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drneutron's (Jim's) Reading to Avoid Work - Part 5

This is a continuation of the topic drneutron's (Jim's) Reading to Avoid Work - Part 4.

This topic was continued by drneutron's (Jim's) Reading to Avoid Work - Part 6.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Mar 17, 10:20am Top

This thread's topper? Beer and astronomy, of course!

Edited: Mar 17, 10:31am Top

And the stats:

Total Books: 23

Author Gender
Male: 19 (76%)
Female: 6 (24%)

Author Status
Living: 24 (96%)
Dead: 1 (4)

Publication Medium
Hardback: 4 (17%)
Trade: 8 (35%)
Mass Market: 1 (4%)
eBook: 10 (43%)

Fiction: 14 (61%)
Nonfiction: 9 (39%)

Library: 16 (70%)
Mine: 7 (30%)

ARC: 3
Re-Read: 1
Series: 5
Group Read: 1

Edited: Mar 17, 10:46am Top

22. Coolidge by Amity Shlaes

Wanted to like this one - since the US Presidents challenge, I've discovered the joys of biographies of our political leaders. Unfortunately, I had a couple of issues with this one that spoiled it for me. First, Shlaes writes uncritically about Coolidge and how his Presidency fed into the conditions that brought about the Great Depression. Second, the book was tedious, which may be fitting for a book about Silent Cal. Either way, didn't work for me.

23. Magic in Islam by Michael Muhammad Knight

So, ever been to the library and come across something so unusual that you just had to try it out? That's what happened here. First there was a blurb about Knight on the back: "Islam's gonzo experimentalist!" What? Then there was the previous book, Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing that I really need to find. Then the subject - magic and its relation to Islam across history - used as an intro to Islam and as a way to deconstruct and invert the orthodox/fringe split in modern Islam.

So how was it? Pretty much as promised, though I don't think this will "challenge common assumptions about organized religion" or "flip popular notions of a religion's center and margins", mainly because I can't see that this book will be widely read. But it did make me think about looking at historical religions through modern eyes, and it did make me think about how we interpret practices as compared to tradition and scripture.

Plus it was fun. Knight's a lecturer and grad student at UNC Chapel Hill's Divinity School, and it's clear he's got a talent for relating his ideas to people. He's out to shake some trees and make some people uncomfortable, and that's interesting to see.

Mar 17, 10:46am Top

Ok, open for business! Let the madness begin!

Mar 17, 11:03am Top

First up with madness is me, Jim.

Happy new thread, buddy.

Mar 17, 11:03am Top

Happy new thread, Jim!

Mar 17, 11:09am Top

Happy new one, Jim!

Mar 17, 11:10am Top

Happy new thread to you!

Mar 17, 11:52am Top

Happy new one and happy Friday, Jim.

Mar 17, 11:57am Top

Love your topper and the stats. Happy new one, Jim.

Mar 17, 12:00pm Top

Happy new thread and happy Friday, Jim!

Mar 17, 12:58pm Top

>6 PaulCranswick: Congrats on being first!

Thanks for the good wishes, everyone! Welcome all!

Mar 17, 12:58pm Top

Happy new thread, Jim!

Mar 17, 1:37pm Top


Mar 17, 1:47pm Top

Happy New Thread, Jim!

Intriguing comments about Magic in Islam. Tempting.

Mar 17, 2:18pm Top

Thanks! If it's any help, it's a short read. I read the whole thing on a plane from the West Coast.

Mar 17, 2:49pm Top

That does help, thanks. It's harder to take a chance on a whopper, isn't it.

Mar 17, 3:01pm Top

In keeping with your theme, and in honor of one of the best drinking days around: Happy St. Paddy's Day!!

Mar 17, 3:24pm Top

Happy New Thread, Jim! Happy St Pat's Day and have a great weekend!

Mar 17, 4:39pm Top

Happy new thread Jim.

Mar 17, 4:45pm Top

Happy new thread, Jim, I don't drink beer, but you can make my husband happy with most of the trappists at your topper. We even named one of our Chow Chows dogs after one of them: Chimay.

Mar 17, 5:00pm Top

Happy New Thread, Jim! Hurrah to both astronomy and zymology; you'll make scientists of us all at this rate.

Mar 17, 5:45pm Top

Happy new thread, and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Mar 17, 6:27pm Top

>18 jnwelch: Yup! Although you and Mark convinced me to give Infinite Jest a go. :)

>19 Berly: Awesome! Bell's is a favorite!

>20 Carmenere:, >21 johnsimpson: Thanks! And welcome!

>22 FAMeulstee: I'd seen you talking about Chimay, but didn't know where the name came from.

>23 ronincats: That's my goal!

>24 mstrust: Thanks, and Happt St Patrick's to you!

Mar 17, 7:12pm Top

>25 drneutron: You may be a natural for Infinite Jest, Jim. It's a walk on the mind's wild side, and may have been written in outer space.

Mar 17, 9:52pm Top

Happy weekend, Jim!

Mar 17, 10:10pm Top

Happy New Thread, Jim! You know I love that topper. Perfect.

Mar 17, 11:15pm Top

Happy new thread!

Mar 18, 10:24am Top

Happy Saturday, Jim. The book is in the mail. Just sayin'...

Mar 18, 12:27pm Top

>27 alcottacre: Thanks! I hope yours is good too!

>28 msf59: Going shopping later this week to see how many of the Belgians I can find.

>29 banjo123: Thanks!

>30 msf59: Sounds good!

Mar 18, 12:59pm Top

Having a lazy Saturday afternoon and watching the old Adam West/Burt Ward Batman movie - yeah, I'm going cheesy this afternoon.

"Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!"

I'm with you, brother... :)

Mar 19, 10:00am Top

that does sound like a lazy March Saturday......what beer accompanied the bomb?

Mar 19, 1:20pm Top

Hi, Jim! Just stopping by (and delurking) to say Happy New Thread and that, though I'm not a beer connoisseur like some, I'm enjoying the astronomical beer theme! Glad you're having a good weekend!

Mar 19, 1:48pm Top

>33 tangledthread: Weeelllllll, I did have a Flying Dog Irish Ale while I was taking it easy... :)

>34 Storeetllr: I hope you've had a good weekend too!

