Tag Archives: books

The finest kind of gift

Books are passports to places of which even the imagination was unaware.Classmates wrote in my high school yearbook I was most likely to become a social worker. I don’t why they thought that.

I had no idea what I was going to become. I had picked rocks out of the family garden, gathered hay at the farm up the road, and built houses with my uncle.

And I enlisted in the U.S. Navy soon after graduation, as a so-called “Kiddie Cruiser.” That’s what they called the program in which if you enlisted while you were 17, your first enlistment period ended when you turned 21, with credit for the full four years active service then required of all reasonably healthy young men. I stayed 20 years.

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Burning Bridges

Bridges of booksLast month, a Jefferson County, Colorado school board proposed modifying its Advanced Placement U.S. History course. “Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law,” the proposal stated. The new requirements would “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights.”

“Stories mean more when they are in the words of real people,”


Civil disobedience, it appears, would not be part of the curriculum.

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Books, birdlings and blind satellites

Faded white paint and a bent tin roof offer a welcoming home for a family of sparrows.
A friend of mine died this week. I’d never met him, and I think I’m poorer for it, but another friend I’ve actually howdied with a couple times introduced me to Joe Bageant when she wrote of his departure from this plane. Then another friend (keep your shoes on; there aren’t that many more to count) said Joe was a great writer and would I like to read one of his books, the one called “Deer Hunting with Jesus,” if he could find his copy. Continue reading