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About Binker

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    Dallas, Texas

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  • Location
    Dallas, Texas
  • Current Book
    Inland by Tea Obreht

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  1. I think the danger with eugenics is that it's a short step from giving people options about their own lives to having others in charge of the decision. Giving other people the right to make the decision has a long, sordid history in the United States that began with sterilizing "feebleminded" women. These women were not feebleminded, they just didn't comply with society's requirements, often having come from impoverished backgrounds. One case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which upheld the right of the States to sterilize their citizens, with Oliver Wendall Holmes thundering "three generations of imbeciles is enough!" He was a lion of U.S. jurisprudence, but was so wrong on this matter that it beggars belief. Stephen Jay Gould, whom I admired tremendously, used it as an example of the kind of problems that arise when everyone agrees on something, claiming scientific support and studies. I heard him lecture several times. He always told the story of a woman who had been institutionalized as a child and, without her knowledge, much less her consent, sterilized. When she left the institution, she was perfectly normal, married, and finally went to the doctor to find out why she couldn't have children. He saw that she had been sterilized and asked her about it. She had no idea and was heartbroken. At one of the lectures, a woman asked what he thought the current prejudices were in science and he said, "I don't know because I'm right in the middle of it, but it will become obvious at some point." The Nazis and the Japanese embraced this theory of deciding who was good enough to live/reproduce wholeheartedly with the results that we all know.
  2. I feel great. I thought I felt great before (I went hiking above 10,000 feet and whitewater rafting at elevation and felt fine just a month before), but now I feel extra super special great. Thanks for your good wishes.
  3. Thank you, Momac. This isn't the kind of thing I wanted to discuss on FB, so I realize you may have been surprised. Now you know why I've been getting so much reading done.
  4. This got a rave review in the New York Times "Review of Books" last weekend, but something made me hesitate. Now I will hesitate more. My father grew up on a farm in rural Kansas and my mother has lots of relatives in Kansas City. I never really see any of them and I only saw the farm my father grew up on once. I think if your family has roots anywhere in the American Midwest, at some point, the path goes through Kansas.
  5. I didn't care for this book, either, although I'm don't remember my exact reason. I liked her first book a huge amount and nothing since then has lived up to it.
  6. You introduced me to Favel Parrett, in Past the Shallows. I thought that book was excellent and am delighted to read this review.
  7. Hello everyone. I have been absent for about 6 weeks and couldn't log in on my phone (will hope to remedy that soon). I had an emergency double bypass on August 25 and have been recovering at home since then. I'm back at work and I have no trouble logging in on my work computer. So I'm back!
  8. This is the most recent book in the very good Inspector Sejer series, set in Norway. Ragna Reigel is an exceptionally isolated woman working in what sounds like a cheap department store. Both of her parents are dead and she lives in their house, as she has always done. She has one son from a liaison when she was very young, who was raised in that house and who has now moved away to Germany, never returning home and rarely contacting her. Suddenly, she begins receiving threatening messages and these messages and their true source plus her reaction to them explain why she is being questioned by Inspector Sejer at a prison. But the reader doesn't know what has happened until the very end. What I found compelling about this book was how the drip drip drip of information until you, as the reader, begin to suspect and then suddenly realize what is going on. This book ended up being very chilling and I am determined to read something a bit less emotionally challenging as my next book.
  9. Sounds very good, but they would be preaching to the choir with me. This whole wall on the border with Mexico is absurd and, unlike other border States, Texas has never been very excited about stopping the flow of immigrants. They do all the construction work, maintenance work, etc. and we know it. Apparently people it other states don't know it, but they can only be willfully blind. Several years ago, Arizona passed legislation that the police could stop and ask you to prove you were a citizen, which has never been done. Someone asked the then-governor of Texas, Rick Perry, if Texas were going to do that. And he said, "No, those kinds of laws aren't good for Texas." He's a right-wing Republican.
  10. I loved these books growing up. My father must have read me most of the stories a dozen times. My kids were never very interested, which disappointed me.
  11. I also enjoyed it a great deal, but found the beginning slow and dangerously close to chick-lit. But I knew that Mr. HG wouldn't steer me wrong and he didn't.
  12. My son and I spent last week in Crested Butte, Colorado. We hiked and saw beautiful mountains and wildflowers. But the MOST fun was a white water rafting trip that we took. We have done a lot of whitewater rafting over the years, but this was one of the more technical ones we've been on. It was very cold (we wore wetsuits under our splash gear and needed them) and it rained the whole time (hailed in the beginning), but our guide was terrific and we had 4 experienced rafters (and one couple in their 70s for whom it was their first trip--eeek) and my son is very strong, so the raft always had power. Our guide grew up in Chile and she runs rafting trips out of Pucon, which I have now added as one of my destinations I would like to visit. It's a long flight, but only one time zone different, so the jet lag is minimal. Maybe next year (or the one after or the one after that, etc.).
  13. Meg, your trip sounds exciting and exhausting. Momac, there are many people here who will help you with those tasks. When my mother died and we sold her townhome almost immediately, I hired a friend who does those kinds of things for a living and she held an estate sale and then donated anything my brothers and I didn't want (we didn't want much). She told me to NOT come to the garage sale because it would be depressing, so if you go that route, you should probably make yourself scarce, too. I am about to go on a one-week vacation to Crested Butte, Colorado with my son. We haven't (so far) had a bad summer, but it's downright cool in the mountains, which I'm sure will feel good.
  14. Just pre-ordered it for my tablet. It will arrive a few days after I get home from what I am hoping is a very relaxing vacation. I will just have to read other things.
  15. It's already ordered. If it can come earlier, it will. I love pre-ordering books--they just appear on my kindle. I just don't like waiting quite as long as they said I'd have to wait.
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