Mar 19, 2:01pm Top

I've visited Orval. Nice and green place. A camping next to a café, connected by a wobbly footbridge over a small ditch. Orval tastes fine, but is a heady drink. We did manage without accidents, but it was a close call one time.

Edited: Mar 19, 2:04pm Top

I don't agree that global warming or climate change are 'fashionable catastophes' but are more the biggest threat to mankind, but the fact is pretty interesting.

Mar 19, 2:26pm Top

>36 EllaTim: Nice! I hope to visit Belgium someday - retirement can't come fast enough, some days...

>37 lunacat: *snerk* That's one relaxed kangaroo!

Mar 19, 3:22pm Top

Happy Sunday, Jim!

Mar 19, 3:36pm Top

>39 alcottacre: And to you!

Mar 19, 3:39pm Top

>40 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

Mar 19, 5:23pm Top

Happy new thread, Jim!

Mar 19, 7:53pm Top

>38 drneutron: I don't see you as a retiree Jim. Happy Sunday.

Mar 20, 8:25am Top

>42 scaifea: Thanks, Amber!

>43 PaulCranswick: Oh, yeah, I've got some things I want to do... (1) Learn some Old English/Anglo-Saxon, (2) Get involved with a local literacy project to help people become functional readers, including non-English native speakers, (3) Bike and kayak more, (4) Get involved in a local non-profit that builds water purification systems for areas of the world without clean water, ...

Mar 20, 8:27am Top

>44 drneutron: They all sound like absolutely awesome retirement plans. Seems like you'd miss the space life as well though?

Mar 20, 8:29am Top

>45 lunacat: To some extent, but I think by the time I retire I'd like a change. This year's my 30th anniversary here at the Lab, and I'm likely to retire at 40 or more years. So I think that's enough for one space lifetime! :)

Mar 20, 8:36am Top

>44 drneutron: Interesting plans, Jim. And worth while. But before you know it, you'll be as busy as can be, and won't have time to go visit Belgium;))

Mar 20, 8:59am Top

>47 EllaTim: Travel plans are in there, don't worry!

Mar 20, 12:49pm Top

Retirement is wonderful, when you have plans like that!

Mar 20, 5:42pm Top

Love your retirement plans

Mar 20, 9:09pm Top

>49 Storeetllr:, >50 SuziQoregon: Now just to get there... :)

Mar 20, 11:39pm Top

Ooh nice! Seems we're neck in neck at 23! I'm so glad I finally stopped by, Magic in Islam sounds fascinating. I've been thinking a bit about it, since stricter religious laws make magic and islam a taboo mix, versus the 'lax' approach of most american christian churches. Don't know when I'll ever get to it, but I think it would be useful! Thanks for reading and making notes. :)

Mar 21, 4:52am Top

>1 drneutron: Beer and astronomy, or as I call it now: B'stronomy.

>4 drneutron: ever been to the library and come across something so unusual that you just had to try it out?
That is why I can't plan my reading too seriously, gotta leave room for the randoms out there! This one seems to qualify, and what a bonus that it got you thinking.

>44 drneutron: and the dot dot dot at the end there is also very promising!! Looks like you are busy til.....2057 then?

Mar 21, 6:48am Top

I love the sound of your retirement plans! Lovely, just like you, friend.

Mar 21, 8:27am Top

>52 knotbox: Knight punts on trying to define magic, which I think is the right approach because it's too relativistic an approach - at some times in history, you can't tell the difference between magic and religious ritual. Instead he talks about technologies and how they are sometimes sanctioned and sometimes not. And talks a lot about how we can't think about a subject like this in terms of "Islam" in that there's no one Islam. You have to allow for different practices and interpretations in different times and places. Really thought-provoking stuff.

>53 Ireadthereforeiam: *snerk* Gotta pass that on to my scientist friends...

>53 Ireadthereforeiam: I'm planning to work 10 -12 more years, but I'm also hoping I can make some room for "pre-retirement" after Solar Probe launches next year. What I'd really like to do next at work is a high altitude balloon flight so I can go to Antarctica for a few weeks. :)

>54 scaifea: Thanks! I'm pretty sure I can find useful stuff to do that's a mix of serious and fun. :)

Mar 21, 11:57am Top

>55 drneutron: That makes it sound even better! Thanks.

Mar 21, 2:06pm Top

>55 drneutron:

What I'd really like to do next at work is a high altitude balloon flight so I can go to Antarctica for a few weeks. :)

I have a bunch of friends who have done that (well, that or work on a telescope on the ground at the Pole, but same idea), and they all had a wonderful time at least the first few times.

Mar 21, 4:34pm Top

>57 lorax: We have a group here that flies telescopes on the long duration balloons there every year. Back in the 2003-2005 timeframe, I built a neutron spectrometer and flew it on some balloons out of Fort Sumpter in New Mexico to simulate astronaut exposure to cosmic rays and secondary neutrons in thick structures like the Space Station. Got my PhD out of that work - hence, drneutron. :) I'm hoping that I can translate that experience into their balloon work!

Mar 22, 4:09am Top

Happy New Thread, Jim! And a hearty "Amen!" to the retirement sentiments; I thought about it a lot and verbally expressed my desire to call it quits on numerous occasions at work this winter. I would also like to volunteer in an adult literacy program (I donate to ProLiteracy, but my work and travel schedule aren't conducive to actively volunteering at the present time). I would ideally like to retire at 65, although 70 may be more realistic, and I am still seriously thinking about moving to Spain when the time comes, as it would be much cheaper to live there than in the US.

Mar 22, 11:00am Top

I don't mind cold but Antarctica cold is a bit much for me!

Mar 22, 12:06pm Top

>59 kidzdoc: Spain sounds like an excellent choice! We've got the additional complication of a son who may someday provide grandkids, so no thoughts about where we'll retire just yet.

>60 Morphidae: :) I so far haven't been able to convince mrsdrneutron to move to Alaska, but I haven't given up yet...

Mar 22, 12:12pm Top

Amazing how grandkids affect where one lives :) Were it not for our two I would seriously be looking at an international move.

