The Late Cretaceous in Suburban New Jersey

Chapter IV is about Ammonites, Discoscaphites jerseyensis

Kolbert meets a geologist from Brooklyn College in a parking lot next to a baseball field. They strike out through the underbrush to a shallow creek.

Its banks were covered in rust-colored slime. Brambles hung over the water. Fluttering from these were tattered banners of debris: lost plastic bags, scraps of newspaper, the rings from ancient six-packs.

In the “creek bed, a few inches above the water line,” was an exposed iridium layer, evidence of the six-mile wide asteroid that hit the earth in the late Cretaceous, wiping out the dinosaurs. A scientist digs out a piece of ammonite.

Kolbert goes on to describe the prevalence of ammonites: “Pliny the Elder, who died in the eruption that buried Pompeii, was already familiar with them . . . “

That mention of Pliny the Elder dying at Pompeii . . . This Sunday, self is going to see the exhibit Last Supper at Pompeii at the Legion of Honor. The exhibit traveled from the Ashmolean, where self first saw it in November 2019. It was a fantastic exhibit, she wanted to see it again but ran out of time. She didn’t think she’d have another chance, but here it is, in her own backyard!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Three So Far 2021

Finished reading Oak Flat: The Fight for Sacred Land in the American West, by Lauren Redniss, early this morning. Wow. Blown away by the polyphonic voices. And by the simple yet so-moving illustrations (by the author herself).

It joins two other books as self’s five-star reads of the 2021 reading year:

  • Ice Walker: A Polar Bear’s Journey Through the Frozen Arctic, by James Raffan (nonfiction)
  • The Relentless Moon, by Mary Robinette Kowal (science fiction)

Mary Robinette Kowal is one of the authors participating in this year’s SiliCon, which will be happening this August at the San Jose Convention Center. Self rushed out and got her tickets. She can’t waaaaait for August.

Have a great summer, dear blog readers.

April 22 BRIGHT SQUARES

April is proving to be quite the month.

April is Bright Squares month. The host of this photo challenge is Becky of The Life of B. And today is her birthday! So let’s all give her a big Hip Hip Hooooray!

Today, the theme of self’s Bright Squares is Bright Smiles! Just look at these people who began lining up in front of Horn Barbecue in Oakland about half an hour before opening (11 a.m.) It was rather chilly, but no one complained. Because Horn, which opened just before the pandemic, is definitely a success story. The best melt-off-the-bone spare ribs, the tenderest brisket, the BEST mac’n cheese, the BEST bread pudding.

Before you go, diet for a week. You order by the pound. Self’s friend Nikki is one of the assistant cooks (and she is a fabulous cook). There she is, standing beneath the sign. It’s a very industrial area of Oakland, with huge warehouses and also homeless encampments. But there are also cheerful corner juice stands, and other intrepid food trailblazers like June’s Pizza, just a few blocks away.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Thoughts of a Ghost Janitor

I’m nervous about her coming to the party. So I’ll be extra polite, wear a clean shirt, and try not to set anything on fire.

Ballistic Kiss, p. 19

Self is excited about this party the MC’s been referring to since opening pages. He’s even lining up movies for his guests: Face/Off, Con-Air (Movies self has watched more than once! Did self mention how excited she was for this party? Something big is sure to go down!)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

TTWP Part VI

Big battle scene coming!

“No plan survives contact with the enemy.” — Helmuth von Moltke

The Trouble with Peace, p. 353

Self has the rest of the day to read. She might be able to finish TTWP as early as tonight.

Next on her reading list: All the Devils are Here, by Louise Penny.

Exciting. Self has never read a Chief Inspector Armand Ganache mystery before. Of course it is set in Paris. There is a picture of the Eiffel Tower right on the cover, that’s how she knows.

Self memorably spent Christmas 2017 in Paris. And shared the hotel with a Filipino family (with three small kids) on their way to spend the holidays in Iceland. (Self will never get over this, but Filipinos have a real hankering for extreme cold. It’s a THING) Because self was all surly and anti-holiday, she never spoke to this family, not even when she and they were the only ones in the hotel restaurant for breakfast. She pretended she was Chinese, couldn’t understand Tagalog, didn’t want to know why they were going to Iceland, or where they were staying.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

First Monday of 2021

Finished with her first book of 2021: Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran!

Starting The Relentless Moon, by Mary Robinette Kowal, Book # 3 of the Lady Astronaut Series (Tor, 2020)

Kansas City, March 28, 1963: If all goes as it should — and in space, that is no sure thing — then sometime today, thirteen brave voyagers will cross a Rubicon that no man ever has: the halfway point between our home planet and Mars.

It has been a mission of triumph and terror, of disasters averted and disasters tragically experienced, as thirteen astronauts and astronettes speed across the comic void.

The mission has been a test not just of technology, but also of ingenuity, resourcefulness, and the human spirit.

“Like Julius Caesar, we must prepare for the worst,” said Norman Clemons, director of the International Aerospace Coalition, “that is our training. But we also survive for the best, and this wonderful team has trained for almost every eventuality.”

— Chapter One (Halfway to Mars), The Relentless Moon, by Mary Robinette Kowal

The MC is a fifty-something astronette (or Lady Astronaut) married to a fifty-something high-powered Capitol politician and their relationship is very sexy, which is something self never ever expected to say, this early in a new book (p. 17). Nevertheless.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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