Monday, June 23, 2008

A Good Read

If I remember my stats correctly, and if the study I used was reliable, something like only 40% of college graduates ever read a book after they graduate. And only 16% of college graduates ever read a non-fiction book after they graduate. And, on top of that, college graduates are the segment of our adult population that reads the most.

Clearly, I don't fit into that exactly. I'm not the bookworm my wife is (I don't usually finish books in a day), but I do read quite often. Fiction (mainly of the Star Wars variety) and non-fiction (mainly of sales and religious variety) are both frequently found in my hands. But I can understand why some people stop. Life gets busy, television fills the entertainment (and information) need. Not to mention we're forced to read some really bad fiction and really dry non-fiction (how I still loathe my Western Civilization reading assignments) while we're in college.

But 16% is a really, really low number. I mean, 40% I can live with. But 16%? That's less than how often Casey Blake gets a hit with RISP and 2 outs in his career. That's way too low.

And maybe it's because most people simply don't know how to find good non-fiction. Or how to tell if they're reading good non-fiction.

I mean, most of us know how to find good fiction. We pick it up, and the characters, world, magic, or romance draws us in. We're able to see things in our head, and anticipate and hope for outcomes.

But we don't get that in non-fiction. We get opinion, belief, and hopefully advice and insight. If it was predictable, we wouldn't want to read it. Most of the non-fiction I like I didn't know was my type, it came on a recommendation.

Now, I know what bad non-fiction looks like. And feels like, more importantly. It feels and reads like the aforementioned books from the Western Civ classes. It makes me dread turning the page, constantly count to a break/end of chapter, and keeps me from hoping there's more of the same to follow.

But, I really couldn't describe to you what good non-fiction looks like. Or feels like, more importantly.

But, last night I started reading a new non-fiction book. My good buddy David and I did a book swap last weekend. I loaned him Christ the Lord by Anne Rice, which was so far down my reading list at the time, it wasn't getting read until at least October. In return, he loaned me Simply Christian, which he had just finished and thought would be a great fit for my mindset.

So, again, I pick up some non-fiction on recommendation.

But, I do think I've found what makes good non-fiction good.

And, you'll have to excuse me, because I'm only one chapter (plus the introduction) into it, but I'm ready to say I like the book.

And I think it's because of this litmus test for (certain types of) non-fiction:

The author is able to say something that you've wanted to be able to say, but haven't had the words or wisdom to be able to say.

It's why Rob Bell works so well for me.

And let me give you an example from this book:

"Haven't Christians been part of the problem rather than part of the solution?

Yes and no.

Yes: from very early on there have always been people who have done terrible things in the name of Jesus. There have also been Christians who have done terrible things knowing them to be terrible things, without claiming that Jesus was supporting them. There's no point hiding from this truth, however uncomfortable it may be.

But also no: because again and again, when we look at the wicked things Christians have done (whether or not they were claiming God was on their side), we can see in retrospect at least that they were muddled and mistaken about what Christianity actually is. It's no part of Christian belief to say that the followers of Jesus always got everything right. Jesus himself taught his followers a prayer which includes a clause asking God for forgiveness. He must have thought we would go on needing it"

Like I said, something I've always wanted to be able to express, but haven't been able to find the words, spirit, or wisdom to say so myself. And thus it passes my new litmus test.

Seriously, last night, I wouldn't have been surprised if there was literally a light bulb over my head explaining this new idea I had on why I like certain non-fiction.

And, like I said, I'm only one chapter in. But this book is off to a promising start. And, I'm thinking it will end up not only on my "perpetually recommend to anyone willing to listen to a book recommendation" list, but also on my "not enough to have read it, must also own it" list.

And so while it might not help me in recognizing from a distance what is good non-fiction, maybe it will help you all do a better job in recommending good non-fiction to me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On Second Thought

Maybe golf will be boring to watch on television for the rest of the year




Tiger Woods to have season-ending knee surgery

Makes me appreciate the effort at the US Open all that much more ...

Also gets Tiger a permanent place on the "All Testicles" team, along side greats like Michael Jordan and Byron Leftwich.

Monday, June 16, 2008





And they say golf is boring to watch on TV.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Back in the '30's

So, I normally don't post about or pass along an online quiz, but this one tickled my fancy and was unique enough to pass along ...


