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The Elusive DeRanosaurus

Friday, December 15, 2017

Just for Fun – Stalking the Elusive DeRanosaurus. We attended Dave's Open House the other day and on the way out I snapped this shot with my iPhone of this fellow standing at the edge of the woods. Notice how well he blends in with the winter foliage. Just one of the many reasons to bite the bullet and attend one of the two DeRan Open Houses each year. Add to that, Roxanne always puts out quite a spread of snacks, cookies and coffee. I always post the dates and times here leading up to one.

BOOKS on my reader…

     I read a lot throughout the year, keeps me sane. Non-fiction to fiction ratio is about five to one. The one fun thing about that is that I can read two to four books at one time, just so it’s only one fiction work. I wasn’t going to bother posting this year’s list, but I just finished two so worthy of mention that I can’t possibly pick between them for the best of the year:

Now - The Physics of Time by Richard Muller

The best damn book on physics, astrophysics and relativity I have ever attempted to read. I make no claim to have understood every word – heaven forbid. But I emerged comprehending so much more than when I started, in spite of the fact that I also ended up finding so much more that I don’t really grasp. A page turner, exciting, awe inspiring. This is the one to get discussions going where in the end everyone simply throws their hands up and heads for the wine bottle. The Physics of time is wrapped up in the question of what is space, gravity, the age and expansion of the universe, relativity – a lot is explained / explored in a very understandable way. With so many new observations and discoveries over the last few years, this is one book to catch one up to where we just might fit in in the universe. The only disappointment is that, in the last chapter, it sort of puts the kabosh on fantasies of time travel. And in spite of the fact that I emerged from reading this with more questions than going in, I feel like the guy hanging from a cliff by his fingernails who managed to get his fingers over the ledge all the way to the second knuckles. Beautiful book.

Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich

A Belarusian investigative journalist who writes in Russian – Nobel Prize in Literature. Yes, her non-fiction is that good, important, gripping, depressing, enlightening, enthralling and human. I can’t even begin to find words to describe how important this work is. The author spent years gathering interviews on the times between the fall of the Soviet Union and the present. Instead of asking questions, she lets her subjects talk, even rant. Then she brilliantly strings the results together to tell her story. Yes, it’s long, but I could not put it down. There is a lot of information there, explanations, understanding of the Nature of the beast and its demise. But at the same time there is so much one learns about human nature – to the point of understanding better some in our own country who expouse a world of not only hate, but one where only the very few thrive. A must if one wants to understand not only what even “good” people are capable of but what people can endure and survive. I wish to God I could force so many people that I know to read this. I emerged from this one with, on the one hand a lot more understanding of how people can rationalize being inhuman to one another (and maybe even a bit more sympathy for what they end up doing to themselves in the process), but far less of a willingness to tolerate hate and evil on any level.