Category Archives: Books

Usism

I was rather surprised to bump into this blog about what is happening at the moment in Mali a huge North African nation that is witness to the latest depredations of Al Quaeda.

Much like the video We are the world which was taped with dozens of Western music artists this one shows the following video of Mali’s famous musicians singing against the incursions of the Islamists.

The thing I found interesting is the fact that the verse is being sung in at least four of Mali’s indigenous languages. This unity despite ethnicity reminded me of the message in the book I’ve been reading “Black Sea.” That message is that muti-culutural life can be so easily stamped out. Continue reading

My Book list swerves

I thought I had read more books than the recent post listed. At a book store this afternoon I saw yet another book that I finished this year, The Swerve. Its great. I’ve just added it to my lifetime reading list. I wonder if that list includes James Clavells “Shogan.” I just remembered reading that one too a few days ago. I read it back in the 1970’s. (Just checked. Shogan was included)

While I was updating the old website I also explained how this year’s snow sculpture got built. I’ve been explaining the process each year for those who wonder how they get done. I’d like to encourage others to try their hand at it. Each of my sculptures gets built in slightly different ways depending on the weather, the subject, the time available and the amount of snow.

My Book list for 2012

I just finished my last cover to cover book for the year the one on Thaddeus Stevens. That prompted me to fumble around with my old website www.snowbizz.com. I stopped updating it regularly when I started this blog in 2006. That was also the year I set up a Facebook Page. Both of them were intended to give my second fleeting campaign for Congress some Internet legs. The Blog took. Facebook faded, however, I may reconstitute it as a close family and friends site since my daughter posts a steady stream of photos of my grandsons on her Facebook Page. Geez, I hate being forced to shed my comfortable old fuddy duddy.

Long ago I tried to recall all the books I’d read (other than the many children and young adult books I read to my own kids) over the course of my life. It wasn’t so hard to do this because I began compiling a reading list when I was 29. Other than two years of my Red Plan fight I kept reading a steady stream of mostly nonfiction works. My snowbizz reading list page is here and this is the list of the 2012 additions:

Walter Mondale, The Good Fight…………………Walter Mondale
Hubert Humphrey a Biography……………………Carl Solberg
Lyndon Johnson The Passage of Power…………….Robert Caro
The Political Career of Floyd B. Olson………….George H. Mayer
Lincoln, Team of Rivals……………………….Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Devil in the White City……………………Erik Larson
Thaddeus Stevens 19th Century Egalitarian……….Hans L. Trefousse

I think its complete but I also thought it was complete last night but then this morning I remembered the Robert Caro book so I had to go back and add it to the page.

The first two books were read for background on the book I’ve been laboring and stalling over for the past six years. It helped derail my 2006 campaign for Congress. This year my travails over some lousy contractors derailed my research on the scandal. Oh yeah, it also was a good excuse to drop my threatened third run for Congress. That threat helped boost my loyal readers in January and February from 8 to a dozen but the readership steadily dropped after that. It’s funny, but it looks like December’s readers will top all other months this year. I may end up with 13 for the month! That’s probably bad luck. Some of them, like my Buddy, have to hold their noses when they peer into Lincoln Democrat.

I’ve basically been retired since I was about 35. You’d think I’d have plenty of time to write my own books but since I turned a real retirement age I’ve sort of gone into super-retirement and been busier than ever. Finding time to research and write a book just keeps getting harder. Even now I feel a little guilty because the two cutest grandson’s in the world are down in the basement mesmerized by television.

Ah, but this post was supposed to be about the update of my reading list. A post about this year’s progress (or lack of it) on my my own writing project will have to wait until I get a little more grandson time.

Today’s Random thought

If the Jews are God’s “Chosen People” does that mean Christians are his self selected people? If so that leads to a second thought. Which self selected ones? (are God’s people)

This thought was prompted by a very interesting seven minute interview with the author of The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture on NPR. My twelve recently ordered books are already arriving at my door according to my house sitters so I won’t be ordering this but Claudia thought it would be a good one for her Sunday School study group.

Those book lists

I’m sure there are more good lists to be found on the Internet, e.g. Britain’s Booker Prize, but these four gave me a good start.

