Another Quest Video and Some Book Reviews

Well, Quest has turned around another video of me touting a new white paper. I think that I look better in this one, but sound worse. Of course, I’m horribly embarrassed by all of these videos. So, no matter how good I look, I still feel uncomfortable about them.

On another note, I’ve read a few books in my most recent travels that are worth mentioning. First, are two books from Christopher Moore – The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove and Fluke. Moore is best known for concocting interesting characters and situations, then turning them into slightly wacky laugh-fests. BTW, the topics are rated R adult issues. So don’t share his books with your teens or pre-teens. I found Fluke to be a good read, but certainlt not my favorite. The Lust Lizard, OTOH, is now my second favorite Moore book after The Stupidest Angel.

Moore’s books often vear into supernatural, magical, or sci-fi territory. For example, in Lust Lizard, the title character is a Godzilla-like monster with the unique hunting technique of eminating brainwaves that make all the mammals within several hundred yards, well, horny. It sounds weird, or maybe even stupid, but it is in fact totally hilarious as long as you’re willing to suspend disbelief.

I also read two really fantastic non-fiction books that I thoroughly enjoyed. The first is a best seller called The Ghost Map. This is an amazing true story of the horrible London cholera epidemic of 1854 and the two great minds that were able to decipher the true cause of the epidemic and rise above the mistaken scientific theories of the day, which placed the blame of the epidemic on “miasma”, that is, the bad smells that were ubiquitous in pre-sewers London.
One of Steven Johnson’s key assertions in his book is that genius comes from intelligent people who have a broad and encompassing understanding of the world, rather than those who know a single topic in every minute detail. I rank this book right up there with my other all time favorites, such as Connections by James Burk and Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.
Another fantastic non-fiction book that I recently enjoyed was called Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. This very interesting book provided a very detailed scholarly discussion of all things related to the development of the bible as we have it today and helps cut away the copious layers of unsubstantiated tradition and legend that simplify a faith that is sophisticated and nuanced. I’ve always understood that the Bible was a growing and developing document. So this account was very interesting, especially because it explained how the latest scholarship is affecting the shape and text of our holy scriptures today. The biggest shocker? That the very famous passage of Jesus and the adulterous woman (you might know it best as the scene in which Jesus says “Let him among you without sin cast the first stone.”) was actually a later addition to the text of the Gospel in which it appears and was not present in earlier versions of the same Gospel. At the end of the day did the book rattle or change my faith? No, not at all. But it better informed my faith and helped me to see that Christianity is not a simple system of rules, but a more complex and on-going revelation of God to man.

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