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Thoughts from the Center of the Universe.
Saturday, March 13, 2004
 
Working Day and Night.

One of the fun things about being a lawyer is that you sometimes have to stay late:

I sit here working some nights until four
It's time to leave when you're starting to snore

(Apologies to Joe Walsh)

These days, it's necessary to add that I'm not being sarcastic. It's a rush. Why should you win and the other side lose? The judge has a finite amount of time and patience. You have to make a convincing argument, and you have to get it filed by tomorrow at noon. It's getting late. Everyone else left the office hours ago. Mozart's on the radio, a reminder that your goal, though rarely attained, is perfection.

I miss my baby, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep. And thinking about Charles makes me think about work. He's 14 months old, and he absolutely loves learning how to pronounce letters. I cut out some pieces of posterboard and pasted sandpaper letters on them (a Montessori invention). The idea is to hold each letter up and make the related sound instead of saying the letter's name: "b," for example, is "buh." After the baby learns the sounds the letters make, he can start to sound out words in books, and before you know it he's reading on his own.

He loves it! Whenever I get home, he runs over to the counter where we keep the stacks of letters, points up to them, and makes the "k" or "b" or "l" sound. I give him the letters, and he holds each one up and makes its sound. There's a learning curve, but he's getting more and more of them.

This is relevant because so many of us have been tortured in school, and so we equate learning with hard work and hard work with pain. Something no one in his right mind would choose to do. And learning IS hard work, but it's FUN if you have the right frame of mind. Charles has the right frame of mind. We just offered him the letters as toys, and now he plays with them all the time. It's still work, but it brings joy instead of pain.

Some people caution parents against teaching their kids to read too early, arguing that the kids "aren't ready for it." There's an assumption buried in that idea - it's that you, the parent, are desperately anxious for your kid to get into Harvard, and you want him to learn to read by age 1 1/2 so he'll get the jump on Dalton, so you'll force-feed the letters to him.

But what if you don't force-feed learning to your kids? Why SHOULDN'T it be fun? And why shouldn't we appreciate the way fruits and vegetables taste, instead of equating them with punishment? And why shouldn't we find the joy in our work, and recognize what a good thing it is, even when it keeps us up at night?

Yes, you have to find balance. You can't stay up until one a.m. every night and go back to work at seven the next morning without burning out quickly. But life happens. When we deal with it cheerfully, it makes us stronger.

Not that I don't complain about it sometimes.

But working is good. You learn from it. Why not try to erase whatever painful memories you've associated with it, and approach it the way a baby approaches learning? Other people may have trained you to think work sucks, but they were wrong. It's a great thing. It's one of the best ways of sharing your talents with others, solving their problems.

I haven't posted in the last couple of days because I've been at work until close to midnight. It's Saturday and I'm in the office. Baby's learning the alphabet, Dad is writing a motion for summary judgment, and all's right with the world.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
 
It's 2004 A.D. Do You Know Where Your Jetpack Is?

There's this video you really ought to see. It's called "1999 A.D.," and you could probably get a copy from the Ford Company's media center near Detroit. Made in 1969 by "Ford-Philco," it stars Wink Martindale as the Man of the Future, living with his wife and 8-year-son in a SoCal house with hexagonal rooms, an enormous computer that "serves as banker, librarian, secretary, teacher..." and a groovy kitchen that automatically brings your meals out of cold storage, microwaves them, and sends them to you via conveyor belt!

Ah, The Future! That blissful vision of geodesic domes and aerocars, of food pills and Mars bases, where everything was perfect!

So what happened? Are we better off, or worse? Let's take out the scorecard:

Wink lived in an enormous house. So do many of us, but our rooms are square instead of that annoying honeycomb shape. Score one for REALITY.

Our computers are much smaller, and instead of bringing up ratty microfilmed images the way Wink's did, ours give us streaming video of Beyonce and Prince at the Grammies. Another point for REALITY.

Wink had a picturephone, and we're almost there. But he didn't have text messaging... REALITY scores.

Wink was an astrophysicist working on the Mars One Project - his hobby was splicing genes from lemon trees into orange trees. We have the Human Genome Project, and for fun there's always Estes model rockets. TIE

In Wink's future the cars looked like nuclear-powered rockets with fins. In our world, Detroit stopped making cars like that around the time Wink committed this masterpiece to celluloid. I'll take a '59 Eldorado convertible over an SUV any day of the week. Score one for THE FUTURE.

