February 14th, 2008

rereading and other indoor entertainment

Jennifer Crusie: _Bet Me_, _Fast Women_, _Manhunting_, _Welcome to Temptation_, _Faking It_, _Crazy for You_
Wen Spencer: _Alien Taste_, _Bitter Waters_, _Dog Warrior_, and the other Ukiah Oregon book, _Tinker_
John Moore: _The Unhandsome Prince_, _Heroics for Beginners_, currently reading _Bad Prince Charlie_
Elizabeth Moon: _Trading in Danger_, _Marque and Reprisal_
Janet Kagan: _Mirabile_, _Hellspark_

It seems like there must have been a Jayne Ann Krentz in there (_Perfect Partners_?) and maybe some other stuff.

No bad news; I just feel incredibly nauseous. The all-bean diet has faded, and I'm eating meat again, altho not in substantial quantities. There was a little salmon. Lately it's been chicken-under-biscuit. There was a week of turkey sandwiches, even.

R. was a complete sweetheart. He bought red tulips, siberian irises and a heart shaped box of chocolate filled with chocolate truffles from the one known source of such items suitable for me: Chocolate Decadence in Eugene Oregon.

http://www.chocolatedecadence.com/

I clearly won the husband lottery.

I don't recall right now if I mentioned this earlier, but we have a piano that he picked up used and has since had tuned. It is a century old Chickering with real ivory keys (so T. is allowed to plink but is not allowed to bang on them with anything other then his fingers) and a wacky design involving a lot of silk threads so the action cannot be fixed thus making it pointless to replace the worn-down-to-the-wood hammers. It is holding tune. There's one missing hammer which the tuner moved to the highest position. Lots of fun; we've dug out all our music books, one children's song book I bought for T. and the rest are books from when I was taking voice lessons.

We are contemplating buying a new TV, since the LCD I've had for five or so years has acquired a shadow. We've had it repaired once (when it did the black smoke quit working thing late in 2004/early 2005) and I'm not prepared to put any more money into this thing. R. is talking 46", which strikes me as overkill, but which I'm hearing is pretty typical these days. We'll see.

_Pyramid Quest_, Robert Schoch

Along with _The Hunting of the President_, this was one of two books I checked out of the library when I was weeding non-fiction months and months and months ago, before all the excitement. I was a volunteer (then a Trustee), so no fines for overdues and I just kept renewing them. When the new Director proposed a limit on renewals, guilt caused me to actually read both books, which was, in the case of the Clinton book, rewarding, and in this case, less so.

I occasionally read books in which people of varying degrees of credibility propose things about ancient civilizations that more typical experts on the subject find so implausible that the authors are unable to get their ideas heard in a more scholarly context. This is worth doing -- stuff like plate tectonics was unable to make any headway in journals, but was published by Wegener in a book which sat around for a while before people realized he was right.

Unfortunately, for every Wegener, there a lot more people who are just kinda wacky. I've gotten much better over the years at avoiding the truly silly (yes, I did read _Chariots of the Gods_ by Daniken as a teenager, but I did not take it particularly seriously, and it was very helpful for making sense of the origins of My Favorite Science Fiction Show, Stargate). I'd heard about Schoch's redating of the Sphinx etc. based on climate history and his assertion that some of the erosion was due to water NOT sand or wind.

And I think Schoch is probably on to something when it comes to the erosion stuff.

That said, a good half of this particular book goes off pretty far into la-la land, particularly with respect to the work at PEAR. That is _not_ what statistical significance tests are intended for! Geez. If anything, deviations don't show anything other than the not-completely-randomness of the random number generator. There's a whole bunch of stuff about Masonic societies and similar that I skimmed over.

Should you bother? Probably not.

Here's a quick link if you're curious about PEAR: http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/

verminiferous cuisine

R.C. ate an ant in my seventh grade math class, if I recall correctly. As always, just to creep everyone else out.

In 1995, Scott O'Grady ejected from a disabled F-16 over Bosnia and spent 6 days eating, among other things, ants, until he was rescued by Marines.

The Aztecs ate a lot of bugs as part of their cuisine.

From: http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodmaya.html

"Early Spanish observers noted the widespread use of insects among the Aztecs, including ants, grasshoppers, manuey worms, and jumil bugs. Insects are high in protein, tasty, and could often be harvested in large numbers. The Aztecs also gathered great amounts of blue-green spirulina algae...from the surface of the lakes."

And last night, on the Colbert Report, David Gracer ate a bug.

For more about why, and what he's advocating, check out:

http://www.slshrimp.com/

His blog says he's off to Thailand tomorrow; I hope he has lots of fun.