Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Insert Snappy Title Here Redux

Still enjoying the Prius. 500 miles on it, averaging 44 mpg. Got 48 going to Louisville and back. Sometimes tho, it's like "stop obsessing and just drive the damn car" -- but I did drive for 10 minutes on a flat narrow country road at 20 mph and it stayed pretty much all electric, ooh, ahh. I have found the touch that keeps the gas off.

No biking for 3 weekends -- cold and rainy. Then, weekend before last, did 30 miles. Last weekend I overdid it. 20 miles to High Bridge. I'd never been there, nice little park, beautiful overlook. Then, brain fart, I decided to take the scenic route home. Total wound up 45.6 miles, 4 hours, 3 stops on the way home. I was almost thinking of calling someone to come get me, but I made it home.

On a more personal note, after noting that I had had multiple drinks all but maybe 3 nights in the last month, I decided to go on the wagon for a while (at least to get my tolerance down). So, 4 days, don't notice much difference. Still bored.

Finished "Guns, Germs, and Steel", the 2nd Jared Diamond I have read. I think I liked "The Third Chimpanzee" a little better, moderate duplication here, still lots of FFTKAT:

  • Basic premise: primarily geographic accidents determined which continents and peoples got started first, with the things needed to develop civilization, such that they then kicked the other peoples asses when they ran into them later.
  • The fertile crescent with its Mediterranean climate was the perfect place on earth for plant domestication (crops and farming) to begin. Also, out of 14 total large mammals domesticated by humans (it's hard), 9 were in Eurasia, including all of the big 5 (pigs, goats, sheep, cows, horses).
  • Farming => population density => specialized classes in society => states => writing => technology => ass kickers.
  • "Greatest surprise in human history" -- Madagascar was colonized in 500 AD by Austronesians from Borneo, 4000 miles away!
  • I had read elsewhere and forgotten, 1st alphabetic (as opposed to ideographic or syllabic) written language was Semitic/Hebrew, and all other written alphabets came from there.
  • 1st alphabetic Greek inscription, from 740 BC: "Whoever of all dancers performs most nimbly will win this vase as a prize." -- so, 1st prize in a dance contest.
  • 2nd alphabetic Greek inscription: "I am Nestor's delicious drinking cup. Whoever drinks from this cup swiftly will the desire of fair-crowned Aphrodite sieze him." -- true historical import, the discovery of beer goggles! I had no idea history was so much fun!
  • The book finishes with, History as a Science, instead of a collection of random facts. Good stuff.
Music wise, got the new Ben Folds, "Songs for Silverman", very good, 4 stars. Got the new Aimee Mann, "The Forgotten Arm", OK, I may like it better as I listen more, 3 stars. Got the new Dave Matthews, "Stand Up". Track 11, "Stolen Away on 55th and 3rd" was the 1st song in years that I listened to and immediately said, I've got to hear that again. So, I've listened to it about 30 times in the last week. Totally memetic hook, no chorus, no bridge, 6 notes in the verse (1 alternate), 10-12 lines of words repeated hypnotically for 4:16. 4 Stars for "Stand up", 5 for track 11.

My youngest also left me "Funeral", by The Arcade Fire. Very nice, peppy British punk, kind of like The Kinks in places, almost 4 stars, 3 for now, may get upgraded. Wow, just read a review at Barnes & Noble, its about deaths of family members and post-apocalyptic stuff. I guess I missed that part ...

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