Saturday, October 29, 2005


Computer programmers have a nifty hypothetical arrangement to test artificial intelligence. Called the Turing Test, it involves a human sitting at a terminal and basically instant messaging to the test program. If the human cannot tell if the entity on the other end is human or computer, we will have finally developed real artificial intelligence.

The people leaving comment spam on my August 30 blog entry fail this test miserably. It's fairly obvious that the comments are being left by an automated program that plugs the title of the post into a text advertisement that does not do a very good job of disguising itself as a comment from a real human reader of Penguin Perspectives.

Blogger allows me to block this, but it would add a step for you legitimate commenters. If I set this to block comment spam, you all would have to do the word verification thing, where you enter the series of letters that is shown on the screen like a Salvador Dali painting, before you could leave comments.

I like getting comments. If you comment, I know you're reading--except for the dumb spambots. I don't want to do anything that would turn actual people off from making legitimate non-ad comments. At this stage, if anyone says the extra step would keep them from commenting, I'll leave it as is and we'll just all laugh at how stupid the comment spam is.

Poll question: would you be less likely to leave comments if you had to go through the extra step of verifying that you are a human?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Welcome to the Fourth Dimension

Ready to have your mind bent? Here's an article on a statue of a four-dimensional object. It's warped a bit to work in the three-dimensional space we humans are able to wrap our brains around, something like how a cube gets distorted in a two-dimensional drawing, but most of the important parts are rendered true to form. I recommend the animated tour. It twists the brain just enough to make the whole thing work.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Sci-Fi is Now

You, too can own General Grievous's wheel bike. We're talking a real full-size, fully-functional wheel bike that can do 0-40 km in just over 8 seconds. Sets you back $4,600 plus shipping from Rotterdam.

Google Print

I've been going back and forth in my head over Google Print, Google's project to make the contents of entire libraries searchable online. There's some debate over whether that constitutes fair use or goes over the line to infringement. Oddly enough, no one has ever, as far as I know, raised hackles over searching web content, a good chunk of which is copyrighted simply by virtue of it being there. From what I've heard so far, I'll accept that the project takes precautions that people will not be able to access full copies of text under copyright, so the project is essentially a souped-up card catalog. As long as those precautions remain effective, I'll side with those who say that free exposure is good for authors. The minute someone hacks the database so that entire works are accessible (I give it a week after it goes online), that goes out the window.

However, I'm siding with the anti-Google publishers on another point. According to this article, when Google digitizes the books, they're making two copies, "using one to index for Internet searching and giving one to the libraries that supply the books to be indexed as 'payment' for access to the books." Put less delicately, in addition to the lofty goals of making the sum total of human knowledge searchable, they're making bootlegs and using them as currency. It's been a while since I've read the copyright laws, but I'm pretty sure that that isn't covered under fair use. It might be legal to rip a record you own to CD, but I'd venture it's infrigement to barter a second CD to the person who let you use his phonograph and CD burner.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Question of the Day

This question comes curtesy of listening to the Feynman lectures on physics during dental work and at 5 a.m. driving people to the airport. Nonetheless, it has been vexing me for days, so I'm putting out a call for answers, lest my brain explode under the weight of the pondering. If you can help me, or know someone who can, please send them my way [jharriett {replace this with the at sign} gmail {replace with the dot} com].

Background Point #1
Experiments have shown that a clock on an aircraft moving at high speeds will run slower than a clock on the ground. This has been interpreted as proving Einstein's theory of relativity, which apparently (I've never actually read it) says that time slows down at high speeds. This nicely facilitates time travel, including the entire Buck Rogers franchise.

Background Point #2
Back in the day, maritime navigation was a dicey proposition because calculating longitude required an accurate chronometer (e.g. a clock), and pendulum-based chronometers that kept perfectly decent time on land were unreliable at sea because the motion of the boat interfered with the motion of the pendulum. Since then, we have developed chronometers that are not affected by the motions of ships at sea. Nonetheless, every method of keeping time depends on the periodic nature of some motion (e.g. pendulum swing, coiled mainspring acting on a lever, electric pulses from a quartz crystal, the oscillations of a cesium atom).

