Friday, March 5, 2010

Tell Me Yours

As we're closing in on my favorite novels of all time, I started getting curious . . .

What are yours?

I am in a reading lull and could use some suggestions.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

3rd Favorite Novel Of All Time

As you know if you've been following along for the last 6 weeks or so, Thursday posts are dedicated to counting down my top ten novels of all time.

The final three books in my countdown are pretty much interchangeable depending on my mood that day, I like each of them so much. But if I had to choose, I'd go with The Brothers K by David James Duncan at number three.

The story revolves around a family of four brothers and two sisters. Their mother is a Bible-thumper and their father is a mill worker by day and a minor league baseball star by night. When the father has an accident at the mill, his baseball career is snuffed out, and the entire family is affected.

It's a story of a family torn in different directions by religion, baseball, and war. It's a story of a family pushed and pulled back together by those same things.

The first time I read this book I was floored by the descriptions, the story line, and, most of all, the characters (so much so that our oldest son Cade is named after the main character).

If you get a chance, pick it up. Time to read!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Just Another Fortune . . .

As some of you may have read, last Wednesday I let you all in on the little secret that I was about to become a millionaire. What I did not tell you was that I replied to the Bank of Africa email with a one line message: I am interested in your proposition.

This was a mistake.

I have since been contacted by four separate individuals representing former account holders at the Bank of Africa who have all tragically and, slightly suspiciously, come to untimely ends.

The first man died in a plane crash - the person from the BOA who contacted me felt so passionate about this situation that every single word in the letter was capitalized.

The second also met his demise in a plane crash. Over the Baltic Sea. In 1999.

The third died in a tsunami - in this case Mr. Amadou Kabore used the word hence 17 times in his letter.

The fourth died on a boat.

And in every single case, the person's entire extended family died with them, leaving no immediate family, no extended family, and, more importantly, no one to claim their exhorbitant fortunes.

No one, that is, except me.

The reason I feel so devastated about this is because I am obviously about to collect between 30% and 50% of four separate fortunes, leaving me with anywhere from $15.7 million to $23.4 million. And have any of you recently looked up the lives of those who come into large sums of money? It's not pretty:

- only 55% of lottery winners said they were happier after winning

- only 40% increased contributions to charity

- 70% of lottery winners spend all of their money within three years

- 33% of lottery winners eventually file for bankruptcy

My family and I will obviously need your support to get through this incredibly difficult time of wealth.

I have to go now - it's time to get back in touch with Tuogo Hazem, Patrick Daniel, Chen Guangyuan, and Amadou Kabore.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Year Without Television - Day 60

Now that the Olympics are over, I don't feel any worse for having missed them. But even though I didn't watch, I'm still reminded that much of it makes no sense to me . . . here are ten things about the Olympics I don't understand:

1) The Opening Ceremonies - should that word be pluralized? I'm an English major and I still have no idea.

2) Curling - do those guys sweeping the ice really make that much of a difference? If they do, then the one throwing the big stone probably doesn't have to be THAT skilled, right? If the sweeping is meaningless, then why are they out there?

3) What good is a medal if it's based entirely (or even partially) on a judge's opinion? These events give me the same feeling as NCAA football national championship discussions.

4) A question for those skiers who go off the high ramp and do all kinds of flips, twists and turns: what was your very first jump like? Was it anything like when an eagle pushes it's babies out of the next?

5) How much do I have to pay to be one of the front two men in a bob sled (they seem to only be along for the ride, and I can do that)

6) Wouldn't a snow cone be more appropriate than a torch?

7) What do the five Olympic rings stand for (I could probably google this answer, but, until I do, it still fits in the category as things about the Olympics that I don't understand)

8) Why is there a difference between men's and women's skis? Aren't they just different lengths and, in some cases, different colors? Do the former wear a tuxedo on a night out? Do the latter where a bikini to the beach? Does one variety say, "Don't try to fix my problem, just listen?"

9) Wouldn't some summer events like the long jump, water polo or the 400 meters be much more entertaining as winter events? What if one year they completely switched all summer events to winter, and vice versa? Imagine platform diving into a 35 degree pool with a thin skin of ice on the water.

10) The Closing Ceremony(ies) - I don't really need Bob Costas breaking down the symbolism of whatever cultural event is taking place. I wonder if he actually enjoys that, or if in his head he is cursing himself for being the most accomplished sports analyst on the planet, wishing instead he could go back to the days of broadcasting a Cubs/Mets game in June.

So, on reflection, is there anything about the Winter Olympics you just don't understand?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tell Us About Your Blog . . . And See Some Of My Favorites

My cousin Gent and I are working on getting this blog switched over to wordpress. My new address will be But as we've been working on this I've been checking out a lot of other blogs, just to get ideas on how I would like mine to look.

There are some really good blogs out there these days, as I'm sure you all know. The following are some of my favorites (in no particular order):

Bryan Allain - funny man Bryan shares his humorous outlook on life. Be sure to check out his "Cliche Thursdays". If you like what you see, order his blog year in review (available in real life hard copy and as a cute little file you can put on your computer)

Jessica Ramsey - a thought provoking devotional blog based on her responses to scripture from the Book of Common Prayer

Tyler Stanton - a hilarious blogger who has also created some enjoyable/side-splittingly funny videos

Rachele Gardener - interested in writing? Want to hear an agent's take? This is a great blog for writers to discover the inner workings of an agent's brain (don't worry, not as scary as it sounds!)

Janelle Beiler - are you a stay-at-home person needing some encouragement or a quick pick-me-up? Check out Janelle's blog as she writes about her life as a mother.

Andi Cumbo - if you want to read a great blog about Thoreau-ian simplicity, with some academic insights and a few great book reviews thrown in for free, Andi's blog is for you. She's got a refreshing outlook on life and will encourage the side of you that doesn't want to give in to the monster of materialism.

Shar Smucker - photographer extraordinaire. Check out the way she documents her ever growing family through photos.

The House Studio - a small publishing house trying to do things differently. Take a look at their books (The Kingdom Experiment, The Mosaic Experiment) and blogs.

So tell me about your blog? Feel free to advertise your blog in the comments section below - include your name, website and subject matter.

Don't be shy.