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review 2018-04-25 01:17
A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership - James Comey

I didn’t intend to this buy this book, but all of a sudden, I wanted to read it.  Maybe because I felt sorry for Comey.  I know, he gets fired but a book deal, and I feel sorry for him.  But while I wasn’t happy with his announcements about Clinton’s emails during the election cycle, I also felt he was caught between two options, neither of which was good.  While the announcements undoubtedly had an effect, he wasn’t the cause of the loss, especially when looking at the sexist treatment of her in the news.  I didn’t vote for Trump, and I am a registered independent.  And, yes, I voted for Clinton and walked in my local Women’s March (as did Comey’s wife and daughters).

 

                In terms of writing, Comey’s book isn’t bad.  It isn’t great, but the tone is easy and he doesn’t make you want to run screaming for the hills or throw it up against a wall.  He uses “a lot” a bit too much for my taste.  There are some flashes of humor.  He is fair towards Clinton, admitting that of the people he chronicles in the book, she is the one he never met, and she has/had good reason to avoid meeting him. 

 

                But you don’t want to hear about that do you?

 

                There isn’t much about Comey’s private life here, though it is quite clear he deeply loves and admires his wife, he also loves his children (and in fact, he and his wife lost a child).  He details some of his time before working for the Bush and Obama administration.  The focus is on his service, in varying functions, for three presidents.

 

                What is clear is that of the three presidents Comey served, Trump is by far the worse and in Comey’s (and my) view unfit for office.  Bush, he respects but sees as flawed in some areas.  Comey really admires Obama, though he does offer one critique, and holds Obama up as the ideal leader because of his ability to listen, truly listen, his principles, and his courtesy.

 

                Trump doesn’t have anyone of that, and Bush’s humor was a bit crueller than Obama’s.  Much has been made about Comey’s remarks about Trump, but it should be noted that the Bush administration, not necessarily Bush himself but those under him, don’t look to good.

 

                It’s true that Comey does comment on Trump’s tie and hands, and this does cheapen Comey somewhat, though you can understand the desire to sling back.  It should be noted that Comey does debunk the Trump ice cream charge.  The hand aside, Comey’s case against Trump is pretty damning.

 

                But for me the best part of the book, the most important, and the part that should get far more attention is Comey’s discussion of his time at the FBI during the protests in Fergusson and the killings of young African American men.  Part of this discussion includes the story of a conversation he had with Obama which focus on perspective and how that influences the meaning of language.  The book is worth the cost simply for this chapter where two difference people from two different backgrounds actually talk and listen to each other – becoming wiser in the process. We need more leaders like that, especially when it comes to dealing with race.  This conversation is not something we are going to get with the current president, especially since of this writing Orange Man has yet to twitter the name James Shaw Jr, a young man who believes that he is not a hero simply because he was trying to save himself when he also saved others.  Considering that Mr. Shaw is black and the killer was white, we pretty much have Trump’s view on race right there, don’t we?

 

                What is interesting, and a comment on gender in politics in particular and society in gender, is he comments on the behavior of Lynch and Yates during the Clinton email issue during the campaign.  He knows that the women are honorable and doesn’t think they were doing anything wrong or shady.  He respects both women.  Yet, he notes that he didn’t/doesn’t understand some of the choices and wording that they used during the camping/Clinton email.  He also makes the same observation about Obama.  Perhaps his confusion is because Yates, Lynch, and Obama knew how the press would play the story simply because of Clinton being female. 

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review 2018-04-24 14:46
The Truth About Animals by Lucy Cooke
The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife - Lucy Cooke

TITLE:  The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife

 

AUTHOR:  Lucy Cooke

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2018

 

FORMAT:  ebook

 

ISBN-13:  978-0-465-09465-3

___________________________

 

From the blurb:

"Mary Roach meets Sam Kean and Bill Bryson in this uproarious tour of the basest instincts and biggest mysteries of the animal world.  Humans have gone to the Moon and discovered the Higgs boson, but when it comes to understanding animals, we've still got a long way to go. Whether we're seeing a viral video of romping baby pandas or a picture of penguins "holding hands," it's hard for us not to project our own values--innocence, fidelity, temperance, hard work--onto animals. So you've probably never considered if moose get drunk, penguins cheat on their mates, or worker ants lay about. They do--and that's just for starters. In The Truth About Animals, Lucy Cooke takes us on a worldwide journey to meet everyone from a Colombian hippo castrator to a Chinese panda porn peddler, all to lay bare the secret--and often hilarious--habits of the animal kingdom. Charming and at times downright weird, this modern bestiary is perfect for anyone who has ever suspected that virtue might be unnatural."