Background Point #3
Now, obviously Albert Einstein did not get into a supersonic jet, fly around for fourteen hours, and notice that his watch was twelve billionths of a second off, then came up with the theory of relativity to explain it all. He came up with the whole concept on paper, and now we can do experiments that support it. Obviously, there is something to this, but I really don't have the theoretical physics mind to work it out myself.

Pre-Question Point #4
Without getting too technical (partly because I can't put up diagrams), every explanation I've seen for the time slowing down phenomenon basically comes down to the effect of high speed on the measuring device. Photons have longer distances to travel when the thing it's oscillating around is moving really fast, that sort of thing. Is it possible that we're just proving that there is still a mechanical flaw in the way we measure time? After all, no one thought that time actually slowed on the high seas when the clocks came back off.

Which brings me to my question:
If we could develop a method of measuring time that was completely independent of motion so the chronometer would show an accurate time no matter what the forward velocity, would time still slow down at high speeds? Does time objectively slow down or do we just lack a way of measuring time that is not influenced by high speeds?

Congratulations to anyone who has made it all the way through this post. Double congrats if it makes any sense. Triple congrats and a dozen homemade cookies if you can help me out with an answer. Quadruple congrats and a fresh apple pie for those of you who have to live with me and my asking out-of-nowhere questions on theoretical physics, just as long as you don't cut off my Science Channel. Emp. Peng. puts up with a lot, doesn't he?

Monday, October 24, 2005


NaNoWriMo starts in a week. Are you ready? Register at, and while you're at it, download and listen to The Secrets Special Edition #5, where Michael A. Stackpole discusses the ins and outs of NaNoWriMo participation and talking to your doctor about the consequences of taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for extended periods during your participation. Aleve does wonders for writer's cramp. I fully intend to finish again this year. Who's with me? I haven't found some of my partners in crime from last year registered as participants this year. You know who you are.

I think I'm almost set. I'm registered for this year (pengyfelix if you want to look me up). I have a plot and my protagonist's development arc roughly sketched out. My antagonist is giving me a little trouble, but I think that should work itself out. This year, as I may have mentioned, the novel will be titled Belly of the Beast, and unlike last year, the title bears some slight resemblance to the story I have in my head. The TV Guide synopsis: a scientist cures cancer, but the cure proves hard to stomach. Apparently, people in my fictional future have some moral reservations about splicing artificially created DNA sequences into embryos. I don't know where they get it from.

There is one plot point I am trying to clarify before I get too far in, since a large part of the plot hinges on it. Does anyone know if there is any reason that a woman who had her ovaries but not uterus removed could not carry a pregnancy to term (or at least to the stage of viable premature birth) if she had the appropriate hormone supplements?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

From the Mailbox

Our new neighborhood has rescheduled Halloween. According to the note in our mailbox, trick-or-treating will now occur on Oct 30 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. They say it's for safety reasons, but I think the teachers want the extra lead time to have the kids crash from the sugar high before school.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Here Goes Nothing

Tomorrow's the big day: Mensa National Testing Day, when I'll be taking the Mensa Admissions Test. You can find a test site near you here and take the plunge with me. The test is a 2 parter, and you have to get a score in the top 2% on one part to qualify for Mensa. Thing that worries me is that absolutely everyone expects I'll breeze right in, and I've never thought of myself as nearly as intelligent as other people seem to think I am. I guess after tomorrow, we'll see who's right.

On the other hand, if I do get in, that will be one sweet I Told You So to my 4th grade teacher, who apparently gave a rather negative assessment of my intellectual capabilities.

Early Adopters

USA Today crunched some numbers and found that 29% of US households are "likely to be early adopters" of technology. That should have raised some flags. It's not early adopting if a quarter of the country already does it. They looked at 20 behaviors like making VOIP calls (done it); replacing landlines with cell phones (what, and give up my TiVo?); using Wi-Fi networks outside the home or office (done it); playing group online games (and get my butt whipped by at 10-year-old? I think not); and buying home theater, PDA, PVR, etc. (done it). They then put the data through the wringer and came out with that 29% number.

I have an easier way to tell if you're an early adopter. Count the number of things in your house that track, tell, or display the time. Divide that by the number of people in your household who have a firm grasp of telling time in either a digital or analog format. Add 1 for every timepiece satellite linked to the US Naval Observatory or that displays time in binary. If the result is more than 14, you may well be an early adopter.