As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Friday, June 06, 2008

I Feel

I feel ... like myself again.

And I didn't remember how good it felt.

About two-and-a-half weeks ago, I had a migraine headache. I no longer have my old prescription drugs that allow me to actually kill my migraine. Just OTC drugs that help me kill the symptoms and get on with my life.

Well, the effects of this particular migraine had been lingering, even if I didn't want to admit it. Finally, today, I feel free of them. My head isn't cloudy and swimming, and I don't perpetually feel semi-loopy, and I haven't felt dizzy all day.

It's a wonderful feeling.

But this one was lingering almost as long as the first one I was diagnosed with. And I needed to take a shot of Demerol in the but to get rid of that one.

Glad I didn't need to go through that again.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Maybe ...

Maybe I've never had a bad day at work.

And maybe you haven't either.

At least, relatively speaking ...

Office Worker Goes Absolutely Insane - Watch more free videos

Memory Lane

Sometimes you just need a good trip down memory lane.

And sometimes, that trip needs to be to a destination that occurred before you were born, but that was legend and folklore you grew up with. Such is the case today.

Behold, a recap of the Cleveland Indians Ten Cent Beer Night. I grew up on this story, and the details in this recount amazed even me. If you don't know the story, you need to read it and learn. And if you do, you need to read it again, and get new details, new insight, and a little more humor.

Rules of the Game

Or, rather, odd rules that I seem to live by.

More particularly, music rules.

It seems that for certain songs, I almost involuntarily react a certain way when they come on the radio. I can't explain it. Unless it would almost certainly cause me physical harm, I have a reaction to certain songs. It's almost a rule.

Here's the ones on the top of my head I can think of:

-Hang on Sloopy, by the McCoys. When this comes on I have to do the O-H-I-O during the chorus, unless of course I am driving in heavy traffic or getting a haircut (almost made that mistake once)
-Livin' on a Prayer, by Bon Jovi. When this comes on I have to crank up my radio about as loud as it can go, and sing along with the chorus, usually at near the top of my lungs.
-Dare, by Stan Bush and You Got the Touch, by Stan Bush. Every time I hear this song, I start quoting random lines from Transformers: The Movie
-Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen. Wayne's World reenactment, or at least as close as I can come.

I'm sure there are others, but that's all I can think of off the top of my head. Anyone else have this reaction to certain songs? If so, what are the songs and rules of your life?

Late to the Party

Ok, so I am horribly late to the party, but I have recently discovered the awesomeness that is Podcasts and subscriptions thereof. It's nice to have information I want ready at my fingertips when I want it, and delivered to me automatically on a regular basis.

So, I'm looking for suggestions to add to my list. Things that would be good for me. Along my interests and that jazz. So, please, feel free to fire away. Here's what I'm subscribed to so far:

Daves Ramsey
Relevant Magazine

(And what are the odds Trevor and/or Ryan suggest the jOURney teaching podcast to me? I'd say right around 100% ... or at least they would have, had I not posted this.

iTunes Update

A little behind this month, but oh well. Let's see what we've got:

Top 25 Most Played:

1. Ellery - Anna
2. Fort Minor f. Styles of Beyond - Remember the Name
3. Pillar - For the Love of the Game
4. Stan Bush - You Got the Touch
5. P.O.D. - Alive
6. Switchfoot - Ammunition
7. Tom Petty - I Won't Back Down
8. Leeland - Hey
9. O.C. Supertones - Who Can Be Against Me?
10. Skillet - Collide
11. Thousand Foot Krutch - Rawkfist
12. Flyleaf - Fully Alive
13. Disciple - Rise up
14. Hawk Nelwon - Everything You Ever Wanted
15. Terry Cashman - Talkin' Baseball (Baseball and the Tribe)
16. Tom Petty - Free Fallin'
17. U2 - Pride (In the Name of Love)
18. 12 Stones - Lie to ME
19. P.O.D. - Change the World
20. Plain White T's - Hey there Deliliah
21. Skillet - A Little More
22. Deleriou5? - Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble?
23. GRITS - Here We Go
24. Skillet - Rebirthing
25. Switchfoot - Meant to Live

New this Month

Robert Palmer - Addicted to Love