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T W Gulliver (Denver, CO United States)

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The Gospel According to Jesus Christ
The Gospel According to Jesus Christ
by Jose Saramago
Edition: Paperback
Offered by BWBCANADA
Price: CDN$ 11.41
49 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh air, May 7 2004
Your other reviewers don't get it.
Saramago is an atheist lefty who enjoys lambasting the preposterousness of the Jesus story but makes of his reworking of it a love story, fable of tyranny, exploration of the forces bringing a religion into being, and commentary on the barely human existence of the poor around 0 BCE, as well as (and much more so than) a bit of Christianity-knocking. The miracles are of the same stuff as Portugal drifting off to take a tour of the Atlantic in "The Stone Raft" or the whole world going blind in "Blindness", they are lightly-weighted metaphor, candid tricks (I the author can do this, and you can enjoy or hate it, as you please, if you enter this lengthy sentence I promise I will break many other rules but thoroughly entertain you with novel conflations of the great and the small, the dire and the hilarious, so as to challenge your perceptions of great, small, dire, etc).
To find this treatment of Jesus "blasphemous" is funny, we may be thankful that most of civilization finds blasphemy as quaint as Baal and other vicious antique gods, but it is also scary, America the secular state is still very much under attack, and freedom of-and from- religion are hardly assured. The Inquisition and the awful Hibernian royalty of Saramago's "Baltasar and Blimunda" are mocked by the author so that we laugh at the horrendous and ridiculous antics of tyrants and villainous monks that so appall us. In his Gospel "liberated" from Matthew, Mark and the other incriminants, Saramago loves his very fallible Jesus and all the Mary's, mocks and mourns everything from our credulity and slavery to religion to even our notion of what is funny, and has a heck of a good time doing it.

Man from Snowy River and Other Verses
Man from Snowy River and Other Verses
by Andrew Barton Paterson
Edition: Hardcover
9 used & new from CDN$ 44.24

1.0 out of 5 stars A cheap printing of a fraction of the work, June 19 2003
This is a lousy edition by some New York bandit publisher, pages misaligned, uneven print; contains many of the soppy poems and not all the better ones. Better off looking for an older, used edition.

Fantastic Trees
Fantastic Trees
by Edwin A Menninger
Edition: Hardcover
19 used & new from CDN$ 7.02

2.0 out of 5 stars quaint, June 19 2003
This review is from: Fantastic Trees (Hardcover)
As PvR writes, this book is dated. By more than the 40 some years since publication; it has the flavor of a book from the early 1900's; the protestant missionary - tourist in a hundred exotic gardens whose names are mispelled; unsystematic; creationist. The funny tree the "natives" called tumbo, properly named for the German who "discovered" it and such wonders described in bubbles of enthusiasm for god's menagerie.
And yet a quaint book for your bathroom, for a quick contemplative chuckle at peculiarities of nature and at our silly selves. Very like a whale!

Ground-Water Microbiology and Geochemistry
Ground-Water Microbiology and Geochemistry
by Francis H. Chapelle
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 147.94
25 used & new from CDN$ 41.53

3.0 out of 5 stars Oh for an editor, April 29 2003
This second edition is just as full of typos as the first, an average of 1/page, from misuse of "it's" to alternation of the spelling of Monod (Monad), to slipping the superscript so 10^5 becomes 105. The illustrations are fine and clear, and subject to the same mispelling.
The author is with the USGeological Survey, which at least used to be a paragon of critical editing, and one had hoped for better proofing in this expansion of the widely used and acclaimed text. A book at this price that stands to be a long-lived authority should have received better.
The expansion is welcome, since geomicrobiology is advancing so fast that the first edition was already out of date. Much of the expansion is given to petroleum hydrocarbons (with a couple of pages on MTBE) and chlorinated solvents, some of which has again become dated since the second edition, already, some of which appears catering to school classes.
Some of the more mysterious questions of geomicrobiology are still avoided (e.g. how do microbes get into clayey deposits where pores are smaller than average bugs and pore throats are much smaller? did individuals get buried with the sediment and adapt to survive millions of years in virtual dormancy?). And Chapelle cannot quite bring himself to adopt the new divisions of Archaea and Bacteria, using the term bacteria to refer to both, in the old style, although he acknowledges the newer thinking.
Unfortunately, in such a small specialty, the existence of an authoritative edition discourages challengers, and we will no doubt wait another or ten years for another geomicrobiology text.
If you are thinking about this book as a reference, rather than a required text, you might look instead at the American Society for Microbiology's Manual of Environmental Microbiology, ed. Hurst, 1997, ASM Press. This is a collection of articles by 90 or so microbiologists that you can probably get used, is 900 p with considerably more breadth and depth than Chapelle, and is a bibliophile's delight. Chapelle has a section in Envir Microbio, which seems to be typo-free.
Envir Microbio also contains, for instance in a section on landfill processes, relatively extensive material on fermentation, which gets about a paragraph in Chapelle's book. Fermentation is very important in groundwater bioremediation, but typically gets short shrift because it is complicated and inefficient, and hard to track because it does not consume electron acceptors, and many of its products (typically acids) do not show up in traditional chemical analyses. Landfill engineers know a lot more about fermentation than geomicrobiologists.
Chapelle is also disappointing in not having stretched this edition to cover the budding discipline of isotopic fractionation in documenting microbial attenuation processes. To be sure, most of the published work using GC IRMS to separate and measure isotope ratios of individual organic compounds post-dates this second edition, but he must have been aware of these developments. He mentions some traditional isotopes to evidence evolution of some systems.