How did I come up with that? Time is one of the foundations of technology, so pretty much every bit of advanced technology includes a clock. I figured basic time-telling devices--alarm clocks, living room timepieces, wristwatches, and such--account for about 3 clocks per capita. Another six timepieces can be accounted for with what would hardly be considered advanced technology: microwave, VCR, car dashboard, home computer, stove, cordless phones, answering machine, etc. A third class of technology may have been in use longer in early adapters, but is fairly common in most people's day-to-day lives: cell phones, PDAs, laptops, video game consoles, MP3 players and the like. These account for another five clocks. So people who live connected but not technologically advanced lives can reasonably be expected to have about 14 things in their lives that tell the time, even if that is not their main function. More than that, and you probably have some cutting-edge technology, multiples of some of the items, or a very large cuckoo clock collection (there are of course flaws in my system). The bonus points are for what I consider truly geeked-out timepieces.

My score, by the way, is 17.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

More Neuticles

Speaking of fake dog testicles, the guy who invented them has put out a book. What am I doing wrong that the guy who invented scrotal implants for pets has a book deal and I don't?

Book 'Em

I just have to say that I've had professional portraits taken of me that don't look half as good as Tom DeLay's mug shot. Also, is it just me or does he look downright happy?

Penguin News

Th Ig Nobel Prizes, awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research to scientist who have done something that "first makes people laugh, then makes them think," were awarded two weeks ago, and it was not by oversight that I failed to mention that this year's Fluid Dynamics Ig Nobel went to a study of pressure when penguins go guano.

The Ig Nobels are an amusing award ceremony with the laudable goal of celebrating unusual and imaginitive science, and drawing attention to scientific pursuits. The official qualification for the prize is research that "cannot or should not be reproduced." Here's a nice, positive discussion on that phrase from the editor of AIR. Unfortunately, the people covering the iggies don't usually characterize the awards in the spirit they are intended. It's a funny human interest story for news outlets to fill some time or space with, but they always seem to do it with a bit of an interrobang, as in "Someone actually invented testicle implants for neutered dogs?!"
Although the Ig Nobels can be a thought-provoking tidbit for those who tend toward thought provocation, most people only give it the 10 seconds worth of brain time it takes to process, "Penguin poop? Someone did a study on penguin poop?"

The subtext of the Ig Nobel coverage is almost uniformly one of highlighting the most egregious wastes of resources for scientific research. After all, what use is it to humanity to know what sort of pressure builds up when penguins poop? Maybe a few penguin keepers would like to know, but shouldn't we be curing cancer or something like that?

The thing with scientific research is that a lot of it is done without any idea of what the result might end up being. A few years ago, we might have wondered why we were throwing money after a researcher who wanted to find out what made certain species of jellyfish glow. Who gives a jellyfish tentacle why they glow? Turns out, the thing that makes jellyfish glow is Green Fluorescent Protein, and it can be attached to any number of substances. Again, who cares? Then someone figured out that if you attached it to a substance that is in pretty much every cell of the body, you could make mice that glow like ghosts. Mutant glowing mice, while cool, still score about a zero on the usefulness meter in the minds of the general public, particularly as they are not available as housepets. But these green fluorescent mice can be implanted with cancer cells that fluoresce red, and viola! Now, by switching on light, researchers can track exactly how a cancer grows and spreads throughout the body of a living being, bringing us a big step closer to figuring out how to stop it. Finding out why jellyfish glow isn't such a stupid waste of time anymore, but years ago, no one could have seen that coming.

As for the penguin guano study, it's noteworthy, though not noted in any of the press coverage I read, that the study was completely noninvasive. Penguins are protected species, and permits are required to get within 5 meters of them in the wild (presumably this doesn't apply to certain penguins that live in suburban New Zealand and regularly approach humans of their own volition). The study was done entirely by observing penguins from a distance. I'm sure the penguins preferred that to having pressure gauges attached to their butts.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Part II

If there is one positive thing to be said about undergoing dental work without adequate anesthesia (see previous post), it does have a way of putting the rest of the day in perspective. I thought my day had already hit bottom at 2 o'clock this morning. Sometimes, it can get worse.