A research stay in Antarctica would be amazing (imho) but then, I'm not a scientist and I don't' think they have much call for city planners there.

Mar 22, 1:29pm Top

Yes, the hope of a grandchild someday (has to be soon; my daughter's turning 34 this year) is also keeping me from moving to Costa Rica, Spain, Panama, even Canada - somewhere that isn't the U.S.

I volunteered at the L.A. City Library as a literacy tutor a few year's before I retired. It was very rewarding, and I am still friends with a woman I worked with.

Mar 22, 1:44pm Top

>62 RebaRelishesReading:, >63 Storeetllr: Well, it's tough for us to predict since the son's dating a fellow grad student from Beijing. So theoretically, we might have grandkids in China someday. :)

Mar 22, 6:30pm Top

Hi Jim! Your retirement plans sound ambitious and fun.

I love retirement, having been at it a year and 2 months now. The nicest part, besides not setting the alarm clock, is that I'm a member of the board of our local Friends of the Library and in July will take over as Treasurer. We do some fantastic things for our public library and I'm proud to be part of it.

Mar 22, 9:20pm Top

That sounds really fun! The literacy program I'm interested in is run by our public library system.

Mar 24, 5:31pm Top

Happy new thread Jim! Love the beer and astronomy-themed thread topper.

Mar 24, 5:32pm Top

Hi Jim, hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable weekend mate.

Mar 24, 7:33pm Top

Happy Friday, Jim. Glad to hear you have Monkey God in hand. But make sure, to enjoy Evicted first. That is a very, very special book.

Have a great weekend.

Mar 24, 10:26pm Top

>67 lkernagh: Glad you like it!

>68 johnsimpson: We're planning a day biking with friends along a river nearby, so I think it'll be a good weekend!

>69 msf59: I've been looking forward to Evicted!

Edited: Mar 24, 10:29pm Top

So here's what I had with dinner...

Mar 24, 10:29pm Top

Or as I like to call it, Trappist-1g. Very good - I'd definitely have it again!

Mar 25, 5:06am Top

Beer looks good Jim. Hope the weekend trip is as fun as it sounds. I like the literacy programme idea. I would like to get a part time qual in that area.

Mar 25, 5:37am Top

I hope your weekend turns out to be an excellent one, Jim.

Mar 25, 7:02am Top

The Orval looks tasty, Jim. I do not think I have had it before.

Mar 25, 9:55am Top

Happy Saturday, Jim!

Mar 25, 10:25am Top

What Mark said about the Orval, Jim. Any Trappist ale I've had, I've liked. Chimay is the one I remember best. Delicious.

Mar 25, 11:27am Top

>71 drneutron: drneutron - Beautiful presentation - is this one available all over the U.S. and is it seasonal?

Thank you.

Mar 25, 7:53pm Top

>44 drneutron: Jim, you never know what the future brings but I would gladly join you in the literacy plans. Dream of mine too.

>71 drneutron: Stellar. Well even inter-stellar.

Have a great weekend, buddy.

Mar 25, 8:10pm Top

>32 drneutron: Love that scene! And the ducks!

Mar 25, 8:38pm Top

>71 drneutron: Santé, Jim!

Mar 25, 9:56pm Top

Oooof. 20 miles today. With hills. After a winter of not riding. We may have overdone it... :)

Mar 25, 10:00pm Top

>73 charl08:, >74 lunacat: It was a great trip, though we rod more than w should have... :) scenery and weather were great!

>75 msf59: First time for me too. But not the last. :)

>76 scaifea: Thanks! I hope yours was good.

Mar 25, 10:06pm Top

>77 jnwelch: I'm gonna try to work my way through the Trappist-1 beers. My local,store also had a Westvalle one, but it was a trippel. I wasn't sure I was up to a 12% just then. :)

>78 m.belljackson: Well, I found it in a dinky little liquor store in th middle of semi-rural Maryland. :) Seriously, from the website it looks to be generally available, but you'll need to find a store that carries decent beer, I suspect.

>79 PaulCranswick: Thanks! I hope your weekend is good too.

>80 banjo123: :) I'm surprised anyone else remembers it! That's awesome!

Mar 25, 10:08pm Top

>81 EllaTim: Thanks! It was a pretty good beer!

>82 laytonwoman3rd: Wow, there's a problem for global warming... :)

Mar 26, 3:36am Top

>55 drneutron: What I'd really like to do next at work is a high altitude balloon flight so I can go to Antarctica for a few weeks.
Which would be cool, because you would then presumably come through Christchurch, where I live. Meaning....international LT meet up. Some time between now and pre-tirement anyway ;)

Edited: Mar 26, 11:36am Top

Happy Sunday, Jim! We (Donna, Anne, Joanne, Kris and me) had a meetup yesterday and your name came up. We reminisced about your two prior visits to Denver when we were able to meet up and wished you could have been there with us. We ate at Sahara where you and Anne and I met last time you were in Denver.

Mar 26, 2:33pm Top

Stopping by to say hello and sending you best wishes for a wonderful week!

Mar 26, 3:19pm Top

>87 Ireadthereforeiam: oh, definitely! And it may happen even if I don't go to Antarctica! :)

>88 Storeetllr: Inwish I could have been there! Sahara's now in my regular rotation should I get back to Denver.

>89 witchyrichy: Thanks! I hope you have a great week too!

Mar 27, 6:50am Top

Happy new week, Jim!

Mar 27, 8:19am Top

Thanks!, You too!

Mar 27, 11:36am Top

Glad to hear that you had a wonderful first rode of the season. Wishing you a good start into the new week.

Mar 28, 10:10am Top

Thanks! So far so good! :)

Mar 28, 10:24am Top

And I'm long overdue for an update. Sorry this one's so long... :)

24. Watchmen by Alan Moore

Reread of a graphic novel classic - I can't believe it's been 9 years since I read it!

Moore's dark and twisted vision of a world where masked vigilantees are both despised and used as weapons. It's an homage and a criticism of comicbookdom. It's a commentary on our society and our government, especially as we swing to the conservative side. It's a look at human nature and what happens when someone loses that sense of humanity.

It's a tough read sometimes - and it's most effective if you're a superhero comics kind of person. Highly recommended, though.

