Friday, July 01, 2005


There isn't really a theme to this post, because I don't feel that strongly about anything at the moment, so I will instead characterize it as a piñata of sorts: I hit myself in the head, and this is the grab bag that came out.

1. Recent findings in literature: I am a big advocate of books on tape, especially for those of you who, like me, drive a lot. A spectacularly entertaining, as well as absolutely chilling find was George Crile's Charlie Wilson's War, the story of the rogueish (and rogue) Texan congressman who, through a series of ingenious maneuvers and brazen violations of the law, was more responsible than any other American for the CIA's funding of the Afghan Mujahideen in their war against the Soviets. Throughout this real-life Bond movie, it is easy to overlook, as Wilson did, that these guys were about the last people Americans should like to arm long-term. The book accomplishes a great moderation of hindsight, however, only mentioning Osama bin Laden in the final pages.

Another valuable book, also nonfiction, is Keith Ferrazzi's Never Eat Alone. Ferrazzi breaks down traditional notions of the sterile "professional relationship", instead arguing for a uniform technique whereby professional colleagues may be approached in the same manner as friends - not by sacrificing professionalism, but through generosity, expressed interest, empathy, and, yes, even the sharing of vulnerabilities. I am usually extremely skeptical of books geared towards changing your life, but this one is for real, and the testimonials you'll find are often entertaining as well as inspiring. Check out Ferrazzi's blog as well.

2. Want a juicy, delicious dessert that is kind of like peach pie with no added fat or sugar? Take a peach and cut it in halves. Sprinkle each half with cinnamon, and bake, skin side down, at 400 degrees until the skin blisters and the juice starts to bubble out of the cavity. Let it cool a bit and eat, savoring the globules of hot juice as they run down your cheeks.

3. Email a beloved old teacher of yours, or call, or write the old fashioned way, to let him or her know how much you stil value the education you received. Especially if you're post-grad, and have some perspective on such matters that wasn't always there.

4. I will be heading toward Boulder, Colorado on July 5th, and staying with the redoubtable Justin Kuczynski until the 11th or so. Accompanying me will be Laura Ward and Vince Dorie. This reflects a long-cherished dream of finally journeying to the land immortalized by John Denver, one of my true musical heroes. Not to mention a week of 100% Justin.

5. This Sunday is the birthday of Nik Baer, one of my oldest and closest friends. He had hoped to celebrate in Carmel Valley, but it looks as though he will still be at the Stanford clinic then. Knowing Nik, he probably does not want any attention focused on him other than the usual "Happy Birthday". However, I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge, if only for my own peace of mind, that he is one of the most remarkable, unselfish, and inspiring people you could hope to know, and, for those of you who have not yet met him, you are in for a very rare treat when the time comes.

6. By popular decree, I pledge to make gumbo soon, possibly even the week after I return from Colorado. Those of you in the Valley, take note; those of you not in the Valley, do what you can to amend that situation by the time I whip out the Uncle Ben's and start ladling out the greatest dish of my spiritual homeland.

7. A new poem - something I will not often post in the besotted bordello of cyberspace, but which, for whatever reason, I am moved to include below.


He went without a second thought
But, of a first, left evidence:
He tied it with a sailor's knot,
The paper thick, the ribbon dense;
He chose a safe and secret spot,
Told someone, and he got him hence,
And left it "for an epitaph".
A photograph? A photograph.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best. Road trip. Ever?

12:23 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home