Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 2011: Musings & Meanderings on the Space Shuttle, Global Warming, & the Economy

I usually write a health and fitness letter around this time of year.  I am going to pass on that topic this year.  It would be a boring letter (not that there are any guarantees that this will be a riveting read by any means).   It is the 21st of the month and another topic has not jumped out and grabbed my attention.  This being the case, I will make this letter one of those true musing and meandering letters I occasional send out.
Most of these pieces are motivated from the news this month and certain articles on the topics I have read.
July 21 - The Space Shuttle:  The Space Shuttle Atlantis landed early this morning in Florida.  With the landing, the thirty year Space Shuttle program comes to an end.  The last Apollo mission was in December of 1972.  There was not another manned US flight until April 12, 1981 when the Columbia was propelled into space riding piggy back on the solid fuel boosters.   From that date, there have been 135 flights.
There were five Shuttles that were built and actually went to space.  They were named Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavor.  Only three remain.   Challenger and Columbia both had mid-air disasters resulting in the loss of both crews and the shuttles as well.  The demise of Challenger was on January 28, 1986.   It was cold and the o-rings on the solid fuel boosters did not seat and seal properly.  Upon take-off, a fuel leak occurred and ignited.  When that happened, the entire booster and shuttle were consumed in flames.  It was a tragic accident that stunned the nation.  It was one of those moments like the JFK assassination, the death of Princess Di, and 9-11, when everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they learned of the news.
The Columbia incinerated on re-entry on February 1, 2003 destroyed the orbiter and resulting in the loss of the entire crew.  At launch, 16 days earlier, a piece of insulation broke free of the booster and punctured the leading edge of one of the wings.  The intense heat, reaching  up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and turbulence of re-entry ripped the vehicle apart beginning at that puncture point.  This was also a very sad event but it was not as big of a shock because, I believe, the Challenger disaster 17 years earlier clearly made the public aware of how dangerous these kinds of flights were.
The program cost $209 Billion.  355 individual crew members flew one or more shuttle missions.  The astronauts spent almost 200,000 man-hours in space.  The shuttle fleet has orbited the Earth 21,000 times over the span of the program.  Over the years, the shuttle fleet has taken 3.5 million pounds of cargo into space for 180 specific tasks such as launching satellites and delivering payloads to the international space station.  The shuttle fleet has returned 230,000 pounds of cargo back to Earth.  The shuttle program has had a long and storied life.
I wonder why we end a program like Apollo and now the Shuttle program without having the follow-on project teed up and ready to go?  There is a lot of talk that future space missions will not be government funded but rather private ventures.   The entrepreneurs behind some of these ventures are Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Atlantic, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com fame.
I have written in these letters before that I never thought the Space Shuttle and booster system was a good design.  Mostly it was because it did not look slick.  The orbiter it self was big and bulky.  The piggy back launching system was nothing like I expected when I first saw it.  I thought it was downright ugly.  When I read about the tiles that were glued to the orbiter, I was impressed with the ceramic chemistry and design but, really, tiles glued to a space ship?  It made no sense to me.  I do understand the facts and figures quoted above about the number of missions and payloads.  Those numbers are impressive. The system did not appeal to me aesthetically nor did it convey a high level of reliability.  It looked all wrong.
Thus, for me, only one figure stands out.  The bottom line is that two of the five orbiters were destroyed resulting in the lives of the two crews.  The horrible and tragic demise of Challenger and Columbia loom large.  The motto of the program, or at least as I have seen on NASA Space Shuttle coffee cups, is “Failure is not an Option.”  This combined with the lack of a follow-up program leaves me in two minds about the program.
July 22 - Global Warming Re-visited:  The eastern  half of the United States is  experiencing what used to be referred to as a heat wave.  It is no longer called that.  I heard a new term this week that seems to have supplanted “heat wave.”  We are currently under a heat dome.  It is a  term common to meteorologists but not to the public.  Basically, a heat dome is an abnormally large high pressure system in the upper atmosphere that compresses and heats up the air under it causing soaring temperatures.  It would seem that a heat dome causes the old fashioned heat wave.  It makes me wonder if we will have to change the words of the old Irving Berlin song from:

We’re having a heat wave...
We’re under a heat dome...

