Sunday, October 24, 2021

Think the Government is Ready for the Next Pandemic?

The Premonition: A Pandemic StoryThe Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this book was very well written. Like any good story, I found it difficult to put down.

It was very frustrating to see yet another venerable institution, the CDC, laid bare. If you a fan of big government (though some elements of the private for-profit sector do not fare well in this story either) you're going to be saddened to see how dysfunctional so many layers of government, not just federal, can be. "Political cover" is often more important than public health. Political appointees are selected for reason other than competence, and these appointees cannot be made to look bad, even though they are useless and not contributing to the solution. The sheer cowardice of our political class is depressing.

Fortunately, there are some very smart people in the world who can get the right things done

View all my reviews

Friday, October 15, 2021

Book Review: The Survival of the Bark Canoe by John McPhee

The Survival of the Bark CanoeThe Survival of the Bark Canoe by John McPhee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A friend recommended I read this book. At first I was apprehensive. I'm into boats, but really big ones - not canoes! I previously read McPhee's Looking for a Ship and really liked it. So, of course, I would give this book a chance.

I'm glad I did. McPhee tells us about Henri Vaillancourt, builder of birch bark canoes, who lives near where I lived for a short time in New Hampshire (wish I had known he was so close when I lived there!). McPhee describes a vision of craftsmanship that is so appealing in today's time. Vaillancourt uses no power tools, uses traditional materials (no nails, no rivets) and takes the time to do it right. In today's high speed world, that is quite refreshing.

As in the previous McPhee book I read, McPhee excels at describing a journey. He takes a canoe trip in northern Maine with Vaillancourt and others and it's a great story all by itself!

Thanks to R.G. Ziemer (author of The Ghost of Jamie Mcvay) for a great recommendation!

View all my reviews

Morton Arboretum

I took a little walk around the Morton Arboretum today. It was cloudy; it rained a bit. I enjoyed it nonetheless.