This is easily the best exploration of the relationship between science and religion I've ever read and, given the pedigree of the explorer and his cuThis is easily the best exploration of the relationship between science and religion I've ever read and, given the pedigree of the explorer and his current state (dead), likely a very difficult one to top.
Now, one fairly common refrain that I've seen from people less enamored with the content is that he appears dismissive toward the concept of religion. I understand the beef, but I think Mr. Sagan is less dismissive of belief than with the way it's sold. He picks apart the arguments for the existence of god(s) because they purport proof based on the written word, reported miracles, causal correlations between devine intervention and, say, the odd earthquake, and other bits of supposed evidence. What he does NOT pick apart is faith in something that can be labeled 'g'\'G'od. In fact, he explicitly states:
“...the fact that I do not see evidence of such a God's existence does not mean that I then derive from that fact that I know that God does not exist. That's quite a different remark. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Neither is it evidence of presence.”
That's as effective a statement supporting a pragmatic approach to belief as I can imagine. Believe whatever you like, cultivate your faith in whatever way that makes this life less burdensome, but remember that such a 'truth' is yours alone and not readily transferable to anyone else. ...more
When I was stationed in Alaska in the late 90s, there was a radio station that broadcast The Don & Mike Show from D.C. every day. When I got transWhen I was stationed in Alaska in the late 90s, there was a radio station that broadcast The Don & Mike Show from D.C. every day. When I got transfered to England, I completely lost track of the show and everyone on it until my triumphant return when I found out that they'd wrapped the show up for good while I was away. Bummer.
Then the Mike portion of the duo decided to start his own show with a couple of the folks from the previous incarnation. This went swimmingly until CBS decided to can them, despite their popularity, in exchange for switching the station over to something more Sports Talk-y. And God knows that if there's one thing lacking on the radio airwaves these days, it's people talking about sports.
So, Mike and his cohorts lick their wounds and push their anger waaaaay down in a very healthy and mature way until one day the idea of doing a podcast gets thrown around and BOOM, second-chance success story. This is the account of their success, failure, then success again in what was the new medium of podcasting as told by each member of the show. The format of the book is ideal in that it allows each person to describe the process from their point of view as it happened.
***DISCLAIMER THAT SHOULD ALREADY BE PAINFULLY OBVIOUS*** In order to fully enjoy this book, it's necessary that you either have listened to The Don & Mike Show or are currently listening to The Mike O'Meara Show. If you pick this up without the above criteria, get to page 4, and think, 'Why did he give this four stars? This is awful and pointless and I'm going to set his house on fire for rating it so high!', I will hunt you down and punch you maybe until bleeding happens. You've been warned....more
This has been on the 'Want to Read' shelf for a really, REALLY long time. As often happens, it was a chance finding in a used bookstore for $1 that nuThis has been on the 'Want to Read' shelf for a really, REALLY long time. As often happens, it was a chance finding in a used bookstore for $1 that nudged me out of procrastination mode. It's important to note that if you're not even a mildly enthusiastic military history buff, this book may not be your cup of tea. If you are, it will become clear almost immediately why this book and its author are held in such high esteem.
The book looks at three battles during three distinctly different points in human history and discusses how they were fought and who was doing the fighting. What you come away with is an understanding that battles in their various forms have always been brutal and that the brutality, from an objective point of view, can be worse by virtue of why they were being fought. Agincourt and Waterloo were the result of a handful of Frenchmen being jackasses (in the second case, one specific Frenchman). The Somme, like all of WWI, was the culmination of so much pettiness, carelessness, and stupidity on the part of so many different human beings on so many levels that it should stand alongside the Dark Ages as one of humanity's low points.
One of my takeaways from the book is that while the Somme was a comparatively 'modern' battle, it seemed so much worse for its participants because of the overwhelming pointlessness associated with living in a filthy trench until someone blew a whistle, after which large numbers of people would expose themselves to whithering gunfire and artillery in the hopes of occupying another filthy trench a few hundred yards away. Rinse. Repeat for four years or until you're dead. At Agincourt, the people doing the fighting did so for their King at a time when people cared very deeply about that sort of thing. At Waterloo, defeating Napoleon meant protecting Britain from being invaded by a spoiled brat with a very large Army that had historically enjoyed bulldozing other countries (except for Russia; winter froze the bulldozer). The discomfort and brutality experienced by individuals taking part in these two battles arguably dwarfs the third given that almost all of the action was hand to hand, face to face, kill or be killed in a very unpleasant way. The battles, however, were largely finished in a day or a few days. Fighting in WWI crushed the soul long before anything happened to the body and that, arguably, makes it endlessly more brutal. And lest one argue that care for the wounded became more humane, wounded men languished for hours in each conflict and the death rate from infection alone during WWI rivals any haphazard 'doctoring' undertaken in the 1400s or the early 1800s.
