Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rainy Days Are For Reading

The wind is tossing the tree tops with abandon; occasionally, the rain comes pelting down. A perfect day to hunker down in my chair and read.

"Holidays in Heck - A Former War Correspondent Experiences Frightening Vacation Fun" by P.J. O'Rourke Atlantic Monthly Press 265 pages $24

This is O'Rourke's 16th book and in it, he and his wife and children go exploring. Not to such as Six Flags or Disneyland. That would be too easy. China, Kyrgyztan and the Field Museum, Chicago, are a few of their destinations.

Do Sparrows Like Bach? The Strange and Wonderful Things That Are Discovered When Scientists Break Free" by the editos of New Scientist. 219 pages $13.95

This is an engaging little paperback with some interesting goals and amazing ways the scientist in question chases his discovery. A shirt that rolls up its sleeves in reaction to heat was discarded as it cost $2,500 to make the prototype.

In 1994 a design firm came up with this (as if flying isn't hellish enough.) Airline passengers would be loaded into individual pods, complete with a reading light, entertainment center, at the gate and then conveyor-belted out to the plane and stacked like logs on a lumber truck.

At the 1976 Olympics, the East Germanm swimmers each had 1.8 liters of air pumped into their colons before competing. This, uh, technique was said to help the crawl and back strokers buoyancy, but the breast stroker complained that his feet stuck up out of the water.

Top Screwups Doctors Make and How To Avoid Them" by Joe Graedon, MS, and Teresa Graedon, PhD. Crown Archetype 314 pages $26

This is a book that you don't have to bother to read from cover to cover. There are a series of appendixes in the back of the book that are much terser than the chapter and can be read a lot faster. I can't say that I really learned anything new after having read them. Possibly all of my doctors and pharmacists must have read it though because they are all acting properly.

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