Book Review: The Maneaters of Kumaon

Corbett, Jim. The Maneaters of Kumaon (Kindle edition, Merwin Unwin Reprint)

I grew up being told stories from Corbett and Capstick, and Bell, and other hunters and naturalists. So I knew the stories before I read them. That doesn’t change the heart-racing effect of reading this book, however. Corbett was a great story-teller as well as naturalist and hunter.

I needed a complete brain break. This was the perfect book for that. Short, intense, and beautifully written. Continue reading

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Book Review: Novak – Will it Liberate?

Novak, Michael. Will it Liberate? (1991) Kindle Edition

Liberation theology was one of those things I heard about while growing up, but never understood what it was. Nailing hot tapioca pudding to a tree seemed easier than finding a clear definition of what this Latin American thing was. Well, it turns out that’s in part because the proponents of Liberation Theology didn’t agree among themselves precisely what it espoused, and their beliefs changed over time. Michael Novak’s book, the third in a series about theology and political economy, answers those questions and points out the flaws in the very premise of Liberation Theology. He also shows how Classical Liberalism is not, despite what its critics claimed, incompatible with a Christian life and a just and successful society. Continue reading

Saturday Shikari: Shapes on the Ground

Rigi woke at dawn, then lay still, listening to her husband’s breathing and the sounds of camp. The air felt cool, and smelled a little of smoke, crushed grass, and dust, the normal scents of Shikhari. Thank you, Creators of all made things, of the worlds and stars, thank you for normal.

As she dressed, Rigi heard Tomás waking and snarling. Well, she amended her morning prayer, perhaps not all normal things. She speed-laced her boots and hurried out of his way, Martinus close behind. She strolled to the meal tent and found Rigel almost finished, and Tamara working her way through hot stewed grains. Salmae kept a close eye on both, and lightly spatted Rigel when he tried to drink his milk in one long gulp. “You are not a droop-nosed lump-head, Master Rigel.” Continue reading

Adieu Rover Opportunity

This week, NASA finally gave up trying to restore communications to the Mars rover Opportunity. It had a fantastic run, doing Rover things and exploring Mars from 2004 until June of last year. Alas, time, dust-storms, and exhaustion finally won.

From the NASA website https://mars.nasa.gov/resources/22147/the-evolution-of-a-martian/“The Evolution of a Martian”.

I remember the first Rover, Sojourner, which did its thing in 1997. What I especially remember is that, just as when the first Space Shuttle launched and then landed, everyone stopped what they were doing to watch. All of us not actually in the air at my home-base airport were glued to the TV, watching the first images and listening to the commentary. If we had to work, we left, then hurried back to see what new cool stuff was in progress. Because it was amazing, and cool. Continue reading

Sneaking up on Thirty Years

1989. Thirty years ago.

I really, really have trouble accepting that thirty years have passed since Tiananmen Square, Hungary opening its border with Austria, the Berlin Wall opening, Vaclav Havel and the Czechoslovaks peacefully ousting the Communists, and the Romanians not-so-peacefully ousting Ceausescu.

I do remember being absolutely stunned and feeling the entire world reel. Because the very thought of Germany not being divided, of people able to pass easily through Berlin… It wasn’t possible. There had always been a Warsaw Pact and an Iron Curtain, and there always would be. Because that’s just how the world was. Continue reading

Wednesday – with Wombows: Shikari 5 Excerpt

In which our intrepid illustrator ventures into the wilds… with children and spouse in tow. Look out world!

The children and Salmae had dozed off. Rigi allowed herself to relax, leaning her head against the headrest. Rigel had threatened to bounce out of his safety harness with excess energy, while Tamara waited until they were past the half-way point to their fuel-stop before falling prey to flight-induced quease. Makana contented himself with watching the land and skies around them. Brown extended as far as the eye could take in, past the curve of the planet, with cloud streaked blue above. If she twisted and craned her neck, Rigi could see the first clouds of the wet season beginning to mass behind them. They’d left long before dawn for that very reason. No one dared fly at the start of the Wet, not east of the Kenusha Plains, unless they were in a specially modified military aircraft.

The weather had turned cool the day after the dance. Tomás had turned cool as well. Not to Rigi and the children, no, but he and Kor worked longer and longer, and he spoke less when he did come home. Rigi had seen that the males ate and rested, and shouldered all the household tasks herself. Well, not by herself. Salmae, Makana, and Nahla had done far, far more than they should have. The Day of Rest had come as a blessing for all the house, human and Staré alike. Martinus seemed unconcerned, but then the few things that upset him could be swiftly dealt with. Granted, they often required a great deal of firepower to deal with, but lost wombeasts did not require diplomacy, tact, or truth-to-deceive.

Rigi opened her eyes. “How are you?” she asked Tomás.

“Hm? Fine, dear.” He kept his eyes on the instruments. “Please look at the map and see if we are, indeed, twenty kilometers east from the headwaters of the Kenusha.” Continue reading