Good Reads (History)

National Book Award (Histories and Bios)

Pulitzers

Amazon Books Presidential Biographies (among other book searches)

I also have hundreds of books acquired over decades sitting on my shelves waiting for me to brush the dust off of. I love used books stores, the Duluth Public Libraries book sale and book reviews. I’ve stuffed many reviews of interesting books in a file folder and up until a couple years ago compiled a list, started in 1999, of books I’ve read in their entirety.

I’ve come to the conclusion that reading books from beginning to end can be a bit of a fetish. I’ve dived into fifty or more books as I’ve researched my prospective history and only finished a half dozen of these from A to Z.

Hard Truths

I just read a very short critical essay by Simon Schama on the fabulists and mythologizers at the recent GOP National Convention:

Here’s one paragraph:

In Mitt Romney’s breathtakingly edited version of the recent past, Republicans secretly rejoiced at Obama’s election, while only reluctantly coming to the conclusion that his policies had wrecked the economy. Yet history tells us that four years ago the American financial system was hanging over the abyss by the thread of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that a Republican administration and secretary of the Treasury had put in place, and for which the hypocritical deficit chickenhawk Paul Ryan had voted, even as he strained every muscle to get his district’s share of the stimulus package that he now denounces Obama for perpetrating. And recall also that the whole near-terminal calamity was caused by the unregulated derivative market whose freedom to destroy what’s left of the American economy the likes of Ryan and Romney cannot wait to reinstate.

At the bottom of the post is an editor’s note that explains that when this was first posted it claimed that as Nixon’s Secretary of HUD (Mitt’s Father George) did his best to foster segregation in US Housing. That was corrected. It was just the opposite of the essay’s first claim.

I recommend the essay as much for its authorship as its content. The note explaining that it originally contained such a glaring mistake is just one more reason to take it seriously. Any historian who admits to passing on historical errors is offering evidence of his/her devotion to truth as opposed to a vanity for never making a mistake. Schama points to a great many historical mistakes made by speakers at the GOP convention many of which have been repeated ad nauseam by commentators since the convention. I presume loyal Republicans will be as indifferent to them as race horses wearing blinders.

Coincidentally NPR ran a very interesting story this morning on a scientific investigation into the possibility that humans can willfully forget painful or inconvenient truths. Apparently they can. (I could have told you that. The fuzziest period of time in my memory, post toddlerhood, are two miserable years of teaching in Proctor right after I graduated from college.)

As for the author of the post. I have two Schama books one on the French Revolution and one on the Dutch Tulip bulb mania. I’ve not gotten around to reading either of them yet. I well recall walking through the building on Columbia University’s that houses most of its History faculty. I was looking for historian Eric Foner’s office when I saw Schama’s name plate on a near-by door. Columbia has a serious history department and has since my Grandfather George Robb got his master’s degree from Columbia in 1915.

This summer has been lost to me for my own history writing. I’ve been preoccupied with contractors and grand children. To clear my mind I began reading history books and just finished the fourth one in two months. Three of them were by historians who have earned Pulitzer Prizes. The first was Swerve, followed by Caro’s Passage of Power, then Goodwin’s Team of Rivals on Lincoln and I just wrapped up with a short book by another noted Historian Michael Beschloss’s Presidential Courage.

I’m so smitten reading addictive histories that I’ve spent the past few days going over lists on the Internet of highly regarded histories and ordered eleven of them last night. (all at deep discounts for used books) I don’t know how I’ll read them and research my own book now that the school year has swallowed up my Grandchildren again. Even so, while I’m waiting I’ve started another book that’s been on my shelf for the past eight years: Sea of Glory. The preface and first chapters are cracker jack.

Here’s the list from Amazon:

An Army at Dawn 1st (first) edition Text Only
Rick Atkinson

Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe (P.S.)
Laurence Bergreen

Thaddeus Stevens: Nineteenth-Century Egalitarian (Civil War America)
Hans Louis Trefousse

1920: The Year of the Six Presidents
David Pietrusza

The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America
Russell Shorto

Mr. Speaker!: The Life and Times of Thomas B. Reed The Man Who Broke the Filibuster
James Grant

Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America
Walter R. Borneman

The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War
Fred Anderson

The Routledge Historical Atlas of Presidential Elections (Routledge Atlases of American History)
Yanek Mieczkowski

Batavia’s Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History’s Bloodiest Mutiny
Dash, Mike

Black Sea
Ascherson, Neal

The Internet has simply made possible things I was reaching for with great difficulty 40 years ago. Some examples of my early efforts:

All through my college years I asked everyone I knew which professors they most enjoyed so I could take the most stimulating classes I could.

