Booking the Summer

Six Reads to Befriend
in the Next Four Weeks

Hard as you may, you won’t find many book reviews on this site. Hardly any. Ok, one or two; at this point, we’re not too sure. Nevertheless (a word people often invoke in the presence of books, for some reason), authors are kind enough to keep sending us some for our consideration.
This being summer’s last month in the North, and summer being a season when even those with idle minds, get themselves a book or so to read, for some reason, it may be as good a time as any to offer you, avid reader, six more items to pack along with your beach gear.
None too soon, to be sure, as August is also known to suffuse with angst some of us who can’t even afford taking vacations, let alone having unrequited thoughts about Labor Day, fall, end of the year, whatever. That, of course, and the year’s biggest Supermoon, mad dogs, and werewolves.
We insist, though, these are no reviews, and if they may, for a sentence or two, resemble one, you’re allowed to call it quits and deny under oath that you’ve read it first here. Regardless (another word that people, etc.), you may take with you the basic info that’ll be provided free of charge.
That, by the way, is exactly our terms for accepting books to write about. Thus, feel free to take your pick among the themes permeating our list. Mystery, adventure, science, personal miseries, and thoughts about the awareness of animals may sound just like what one may seek to dwell on, in these last dog days of heat and sweat.
Finally, you ought to know that we haven’t finished reading some of them. But before you curse at us, let us offer you the tenor of our off-key intent: you won’t be biased neither by our personal take on them nor by commercial pursuit, so you’ll be freer to browse them at your own volition, as you would at a bookstore.
We won’t tell you our favorites either, or which order we’re following reading them. For we’ll be reading each one of them, as you read this. Thus, it’s just like we’ve preceded you at that bookstore by just a few hours, and already grabbed a half dozen tomes, so you don’t have to take time away from that cocktail of yours. Enjoy the reading.

NEW MEXICO ADVENTURE
Jack Purcell, editor of the popular So Far From Heavens blog, puts his THE LOST ADAMS DIGGINGS, Myth, Mystery and Madness, as ‘a study of a legend and the men who believed in it at a time when men were still inclined to believe in such things.’ He spent decades following a century-old trail of a gold and silver treasure, which eluded many an explorer before.
It’s a fascinating account that combines successive searches for the diggings, that preceded him, with his own tenacious path uncovering clues and old maps. What Purcell’s discovered is now up to you to find out, having him as your trustworthy guide. NineLives Press, 2003.
A SPACE ODYSSEY
Edgar Mitchell is a member of one of the world’s rarest communities: he’s one of the 12 men who’s walked on the Moon. His EARTHRISE, My Adventures as an Apollo 14 Astronaut, is an earnest account by the pilot of the 1971 mission’s lunar module, curiously narrated with his Boy Scout sedated voice, not that of a Navy fighter with an Ph.D. degree from MIT.
There are, however, thrilling passages, as during the struggle to bring the plagued Apollo 13 back to Earth, or when he talks about a long-distance Extrasensorial Perception Continue reading

In Their Own Rites

Brides, Babies, the
Dead & Your Ex-Lovers

And now for something completely different: need to cry a lot at your wedding? Check. Thought about giving the bones of your deceased relatives a brush? Check. What about dropping your baby off a balcony? Check that too. Aren’t we dizzy yet? Wait, the best is always last.
Ever thought of introducing your lover to your former partners? There’s a whole fair for that. Not to worry, though; each of these rituals is confined to a different culture; few partake of more than one of them. Besides, most of the population, of course, simply skip them all.
It’s not that we’re about to go all NatGeo on you, after the week we all just had. But this being Friday, reading about what people do around the world to give their lives meaning may feel just like putting out our own skin to dry: we have no choice but to be ‘us’ most of the time, but no one says we can’t get out of ourselves and enjoy the pasture.
Or something, we’re not sure. The only thing that may be undeniable about all these, though, is that none of this community rites you’re about to read below are harmful to those who enjoy participating in them. On the contrary, they’re are important cultural signposts that bring everyone together, and boy, don’t we need more examples like that?
So let’s get to it without bias, shall we? After all, heaven knows we all have our share of strange and mostly hardly logical rites and little Continue reading

Accessorizing

Recycling Stray Hair
For the Truly Fashionista

Two designers came up with very creative ways to reuse hair, feline and human: working independently, they developed a full line of beauty products that strike anyone for their originality.
Taiwanese hair salon owner Tsai Shiou-ying had already created some unusual brooches, a life-size pineapple and a rat sculpture, all using hair left over from her daily work.
But nothing pleased her as much as the pair of high-heel shoes she’s recently completed. It took the hair of three people (not all, just the hair they had already decided to cut, we hope) and a Continue reading

The Rice Is Wrong

China’s Poor Being
Fed By Plastic Rice

Now here’s a story we keep hoping it’s a hoax but so far there’s no sight of that being the case. Reports from Singapore and Vietnam have been documenting a number of food intoxication cases traced back by they eating fake rice.
The staple of Asian cuisine, rice is never missing from the daily Continue reading

More Than Nine Lives

World’s Oldest Cat
Is Not Slowing Down

You may remember a lot of what happened in 1972. While Abba played on, 100,000 people took the U.S. streets to protest the Vietnam war. It was the year of the infamous Sunday Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland, and the birth of Bangladesh and Shaquille O’Neal. It was also the last time a man walked on the moon.
1972 is when Lucy was born too. The 39-year old from Wales is believed to be the world’s oldest cat. Despite being deaf, she’s still fit and sharp as a whip, according to her family who has researched her past and concluded that she was born on Thomas Street, Lianelli, all those years ago.
For those who give currency to that sort of thing, 39 years in the life of a cat correspond to some 172 human years. We don’t usually do too well when reaching old age, though, and most if not all of us, never even considered including rodents in our diet. But cats do.
She’s oblivious to all the fuss, which is just fine since some buzzkill from the Guinness Book of Records made a point of saying that it has no entry for oldest cat. Whether they create one just for Lucy is besides the point: mice and small creatures still won’t be seen around for as long as she keeps a daily patrol of her domains.

Lax Protection

Despite Threat of Extinction,
Vietnam Plans Tiger Paste Sale

You’ve read here about a summit of 13 nations in Russia last month to discuss their commitment and strategies to protect the wild tiger, said to be facing a serious threat of extinction. Vietnam is among those nations.
But old, misguided cultural habits die much harder than these magnificent animals, it seems. Word just came out that Vietnamese authorities are planning a public auction of approximately six pounds of tiger paste – ground bones and Continue reading

Read My Leaks

Classified Data Exposes
a Senseless Afghan War

A trove of classified military documents about the war in Afghanistan, leaked to three major global newspapers over the weekend, is renewing questions about the validity of that conflict, while shedding a new light on some of the reasons for its overextended duration and the staggering human toll it’s exacting.

With the six-year secret reports the Wikileaks Website obtained without disclosing how and made available to the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel, a much darker picture of that war effort began to emerge. Since the three newspapers Continue reading