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Monthly Archives: November 2008

The perfectest holiday gift

Do you know what the perfect gift is for these troubled times? Yes, dear readers, tis a book. The publishing industry is hurting this holiday season, and it needs your business. But more than that, books really do make wonderful, inexpensive, and personal gifts. While I would recommend THE SCANDAL PLAN as an ideal stocking stuffer myself, your local bookstore has a plethora of other options. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on some of the books I’ve read recently in case you want to add any of those to your list. For now, I’ll leave you doubters with the following list I found which explains why a book is the gift that cannot be beat:

* It comes fully charged
* Costs less than a bottle of champagne (the real stuff)
* You can buy at least 10 hardcover books for the price of one iPhone
* Costs less than a movie (with popcorn)
* Around the same price as a DVD, but the experience lasts much longer
* It can change someone’s life
* It can make someone laugh
* Batteries are not required
* It’s a thoughtful gift
* A personal gift
* One-stop shopping-your bookstore has the right gift for everyone on your list
* It weighs much less than a fruitcake
* It’s more original than a tie or a sweater
* It’s a gift of escape, fun, romance, adventure
* It’s easy to find
* It’s easy to wrap
* And you can never have too many

(one slight disclaimer to any of my relatives who might be reading this: I will be in hot water with my wife if I try to bring any more books into our over-crowded apartment, so perhaps this isn’t the best gift for me this year. For other people, however, it’s a perfect gift. I certainly plan on giving a few book gifts myself this year.)

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving began early this year. I found myself in a mall on Monday night, dining at a chain restaurant, and I experienced my first instance of wall-to-wall nonstop Christmas music, 2008-style. This is the part of Thanksgiving I like least: the “Thanksgiving as spring roll to the General Gau’s chicken that is Christmas” part.

The part of Thanksgiving I like best is the part I’ve been experiencing for the last couple days: the food, the family, the food, and, well, the thankfulness. This year, I’m thankful for a lot: for my wife, for my family, for my friends, for all the blessings of the past year, and for the improved play of the Patriot offense these last few weeks. I’m also thankful that our big plans for a romantic Thailand vacation in December fell through. I’m not sure if you’ve been paying attention to what’s been going on across the Pacific, but the last I heard, anti-government forces had taken over Bangkok’s airports and were demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister and the dissolution of the Parliament.  C and I were quite bummed when we decided to shelve plans for a Thailand honeymoon, but now we are thanking our lucky stars.  Can you imagine how much we’d be freaking out right now if we’d dropped $3000 on airplane tickets?  We were one server error and a good night’s sleep away from doing so.  Whew!

This is a tough Thanksgiving for many: in India, Thailand, Zimbabwe, all over.  It’s gonna be a tough Thanksgiving for retailers in the U.S. as well, if my uncrowded trip today to suburban shoppingland is any indication.  I’m thankful that my troubles pale in comparison to those of others.  And I wish the world a happier Thanksgiving in 2009.

The Survival Plan

Imagine this: a little-known congressional candidate is desperate for attention.  He intentionally crashes his car and fakes his own disappearance.  Then he concocts an amazing story of survival which involves him swimming a frigid river, hiking until he loses consciousness, and enduring 27 hours in a snowy New Hampshire forest.  He hopes this story will jumpstart his campaign.  It doesn’t.

Here’s the kicker: this actually happened.

An old high school friend forwarded me this article in Backpacker magazine about Congressional candidate Gary Dodds.  I can’t believe this is the first I’ve heard about this ridiculous episode.  Click here to read the unbelievable story.


Last night every pundit in America engaged in a contest of eloquence to see who could best express their awe at the significance of Barack Obama’s election.  I’ll spare you my attempt at grand prose and say simply that I’ve experienced a weightless feeling in the last 24 hours, a sense of relief and release that has been too long in the coming. I believe if Barack can stick around for the next 4-8 years, we could have one of the great presidents on our hands.

The one sad note on an otherwise happy day comes from the ballot measure bigotry that has found success in several states across the country.  The passage of Prop 8 in California is a disgrace.  But this battle will continue.  I rest easier knowing that we will soon have a president who can stock the Supreme Court with enlightened justices — the sort who may one day cast the decisive vote in favor of allowing equal access to institutionalized love.  Until then . . .

ElectionDayElectionDayThankGodAlmighty It’sElectionDay

Can’t focus at work.  Constantly checking the web for the latest updates even though there won’t be any real news for another few hours.

As usual, I’m cautiously optimistic.  This year, I’m a bit less cautious.