Wink could fly to Mexico or the Caribbean anytime he wanted to. He could call up friends in Boston and schedule a tee time in Mexico City for next Wednesday, or jet down "San Juan way" for dinner and bring back 3D footage of a Julio Iglesias wannabe. I can go down the hill for beef panang or meet friends in Ballard to see "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton." THE FUTURE wins this one.

"1999 A.D." had the right idea by creating a "schoolroom" for Wink's 8-year-old, but even at that age the kid was already a burn-out, surreptitiously watching cartoons as he flunked his easy quiz on Galileo after watching a video on space travel. In our world, from all evidence I've seen, homeschoolers have more fun and kick public school kids' butts into next Thursday. Go, REALITY.

Wink had an exercise room. I have an unused staircase, right over by the elevator. THE FUTURE wins one.

Wink's computer counted his calories and balanced his diet. I figure the nutrition in my leftover pot roast cancels out the bad stuff in my Coke with vanilla Torani syrup. Score for THE FUTURE.

In Wink's house there was a lame electronic organ that neither Mrs. Wink nor little Bobby or Timmy or whatever the hell his name was could play. We have Kurzweil keyboards and GarageBand and Reason 2.5! REALITY gets another point.

Wink and his son went scuba diving for "exotic hydra-cultured fresh foodstuffs" whenever they felt like it. Here in Seattle it's FRICKING COLD even if you're diving in August. Really. We pour hot water down our wetsuits just to get comfortable. Still, I guess I could move if I wanted. TIE

There were huge video screens everywhere in Wink's house, ditto for our time. He had a cool computer chess program - we have several of those to pick from. He and his friends got to wear brightly colored jumpsuits and flowing robes with hoods, but imagine tripping on those while you're running for a bus. TIE, TIE, and TIE again.

What have we learned, children? We have better housing, great telecom (worse than Asia, but way better than in Wink's day), fabulous music technology, and we know how to homeschool kids so they don't end up like poor Timmy or Bobby or whatever the hell his name was. Wink drove a better car, traveled wherever he wanted, and had a virtual personal trainer and dietician to keep him in trim.

I guess I am a tad envious. It would be nice to fly up to Anchorage or over to Chicago for dinner and back again, all on an astrophysicist's salary. And anybody who invents a PDA that keeps track of your vital statistics, tells you what to eat, and suggests the best workout for today should make a bundle.

But Wink probably had the occasional longing to hear music that didn't sound like the "Chariots of Fire" theme banged out on a toy piano. He couldn't take his Nokia on vacation and transmit pictures to his Yahoo account. And the hexagonal walls of his house may have looked creepy after a while.

Let's call it a TIE. Wink, give me the car and I'll hook you up with a Real Player Gold Pass.
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
 
Unforgettable Moments with Friends.

"You don't know what you got 'til it's gone," Joni sang, and it's all too true. I offer this list not so you'll have to decipher the in-jokes, but as a sort of haiku of gratitude. We curmudgeons just don't show enough love, and I'm sure the mood will pass soon. So while it lasts...

Making that call to Zig Ziglar's office with Charles
Also that time we dressed funny on the last day of Carrington's Civ Pro class
Directing my future wife in that unauthorized cable-access tribute to "Twin Peaks"
Staying up late to play "President-Elect" with Bob
Hanging out in Chicago with Terri and Camille
Going to Mass with Ron P. and Edna
Walking to Pizzeria Uno with Tony at midnight when the Science Center closed
Strolling with Greg to a restaurant called "Food"
Watching Atkins acting so suave as he ordered drinks for the ladies at the end of the bar
Drunkenly singing "Ebony and Ivory" with Susan on the pavement outside Guadalajara
Tipsily carousing from one red-lantern tavern to another with Narito in Taipei
Doing "chumleys" with Naneen and Sean in August, when life is beautiful
Lunching with Lalitha
Joe and I planning our subterranean paradise for animals
Cornering the market on required reading at Yenching with Pang-Mei
Watching "Raiders of the Lost Ark" with Joffre, a future archaeologist
Fencing with Shalini using the Swords of Sarcasm
Singing patriotic songs loudly and obnoxiously with Andrew during a torrential downpour in Bali
Going to see "Henry IV Pt. II" with Christine
Watching the street performers at Faneuil Hall on a Sunday afternoon with Noriko
Taking a trip with Angel on the "Senate Bus"
Sweeping all the prizes at the Jackson's Mill Latin camp with Alan and Myron (some people do Pop Warner, others...)
Meeting Keren on the train to Shanghai and finding out we lived in practically the same neighborhood
Following Mark to the dance party with Eric, Angel, Vivian, Kim W., Kim D., Gina and Chiquita
Going out to dinner with Carl
Walking around Fremont with Matthew