Shortly before 2 a.m., I was awoken by the melodious yowlings of one of the cats picking on another. I'm not sure who started it, but I staggered out to the living room to find Sonja on the coffee table hissing and yowling at Chessie. This is a fairly regular occurrence in our house, and we usually just put Sonja in a bedroom to calm down, since she's the one most prone to peeing on things. I grabbed Sonja by her middle and was just reaching to cradle her paws in the other hand when


The water softener kicked on. Sonja was already edgy, and a sudden loud noise was about the last thing we needed to add to this mix. For a declawed cat, she can sure inflict damage when she's spooked. She sliced open the entire length of my left pinky finger, put two punctures in the heel of my right hand, and left an impressive scratch that goes across my right wrist and about a third of the way down my forearm. The pisser is that the water softener kicks on at 2 a.m. because we're not supposed to run water while it is cycling, which really puts a damper on effective wound irrigation.

Some Days It Just Doesn't Pay to Get Out of Bed

I don't think anyone likes the dentist. Given the choice between routine dental work and a day basking on the beach or taking in a really good movie, there isn't a person alive who would pick the dentist. I'm sure there are people out there who don't mind going to the dentist, and would pick that over, say, having their nosehairs plucked out one at a time. I am not one of them. I genuinely hate having to go to the dentist, for several very good reasons. Most notably, the dentist who almost dislocated my jaw with a bite blocker, the one who replaced all of my silver fillings with the less durable white fillings without telling me, and the one who said I needed a root canal right before I moved and didn't have time to have it done. The need for a root canal suddenly evaporated when I changed dentists, and no one else has mentioned it in seven years since.

Then, of course, there was this morning. My most recent dentist found five cavities. Not the record, but close. No dentist has ever looked in my mouth without wanting to drill at least one tooth and undertake a major renovation. Best of all, these five cavities are arranged such that they can't all be filled at the same time, so today I was in for the first three. Things were going fine for the first fifteen minutes or so when they put the numbz-it on and gave one more plug for the renovation [I had a condition that caused severe pain and potentially could have rendered me unable to bear children that doctors weren't half as concerned about curing as dentists are about this one misaligned tooth]. Actually, things were going well for about the first hour and fifteen minutes. Then, the novocaine started to wear off about halfway through filling #2 of 3.

I would have mentioned this development to the people drilling my face, but they had fitted me with a combination spit sucker and bite blocker that limited any sort of vocalizations to grunts, and those are pretty hard to hear over the drill and spit sucker. They must have been, since no one noticed I was trying to get their attention to stop leaning on my face so that I was biting my own upper lip against my will. However, the lack of novocaine did allow me to notice that the aforementioned spitsucker had glommed firmly on to the inside of my cheek, presumably spending the last hour giving my mouth the king of all internal hickies. And the next hour, too, since the appliance restricted my tongue just enough to make it impossible to dislodge the chunk of flesh from the sucky tube. The swelling has gone down, but that spot still feels raw five hours later. I probably should have just grabbed their arms to draw their attention to my increasing lack of anesthesia, but at the time, that did not seem like a good choice for dealing with people with power tools and pointy metal things in my mouth. I'll have to come up with something before I go back in a couple weeks for the other two fillings.

For this, I got to pay them a hundred and fifteen bucks.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

The government is preparing a plan to deal with a flu pandemic. This is good, because we're long overdue for one. Stockpiles of Tamiflu seem to figure highly in this plan. This is bad, because bird flu--currently the frontrunner for Source of Next Pandemic--has already developed a Tamiflu-resistant strain. Plastic wrap and duct tape all over again.

So Much for Unnatural

First we had Roy and Silo, the male-male penguin pair at the Central Park Zoo (by the way, they've broke up). Now, Canada has homosexual yeast.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I miss all the fun

I leave for six months, and Toledo starts rioting.