25. I Am Providence by Nick Mamatas

A modestly successful writer of Lovecraftian fiction attends a convention in Providence and gets tangled up in a murder mystery. Involving a book bound in human skin. And people who may be trying to raise the Elder Gods.

So. The blurb sounded good. This is the kind of book that should be right up my alley. But it wasn't. It was absurd and mocking, and had a plot that was mostly not there. It did try to be funny at spots, but wasn't really successful. I didn't hate it - it was just meh.

26. Orphan X and
27. The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz

Evan Smoak is a orphan raised to be a super assassin by a mysterious father figure to serve the US government. But when he's ordered to eliminate others in the Orphan program, he disappears. And now he's helping folks who can't get help anywhere else. At least while the remaining Orphans aren't trying to kill him.

Yeah, it's been done before. Smoak is part Jason Bourne, part Repairman Jack, part Jack Reacher. And that's ok, because Hurwitz is a decent writer who knows how to tell a story. It's brain candy, but it's good brain candy!

Mar 29, 6:43am Top

Morning, Jim!

Ooof, I love Watchmen. I'm so glad you do, too!

Mar 29, 9:28am Top

>96 scaifea: Good morning!

Mar 29, 9:34am Top

Hi Jim! Delurking to wish you a happy Wednesday.

Mar 29, 9:50am Top

Thanks! I hope yours is good too!

Mar 29, 11:48am Top

Good morning, Jim!

I finally got a chance to try this. I was intrigued by the grapefruit angle, but have no idea about sculpin. It is also pretty expensive for a six pack of bottles ($13.99 on sale). It was smooth and definitely the kind of brew I would drink when I drink, which is rarely. My disappointment was in the lack of even a hint of grapefruit. I may have missed it; lumped it in with the over all taste. I just didn't get it. My two cents.

Mar 29, 11:53am Top

Never had that one, but I do like a good grapefruit shandy or wheat beer. If you wanna give one a try, go for the Leinenkugel. It's great!

Mar 29, 11:53am Top

Ballast Point was one of the first craft brews in San Diego. They sold to a big company a year or so ago. I wonder how "craft" they are these days.

Mar 29, 11:56am Top

I'll give it a try, Jim.

>102 RebaRelishesReading:. Hi Reba. It is still good beer, just didn't meet my expectations.

Mar 29, 1:25pm Top

Sorry to see, over on Ilana's thread, that you've been a bit out of sorts due to pollen counts etc. I hope it begins to settle soon. It's only just occurred to me (as I was writing this) that my dry eyes and runny nose could be the beginning of hayfever season! You'd think I'd remember it by now.

Mar 29, 3:58pm Top

:) Yup, every year I have to re-learn the lesson of when to start antihistamine. I'm medicated, so things are better today.

Mar 29, 9:40pm Top

>95 drneutron: I read both Watchmen and V for Vendetta among many other graphic novels and comics that were hot when I was an undergraduate (1988-1992). Sad to say, I don't really remember much about Watchmen. I guess that means maybe I wasn't mature enough to catch subtexts and motifs? Or I was gulping stuff down so fast that I never paused to digest any of it?

I think maybe I should try them again, and see if I have more of a reaction this time. Of course, I never got Wuthering Heights when I read it for a book report in high school either. Or Heart of Darkness. And I think maybe I should try again now that I am middle-aged to see if they make any more sense or resonate at all with me now the way they never did when I was a teenager. But then, I already re-read so much instead of covering new territory, so why plan on more of the same?

Gregg Hurwitz Orphan books remind me of that movie Hannah that I just saw recently. We do love the stories with children raised in isolation to be super-assassins.

Mar 29, 9:49pm Top

Well, I didn't remember the details from Watchmen, so the re-read was fun. I definitely got more from it this time around.

I think the books I read in high school are also due for a re-read. I didn't like Dostoyevski or Melville when a teenager but really came to appreciate them as an adult.

I'll have to look into Hannah - I think I saw a trailer for it but haven't watched it.

Edited: Mar 29, 10:17pm Top

>105 drneutron: Hurray for allergy meds!!

>106 justchris: And this made me laugh: "We do love the stories with children raised in isolation to be super-assassins."

Happy Wednesday.

Mar 30, 3:56am Top

>100 brodiew2: A sculpin is a fish - the one on the box, I assume. I don't know if there's a grapefruit sculpin (presumably for its color/markings, rather than flavor!) or if they actually used a fish in making the beer... Very odd! Ah, their page talks about it - apparently sculpins have stingers, and they made this beer to carry a small sting... https://www.ballastpoint.com/beer/sculpin/

Mar 30, 8:37am Top

>108 Berly: Thanks! I hope you're having a good week.

>109 jjmcgaffey: Yeah, I looked at the same website - I'm not sure what beer with a small sting means. :) I'm guessing it's a bit hoppy.

Mar 30, 4:22pm Top

Hi Jim, just trying to get caught up! I also like the sound of your retirement plans. I told my husband I was ready to retire now but he didn't really go for the idea :-/

I am trying to figure out what I am most passionate about, because I want to get involved in *something* but I care about lots of different things, and only have very limited time... It's a conundrum.

Mar 30, 5:42pm Top

Re: retirement, my father is still promising to do that some time soon. He is 72.

Mar 30, 6:39pm Top

I'll just point out that Ballast Point is one of San Diego's 130+ craft breweries...

Mar 30, 7:33pm Top

>109 jjmcgaffey: Thanks for the info, jjmcgaffey! Like I said it was good, just not what I was expecting for the price. There are other grapefruit brews that include the taste.

Mar 31, 8:31am Top

>111 katiekrug: Yeah, there's silly things like wanting to eat and have a roof over my head keeping me from retiring right now... :) Mainly I'm just looking at ways I can do something different that will make a difference in people's lives. I'm not interested in big political causes, just wanting to affect individuals. I care about a bunch of things too, so I suspect I'll be involved in several areas.

>112 Ireadthereforeiam: Hey, if you love what you're doing and it's keeping you going, why not? Too many times I've seen people retire because they're "supposed to at that age" only to waste away pretty quickly.

>113 ronincats: Sounds like I need to make a field trip to San Diego!