What great friends I have, and I haven't even mentioned all of them. When life is cold, you have to make an effort to remember the good times. The sun really is just above the clouds.

 
Some Words.

Have you ever seen the word "diametrically" in front of any OTHER word besides "opposed?"

Is there a federal law that requires people to insert the word "idly" in between "stand" and "by"? Have you seen the word "idly" used in any OTHER context? And doesn't "stand idly by" sound like part of the song "Mares Eat Oats and Does Eat Oats and Little Lambs Eat Ivy?"

Did some kind of virus make us replace the verb "affect" with "impact?" Maybe it's not a virus... I mean, verbing nouns is just so impactful.
 
Sex and Politics.

I'm not against either one of these things. But lately it seems as though there's only four topics you can base your TV show on, or your story in the paper, or even your conversation on the bus:

Sex. Politics. Sex in Politics. The Politics of Sex.

Imagine what the world would be like if the main topics were, say, Geology and Power Tools.

"Gee, I sure hope Fred takes me prospecting for geodes this weekend."

"I don't know... you think his Extra Heavy Duty Rock Polisher is up to the task?"

Just a thought.
 
The Greatest Album of All Time!

I hope I'm still around in a couple of weeks, but if I'm not, it will be the result of Mysterious Causes. Namely, I will have been hit over the head with a peace symbol (or possibly a silver hammer), or run over by "Herbie the Love Bug." Because I just have to trash one of the Sacred Principles of Sixties Culture.

What's so great about "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"? Ever notice how often it pops up at the top of somebody's list of the 50 or 100 "best rock albums"? This has got to be one of the biggest "you just HAD to be there" phenomena of all time.

Have you listened to it recently? It starts out well. You get the medley of "Sgt. Pepper" and "With a Little Help from My Friends," then a segue into "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," an intriguing song even though it brings out the "la la la, I'm an innocent widdew baybee" side of John that's always nauseated me. (Remind me to hold forth one of these days on the irony of a gospel group singing "Imagine.") But then! I'm no Beatleologist, but I can't help thinking that pretty much the entire rest of the album is musical and lyrical floor sweepings, certainly compared with the rest of their output.

Remember, this is the Best Album Ever! That means it's better than "Abbey Road"! Better than "The Beatles" (a true fan never calls it the "White Album," mon frere)! Better than either the US or UK versions of "Rubber Soul"! For that matter, better than all their greatest hit albums. I didn't set this standard, but by crikey, it's time someone questioned whether all the hype is worth it.

After John sings about newspaper taxis and cellophane flowers in "LSD," what do you get? You get Paul ruminating about how "it's getting better all the time." You've probably written better music when making fumbling, half-hearted attempts to remember how that song goes that you heard on the radio yesterday. Then comes "Fixing a Hole." Yawn. Then the soporific "She's Leaving Home," which always reminded me of that time on Bugs Bunny when they're in that castle and somebody opens a bottle of ether, and that causes everybody to move in realllly slllooooow motion. I remember Elmer Fudd singing out "nighty-niiiiiight..." as though he were recorded on 45 and played back on 33 (you young whippersnappers will have to look up what that means). THAT's "She's Leaving Home." These ARE the days of our lives.

Already the record is demonstrably worse than Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet." But let's press on. There's the sprightly ditty "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite." Like your uncle noticing that you've fallen asleep face down in the spaghetti after hearing his latest boring diatribe, then trying to revive you with an OK-but-not-great joke he just read in "Reader's Digest," this is simply too little, too late. Worse, it's followed up with "Within You Without You," perhaps the most boring song the Beatles ever recorded. "Make love all day long," George sings. "Make love singing songs." Deep. I think it's SO groovy now that people are finally getting together!