A few years ago when I was working as a freelance reporter in Toledo, I had the distinct honor of a brief interview with Jack Ford, Toledo's mayor. I only vaguely remember what the topic of the article was, but I vividly remember that if I had to describe Mayor Ford in one word, it would be "intimidating"--I might not be afraid to cross him on the sidewalk, but he had the air of a man you definitely did not want to cross. If I get a second word, it would be "large." I've also, in a less official capacity, met the Toledo chief of police, and if there was a situation that the two of them together could not gain control of in under a minute, it must have been quite the doozy.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Notes on Suburban Homesteading

I just learned something very important about canning. When planning the purchase of Mason jars, take the number of jars you think you will need to preserve your bounty, then multiply by at least 2. This is how many canning jars you will need to buy, and buy them early.

I have two apple trees still laden with fruit that say it is still peak canning season. This opinion is apparently not shared by any retail outlets in the city that would stock canning jars. The displays of canning supplies have been repurposed for candy canes and evergreen wreaths, which I'm willing to bet a jar of my maple cider butter will not be gone before New Year's. I've tried grocery stores, the fruit market, and Wal-Mart*, and before I resort to buying basic glass jars online, I'm taking suggestions about other places to look.

*-My apologies for anyone boycotting Wal-Mart, but it is an unfortunate reality that here in the boonies, that is often the best bet for finding certain items.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I'm the Queen of All Dorkopolis

I know, I know. I should have figured that one out long before now, but it just hit me when someone expressed a bit of astonishment that I would have driven the 102 miles back to help out my former employer with some annual reports. I told them I didn't mind, that I had spent the two hour commute listening to physics lectures.

Apparently, most people don't listen to physics lectures for fun, and certainly not at 8 a.m. driving down the Ohio Turnpike. Me, I've started working my way through the Feynman Lectures, the audio recordings of the two-year introductory physics course that Richard Feynman taught at CalTech in the 60's. Nothing like Physics 101 taught by a Nobel Prize winner with a sense of humor. I assume at some point later on in the lecture series, he'll explain the discovery in quantum electrodynamics that got him that prize. Some may also remember Richard Feynman as the one who figured out why the space shuttle Challenger exploded and provided a surprise demo of the exact problem on live TV.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pain at the Pump

I learned to drive in Oregon. Now, there are two things Oregonians will never do: pay sales tax and pump their own gas. I had been driving three years before I learned how to operate a gas pump, and I only broke down then because I had moved to Nebraska, a state that has no problem with self-service fuel stations, even when it is cold enough to neuter a person as they "remain in view of vehicle while fueling." The move to Nebraska also marked the exact moment I stopped paying cash for gas. In Oregon, I usually just cracked my window, threaded a $5 bill through to the attendant, and specified "regular." I never have gotten the hang of how one pays cash for a fillup at a self-serve station, so I've transitioned to using the card swipers on the pumps. Today makes three times I've spoken with a gas station attendant since leaving Oregon.

I'd gotten some of those prepaid gas cards and was trying to use up the odds and ends of the balances to fill up my tank. I put in 1.07 gallons using one of the cards, then the card reader refused to read any of the other cards. I tried them all three or four times, then decided heck with this and went for my bank card. The pump wouldn't read that, either, which meant I had to brave the Land of Stale Twinkies and get the attendant to process the card.

I handed my bank card to a woman who looked like she belonged working in a place that sold tobacco and trans fats and said, "I'm on pump 7. It won't read my card."


It took me close to half a minute to register that she had just given me a total and was waiting for me to pay it. Now, I know gas prices have been going up lately, but I didn't think we'd hit $15 a gallon yet. "Are you sure?"

"Pump 7?"


"On the end there?"


"Silvery bluish car?"

According to the dealer, the paint on my car is Aqua Ice, but in a certain light and around enough hot dog fumes, it might look silvery blue. "Yes. Second car out there, behind the maroon one."

"That'll be $15.01."

"I just pumped $3 in, and I paid for that with this," I handed her the spent prepaid card. "Now I want to finish filling up, but it won't read my card."

She consulted her computer screen. People wonder why the evil empires are always technologically advanced. "It says here '$15.01.'"

"But I didn't put $15.01 worth in my car."

"You can go out and check the display if you want." I think she just wanted to get me out of there so she could get to the line forming behind me.

As I suspected, the display read $3 for 1.07 gallons of 87 octane. I went back and told her that.

