What I’ve Been Reading

Would Jesus Support the Death Penalty? Many Christians strangely believe that Jesus wouldn’t support the death penalty even though they do.”

The Tale of Two Schools. Fieldston and University Heights are in the same New York City borough but worlds apart. How much understanding between their students can a well-told story bring? A lot it turns out.

The Hunt for El Chapo. The story of how the world’s most notorious drug lord was captured. Sure to be a movie.

Louis C.K. Against the Common Core. When a comedian points out the way in which the current priorities don’t add up, it earns even the attention of those who haven’t thought much about school since they graduated. But the brutal math of the New York City school system is no laughing matter.”

We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. Entering students at my uni will read this novel and discuss it during orientation in early September. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that steadily gets more and more interesting up to the very end. After 50-75 pages, I may have set it aside if it hadn’t been “assigned”. The story of a family of five. The dad is a psychology professor at Indiana University. Recommended. It will resonant strongly with those most sympathetic to the animal rights movement.

Bill Simmon’s Big Score. How a failed newspaper writer built a new kind of media empire at ESPN. I’ve completely tired of Simmon’s act, but still found this an interesting “new journalism” case study. A few factoids. The four major sports are worth a combined $91.2b. ESPN’s worth $50.8b making it the most valuable media brand in the world. Bill Simmons has 2.6 million twitter followers, I’m up to 46. 

On deck—American Crucifixion by Alex Beam. The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church.

In the hole—Family Life by Akil Sharma.

 

Twitter is Like a Very Large Dinner Table

Facebook seems to thrive on nostalgia for the past. I like Twitter because it’s present tense in orientation.

Twitter is like sitting around a very large dinner table with guests you get to choose. I have little interest in faux, electronic, celebrity friendships. I choose guests who 1) make me laugh on occasion; 2) keep me informed about things I care about; and/or 3) share links to articles and videos about things I care about. Those I follow sit around the table and slide reading and multimedia material to one another saying, “Have you read or seen this?”

Sometimes Bill Simmons at ESPN, Alan Shipnuck at Sports Illustrated (golf writer), and John Dickerson at Slate can be funny. Among a few others, I follow Slate Magazine, the Atlantic Magazine, The Economist, Bonnie Ford, Atul Gwande, Walt Mossberg, and some of the bloggers I regularly read.

Most people think of Twitter success in terms of followers, the more the better. I’m more interested in the quality of the dinner conversation than the quantity of guests. And some people think the secret to more followers is to tweet more often. For me though, the more you tweet the more you have to make me laugh or keep me informed. If you tweet just because you like the sound of your tweets, you’ll soon join the ranks of former dinner guests.

Speaking of laughter, this skit is comic genius.

Sports Report

• USC is reportedly paying Kiffin $4m/year. Not sure whether that’s $750k a win or $1m.

• Another brilliant essay by the best sportswriter at work today. I’d like to think I coulda’ been a decent sportswriter, but I would hate to have to go mano y mano with this guy.

• Ran a half marathon Domingo with Dano, Katie, and Annie. Another beautiful morning in Paradise. I ran well and I’m supposed to credit Lance with an assist. I left the house on the mountain bike without any gel (liquid carbos). Lance and cutest daughter in the world rode by on mountain bikes, got comfortably ahead, and handed off one of their gels. Shortly afterwards, I started mowing down people. But since Lance said “Thank you though for showing me that I have at least 8 years of physical fitness left” as if I’m about to keel over, I don’t think I’ll give him the credit he otherwise deserves. He is going to tear up the mountain bike course on the Sky to Sea race in B’ham in a week and a half.

• A few questions which will only make sense if you read Simmon’s essay. What’s your “one word”, not as a baller, but as a person? Is that the word you’d use to describe yourself, the word others would use to describe you, or would the one word be the same for both? In other words, is their congruence between your self perception and other’s perceptions of you? For myself, I’m undecided between “deluded” and “balanced”.

• 1,095 peeps ran the Capital City Half Marathon. 391 M’s (36%) and 704 F’s (64%). Hypotheses?

Nearing the Finish, Pretty Dog Tired

Right After Finishing