Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Morning Catch

Ah, Saturday morning errands. My favorite time of the week.

Usually, I spend the first hour paying bills and balancing the checkbook in Quicken (not my favorite time of the week). Then I shower, get dressed, grab a child, and load up the car for my weekly errand run. We hit the post office to drop bills off in the mail, then we stop at the dry cleaners. Normally, we hit the recycling center next, but a light dusting of snow made me decide against breaking down boxes in the driveway. A library visit follows (that’s the highlight of the trip for me), then a stop at our favorite local pizzeria (the highlight of the trip for the little one with me).

Got a half-dozen fairly strange and substantially amusing books from the library this morning. Now, I won’t read through them all. But I’ve already skimmed through one and discovered a pair of blog posts, hidden gems, buried in its pages. What, you’re itching to inquire of me (I can tell these things), did I pick up?

All right. I’ll take that bait.

First, I got The Paradoxicon by Nicholas Falleta. An older book, kind of an everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-paradoxes (but-were-afraid-to-ask). This is the one I read through in the doctor’s waiting room this afternoon. Good, meaty stuff, stuff that makes me tap my palm against my temple and murmur holy cows and good lords while goose bumps raise on my arms. More to follow from this one.

Bad Astronomy by Phil Plait. This guy has an excellent website that basically educates us against our inherent stupidity when it comes to astronomy (and physics), primarily in the media, focusing on blockbuster summer movies. Good book, especially the section on debunking believers in an Apollo moon landing hoax. Don’t read much of his online stuff anymore, though, since his blog takes a particularly rabid stance toward believers in the Faith. Oh well. Still like him when he focuses strictly on science.

Time: A Traveler’s Guide by Clifford Pickover. Don’t know much about this one ’cept that it explores time, time travel, music, philosophy, and physics. He tends to write books that I like to read. In fact, I read his book on black holes a few years back, and that deserves a re-read. This too could be a good source of bloggage.

The Secret Message of Jules Verne by Michel Lamy. This was too delicious to pass up. Apparently Jules encoded all sorts of conspiratorial gunk in his writings, awaiting decipherage by 21st century fringe writers. I’ll skim it, and if it passes my shifting and variably varying litmus tests of credulosity, I’ll dig deeper into it. Go ahead, convince me, Michel!

Isaac Asimov by William F. Touponce. A short literary analysis of the master’s work. Since I’m halfway through Asimov’s Bicentennial Man collection and am enjoying the trip immensely, I figgered a bit of thematic study might be of interest. Read a chapter while Patch played in the children’s room at the library, nodding the head and petting the beard. Decent stuff of interest.

The Critique of Criminal Reason by Michael Gregorio. What do you get when you cross the dense philosophic thought of Immanuel Kant and CSI: Miami? This book! There’s a serial killer in 1804 Prussia (when hasn’t there been a serial killer somewhere sometime, according to our precious media?), and the local constable needs to enlist the aid of dying, 80-plus-year-old Professor Kant to discover the monster’s identity. It’s non-fiction, obviously, so I may squeeze it in after my Asimov book’s done, give it a trial run of a chapter or two. Let you know.

Good Reading, all!

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