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by SHKarlson Sat Jan 12th, 2008 at 09:46:11 PM EST

The move and a busy fall semester kept me from making the half-century in the 2007 Fifty Book Challenge. That said, I managed to add a few more in the second half of the year.

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by SHKarlson Mon Aug 6th, 2007 at 07:33:10 AM EST

I had perceived an obligation to remind readers what real railroading looks like, and a recent commenter reinforced that perception. Friday offered clear skies, falling humidity, and with the university offices closed to conserve electricity, no guilt in returning to the Burlington Racetrack. If I had an afternoon to explain railroading to a European, this would be one place to go.  All times reflect the time stamp from the digital camera, which is pretty close to accurate, and are expressed using the railroading convention of p.m. in bold.

More train blogging! - afew

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Serious Retro Railroading

by SHKarlson Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 07:56:12 AM EST

The St. Ives Bay Line offers a taste of old-style branch line railroading along Cornwall's Atlantic Coast.  There's quite a serious climb out of the station and through the ridge in the distance.  The branch was the last piece of Great Western seven-foot gauge track to be built.  Conditions are definitely less summery than they might be at Sleeping Bear Dune let alone San Juan Capistrano, but a few brave souls are swimming.

From the diaries - afew

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by SHKarlson Wed Jul 11th, 2007 at 05:52:03 PM EST

Despite the travel and the construction I've managed to make some progress -- in fact, so much that I lost count in June -- with the Fifty Book Challenge.

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by SHKarlson Sun Apr 8th, 2007 at 11:04:07 PM EST

Monte in Montana is curious about the Milwaukee Road's steam race tracks.

During the time schedule stabilizing runs, the hand of the speed indicator was often reported against the pin at 128 miles per hour. Exactly what maximum speed was reached is not known--but it was plenty.

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by SHKarlson Sun Apr 8th, 2007 at 10:35:19 PM EST

I'm a little behind the proper pace for this year's Fifty Book Challenge.

  1. Scaling Down: Living Large in a Smaller Space, 17 February 2007.
  2. Still Stuck in Traffic: Coping with Peak-Hour Traffic Congestion, 3 March 2007.
  3. The Fallen Colossus, 4 March 2007.
  4. The Merchant of Power, 5 March 2007.
  5. The Godfather's Revenge, 25 March 2007.
The prolonged winter has stunted my bookworm's growth.


Cross-posted at Cold Spring Shops and the Fifty Book Challenge.


by SHKarlson Sun Dec 31st, 2006 at 11:56:57 PM EST

I was uncertain about being able to make the norm for the 2006 Fifty Book Challenge, but with a little bit of luck and a few mental health train rides, I was able to compile 51 reviews.

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by SHKarlson Fri Dec 15th, 2006 at 12:10:50 AM EST

In a recent European Tribune post, DoDo shows readers around the tram network of Budapest. The article opens with a picture of a new high-capacity six-section Siemens unit the locals call "giant caterpillar."

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by SHKarlson Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 07:20:13 PM EST

THE THIRD QUARTER REPORT. I have added another thirteen books to the 2006 Fifty Book Challenge. First and second quarter reports are available in the April and July archives or at the Challenge site or on the European Tribune.

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by SHKarlson Mon Jul 10th, 2006 at 12:02:32 AM EST

I have added another twelve book reviews to the 50 Book Challenge for 2006. The first eight are indexed at Cold Spring Shops or European Tribune or the 50 Book Challenge site.

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by SHKarlson Mon Jun 26th, 2006 at 01:35:43 AM EST

The Milwaukee Road linking Chicago-Milwaukee-New Lisbon is the site of the world's fastest running with steam locomotives on tests and in regular service as well as the traditional routing for excursion trains that would bring passengers to the Wisconsin Dells from the big cities, turn at New Lisbon, and bring them home.

Although the high-stepping Baltics went for scrap fairly early in the diesel era, two of the Milwaukee's mixed-traffic 4-8-4 war babies made it into preservation, with No. 265 under roof at the Illinois Railway Museum and No. 261 returned to active service out of Minnesota.

On the weekend, the 261 reprised the steam era Wisconsin Dells excursion, with tickets also available for an all-day ride Milwaukee-New Lisbon and return and a Wisconsin Dells - New Lisbon turn for Central Wisconsin residents who might like an afternoon away from the tourists.

On the Milwaukee Road, "mixed traffic" means "powerful enough to move a troop train as a second section of a Hiawatha," which was the schedule under which some of the Dells turns operated as well. So we're not off to a leisurely day at the preservation railway.

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by SHKarlson Sat Apr 1st, 2006 at 10:43:13 PM EST

THE FIRST QUARTER REPORT. Annual faculty evaluations and quarterly economic education productivity reports were due March 31. As long as I'm in a quantifying spirit, herewith a summary of the first quarter's book reviews for the 50 Book Challenge.

  1. H.P. Willmott, The Battle of Leyte Gulf: The Last Fleet Action, 8 January 2006.
  2. Alexandra Robbins, Pledged, 9 January 2006.
  3. Christian Wolmar, On the Wrong Line: How Ideology and Incompetence Wrecked Britain's Railways, 14 January 2006.
  4. Tim Harford, The Undercover Economist, 15 January 2006.
  5. Gavin Menzies, 1421: The Year China Discovered America, 27 January 2006.
  6. David Riesman, Academic Values and Mass Education, 28 March 2006.
  7. Charles R. Morris, The Tycoons, 29 March 2006.
  8. Tom Chaffin, Sea of Gray, 30 March 2006.
The disclaimer from last December's 2005 summary, where I made the 50 with a day to spare, still holds.
The spring semester is also a slog, but the spring break, like the westbound flat spot on Seventeen Mile Grade, offers an opportunity to catch one's breath.
I have a couple more reviews close to done, despite not having much of a spring break this year.

