Tuesday, August 21, 2007

How much do we really read?

Fascinating short article on a survey of how much we read. One fourth of the people hadn't read a book in the past year, wow. Over the past 12 months I have only read 6-7 books, which puts me in the average of people who had read something (avg. 7). The demographics were interesting as also was placement of fault for people not reading; T.V, internet and movies. Plus last year there were 3.1 Billion books sold, just enough for all of us on the planet to share with a friend, chuckle.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Biography of Presidential Repore

Interestingly enough none of Thedore Roosevelt's close friends and associates actually called him "T.R" mainly the public and other associations of this nature. And also the toy dolls called "Teddy Bear" grew out of a cartoonists impressions of T.R on a bear hunting trip, with the bear given a smily friendly face, which sooner thereafter inspired a toy maker. Amazing huh?

The author Edmund Morris wrote this book (he also did the authorized biography of Ronald Reagan, "Dutch). He is a gifted scholar born in Nairobi with a precise skill with language and vocabulary (a great book to improve your vocab and thinking skills).

Here are some highlights and lessons I picked up:

Arguably the Best Political Mind to sit in the White House: Whether it was carefully convincing certain cabinet members to stay, avoiding a near war with Germany in absolute secrecy from the public, arbitrating between the mine owners and miners in an economy crippling strike, orchestrating the political and military pieces for Panama to secede from Columbia and in turn purchase the land for the Canal-- T.R consistently astonished even his harshesed critics and kept most of the people quite pleased with the outcomes of major initiatives. He read the public as well as individuals accurately and knew how to influence (& occasionally manipulate) the parties to achieve the desired results.
Renewal through Vacations: It seemed like every few weeks or months Teddy needed to get out of Washington to hunt some bears in Colorado or head to his summer home on Long Island or take a horse ride in the countryside around DC. It appears that while being President he still made ample time to get out of Washington and into the woods for hunting or to visit people small towns on the western frontier where he was hugely popular. He found a gifted and famous scientist to accompany him in Yosemite Valley for four days. His love for the outdoors was fuel to expand much of the then existing national park system closer to what we have today.
Read Read Read: After he had been President for about a year the President of Columbia University asked for a list of some of the books he had read during his presidency. He sent back about a page worth of titles of European and World History, Greek Philosophy, various works of poetry contemporary and old, and many other titles on a variety of subjects with an apparent focus on history, philosphy and literature. How he made time to for all this as President is mystery to myself, maybe the vacationing and time in the rail cars helped.
These are just a few lessons I gleaned. The book never really gets too dry, Teddy is so focused on power and always on the go that his presidency never really gets boring. All the inside information and inner working of the White house with regards to International policy may cause a reader to 're-think' some of our country's involvement with other countries.

Friday, August 3, 2007

YouTube Debate

This is a pretty interesting exchange for the 3 top Democratic Candidates during the YouTube debate. Not talking to countries I guess can be like giving someone the silent treatment or as Dwight from the Office would say: Shunning Someone, and it undoubtedly can affect the neglected party. Obama seems to be very much for talking with leaders while Hillary attempts to build as much distance with the potential implications of such meetings with foreign leaders. This next clip is pretty rich, candidates are asked to say something like and dislike about the candidate to their left...yeh, almost unanimously ignored (or don't answer seriously) second half of the question where the are supposed to list off something they dislike about the candidate to their left and resort to "I love you guys" type generalites. Hillary's laugh in response to Edward's saying "he's not sure" about her coat sounds like true from the gut laugh that I am not sure she lets out in public (or maybe even private) too often.