Chapelle's index is also skimpy. No page reference, for instance, for iron reducing bacteria, although he discusses them at some length, mentioning Geobacter chapelleii, named, deservedly, after himself.
But no scientific book goes as far as we would like down our special interests. Science literature is a work in progress, not a bible, and it is silly to expect The Book of Geomicrobiology & Geochemistry. I am not sending my Chapelle back.

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief
The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief
by Clair Davies
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 6.90

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hint, March 3 2003
When you get your copy of this book, take it to Kinkos or your local equivalent, and have them cut the spine off, and spiral-bind it so that it will lay flat and stay together. It will cost you less than $5.
Also, make about ten copies of the title page to hand out to others, so you give them purchasing info and do not feel obliged to lend it.
This book is spreading like a chain letter, and deserves to. It is likely to be judged in the future the greatest contribution to public health of the decade. Knock-offs are beginning to appear; I do not find it credible that its imitators could improve on it one iota.

Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds
Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds
by Harold Bloom
Edition: Hardcover
33 used & new from CDN$ 8.92

5.0 out of 5 stars yes but, Feb. 2 2003
This is an expensive book - it has obliged me to fill a lot of "holes" on my shelves; a stimulating book - maddeningly perturbing; and as some reviewers cannot get past, monumentally egoistic.
Science for Bloom (and that other Bloom, too) is anthropology - psychology, the social stuff that may strive to apply scientific methods but is far from natural science; and he (they) show, in their proclivity for cabalism and antipathy for imperial, dull and wrong "science", that they have, like the majority of Americans, never taken a single course in biology, evolution, geology, physics, cosmology; never read, say, Wilson, Darwin, Dennett, Lyle, Hawking, Weinberg, Sagan. Their "gnosticism" is a cheesy wriggling out of of both religion and science. If he/they want to make any reference to dogmas of science, he/they need to understand it a little. Science is not what they think it is.
As one miffed reviewer notes, a piece in this book titled "X" may seem to be entirely about W, Y & Z; if X is no more than his/her context, he/she probably does not deserve a place in Bloom's 100.
Why Bloom expects the world to sympathize with his Jewish cypher divisions is beyond me. If someone else used a Sanskrit index we wd mostly find it, what, adolescent? Insisting on the fundamentality of Jewish (religious) literature is one thing, indexing the whole of literature to a Hebrew cypher is another.
Bloom gets a lot of credit from me for exciting arguments. One has the dismaying impression that he expects agreement, rather than argument; but this is also true of many of his chosen subjects. He mentions in the "Yahwist" that Yaweh ambushes Moses and, apparently arbitrarily, tries to kill him; an apt metaphor for elements of Bloom's text, perhaps. The whole is disparate, perhaps indigestible, pompous, infuriating, huge and delicious.

