My brother Mike and me about 1957
My brother Mike and me about 1957

I want to say not having a bucket list does not mean I will never travel again, or have given up on life.  I haven’t.  For one thing I will take trips near and far.  I’m just not planning any trips beyond one year at a time  Mostly that’s because David is almost 86 and hates to travel.  But being content with where I am and what I’m doing is mostly why I don’t feel the urge to “do something.”

To me a bucket list means you have “must do” items you want to accomplish during you lifetime.  I’ve done most of the big things I want to do, walking El Camino like Shirley McLean or staying in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem being the exceptions.

My advice to youngsters like my granddaughters is don’t put off until you are older and/or retired doing those things you feel you “must do” during your lifetime.

I set annual goals, and I set a goal of “read 30 books in 2015″ in January. And by books, I mean big fat history books.  Mysteries don’t count.  Outside one or two authors, I find most mysteries are fluff at best and redundant at worst.

(1) Oh what to do.  Well,this morning, I finished The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrook in the World, a collection of material (opinion pieces) written by Holbrook and several of his friends and admirers, and edited by Derek Chollet and Samantha Power. I gave it four stars when I rated it for Goodreads.

Like many Washingtonians, I had read several of these pieces over the years in the editorial pages of the Washington Post.  Holbrook was an interesting man, part journalist, part foreign correspondent, and very much a diplomat.

(2) Another non-history book I’ve been reading is Heretic: Why Islam needs a Reformation Now, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  I knew who Hirsi was because one of my fearless professors assigned us Murder in Amsterdam: Liberal Europe, Islam and the Limits of Tolerance, by Ian Burma, to read for a graduate history class. Murder is about the assassination of Theo Van Gogh, Hirsi’s collaborator on a Dutch film that offended some, which art often does.

I know some individuals who believe themselves ‘liberal-minded’ will prejudge Hirsi based on hostile media reports, and never read the book. But I agree with Hirsi, those people are not Liberals. Traditional Liberals (often today’s Neocons) support freedom of speech, and whether you agree with Hirsi or not, she deserves to have her opinion heard, especially on campuses.  After all, how can you believe yourself a tolerant or educated person if you block views you think you don’t agree with before you hear them?

I hadn’t thought to buy the book, but the Washington Post included a piece by Hirsi in its Sunday edition (3/27/15: A:17). After I read it, I became convinced I needed to read further.

I’ve read enough history to know that we humans would not be very evolved civilly if Tom Paine, John Locke, Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, to say nothing of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, or the women at Seneca Falls had not been heard. I don’t agree with everything each one said or wrote, or with everything Hirsi Ali writes or says, but that’s okay. 

Wednesday tidbits


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News arrived this morning from David’s youngest son Timothy, who called to let us know he had filed his papers to become an Anglican priest.  David had a somewhat strained relationship with this son in recent years because Timothy  thought … Continue reading