 

 

 

The Truth About Animals provides an entertaining and interesting look at the private lives of animals.  The book takes a look at the oddball myths that surround some of these animals and the (sometimes ling-winded) opinions/works of historical (and modern) naturalists with regards to these myths.  Each chapter deals with a different animal and is filled with fascinating tidbits and humour.  Animals covered in the book include eels, beavers, sloths, hyenas, storks, vultures, bats, frogs, pandas, penguins, hippos, mooses, and chimpanzees.  This is an enjoyable, informative and light read.

 

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review 2018-04-16 02:29
The Truth by Terry Pratchett
The Truth - Terry Pratchett

Series: Discworld #25

 

Some dwarves set up a printing press in Ankh-Morporkh and Lord Vetinari decides it's time to move with the times and allow it, much to the Engravers' Guild's consternation. The book is a lot of fun, and I liked how Pratchett gave a nod to both the owner of the first printing press in England, William Caxton, and his assistant, Wynkyn de Worde, in naming William de Worde. He gets caught up in everything with the dwarves and basically invents the first newspaper on the Disc.

 

The scenes with Otto Chriek, the vampire photographer are great and I love it whenever poor Gaspode shows up.

 

Previous updates:

34 of 444 pages

253 of 444 pages

274 of 444 pages

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text 2018-04-15 21:42
Reading progress update: I've read 274 out of 444 pages.
The Truth - Terry Pratchett

‘—no, that’s a poodle. It doesn’t look a bit like the dog we’re after—’
‘—no, that’s not it. How do I know? Because it’s a cat. All right, then why’s it washing itself? No, I’m sorry, dogs don’t do that—’
‘—no, madam, that’s a bulldog—’
‘—no, that’s not it. No, sir, I know that’s not it. Because it’s a parrot, that’s why. You’ve taught it to bark and you’ve painted “DoG” on the side of it but it’s still a parrot—’

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text 2018-04-15 21:22
Reading progress update: I've read 253 out of 444 pages.
The Truth - Terry Pratchett

'A dwarf needs gold to get married.’


‘What … like a dowry? But I thought dwarfs didn’t differentiate between—’


‘No, no, the two dwarfs getting married each buy the other dwarf off their parents.’


Buy?’ said William. ‘How can you buy people?’


‘See? Cultural misunderstanding once again, lad. It costs a lot of money to raise a young dwarf to marriageable age. Food, clothes, chain mail … it all adds up over the years. It needs repaying. After all, the other dwarf is getting a valuable commodity. And it has to be paid for in gold. That’s traditional. Or gems. They’re fine, too. You must’ve heard our saying “worth his weight in gold”? Of course, if a dwarf’s been working for his parents that gets taken into account on the other side of the ledger. Why, a dwarf who’s left off marrying till late in life is probably owed quite a tidy sum in wages – you’re still looking at me in that funny way …’

 

‘It’s just that we don’t do it like that …’ mumbled William.


Goodmountain gave him a sharp look. ‘Don’t you, now?’ he said. ‘Really? What do you use instead, then?’


‘Er … gratitude, I suppose,’ said William. He wanted this conversation to stop, right now. It was heading out over thin ice.


‘And how’s that calculated?’


‘Well … it isn’t, as such …’


‘Doesn’t that cause problems?’


‘Sometimes.’


‘Ah. Well, we know about gratitude, too. But our way means the couple start their new lives in a state of …
g’daraka … er, free, unencumbered, new dwarfs. Then their parents might well give them a huge wedding present, much bigger than the dowry. But it is between dwarf and dwarf, out of love and respect, not between debtor and creditor … though I have to say these human words are not really the best way of describing it. It works for us. It’s worked for a thousand years.’

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