The takeaway is that this here is some serious analysis of some equally serious research. I've read one other Keegan book (on WWII) and found it to be dry to the point of chronic dehydration. It struck me the way some other books from the History section have: A leaden accounting of what happened through the distribution of one historical fact after another. This book came early in Keegan's writing career and, perhaps as a result, the reader is bestowed the occasional gift of British wit and a writing style that sometimes makes you feel like it's a conversation rather than a lecture. This is an important distinction, given that most people having any degree of empathy won't necessarily enjoy reading accounts of people being slaughtered by other people (although it's a couple years too late, "His writing made senseless slaughter enjoyable!", would've made for a snappy epitaph). The author enlightens you to the suffering endured by people thrown into horrible circumstances, allowing a glimpse of a part of the human experience that thankfully most will never get to visit firsthand. That's the best an historian can do, IMHO. ...more
The degree that you are grateful for your health is the exact degree that your health will magically increase, and the degOk. So, here's the thing ...
The degree that you are grateful for your health is the exact degree that your health will magically increase, and the degree that you're not grateful is the exact degree that your health will decrease...Being grateful for your health ensures that you will continue to receive more health to be grateful for, and at the same time it eliminates stress and tension in your body and mind.
As you travel back through memories of your childhood and youth, you'll realize how many things you received that equate to hard-earned money. Be gratefull for every single instance and memory, because when you can feel sincere gratitude for the money you've received in the past, your money will magically increase in the future! It is guaranteed by Universal Law.
Whether it's a relationship in turmoil, financial pressure, a lack of health, or problems in a job, negative situations arise because of a lack of gratitude over a long period of time.
If you don't have enough money, paying your bills can be one of the most difficult things to do. It can seem like there is a greater stream of bills than there is money to pay them. But if you complain about your bills then what you are really doing is complaining about money, and complaining keeps you in poverty.
That was pretty much where I stopped reading. This was a Christmas gift, for which I do sincerely remain genuinely thankful. Nevertheless, and at the risk of my negativity relegating me to the black magic associated with poor health and/or poverty, my feelings are that the circular logic repeatedly employed by the author qualifies her as a veritable Turing machine of stupidity. ...more
For as long as I've been reading books associated with military history in one form or another, the two wars that I tend to avoid are WWI and Vietnam.For as long as I've been reading books associated with military history in one form or another, the two wars that I tend to avoid are WWI and Vietnam. This isn't to say that there are no books worth reading relating to those wars. Far from it (Tim O'Brien, Karl Marlantes, Erich Maria Remarque, etc.). The problem is that reading about these two wars, specifically, infuriates me. The pointlessness, ignorance, and unabashed dipshittery of those in positions of leadership at the highest levels overwhelms and reading about the price paid by the rank and file tends to be a little too much. And while it's true that all wars are similar in this way to varying degrees, these two are the most recent incarnations of the worst.
This book has been called the best ever written describing the use of helicopters as 'cavalry' in the new version of air mobile warfare that the military, in the early days of Vietnam, assumed would lead to a quick and relatively easy victory. Ironically enough, in 1974 it was the picture of a helicopter shuttling out the last of the Americans from the US embassy in Saigon that signified how warped the expectation of an easy victory had been. Robert Mason excels at describing the sight, smell, and fear associated with shuttling men, living and dead, into and out of small places filled with angry people with nothing to lose. The book is a gripping read.
In the original afterward, Mr. Mason described how difficult his reintegration into society had been and how, not long before the book was originally published, he'd been arrested for something. The afterward was clearly written with no inkling of how popular and successful the book would be, but seemed like an appropriate ending given the trauma that he'd undergone. I'll be looking for the newer version of the afterward in hopes that life took a turn for the better following the book's success....more
Like many short-story anthologies, this is a mixed bag. I finished all but three of the stories, those being either overly melodramatic or long or somLike many short-story anthologies, this is a mixed bag. I finished all but three of the stories, those being either overly melodramatic or long or some lethal combination. The rest were clever, original, and really well done, but those by Ryan North (CANCER), David Malki ! (MONSTERS FROM THE DEEP), and Tom Francis (LAZARUS REACTOR FISSION SEQUENCE) were singularly spectacular. ...more
I learned how to golf when I was four years old and started playing competitively at around twelve. This is relevant to you, the reader of this reviewI learned how to golf when I was four years old and started playing competitively at around twelve. This is relevant to you, the reader of this review, because if you haven't spent any time around the world of golf, golf courses, or golf people, you may get to the third chapter of this book, read for the umpteenth time the syrupy, melodramatic description of someone striking a small white orb with a stick, and proceed to light the book on fire. Then you will probably construct a small representation of me and set that aflame, as well. I would understand and applaud your being so thorough.
Before you flick your Bic, however, note that there are two aspects to this book: 1) The description of a specific match that took place in 1956 between two older professional golfers and two young amateur golfers. It had (arguable) historical significance from a golf perspective, but it was definitely (unarguably) dramatic in its own way. 2) The compact biographies of the four people who played in the match. The first aspect is enjoyable if you're a golfer. The second makes the book approachable and potentially worthy of anyone's time, golfer or not.
This is the second Mark Frost book I've read, the other also being related to golf. He's good at what he does not only because it's apparent that he respects the game and those who play it, but also through his gift of walking the reader through other people's lives in a way that creates instant empathy. He makes everyone tragically human, in this regard, especially the so-called legends. This is an important distinction between the likeness on the pedestal and the person it represents: They're legendary because of their humanity, not in spite of it.
If there's a very small part of you that's mildly curious about golf and what all the fuss was about before Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and the embryo of Tiger Woods arrived on the scene, Mark Frost's books are easily your best bet at a succinct, well-written education.