>114 brodiew2: Let us know what you think of the shandy! Tip: it's really good cold on a hot day. :)

Mar 31, 8:41am Top

>113 ronincats: >115 drneutron: And Portland has 135 breweries. Just saying. : )

Mar 31, 11:39am Top

>115 drneutron: Will do, Jim. Happy Friday!

Mar 31, 11:44am Top

>95 drneutron: I loved Watchmen too. It is probably past time for me to give it another read.

Too bad about the Mamatas book because it sounds like it would be right up my alley too.

I will have to see if my local library has the Hurwitz books. I like good brain candy!

Mar 31, 10:01pm Top

Happy Friday, Jim. I have not read the Watchman. Why? I have no idea. Need to track a copy down.

I finished Norse Mythology today. You might enjoy this. Gaiman rarely disappoints.

Apr 1, 6:20am Top

Apr 1, 6:01pm Top

>116 Berly: Sounds like a grand tour is in order!

>117 brodiew2: Have a good weekend!

>118 alcottacre: Have you read Lovecraft Country? It was more what I was hoping the Mamatas would be.

>119 msf59: Oh, it's high on my list!

>120 DianaNL: :) Hi!

Apr 1, 7:14pm Top

drneutron - Many years ago, in 1994, there was a near-mythical
(at least to us teachers lucky enough to be awarded scholarships)
gathering of Astro people at NAU in Flagstaff: Carl Sagan,
David Levy, Carolyn and Gene Shoemaker, and many more.

If you also attended this AAS and ASP event and have a great memory, can you tell me the name of the Australian Astro Photographer and the American Astronaut who spoke...?

Thank you. We toured Lowell, the Meteor Crater, and, I think, a NASA site.

Apr 1, 7:27pm Top

Wow, that would have been an awesome meeting to attend! I found a blurb on the web about an APS symposium called "Copleting the Inventory of the Solar System" at the Lowell Observatory. End of June 1994. Was that it?

Apr 1, 7:39pm Top

That sounds right - I'll check when my old brochures again surface.

It was a memorable time - a friend and I traveled a circuitous route to Flagstaff -
Amtrak from Chicago to Glacier National Park, then drove up to dinos in Drumheller,
and down to Delta to dig trilobites, circling around the northern edge of the Grand Canyon...

Edited: Apr 1, 8:53pm Top

Just found the next accessory: The Bicycle horn of Gondor!

On thy left!

Apr 1, 9:02pm Top

>125 drneutron: Hahaha

I have the honour of posting the 1,000th post to your threads this year already, Jim.

Have a great weekend.

Apr 1, 9:10pm Top

Awesome! Congrats to you and to me! :)

Apr 1, 9:25pm Top

>125 drneutron: Oooooh, awesome Horn of Gondor!!

Apr 2, 2:34am Top

>125 drneutron: LOL that's awesome.
Happy Sunday, Jim.

Apr 2, 9:55am Top

Happy Sunday, Jim!

Edited: Apr 2, 10:23am Top

Hi Jim and happy Sunday to you!

>104 lunacat: and >105 drneutron: Allergies. Sorry you're afflicted. I learned to just take the Claritin-wanna-be, loratadine, every single day of my life. Winter, summer, fall, spring. It's saved me from quite a few sinus infections. Of course, I'm also mildly allergic to cat dander and we have 2 kitties, but since I don't pay attention to when the pollen is going to hit, I'm always ahead of the game. This week I will be hosing the porches off. They definitely need it.

Apr 2, 6:27pm Top

>128 ronincats:, >129 Ameise1: yeah, saw it on Facebook and had to post it! :)

>130 scaifea: Thanks!

>131 karenmarie: Hasn't started here yet, but in a month we'll have the same problem. Unfortunately, Claritin and similar don't do much for me, even when I take them every day. Allegra's my salvation. :)

Apr 2, 7:23pm Top

>125 drneutron: Awesome! I definitely must have that horn. Then I'll just need to buy a bicycle to put it on.

Edited: Apr 3, 8:37am Top

There's an online archive for physics papers called, amazingly enough, arXiv. I was browsing the abstracts posted over the weekend and came across an interesting one. Here's the abstract:

Schrodinger’s Cat and World History:The Many Worlds
Interpretation of Alternative Facts

I propose that much recent history can be explained by hypothesizing that sometime during the last quarter of 2016, the history of the world underwent a macroscopic quantum tunneling event, creating, according to the Many Worlds Interpretation, a new branch of the multiverse in which my consciousness and that of my readers is now trapped. The failure of much political polling is then understood by assuming that the particular branch we are on had very low amplitude in the quantum wave function of the multiverse. In this view, one must take a different attitude towards alternative facts than that proposed by the mainstream media. We know that quantum tunneling can change the low energy laws of physics in the different branches of the wave function. Alternative facts may simply be the reflection of the media's ignorance of the state of the world after a quantum transition of this magnitude.

Explains a lot... :)

Apr 3, 11:08am Top

Ummmmm....and we fix it how??!! >125 drneutron: Do we blow the horn? : )

Apr 3, 11:48am Top

>135 Berly: My question exactly, and a great idea!! LOL

Apr 3, 12:16pm Top

Weeeelllll, how about using the Wayback Machine to go back and fix it?

Apr 3, 1:02pm Top

>134 drneutron:

Did you happen to see this one? https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.10803

(For others, this too is a joke.)

Apr 3, 1:29pm Top

Oh, wow, this is fantastic! Sending links to all my physics buddies...

Apr 3, 8:22pm Top

Hi, Jim! I wanted to mention this to you- We went out for dinner Saturday night. It was a grungy brew-pub, with a weak tap list. They did have Orval on the menu. Just in bottles. 12oz bottle. For 12 bucks. I passed on it. I did notice it was nearly 12 per cent alcohol. Wow! I will look for it at the liquor store.

Apr 3, 10:42pm Top

$12!!! Wow, that's highway robbery...

