Rats, Lice and History by Hans Zinsser

ZinsserSome of the (re)reading I’ve enjoyed while sheltered; Rats, Lice and History (1935) by Hans Zinsser is, as advertised, a biography of typhus fever. However, Zinsser covers a lot of ground on his way to telling the life story of typhus. Who knew plagues, epidemics and pandemics could be so interesting? Disease has shortened or prevented many wars while simultaneously killing more soldiers than have died in or as a result of combat during all of recorded history. But it isn’t all doom and gloom. Zinsser sometimes digresses into art, religion and other areas of science not directly involved with disease, but he never buries the reader in scientific jargon. I particularly enjoyed Zinsser’s critical takes on T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” and Gertrude Stein’s so-called “automatic writing”. Finally, someone who had the same reaction I had to those works.

One take-away was Zinsser’s observation that we have become short-sighted in our view of disease, thinking that knowledge of what has been learned in the few decades of our lives is sufficient to protect us going forward while all along we should be looking back several centuries to get a better picture what might/will cycle around as our future.

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Another TBR stack


Four collections plus a play(?) by Ayn Rand. My first by Tenn and Shaw.

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“To Be Read” Pile – Thanksgiving Edition

Visited my favorite used bookstore yesterday with this result-


Based on the title alone my very first by Michael Bishop. ‘The Guardians’ by John Christopher which I began last night, finished this morning and enjoyed very much. (young adult dystopian tale) ‘The Return’ by Isidore Hailbum, three by Philip Jose Farmer, three by Ron Goulart, two by Robert Heinlein and one by Clifford Simak. In addition to the Bishop a lot of firsts for me this week with Christopher, Haiblum, Goulart and Simak.

After arriving home, while flipping thru the Bishop, I caught a quick glance of ink pen writing. Thinking someone had marked up the book that I missed finding before I bought it, I went back to see how bad it was only to be pleasantly surprised to see this-


And BTW, at the bottom of the stack above is ‘The Profit’ by Kehlog Albran, (Kellog All-Bran, smirk) a parody of Kahlil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’.



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Securely sheltered from pop-culture

A recent work email about an upcoming network security related seminar contained this subject, “Get…tips from your favorite pop-culture icon” and offered these names- “Whether your hero is Rick Grimes, Saul Goodman, Tyrion Lannister, or a Guardian Titan, we’ve got you covered.”

My reaction was Huh? Huh? Huh? & Huh? My pop-culture icons range from Tom Terrific to Max Headroom but I’m apparently way out of touch with anything current.

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2015 California QSO Party Results

185 contacts on 10, 15 & 20 meters (SSB). 47 counties.

My goal each year is to work all 58 counties in California. Of the seven years I’ve participated, 50 is the most I have achieved.

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Separated at birth?


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Back to reading sci-fi again

Finished with the re-reading of Jerzy Kosinski’s oeuvre.


(I’ve read three in this photo since it was taken plus there are two Philip K. Dick novels waiting)

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