Thursday, December 16, 2010

North Pole Express

Because we knew Jack would love it...we decided to fork over the big bucks in order to ride the North Pole Express in Heber. We had a hard time finding a setting on our camera that didn't end up with terrible lighting, so sorry for the poor quality and lack of pictures.

For us, the highlights of the ride include: the punching of our tickets (although he wasn't quite as skilled as the conductor on the real Polar Express), the 'elves' passing out cookies and hot choc-o-lot, Mrs. Claus, caroles, the workshops along the way (they were actually just houses that were decorated for Christmas, but I thought it was really cute that Jack thought they were Santa's workshops), and of course, SANTA!
Classic Jack
Helping out with the 12 days of Christmas
Nervous giggles (she wasn't sure about Santa)
For Christmas, I want a train I can ride on

This year in books

I was thinking that I would jot down which books I have read this year. In no particular order and for my own documentation: 

Sergeant Nibley PHD - Nibley
Liberty and Tyranny - Levine
The Quiet American - Green 
Farenheit 451 - Bradbury
On the Duty of Civil Disobedience - Thoreau
The Hunger Games Trilogy - Collins
Why I Write - Orwell
A Peace to End All Peace - Fromkin
Silent Night - Weintraub
All Quiet on the Western Front - Remarque
The Next 100 Years - Freidman
The Great Gatsby - Fitzgerald
Anatomy of Peace - Arbinger Institute
I am currently reading The Real Lincoln - DiLorenzo
The Book of Mormon

A few highlights: 

Would have probably read 3 or 4 more books but A Peace to End All Peace was a very dense 550 pages rife with important details that are difficult to recall and often require going back to refresh the timeline of events in your head. 

Sergeant Nibley was the best WW2 book I have read so far. That man and his stories are unbelievable. He was quite literally involved in every major aspect of the war including major campaigns, intelligence gathering and planning. He crossed paths with Hitler, was at Normandy on D-Day, flew in on a glider in Market Garden, captured the Eagles Nest with the 101st and laid the groundwork for the CIA to mention a few. He should have been killed no less than a dozen times during the war. 

Anatomy of Peace is a great little book and makes me try to argue more effectively and understand people more fully.

I have read my fair share of books on the topic of war, especially modern war and have yet to come across a single instance where someone who was in the front, in the trenches did not come away broken from the experience. I cannot understand why we love war so much in our country except that so few people feel the actual effects of it and know its horrors. We have been convinced by our governments that we should hate entire ethnic groups and cultures without knowing much about them at all. Cries of patriotism are used effectively to try and silence any who are anti-war, death, destruction and annihilation, though they are the ones trying to sort out the matter and spare blood and treasure and national integrity doing so. I also have a difficult time with Christians in general but specifically LDS people, who have the Book of Mormon and how they continue to warp the teachings of Christ in order to find reasons for war. I cannot for the life of me understand how they find application for the war chapters of the Book of Mormon and the conclusions of Mormon and Moroni regarding war if they exclude the application to themselves and their own country. Mormon 4:5 has kind of become my new favorite verse regarding the claim that we need continual war. It says: 

"But, behold, the judgements of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed."

So if it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished - which one do we want to be? 

I love books. My amazon wishlist has swelled to over 600 titles recently and I continue to purchase at least 4 books a month, often more. I will often read a book to find out that I now need to read 5 or 10 more and so my list continues to grow instead of shrink. It has been a good year in books. I have several large treatises on economics and the founding that are looming large on the horizon. Human action is a very difficult 1000 page economics book that comes with its own glossary (separate volume) because the author has invented so many new words. Then I just bought Conceived in Liberty, 1670 pages, 4 volumes. 2011 should be a great year in books.