It would be easy to write about global warming because we are record setting temperatures are being set in the eastern of the United States.   It is partially true because the motivation is from a Washington Post article, “Five Myths about Extreme Weather” was written in the middle of this heat wave... um... heat dome thing we are experiencing.  There was one startling fact in the article:

Globally, June was the 316th month in a row that had a higher temperature than the 20th century average. http://t.co/zrDZtP7

Golly, Mr. Science, that sure seems like a significant statistic.  I wonder what it means.

In quality control, a run of five measurements over the long term average indicates a system that is out of control and that perhaps the system output has changed.  Further investigation is required that would result in an action plan to either return the system to its former level of performance or to simply recalculate the control chart parameters and thus except the new normal.
With regards to climate change, I would naively recommend recalculating the parameters because no action plan is going to fix things very quickly.  316 months in 26 years and four months.  That seems pretty significant.  
The argument against freaking out about global warming is often based on the fact that we have only been tracking temperatures and weather conditions for a hundred maybe two hundred years.  In the history of our planet, we have seen long cycles of warming and cooling and perhaps we are simply seeing something that is in the normal ebb and flow of the planet.  That sounds very rational.  The counter to that would be that since 1900 man’s impact on the Earth has been significant.  In 1900, there were 1.6B people in the world.  Today there are 7.  The amount of carbon emissions has grown exponentially with, my guess is, faster than the population growth.  Furthermore, we have significantly reduced the forests and hence the planets ability to dealing with the increased carbon dioxide.
I am not freaking out, but I am concerned.
July 23 - The Fickle Economy:  Calling the recession of 2008-2009 The Great Recession is apropos.  It was not quite the The Great Depression as officially we never went into depression.  The recovery, and I hesitate to call it that truly, is hardly robust.  Words like sputtering, grudgingly lethargic, and others come to mind.  Job cuts again reared its ugly head in June at companies like Borders, Lockheed Martin, and Cisco.  The total cuts in June were 41,000 jobs.  The number of state and local government workers cut so far this year has been over 140,000.  The official unemployment rate hovers around 9.2% but really it is over 16%.  The difference is the number of people who are no longer on unemployment, no longer looking for work, or working part time jobs far below the salaries they were accustomed to.  This means that one sixth of the American labor force is unemployed or under employed.  
I have contended that while we might officially come out of the recession, we will be a lesser country than we were when we went into it.   I feel even stronger about this than when I first thought and expressed such.  Companies continue to recover.  We see reports of quarterly and annual reports showing profits and good progress.  But, contrary to recoveries of the past, we are not seeing the trickle down to the masses.  Because there are so many less industrial or manufacturing jobs, there are simply less jobs for the masses here to be created when the economy improves.
Housing continues to be lethargic as banks are still working their way through the foreclosure mess.  It is not clear when housing prices may rebound.  It is not clear if people can even afford to buy houses.
While all this happening in the US, the politicos in Washington DC are hanging on to extreme points of view.  The Republicans want to balance the budget, not raise taxes, and let free enterprise capitalism accelerate the recovery.  The Democrats want to raise the debt ceiling, raise taxes, and not balance the budget.  Oddly, they last time the budget was balanced was when Clinton, a Democrat, was President.  When the Republicans took power, a war on two fronts commenced albeit due to the 9-11 attacks and summarily plunged us into record deficit spending.   No one is really trying to bring back good manufacturing jobs to the US.  No one is investing in our people.  No one is trying to resolve the root causes for the lethargic recovery that is making us look more like a European country.
We cannot rely on business.  Most businesses are larger multi-nationals.  Being multi-national they are more like small countries and less beholding to their country of origin especially in the case of US companies.  In their ever striving for more sales and profits, they have moved manufacturing hither and yon.  They are out to grow their companies and create wealth for their shareholders and their senior management teams.   This will take precedence over anything remotely altruistic like creating jobs and bolstering the US economy.  The notion of what is good for business is good for the country may be less true than ever.
I freely admit that macro-economics drive this behavior and that companies would not survive if they did not behave as they have in the past twenty years.  I freely admit that I sometimes scare myself with my socialist sounding rhetoric.  Truly, I do not feel socialist but rather am very interested in finding ways to create an environment that is indeed good for the country and good for business.  I just do not see nor hear anything remotely like that coming from Washington and it really ticks me off.
Europe is no better than the US.  They might even be in worse shape with Greece, Portugal, and now Italy showing major cracks in their economies.  People there want all of the benefits they enjoy but do not want to do what is required to pay the bills for the services and benefits. It is a tough situation.  Part of the reason, I believe our economy coming out of the recession will be like the European countries is because they have probably more service and less manufacturing for longer than we have.  I read an interesting fact in the July 18th New Yorker.  It seems that in Greece, not paying ones fair share of taxes is a national pastime.  It made me think of the Armenians in California.  They operate on a cash is king basis because they do not charge and pay sales tax.  Yet, both in Greece and California people want and express the high level of civil services they are used to, they just do not want to pay for them.  
A sobering reckoning is probably overdue.  This freaks me out a little.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


