(Updating dead links, especially from the late and lamented (here at least) VodPod, I found myself back in 2008, with this post on Mark Twain's "The War Prayer." Fortunately, I found the film migrated to YouTube, though split in two parts. Some information that should have caught our attention in 2008 deserves noting now, and we can update and add new links.)
Archive for the ‘Ideas, Opinion & Commentary’ Category
A friend of mine called me “crankypants” yesterday because of it, but I still hate switching to Daylight Saving Time. I’ve been congested and sleeping poorly the past week so I didn’t need to lose an hour of sleep on top of that.
Anyhow, I like this quote attributed to some unnamed Native American (who is thus probably entirely fictional) but speaks the truth:
When told the reason for daylight saving time the old Indian said… “Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket.”
I also like this article “The 5 Stages of Daylight Saving Time” by fellow conspiracy victim Jennifer Fulwiler.
Earlier screeds against Daylight Saving Time:
I have an awesome friend name Sharon. Today is her birthday but that’s not what this post is about. I’m writing because in exactly one month Sharon will be running in the New York City Marathon. Sharon’s story is inspiring in that just the past two years she’s lost a lot of weight, got in shape, and built up her strength and ability to run many, many miles.
But it gets better than that. Sharon is running as a member of Team McGraw to support the Tug McGraw Foundation. If you’re not aware, Tug McGraw is a major league baseball relief pitcher who helped the New York Mets win their first World Series in 1969. When the Mets were contending for the pennant again in 1973, Tug coined the team’s famous rallying cry “Ya Gotta Believe!” Later in his career, McGraw pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies and was on the mound when that team won its first World Series in 1980. As a result, Tug is a rare player who is beloved in both New York and Philadelphia.
Tug McGraw died in 2004 as a result of a brain tumor. Which brings us back to Sharon who is running to support the Tug McGraw Foundation and enhance the quality of life of people living with brain tumors, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. Sharon has been working hard to raise a lot of money, so if you read this, please consider taking a moment to donate to Sharon’s fundraising efforts and wish her well in the New York City Marathon.
“Not because they are easy, but because they are hard,” is one of my favorite Kennedy quotes.
I have a brilliant idea for a new reality show.
- Find some of the people who made appearances as kids on Sesame Street back in the 60′s & 70′s.
- Have them move into a set of real row houses on a real street in New York. They can bring along any family members or companions they chose.
- Film them going about their daily routines, work, etc.
- At random intervals Muppets will appear to interact with the cast members.
PBS, make it happen!
Following up on Words I Don’t Know. Defining words I should know, that I pretend to know, but don’t really know.
soporific, adj. – the quality of something that causes sleepiness both literally and figuratively.
quotidian, adj. – something that recurs every day, can be extrapolated to mean commonplace or mundane.
fungible, adj. – can be replaced by something of equal value.
plenary, adj. – regarding an assembly or conference where all the members are in attendance
epistemology, n – a philosophy or science that studies knowledge and how knowledge is acquired.
probity, n – the quality of having a good character, morals, and being an all around decent person.
I’ve often promoted my ongoing program to read books from all the nations of the world in Around the World for a Good Book. It’s got me thinking closer to home about the best books from each of the United States. It’s hard to determine an iconic book for each state. A great book about New York City, for example, would not be very representative of the Finger Lakes for example. At any rate, I thought I’d get a start by looking through my Library Thing catalog to see if I could find an iconic book or two – mostly fiction – for each state. When it seemed I hadn’t read any books from a particular state I listed one that had been tagged most often with the state’s name by other Library Thing users.