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, Paul tries to charm you with "When I'm Sixty-Four." If I wanted to dance the foxtrot I would have bought something way over at the other end of the store. Then comes "Lovely Rita," meter maid, a songwriting attempt that's about as diligent as P. Diddy's latest attempt to sing. Why try when your success is guaranteed, when a huge throng of admirers is going to acclaim your latest magnum opus the Best Ever? In fact, you could argue that a real artist would push the envelope, try to self-destruct, DARE the audience to find the many flaws he's crammed into his latest, just to see if they'll notice. Paul, I get it, and it worked.

The road has been long and punishing, but we're nearing the end, hallelujah. Next comes John's rejected cornflakes commercial, "Good Morning, Good Morning." Yes, I know, it's SUPPOSED to be tiresome and banal, just like daily conversation. So that's a Valid Artistic Principle? OK, then, what's the last novel you read about how boring boredom is? If you wouldn't spend 12 hours reading a book about it, why waste 3 minutes listening to a song about it?

And just to bait a rabid "Sgt. Pepper" fan, go up to him and say, in an admiring tone of voice, "Isn't it way cool how that rooster crowing turns into a horn at the end of 'Good Morning, Good Morning'?" Make sure you don't crack a smile.

The reprise of the song "Sgt. Pepper" doesn't count.

And now we come to the "payoff." That would be "A Day in the Life," perhaps the most overhyped song ever written. Because, you see, the climax of the Greatest Album Ever MUST be the Greatest Song Ever! So we follow John as he "reads the news today, oh boy," trudging through the lugubrious lyrical slush until he runs smack dab against... Paul doing a jig! "Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head!" You KNOW they were having fun with this one:

"Let's do an entire song called 'Snickerdoodles.' We'll just string along various names of cookies and pastries, and the fans will read Deep Significance into everything." Paul grabs a guitar and begins to strum. "Snickerdoodles Nilla Wafers gingerbread and Toll House Cookies, Lorna Doones..." A faraway look in his eye is soon replaced by the clear light of reason. "Macaroons," he announces triumphantly. "That's the next rhyme..."

"Stop it, Paul," John interrupts importantly. "I think the last song should feature me holding the metaphorical skull of poor Yorick and saying 'Alas!'"

"Coooool," Paul says. "But only if you make it bombastic enough, and I get to cheer everyone up with one of my trademark finger-snappin' ditties before you're done. We'll splice it right into the middle!"

And the end result is "A Day in the Life." Ooooh! Before this song and this album, there never was rock before! It's the album that made us all Hear Music for the First Time! A milestone that stands the test of time, the all-knowing Sphinx that lurks above all else in the musical desert, oh how we can't even begin to appreciate its significance. Blah blah blah.

Me, I'll take Lionel Richie's "Can't Slow Down" any day of the week. Heck, I'd probably take a random K-Tel album over this one. It's not monumentally bad, and it's even tolerable... on the whole, the Beatles were great songwriters, and their bad stuff is a lot better than many people's good stuff. But the only possible reason "Sgt. Pepper" keeps appearing at the top of lists created by people in their fifties is that it's the Musical Touchstone of a Generation. I guess you really DID have to be there.
Monday, March 08, 2004
 
Spalding Gray, R. I. P.

Why is it that depressed people always make the best comedians? We'll miss your checkered shirts, the glass of water and notes on the table, the neurotic ramblings that always led magically to Somewhere at the last minute. I'm sure your wife and kids and family will miss you too. And I'm equally sure you thought you were doing them a favor when you jumped.

I'll try not to be chronologically chauvinistic, to fixate on the weak ending. I think I'll go rent "Swimming to Cambodia" this weekend and remember you at your peak, the way I think most people want to be remembered.

Did you change your mind at the last minute? Apparently that's the norm, at least according to people who survive their suicide attempts. I can't imagine how it would feel, wanting to go back and knowing that you can't, that there's not enough energy left in your body to stay warm and strong enough to get to a place where there's help. Anyway. One candle's extinguished, and a thousand flares of pain just lit up.
 