We are having the one year memorial service for my Father In-Law, Harold Avedis Mardoian, today.   We are including, as well, the one year memorial for my maternal Uncle Azad Merian and my paternal Aunt Seeran Wisner.  Seeran died in June of last year and my Uncle Ozzie passed away two days after my Father In-Law.  The repose of the soul service is called Hokehankist or literally the rest of the soul.  It is a beautiful, moving,  and solemn service.  

The one year memorial or repose of the soul service is a big deal in the Armenian Church as was the forty day service after the funeral.  Hereafter, we should be doing it once a year.  Probably in another time, say twenty years ago, or in another place, let us say the "old country," we might have dutifully done just that.  I am certain in the case of my Father In-Law, my Mother In-Law will observe this tradition and when she is gone my wife will follow suit.  

I am much more haphazard in my observation of such rites and traditions.  That does not mean I do not take it seriously.  It is probably the part of our religion I take most seriously.  Officially, I have Hokehankists on special days and when I remember.    In 1988, I dragged everyone to church in Detroit on the first Sunday in October.  It was my paternal Grandfather, Aram Gavoor's, 100th birthday.  I thought it might be a good day to remember him.  I was kind of excited about it.  Other family members came along with me and we even went out to dinner afterwards.  It was very nice.  If I had not thought of it, I do not believe anyone else would have suggested it.  But, that was the last time I did that.  I really ought to get on an annual schedule.

There is a poem by the Armenian poet Bedros Tourian who was born in 1852 in Istanbul and died from tuberculosis at 22 in 1872.  In his short life, he earned a place in the pantheon of Armenian poets.  My favorite little bit of his was from a poem titled My Death.  It sums up pretty much how I feel.

But, if my grave remains unmarked
In a corner of the earth
And remembrance of me fades away,
Ah, that is when I will die.

We have to remember.  I have to remember.  Otherwise, people that I have known, loved, and admired will truly be dead.  

There is another Armenian poet, Vahan Terian (January 28, 1885 – January 7, 1920).  He was born in the Armenian region of Jahavkh which is in Georgia.  In his short life, he also earned a place in the ranks of Armenian Poets.  I particularly liked one of his poems  Farewell Song in which he gives a twist on the message that Tourian wrote of:

I am going to a darker earth, a remote land, I will not come back,
Remember me well in your hearts, I say goodbye, farewell.

My maternal Grandmother surprised one day late in her life.  She called me close and told me that she wanted me to read this very same poem at her funeral.  I did it dutifully but also with a heart simultaneously full of that odd Armenian mixture of love and joy while also weighed down by a sense of loss and pathos.  

Remember me well or then I will really be dead is a powerful thought.  I remember Bedros Tourian and Vahan Terian when I read their poems.  I, of course, never knew them.  I also remember my grandparents, great aunts and uncles, my sister Laura, and great-grandparents all but one of which I never knew.  I remember my wife's relatives equally.  I remember people I grew up with.  

It is very important to keep the memories of our deceased relatives in our minds as much as our busy lives will allow.  Beyond that, it is also important remember others that were key or important in ours lives.  

I believe what Tourian wrote,  one is not truly dead until no one remembers them.  Perhaps that is why I seem to quietly and silently focus on the otherwise ignored.  I should have Hokehankists said for them whenever I think of them.  

