Cancun 2017

The view from our terrace

We left around noon, and 24 hours later, this was our view. Transportation from the Cancun airport is pretty much a must–you can wade through the vendors as you exit the airport, but you’re going to end up paying the same price as a transport service, so you might as well do it in style. They’ll be waiting for you with your name on a sign, and with Canada Transfers, you can even arrange for a cold beer to be waiting. It was around $53 US round trip, to be personally chauffeured to your room.

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Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, and the Making of Winston Churchill, by Candice Millard

I certainly never knew this about Winston Churchill. The only times I’ve seen him referenced was in reference to WWII. So, not only did he lead England through that great war, but he was definitely a hero and leader in this Boer War, a war that I’d never heard about.

From his earliest years, young Winston wanted to make a name for himself. And in a big way. His idea was to do it through war. Because of his fervent belief that he was destined for something great, he pursued the front lines, and the greater the danger, the greater the draw.

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The Boy on the Bridge, by M. R. Carey

This is a prequel to The Girls with all the Gifts, and it’s just as good. Like GWAG, the juicy parts of the book are not the physical dangers so much as the inner conflicts of the team as they search the ruins of Earth for a clue on how to stop the plague that has wiped out most of the population and replaced them with zombie like creatures they call ‘hungries.’

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The Widow, by Fiona Barton

You could compare this book to Girl On the Train, in the sense that they’re both psychological thrillers, but GOT had more drama–there was a real threat of someone being murdered, whereas Widow had more of a sinister undercurrent. Also reminded me of the British TV series ‘The Killing.”

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The Chemist, by Stephanie Meyer

How did I get sucked into reading another SM book? 1. Most of the reviews were good, 2. I was in a hurry 3. It wasn’t part of the Twilight series.

Well, now I’ve learned my lesson. Too bad SM hasn’t. The book started off great, and through the first half, I was thinking, she actually does know how to write, and she’s broken out of the romance novel mode. And then comes the same stupid, sappy, lovey dovey let’s see how long we can drag out this conversation style of writing.

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Cancun 2014

The Xoximilco gondola dinner ride

Saturday

Flew to Philly, then cancun at 7:45, got to Cancun at 12:50 pm. Airport transfer was through canada tours, $53 round trip, plus $1 for a Corona on the ride. We hung out at pool until Jeanne and Eddie  arrived, around 6. For dinner, we ate on site. Had the fajitas, were so-so.

 

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The Best Friend, by Shalini Boland

Very good psych thriller. Louisa’s husband is a mess and they’re on the financial rocks. But, she finds a new friend that promises to help them both, socially and financially. Unfortunately, slight cracks start to appear in the relationship, and soon develop into full fledged breaks.

My wife and I listened to this book on the way to a mountain vacation a couple of weeks ago, and it kept us both interested the whole way. The villain of the story is very shrewd and extremely wicked, but like the best villains, charismatic. That’s the trap that Louisa falls into. How far will she fall?

TV Guide for cordcutters

I’ve been frustrated by normal TV guides when it comes to showing OTA channels. I’m sorry, but I just can’t remember what channels are represented by 8.2, 35.3, etc. And a normal channel guide shows programs by channel name, like MyTV, MeTV,  or Comet–same problem–what number belongs to what channel? After much searching, I found a solution–in the Android store, search for “TV Listings & Guide Plus.”

And BTW, “Best of the Week” has some amazing videos every day. That would be on MeTV.

The Hunt for Vulcan, by Thomas Levenson

While the story of Vulcan is relatively short, the majority of this book is spent covering the science that led up to how this colossal mistake called Vulcan was made. It started with the triumph of mathematics and observational accuracy that led to the discovery of Neptune in 1846. It was almost exactly where the mathematician Urbain La Verrier predicted it would be, using the unexplained deviations in the orbit of the planet Uranus. La Verrier reasoned that another planet must be influencing Uranus’ orbit, and he was right. The planet was discovered within on hour of the initial search with a telescope.

Largely due to this success, La Verrier used the same approach to explain the error in Mercury’s orbit. Mercury’s orbit was also a mystery–its orbit did not fit any calculations. So, La Verrier assumed that another planet was causing the problem. His argument was so convincing, and his reputation so impeccable, that astronomers were soon announcing that they had seen this planet–presumptuously named Vulcan. After one well known astronomer announced that he saw it, the New York Times published “there is an end of all discussion. Vulcan exists…” But Vulcan refused to appear. Le Verrier even made a prediction that Vulcan would transit the Sun in early October of 1876. But, it did not appear.

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Black Hole, by Marcia Bartusiak

Black holes were a theoretical device before they were considered to be actual physical objects. This book shows how the idea was gradually accepted–and it took a long time. Even Albert Einstein found it too mind boggling to accept–he actually wrote a paper “proving” that they could not exist. This is a great quote from the book that summarizes the battle:

“There is a curious parallel between the histories of black holes and continental drift. Evidence for both was already non-ignorable by 1916, but both ideas were stopped in their tracks for half a century by a resistance bordering on the irrational.”

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