Sunday’s mixed bag.

  • This peacock is one of our frequent visitors from the farm across the road. He looks for bugs while we’re mowing the yard or soon after. Often has several peahens with him. The focus is a bit off because he was so close I had to take the photo through the dirty windows on the front door.
  • Since I like going grocery shopping on Mondays, Mother Nature likes scheduling the heaviest rains of the month on Monday. Looks like that’s going to be the case tomorrow. Drat.
  • Our unopened backup jar of Jiff peanut butter is included in the batch being recalled. I’m happy we hadn’t opened it yet. I’m unhappy that the solution is to throw it in the trash.
  • Every time I read about the Korean war, I’m stunned by how badly General MacArthur managed the war from Tokyo. He kept saying that the Chinese troops south of the Yalu rive were simply the remains of a regiment that came across the border into North Korea–nothing to worry about. So he sent army and marine divisions up to the Chosin reservoir where they were outnumbered five to one by a massive number of Chinese who were there in strength just waiting for the Americans to walk into their trap–which they did. They were lucky to get out of there to a port city where naval and merchant ships evacuated them.
  • While waiting for Alice Hoffman’s The Book of Magic to arrive, I pulled my copy of the 1992 Richard Powers’ novel The Goldbug Variations off the shelf thinking I’d re-read some of it. Hmm, perhaps not. I thought it was weird in 1992 and I still do, so I doubt I can stay with it even though I have no trouble staying with Pirsig and Joyce. In its review, the New York Times said, “In his third novel, Richard Powers is up to something very unusual. “The Gold Bug Variations” is a little bit like Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” in that it carries us on a cerebral quest for a philosophical heffalump; it’s a little bit Borgesian in its love of the complex and cryptic; it’s a little bit Joycean in its size and difficulty. It’s a “science” novel, but closer to science fiction in its inventiveness, its hardware vocabulary and software characterization, and in the uncritical pleasure it takes in the purely clever, the nifty.” Maybe I’ll just read cereal boxes for a few days.
  • I’m tempted to buy How the World Really Works, and since Kirkus says it’s “An exceptionally lucid, evenhanded study of the scientific basis of our current and future lives,” that means I might understand it without a little bit Borgesian complexity muddying the waters. My novels are usually magical realism in style, but I never cared for the work of Jorge Luis Borges. (I do like the music of Muddy Waters. I grew up listening to the blues, not that that has anything to do with Vaclav Smil’s book.)
  • The grocery store nearest my house has a decent selection of wine in the low-price (swill) category, plus a few other red wines that I actually like. However, the store is discontinuing Yellowtail shiraz. This is almost as bad as Outback Steakhouse taking Black Opal Cabernet off the menu.  I contacted customer service to suggest that they keep the wine in stock. Yeah no, like that’s going to happen. The wine goes well with steak and typing blog posts.

Malcolm