by W. G. Sebald
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from CDN$ 2.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Where can Sebald go from here?, Dec 19 2001
This review is from: Austerlitz (Hardcover)
Austerlitz is another Sebald travelogue into sadness, deeper yet more lustrous than his previous books. The narrator carries on his own explorations of the monuments of Europe's tragedies as he periodically meets and hears the story of Austerlitz, who is on a quest for lost family and identity. Both make huge spiraling forays and speak quietly of losses of identity and even civilization, and overgrowths of the crass and brutish. The language is level and understated - itself shocking in these times - and does not draw attention to the intricacies of the links between threads. At the end Austerlitz leaves the narrator in Gare Austerlitz, on the trail of his lost father, and the narrator heads back to Belgian fortifications he explored at the beginning of the book with horror, like Anna Liffey recirculating in Joyce. Both men, we feel, are taking their leave into each their own abyss.
Sebald tours grief, loss and disintegration with steady composure, with clarity and grace, with photos like milestones at which we pause for the view ahead and behind, entranced, apalled, we want to hold his hand, don't leave us, go on talking.
Can Sebald re-surface after this? He must be exhausted.
I was thinking of editing my review to rescind the pessimistic conclusion, when I saw the note by 5-cent haircut, to whom thanks, the note of Sebald's death. Oh damn. Another grief to grieve. I discovered Sebald just after the death of my great friend and mentor, and grieved not ever taking my kids to meet him, and then not being able to introduce him to Sebald. The losses of 2001!
Because Sebald was not finished, as I suggested above. Austerlitz will play its themes over and over through your reflections. I had just realized that, contrary to the "where can he (Sebald) go from here", that he (Austerlitz) was moving out on a new venture that, while leaving the narrator stuck in his helical horrors, his departure to look for his father and the lover he had previously lost, are a resolute striking out for hope, not (necessarily) the last charge, as it felt to me at first.
You will reread Austerlitz often, entire, in random burrowings, or seeking a passage for the chords of your current mood. And you will find many books in Austerlitz. Now it is a swan song, as I intimated it might be; but it was not necessarily so; and I am deeply grieved.
Can we give him another star?

Ágætis Byrjun
Ágætis Byrjun
Offered by vs_music
Price: CDN$ 23.05
5 used & new from CDN$ 1.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dismal, Sept. 10 2001
This review is from: Ágætis Byrjun (Audio CD)
Did they just unwrap their electronic instruments? Did they ask the meter reader to sit in on percussion?
One can for a few minutes drift along the melancholy into the mist, rust and maudlin, ghostly moors. But when you come to you will realize it is just not good.

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief
The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief
by Clair Davies
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 6.90

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warning! Keep this book to yourself, Aug. 15 2001
I have now bought five copies of this book, giving them to friends, chronic sufferers of various completely misdiagnosed muscular plagues. The plain line drawings of an older guy doing it to himself and the author's tale of self-rescue from debilitating occupational trigger points are immediately winning. This is absolutely not another new age accupressure chakra crystallology AUM; it is the real thing. Pinch yourself; that's where it's at.
You have to get the Thera cane and the K-mart balls, too.
I am only an amateur (hey baby!) masseur; but this book makes me feel a huge responsibility to, you know, CURE people. Next thing one knows one has a following like Jesus and has to employ a bodyguard and an accountant, and, well a personal masseur. OK I'm kidding; a bit anyway.
This book has me back in my kayak, back with the free weights; and I didn't even think I had a problem other than inherited inflexibility and the usual tender knots that I thought were actually me muscools.
When you buy this book, write to the publisher and demand a new spiral-bound edition. So you can read it as you walk through the adoring crowd, lay it flat at the selected page. And a note to the author, telling him what a sweetie he is, and rilly, crowd control is your problem, not his.
Blessed be those who read this book, and do it to themselves.

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life
Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life
by Daniel C. Dennett
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.28
61 used & new from CDN$ 4.28

5.0 out of 5 stars endorsement of ladyfractal's review, June 23 2001
The most significant thing about this book is the reduction of Darwin's idea to the "algorithm" or the principle, that that which can, will be. It is generalized and applicable to not necessarily replicating systems like oh all the descendants of the big bang. Inorganic and organic; the latter ultimately more capable of complexity. And "spandrels", a space above a column in an arch, an architectural illustration of an argument Dennett has with Gould, who is shown by Dennett to be a bit of an erratic grandstander.
Dennett also spends a lot of time talking about false algorithms like "sky hooks" that some suppose lead evolution. This "guiding principle" comes up in arguments like, "how cd an eye have evolved without a creator knowing about light and vision in advance", is a relic of retreating creationism. Dennett patiently (at first read it may be a head-banger) tells us the difference between sky hooks and adaptationism.
Inorganic and organic things all obey the "laws" of thermodynamics. These laws are not a god-given constitution; they are descriptions of the ways things interact. So what? Dennett helps us realize, incidentally, how much of our uncritical thinking is haunted by these oedipal ghosts.
All or most of the negative or reserved reviews are by Xtians in difficulty reconciling Darwin - Dennett with their religion. Dennett does not belabor it but makes it plain that there is no possible rational reconciliation in the same turf. For this logical consistency, Gould et al portray Dennett, Dawkins (and fans) as "neo" or "ultra" darwinists, as if an accusation of "extremism" wd abash us from that which rings true.
The explication of Darwin's algorithm, the critical thinking, clarity, integrity, and informing wit of Dennett, and despite the acrimony of the arguments, the generosity of this book, will uplift you; unless you are hanging onto that rock in terror.

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