As a sophomore I was on a committee established by the Student Senate to run a massive teacher evaluation program of the entire college faculty by students. We had questionaires printed out for all students and asked them a series of questions about their teachers and then printed a thick booklet for interested students to use in signing up for classes. Coincidentally, my Dad was the president of the Teacher’s Union and told me that a lot of the faculty was worried about the possibly unfair appraisal by students who had gotten poor grades.

For a few weeks after I graduated I went to dozens of highly regarded teachers and asked them which historical books they would recommend I read to further my education (I ended up reading very few of them)

I often rationalize that my failure to be a very successful politician is due at least in part to my penchant for honesty which I hasten to add is not the same as truth. The former is riddled with prejudice but has the virtue of acknowledging the flaw. Truth is truth although just what is true is hotly debated by both honest and dishonest people.

As a junior high school kid I recall being very interested in the story of Faust and Mephistoples. Faust trades his soul to the Devil for unlimited knowledge. I was very interested in such knowledge even though I knew my puny intellectual powers could never attain it. (It turns out that Faust also gets unlimited pleasure in the bargain but I only know that from reading the link to Wikipedia that I just provided. That’s not what interested me back then although I was also giving a lot of thought to the Lotus eaters in Homer’s the Odyssey)

The books I’ve ordered are meant to fullfill two wishes. I want them to be 1. page turners and 2. a wealth of information to fill gaps in my past reading. Unlike Faust I’ll never be omniscient but at least when I kick the bucket my soul will not belong to someone else like the GOP. They wouldn’t know what to do with it anyway – they’ve been shortchanging Lincoln’s soul for ages.

2AM – 5/9/2012 – Orderliness in lieu of accomplishment

My eight loyal readers have often read in my posts a claim that I am more interested in writing a book than getting elected. I still think that’s true. My recent blogging quiescence began with a month of intensive final organizing of materials related background research. I was partly driven by the death of my principal eye witness, Don Boyd. As Don grew weaker I worked, not on writing, but on making sure ever last scrap of information he provided me would be instantly retrievable. I’ve pretty well accomplished that task.

Don’s passing also gave me a new sense of freedom. For the past four of six years I kept telling Don that I wasn’t sure I could finish the book before he died. It turned out to be true. Still as Don grew more infirm over the past year I made some furious attempts to crank out random selections to the book. All the “bookin it” postsin LIncolndemocrat are a reflection of that mania.

Over time it became apparent to me that to do the book justice I had to start at the beginning and move on. In the last two weeks of Don Boyd’s life I figured out what the first chapter had to be and even began it. I also have a pretty well worked out chapter plan for everything that follows. Now I need to do some interviews.

Thursday and Friday I’ll go down to the Twin Cities to do just that. Claudia’s going. She will visit museums. I will research. We have a good reason to want to be out of town. Our house sounds like the internal workings of a factory as workment undo the damage I did thirteen years ago. More on that in the next post.

After I finished putting all of Don Boyd’s information in order (including 500 or so pages of my own hand written notes) I decided to finish organizing my house. I’ve been tidying up nearly forty years worth of debris from my married life for the past ten years beginning shortly before I quit the School Board and met Don Boyd. This clean up was badly sidetracked by my war with the Duluth School Board during the dark days of the Red Plan and other personal family crises but those are past me now.

I do have one corner of my attic crammed with five or six tubs of Red Plan records that I can’t part with yet in case I’d like to write a book about the war. I also have a file cabinet with a lot of paper left over from my school board days. That will be easier to throw away when I get around to it. Even so, I managed to get my entire house put into good order during the recent blog lite hiatus.

I did still have one organizational weak point our second home where my grandson’s live. I maintain a second workshop for house repair. My last week of organizational mania at my house was directed at my workshop. For the past couple years it was the one room I refused to clean. It had become useless as a workshop. If I needed a screwdriver to tighten up the cover of an electic outlet it took me ten minutes to wade through the tiny workshops debris to reach one on the peg board. The workshop was my id. It had become a jungle. It’s confusion made every home improvement task a nightmare and probably doubled the time it took me to do home maintenance. No more. Over a week’s time I cleaned it and organized it and its better than its been at any time for the past ten years. I even gave the work bench a fresh coat of paint.