Apr 5, 8:50am Top

28. Evicted by Matthew Desmond

Many folks have said a lot about this book here on LT and in the 75ers. Most of what was said I agree with. Desmond has done a fantastic job documenting the lives of landlords and tenants in the economically poor areas of Milwaukee. I was especially impressed with how he makes everyone involved human, and doesn't try to lay blame on individuals or dumb down a complicated problem. Instead what we get is a pretty honest picture of people buried in a system that can't help them, and even if it could, so many bad decisions sabotage any attempt to get out.

In some ways this one hits close to home. We have family that are in similar situations, mainly because they make really bad life choices and have substance abuse problems that keep their lives chaotic. Frankly, it makes me skeptical of proposed solutions - we've tried over the years to help, with little more than wasted time and money. Still, Evicted is a book, and a discussion, that is needed.

29. Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton

Three years ago, in a horrible accident, Catlin's children were killed by her best friend Rachel. Since then, Catlin has been working herself to revenge. And just as she's about to do it, another child goes missing - the third in three years - which kicks off a wholly unexpected chain of events.

Bolton's mystery is well, and unusually, told with multiple points of view and layers peeled back as we go. The Falkland Islands setting is unique and interesting, though in some ways reminded me of the Anne Cleeves Shetland Island novels. All in all, a nice break from the grittiness of Evicted.

Apr 5, 11:33pm Top

>115 drneutron: Hey, if you love what you're doing and it's keeping you going, why not?
And love it he does. Getting out into the wilderness and taking photos is his passion, its the office work that follows that irks him.

Little Black Lies sounds interesting. It would be a tough space to navigate, if a friend accidentally killed your kids, that's for sure! Yikes.

Apr 6, 9:38am Top

It was pretty good, so I'm looking into more of her books.

Apr 6, 6:39pm Top

>125 drneutron: Totally cracked me up!

I might have to hunt down Little Black Lies

Edited: Apr 7, 12:08am Top

>134 drneutron: I think that writer has a plausible explanation there. Well, as plausible as any that I have heard this far. The Wayback Machine would be a good fix!

Apr 7, 8:22am Top

>145 SuziQoregon: If you do, I hope you like it!

>146 Familyhistorian: :) Yeah, Couldn't resist that one.

Edited: Apr 8, 5:28pm Top

Love you're Schroedinger's excerpt, and I'm sure Peabody is our best hope!!! How far back do you think he'll have to go? Or will this take several trips.

Apr 8, 8:39pm Top

Like the sound of Little Black Lies, Jim. The book at least.

Have a great weekend.

Apr 9, 12:51pm Top

>148 cammykitty: Yeah it could be a hard job to get us back on track!

>149 PaulCranswick: Thanks! I hope yours is good too!

Apr 10, 9:33am Top

Ok, *that* was a sprint...

Due to various reasons ranging from date night with mrsdrneutron to spending most of Saturday disassembling and releveling a fountain in my front yard, I've been off LT all weekend. I've now

- Glanced through every thread with new messages since Friday
- Entered about a dozen new threads into the Threadbook
- Queued up a couple of books I finished this weekend to enter into my thread

I'm beat and it's only 9:30 in the morning...

Apr 10, 9:42am Top

But you are all caught up!! Which is more than I can say. : )

Apr 10, 9:57am Top

>152 Berly: We'll see how the day goes. There may be some regressing. :)

Apr 10, 1:46pm Top

30. The Secret State by John Hughes-Wilson

I'm not quite sure I know what this book is. It purports to be a history of espionage and intelligence, but it's not really a history. It's more like a first-year college introduction to intelligence and counter-intelligence, but it wasn't deep enough to use in a class. I suppose if someone knew absolutely nothing about the subject, it might be of some interest, but that's hard to imagine. And to make matters worse, it's about UK and US intelligence, with the occasional foray into Soviet Russia, as if no other country or people group did any of these things.

Quite the disappointment.

Apr 10, 2:32pm Top

>151 drneutron: - Good Lord, man, slow down! We're not going anywhere :)

Apr 10, 2:39pm Top

>155 katiekrug: I might have had a bit of coffee this morning... :)

Apr 10, 3:18pm Top

>155 katiekrug: No, no, we have to speed up so Jim starts his new thread with the topper of the latest picture of his little toy at work! Soonest!

Apr 10, 3:24pm Top

>151 drneutron: Wow. Just a bit of coffee?!

Apr 10, 3:26pm Top

Ok, maybe more than a bit. :D

Apr 10, 4:33pm Top

Haha, had to at least have been a triple espresso!

Apr 11, 7:00am Top

>151 drneutron: Holy cow, Jim! I'm exhausted just reading about your frenzied catchup. :-)

Apr 11, 9:46am Top

>160 Storeetllr:, >161 rosalita: I can be a bit Type A when I want to be... :)

Apr 11, 4:38pm Top

I don't know how you can keep up with us all and have a real life too, Jim. Glad that you can but take time for the important stuff too,

Apr 12, 8:56am Top

Hi Jim and Happy Wednesday!

>137 drneutron: I want a Way Back Machine of my very own.

>142 drneutron: I've added Little Black Lies to my wishlist, it sounds good.

Apr 12, 9:13am Top

>163 Familyhistorian: It's not that bad unless I miss a couple of days - last weekend was particularly busy and I didn't crack open a computer or iPad the whole time!

>164 karenmarie: Happy Wednesday!

Edited: Apr 12, 9:31am Top

>165 drneutron: Ah, that is probably why I am so hopelessly behind because I keep missing a couple of days. Real life and actually reading books cut into LT time. Thanks for making LT one of your priorities.

Apr 12, 3:40pm Top

Happy Wednesday, Jim.

Apr 12, 4:57pm Top

Hi, Jim.

Did you read The Three-Body Problem? I thought it was interesting and okay, but I wasn't wooed to fandom like some have been.

One I am liking a lot is We Are Legion, which Kim and Mamie recommended. I think you'd get a kick out of it.

Apr 13, 8:29am Top

>166 Familyhistorian: It helps being a bit ADD, so I'm always doing something. :)

>167 Ameise1: Thanks! Happy Thursday!

>168 jnwelch: I'm not in fandom either, but I liked it and have recommended it to a few people. Plus I've got the next one sitting beside my reading chair (along with a bunch of others...) and plan to get to it over the summer.