My Encounter with the Richest Man in the World.

A few years back my wife and I went to see a play at the Intiman Theater here in the thrill-a-minute joyride that IS Seattle. The play sucked.

So as not to offend the throngs of theatergoers who felt an obligation to like it (it was a play about Very Sensitive Issues), we went off to a waiting room on the side, where there were a couple of benches by the windows and not too many people around.

I leaned forward and began to expound on the dramatic suckiness we had just witnessed. My wife's eyes widened. "That man sitting on the bench right behind you," she whispered, "is Bill Gates."

I whirled around. Sure enough, B.G. and his wife were sitting on the bench five yards over. A brief glare flickered in his bespectacled eyes, as if to say "I'll have you shot if you approach me with your harebrained ideas!"

So I didn't. I just watched as he proved the rumors were true: He really DOES rock back and forth like one of those bobbing glass birds filled with red liquid. Where does he get all that energy?

Somebody said "The rich are different from you and me. They have more money." But I'm beginning to wonder if they don't have more energy, as well. Energy is the truest cash. It's hard to fake.

You should also know that the Gateses went to the show on "Pay What You Can" night. The rich are different from you and me. They spend less money.
Sunday, March 07, 2004
 
I just thought of the greatest name for a band. Are you sitting down? Here it is. It's...

Toxic Strudel!

And the name of their first CD should be "Rumspringa."
 
What I Dig.

Oh yay, you're thinking, another blog. Why am I reading this when I could be doing something useful, like watching "Half & Half" reruns on UPN?

Wait. Don't go yet.

Maybe we're compatible. Maybe you'll actually like it. Or maybe not. But there's a quick way to find out. Check out this list of 300 Things I Dig!