I was almost ready to begin by book research again until I decided to fix my front steps. The tumult that sprang from that project drove my wife and I over to our daughter’s house where helping her organize her home has proven much more tranquil than staying in our home. Tomorrow will be the third day of our escape from our house. I’ve almost gotten my second workroom as organized as my first. Claudia has worked wonders with my daughter’s closets. Goodwill will get another visit from us this afternoon.

Tomorrow we will escape out house yet again. Now its time to explain the reason we need to escape.

Caro Syrup

If my eight loyal readers didn’t anticipate this I’ll make it clear. My book is not going to be finished this year. I concluded over a month ago that to do it justice it would take a minimum of two more years. That’s on top of six off and on years of researching it. That means it won’t be a practical way for me to solicit contributions for my campaign for Congress.

I still haven’t decided for sure whether to file. Goodness knows I have my doubts that Cravaack can be defeated by the three announced DFLers. This ain’t Jim Oberstar’s old District and none of them are Jim Oberstar and even Jim lost the support of the MCCL in his hour of need. If Cravaack’s challenger goes down to defeat and I finish my book in two years I can certainly use it to raise cash to run against Cravaack in 2014.

I recently read this article on the biographer I stand most in awe of, Robert Caro. He and his wife, an archivist, have essentially given their life over to reconstructing Lyndon Johnson’s life and retelling it in what was first supposed to be a three volume set. I’ve been waiting for the fourth and final volume for ten years. In fact, I need it for my own book to put Hubert Humphrey in better context. It turns out that Caro is going to have to turn his life’s work into a five volume set if he lives long enough to complete it. The new volume four may be her this summer or fall. I may be another decade older before the last one is finished.

It reminds me of the time I visited Texas and we paid a call on LBJ’s old home in 2006 as I was beginning to research my own history. Lady Bird was still living there and she was sitting out front as our tour bus drove by. One of the National Park Rangers at the site told me that Caro had almost died after finishing the third volume and the Ranger was afraid he’d not get to read the continuing saga if Caro didn’t take better care of himself.

Lady Bird stopped talking to Caro after he published this Pulitzer winning first volume. I’m afraid that the dozen or so remaining insiders to my story won’t be very eager to talk to me either. If not, the Newspapers and courtroom testimony will have to do.

Doc Martin and Herman Melville

Someone, I can’t recall who, recommended Doc Martin, a British television series, to me. Its available on Netflix. Claudia and I have been enjoying every episode we’ve watched for the past week. Its four years worth of episodes will be over with all too soon as we watch two or three a night if possible.

I only saw a single episode tonight because Claudia was off too a bible lesson at church. So I watched the American Experience on PBS. It was excellent. The subject was the Era of whaling and its sub story was about the trajedy of the Essex and the career of Herman Melville. He’s the author of Moby Dick.

I read two-thirds of the book as a senior in high school. It was probably more than most of my fellow students struggled through. In my case I pulled out a pocket notebook and jotted down the words I did not know as I encountered them in the book. I used it to broaden my vocabulary. Tonight’s American Experience helped me appreciate the novel beyond the vocabulary I picked up from it.

Melville gave up on writing after it was published. It was an epic destined for immediate oblivion because Americans were besotted by the Gold Rush of 49. They couldn’t have cared less about fishing for whales even if that was the industry that had made it possible for them cross the continent when the smell of gold got back to the Atlantic.

If I was running around campaigning for Congress I couldn’t be watching this programming. I figure this is why so many Congressmen are clueless. They never have any time to do anything but campaign and raise money.

Oh yeah, I also recorded a youtube with some of that singing I promised but at ten minutes it was longer than youtube would let me post. Too many songs at one go I’m afraid. Thank goodness.

