Sentence of the Day: Elizabeth Kolbert

Self keeps wanting to spell the author’s name as “Colbert” because she loves Stephen Colbert.

Anyhoo, this author is FUNNY. Considering she’s writing about how we are all DOOMED because of our own stupidity, that’s quite a feat.

Essay # 1 of Under a White Sky did not slay self (Loved The Sixth Extinction, so Kolbert had big shoes to fill), but then Kolbert began discussing carp. Yes, you read that right: carp as in everyone’s Favorite Aquarium Fish. Apparently they have eyes affixed to the bottom of their skulls, meaning they are grazers like cows are grazers, only instead of grazing for grass the carp are grazing for algae or snails. After that, self became completely hooked. Anyhoo, someone had the genius idea of introducing carp to the Chicago River and they are destroying shellfish. Basically, the Chicago River is turning into one giant aquarium, there are probably more carp there than there are in China. They breed like crazy and it’s no use trying to make carp a popular food because they are so bony.

Essay # 2 is where self found the sentence of the day:

  • I was anxious, too, though only a little, since the Mississipi we were looking at was about five inches wide.

The author sets up all these challenges for herself, such as trying to reach the Gulf by WALKING from New Orleans and running into a little problem of wet socks. A paragraph later, she introduces us to an engineer who is keeping a close eye on a simulation of the Mississippi Delta while sitting in a folding chair in the Center for River Studies at Louisiana State. This model simulation must be really ACE because the engineer, Kolbert noticed, also “had wet socks.” The model was so accurate that it kept flooding, and the engineer couldn’t move from the folding chair because it was his job to document everything. At least, I think, Kolbert got her wet socks while actually WALKING.

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge: Bought These at Menlo Park Flowers Market

Self thinks these are dahlias. She’s never had any luck growing them in her yard. She bought them yesterday from the Menlo Park Farmers Market.

Thank you to host of the Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge Cee Neuner!

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Question of the Day

How do the pensioners in The Thursday Murder Club know about the Dark Web when self only heard about it a month ago?

She’s on p. 181.

Also, it turns out, the DCI likes Oasis. OASIS.

Normally, she would just barrel through to the end (especially as it’s getting pretty exciting), but today has had all sorts of appointments, and she’s meeting someone for dinner — DINNER! — at the Beach Chalet. Her cousin from Manila, who’s only here for a few days.

Stay cool (it’s hard, that sun’s like a laser), dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Seducing the DCI

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Hudson is not a bad man. He opens doors for his (female) partner and doesn’t act like he expects to be thanked for it. But he tried to ignore the four octogenarian pensioners of the Thursday Murders Club, and they punished him by giving his partner a couch all to herself — a couch big enough for her to sit with legs folded up beneath her! — while he has to sit on a couch big enough for “two and a half”, a pensioner boxing him in on either side while they pepper him with questions about an ongoing investigation.

“So you do have a suspect? How wonderful. What do you make of the coffee and walnut?” says Joyce.

Chris lifts a slice of coffee and walnut cake to his mouth and takes a bite. Also better than M&S. Joyce, you wizard. Also, it was a well-known fact that there were no calories in homemade cakes.

The Thursday Murder Club, p. 108

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

July #TreeSquare Challenge #8: The Backyard (Again)

Two new views of self’s backyard — with trees!

Thanks to Becky at The Life of B, host of this and other creative Squares Challenges (The previous Squares Challenge was #BrightSquares in April)

The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman: p. 11

You will thank self later, dear blog readers, for spending only two days on Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II. Keith Lowe is one of her favorite new history writers, but the pile-up of atrocities in Savage Continent were too much after a while. Inferno was a fantastic book.

The Thursday Murder Club is a mystery, and so far it is very delicious and entertaining. It’s set in Coopers Chase Retirement Village, an upscale senior citizens home in the “heart of the Kentish Weald”, the kind of retirement home where people still dress for meals. If you don’t think that sounds very exciting, well neither did self. But she found herself being unexpectedly charmed, from page one.

On p. 11, a (very) junior police officer named Donna De Freitas is giving a talk on cybersecurity. An octogenarian named Elizabeth says:

  • “That really was wonderful, Donna,” says Elizabeth. “We enjoyed it tremendously.” Elizabeth looks to Donna like the sort of teacher who terrifies you all year but then gives you a grade A and cries when you leave.

After, another octogenarian (Probably all the MCs are octogenarian!) named Ibrahim asks Donna to guess his age, and when she gets it right on the first try (“Eighty?”), looks quite deflated. But continues to flirt.

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) # 2

For her second post on the PPAC Photo Challenge, co-hosted by Cee Neuner and Marsha Ingrao, self would like to focus on metal outdoor sculptures.

Here are three examples, from three different places:

  • Outside the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in Dublin.
  • On the Stanford campus:
  • Outside the brand new Stanford Medical Center, in Redwood City:

Sentence of the Day, p. 248

We are just a little past halfway, dear blog readers. So you will not be forever reading about WAR WAR WAR. Self’s next book is Rules of Estrangement, by Joshua Coleman, which is about “broken families.” The angst will be pure.

Without further ado:

  • Their plan of attack was significantly different from previous operations, and reflected their growing confidence in their destructive abilities.

The RAF prepares for a fourth wave of bombing raids on Hamburg (at this point, seems like overkill). Once again, the Brits send out a tiny little Mosquito to do recon. The Mosquito takes off at 6:45 p.m. and returns three hours later. Report: Skies “looked relatively clear” but there was “a huge cumulo-nimbus to the southwest . . . moving briskly . . . “

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Monday Windows: Loft, San Luis Obispo

Took a road trip down the central coast last week.

Self loves windows, just in general.

More about this Photo Challenge:

  • Windows are all around us, windows to look into, windows to look out of. This challenge is to look AT windows, photograph interesting ones and share the images. You can either post new photos of windows or dig some out of your archives.

Still Reading

Still July, 1943: 3rd round of RAF bombing raids on the city of Hamburg

A Hamburg family takes shelter from the firestorm in the entrance to a shop. A man hurrying past points out that the shop sells “firelighters,” points to the display in the front window. The family has to scramble to find a different shelter.

Inferno, p. 239

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