November 1st, 2015

Via A7: Will a Jerusalem summit launch the fightback for the free world?

'For Samy and Srdoc, it is about "celebrating, rather than apologizing for our shared values."

Beyond the philosophical or ideological realm, they are more aware than many of the shared strategic challenges. Srdoc has for years campaigned to raise awareness of the links between drugs and arms trafficking via the Balkans into Europe, and the role such criminal networks play in funding Islamist terrorism.

The International Leaders Summit itself was born out of those concerns, which directly and indirectly threaten the entire western world, Samy recounted. ...'

Originally posted by arutzsheva at Will a Jerusalem summit launch the fightback for the free world?

The View from Home

It's just a pretty ordinary apartment complex in residential Southwest Portland, but I think they do a great job of keeping the grounds looking nice. This is the creek that I can see from my south-facing living room window and patio. I moved here at the beginning of what would be a very dry summer, and I always thought the creek looked pretty forlorn with barely a trickle of water running through it. But we had lots of rain in the past couple of days, and a sunny break this morning, so it was a good time to take a picture of the newly revived creek.

Books: Stephenson, Moorcock

I'm working my way through 'Quicksilver' by Neal Stephenson and 'The Whispering Swarm' by Michael Moorcock, concurrently, on audiobook. I'm about 40 pct through both.

I really wanted to like these books but so far have found them both slow going. Moorcock's book, published at the beginning of this year, is autobiographical fantasy. I am enjoying the view of daily life in postwar London in the generation before mine (I would be the same age as Moorcock's daughters), but the day-in-day-out history of his family and relationships drags on much too long. For me, Moorcock's character comes across as self-absorbed (his wife Helena gets zero lines of dialog) and much of the writing is simply tedious. The fantasy world has so far made only fleeting appearances, and I'm growing weary of the author/narrator's lengthy internal dialog rationalizing his paranormal experiences. I think the book would be more interesting to either somebody with a keen interest in the fantasy/SF scene of the 1960s/70s, or someone with a passion for historical costume, as there are pages and pages of detailed descriptions of clothes from the mid-17th to the mid-20th centuries. (My friend B falls in the latter category, which may explain why she enjoyed the book.)

'Quicksilver' switches between the 17th and 18th centuries and introduces Newton and other scientific luminaries, as well as the fictional Daniel Waterhouse. This book, too, is getting off to a very slow start for me, although Stephenson's dryly humorous prose style partly saves it.

As a kid, I was a devout F/SF reader; as an adult, I've had an off-again-on-again relationship with the genre. I do enjoy good writing and good storytelling of any genre; and I have an abiding interest in science, and in the Enlightenment era.

I am hoping the pace picks up, but I'm committed to finishing both books regardless. Feel free to drop a comment if you're familiar with either of these books.