Monthly Archives: October 2009

More books

Getting behind on my book blogging…

79) John Scalzi – Your Hate Mail will be Graded.  A collection of Scalzi’s blog postings from the last 10 years.  Won a Hugo.  Amusing.

80) Wil Wheaton – Memories of the Future, Volume 1.  Wheaton’s recollections and musings on the first half of the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Not all that interesting.  Maybe if you were a really serious Star Trek fan.

81) T.R. Reid – The Healing of America.  Reid visited a number of countries that guarantee basic health care to residents, and writes about the different approaches taken, how they work, and also why the US’s approach has so many problems.

Prius headlight

My Prius recently developed what seems to be a pretty common ailment – its right headlight would go out at random times.  Flipping the lights off and on, it would come back on.  That’s typical of how an HID bulb fails, but they’re supposed to last a lot longer.  But lots of Priuses seem to be developing this problem.

It wouldn’t be such a big deal, except that Toyota charges $200 for the replacement bulb and another $200 to install it.  Yikes!

So I did what any red-blooded American boy would do – went on eBay and bought two bulbs for $50, and replaced it myself.  Not that replacing it is easy; you have to disassemble part of the right front area of the engine compartment before you can reach the bulb, then remove about three layers of mechanical stuff that holds the bulb in and carries the electricity, pretty much blind.  You then replace the bulb, carefully not touching it with your skin at any time.  And then of course, putit all back together.

Well, my new bulb turns on.  Time will tell if it’ll solve the problem.

Doherty – The Jesus Puzzle

77) Earl Doherty – The Jesus Puzzle.  This book is an odd beast.  The subject is Doherty’s theory that there was no historical Jesus, but it’s framed as a novel about an author of historical fiction doing research for a novel.

I found the theory very convincing.  The core of the argument is based on the epistles, most of which date from well before the gospels’ writing. We tend to read them with the preconception that they’re talking about the historical Jesus and a church founded on the historical Jesus’s life and actions.  But when they’re read with an awareness of that tendency, it turns out they don’t support that idea at all.  There’s nothing in them about any part of Jesus’s life apart from the death and resurrection, and that is never spoken of in concrete terms that would imply they were actual events on earth – more likely, they’re considered to have taken place in a spiritual plane.  Over and over teachings are presented that parallel those attributed to Jesus in the gospels – and yet they’re never attributed to Jesus, which is simply impossible to believe if they’re speaking to a church founded on an historical Jesus.  How better to support your argument than to say the founder of the church said it – and yet they never say that.  It’s as if they’re not at all aware of the existence of an historical Jesus.

There’s much, much more to the argument of course.  You can find the book and more material about it at http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/.  (The book is a free download.)  There’s a single article (much shorter than the book :-) ) at http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/jhcjp.htm.

Mieville – Perdido Street Station

76) China Mieville – Perdido Street Station.  This book was a bit hard to get into (it took me two tries) but was ultimately worth it.  An interesting mix of steam-punk and the fantastic and grotesque, with characters I was interested in and a plot that, once it got going anyway, kept me interested through the end.

This unfortunately contrasts with his The Iron Council, which I slogged through more than half of, and gave up, not caring what happened in the rest of it.