Weekend Reading: July 23, 2016

Good morning – and welcome to the weekend reading!  It was an interesting week of news this week, with Republicans officially nominating Donald Trump as their standard bearer, and Hillary Clinton selecting Tim Kaine as her running mate.

As a sort of programing note, I don’t even try to cover all of the obvious items in this weekly wrap up. My goal is to cover what I was most interested in, and what I got around to reading. So if I missed something and you want to send it along for the greater audience to enjoy, please do so!

I’m going to reverse the order and start with the books I finished this week…

The Romanov’s, Gulliver’s Travels, Animal Farm, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, The Invisible Man. Reviews of each book can be found here.  I really enjoyed each one of these, except Gulliver and the Romanov’s, both of which I didn’t even bother finishing. The former because I was reading it to my kids and it was simply too boring to finish at the moment, and the latter because I was so disgusted by the Russian cesspool of “Great” leaders that I couldn’t hack it anymore. Americans have Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Grant, Eisenhower etc. British folks have Churchill and Victoria and Marlborough, but what do the Russians have? Peter the Great and Catherine the Great? I know they have Frederick, and others as well, but the former overshadow all the rest in this book, and they are the most disgusting creatures I’ve ever devoted time to reading about. Well – at least I learned something, right?!

This disgust with the Romanov book was contrasted neatly with my enjoyment of Animal Farm.  That was so funny, so well written and so pointed brutal in its critique of Communism, that I couldn’t help visualize Orwell’s bizarre final scene as the natural conclusion to the Romanov dynasty and the October Revolution – they all become pigs! Think about it!

Okay, on to articles…

Continuing with my theme of going completely out of order…here is a New York Times article titled ‘The Agency’ that I didn’t get to read but want to this weekend or in the week ahead (its a long one). It looks like the stuff of Bourne legend (next week the new movie comes out!) – not necessarily in topic, but in genre. Here’s the teaser:

From a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, Russia,
an army of well-paid “trolls” has tried to wreak havoc all
around the Internet — and in real-life American communities.

Thank you John Kerry and Barak Obama: AP Exclusive: Document shows less limits on Iran nuke work. There’s some rich irony that on the week Donald Trump is nominated (here’s the speech), its revealed that we’ve given Iran the keys to the kingdom, so to speak. These libs are the same one criticizing Trump for his (supposed) nuclear proclivities. Trump’s excerpt on this:

Not only have our citizens endured domestic disaster, but they have lived through one international humiliation after another. We all remember the images of our sailors being forced to their knees by their Iranian captors at gunpoint.

This was just prior to the signing of the Iran deal, which gave back to Iran $150 billion and gave us nothing – it will go down in history as one of the worst deals ever made.


Now, concerning the nomination of Trump, I have had so many conversations about him and his amoral nature, his crazy rhetoric, and his dangerous tendencies. But I think its worth listening to, or reading his convention speech in order to get a more solidified idea of where he’s going policy-wise in the next few months. It was probably his most substantive speech to date – that’s not saying much, I know.

I actually found myself cracking up laughing a few times from his critique of Hillary Clinton. Sure, not exactly what we’d like to see from the leader of the free world, but I’ve already covered all that ground here before and you all know how I feel about the man. If you find the speech too long (because it is), then just enjoy this part (it was my favorite):

Let’s review the record. In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map.

Libya was cooperating. Egypt was peaceful. Iraq was seeing a reduction in violence. Iran was being choked by sanctions. Syria was under control. After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region, and the world. Libya is in ruins, and our Ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers. Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos.

Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis that now threatens the West. After fifteen years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before.

He concludes with this zinger: “This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction and weakness.”

People ask me all the time why Americans would vote for this guy – this is one of the reasons. He’s absolutely savaging Hillary Clinton – on prime-time TV with all the liberal media forced to cover every minute and deal with every sentence. Even I enjoyed it immensely.

