It’s not 42

I’m way behind in my reading. It’s actually gotten worse since my local library cut their local hours and are only open while I’m at work. You’d think they would want to make sure that the library is open during hours set to be convenient for people who go to the library. Really, why have the library open during the day when the majority of folks are at work or school? Instead of 9-5 wouldn’t 12-8pm be more reasonable? The retirees can still enjoy it during the afternoon and kids with projects and adults who work could still enjoy the benefits of the library. And why close it on Sunday? Wouldn’t Monday be a better day to be closed? (it works for restaurants) Or Tuesday, nobody really likes Tuesdays. (It’s the ginger-headed-stepchild of the days of the week.)

All is not lost however. My local library system offers online ebooks as well as audiobooks. (If I had learned of this when it first became available, my wish list of reading materials might be a bit shorter.)

I’ve always been a fiction reader more prone to fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, crime novels, adventures, mysteries and Florida humorists like Carl Hiassen and Tim Dorsey. As I’ve gotten older though I seem to want to read more non-fiction, possibly because as time gets more finite in one’s life you start to think about how much more there is learn out there and fiction reading, while enjoyable, doesn’t seem as fulfilling as it used to be. (Did I just actually write that? Is this not the same guy who laughed his way through the Book of Mormon then realized they actually meant it?)

Being Florida, the library offers a plethora of books on religion and self-help books by Deepdish Chopra and Rake it in Warren and Dr Phool, but books by Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, etc are not available. (sigh) It’s not to be unexpected.

Once in a while searching through the list of available titles I do come across something worth either reading or listening to on my daily bike rides. (currently I’m listening to Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power by Richard Carwardine. It’s not bad but it spends a lot of time on the evangelicals and their attempts to affect his presidency. It looks more like he put them to his own use backing the emancipation and preservation of the Union instead. Good job Abe.)

I finally got around to reading Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens‘ autobiography. I actually rather enjoyed it. I think I understand a little better where he comes from in his writings as it were. Previously I had thought of Hitchens as a bit like a left-wing version of William F. Buckley Jr. and I stand corrected. It was a good read which is high praise from a guy who typically scorns memoirs. (They usually end up coming across like the writings of apologists. Look at Bush’s and Rumsfield’s excuse-filled scribblings for example.)

On the lighter side the library has the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams available and since I can just load it on my laptop I decided to reread it again since it’s been about 30 years since I originally read it. I enjoyed it even more now. (In fact I blew through it one Sunday afternoon with a couple of beers on the patio, a much better way to spend ones Sunday than on your knees begging forgiveness of an imaginary father figure, but I digress).

I started reading Stephen Hawking‘s The Grand Design last night. (I told you I’m behind in my reading.) So I’m reading the book and as it gets going they are setting the tone about the study of physics and questions and answers and I’m thinking to myself about Zaphod and Ford and Arthur and how Adams would approach this, and there, there at the bottom of page 12 is the following

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Why do we exist?

Why this particular set of laws and not some other?

This is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. We shall attempt to answer it in this book. Unlike the answer given in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, ours won’t simply be “42”.

It took me a few minutes to catch my breath. It just struck me as extremely funny and weird in that odd “vuja de”, as George Carlin put it, sort of way.

42 was so simple. Damn. But I’ll finish Hawking’s book anyway.



About NoSacredCow

Irreverent atheist, skeptic, independent voter, social liberal, fiscal conservative, music lover, avid reader, engager in ruthless repartee, just an extra in somebody else's movie...
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