Monthly Archives: November 2010

Short Season and other stories by Jerry Klinkowitz: a short review

This book lacks the wicked black humor of Klinkowitz’ other baseball novel, Basepaths, with which it shares some characters. All the same, the best stories here are both absurd and delightful, while others are passionate, and others simply preserve well-observed moments. Well worth a few hours of your time.

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The Pencil by Henry Petroski: a short review

The Pencil’s a not entirely successful effort to describe the engineering process by focusing on what’s known, and what’s not known, about the development of pencil technology since the tool was first created. When the book works, it’s really quite delightful. Petroski’s ability to assimilate apparently-unrelated and obscure data is quite impressive, as is his honest assessment of the quality of his source material.

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The Gun by CJ Chivers: a short review

Thorough, exceptionally well-researched, reasonably well-written, and convincing. Covers the development of automatic weapons from the Civil War to World War II, the Soviet project to develop what became the Kalishnikov weapon system, the belated and dangerously flawed American response with the M-16, and the subsequent loss of control as the weapons moved from stockpiles to markets when the Soviet governments collapsed.

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Young Flandry by Poul Anderson: a short review

Three more or less picaresque novels: Ensign Flandry, A Circus of Hells, and The Rebel Worlds. The first two are pretty dull, but The Rebel Worlds is excellent.

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Now What?

Although they’re also eligible to retire, some of my colleagues are not sure how they’d fill their days without the pattern of a daily job. So they are staying on. This is good, as their experience will be valuable as new staff joins, and the new leadership reorganizes, state government. Note, though, that they read absence of routine into the "Now What?" question, and vote for structure. There’s another reading for the question. I see a multitude of opportunities.

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Posted in Life's Stories, Over the Hill | Tagged | 3 Comments

Morning Spin

Unless you ride your bike year-round, the first sessions are about your legs, about the saddle, and perhaps about your hands. This part’s always painful, and that pain’s the reason many folks never get serious about bicycling. I’ve done this enough to know I’ll get past it; in a week or so I’ll find my comfort zone and start devising ways to train my heart and lungs. Those are more satisfying pains, and I’m looking forward to them.

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Posted in Bike Trails | 1 Comment