(Cross-posted at the 50 Book Challenge and Cold Spring Shops.)

Here's the bookworm as of today.


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Never Smile at a Crocodile

by SHKarlson Mon Mar 13th, 2006 at 08:07:52 PM EST

NEVER SMILE AT A CROCODILE. The most recent Monday Train Blogging, which author DoDo notes will be offered intermittently in the future, focuses on crocodilian Alpine electric locomotives. Any electric locomotive with a center cab and long machine housings at each end suggests the eyes and snout of a crocodile, or in the United States, an alligator.

The crews of the North Shore Line referred to this motor, purchased secondhand from the Oregon Electric, as "the alligator."

Photo from Daves Rail Pix.

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A Fifty Book Challenge

by SHKarlson Sat Dec 31st, 2005 at 10:03:23 PM EST

From Chris Lawrence at Signifying Nothing, I learned about a Live Journal community called the Fifty Book Challenge.

I've participated in the challenge from my primary web journal, Cold Spring Shops.  The convention I used for claiming a book as "read" for purposes of the challenge was the one I learned in elementary school, where we had to submit a book report before we could claim readership by filling in a circle with the title of the book in our bookworm.  In lieu of a bookworm, herewith the list of the 50 books I read, with links to the book reports I wrote.

  1. Mona Charen, Do-Gooders, 11 January 2005.
  2. Michael Crichton, State of Fear, 13 January 2005.
  3. Max Hastings, Armageddon, 21 January 2005.
  4. Mary Eberstadt, Home-Alone America, 24 January 2005.
  5. Jim Nelson Black, Freefall of the American University, 24 January 2005.
  6. Joseph Vranich, End of the Line, 24 January 2005.
  7. Thomas McInerny and Paul Vallely, Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror, 6 February 2005.
  8. Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich, 19 February 2005.
  9. Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn, 102 Minutes, 6 March 2005.
  10. Philip Roth, The Plot against America, 6 March 2005.
  11. Marc Frattasio, The New Haven Railroad in the McGinnis Era, 16 April 2005.
  12. Brian C. Anderson, South Park Conservatives, 18 April 2005.
  13. Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomics, 17 May 2005.
  14. Dan Rockmore, Stalking the Riemann Hypothesis, 5 June 2005.
  15. Eli Maor, e: The Story of a Number, 8 June 2005.
  16. Christina Hoff Sommers and Sally Satel, One Nation Under Therapy, 15 June 2005.
  17. Stan Abbot and Alan Whitehouse, The Line that Refused to Die, 16 June 2005, book appears to be out of print.
  18. Craig Symonds, Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles that Shaped American History, 17 July 2005.
  19. Eric Schlosser, Reefer Madness, 17 July 2005
  20. James DeKay, Monitor, and
  21. James Nelson, Reign of Iron, 25 July 2005 a battle of the books.
  22. David Laskin, The Children's Blizzard, 26 July 2005.
  23. Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns, The Coming Generational Storm, 27 July 2005.
  24. John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, In Denial: Historians, Communists, and Espionage, 29 July 2005.
  25. Patrick Allitt, I'm the Teacher, You're the Student, 30 July 2005.
  26. R. A. Scotti, Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938, 31 July 2005.
  27. Hugh Bicheno, Midway, 3 August 2005.
  28. Jack Greene, The Midway Campaign, 7 August 2005.
  29. Thomas Friedman, The World is Flat, 8 August 2005.
  30. Thomas Cutler, The Battle of Leyte Gulf, 9 August 2005.
  31. Gary Nabhan, Why Some Like It Hot, 14 August 2005.
  32. Andrew Roberts, editor, What Might Have Been, 17 August 2005.
  33. Robin Neillands, The Battle of Normandy 1944, 19 August 2005.
  34. Bernard Goldberg, 100 People who are Screwing Up America, 21 August 2005.
  35. Judith S. Wallerstein, Julia M. Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, 21 August 2005.
  36. J. Martin Rochester, Class Warfare, 22 August 2005.
  37. Lisa Duggan, The Twilight of Equality?, 30 August 2005.
  38. Kevin John Robertson, Blue Pullman, 15 September 2005.
  39. Dennis Showalter, Patton and Rommel: Men of War in the Twentieth Century, 20 September 2005.
  40. Kenneth Sewell and Clint Richmond, Red Star Rogue, 1 October 2005.
  41. Laura Penny, Your Call is Important to Us, 3 October 2005.
  42. Julie Morgenstern, Never Check E-Mail in the Morning, 3 December 2005.
  43. Steven E. Woodworth, Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee, 1861-1865, 10 December 2005.
  44. Lynne Truss, Talk to the Hand, 11 December 2005.
  45. Charles S. Roberts, West End, 12 December 2005.
  46. John Pina Craven, The Silent War, 19 December 2005.
  47. Roy Adkins, Nelson's Trafalgar, 20 December 2005.
  48. Jared Diamond, Collapse, 23 December 2005.
  49. Leslie Savan, Slam Dunks and No-Brainers: Language in Your Life, the Media, Business, Politics, and, Like, Whatever, 29 December 2005.
  50. John R. Stilgoe, Shallow Water Dictionary, 31 December 2005.

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