We are Legion looks awesome - just put it on my list. How can you not like a series called Bobiverse... :)

I'm in the middle of The Madman's Daughter, a respinning of The Island of Dr Moreau and am liking it so far. I haven't decided yet whether it's warble-worthy, but it's promising!

Apr 14, 10:58am Top

Hope you have a great Easter weekend!

Apr 14, 3:17pm Top

Wishing you a very Happy Easter.

Apr 15, 5:08am Top

Apr 15, 6:10am Top

Hi Jim, wishing you a wonderful Easter weekend.

Apr 15, 11:24am Top

Happy Easter!

Apr 16, 9:49am Top

Hi, Jim!

Apr 16, 11:48am Top

You have to read about the Bobiverse!! I am a We Are Legion fan! Already have the second one ready to go and I loved the audio version.

Apr 16, 12:21pm Top

>142 drneutron: Evicted is already in the BlackHole, so I am adding only Little Black Lies.

Happy Easter, Jim!

Apr 16, 4:46pm Top

>170 ChelleBearss:, >171 johnsimpson:, >172 DianaNL:, >173 Ameise1:, >174 mstrust: Thanks, everyone! I hope you have a happy Easter too!

>175 scaifea: Hi, Amber! Hope you had a good time in Chicago!

>176 Berly: Yup, I saw that and promptly added it to the list.

>177 alcottacre: Great! Hope you like it!

Apr 16, 5:14pm Top

Apr 16, 6:00pm Top

Nice! We haven't got irises yet - but yesterday when we reassembled our fountain, we split and replanted a bunch around it.

Edited: Apr 16, 7:13pm Top

So a few days ago, mrsdrneutron and I found this light n go bonfire log at Home Depot:

Not our firepit, but we have a similar one. So we fired it up yesterday evening - and man, it really works! Great fire for a couple of hours until it burned down, then I put some other logs on top so we could sit outside a little more...

iPad books, rum and cokes, various snacks, peace and quiet. Beautiful evening!

Apr 16, 7:14pm Top

That looks really cool. Is it a real log with something in the middle?

Apr 16, 7:17pm Top

It's a real birch log, with a star-shaped cut along the length of the center. They put a fire starter in the center that you light, then it burns from the center out. Takes about 2.5 hours to burn down.

Apr 16, 7:27pm Top

>181 drneutron: Love that idea. Wonder if they do it here?

Apr 17, 3:41am Top

>181 drneutron: Lovely, we have them too and using them in summer when having a party.
Happy Monday, Jim.

Apr 17, 8:16am Top

>184 charl08: Well, the one I bought was labeled "Made in Latvia", so I suppose it's possible! Latvia'a closer to you than to me. :)

>185 Ameise1: Thanks! Happy Monday to you!

Apr 17, 8:44am Top

>181 drneutron: Looks awesome! I would not mind one for crisp fall evenings.

Apr 20, 2:31pm Top

Way too long since I updated my reading...

31. Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan

In 1980, a group of college friends end a wedding celebration by exploring an abandoned prison in Philadelphia. They get locked in and the bride disappears. Now, some decades later, the body has been discovered, and the investigation into a murder begins.

There's not much of a mystery here - what happens gets revealed earlier than I expected. But it is a decent thriller, and even better, an exploration of secrets and what happens when they're revealed. All in all, a pretty good book!

32. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Sheperd

Juliet Moreau is the orphaned daughter of Victorian Britain's greatest anatomist - who died in a scandal involving vivisection and forbidden experiments on animals. But she comes across evidence that he's still alive, then discovered her father's servant/assistant, Montgomery, in London gathering supplies. And so in spite of Montgomery's reluctance, she travels to an island off Australia to confront the man she thought was dead, only to discover just how far his experimentation has gone.

So, yeah, this is a reworking of H. G. Wells' The Island of Dr Moreau, but rest assured it's a pretty good one. There are whole new romantic elements and secrets revealed, and it's a decent action/thriller. I'm a fan of the gothic atmosphere and dark feel of the writing. Even though the "science" was way out of bounds of what's possible, it's really an homage to that long line of stories warning about the dangers of scientific over-reach.

By the way, book 2 of the trilogy is based on Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde and the third is based on Frankenstein!

Apr 20, 7:40pm Top

Ooh, I like the "light n go bonfire log", Jim. I have to pick up a new fire pit, though. My last one fell apart.

Howdy, Jim. Hope all is well. I started Lola today. I like it, in the early going and I remember you enjoyed it too. Right?

Apr 20, 7:41pm Top

Oh, yeah, I loved it. I think you will too.

We used a firepit, but those logs are set up so they work on any relatively flat, nonflammable surface.

Apr 20, 7:48pm Top

Lola reminds me of Dodgers. I know their styles are different but I keep thinking of the Beverly book.

Apr 20, 9:04pm Top

thanks for the lovely post over on my thread, Jim.

In all the minor tempests in my life, I'm hoping I didn't somehow miss a Jim Sighting here in Beantown. Did you come and go already or may we still have hope to see you live and in person?

Apr 20, 11:32pm Top

>183 drneutron: ingenious!

Fire pits are so cool. When I flatted with my sister we dig one in the lawn (perhaps that wasn't a great idea as far as the landlords thought!!) and had regular back yard fires. When we left the house for good we filled the hole with bark and grass clippings and hoped that the hole went unnoticed!

Apr 21, 6:45am Top

Morning, Jim! I like the idea of the bonfire log, too. I've wanted a firepit for ages, and it looks like we may get one soonish - we're thinking of doing some remodeling on our house, and the back deck area will be part of that...

Apr 21, 6:49am Top

>188 drneutron: Both books look like ones I would enjoy. Thanks for the recommendations, Jim!

Apr 21, 8:31am Top

>191 msf59: Yes. There's a lot of the same vibe there. And I liked Lola for a lot of the same reasons - mainly the strong, complex main character.

>192 michigantrumpet: You haven't missed me. The instrument we're getting from SAO had a major setback and won't be delivered for a bit yet. I'd like to get up there sometime in May or June. And a meetup is definitely on the docket if we can make the schedules work out. Plus mrsdrneutron may join me!