Bookin it – Yeah, so I lied about not posting

I regretted my promise even as I was making it. I stewed about it and came up with a compromise with myself. I’ll post after 10pm if I’ve been good. I have been attending to the book despite its having been a weekend with my grandchildren. I put three pages together on Saturday and 2 pages together today thereby finishing a rough draft for Chapter 1. I’m very pleased with it. I hope to have Chapter two whipped into good shape by Wednesday since I don’t have any planned tasks to work on. I begin it with six pages already completed and all my notes on the subject matter fully organized for quick review.

I’m debating posting bookin it posts with samples of text. Let me know what you think with an email: harrywelty@charter.net.

My book begins and bon voyage

I just wrote that I’d gotten so distracted that I’d forgotten how I started my book three weeks ago. At the time, I was hell bent for leather to crank the whole first chapter out but life got in the way. Yesterday I finally had a chance to resume but I was suffering from fear of getting started again because the thread had broken off after I set the book aside. Well, late in the day I read what I’d left off with and was very pleased.

As a last post until I’ve got at least 75 more pages done I’ll show you what I cranked out three weeks ago. It will get better. Here’s the usual caveat.

Chapter 1 October, 19, 1977

“I never had so much as a freaking speeding ticket.” Don Boyd

On Thursday Don Boyd would be one million dollars richer. He would ink the deal with his old employer Reserve Mining to sell them the rock and gravel they would require to put an end to a long running environmental controversy. Continue reading

A Meditation

I went to bed wide awake and that never works. As I lay too caffeinated to sleep it occurred to me what I had to do. I had to stop blogging for a bit to work exclusively on my book. I regard writing it as far more important than blogging or running for Congress. Readers will recall that I joked some weeks ago that my running for Congress might only be a means of hawking my book. The truth is it is a means to hawk my book. However it is not “only” a means to hawk my book.

The fact of the matter is that I’ve wanted to be in Congress for most of my adult lifetime. That ambition has paled in recent years. I’m 61. I’ve planned a writing career for myself late in life. My grandsons and children are close by. Congress is a snake-pit of vanity and money raising. Who needs that?……. Apparently I do. Or at least I need the chase.

But the chase and the blogging are interfering with my book writing at the moment. Three weeks ago I had an epiphany. After a dozen false starts I realized just how to begin my book. I dashed out the first two and a half pages and then got mired in distractions. Ten days with the grandsons I love. First a mini vacation followed by a week of sick days followed by a Leap Day blizzard and snowdays off of daycare with them. That was followed by my rushing around for another five days shoveling snow and building the one shot I would have this winter at a snow sculpture. I’ve done at least one every year for a quarter century thanks to my daughter getting me started when she was starting first grade. Besides, the sculpture would be a fun ironic statement about my lot in life. Don Quixote the man who tilts at windmills was me – Harry Welty perennial candidate.

Then I needed a week to figure out my website software and time to buy a domain name and set up an at least rudimentary website. As I did all this the epiphany grew dim. I even forgot what I’d written.

To top it off I felt a pang of guilt about not attending to the writing. I mentioned a few days ago that I finally had that conversation with my wife and suggested it would be worthy of a post. I’ll make it very brief. Claudia is not impressed with my stab at a Congressional run. As she told me I’ve never heeded her advice before to resist running for office. That’s true. I guess its my one vice and I’m too selfish not to run no matter how much it disrupts our life. I was cursed with a spouse who hates politics but blessed with one who has made the best of my obsession.

It was her comment to me about my betraying a friends trust that was harder to take. The friend, Don Boyd, is the subject of my book. He’s had a tough bout of illness recently. He’s in his eighties. I’ve told him several times in recent years that I couldn’t guarantee that I’d finish the book about him before he moved on to his great reward. He’s seen me plunge into several politial forays over the six years I’ve fussed with his book and each foray distracted me from the book. I don’t owe him anything. But the story about him is just damn interesting. He was screwed royally by a lot of powerful people and I don’t want to be the last one to let him down.

I’m going to abandon the blog for a while to get the book written or at least started but not just for my friend. I really think his story is so fascinating that I can used it to pay for a serious congressional campaign. As this page in my campaign website points out I first conceived the idea of using the proceeds from selling a book for political purposes twenty years ago. Book sales seem clean and the idea of grubbing for donations really sticks in my craw. I’m not quite ready to become a political prostitute.

