Here’s some absolute must reading for you. Please. And also some fun reading.
First and more than anything, I would have you not miss this wonderful, simply wonderful, combination of illustrations and historical information from Maria Kalman: And the Pursuit of Happiness. Oh my, it was the most delightful discovery of a wonderful weekend. It made me smile and laugh and, sometimes, at the same time.
“A few hundred years later, a beheading craze swept France. Alexis de Tocqueville’s parents, awaiting execution, were spared the guillotine and freed. This made a deep impression on Alexis, who decide in 1830 to sail to America and observe firsthand this new thing called Democracy. His writing was filled with astute reflections:
‘…if one asked me to what do I think one must principally attribute the singular prosperity and growing force of this people, I would answer that it is to the superiority of its women.’
“Oh, Tocqueville, you’re the man!”
Heavens, don’t miss this fun-filled presentation by Kalman. It should get a Pulitzer.
I guess Kalman does a regular column. I didn’t know. I won’t miss it again. It made me go around whistling all Sunday afternoon.
Second, Garrison Keillor’s column for the week of 24 March 2009, The Poetry of Spring, is justwonderful and will provide you plenty of laughs.
“Here in Minnesota, spring doesn't arrive for good until Mother's Day and the opening of walleye season, when men and their mothers go fishing and sit around the campfire afterwards and pass the whiskey bottle and she talks about her years traveling with the tent show before she met their father, all the wonderful men she knew, ducktailed men with big tattoos on their chests who drove fast cars and carried rolls of fifties and weren't afraid to spend, which is a shock, to hear about Mother's wild roving years, but everyone did have them, so get over it. And the urge to rove wildly does strike people at this time of year.”
Then, Tom Friedman’s column of 28 March 2009: Mother Nature’s Dow
And also, Nicholas Kristof’s column of 28 March 2009: A Boy Living in a Car
Perhaps, as well, see if this comment by Maureen Dowd, from her column of 28 March 2009, motivates you to go read her piece called Blue Eyed Greed. No big deal if you don’t, but the closing is kind of cool. I still adore Michelle Obama and I like what she’s doing for our nation.
“Before Barack Obama, when I interviewed the brown-eyed sons of immigrants who were thinking of running for president, Mario Cuomo and Colin Powell, they seemed torn about taking the big plunge, given how far they had come in relation to their dads.
“I asked Governor Cuomo if he was leaving the field to “the privileged blue-eyed WASPs” like Bush senior and Dan Quayle who felt entitled and never worried about their worthiness. ‘Barack Obama and his family have already had a profound effect on the culture in terms of what is beautiful and marketable. Black faces are popping up in all kinds of ads now — wearing straw boaters and other prepster outfits in Ralph Lauren ads.
“With Michelle urging students to aim for A’s and the president promising to make school “cool,” brown eyes may finally — and rightfully — overtake blue as the windows of winners."
Then also, last Friday evening I prepared Potatoes au Gratin (Fast Potatoes au Gratin) as instructed by the Minimalist, Mark Bittman. It reminded me again why I always check him out in the NY Times. His potato recipe was fantastic. Now, on Sunday, he presented a video on preparing Tiny Seafood Pancakes. Think I won’t try them? Think again. Start with his blog and then view the video.
Finally, if you are prepared for some serious and important reading, you may want to go to the New York Times Magazine, which I get delivered here at the house, and read this absolutely fascinating story about Freeman Dyson, The Civil Heretic, who is the guru of those who argue against global warming. He seems like a charming old codger, and all, who simply wants more facts and less models and opinions.
"Science is not a matter of opinion; it is a question of data. Climate change is an issue for which Dyson is asking for more evidence, and leading climate scientists are replying by saying if we wait for sufficient proof to satisfy you, it may be too late."
There is no question that Dyson has remarkable credentials. Paul Moravec, a classical music composer, calls Dyson "the world's most civil heretic."
Dyson says that the history of science is littered with people "who make confident predictions about the future and end up believing their predictions."
I'm not convinced when I put down this article. Dyson is not saying and has never said that global warming is not an issue. He's merely saying it has still not been proven. He argues more vociforously that science can create a cure for it than he argues against it.
The man proudly keeps his Obama sticker on his car. He works for a reputable think-tank in Princeton, but he goes out and participates in protests against the Iraq war. You get the idea. He's not a wild-assed rightie who opposes the idea of global warming just to oppose it. To him, the concept just hasn't met the scientific burden of proof.
Dyson calls what Al Gore proposes too expensive and claims it would hurt the poor.
"I'm concerned about the Chinese. They've... changed their standard of living the most, gong from poor to middle class. To me that's very precious."
He doesn't think anyone has provided scientific evidence at all that confirms global warming is responsible for giant storms like Katrina or that it's causing the ice in the Arctic to melt.
"Most of the time in history the Arctic has been free of ice... A year ago when we went to Greenland where warming is the strongest, the people loved it."
It's a long read, but very well worth the time. I'm still worried about global warming.
My drawing is based on a photograph in the New York Times Magazine.
There you have it! Among these are, at least, a couple of items for which you will want to thank me. You’re welcome!