1. Writing novels
2. Space exploration
3. French
4. Upbeat, unpretentious songs with tight melodies
5. Christopher Alexander's system for designing buildings
6. Scuba diving
7. Public libraries
8. Books and movies with parts for black people who aren't geniuses, non-entities, drug dealers, prostitutes, or gang members
9. Language used perfectly
10. Exchanging letters with friends
11. Will and Ariel Durant's "Story of Civilization"
12. H.L. Mencken
13. Francois Rabelais
14. Robert Wilson's "Schrodinger's Cat"
15. Wayne Green's columns in "73"
16. Sonny Rollins's "Saxophone Colossus"
17. Waking up early after getting enough sleep
18. Being dramatic
19. Baroque music, especially J.S. Bach
20. Red beans and rice
21. Hot peppers
22. Herodotus
23. Kingsley Amis's "On Drink"
24. Paul McCartney's "Tug of War" album
25. Cary Grant movies
26. Rodin statues
27. Gauguin paintings
28. Bramante's Tempietto
29. The Trans-Siberian
30. Indonesia
31. Memorizing poems
32. Jorge Ben's "Umbabarauma"
33. The Musee D'Orsay
34. High adventure
35. Keren Su, the most original man I know (visit www.chinaspan.com. I mean it! Go there now! I'll wait)
36. Rajasthan
37. Geodes
38. The concept of sailing to Rio on a freighter
39. Most Muslims
40. My marriage
41. "Don Quixote"
42. The scenes with Colonel Cathcart in "Catch-22"
43. Gorillas
44. Nordstrom catalogs
45. The Spice Girls' "Wannabe"
46. My secret plan to one-up Lord Chesterfield
47. My secret plan to one-up John Grisham
48. My secret plan to one-up Preston Sturges
49. Radios of all kinds
50. The concept of the "Vulcan lyrette" on the original Star Trek
51. "Madam and Eve”
52. Writing exactly what I want to write, instead of trying to be
what others want
53. Starry nights
54. The rose garden in Woodland Park
55. The First Amendment
56. Staying healthy
57. Irony and satire
58. Tolerant places where ignorant people are scarce
59. Hot air balloons
60. Staying away from debts
61. Houseguests
62. Dinner parties
63. Picnics
64. Beaches
65. The peat bogs in Montlake
66. The concept of an orgone pillow
67. Laughing at advertising
68. Laughing at lawyers, dentists, doctors, etc. who obviously care
more about their wallets than your well-being
69. Meeting new people
70. Picking blackberries
71. The "Hudson Review"
72. Chinese landscapes
73. Gold and silver coins
74. Intelligent criticism
75. MTV commercials when they're good
76. Lounge singing of histrionic songs like "Precious and Few"
77. Chinese characters
78. The placebo effect
79. Bath bombs
80. Shrimp fajitas
81. David Cope's research into the imitation of classical composers
82. Clothes from L.L. Bean
83. Towns where you can see lots of water, trees, and mountains
84. Other people's children
85. Setting my own schedule and being more productive than I'd be working for a boss
86. High tea
87. " African Connection Volume One: Zaire Choc!"
88. Sitting al fresco and people-watching
89. Interesting fabric
90. "Don't You Want Me"
91. The best lines from "Fielding's The World's Most Dangerous Places"
92. The idea of painting with scientific symbols
93. Caves
94. The examples of Kafka (worked at a job he hated), Klee (lived off his wife for six years), and Kandinsky (gave up his career for art in his thirties)
95. Enthusiasm just for the sake of balancing out all the fashionable pessimism
96. Lilac bushes
97. Art nouveau furniture
98. Rollercoasters!
99. The music, and general style of, Neneh Cherry
100. Thomas Jefferson
101. The juice of five apples and one lemon
102. Samba dancers
103. Hotels… made of ice!
104. Liberal Catholicism
105. Napster back in the day
106. Yekatelt w’et
107. Harry Stine’s wishing machine
108. Google
109. Dan Eldon’s “The Journey Is the Destination”
110. Japan Travel Bureau’s Illustrated Book Series
111. Glassed-in, sleek Houses of the Future!
112. The Ramones’ “Wart Hog”
113. Venus and Serena Williams
114. My law firm
115. Singapore
116. Ernest Angley’s TV show
117. Cherimoyas
118. Subversive behavior
119. Workshops (preferably with old calendars on the wall and sawdust on the floor)
120. Alternate histories
121. The thought of my daughters playing bid whist in 2100
122. “For the Sake of the Children”
123. The feeling of sunshine
124. Kudos
125. Trichomania shampoo bars from Lush
126. “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”
127. Krispy Kreme
128. Chicago
129. Memories of 1980s dance clubs
130. James Weldon Johnson’s “Along This Way”
131. A bowl of greens, celery, avocados, dulse, and chopped garlic, with olive oil on top
132. Listening to Golfe FM in Cotonou, Benin via RealPlayer
133. Istanbul
134. Choucroute garni in Montreal
135. Complexity theory
136. Secretary of State Colin Powell!
137. The overture to “Tannhauser”
138. Sitting on boards
139. All my new cousins on my wife's side
140. Blue clothing
141. Writing conversationally empathetic books
142. Lightning bugs
143. Linux
144. The Wall Street Journal
145. Dancehall reggae
146. Sambadrome tickets!
147. “Gulliver’s Travels”
148. Speaking Chinese
149. Coral reefs
150. Making mix tapes
151. "Eve’s Bayou”
152. The smell of vanilla
153. Knowing a lot about intellectual property law
