Friday, May 23, 2014


I can't help but think about AC/DC's Angus Young screaming THUNDERSTRUCK! THUNDER! (da da da daaa da da da da) every time I picked up this book.  In all fairness, that's not really a bad way to start any reading session. I was reading this book at the same time as The Luminaries, and it kind of freaked me out when both books were talking about seances.  I guess it was a hot thing at the time, like in the future when authors will write about this time as the era of being famous for having a big butt.  Future cyborgs will be like, people got rich for having big butts?  Yes, yes, they did.

Eric Larson writes this non-fiction book as two parallel stories that converge at some point.  I suppose they did, (vaguely) but one story was soooo much more compelling than the other.  One story is one of the most famous murders in English history and the other was Marconi's invention of the wireless and his challenges while developing the technology.  This book starts strong and ends strong but the middle (the longest part) is so tedious I don't think I can recommend it.  Unless you are really into failed wireless telegraph stations.  You are? Well….then you already know Marconi was kind of an ass.  Spoiler alert.  Marconi was an ass.  He was young, rich and famous.  He invented something scientific but didn't understand the math and he got all the credit but it was built on the foundation of mathematicians and scientists. It feels Zuckerbergian.  We'll see if Mark Zuckerberg keeps trading for younger and younger wives and also befriends the ghost of Mussolini.  Actually, that would make for an interesting story. Maybe Social Network 2: Mussolini's Ghost, staring Nicolas Cage.

Did you know Marconi was actually a Jameson? You should read this with a cocktail that uses Irish whisky. Actually this one has a toddy flavor but for summertime. Perfect.  The Copywriter (I did not make that up): 2 ounces Irish whiskey, such as Jameson, 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 ounce honey simple syrup (half honey, half hot water), 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth, seltzer, lemon twist.  Shake all of the ingredients (except the seltzer and lemon peel) in a cocktail shaker with ice, strain and pour into a Collins glass.  Top with the seltzer and garnish with the lemon twist. 


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