There is no reason that I have to keep blogging to keep interest in my campaign going. There are only a couple thousand folks visiting every month. If I start selling a completed book or one that is close to completion I’ll be able to build a campaign around it. By itself my blog isn’t that compelling. As I lay in bed the old phrase from our Revolutionary War kept drumming in my head, “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes.” Well the whites of the other congressional candidate’s eyes won’t really be visible until about a month out from the primary election in September. That gives me March through July to crank out 300 pages. Hopefully it will be even less although I’m sure I could fill twice that many pages easily.

I sort of expect that I may find out tomorrow that I just set a record for the number of people who visited my site in a day. I really hate going on vacation when sales are up but I need that book. My friend needs that book. My campaign needs that book.

Waiting for my website

I missed two appointments to donate my usual pint of blood this morning. I slept through the 7:50 appointment because after waking up and working on the new website at 3am I was taking a nap. I missed the rescheduled blood draw at 10:20 because I was working furiously on additional changes to the site. They finally told me to just walk in around noon. They gave me a green bandage for my arm in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

My website is ugly and wordy and has lousy linkages between pages. Its got far more links to various things I’ve written than the typical voter would want to traipse through. Oh well, I’ll announce when my web provider finally points the URL www.welty4congress.com to the correct site. After that I’ll only do little touch ups and add a donations page after I’ve got a good 75 pages to my book written. From now on until I make it through most of the book I’ll give my best hours each day to the book. The blog will be composed in the secondary hours of the day. At least that’s my plan.

I’ll try to get a word search in every day at least. It’ll be pretty boring but as I get further along in my book I’ll post more passages in “bookin it” posts.

Would like to be bookin it

I’ve spent hours this week putting together chronologies. I just have two books left to finish for this project. I skimmed Solberg’s bio on Triple H. I’ve already poured through it twice before. The other covers a great void in Minnesota political literature – the Republican side. this one is a treasure. I’ve read through it twice before and to believe a Republican can be so funny.

All these books, fifty so far, (I found two more yesterday) mostly serve as a launching pad for the story I really want to tell. I’ve offered up snippets and there will be more.

My wife is a little appalled at the time I spend on this but I feel guilty that I’m only getting started……that is if you consider the six previous years only preparation. Joe McGinnis cranked out his book on Sarah Palin in amazingly short order. I’ll bet it was a lot less complicated than my book. Everyone in Wassila, Alaska seems to have wanted to talk to him so long as it was off the record. Not so with my book and lots of the witnesses are no longer Earth bound. Continue reading

Bookin it 14

Today has been consumed with preparing for and meeting with and emailing lawyers following a sleepless night with fidgety grandchildren in my bed. I never found the time to sit down and compose. I did however begin typing up a Bibliography. Its supposed to be laid out alphabetically by author and coincidentally only a few of the source books have author names at the beginning of the alphabet. Here’s my start.

I’ve been looking through a couple of writing form books to get the proper layout of information. Turabian advised me to separate information with periods unlike in footnotes which use commas. Go Figure.

I have a feeling a lot of changes have been made in the 30 years since my writing manuals were first published. It will be interesting to see how one Internet Source of mine should be laid out. Good thing I printed it all out a few years ago lest someone remove it from the Net. I tried to talk the author’s widow into letting me talk the Minnesota Historical Society into publishing the work. Its as funny as Klobuchar if not funnier. Too bad the author loved Rush Limbaugh and that I encouraged his family to read my blog…….

The Bibliography’s beginning:

Berman, Edgar, MD..Hubert The Triumph and Tragedy of The Humphrey I knew. New York. G.P. Putman’s Sons. 1979
Berman, Michael S. Living Large A Big Man’s Ideas on Weight, Success and Acceptance. USA. Rodale Inc. 2006
Gieske, Millard L. Minnesota Farmer-Laborism The Third-Party Alternative. Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press. 1979
Haynes, Haynes Earl. Dubious Alliance The Making of Minnesota’s DFL Party. Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press. 1984
Hudelson, Richard & Ross, Carl. By the Ore Docks a Working People’s History of Duluth. Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press. 2006
Klobuchar, Jim. Eight Miles Without a Pothole as close to heaven as I’m going to get. Minneapolis. Voyageur Press. 1977-1986
Klobuchar, Jim. Minstrel My Adventure in Newspapering. Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press. 1997

There are roughly another 30 works. Thank God I don’t have to include news stories. They’ll only be endnotes/footnotes/sourcenotes or whatever they are called today.