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Please see http://thissideoffifty.blogspot.com/2010/12/december-2010-another-eventful-year.html to read more about my Aunt, Uncle, and Father In-Law.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Reading Moby Dick

I wonder why it took me until this week to begin reading Moby Dick the Herman Melville classic? I was enamored with the story from the moment I saw the 1956 movie starring Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab and Richard Basehart as Ishmael.  My Mother took us to the Detroit Art Institute to see this movie.  She knew that book was an American classic and wanted us to be familiar with it.  The entire experience made an impact on me and I made a commitment to read the book   I just never committed to when.

I started to honor that commitment, once, shortly after seeing the movie.  I took the book out from the Monnior Branch of the Detroit Public Library..  I was probably only in fifth grade.  I was too young and book was too thick and the words and language were too obtuse.  I never made it past page two or three.  Later, either in high school or college, I actually bought a copy of the book.  Of course, I did not read it then.  The book has sat dutifully on various bookshelves in my various homes   Somehow in the move to Illinois, I am not sure exactly where the book is.  

Living in Connecticut, I learned about non-stop readings of the great book every summer in Mystic Seaport.  They have also been doing the same for the past fifteen years in New Bedford, MA the whaling center of the US when the book was written.  I thought about reading the book and perhaps kicking off the reading of the book by attending the opening of the Mystic event.  My work schedule precluded that from ever happening.

On one family vacation, we went whale watching once on a visit to Cape Cod.  The boat we took was manned by oceanographers who were quite knowledgeable with the habits, patterns, and numbers of whales as well as the history of the whaling in the region.  The Stellwagen Bank region off of Cape Cod are summer feeding waters for whales.  These folks were dedicated to preserving the bank and felt it as part of their mission to lead these whale watch tours and educate the public.  We learned that whales were so plentiful when the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock that they were actually frolicking in great numbers in the waters around where the Mayflower had anchored.

On the same trip, we went to the US National Seashore on Cape Cod.  There is a fabulous museum there documenting mans relationship with the sea in that particular region.  The museum focused heavily on whale hunting and the importance it had on the local economy.   Whale oil was used for lamps.  The baleen was the plastic of that era and used in many products.  The meat, skin, and bones were also used.  I remember seeing a ledger from a ship and that revenue from one saling trip was over $200,000.  $200,000 in 1850 dollars is valued at more than $5 million in today’s economy and that is using a most conservative conversation rate.  Until I visited this museum and saw that ledger, I never realized just how important and lucrative the whaling industry was in those days.

I might have realized this had I actually read Moby Dick.  

The novel was first published in 1851.  Melville knew what of he wrote having served on a whaling vessel for two year in 1841 - 1842.  His book, which originally titled The Whale, was published in three editions and received with mixed reviews.  It was not until the 1920s when it began to take on mythic proportions.  Today it is considered The Great American Novel.   2001 marked the 150th anniversary of the novel and it merited events and media coverage including The New York Times.  It was then that I learned then these facts about the book and that Melville was born, lived most of his life, and died in New York City.  

What made me start reading it this week?

A week ago, I purchased an iPad.  While playing around with it the first few days I had it.  I was exploring the library and reading application that came pre-installed on the device.  I wanted to download a book and see how the iPad reader compared to my Nook.  As I did want to spend any money on an e-book.  So, I perused the free section and found Moby Dick and promptly downloaded it and read the opening lines.

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.

Wow.  Why hadn’t I read this earlier?  How did this not engage even the fifth grade me?  I was mesmerized by Melville’s words.  I went on to read to read the first chapter.  I did not understand all the language from 150 years ago.  At first , I was actually happy that I did not have an annotated and heavily footnoted edition like I met have read in a high school or college English course.   Shortly and quite by accident,  I realized that e-readers have wonderful features.  For example, Melville uses the word counterpane which I took from the context to be a kind of blanket.  If I had an annotated edition, I might have flipped to the back and read that it was indeed a kind of quilted bedcover.  With the iPad, I simply taped on the word a definition popped up.  I was pretty impressed.

