Monthly Archives: March 2008

In Which I List the Books I’ve “Read” in 2008. Part 1

My commute is roughly 25 miles each way, so I spend a lot of time in the car/on the train. I kill most of that time listening to audio books. I discovered audio books in college while driving back and forth from Seattle to Indiana, and though I’ve got a lot of music on my ipod, I would guess that 90% of the time it’s on, it’s playing an audio book.

I’m a very auditory person (I think part of it is the ADD) and I often get lost on the page when I’m reading a book, but I can usually follow audio books pretty closely. I also have two young boys so there’s not a whole lot of time to sit and relax with a good book.

I’ll come back to these later with reviews, but here’s a list of the books I’ve “read” since January 1 (Bold means I actually read the hard copy):

Started but not completed yet:

  • Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope
  • Anne Rice, Christ The Lord: Cana
  • Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch
  • Nick Hornby, How To Be Good
  • Jasper Fforde, First Among Sequels
  • Arthur C. Clarke, Rendezvous with Rama

Completed:

  • Daniel Silva, The Messenger
  • Daniel Silva, The Confessor
  • Richard Matheson, I Am Legend
  • Brad Meltzer, The Millionaires
  • Daniel Silva, A Death in Vienna
  • Daniel Silva, Prince of Fire
  • Christopher Moore, A Dirty Job
  • Neil Forsyth, Delete This At Your Own Peril
  • Stephen King, Duma Key

That’s all for now.

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In Which I Shake the Hand of Bono, or My Brief Encounter with Irish Politics, in Commemoration of St. Patrick’s Day.

One cool thing about working at a newspaper is that you never know who you might run into in the hallway. A few years back, Bono stopped by for a chat with the editorial board about his organization that promotes assistance for Africa. He was in town to meet with Bill Gates, who had given some money to the organization.

When he came out of the meeting, there were about 20 of us just standing around to meet him. I got to shake his hand but didn’t talk to him. I was surprised that he was my height — I expected him to be taller.

Our receptionist at the time (Michelle) was from Killarney in Ireland. She wanted to meet him and get him to sign her Irish flag. So we asked his assistant if she could make sure Michelle got to meet him before he left, and when he came out of the meeting, his assistant grabbed him and brought him over to Michelle. The picture below was taken when they were being introduced (from left, Bono, me, and my co-worker Frank).

Bono and me

He sat down and held her hand while they talked about Ireland, about how she ended up in Seattle, etc, and then he signed her flag. It was pretty cool — they talked for about 10 minutes and he acted as if she were the only person there. One of his folks told him they needed to get going, so they left before I got a chance to talk with him, but I got photographic proof, and it was as neat to watch him visiting with Michelle as it would have been to talk to him myself. Very unassuming and personal.

One interesting thing was that about a year earlier, Gerry Adams (president of Sinn Fein) had been in to visit with the board and signed her flag. When Bono signed her flag, he crossed out Gerry Adams’ signature. He also commented about how they should tear off the green and orange panels (which represent the Catholic and Protestant resident groups in Ireland) and just leave the white (which, according to the Government of Ireland, “signifies a lasting truce between the ‘Orange’ and the ‘Green’.”

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In Which I Talk About Love.

Finding an old computer disk is like finding a time capsule. It’s always fun to see what kind of projects I was working on, what else was going on in my life, and what kind of memories it brings back.

Recently I found some old emails that my now-wife and I wrote in college. We all had email accounts at school (but it was all done from a plain-text terminal window and you didn’t use a mouse for any of it) and my wife had a compuserve account. (Her address was a bunch of random numbers@compuserve.com — I think that was standard with compuserve. Ah, the personal touch.) We were just learning how to use email and were excited that we could read each other’s words the same day, rather than after the four days it took for our letters to travel from Seattle to Indiana or vice-versa.

I was on such a treasure hunt today and came across this file. It’s a message I preached in October 2001 at the church I grew up in. I mention it in the message, but it was shortly after my mother died, and it’s interesting to read it now, knowing where I was at in the grieving process when I was putting it together, and so soon after 9/11. More after the jump.

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In Which My Wallet Says “Ouch.”

Today I paid $3.70 for gas. And that wasn’t even downtown.

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In Which We Enter The Playoffs.

I’m a political junkie. My wife and I don’t give a lick about football, but the passion with which others follow the season is a pretty accurate way to describe how we’ve followed the primaries.

I’ve never understood the concept of watching SportsCenter every night without being bored to tears; heck, I love (LOVE) baseball, but I can’t sit through 9 innings on television. But as the writers’ strike progressed we found ourselves setting season passes on the TIVO for Anderson Cooper and This Week with George Stephanopolous along with regular watchings of The Situation Report, Meet the Press, and other similar shows. Our boys both know who the players are. (Peanut loves saying “Huckabee!” I guess I do, too. Say it out loud; studies show it reduces stress.)

And tonight one team could clinch the title, and in the other league another could gain enough momentum to knock the other out for the season. It’s a beautiful thing, and I’m really interested to see how the campaigns change once it officially (or at least semi-officially) becomes a McCain-Obama race. VP speculation is starting (presidential politics are the only sport where you can combine the excitement of the playoffs and the speculation of the draft at the same point in the season), campaigns are beginning to formulate general election strategies, there are hints of the throwdown to come (public financing, Mr. Obama?).

The difference is, unlike when the Mariners make the playoffs, in this game there’s actually a feeling that my team Could . . . Go . . . All . . . The . . . Way.

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In Which I Post A Reading In Honor of Read Across America Day.

Read Across America Day was today, so in honor of the event (created to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday), I’m posting a reading I did for a class in college.

I was doing an internship for a small magazine and one of my jobs was to scour newsletters sent in by churches and other ministries for items to include in a news briefs section. I was reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X at the time, and at work I received a newsletter from an organization in Florida in which the author expounded for several single-spaced typewritten legal-size pages on the theme of “The Positive Value of Slavery to Black Americans.”

It was an interesting read, to say the least, and led me to wonder if the author had ever met a “Black American.” I had a project due for an Oral Interpretation class and started to wonder how I could juxtapose some of the juicier tidbits from the essay with some of the early passages of Malcom X. In a little.brain moment at the school library when I’m sure I was supposed to be working on 18 other things, I found myself in the childrens’ book section, and an idea was born.

I present here a reading on racism, featuring segments of The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and “The Positive Value of Slavery to Black Americans.” After the jump:

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