Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy by Jay Williams

Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy (Danny Dunn, #13)Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy by Jay Williams

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Seems about this time each year I go in search of a couple of books from my youth (I have little to go on, and yes, have tried What’s The Name of That Book???) and have yet to find, but I throw a little to the Google images wind and see what comes up. This is one of the ones that did and a quick check over at Open Library got me a borrowable PDF. The scan was dark, but still readable. I’d read all of the Danny Dunns from our tiny town library when I was 8-10, but this one was published when I was 13 and I had moved on, so it was new to me. As such, it doesn’t explicitly qualify as a nostalgic re-read, but the nostalgia factor is still there for Danny, Irene, Professor Bullfinch, and Joe.

Williams was rather progressive for 1974. Equality for girls, government wanting to appropriate inventions … to spy on private citizens…, miniature remote viewing and remotely controlled flying cameras… Reality in 2017 is not all that far off. And no, Danny doesn’t really turn invisible.

Open Library has more for when I feel nostalgic again, and there’s a waiting list for one I did want to re-read!

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Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of ConsciousnessOther Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonderful book. My confirmation bias might have something to do with my liking it so much, but I’ll just have to live with that!

I understand Godfrey-Smith to be a philosopher, which I don’t hold against him…that breed can be rather full of themselves and tend to pepper simplicities with obscure jargon to hide the lack of substance…because he is generous with his restraint. Is this rigorous? Not at all and that is what makes this good for the common reader. Godfrey-Smith writes an eminently readable narrative of a decidedly odd consciousness whose evolution split from ours so very long ago. Details of what we know to date on the neurology and intelligence of the most fascinating branch of Cephalopods are woven around his personal experiences diving off of Australia. I was not expecting explanations (as there are few for this still misunderstood creature) but I also didn’t mind the speculations that accompanied the facts (as we know them).

An observation…the title really might have been singular as he focuses on octopuses. But then again, he might have been talking about all octopuses as “other minds”, as opposed to other species. Regardless, there’s a love affair here, and I’m right there with him.

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A return to beer?

Misleading title…I’ve only stopped posting about beer here since I created my beer page (with the curious, started as a joke but I’ll stick with it name We Like Beers) almost four years ago. I still like beer. Okay…I have an ADD affectation for it – “Oooh! Another one!”

I had a Dogfish Head Pennsylvania Tuxedo Pale Ale today. It is brewed with Pennsylvania spruce tips, measures 8.5% and is pretty good. I’m not much of a DFH fan, but now and then they surprise me. This one is a pretty orange amber color, good lacing, nice malts, and a sneaky ABV. The spruce comes in at the aftertaste and is quite welcome.

pennsylvania Tuxedo Plae Ale

I also had a Tröegs Independent Brewing JavaHead Stout today. It’s a milk stout brewed with coffee and unlike a lot of other coffee infused beers, and unlike a lot of milk stouts, it works. Milk stouts tend to be pretty thin as a rule, but this one isn’t as thin as others. And coffee in beer is a miss or hit…usually the former…and yet, again, it works in this one.

Tröegs Java Head Stout

Finally… for this post, anyway…Community Beer, Co. in Dallas makes a Legion Russian Imperial Stout that is pretty good on its own. They’ve aged a series in different barrels for the past few years which makes it even better (sort of). The first four were in highly unimaginative (and thoroughly wasteful of potentially good beer) bourbon barrels – hence the “sort of”. I unintentionally discovered that last year’s batch was aged in The Macallan barrels and went on a SAR mission to find some, coming away with two four packs, savoring one and spreading the love with the other. So…I watched for the details this year and they indulged in some sanity and aged the Legion in Jamaican Rum barrels, releasing it on October 29th (2017). I don’t have favorites, rather favored beers and this has become one of mine. I picked up a four pack for me and a four pack for my two oldest sons and their better partners. (Then I nabbed another four…while thinking I need to lay up a few more!) The beer is smooth and the rum is an excellent complement.

Favored.

Community Rum Legion

We’ll see if I can add to this blog more beer in the future.

Prost! (The German word…not Romanian {wink})

On the Origins of Sports: The Early History and Original Rules of Everybody’s Favorite Games by Gary Belsky & Neil Fine

On the Origins of Sports: The Early History and Original Rules of Everybody’s Favorite GamesOn the Origins of Sports: The Early History and Original Rules of Everybody’s Favorite Games by Gary Belsky & Neil Fine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fun, and oddly informative book! The research it must have taken to find the earliest rules sets for such a variety of sports, including nontraditional “sports”… labor of love…

With each sport, the authors introduce it with a little history, details on how the first rules were set down, and then in sidenotes, talk about how things have changed and the current rules.

The commentary weaves in acute observations (on American football: “The incremental, often-obtuse rule changes that have redefined the game for each succeeding generation of players and fans echo the complexities of the U.S. legal system.”), humor (“…pickle ball can best be described as table tennis with a Wiffle ball played on a badminton court.”), snark (on the rule of no hitting or kicking in wrestling: “Then there’s the third form of ‘wrestling’ that wouldn’t be anything at all if hitting and kicking weren’t allowed – pro wrestling.”), and trivia (“And today, while baseball mints its billions, Wiffle balls are still made in the Mullanys’ tiny fifteen-person factory in Shelton, Connecticut.”)

In between chapters, the authors describe the various incarnations of sports items…helmets, balls, sticks, field/court sizes…nice pieces of trivia. There’s bit on the “sport” of Poker (chuckling still), and even one on Rock-Paper-Scissors variations. Yes, the authors do talk about the variation popularized on The Big Bang Theory! Well, as attributed to Sam Kass, it is Rock-Paper-Scissors-Spock-Lizard.

A fun read.

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