The first sentence is so simply powerful that I did look up see who Ishmael was.  Again, I reveal my ignorance by admitting I did not know and probably should have.  Ishmael was the first born son of Abraham.  Abraham’s wife Sara could not conceive so she suggested that Abraham take her hand maiden, an Egyptian named Hagar as his second wife.  They had a son named Ishmael.  Ismael was to the heir of the house of Abraham and the nation of Israel.  When Ishmael was in his early teens, Sara got pregnant and gave birth to Ishmael’s half-brother Isaac.  As will happen in multi-wive households, Sarah convinced Abraham to favor her Isaac over Hagar’s Ishmael.   Abraham released Ishmael and Hagar from their slave status and banished them.  Ishmael, the disinherited, went on to establish a life for himself and had twelve children.  Call him Ishmael indeed.

I have since read three more chapters and plan to read a chapter each day or two.  I am going to  let the language and meaning wash over me.  I already admire this American Ishmael and his view of his world.

With my recent posting on Henry Wadsworth Longellow, http://thissideoffifty.blogspot.com/2011/05/longfellow-day-is-done.html, and now this on Moby Dick.  I seem to be focused a bit on New England in the mid 1800s.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Nook & iPad: A Story of Slow Learning

On November 20, 2010, I posted a blog piece titled “iPad, Nook, Kindle, or Wait some More.”  It was a very popular.  It is the eighth most popular posting with 175 reads and 7 comments.  I was a little surprised at how popular that piece became. http://thissideoffifty.blogspot.com/2010/11/ipad-nook-kindle-or-wait-some-more.html

In January of this year, I bought a Nook.  I did it on a whim, it was not a lot of money, and I was curious to play with at least one of these devices.   I was a bit disappointed at first because, as many people told me, it is more of a reader and not a very functional tablet.  I can check and respond to emails but it is slow.  

Next, I downloaded all my Havard Business Review pdf articles to the device.  I did this so I could read and refer to them easily especially when writing and needing to reference them.   This was also a bit disappointing because I had to keep resizing the screen and scrolling every which way in order to be to read the documents.  I could read the articles but it was a little tedious.  

Then in May, we were in Washington DC and my wife’s Uncle John gave me a book to read.  He said it was a gripping thriller.  The book was Memorial Day by Vince Flynn.   I took the book not sure when I was going to find the time to actually read it.  I actually  began reading it on the airplane and Uncle John was right.  It was a great, fast, page turner of a read.  I liked the main character/hero Mitch Rapp and enjoyed the book in the same way I enjoyed reading Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum.   I finished the book in a day.

I liked the book so much I wanted to read another right away.  So, i took the Nook and searched for Vince Flynn.  I was surprised to see what a franchise Vince Flynn had created with Mitch Rapp.  There are eleven books in the series.  Memorial Day was like the fifth in the series.  I was glad there was plenty more of these stories.  Without much thought, I decided to read the first book in the series.  With just a bit more thought, I figured why not buy it on the Nook and use the reading device to read the book.  With two taps of the screen, $9.99 was sucked out of my bank accountant, and the book was downloaded.  It was all remarkably fast and easy.

I began reading the book and found out it was a very nice experience on the Nook.  The e-book, unlike the HBR pdfs. was formatted for devices such as the Nook and the Kindle.  As a result, there was no need to scroll every which way.  I read.  With a flick of the finger, I turned the page.  It was very good and I could read with or without reading glasses.  I finished that book and ordered and subsequently read the next two books in the series.  

When I bought the Nook, I was afraid I would miss the feel of the book and the physical turning of the page.  As it turns out, that was a silly concern.

Eight months after the blog posting on the subject and six months after getting a Nook, I bought an iPad..  

I over analysed the decision and talked to many people before finally doing it.  I over analyse almost every similar kind of purchase.  I am not the first kid on the block that has to the latest and greatest electronic toy.  I wait until I am sure the gizmo is a hit well before I buy it.  Case in point, I never bought the first iPad.  I waited until the iPad2 was a verified hit.  

What finally made me pull the trigger?  There were two factors.

First, several people that I admire for their business acumen and general computer skills rave about the iPad.  These folks have stopped carry their laptops around.  They exclusively use their iPads.  They stop carrying notebooks and pens, they exclusively use their iPads.  I certainly understood that the iPad was a seriously cool toy.  But, the way people, like my business partner Ara Surenian,  raved about the value of the iPad for business really got my attention.  The two most ardent proponents do not even have the iPad2.  They have the original and are in no real hurry to replace it.

