The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, by Stephen R. Covey (Free Press, 2004)

Strictly speaking, this is not a review of Stephen Covey’s new book. The 8th Habit is in great demand at our library, so all I have done is read through it, making little attempt to think about the concepts, much less apply them. (I still have a long way to go in applying the concepts from Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and First Things First.) I will, however, allow myself a few comments: (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, February 3, 2005 at 9:08 am | Edit
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The Virus Within: A Coming Epidemic, by Nicholas Regush (Dutton, 2000)

I know that my brother had roseola when he was 14 months old, because I found mention of the episode in one of my father’s journals. Although it was not documented, I assume the rest of us also contracted the disease. Most children do, before they are two years old, often with symptoms so mild they evade diagnosis.

Although roseola was officially described in 1910, and studies in the early 1950’s led scientists to believe that it was caused by a virus, it was not until the 1980’s that the virus was isolated and named: Human Herpes Virus-6 (HHV-6). What was being discovered about this virus would have roused great concern, had not the attention of the scientific and medical communities, and the media, been overwhelmed by the more obvious medical problem of the time: AIDS. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, January 30, 2005 at 9:35 pm | Edit
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The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor, by Ken Silverstein (Random House, 2004)

In June of 1995, the Federal Government swooped down upon an unsuspecting Michigan subdivision, where a teenager's efforts to build a nuclear "breeder" reactor in his backyard were bathing his neighborhood in dangerous levels of radioactivity. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, January 14, 2005 at 9:13 pm | Edit
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Lime Daley is the name of Jon Daley's Internet hosting and embedded hardware and software systems company. It is also the name Porter gave to a great drink Jon and Heather invented. For the curious, here is the recipe for a Lime Daley:

ice to taste
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 drops Boyajian lime oil
1 twelve-ounce bottle Blenheim “Old #3” (red cap) ginger ale

Put ice in a tall glass. Add lime juice and lime oil. Slowly pour in Blenheim. Stir well. Be prepared for the strongest kick a non-alcoholic drink can have. (To remember the proportions, think “3, 2, 1, blastoff!” It’s appropriate.)

(I predict LimeDaley.com will be a powerful business.)
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, January 10, 2005 at 1:21 pm | Edit
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With the nonchalance of season passholders, we spent the day at EPCOT’s International Food and Wine Festival. The park was not crowded by their standards, but it was by ours; we prefer to go when time spent waiting in line is minimal. Today, however, we found ourselves in line again, and again, and again…each time at a small booth with a long queue, that featured a different country’s food and drink. Portions were appetizer-sized, and prices were Disney-sized, but the idea was great. If the portions had been any larger, we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy so many tastes. It helps to have a partner in this situation: you wait in this line, I’ll wait in that one, then we’ll meet and share the food. It was a strategy that worked well.

Waiting in line was a social event, too. Floridians seem to have made an easy transition from exchanging hurricane preparation tips while in line at Home Depot, to exchanging food recommendations while waiting at EPCOT. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, October 16, 2004 at 8:55 pm | Edit
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I suppose we should be watching the presidential debates tonight. But I already know how I'm going to vote on that race. (We need to have debates for the local races, where I'm not yet convinced.)

Nonetheless, Porter—after a grueling week of work—was in the mood for a mystery story. I checked out Blockbuster online to see what we might expect, and found a good assortment of Agatha Christie, Inspector Morse, Rumpole of the Bailey, P.D. James, even a couple of Dorothy Sayers. (Alas, no Father Brown stories, nor Ngaio Marsh.) Thus encouraged, we paid a visit to our local Blockbuster store.

What a shock! They've remodelled since we were there last, and their movie stock has been considerably diminished. More than half the store is now given to game rentals and movies for purchase. There is no longer a "mysteries" section. When I asked the clerk for help, he told me that any mysteries would be scattered around, probably in "drama" or "action." There is no way to browse for a good mystery. Next I asked if they had any Agatha Christie movies in stock, only to learn that there was no way for him to answer that question, as his computer only allowed him to look up movies by title! "You mean," I said, disbelieving," that unless I come into this store knowing exactly what it is I want to rent, you can't help me?" Apparently. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, October 8, 2004 at 8:37 pm | Edit
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I don't remember if we have the Olympics or the hurricanes to thank for this, but for one of those occasions we had the television on long enough to hear an advertisement for the PBS show, The Question of God with Dr. Armand Nicholi. It caught my attention because Dr. Nicholi's popular Harvard course of the same name was featured in the Boston Globe while we were living in Massachusetts.

Subtitled C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life, the program interweaves biographical information on the two men, quotations from their writings, and a seminar-like discussion among an eclectic group of serious thinkers. Alas, I was too busy to give the two-part, four-hour show the complete attention it deserved, but I saw most of it, and I haven't been so impressed with something on television since Ken Burns' The Civil War. The intellectual quality of this show is as far above normal PBS fare as normal PBS fare is above the rest of television.
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, October 4, 2004 at 11:57 am | Edit
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One consequence of having had to keep a weather eye out for hurricane news is that our television set was on quite a bit recently. I'll save my comments on the generally repulsive nature of what we saw for another time.

There were actually a couple of shows that qualified as interesting enough (and un-raunchy enough) to keep my attention for a while. One of these was Medical Investigation, which we found on NBC from 10 to 11 p.m. Friday nights. I can be grateful that the hour is so late, as I'm less likely to be tempted to seek it out. For it is just the kind of story I love: a mystery, and a medical mystery at that. In fact, in at least two of the stories so far the plots were lifted directly from the wonderful—and true—medical detective stories of Berton Roueché(More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, October 2, 2004 at 9:31 pm | Edit
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