Tuesday, September 19, 2017

TWOsday ~ report of two shoppers

Following the not guilty verdict in the trial of ex-policeman Jason Stockley for killing a black man, store windows were broken during protests that reached from the City of St. Louis into the Delmar Loop, a main road in the suburb of University City where I live.  One of the boarded up businesses was Subterranean Books, a place where Donna and I shop occasionally.  Artists painted many of the plywood panels put up at the stores.  Above is the one at our bookstore.  (A customer came out the door just as I snapped this picture.)
  • The words on the left panel say, "A book is a dream you hold in your hand."
  • The words on the right panel say, "They are in effect still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it."
  • Behind the second set of words is the St. Louis skyline at night, with the Gateway Arch.
We'd heard that the owner of Subterranean had said now would be a good time to buy their books.  It would help them pay for the damage, for one thing.  Even stores with insurance usually have to pay a deductible, plus pay for the plywood and someone to do the work.  So we went shopping yesterday.  Here's what we got.  The first book is what I bought, and the other two were Donna's purchases.

The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew ~ by Alan Lightman, 2013, philosophy
With passion and curiosity, Alan Lightman explores the emotional and philosophical questions raised by recent discoveries in science.  He looks at the dialogue between science and religion; the conflict between our human desire for permanence and the impermanence of nature; the possibility that our universe is simply an accident; the manner in which modern technology has separated us from direct experience of the world; and our resistance to the view that our bodies and minds can be explained by scientific logic and laws.  Behind all of these considerations is the suggestion ― at once haunting and exhilarating ― that what we see and understand of the world is only a tiny piece of the extraordinary, perhaps unfathomable whole.
A is for Activist ~ by Innosanto Nagara, 2013,  children's
This ABC book is written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives:  families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for.  Booksellers around the country clamored for a large format edition that would appeal to children over the age of 5, along with the board book for younger children.  This engaging book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children and parents to action.
If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty ~ by Eric Metaxas, 2016, history
In 1787, when the Constitution was drafted, a woman asked Ben Franklin what the founders had given the American people.  "A republic," he shot back, "if you can keep it."  More than two centuries later, Metaxas examines what that means and how we are doing on that score.  This is  a review of America's uniqueness — including our role as a "nation of nations" — and a chilling reminder that America's greatness cannot continue unless we embrace our own crucial role in living out what the founders entrusted to us.  Metaxas explains that America is not a nation bounded by ethnic identity or geography, but rather by a radical and unprecedented idea, based on liberty and freedom for all.  He cautions us that it's nearly past time we reconnect to that idea, or we may lose the very foundation of what made us exceptional in the first place.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mailbox Monday ~ one more book (twice)

Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to the Women of the Torah and the Throne ~ by Wilda C. Gafney, 2017, religion
Womanist Midrash is an in-depth and creative exploration of the well-known and lesser-known women of the Hebrew Scriptures.  Using her own translations, Gafney offers a midrashic interpretation of the biblical text that is rooted in the African American preaching tradition to tell the stories of a variety of female characters, many of whom are often overlooked and nameless.  Gafney employs a solid understanding of womanist and feminist approaches to biblical interpretation and the socio-historical culture of the ancient Near East.  This unique and imaginative work that is grounded in serious scholarship will expand conversations about feminist and womanist biblical interpretation.

This is the only book I've gotten in the mail since my last Mailbox Monday post in July. I decided to ALSO buy the Kindle edition of this one, so that's why I have "twice" in the subject line above.

Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to other participants.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Hamper hiding

Guess who was sleeping on top of the dirty clothes in my hamper?  The closet door was open (as usual), and I noticed a tiny spot of yellow pivot to LOOK at me as I reached for a shirt hanging above the hamper.  Would you have spotted my black cat on top of the navy blue?  I almost didn't, until she looked up at me.  She is totally hidden . in . plain . sight!  She seemed to think she was in trouble, so I said, "Good girl!"  I hope she was comfy.  When I left to go to my exercise class, Clawdia was still there.  Now I wonder if that's where she's been "hidden" when I've searched for her unsuccessfully on occasion.  Hmm.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Two more books ~ on TWOsday

Genesis and the Big Bang: The Discovery of Harmony Between Modern Science and the Bible ~ by Gerald L. Schroeder, 1990, religion/science
In this groundbreaking book, physicist Gerald Schroeder takes on skeptics from both sides of the cosmological debate, arguing that science and the Bible are not at odds concerning the origin of the universe.
The Hidden Face of God: How Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth ~ by Gerald L. Schroeder, 2001, religion/science
In a timely fusion of science and faith, the scientist and popular writer Gerald L. Schroeder explains why cutting-edge scientific theories point to a great plan underlying the universe.
A couple of weeks ago, I told you about getting this book from the library:
The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom ~ by Gerald L. Schroeder, 1997, religion/science
The top two books were already on my own bookshelves.  I bought and read Genesis and the Big Bang in the first week of February 1992.  I bought The Hidden Face of God in December 2001, but haven't read it yet.  I'm finally reading The Science of God (yes, the one from the library), and yes, they are all by the same author.