Here’s my list. Books I’ve read are in bold. Let me know in the comments if you have additional or alternate suggestions.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Call of the Wild by Jack London
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Plainsong by Kent Haruf
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
The Saint of Lost Things: A Novel by Christopher Castellani
District of Columbia
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The Salt Eaters by Toni Cade Bambera
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
All Over Creation by Ruth L. Ozeki
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd
Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
My Ántonia by Willa Cather
Roughing It by Mark Twain
The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter van Tilburg Clark
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
American Pastoral by Philip Roth
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara
She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Brokeback Mountain by E. Annie Proulx
Trying out the new WordPress reblog feature. This is a fun post in which several popular songs have been modified to have a swing beat. I especially like “White Rabbit.”
via Music Machinery
“15 Things About Me and Books” is a meme moving slowly across the biblioblogosphere started by John Scalzi in 2005. I’ve seen it done by Steve Lawson, Michael Sauers, Jenica Rogers, Iris Jastram, and Angel Rivera. Now it’s my turn.
1. The first book I read on my own as a child was about cats. I read it at my grandparents’ apartment in Brooklyn. It started with cats in Egypt. It also had a page about how cats like to sleep on top of books. My cat demonstrated by laying down on this book.
2. I never read a lot of the children’s classics as a child (for example – Where the Wild Things Are, The Phantom Tollbooth, Winnie the Pooh, Make Way for Ducklings, Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, A Wrinkle in Time, many more). From an early age I was interested in reading about history and specifically biographies of colonial and early American figures. To this day I read more non-fiction than fiction.
3. I did read all of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books twice, with the exception of Farmer Boy which I wasn’t interested in at all.
4. It always annoyed me when TV shows had a kid reading a book and that kid suddenly appears in the book participating in the action. Reading was never like that for me and I always thought I was doing something wrong. I still think they need a way to illustrate imagination in a way that works for more literal-minded children.
5. Defying the stereotype of librarians and bibliophiles, I’ve made a conscious effort to not collect lots of books in my own home. I strive to check out books I can from the library. The only books I own are reference books, gifts, books by people I know, and books I could not get through a library. When I finish a book I give it away. It helps that I live in Boston with access to all the Boston Public Libraries, the Minuteman Library Network and the Harvard Libraries. Of course with my wife’s books and son’s books, the house is still cluttered with books, but imagine how much more so it would be if I weren’t so disciplined.
6. I was an anti-audiobook snob for a long time. I listened to one for the first time in 2007 and now I listen to them regularly especially while doing processing work in the archives.
7. In order to remember the books I read I started keeping a list in the back of my journal in 1990. Around 2000, that list became a spreadsheet. In 2003, I started writing summary reviews of every book I read. In 2006, I started publishing those reviews on this blog. In 2008, I entered every book I’ve ever read* into LibraryThing. To date I’ve reviewed 292 books on this blog and 765 books on LibraryThing (making me the 58th most prolific reviewer). Last year I ranked my 100 Favorite Books of All Time, although the list ended up having 125 books because I included series under one title.
8. I rarely reread books although I’m going to make a conscious effort to reread my 100 favorites starting this year.
8. When I was in high school I thought I would become a novelist & short story writer when I grew up. To date I still have not written any books.
9. The longest book I’ve ever read was Les Miserables by Victor Hugo which was over 1200 pages in the edition I read. Surprisingly I read it in only 12 days, devouring it during a family vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.
10. In college when struggling with a difficult assignment for my physics course I reached a point of stress where I tossed the textbook out the window. It landed with a resounding boom that echoed off the neighboring buildings. Tension relieved, I retrieved the book and finished up the assignment in 15 minutes and went to bed.
11. Since 2003, I’ve been trying to read a novel (in English translation) by an author from every country in the world. I call it Around the World for a Good Book.
12. Second semester senior year I took 3 English literature courses and a history course based on Southern writers and had to buy something like 25 volumes of fiction. Instead of going to the bookstore I went to the local book exchange and picked up paperbacks and ended up spending less than $20 for the semester.
13. For much of my life I could spend hours looking through The World Almanac and Book of Facts, staying up late learning things. Now I surf the web. There’s something lost and something gained.
14. In the winter of 1997 during a temporary layoff from Colonial Williamsburg I worked at the college bookstore at William & Mary. It was the only retail-type I ever had and it was relatively relaxing but I wouldn’t want to do it again. I loved the special dollies designed the carry the books around for shelving.
15. People sometimes make fun of me for reading too much. I feel I can never read enough.