It got my attention but still did not convince me to get the iPad.

I was still hesitating because I believe I do a lot of typing for my personal and work blogs.  I was worried that I might not enjoy typing on the iPad.  While Apple offered a Bluetooth keyoard, I did not think I could use it easily everywhere that I like to type e.g. from my easy chair in from of the TV.   The devices were not integrated and thus I would have to juggle two devices which is quite easy on a table but not so easy one’s lap.  Recently., I became aware of a several new iPad cases that had integrated keyboards that were pretty cool.  This clinched the decision to make a purchase.

So, I went to the Apple store at Northbrook Mall.  I was amazed how busy the place was.  I took a phone call, as I was walking into the mall.  There was a sitting area in the common areas of the mall near the Apple Store.  So, I sat and finished my phone call.  I was looking at several stores and a noticeably higher volume of folks were going into and out of the Apple store.  They were not leaving empty handed.  They left with iPads and every other product offered in the store.  It was impressive.

I have had the iPad for one day.  I have already spent about $100 on apps and probably will buy many more.  It is easy and convenient to use.  It is as intuitive to use as everyone says. And, I am saying this knowing that I have not even scratched the surface of what I can do with this marvelous device.  

I am typing this piece on the new device.  I am really counting on an uptick in productivity and organization.  But, I am acutely aware that technology is but facilitator in this regard.  The motivation and drive for productivity and organization is most definitely intrinsic.

Is there an app for that?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Secret Agent Man

In the midst of the cold war, the super spy became a serious character in both books and movies.  I am not sure if we have Ian Fleming or Hollywood to thank more for this.  Somewhere in the 1960s the rise of the suave, sophisticated, multi-lingual, incredibly effective, and notoriously lethal secret agent burst onto the scene.  This solo hero replaced the revered lawman of the old west be it the real Wyatt Earp or the fictitious Matt Dillon.

I was just coming of age when the Man from U.N.C.L.E. was all the rage on the television.  I could not get enough of it.   We wanted to be Napoleon Solo or Ilya Kuryakin.  The girls all loved Ilya.  I avidly watched the Avengers.  John Steed was cool.  Emma Peel?  Lovely and talented to say the least.  The genre was so popular in novels, cinema, and television that it even spawned a pop song.  In 1966, a popular singer Johnny Rivers had one of his many hits “Secret Agent Man.”  The song was recycled in the Austin Powers series.  You can watch Rivers perform it, of course on YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iaR3WO71j4
Even before the recent Austin Powers series, there were spoofs of the genre.  My favorite was the “Our Man Flint” starring James Coburn.  The first Flint movie also hit the scene in 1966.   There were cerebral spies or spy stories like those of John LeCarré.  There were pure action figures.  But, there is only one James Bond, who did it all very well and as a result is the most enduring brand in the genre.

More than the movies, I love the books by Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, Nelson DeMille, and now Vince Flynn.  When I find one of these authors I like, I read every book I can get my hands on.  I love the novels more than the movies because when I am reading… I can project myself into the character much better than in any movie.  In the book, I am in the hero’s mind.  I am rolling and coming up shooting with deadly accuracy with him.  I am also above it all because I know things the author has yet to let the hero, the secret agent man, in on.  When well written, these stories are adrenalin fueled page turners.  I do have a hard time putting the book down.

It is pure Walter Mitty. 

When I am reading these kinds of books, I walk around like Mitch Rapp the hero of the Vince Flynn series.  I am anticipating ambushes, constantly aware of exits should the need arise of every venue I enter, and most assuredly I am taking tables in restaurants with my back to a wall and clear view of all who enter.  I am keenly aware of any suspicious behavior of everyone around my.  Does the janitor have on the wrong shoes?  How many times have I seen that lady today?  I vary my work schedule and routes I take to the office.  OK, I really don’t vary my departure times or routes but I am keenly aware that it is a risky practice not to.

Most of all, I can do things in my imagination reading these kinds of books that would most assuredly look absurd and result in broken bones and worse in real life.

That is all for now.  I have to go and join Mitch Rapp who is currently undercover in… well, you know  I cannot divulge where.