>193 Ireadthereforeiam:, >194 scaifea: Ours is one of those portable ones that you can move around We've had it on our back deck and in several spots out in the back yard. That plus a couple of camp chairs and you're good to go! Well, you have to throw in some Cuba Libres or a bottle of wine too. :)

>195 alcottacre: No prob! It's not like the BBs haven't flown the other way... :)

Apr 22, 4:28pm Top

Hi Jim, hope you are having a really good weekend and the weather is good with you.

Apr 22, 10:25pm Top

Hi, John! Unfortunately, it's been cool and rainy, but I've had inside work to do. So that hasn't stopped me!

Apr 23, 12:22am Top

>1 drneutron: And dogs? We have a new neighbor whose dog is named Chimay (after the beer, not the planet).

Apr 23, 3:35am Top

Happy Sunday, Jim.

Apr 23, 6:54am Top

Hope you have a great Sunday, Jim.

Thought of you yesterday as I went to the Kennedy Space Center.

Apr 23, 7:50am Top

>199 coppers: Well, Pluto.... Just say in' :)

>200 Ameise1: Thanks! I hope you're having a good weekend!

>202 drneutron: Oh, awesome! I'm assuming you took the tour. How was it?

Apr 23, 8:40am Top

>202 drneutron: It was great Jim. I learned a lot both about what was and is but also what is planned to be.

Edited: Apr 23, 8:43am Top

Happy Sunday, Jim. I am still having a good time with Lola. I hope to spend more time with her, over the next couple of days. She is a helluva character.

Glad you had a good time with Monkey God! Now, I have been hearing strong buzz on Killers of the Flower Moon. Hey, keep that NNF coming!!

Apr 23, 2:39pm Top

Hi Jim, reading Spaceman of Bohemia and thought of you. I love the idea that the Czech Republic could have their own space programme...

Apr 23, 6:37pm Top

>204 msf59: I'm glad you're liking Lola - she's a helluva indeed! Killers of the Flower Moon sounds fascinating. And Grann is one of my fave NNF authors. On the list it goes!

>205 charl08: Looked it up - it sounds quite good! On the list too... :)

Apr 24, 12:36am Top

I heard an interview on Fresh Air with the author of Killers of the Flower Moon and it was really interesting.

Edited: Apr 24, 3:50pm Top

>207 banjo123: I'll have to look that up. He also wrote The Lost City of Z, one of my favorite narrative nonfiction books. I haven't had a chance to hear him speak or talk about his work, though.

Apr 24, 4:00pm Top

So Rachel (The_Hibernator and family came into DC for the March for Science. After a long, rainy day, we met them for dinner at Kramer Books and Afterwords for dinner.

Apr 24, 6:16pm Top

How wonderful! The March for Science and an LT meetup, all on the same day!

Apr 24, 8:33pm Top

>209 drneutron: Ah, a lovely meet-up and a great cause to boot! Well done, everyone.

Apr 24, 10:31pm Top

What Mary and Julia said, Jim. A perfect pairing.

Apr 25, 6:32am Top

>209 drneutron: What fun to see another LT meetup!
I hope you all had a good time together, after this long and rainy day.

Apr 25, 11:15am Top

>209 drneutron: It looks like you had a great time. Happy Tuesday, Jim. Thanks for sharing the photo.

Apr 25, 11:28am Top

>208 drneutron: I also really liked The Lost City of Z and so rushed to see the movie when it came out last Friday. It's long and boring and has little to do with the story in the book. I would say the film makers just took the idea of a lost city somewhere and then wrote their own story without further reference to the book.

Apr 25, 11:52am Top

>210 Storeetllr:, >211 rosalita:, >212 jnwelch:, >213 FAMeulstee:, >214 Ameise1: We had a good meetup, but Rachel and family were really tired after a full day of marching for science. I'm glad they stuck it out for dinner with us!

Apr 25, 11:52am Top

>215 RebaRelishesReading: Oh, that's disappointing!

Apr 25, 4:25pm Top

Wandering across the internets, I've uncovered the true antecedents of the 75 Books group. I'm really glad, Jim, that you've been able to buff up the group's image and attract more savory members. And we're all here voluntarily!

Apr 25, 4:51pm Top


Interesting. I'm actually in Berkeley today and when we got to our meeting this morning there was a great view of Alcatraz across the bay...

Apr 25, 4:56pm Top

>218 weird_O: That is a true FUN fact, Bill, thanks for sharing!

Apr 26, 1:57pm Top

>218 weird_O: I'd be thrilled to hear that they had a book club and shared reviews.

Apr 26, 2:07pm Top

>218 weird_O: :-)

Great to see the meetup pic. Looks like fun.

Apr 26, 10:01pm Top

Oh man, I missed the news about your Meet Up with Rachel. It sounds like you had a nice visit. I have never been disappointed meeting a fellow LTer.

I finished Lola today. Good, solid read, with a kick-butt lead.

Apr 26, 10:44pm Top

>223 charl08:, >224 msf59: Yep, we had a good time!

>224 msf59: Yup, I really liked it. What do you think of the potential for a sequel? The ending seemed like it offered the possibility.

Apr 27, 2:47pm Top

>209 drneutron: Nice meet up photo!

>218 weird_O: Is this fact meant to imply that those who read 75-100 books a year harbor criminal, if not homicidal, tendencies?

Apr 27, 5:47pm Top

I saw a Simpsons episode recently where Marge was put in jail- the lawyer managed to get her out early, but she refused as was so pleased about the rest from family demands, and the 8pm lights out, that she wanted to stay. :)

Apr 27, 11:00pm Top

Good evening, Jim!

As per an earlier conversation on another thread, I'm taking a crack at hosting the traditional May Murder & Mayhem thread.


Apr 28, 8:34am Top

>226 kidzdoc: Tendencies depend on the day, the person, and how much they pissed me off... :)

>227 Ireadthereforeiam: *snerk* I can so relate.

>228 tymfos: Sounds good! I'll add it to the group wiki.

Apr 28, 9:11am Top

>226 kidzdoc: Maybe it's just disinterest in swimming in shark infested waters.

Apr 30, 3:54pm Top

Ok, gang, time to move to some new digs!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

358 members

98,424 messages


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