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The Four Loves - Weeks 1 & 2

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Cleo has been hosting a read-along of The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis, and happily I've been keeping up with it well, in spite of some reader's block.  These are the parts I've read so far:
Week 1: "Introduction" and "Likings and Loves for the Sub-Human"Week 2: "Affection" First off, this book is not quite what I was expecting, and I say that not as a criticism but as an observation.  Lewis's style is a little rambling, in some places like a sermon that switches from topic to topic fluidly but lacks the structure you'd expect from a book with such a structural title.  He focuses on certain aspects of each topic, rather than giving a detailed overview of the whole.  For example, my biggest takeaway from "Likings and Loves..." was his view on healthy vs. unhealthy patriotism; in "Affection," it was more on "what to avoid" rather than "what to do."  It doesn't make the book any less readable, but …

Battling Reader's Block

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Hope everyone is doing well this fine June... It feels like the month is FLYING by.  Tomorrow is going to be about 90 degrees where I live, so I'd say summer is here.


Since I finished 12 Rules for Life, I've been having pretty bad reader's block.  You wouldn't necessarily be able to tell... Current status seems productive:
Still slowly plugging away at the Tesla biography (it's interesting but very brainy)On track for Cleo's read-along of The Four Loves (Lewis), though I failed to post for part 1 (will roll it up into the next part)Also reading Master and Commander (O'Brian) and The Scapegoat (du Maurier), both of which are pretty good books so far I think recent "real-life" stress has zapped my attention span.  I hate it when that happens.

There are certain types of books that can get me out of that.  I will probably keep sampling books till I find one.  Till then, it might be kinda quiet around here...

The Time Machine: Then and Now

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It's been about fifteen years since I first read The Time Machine.  It was so unlike anything I'd read before.  Afterwards, I even wrote my own time-travelling story, which was more like fan-fiction than anything else.

I don't often reread books, but as I build my H. G. Wells collection, I figured I'd reread each book and see how it held up over time.  (No pun intended!)  The Time Machine was the first book by Wells I'd read and seemed like a natural starting point.

The story begins in Victorian England.  A group of friends - a doctor, a journalist, a psychologist, and others - gather at the Time Traveller's house for their customary meal and conversation.  The Time Traveller at this stage has just created a model of his machine which he says he can build at full-scale and use to travel through time.  The demonstration leaves his guests skeptical, but not long after that, the Time Traveller shows up to one of his own dinners, bedraggled and telling a wild stor…

12 Rules for Life - Follow-up

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Well...I promise I'm not trying to milk this for all it's worth.  But I realized that after "finishing" the review of 12 Rules for Life, I'd failed to answer my starting questions from Part 1:
What is about [Jordan Peterson] or his message that generates commonality between such disparate groups?What kind of person, with such a prestigious CV, is so willing to go out on a limb [against political correctness]? Is he really courageous, or is there some other reason? I think the answer to #1 is pretty simple.  Peterson's appeal lies in his embrace of core values, like honesty, hard work, integrity, and self-respect.  Any belief systems that value the individual and accountability are going to gravitate towards his message, which puts a big emphasis on you, the individual, taking action - making your life better and making the world better.  So that is what seems to make his following so diverse.

To the second question - my takeaway from reading 12 Rules is that…

Aladdin 2019 - Reaction (No Spoilers!)

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A couple of months ago I mentioned I was looking forward to two Disney remakes this year, Aladdin and The Lion King.

Well, my siblings and I just got back from Aladdin, and I was not disappointed!   It's funny, beautiful, moving, and action-packed.  Dare I say it??  I like it better than the cartoon original.

It is also my favorite Disney remake so far, even more than Beauty and Beast, my previous favorite.   Aladdin stays true to its origin - a story of adventure, humor, and romance - and doesn't try to be more than a good, old-fashioned kid's movie.  (Yes, Jasmine has her own song and subplot, but it fits her character arc and doesn't seem incongruous.)

So if you have any reservations, I say give it try, you may be pleasantly surprised!

12 Rules for Life - Part 3 of 3

I've decided to share these quotes in the order they appear in the book, plus occasional commentary. All quotes are from the 2018 hardcover edition.

Key:
plaintext - Worthy quotesbold - Favorite quotesitalics - Quotes I disliked 12 Rules for Life: Best and Worst Quotes The dominance hierarchy is not capitalism.  It's not communism, either, for that matter . . . We (the sovereign we, the we that has been around since the beginning of life) have lived in a dominance hierarchy for a long, long time. (p. 14) - Agreed, seems pretty self-evident.

. . . the familiar Western images of the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child and the Pietà both express the female/male dual unity, as does the traditional insistence on the androgyny of Christ.  (p. 42) - "traditional insistence on the androgyny," what is he talking about?

You should take care of, help and be good to yourself the same way you would take care of, help and be good to someone you loved and valued. (p. 62)

. . . a villain…

12 Rules for Life - Part 2 of 3

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"No one could stand up for communism after The Gulag Archipelago - not even the communists themselves." (12 Rules for Life, p. 310)

I would like to think that's true.  Unfortunately, admiration for Joseph Stalin is, by all appearances, far from dead.  The mass murderer has been rebranded as a WWII hero first and dictator second. While not all Russians subscribe to that narrative, there are some who are nostalgic for the USSR.

I once briefly dated someone who felt that way.  It wasn't apparent on first impressions, but, as we got to know each other better, I learned he was an ardent Stalinist, fully heroizing Stalin and believing all the bad to be exaggerations, lies, or American propaganda, or (barring all that) nothing any worse than what U.S. presidents had done.  Though born in a former Soviet republic, he was not really old enough to remember life in the Soviet Union, yet to him it seemed to be a Golden Age he'd missed out on.

There is really no arguing with…