As I was writing this blog post, I skimmed some of the passages I had underlined in Genesis and the Big Bang and noticed that (1) each underlined part still interests me and (2) I didn't specifically remember having underlined it.  I usually remember whole passages for a long time, usually years.  That's when I looked back to see when I'd read the book.  What?!?  It's been 25 years?!?  (From 1992 to 2017.)  No wonder I didn't remember each quote!

Isn't time interesting?  I had underlined a couple of places about "the great supernova of February 1987" (pp. 79 and 83), which had occurred five years before I read that book.  What was I doing at THAT time?  It was my last semester of seminary, and I was appointed as pastor of my first church a few months later.

Chapter 2 is about "Stretching Time," so I looked there to find a suitable quote for this post.  I chose this one from page 45 about the fact that "gravity ... causes time dilation":
"A clock on the Moon runs more rapidly than the same clock when on the Earth because the Moon has less gravity than the Earth."

Friday, July 28, 2017

Beginning ~ at the end of innocence

The Physician ~ by Noah Gordon, 1986, historical fiction (Persia)
"These were Rob J.'s last safe and secure moments of blessed innocence, but in his ignorance he considered it hardship to be forced to remain near his father's house with his brothers and his sister."
I'm ready to start reading this novel, having decided the one I'm slogging through now is so annoyingly awful that I'm rating it DNF (Did Not Finish) and tossing it aside.  This one sounds more interesting.
An orphan leaves Dark Ages London, taking a dangerous journey and posing as a Jew to study medicine in Persia.  A child holds the hand of his dying mother and is terrified, aware something is taking her.  Orphaned and given to an itinerant barber-surgeon, Rob Cole becomes a fast-talking swindler, peddling a worthless medicine.  But as he matures, his strange gift — an acute sensitivity to impending death — never leaves him, and he yearns to become a healer.  Arab madrassas are the only authentic medical schools, and he makes his perilous way to Persia.  Christians are barred from Muslim schools, but claiming he is a Jew, he studies under the world’s most renowned physician, Avicenna.  The Physician is the first book in Noah Gordon’s Dr. Robert Cole trilogy, which continues with Shaman and concludes with Matters of Choice.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday Words ~ see Spot run

Can you believe a three-letter word has at least 645 meanings?  It's the word "run."  I remember learning to read that word in the first grade in my Dick and Jane reader.  "See Spot run" has become a catch phrase.

And then there's "Run, Forrest, run!"  (Click to watch the video of Forrest Gump's long, long run, which lasted 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours, he says.)

That's only ONE kind of running.  Editors of the Oxford English Dictionary say "run" is the most complicated word in the English language.  Think of these other uses of the word:  run up a large debt, run a company, run to the store (in your car, not on foot), run out of mayonnaise, the long run of a Broadway musical, run your children to school, a trial run, and a run on banks in the 1930s.  Water can run over the brim of a cup, and waiting to be seated at a good restaurant may run half an hour or more.  And now I've run out of pithy examples, except maybe a running joke, which differs from a running total.

Let me leave you with a running pun.  I'm punny like that.  Do notice, however, the name has two Rs in it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

TWOsday ~ tow truck

Today, TWOsday means roadside assistance TWICE.  First, Geico sent a guy to jump my car and get it started.  When the faltering power felt odd to me, I asked him to follow me to my auto repair shop, which he agreed to do.  I got out of the parking lot and halfway into the street, when my car gave up completely.  The young man re-attached his cables and box so I could back into our parking lot (out of the street) and wait ― again ― for rescue.  The second time, they sent this tow truck.

I had to pull myself up into the very high cab, using two handles inside the cab.  I did it!  Even though I'm 77 and the first step was a couple of feet off the ground and the second (and last) step another couple of feet up.  I managed to climb into that tow truck.  Now my car is at the shop, waiting "her" turn for the repairmen to get around to looking for her problem.  It wasn't simply the battery, but the fellow who jumped me off said it could be the alternator.  We shall see.  I just hope it doesn't cost me an arm and a leg.

What?  Of course, it's a "she."  My car's name is Emma Sue Baru.  Yes, try saying it out loud a time or "TWO."