Monday, October 30, 2023

Hoping to learn a lot from this book

Hope and Other Superpowers: A Life-Affirming, Love-Defending, Butt-Kicking, World-Saving Manifesto ~  by John Pavlovitz, 2018, inspirational guide, 257 pages

Overwhelmed by the news cycle and the state of affairs in our world?  This inspirational guide draws lessons of our favorite superheroes for how we can band together, live more heroically (and meaningfully), and save the world.  It’s exhausting to give a damn these days, isn’t it?  Perhaps you’re feeling anguished about what you see on the news or in your social media timeline, or by your personal circumstances, and are paralyzed waiting for political or religious leaders, or celebrities, to rescue us from it all.  But what if you didn’t have to wait for someone else?  What if you could be the hero?

This book shows you how.  Pavlovitz offers a path away from the vitriol and toward com­passion, with a plan to transform our burdens into dreams and our outrage into activism.  Drawing from lessons of fictional superheroes, hd shows us how to identify our origin story, build protective suits of armor, guard against our personal kryptonite, and vanquish our villains.  He also identifies ten specific "superpowers" that we can enlist to make our lives and our world better.

Along the way, he shares inspiring anecdotes and profiles about ordinary people who saw a gap in the world in empathy or kindness or gratitude and decided to fill it.  This is an invitation to anyone hoping to be the kind of person the world so desperately needs — the kind who can save it.  In other words, it invites you.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Kiki was my cat before Clawdia

Kiki was a reader (aren't photos proof of that?) and reviewed books on some Caturdays.  (The book above was Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron.)  Her hobby was bird watching out our bedroom window.  She also had her own way of ending her Caturday posts:  "Kiki Cat, signing off."  Kiki died in 2012.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Let's talk turkey about phrases and idioms

Common Phrases and Where They Come From ~ by John Mordock and Myron Korach, 2001, etymology, xvii + 200 pages

The purpose of this book is to acquaint you with some of your own history, a history we all share no matter what our station in life.  We want to make you aware of the historical circumstances that produced today's brief, colorful phrases that convey powerful meanings; to illustrate the way our language is shaped by our past history and how this history influences our current communications.  While some idioms arose following significant historical events, most came out of the everyday lives of common folks.  (See  p. 168 about talking turkey.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Book I finished recently

Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner ~ edited by Ellen E. Garrigues, 1895 and 1910, ballad, 43 pages, 8/10
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–1798 and published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads.  Some modern editions use a revised version printed in 1817 that featured a gloss. Wikipedia
Those dates from Wikipedia differ from the actual book I have in hand, which shows 1895 and 1910.  My copy belonged to my Aunt Bonnie Reynolds, who was born in 1904 and was a sophomore at Central High School when she studied this book.  I found it interesting to see what she wrote in the book with pencil.  For example, she put wavy lines along the sides of these stanzas on page 22:

"Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

"Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

I didn't include a closing quotation mark because it isn't the end of the quote in the book.  I paused there because I had to memorize  those lines of the poem in high school in the late 1950s and wondered if she marked them because she too had to memorize them.  Do students today still have to memorize poetry?

If you have read this poem, you know that the other sailors blamed the ancient mariner for their plight because he had shot and killed the albatross with his crossbow (page 20, in the last line of Part I).  Why?  Because it had been considered a bird of good luck:

'Ah, wretch!' said they, 'the bird to slay,
That made the wind to blow!' (p. 21).

I also had to memorize two other parts of the poem (the first below from p. 26 and the other from p. 40):

"Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide, wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony,

"He prayeth best who loveth best
All things, both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all."

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Steps per day

Doctors recommend:
  • 7,000-10,000 steps per day for adults aged 18-59 years
  • 6,000-8,000 steps per day for adults aged 60+ years
  • 7,500 steps per day for women aged 62-101 years.
The current federal exercise guidelines suggest 30 minutes of brisk walking most days, which translates into 3,000 steps taken at the 100-steps-per-minute pace.  I take a rollator, so I can sit down if I stop to talk to someone else out walking or if I just get tired.  Wait, I just noticed that 7,500 steps is more than the minimum for 18-year-old kids!  That doesn't sound right.  How can that be right?

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Mathematics on a book blog? It's in a book, isn't it?

Five Equations That Changed the World: The Power and Poetry of Mathematics ~ by Michael Guillen, 1995, physics, 288 pages
  1. Isaac Newton and the Universal Law of Gravity
  2. Daniel Bernoulli and the Law of Hydrodynamic Pressure
  3. Michael Faraday and Law of Electromagnetic Induction
  4. Rudolf Clausius and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
  5. Albert Einstein and the Theory of Special Relativity
When this book was published, Dr. Michael Guillen was an instructor at Harvard University and was known to millions as the science editor of ABC's Good Morning America.  In this book, he unravels the equations that have led to the inventions and events that characterize the modern world, one of which — Albert Einstein's famous energy equation, E=mc2 — enabled the creation of the nuclear bomb.  Also revealed in the book are the mathematical foundations for the moon landing, airplane travel, the electric generator, and even life itself (according to the blurb on Amazon). 

Publishers Weekly praised the book as "a wholly accessible, beautifully written exploration of the potent mathematical imagination," and named it a Best Nonfiction Book of 1995.  Okay, I'm ready to start reading it.

* Footnote:  Since my move, I'm finding old stuff that's been "buried" among my thousands of books for ages.  Some of you may be surprised that I am excited to find this book on my shelves.  I guess I haven't mentioned lately that I studied all the math and science I could work in during my school years.  I even have a favorite number (which I have mentioned previously on this blog).  And when I sat on my mother's lap while she read me nursery rhymes, I wanted her to read me the page numbers, too.

Deb Nance at
hosts The Sunday Salon.