Sunday, December 3, 2023

The Sunday Post #347

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The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.

The Sunday Post #347

On The Blog Recently

In My Reading Life

I read Hey Ranger! True Tales Of Humor & Misadventure From America's National Parks by Jim Burnett. This book is exactly what it says on the cover. The author was a park ranger for 30 years (!) and shares (somewhat) amusing stories from his time working in parks.

As someone who works in a park, this book was less stressful to read than other park ranger books. The stories are short and told in a lighthearted way. None of them end in human deaths! That's comforting.

My favorite story is the one about the chicken truck crash. A truck carrying thousands of live chickens fell off a bridge into a fast-moving river. The chickens died on impact when their cages hit the water and broke open. The rangers had to quickly figure out how to stop thousands of dead chickens from zooming downriver into a recreation area. That's definitely not a problem that most people face at work.

The majority of the tales are "meh." They're just stories about normal ranger duties. There's a story about a large family from Afghanistan. The family got lost on their way to the campground and needed the author to guide them there. Then the author had to leave his home in the middle of the night to tell the family to turn down their music and control their bonfire. Then the other campers were scared of the family because of racism. (The author also sounds a bit racist, TBH.) Then the family went on a river trip and got lost, so the author had to get in a patrol boat and go fetch them. It's annoying to spend so much energy on one family when the park is full of visitors, but these are all normal duties. This is what rangers do all day. I kept waiting for something unusual to happen in the story, but nothing did.

I think the problem with this book is that the author isn't a good writer. The stories have long set-ups and not much pay off. I wasn't always sure what I was supposed to take away from the stories.

Here are two quotes that resonated with me:

"I heard about a young lady on duty at a visitor center who was approached by a visitor with one of the dreaded 'bird questions.' I say dreaded because rangers are automatically expected by some visitors to be able to instantly identify every variety of bird, tree, flower mammal, fish, insect, reptile and rock, along with every other object, living or dead, that was rumored to have been found in the park sometime in the past, now occurs in the park, or might possibly turn up in the park sometime in the future, or that exists anywhere else on the face of the globe."

"Even though the US government requires its rangers to have college degrees, I'm here to tell you that most of what I need to know in this job I didn't learn in college—or in kindergarten. One of the benefits of trying to answer all those weird questions over the years is that in the process of finding the answer, you can pick up some pretty obscure facts."

The park where I work has over 300 species of birds and is one of the top birding destinations in the state. I live in constant dread of "bird questions." No, I don't know all 300+ birds! I don't know 300+ of anything!

I wasn't too impressed with this book, but it did make me feel slightly better about the gaps in my bird knowledge. It also made me glad I don't live in the park's staff housing because . . . yikes.

Then I had the great misfortune of reading The Beautiful Poetry Of Donald Trump by Rob Sears. I don't know if I should give this book a high rating because it's stupid or a low rating because it's stupid.

Rob Sears combed through Donald Trump interviews and Tweets to find all of Donald's "best words." Sears grouped the random Trump quotes by subject and then arranged them into a poetry collection. The result is profound works of art like these:

This country is going to hell in a handbasket

It just seems that our country is not what it used to be
New York Fashion Week is really bad and used to be so glamorous and exciting
Vanity Fair Magazine, which used to be one of my favorites, is failing badly
A lot of people are switching to these really long putters. Very unattractive
Our poor, poor country

I make this promise

I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States
I promise I will never be in a bicycle race
I will not rename the White House
And I promise not to talk about your massive plastic surgeries that didn't work
I promise. Thank you

Each of those lines is from a different interview or Tweet, so they're all out of context, but the arrangement is amusing.

I appreciate the amount of work that went into making these poems. The creator had to consume massive amounts of Trump media, which was probably an unpleasant experience. The arrangement of the quotes is creative. I bet Rob Sears is actually a good poet.

On the other hand, the book is a bunch of out-of-context Trump quotes. Why would anyone want to read that? Why did I read that?

Maybe art doesn't need a point. This book is . . . an object that exists.

In The Rest Of My Life

Five things that made me happy recently:

  1. If you celebrated, I hope you had a good Thanksgiving! I ate so much chocolate pie. It was an excellent day.
  2. I also spent Thanksgiving watching Squid Game: The Challenge on Netflix. Apparently, the show is getting terrible reviews, but I love trashy reality TV, so I enjoyed every minute of it.
  3. I got most of my Christmas shopping done.
  4. Qdoba. If I was rich, I'd eat burritos every day.
  5. I wrote a lot of Christmas cards. I bought stickers to decorate the envelopes, and I apologize to anyone who gets this sticker. It's supposed to be a neck warmer.

