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About Binker

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  • Location
    Dallas, Texas

Profile Information

  • Location
    Dallas, Texas
  • Current Book
    Less by Andrew Sean Greer
  1. Poetic Wanderings

    I, like most U.S. children of a certain age (not sure about my own children), learned this poem as a child and still remember the first 5 lines. "Gitchee Gumee" is Lake Superior, one of the great lakes up on the U.S./Canadian border. Thank you for posting this, meg.
  2. I just bought/borrowed/received...

    Lew Wallace was a Union General during the U.S. Civil War. Ben-Hur ended up being the best-selling American novel of the 19th Century, surpassing even Uncle Tom's Cabin. Wallace fought at the Battle of Shiloh, which is one of the big--and therefore terribly bloody--battles of the American Civil War. Wallace received a lot of criticism of how he handled the battle, but the blame has since been at least somewhat removed from him. After the Civil War, he served briefly in the Mexican Army, as the territorial governor of New Mexico, and as a diplomat to the Ottoman Empire. A lot of the men who served in the Civil War, particularly on the victorious side, had very interesting post-war lives. John Wesley Powell, who explored the Colorado River and wrote stunning books about it, lost most of his right arm at the Battle of Shiloh (wonder if he blamed Wallace), then undertook tons of exploration in western North America (later to become the western United States). He was very interested in the American Indians and gentle in his descriptions of him (no "blood-thirsty savage" language) and in conservation. He reminds me a bit of Robert FitzRoy in those qualities.
  3. Commonwealth

    Once again, Viccie and I have the exact same taste in books. Has anyone else read this?
  4. I just watched the first episode of this series, which is based on the second book in the series. I felt exactly the same way watching this episode as I did reading the book that it is based on: certainty that the main character was so careless with his life that he was always about to die. In the next episode (based on the first book) we will see what about his childhood engendered that carelessness. I thought it was excellent and despaired of anyone being able to translate that gorgeous language about terrible things visually, but they did. Has anyone else seen it?
  5. Rest in Peace

    Tom Wolfe at 87 (the same age as my mother).
  6. what is everyone doing?

    My daughter and I went to a wedding the past weekend and flew in and out of San Antonio. We had about an hour to kill before our flight, so we went to the Alamo. We had both been there before, of course, since it's a pilgrimage spot for Texans. What we noticed again is how many different places the soldiers who died there were from. Not only were most of them from other states, but there was a big contingent from the U.K. Scotland, Ireland, England, and Wales all have flags on display inside the church (the Alamo was the church for the garrison that was stationed there). I guess that happened because Texas was still frontier and so most everyone who moved there was an immigrant. It's really very touching even if you aren't from Texas. We were glad we went.
  7. The Book Of Ebenezer Le Page

    I loved this book and thought I had posted on it. Everyone I gave it to loved it, with the exception of my daughter and she was probably too young to fully appreciate it.
  8. what is everyone doing?

    I second Viccie. Even I, in a much less hospitable climate, have had luck with David Austin roses. My favorite "yellow rose of Texas" is a David Austin rose. I also have very good luck with antique roses, which are incredibly fragrant.
  9. The Woman In White; New TV Adaptation.

    I didn't know there was a new one. The old one was terrific. I watched it with my daughter and niece in a darkened room and we all got so scared that we had to turn on one lamp and then a second one. The reviews on this one are very good. It'll get over here at some point, I hope.
  10. I finally got my hands on this book and read it straight through except for a couple of weeks when it went missing at the house and so I read Rules of Civility. Even with the break, I loved the book. It did remind me how much I had enjoyed Gideon Mack and the thinking about the issues it presented. This book, also, makes you think about "trust the story" and also about the arc of a person's life, particularly someone who lives a long time, like Don. I learned a lot I had sort of vaguely known about the history of the time and didn't mind the political discussions. The only person who made me roll my eyes was Jean, who seemed so full of herself. I didn't mind the espousing left-wing views while living in inherited money. That's the description of most of the left-wingers in the United States, so I guess I've gotten used to it. I've recommended it highly to friends. This is the first time I've thought, "Oh, I've got to give this to Mom to read" only to realize that I can't.
  11. what is everyone doing?

    My mother's maid of honor died last week, just 2 months after my mother's death. She was also a friend of mine and my last contact with my mother's childhood. My mother grew up in Golden, Colorado and this friend stayed in the area. I stayed with her one summer and every time we went to Colorado on vacation, we would stop and she her and her husband. The news has made me very sad.
  12. Rest in Peace

    I was in Houston on the day Barbara Bush died. I would have bet money that she would outlive her husband, who always seemed so frail. Last year, I read a biography of George H.W. Bush by Jon Meacham (and heard Meacham speak about the book) and it was fascinating. I didn't agree with him on everything, but he really was an honorable human being. We wasted all of our extreme declarations of evil and incompetence on the Bushes and Reagan so that the accurate words were diluted by being applied to them when Trump was running for office. Now I just don't watch the news.
  13. Rules of Civility

    I just finished this and enjoyed it very much. Most of my friends think it compares unfavorably to A Gentleman in Moscow, but one liked it better. I really enjoyed both of them, although I admit that Gentleman is more charming.
  14. Rest in Peace

    I loved Hill Street Blues. Just the first few notes of the theme song takes me back to all of those beloved characters and stories.
  15. what is everyone doing?

    Your weather has been all over the news here. I guess "Beast from the East" is just too tempting a title. I'm glad that it seems that everyone is okay. My mother died suddenly and unexpectedly a week ago. She co-hosted a ladies' luncheon Thursday and was as right as rain. She had told her pastor (and no one else) that she was having some tests run on her heart and was concerned. I guess that must have been it because none of her other conditions were life-threatening. In fact, she was planning to go to the mountains on vacation this summer with my brother and his family. Instead, they are all coming to town for her service and to help as much as they can with her house. Then my brothers and I are flying to Miami to place her ashes with my father's. My brothers are flying back to Dallas to load up a U-Haul with what they are taking back with them and I am driving on to Orlando for a conference where I am, unfortunately, speaking. I will arrive a day early and think I will lie out by the pool (under an umbrella since I am a person of pallor) and take a few minutes to breathe deeply.