” buttons – lively characters, science, mystery, public policy and politics, genealogy, plus a few I’ve probably not yet identified.
When you finish a book with a feeling you know some of the characters, and wishing you could visit further with them, you know it’s been worth your time. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s just that good.
Dec 27 2009
And now that the lights are back on, I find myself not recommending the book for most other times. It’s not that it contains bad information, or that the plot couldn’t have been riveting, it’s just sappy. This kind of book should be anything but sappy.
One thing I found annoying was the author’s comparisons to the plight of the people after an EMP attack as reducing living conditions to those of medieval times. That is annoying because the situation he describes makes medieval times look good by comparison.
The message that civilization is fragile and must be guarded by those seemingly uncivilized is a difficult one to swallow. It was the same in medieval times… yet completely different because nothing ‘better’ was known.
The huge difference is that we today are not fully aware of the slippery place of civilization that protects us from the demons below. No parent in medieval times would have worried about the availability of insulin, for their diabetic child would never have lived in the first place.
There is the conundrum. The problems of the fall of civilization are due to the rise of civilization. In medieval times, civilization was new. It was not the norm for most, but rather for the few.
So… this book is not recommended for most, yet highly recommended for a few. It is up to you which group you belong to.
Apr 24 2009
The book is due out in the U.S. in a few days. I was fortunate to have been given a paperback of the UK release by my sister on her recent visit to the U.S. When she gave it to me, she warned “it’s gory and graphic, but I think you’ll like it.”
Gory it is. I’d give it a 10 on the gore scale as it is a book that contains chapters you might not want to read while eating. The methods of torture (not necessarily used to gain information, but used to prolong the suffering of death) aren’t new. They are likely accurate descriptions, which is more chilling than if they were made up.
What is distinctly NOT made up is the archaeology in the book. Gobekli Tepe definitely exists and the linkages between it’s location and biblical events are fairly well documented, extremely interesting, and intriguing.
Christian fundamentalists and young earth creationists are going to hate this book. While the link between Gobekli Tepe and the Yezedis is somewhat tenuous as presented, the idea of the evolution of ancient religions and myths is not. If Gobekli Tepe is “the Garden of Eden” of old, it’s certainly been upgraded many times.
It’s been well over a month since I read this book and I still find myself wondering about ideas and simple facts brought up in it. Whether you love it or hate it, this book will likely stay with you.
Nov 16 2008
Assistant Village Idiot has over the past several months intrigued me with references to this author and I finally ordered one of his books.
A not-so-random quote from p. 19:
Almost no one can conceal his emotions. Behavioral scientists believe that one of the main reasons why people become leaders is not from what skills they seem to possess, but rather from what extremely superficial impression they make on other through hardly perceptible physical signals — what we call today “charisma,” for example. The biology of the phenomenon is now well-studied under the subject heading “social emotions.”
Meanwhile some historian will “explain” the success in terms of, perhaps, tactical skills, the right education, or some other theoretical reason seen in hindsight. In addition, there seem to be curious evidence of a link between leadership and a form of psychopathology (the sociopath) that encourages the non-blinking, self-confident, insensitive person to rally followers.
(paragraph break added for online readability)
Back to the book now… I’m sure I’ll find more to share with you later.