This Week In Awkwardness

Book Finished:

Parkland, by Vincent Bugliosi

An excerpt from Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History, considered a masterwork of the John F. Kennedy assassination and the many conspiracy theories surrounding it, Parkland tells the story of the murder and the days that followed it through the experiences of the many individuals involved.  Bugliosi arranges the narrative so that there are no chapters nor any other real breaks, just timestamps as the events unfold.  The emotions of the Secret Service agents who tried to protect the president, the doctors who tried to save him, and the public who loved him really come through.  I think it’s easy to forget that these famous people really are people, but Bugliosi does a good job of bringing home the experiences of Jackie Kennedy, their children, and the rest of the Kennedy family & friends.  He never comes right out and accuses Lee Harvey Oswald, or gives any opinion at all on that front (although I imagine he does in Reclaiming History), but simply relates the experiences of the people around Oswald, his family, his coworkers at the Texas School Book Depository, witnesses to the J.D. Tippit shooting, and the officers & agents who dealt with him.  This is one of those books where even though I know how the story ends, the author was good enough to have me dreading what was coming.  I was disappointed that the Kindle version left out the photo section, but all in all it’s a very interesting read that gives a grounded perspective to one of the most famous events in American history.


Added to the Travel Map:

Le Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale, Nogent-sur-Marne, France – ruins of the 1907 Colonial Exhibition.

Plum Island, Southold, New York – some kind of secretive government thing, but they have tours occasionally.

Leri Cavour, Italy – ghost town.

Feltville, New Jersey – ghost town.

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This Week in Awkwardness

Achievement Unlocked:

I found a scorpion sucker at the grocery store.  Just chilling there with the other impulse candy at the register.  Scorpion.  It’s even listed as an ingredient on the back.  I guess you’re supposed to eat the scorpion when you’re done with the sucker?  I don’t know.  Sounds gross anyway. scorpion


Book Finished:

Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine, by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

If you ever want to feel very, very fortunate that you don’t live in a squalid, mid-19th century city with squalid, mid-19th century medical care, this book will do it.  I was hoping it would focus a little bit more on the individual patients whom Mütter treated, as he was known for taking the toughest, most interesting cases, but it was fascinating to find out how he directly revolutionized medicine in ways that we would consider common sense today.  The Mütter Museum in Philadelphia now houses the huge collection of medical “marvels” he amassed in his lifetime, and is most definitely on the Travel Map.

Favorite Quote: “Woman, as usual, finally had her way,” a male member would later slyly write about the election [of the first woman to the Pennsylvania Medical Society].  “And yet the earth did not rock, the sea did not overflow its banks, the stars did not fall.”


Places Added to the Travel Map:

Kanab Creek Wilderness, Kaibab, Arizona – deep gorges.

Lost Dutchman State Park, Apache Junction, Arizona – entry point to Superstition Wilderness.

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, Arizona – beautiful creek with a stone arch over it.

Superstition Wilderness, Tonto, Arizona – hiking, legends, etc.

Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, Williams, Arizona

Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia – island temple.

Old Letchworth Village, Pomona, New York – abandoned mental hospital.

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix Zoo, Phoenix, Arizona

Zabaikalsky National Park, Russia – on the shores of Lake Baikal.

Pando, Fishlake National Forest, Utah – grove of aspen trees that is actually all one big organism, probably the oldest & most massive in the world.

Sunflower, Arizona – 4WD trail to abandoned mine.

Arizona Museum of Natural History, Mesa, Arizona