Sunday, July 15, 2018

Around My House

         Listening~ The Forgotten Man:  A New History of the Great Depression by Amity Schlaes has been on my list for a long time.  I'm glad I finally managed to get to it (thanks, Hoopla!).  Schlaes sheds new light on the Depression and dispels some of the myths surrounding FDR and the New Deal.  For instance, I was surprised to learn just how influenced by socialism in general and the Soviet Union in particular Roosevelt's cabinet members were.  I also learned that Casa Grande, Arizona, was founded as a planned collective farming community, but it quickly failed (no surprise there).  I have friends who used to live in Casa Grande, so this was interesting to me.  I also didn't realize how extensive the legal challenges to the New Deal were and how much of it was overthrown by the US Supreme Court.  The book does get a little dry here and there with statistics and the like, but they are necessary to get the full picture.  Recommended reading for those interested in learning more about this time period.

I love me some Dickens!  It had been a very long time since I'd encountered Oliver Twist, and I'm so glad I revisited him.  As is typical with Dickens, the plot gets in such a tangle you don't think it can ever be unraveled, but of course it is.  The scene with Fagin in prison on the eve of his execution is poignant.  Reading Dickens reminds me that every time and place has its social evils and our time is not unique.  The version I listened to is narrated by Simon Vance, my very favorite narrator of nineteenth century British novels.

I just started listening to The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.  Can you believe I've never read this or any Steinbeck for that matter?  The narrator is Dylan Baker, who narrates one of my favorite (funny) books, The Teacher's Funeral by Richard PeckI'm looking forward to this one.  Chapter one was brilliantly written and read!

        Reading~  The Dean's Watch by Elizabeth Goudge.  I loved The Scent of Water and am enjoying this one as well.  Goudge's prose is lovely, her characters are full-bodied, and she tells a good story!

         I've also just started The Story-Killers:  A Commonsense Case Against the Common Core by Terrence O. Moore.  The author is a professor at Hillsdale College, and since I highly respect other Hillsdale professors I've read or listened to, his credibility starts at a high level for me.  I've only read the preface at this point, but so far he's painting a pretty bleak picture of the state of public education under Common Core.  We shall see if it continues, as I suspect it will.

Image result for blue bloods tv show        Watching~  Dave had Blue Bloods recommended to him by a friend.  Not having had a TV in the house since HD became the standard, we are pretty out of it when it comes to keeping up with TV shows.  But we found it on Netflix and started watching, usually one episode at the end of the day.  It's a good, though not great, show.  The Reagans are a family of NYPD police officers ranging from a rookie to the NYPD police commissioner (played by Tom Selleck), except for the daughter Erin, who is an assistant DA.  There are some major improbabilities (most noticeably, Danny the detective and Erin the assistant DA being assigned to cases where they have clear conflicts of interest) and loose ends left unresolved, sometimes forever, sometimes just for too long. (I can't think of an example right now, but trust me, they are there!)  The family is a strong, intact, devoted, Irish-Catholic family who all make surprising compromises considering their church's stances on certain issues.  For instance, Erin is divorced, and almost all of them engage in pre- or extramarital congress, to use an old-fashioned term, lol.  On the positive side, the characters are trying to do the right thing, sometimes in very complex situations, and they are committed to seeing justice done.  They often risk their jobs or career advancement for what is right.  All in all, it's an enjoyable show, but you presumably already know that since you, dear reader, are probably more up-to-date and in-the-know than I am!

     We've also been watching a lot of this lately~

Daily there are deer down by the pond, often mama/baby pairs but sometimes just mamas and other times just babies.  Sometimes they get really curious. . .

. . . and look in through the windows!

Catching Up

Lake Michigan--gorgeous! It really has been two months since I last made a blog post!  This summer has been full of traveling, gardening...

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