(This was a "travelogue" e-mail sent out on April 6, 2008)
The weather has been gorgeous lately down here. It's amazing how fast I can get aclimated to the idea that +4F and slightly breezy is unseasonably balmy... The big flight is coming up in less than two weeks-- all us winterovers will get one last chance to jump ship. So far there is just one official ship-jumper, so the bookmakers are eyeing all potential bailers with some interest. If the current early-departer is the only one, the person who drew her name in the "wheels up" pool stands to win over us$500. Unfortunately for me, the four names I've drawn are the four least likely to bail. Hmph. For myself, I'm planning on staying. Exept for missing Conan intensely, I'm ready for the long, dark winter. Here's a video my friend, coworker, and neighbor Antz Powell shot in a previous season. You can kind of get an idea of what nasty weather is like here. Imagine pitch black, forty below, and hurricane force winds, and you get the general gist: http://youtube.com/watch?v=qz2SeEzxMuE. We've had some condition two weather this year, and I'm looking forward to seeing some of the really hellish stuff, just so I can say I was here for it. It does get pretty ridiculous here sometimes, weather-wise. All part of the macho polar explorer mistique we are trying so hard to qualify for.
I have taken full advantage of all the free time, and have read more books in the last six weeks than in the last six years. Here is my list, with my book reviews:
How the Irish Saved Civilization Cahill, Thomas (1996) A very readable account of the history of Christianity during the middle ages, a topic I've been really interested in lately. I didn't know that Ireland was the repository of Latin knowledge during a lot of the time of the barbarian conversion.
The Power of Now Tolle, Eckhart (1999) A must for truth students and those of us open to new age thinking. Clear, well written, and full of wisdom. Highly recommended.
How on Earth Did Jesus Become a God: Historical Questions about Earliest Devotion to Jesus. Hurtado, L. (2005) A sociological study of the way Christianity spread in the early days. Didn't get too much out of this approach.
Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism are Reshaping the World. Barber, B. (1996) (Mentioned in a previous travelogue). Very good book, with some amazing insights, especially given that it was written 12 years ago. Recommended to students of history and current events.
The Orthodox Church Ware, T. (1997) A very interesting (to me) history of the Orthodox Christian faith, which filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge of early Christian history.
In Search of England: Journeys Into the English Past Wood, M. A great primer on English history. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in British and/or English history, though it does contain a lot of references that were lost on a non-Brit.
Paradise: A Chronicle of a Distant World Resnick, M. A pulp Sci-fi novel I picked up out of the lounge. I haven't read sci-fi in so long I don't know if it's good. Kept my attention through to the end, though. Not one you're likely to find.
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life Isaacson, W. (2003). A really great biography. I don't read this kind of stuff too often, but I doubt if it gets much better than this. Extremely well written and researched. Highly recommended.
Music Picks: Greyboy Allstars. James Brown meets Lenny Kravitz. Great stuff.
Hope all is fine in the land where springtime blooms, from the land where darkness looms.