Picture here (before I got them organized}

Origins of self delusion

My Buddy sent me this interesting article from the New York Sunday Book Review. If its a warning to me I appreciate getting it.

Fooling others yields obvious benefits, but why do we so often fool ourselves? Trivers provides a couple of answers. First, believing that we’re smarter, sexier and more righteous than we really are — or than others consider us to be — can help us seduce and persuade others and even improve our health, via the placebo effect, for example. And the more we believe our own lies, the more sincerely, and hence effectively, we can lie to others. “We hide reality from our conscious minds the better to hide it from onlookers,” Trivers explains. But our illusions can have devastating consequences, from the dissolution of a marriage to stock-market collapses and world wars.

Oh yeah, about that Congressional run

I think I’ve said before that this Book writing of mine may not just be book writing. It may serve as the beginning of a campaign for Congress. I suppose rather than look too much like Herman “buy my book” Cain I ought to mix it up a bit with the potential candidates I could face in a primary.

I haven’t put much thought into the other candidates but I do know a bit about one potentially formidable challenger so I’ll play a little offense to keep all the others on their guard. Their turn could come next.

The fellow I know sits on the Duluth City Council. He’s been there for some years and I swear I have no strong impression of anything he’s done on the council. That’s not a big deal. Tons of Congressmen don’t get a chance to do anything of consequence until they’ve served for a decade or longer. That’s a lot longer than Rick Nolan served. But this salvo is directed at Duluth City Councilor Jeff Anderson not Rick.

Jeff was paralyzed when facing an issue he chose to believe was not part of his “turf.” It was something I knew would affect all of Duluth even if it was the School District’s mess. In 2006 the school board hogged $450 million precious tax dollars to rebuild most of its schools. It did it without a very compelling case that such a massive project was necessary. It did this without asking for the voter’s approval. Very few City Councilors could muster the courage to criticize something that both the Chamber of Commerce and the local Unions had endorsed. Jeff Anderson sure couldn’t.

I did. I was early. I didn’t give up. I raised hell. I was right and today the School District has lost the trust of the citizens of Duluth who Jeff represents. As a result of taking five million classroom dollars each year to pay off building bonds for a plan that keeps leaping past its promised cost the school district will be faced with draconian cuts on top of draconion cuts already in force.

As a City Councilor Jeff Anderson saw first hand the unwillingness of the School administration to treat with them honestly and today the City Council is faced with unpleasant facts like the District’s failure to account for the logistics of parking students attending a huge new school in a residential neighborhood.

If cowardice and biting one’s fingernails is what the voters of northern Minnesota want for their new Congressman they will surely get such a representative in Jeff Anderson.

If they want someone brave enough to speak out and smart enough to call a train wreck long before impact… Well, I have another candidate in mind for them. Oh yeah, he’s busy writing a book.

Ending a drought

I’ve just added a new book to my personal reading list. Its a wonderful book that I found in Alice Springs in bookstore devoted to Aboriginal Australians. The book The Original Australians by Josephine Flood is the best single treatment of the subject ever written. That’s my guess anyway.

Fighting the Red Plan for three years was so all consuming I didn’t read a single book from cover to cover for two years. I’m so over that.

2010

Sunburnt Country…………………………………. Bill Bryson
Thunderbolt Kid ……………………………………….Bill Bryson
Lincoln, The biography of a writer ………………… Fred Kaplan
1776…………………………………………………………David McCullough
The Diary of Anne Frank (Definitive edition)……… Anne Frank
Nature’s Building Blocks A-Z guide to Elements……. John Emsley
In Tasmania …………………………………………… Nicholas Shakespeare
The Fatal Shore……………………………………….. Robert Hughes

2011

Searching for Aboriginal Languages………………. R.M.W. Dixon
A History of New Zealand …………………………. Keith Sinclair
Carnivorous Nights (Trail of Taz Tiger)…………….Mittelbach & Crewdson
New Zealand Wildlife BRADT……………………….. Julian Fitter
Australian Wildlife BRADT …………………………..Stella Martin
The Last of the Nomads……………………………. W J Peasley
The Original Australians……………………………. Josephine Flood