Earlier in the week Ted Cruz gave what some called a principled speech, others weren’t exactly rolling in the aisles with approbation, though. Here’s a story recapping. Before that, there was a big hubbub about Melania Trump’s speech being plagiarized. I’ve been really interested in the response from friends about this one. Because it seems like a lot of people steal quotes from other historical figures, there seems to be a ton of grace flowing into my text message app.  Maybe I’m not as well-researched on the matter, but it seemed pretty crazy to lift so much, but that is just me – apparently I’m in the minority!  Here’s the WaPo comparison, I’ll let you be the judge:


On to more fun items!  

Thanks to Marty G. for sending this little gem along: Move over, hovercraft: Bubba Watson has a jetpack for the Olympics.

Also, to keep you current on the Fox News situation, here’s the report from yesterday as written by the AP: RUPERT MURDOCH VOWS FOX NEWS WITHOUT AILES IS STILL FOX.  For those of you who missed it, Chairman of Fox News Roger Ailes has resigned in the wake of what could end up being a raft of sexual harassment claims.

Interestingly, Ailes is 76 years old and is temporarily being replaced by Richard Murdoch who is 85.  Quartz had a story this morning about how the average age of a Fox News viewer is 68!  You can come to your own conclusions on this, but it seems like they need to do some viewership studies and start going after slightly younger audiences – even if they’re just a little younger – in order to build for the future. Maybe the Ailes resignation will actually help them do that – it remains to be seen.

Speaking of Quartz, one story from them this morning is pretty interesting: Are we consuming too much? While living standards are increasing around the world, so is consumerism. Yet people’s incomes aren’t rising along with their habits – what is rising? Anxiety.  This isn’t at all surprising to me, but its an interesting thing to think about. Perhaps more than any other instruction that Jesus gave during his time on earth was “do not fret” or “don’t be anxious.” The reasoning was that God had everything taken care of because He knows our needs, that we were valuable to Him, and that our lives were not to be built upon sandy foundations of what we consume here on earth. Read Matthew 5-7 to learn more about how Jesus might respond to the Quartz story above.

VIDEO: This looks pretty cool: Lord of the Rings – the Art of Adaptation

My Most Fascinating Story of the Week came from the Wall Street Journal: The Fastest-Growing Format in Publishing: Audiobooks. Key excerpt:

Audiobooks are the fastest-growing format in the book business today. Sales in the U.S. and Canada jumped 21% in 2015 from the previous year, according to the Audio Publishers Association. The format fits neatly in the sweet spot of changing technology and changing behavior. Carrying around a pocket-size entertainment center stuffed with games, news, music, videos and books has conditioned people to seek out constant entertainment, whether walking to a meeting or sitting in a doctor’s office. For more multitasking book-lovers, audiobooks are the answer.

The reason I found this fascinating is the same reason people get excited when they find out they aren’t the only ones who aren’t alone in some personal obsession. It’s the classic “I’m not a freak?! That’s wonderful news!”  For the last several years I have been steadily increasing in my voracity of consuming literature through this medium.

My method is to simultaneously read and listen at the same time – only with books I want to refer back to, or find are important in some other way (I want my kids to read them later etc.). This way I can listen while on the go, and then sit down and highlight, and make notes later on (and I do this regularly). This is how I’ve been conquering classics like The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Nicholas Nickleby, Pascal’s Penses, and Machester’s Churchill trilogy. Thousands upon thousands of pages – too many for mere mortals like me to conquer without the help of Audible, LibriVox, and my local library’s Overdrive App.

Reading is probably my favorite thing to do in life, and listening to great (and sometimes not so great) literature has been a huge blessing for me. I pass this along simply because if you’re struggling to get through the classics, want to stay current on the best literature, or maybe some required reading for a course you’re taking, then you need to check out some of the apps I mentioned above.

Okay, that’s it for today!  Another programing note – I have a stack of articles from friends and family that I’m not ignoring! ……I just haven’t finished my audiobook yet!  (:

Have a great weekend everyone!




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