We went back and forth a few more times. She insisted that my total was $15.01. I countered that I in fact did not owe her anything at the moment, but would like to come to some sort of arrangement to pay her for hydrocarbons I would like to purchase. When it was clear we were going nowhere, she called the manager.

Lucky for me the manager had lost fewer brain cells to exposure to lotto scratch ticket coating. She figured out in short order that the person before me had neglected to pay for $15.01 worth of gas. A legitimate and reasonable oversight, I'm sure. That's 20 minutes of my life I'll never get back, all so some guy could make off with what amounts to not even half a tank of gas. May that person's tank run dry near festering roadkill skunk.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Almost Time

We're facing down central October, which means NaNoWriMo is barrelling down on us faster than you'd think. It also means the Christmas decorations are sprouting, but I think I've thoroughly addressed that subject. I'm all registered for this year's Novel in a Month. The prep has already started. I have an idea, rudimentary characters, and am working on an outline so I know more or less where I'm going. The title this year is Belly of the Beast, and I'm sticking with sci-fi. According to my current planning, it will be a novel concerning the ethical dilemmas of scientific progress, but then again, what sci-fi isn't.

With my status as Work at Home Wife, I should have more time this year, so I'm hoping to produce something closer to the length of an actual publishable novel, which means aiming closer to 90,000-100,000 words.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Serenity Online

The first nine minutes of Serenity is available for online viewing, and through what appears to be a legitimate movie publicity site not some cheesy bootleggers. Click here to view, no software plugins required. I challenge you to watch that opener and not want to see Serenity's other 110 minutes. I assure you that the movie just gets even better afterward. Fair warning that the movie is PG-13, and toward the end of the clip, it becomes apparent why.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Truth is Stranger

In the spirit of Supporting America Without Making Any Real Sacrifices, we went in on Dine For America. A bunch of restaurants coordinated to donate profits from tonight (Wednesday nights being a notoriously profitable night for restaurants) to hurricane relief efforts. We went to the local Outback Steakhouse, where our waitress was named Katrina. That's the kind of thing I wouldn't dare make up.

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

Every day, I like to learn at least one useful thing, in keeping with my philosophy of not giving the cosmos a reason to regret letting me wake up alive. I think today may have given the universe pause while still adding to my trove of semi-useful knowledge. Today's lesson: never reach into a flowering plant without paying attention to what else might be there. I have the wasp sting on my finger to prove the usefulness of that (and also to make typing that much more interesting).

Monday, October 03, 2005

A Couple Random Thoughts

On the newest nominee for the Supreme Court: I know that, technically, there are no minimum job qualifications for being a Supreme Court Justice, but shouldn't someone be required to have ajudicated at least one case before being appointed to The Highest Court In The Land?

On those "American Pride" bumper stickers stuck to the same cars as the "What Would Jesus Do?" and "God is my Co-Pilot" bumper stickers: Isn't pride on that list of Seven Deadly Sins?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Willing Suspension of Internal Editor

Usually, books and movies are mutually incompatible. Horrible cinematic adaptations of literature are far too numerous to list here. Even the good book-based movies lose a lot in the translation. When John Le Carre's The Taylor of Panama moved to the big screen, the author observed that the adaptation process was something akin to watching a cow reduced to beef bullion.

By that same token, novelizations of movies often turn out about as well as attenpts to build a cow out of bullion cubes. It may taste vaguely cowlike, but it won't moo. Some of the better movie novels manage to fill in a little backstory or include scenes that ended up being cut for cinematic reasons. Some are basically the shooting scripts stretched out into complete sentences, which is a huge waste of reading time after one has already invested at least an hour and a half in watching the movie. Other novelization--notably the Star Wars Revenge of the Sith--made me wonder if I was watching the same movie that the book was allegedly based on. Either way, the novelizations often end up as time one will never get back.

Serenity is different. I've already gushed about the movie. This morning, I burned through the Serenity novelization by Keith R.A. DeCandido. The book merits the best bit of praise I can give to a work of fiction: I enjoyed reading it. Normally, that would not be much of a compliment, but I read as a writer, dissecting the technical aspects of the piece. I still read a lot, but that is for a combination of market research and professional skill development. Most of Serenity bulldozed right through that and got to that little corner of my brain that still reads just for fun. A book that can get past my internal editor is a rare gem indeed.