Our American blog friend Jenni of newsofthetimes.wordpress.com is the ultimate dot connector who at a party would be the one introducing you to everyone else in the room. Yet, she has a twin sister in Australia named Judy of raisingthecurtain.wordpress.com, who would be doing the same at a party Down Under. They both play this role online as well, where they find someone whose words, pictures and efforts they like and think you may like him or her as well and make the connection. Both truly bring sunshine to our little blog world, which is not so little because of folks like them.
Both have been very generous with me and have paid forward some of the many justifiable honors they have received. Kudos to both as they are informative, entertaining and likable. Jenni has for the second time flattered me with an acknowledgement – The Booker Award. Earlier this year, she was kind enough to include me on a list for The Sunshine Award, both awards she has received among others. Judy, was awarded a triumvirate of awards – One Lovely Blog, Very Inspiring Blogger and Beautiful Blogger Awards. She also included me on a list of bloggers to receive these accolades. I am presuming the latter award has nothing to do with my looks, but one can hope. These acknowledgements, especially with the company of bloggers who were so awarded in their paying forward, are truly are an honor. I am just delighted someone actually takes the time to read what I write, so I am truly humbled by their kindness and engagement with my blog, both reading and commenting.
To honor their dot connecting, I am asked to pay it forward as well by telling a few more things about myself, naming some additional great bloggers and noting some of my favorite books – hence the name of The Booker Award. Let me start with the last two items and come back to the first. I will leave off their blogs, but they should be on everyone’s “go-to” list as they are on mine. Please forgive those I leave out on my list, as when you make lists there is someone you leave off that you wish you had not.
Bloggers to Take a Peek At
– hughcurtler.wordpress.com – Jenni included him already, but a must read. I learn something new every time I stop by.
– mountainperspective.wordpress.com – Barney writes an excellent blog on topics of import and does a nice deeper dive with data without being a data hound. That is an art.
– diatribesandovations.com – a new friend and truly a well-rounded blog. I am just getting to know her and have enjoyed her writing.
– thebrabblerabble.wordpress.com – Amaya is a must read. She covers mainstream as well as topics we should be discussing.
– roseylinn.wordpress.com – she keeps it brief, funny and informative. Crossword and Scrabble lovers must take a look.
– carrpartyoffive.wordpress.com – a very informational, natural, storytelling blog. Lisa has a way of taking the reader along for a nice ride.
– simplepolitiks.wordpress.com – an excellent political blog without going off the deep end. The topics are teed up for the commenter and the comments are very good. Same goes for Hugh and Barney.
– dje1231.wordpress.com – Donna, the infamous, Momma E is worth the visit. I want to hang out with her as she shows me around New England. I guess the Viking can come along too. If you don’t know about the Viking, check it out.
– powerpoliticsblog.wordpress.com – this is one is different and I encourage others to read Varun Bindra’s writings. He will discuss very eloquently non-US topics or a different spin of the US global activities. I am always learning with Varun.
I have several others I frequent, so please forgive the omissions. The best thing about this process is finding other cool blogs at the recommendations of others.
Books to read
This process is harder than the above as I am book reader. I like the feel of a book in my hands, so tend to only do research online, but pleasure read handheld books. I could not limit them to five books, so let me categorize them as follows:
Serious Non-fiction Reads
“How America Fell Behind in the World it Invented and How it can Come Back” – by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum – a must read to see what problems the US faces and how to solve them.
“Raising Elijah” and “Living Downstream” by Dr. Sandra Steingraber – every parent must read these (I would start with the latter one) as it will scare the crap out of you. And, on the environmental crock pot we have cooking, we need the crap scared out of us.
“Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell (or “The Tipping Point” or “Blink”) – they are all good and apply to many of things we do in society. It is hard to pick a favorite, but they are short reads, so you can read them all.
“Toxic Charity” by Robert Lupton – written by a hands on minister who advocates empowering people in need rather the typical charity model which is more for the giver than the receiver.
“To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee – if you have not read this book, it must be read.
“The Prince of Tides” by Pat Conroy (or anything by him) – the book has more characters than the movie and is a great glimpse of Conroy.
“Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett – a long, great book about a cathedral builder. This one made a comeback when Oprah pulled it off the shelves.
“The Stand” by Stephen King – I had to throw one of his in there. I started to say “The Dead Zone” which is excellent and not about what you think. “The Stand” shows how quickly a virus can become an epidemic and why we must guard against such.
Other Non-fiction Reads
“Caddy for Life – The Bruce Edwards Story” – by John Feinstein – Edwards was Tom Watson and Greg Norman’s caddy and that contrast in styles is worth the read even if you are not a golf fan.
“When Pride Still Mattered’ by David Maraniss – this is the story about Vince Lombardi, one of the most acclaimed football coaches ever. Even if you are not a football fan, you may enjoy it.
Well, I said I would end with some personal stuff, which is hard as I must remain incognito due to the kind of business I am in. Some of my opinions may cause others to blow a gasket, so I don’t need any more obstacles to trying to be successful. I have three kids with my second off to college next week, meaning I have two tuition checks to write. Hence, the need to be successful per above. My two boys are the oldest and I have a daughter in high school. They are similar, but different people. My wife is easily the best half of the family and is a lot like Jenni and Judy. She is the best of listeners and, as a result, collects people who need someone to listen. There is a Gordon Lightfoot song called “Rainy Day People” which defines my bride. There is also a line in “Danny’s Song” by Kenny Loggins that Anne Murray also made famous – my wife is the “girl who holds the world in a paper cup.”
Some have accused me of not being an Old Fart at 53. I chose that title as to all kids we are old farts, but to my age groups peers – we are not old farts as we still have a lot to see and do. Middle age is defined as 15 years older than you are at any moment. My passion is helping homeless families. Unlike the image that many of my conservative friends have that all homeless people are like the panhandlers on the street (who we must also help), the significant majority of homeless people are and can be temporarily homeless if we help them climb a ladder. If I can ask one favor of all of you, follow your passions and volunteer to help somewhere – homeless, kids, elderly, disabled, pets, etc. – that is the greatest gift you can give to others, but don’t do for them what they can do for themselves. Help them climb the ladder, but they must climb it. And, in so doing, both you and they will soar.
That is enough from me. Jenni and Judy, thanks for including me on your list. I treasure your recognition. A heartfelt thanks to you both.