154. Green tea’s morning-after effect
155. Arto Lindsay’s “Mundo Civilizado”
156. Daniela Mercury’s “Feijao com Arroz”
157. Ude and Oni
158. Schubert’s music
159. Uniball Black Micro pens
160. Farmer’s markets
161. Papayas with lime squeezed on top
162. Dr. Tomorrow
163. Braids
164. Speaking up
165. Life coaching
166. Nonchalance
167. Getting paid what I’m worth
168. Charm
169. The Exploratorium
170. “Laborem Exercens”
171. Power cells
172. “Nixoncarver”
173. The goal of running a marathon in under three hours
174. Africa No. 1 radio network
175. Ousmane Sembene’s movies
176. “Around the Way Girl”
177. The Oxford English Dictionary
178. “Black Nativity” at the Intiman
179. Broadway roses
180. Fireworks
181. The geometrical precision of Japanese style
182. Splendid tubes: transparent overhead walkways, the Seattle bus tunnel, the Moscow metro, the 1subways in New York and London
183. Dennis Hopper in “Blue Velvet”
184. Paolo Soleri’s “Novanoah”
185. Conversations with women that aren’t about beer, sports, cars, or babes
186. Beer, sports, cars and babes
187. “The Windhover”
188. Charles Lapo’s writing when he’s on a roll, which is often
189. Jim Rogers, Investment Biker
190. Second chances
191. Five perfect songs: “Belle” (Al Green), “Oh Me Oh My” (Aretha), “Deacon Blues” (Steely Dan), “Ana Ng” (TMBG), “The Rubberband Man” (Spinners)
192. Working on Saturdays without any pressure
193. Jamaican DJs’ lilting British accents
194. Watching cricket games
195. October
196. Maps
197. Carnivorous plants
198. Fictional popes who embrace the “social gospel”
199. Squares, piazzas, and courtyards
200. A new millennium!
201. Charles, b. 1/2003
202. Salvador da Bahia, where I live in spirit
203. Word Jazz
204. Secret Guide Publishing
205. the luck of being born in America with good health
206. Seattle Taiwanese Christian Church
207. “French in Action”
208. Robert Greenberg's “How to Listen to and Understand Great Music”
209. M/V Lady Rose
210. a modified “B.C. aesthetic”: cedar, teal, glass, stone, Chinese artifacts -- preferably with some copper thrown in
211. Beihai Park - families at the Five Pavilions, singing and playing old instruments
212. “Frontier House”
213. churrascarias and rodizios
214. the Brazilian way of going to the beach
215. autumn leaves
216. George Herter's “Bull Cook” series
217. chemistry sets, but not the modern wimpy kind
218. bamboo
219. Chinese teahouses
220. Vancouver
221. “The Diamond Age”
222. light therapy boxes
223. sushi
224. breakfast at the Tomahawk Restaurant
225. the “Science Toys You Can Make with Your Kids” website
226. the question of why the most original people seem to love taking photographs
227. the dream of writing and producing a musical
228. the idea of creating the definitive video series for native Mandarin speakers who want to learn English
229. family dinners
230. camping
231. decorative objects in Pantone blue 2736 C: quilts, Turkish tiles...
232. being conversationally empathetic
233. kits: survival, first aid, home cloning
234. mountains
235. telescopes, microscopes, and binoculars
236. BabyPlus
237. all sorts of Japanese hotels: capsules, business hotels, ryokan, hot springs resorts
238. durians
239. the NFL
240. Kevin Kelly's “Recomendo”
241. chess and other war games
242. kung fu
243. Elizabeth Nickson's columns in the National Post
244. “Past Worlds”
245. compound interest
246. portable office technology: laptops, personal websites, video cell phones
247. Warner Bros. cartoons
248. MP3s of baby laughter and interviews with ancestors
249. Systeme D, um jetinho, a way around
250. “Don Giovanni”
251. “The Blanton-Webster Band”
252. Brahms Waltz in A Flat Major
253. collard greens
254. the electric slide
255. Queen Elizabeth Park conservatory
256. DK's Visual Dictionary of Science
257. laser pointers
258. Swiss army knives
259. logos
260. boiling a can of condensed milk for two and a half hours to make dulce de leche
261. Bose headphones
262. the little blue volumes of the “Yale Shakespeare”
263. Shanghainese dumplings
264. orange California poppies
265. “Holy Fire”
266. gelato
267. Zingerman's catalogs
268. starfish at Malaspina Point, Gabriola Island
269. perseverance
270. the Beatles' “Rubber Soul”
271. gardens
272. converting enthusiasm into money
273. Art Deco
274. Ray-Ban Wayfarers
275. beignets
276. gamelans
277. coco gelado
278. KING-FM
279. Yerebatan Sarayi
280. courage
281. clock towers
282. MIT Music Toys
283. the word “trifecta”
284. loud madras jackets
285. Scouting
286. multiple sources of income
287. Mexico books by Erico Verissimo and Carl Franz
288. Bahia Street
289. Praia da Itapoa
290. self-discipline
291. brasileiras at orelhaos
292. living so close to Vancouver Island and the Canadian Rockies
293. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice!
294. carbonated flavored water
295. king cake
296. family businesses
297. Joni Mitchell's “Court and Spark”
298. election night returns
299. Destiny's Child
300. going to bed early

If you liked this list, you should come back for more. If you didn't, happy trails.

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