Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Exercising my intellect

Another change I'm going to make here - my habit of using lyrics for post titles is going to have to go, except for the big emotionally charged posts. I'm just too lazy to go hunting for lyrics every time I want to say something.

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I finished reading a fascinating book over the weekend: Control of Nature by John McPhee. In it, he writes 3 essays on how man attempts extraordinary feats to make nature fit with the way humans live their lives: controlling the flow of the Mississippi, controlling lava flow of volcanoes in Iceland, and controlling rockfall and mudslides in Los Angeles.

What I found most amazing in this book was the naive belief that of course we can control nature. Nothing is out of our reach.  The sheer arrogance of this belief is staggering to me.  How we can think that we can control things we don't have the faintest understanding of is beyond me.

And when nature reclaims its own, won't we be surprised?

Currently I'm reading Blue Highways: A Journey Into America by William Least Heat-Moon.  It's a my-life's-not-working travelogue that reminds me of Neil Peart's Ghost Rider.  Of course, Blue Highways predates Peart's book by quite a bit, but I read Peart's book first, which is why the comparison works that way in my head.

It'll be interesting to see where this book goes.


  1. I remember reading Blue Highways in high school, I think it was, and loving it. It's been so many years that all I remember is my reaction, and not the actual book itself. I ought to go back and read it again.

  2. Blue Highways was a formative book for me. My appreciation of the serendipity of travel comes partially from my reading of that book.

  3. Funny story about Blue Highways: I read it in college and was also moved by it, for similar reasons as RaineS. Soon after I was raving about it to a friend who said "Yeah, my dad's the lawyer who represented his wife in the divorce. So you're welcome."

  4. I lurv Blue Highways, too. May you enjoy your travels...

  5. I *loved* Blue Highways. I hope you do too.

  6. I'm another who read this in college. The term "mouse spearmints" lives with me to this day.