On Friday and Saturday night I took the camera and tripod out again to fool around with long exposure photography - gallery here. This is fun!
Also on Friday night, I was sitting in my hammock watching an episode of Top Gear on my laptop when my wife came out and said, "Hey, Wes! That newsman is on Dateline... the one Saturday Night Live makes fun of!" The newsman in question in Keith Morrison (at left), who has the creepiest delivery and facial expressions I've ever seen on a newsguy. At any rate, the SNL impression was so accurate I was nearly in tears laughing at the real thing! Here's the skit.
I thought melodramatic local newsguy Pat Collins was the worst... but Morrison tops him for sheet weirdness. Actually, Morrison reminds me of a guy I used to work with named Roy, who infused every conversation with an odd, out of place conspiratorial tone of voice, as if there were deep, dark secrets lurking behind every status report and schedule. He was so creepy and loathsome that nobody wanted to sit next to him in meetings.
Yard sales were pretty good on Saturday morning; I got 13 CDs for $10. Mostly "Greatest Hits" collections by Queen, the Doors, Pat Benatar, etc. All have been loaded onto my iPod.
On Saturday, on a whim based on the viewing of the Top Gear feature on the Peel microcar last week, my wife and I drove to a Smart Car dealership in Alexandria and looked at one. I am happy to report that all 6' 3" of me can fit into it comfortably. In fact, it looks like a pretty well-made car. It's built by Mercedes-Benz, which explains that. I wouldn't have one - it's just too small - but it makes sense for exclusively city use.
I got to page 250 (not quite halfway) in Jay Winik's book "The Great Upheaval" and gave up. I tossed the book. As I mentioned, it badly needs editing. For example, this on page 238: "A bodyguard, a mere boy, was ruthlessly murdered and dragged into the courtyard half dead, becoming little more than a bleeding trophy." If you're murdered you can't be dragged anywhere "half dead." And this one got by the editors at Harper-Collins! (Assuming, of course, that this book was edited at all.)
Also annoying was a mention of William Tecumpseh Sherman as "Bill Sherman." In my 35+ years of reading Civil War non-fiction, I have never seen him referred to in this way. "Cump," yes. "Billy" Sherman or "Uncle Billy" Sherman, yes. But Bill Sherman? What, were he and Winik pals?
What tipped me over the edge, however, was his formulaic, "But - and it was a big but -" or "If - and it was a big if -" etc. Good grief. Real historians don't write like that.
I am now reading another amateur history book I found in a For Free box at church, "Mormon Gold - The Story of California's Mormon Argonauts" by J. Kenneth Davies. When I visited Coloma, California in 1988 while on a business trip I was surprised to learn about the Mormon involvement in the great Gold Rush. (The man who first discovered gold at Sutter's Mill had a crew made up of former Mormon Battalion soldiers.)
Monday. Sigh. I am really looking forward to some time off in August...
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