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Old January 28th, 2010, 12:21 PM   #1

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Book Report (On history of course)


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This is a fun book even for those who don’t appreciate Harry Truman the way a red blooded American should. (Well, that’s enough of poisoning the well.) This is a fun read as you will gather from the excerpt below. No big surprises or tales out of school but one does gather insight into Truman’s character and the character of America as it use to be.
This excerpt from the books preface will give you the flavor of the authors breezy writing style and explains the theme of the book, a road trip taken by Truman and the authors retracing the route years later.

"Harry Truman was the last president to leave the White House and return
to something resembling a normal life. And in the summer of 1953 he did
something millions of ordinary Americans do all the time, but something
no former president had ever done before—and none has done since. He
took a road trip, unaccompanied by Secret Service agents, bodyguards, or
attendants of any kind. Truman and his wife, Bess, drove from their home
in Independence, Missouri, to the East Coast and back again. Harry was
behind the wheel. Bess rode shotgun. The trip lasted nearly three weeks.
One night they stayed in a cheap motel. Another night they crashed
with friends. All along the way, they ate in roadside diners. Occasionally
mobs would swarm them, beseeching Harry for an autograph or just a
handshake. In towns where they were recognized, nervous local officials
frantically arranged “escorts” to look after the famous couple.
Sometimes, though, the former president and first lady went unrecognized.
They were, in Harry’s words, just two “plain American citizens”
taking a long car trip. Waitresses and service station attendants didn’t realize
that the friendly, well-dressed older gentleman they were waiting on
was, in fact, America’s thirty-third president (or thirty-second—Harry
himself could never understand why Grover Cleveland was counted as two
presidents)."




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Old January 28th, 2010, 12:25 PM   #2

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Re: Book Report (On history of course)


Looks like a fun read. I need to write one of these reports too... if I can finish a book, I have about 5 that I am working on.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 01:04 PM   #3
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Re: Book Report (On history of course)


My Dad several times passed Harry strolling with his cane on the sidewalks in downtown Kansas City, unaccompanied. He always had a smile and a "Good morning!"

(I don't recommend it for Dubya or Obama.)
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Old February 8th, 2010, 01:08 PM   #4

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Re: Book Report (On history of course)


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Recently I had a visitor from the states who brought the kids this book. I’m not only reading this book but using it. And we are all having a lot of fun with it. For those unfamiliar with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) it is a very popular Mexican holiday when families gather to welcome the souls of the dead on their annual visit home. One of Mexico’s most important festivals since prehispanic times, the Day of the Dead is an occasion for celebrating and feasting, cleaning and decorating graves, dancing and making music. And dare I say living it up!
This volume is a fine young peoples introduction to this ancient custom. Many of the projects instruct you how to make skeletons with personality. The kids have especially enjoyed making the masks out of homemade paper mache and painting them. Another great project instructs you how to make an ofrendas (that’s a special altar constructed of flowers and food stuffs for welcoming the dead.) Some of the many other projects are jewelry, making prints, papel picado (that’s a special way of cutting designs in paper). I recommend it for anyone with kids who would like to introduce them to another culture. And have lots of fun making a mess doing it.
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Old February 19th, 2010, 11:13 AM   #5

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Re: Book Report (On history of course)


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During the last few decades, most cultural critics have come to agree that the division between "high" and "low" art is an artificial one, that Beethoven's Ninth and "Blue Suede Shoes" are equally valuable as cultural texts. In Who Needs Classical Music?, Julian Johnson challenges these assumptions about the relativism of cultural judgments. Which in my opinion is a challenge long over due. The author maintains that music is more than just "a matter of taste": while some music provides entertainment, or serves as background noise, other music claims to function as art. This book considers the value of classical music in contemporary society, arguing that it remains distinctive because it works in quite different ways to most of the other music that surrounds us. This intellectually sophisticated yet accessible book offers a new and balanced defense of the specific values of classical music in contemporary culture. Who Needs Classical Music? will stimulate readers to reflect on their own investment (or lack of it) in music and art of all kinds. This book will be enjoyed by those who don’t need it and most likely ignored by those most in need of its wisdom.
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Old June 11th, 2010, 05:43 PM   #6

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Re: Book Report (On history of course)


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Geologist Jan Zalasiewicz takes the reader on a fascinating trip one hundred million years into the future--long after the human race becomes extinct--to explore what will remain of our brief but dramatic sojourn on Earth. He describes how alien geologists in the far future might piece together the history of the planet, and slowly decipher the history of humanity from the traces we will leave impressed in the rock strata. What story will the rocks tell of us? What kind of fossils will humans leave behind? What will happen to cities, cars, and plastic cups? The trail leads finally to the bones of the inhabitants of petrified cities that have slept deep underground for many millions of years. As thought-provoking as it is engaging, this book simultaneously explains the geological mechanisms that shape our planet, illuminates the various ingenious ways in which geologists and paleontologist work, and offers a final perspective on humanity and what we will leave behind.


Here is an excerpt from an opening chapter called ‘Perspective”. Hope this wets your appetite.

“he purest of science fiction. The Earth, in a post-human future, many
millions of years hence, being re-explored. By . . . who? Perhaps extraterrestrial explorers or colonists, just as we now peer at images of rock strata sent back by the Mars landers. Or perhaps a new, home-grown intelligence: say, a newly evolved species of hyper-intelligent rodent. No matter.

What would such explorers, of whatever ancestry, find of our own, long vanished human empire?

A frivolous question, perhaps. But perhaps not. It is hard, as humans, to get a proper perspective on the human race. We know that the Earth has a history that is long beyond human imagination, and that our own history is tiny by comparison. We know that we are animals, and yet we have transcended our natural environment to live in surroundings that, mostly, we have manufactured for ourselves. We know that this created environment is evolving at a speed that is vastly more rapid than the normal evolution of biological organisms or communities. We do not understand, quite, how our created environment and our activities interact with the natural environment, and we do not know what the long-term consequences will be.

Let us take one view. We are simply one species out of perhaps 30 million currently inhabiting the planet (reputable estimates range from some 5 million to over 100 million). We are briefly in the golden age of our power, our dominance. But we are destined to extinction also, just as the dinosaurs became extinct. The world will then go on as before. Once a geological age or two has passed, there will be nothing but the odd bone or gold ring to show that we were ever here.”

A good read and written for those who don't have the specialized vocabulary.
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Old June 11th, 2010, 06:02 PM   #7

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Re: Book Report (On history of course)


Nice post.


[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eScDfYzMEEw"]YouTube - George Carlin - Saving the Planet[/ame]
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