I promise I won't post more neck warmer pics

Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!


  1. OMG, I cannot believe there is a poetry book full of Trump's words! I'm simultaneously amused, intrigued, and horrified! My condolences to you? that you read it? I don't know, I'm so confused! LOL!

  2. We are birders and frequently would like help knowing where birds are found in parks that are known for good birding. When there’s one staff member on duty who doesn’t just give a blank stare (as if birds were an annoying feature of the park) we are grateful. When there’s a person there who is actually interested in birds at all, we are happy. When there’s an available bird checklist, we are also grateful. If wildlife is a part of the attraction of the park, it seems natural that people would ask about it.

    I see that the actual job must be more like babysitting than like leading wildlife hikes.

    best, mae at

  3. Interesting book choices this week. I don't think I'll be reading the Trump one, although I guess it could be amusing. I hope you have a great week!

  4. Wow, I wish I had my Christmas shopping done. Every year, I still try to decide what I should buy for my grandchildren. Today kids are living on electronics, and I can't afford half of the gadgets they want. I hope you have a great week 😊

  5. I think you should write a similar book, a collection of stories from park employees, you’d be great!
    I don’t particularly like poetry and I hate Trump so that’s one book I will be avoiding

    Wishing you a great reading week

  6. Nachos. I would eat nachos everyday if I could.

  7. The neck warmer sticker is really funny! I feel like early December has arrived and I didn't do anything about holiday cards. Ugh. Each day I think, should I do them this year? Yes, then I don't. Not sure what my problem is. Maybe I'll do a holiday email...

  8. The neck warmer sticker had me laughing so hard! And yes I bet these two quotes from the ranger book resonated with you AJ!

  9. That neck warmer picture is strange, but it made me giggle. So chocolate pie and Qdoba are the way to your heart - good to know. I miss the Qdoba tacos - the yardbird and whatnot. The BBQ sauce too. You are amazing! That's great that your holiday shopping is done. Nice job!

  10. Kind of jealous that your shopping is done.... maybe that trump book would make a good gag gift!

  11. Good for you to have most of your shopping done. I hope you have a great week.

  12. Qdoba- I haven't been there in AGES

  13. LOL-the neck warmer. Yay for chocolate pie! I hope you have a great week. Cindy from

  14. Gotta give the author of that Donald Trump book some credit for being creative! Have a great week! :-)

  15. A week with chocolate pie AND Qdoba! I used to do Christmas cards over Thanksgiving. I always want to write at least a few personal lines in addition to a "form" letter. One year it took me until August to finish writing them. Everything Trump touches dies. ETTD

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

  16. I would probably love making fun of Trump's beautiful poetry. Ha! Thanks for showing some examples.

    Have a lovely month! Cheers! My Sunday Salon post

  17. Trump's Beautiful Poetry? I'm surprised anyone published the book. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  18. I wish I was more done with my Christmas shopping! I did get all our cards done this weekend, though.

  19. I have done nothing for Christmas. It is ridiculous to feel like I am far behind on December 4th.

    I have always intended to write a memoir of my time working in Yellowstone Park. To prepare I read a lot of bad books about Yellowstone. There are a lot of these.

  20. I'm so jealous that your shopping is done! I'm not even close to prepared. Hey Ranger looks fantastic and I bet the stories are completely crazy and hilarious. Any day involving chocolate pie is a good day. Sounds like a great Thanksgiving! Have a great week!

  21. The rangers had to quickly figure out how to stop thousands of dead chickens from zooming downriver into a recreation area.

    Okay... this I'm intrigued by. 😂

  22. Haha that neck warmer sticker! Those Donald Trump 'poetry' examples are entertaining indeed. And I hope you will not get too many bird questions anymore :)

  23. I love Qdoba too - it's been way too long since I've had it! I have not watched the new Squid Game but i did watch the first one and I loved it! Have a great week!

  24. Ohmygosh I would've totally been one of the idiots who thought Park Rangers would be able to identify all the birds and animals. I don't know why I assumed that, but yah. Guilty. Luckily, I have never been to a park with rangers so I have never asked such a question of them.

    Squid Game!!! For some reason I thought the new Squid Game that came out was Season 2 of the series, so when I got my dinner and everything ready and sat down and turned it on, I was SO MAD AND CONFUSED when it turned out to be reality show with real people or whatever it is. I turned it off immediately because I was so baffled. I could've sworn all the ads I saw said Season 2. I might give it another try now that I've calmed down about it.

  25. I guess if he was a ranger for 30 years ... his book would be a bit better ... the stories, the details, the writing. Oh well. You'll have to write the next good ranger book.