Podcast of the Day: The End is Near?

August 13, 2008

HURTLING TOWARD OBLIVION | Futurist says end may be near

Podcast of the day: “Hurtling Toward Oblivion,” a two-part interview by Dr. James Dobson with Dr. Richard Swenson, a physician and futurist.

You can access the podcast through iTunes or by going to these links:

Part 1

Part 2

You’ll need to listen to both broadcasts to get the full scope of what Swenson is saying, but here, in a nutshell, are his talking points:

The world today features…
1) PROFUSION: More and more of everything.
2) IRREVERSABILITY: We cannot undo what we have done.
3) EXPONENTIAL GROWTH: Changes are happening faster and faster, exponentially.
4) FALLENESS FACTOR: Then potential for bad, even from good things, is always there.
5) With all of these factors working together, we not only have a profusion of good but also the profusion of evil.

Ultimately, at some point, the conversion of all this will mean doomsday… This isn’t a “doomsday” book, though, but rather a warning…

Check out the podcasts to hear more…


Today’s List: ‘Love’ Songs

June 30, 2008

In observance of my anniversary – 18 years of bliss with the wonderful former Miss Lee Ann Knight – here’s a sampling of “love” songs from my iPod, all the ones beginning with the word “love” and a few with the word in the title:

Love Comes Tumbling | U2

One of my favorite U2 songs.

Love Hurts | Heart

From one of Heart’s live albums.

Love in the Midnight | Styx

From the “Cornerstone” album, the pinnacle of the band’s career.

Love is a Battlefield | Pat Benatar

Back in the days when MTV ruled…

Love is Here to Stay | Frank Sinatra

Can honestly say I’ve never listened to the song. I got it while making a playlist for a wedding reception we had at our house for friends of ours…

Love is Like Oxygen | Sweet

More 80s…

Love is Reason | A-ha

…and even more 80s.

Love Song | The Cure

This song put The Cure on the map, introducing many 80s listeners to a strange brand of music and an even stranger Robert Smith, the prince of goth and gloom.

Love Will Keep Us Alive | Eagles

Timothy B. Schmidt at his best.

Lovely Ladies | Les Miserable Soundtrack

Not a love song at all, if you’re familiar with the play…

Last Love Song | Cat Stevens

From the last “Cat Stevens” album, before he became Yusuf Islam…

Look of Love | ABC

Underrated import from ABC.

Victim of Love | Eagles

Another one from the Eagles.

Everlasting Love | Howard Jones

Much better song than the sappy “No One is to Blame”

Message of Love | Journey

From the “comeback” album that ended up being Steve Perry’s last effort with the band.

Without Your Love | Toto

From the vastly underrated “Fahrenheit” album.

Today’s List: Updated iPod Playlist

May 23, 2008


EAGLES | Song from new CD tops playlist

Here’s an updated look at my current iPod playlist…

Waiting in the Weeds | Eagles
From the new album (released only at Wal-Mart) “Out of Eden,” this is classic, pre-Hotel California Eagles material, with everything that made the band great – accoustic guitar, harmonies, an angst-ridden storyline and poetic lyrics.

From the Beginning | Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Gotta love Greg Lake’s accoustic guitar.

Never Too Late | Three Days Grace
Heard while channel surfing on XM and ended up picking it up on iTunes. Don’t know anything about the band, and I can’t quote any of the lyrics, but it’s a good listen.

We Are | Vertical Horizon
VH is still one of my favorite bands. I could never understand why they haven’t (or didn’t) become superstars. “We Are” marked the move from an accoustic to an electric rock band and kicked off a great album (Everything You Want, 1999).

I’ve Been Thinking About You | Londonbeat
And oldie but a goody.

Hey There Delilah | Plain White T’s
Simple but effective.

Here I Stand and Face the Rain | A-ha
Hunting High and Low | A-ha
Just loaded an old A-ha CD onto iTunes; these were two of my favorites from that album.

On Location: Universally Adventurous in Florida

March 11, 2008


Sons Zachary (age 15) and Addison (13) and I took advantage of their school’s early spring break with a four-day trip to Universal Studios in Orlando, beginning last Thursday. While wife Lee Ann and daughter Karis (11) were snowbound in Dallas en route to what turned out to be a mostly luggage-less trip to Omaha, Neb., to see Karis’ pen-pal 4th cousin, the boys and I had a blast…

We went at the perfect time: the parks (Universal Studios, the original park there, which began challenging Disney World in 1990) and the newer Islands of Adventure felt almost deserted when we arrived there around 4:30 Thursday afternoon. There were crowds on Saturday night and most of the day Sunday, but on Friday morning and evening and Saturday morning we felt like we almost had the parks to ourselves. Our longest wait for any ride was about 10 minutes, and that happened just once. Here’s a list of my five favorite attractions at the parks, then the low-down on the rides and attractions we experienced, with my grade for them:


My Top Five
Shrek 4-D
The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman
Revenge of the Mummy
Terminator 2: 3D
Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

Now, for the parks & individual rides…you can find fuller descriptions of the rides and see video clips at www.universalorlando.com.

Opened 1990 | Ranked #6 in park attendance in USA, 2006

Shrek 4-D | Grade: A+
Interactive Show
The “Shrek” franchise is a phenomen, and this attraction is a most worthy addition to it. After a pre-show in which the Magic Mirror, the imprisoned Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio and the Ginger Bread Man re-tell the story from the first Shrek movie, we learn that Lord Farquaad has returned in ghostly form with the express purpose of making Shrek a widower. His plan? To dispatch Princess Fiona, then claim her as his ghost queen. Lord Farquaad is trying to find Shrek and Fiona, but no one knows anything – except for perhaps someone in the audience. So Farquaad banishes the audience to the auditorium for some tortune, where the show begins.

The video which follows contains all the smart dialogue for which the “Shrek” films are known, plus the best 3-D experience I’ve ever had, with a few 4th-D surprises thrown in. (Think spiders.) It’s similar to Disney’s “A Bug’s Life” attraction, if you’ve done that, only much better – a better story with better visual components. Great fun. Seeing it multiple time allows you to catch all the nuances of the attraction. We watched it four times and I would have been willing to see it a few more times if the boys had let me.

Revenge of the Mummy | Grade: A
Indoor Roller Coaster
Based on “The Mummy” films. I’m not a fan of  roller coasters, but this experience combined a great scary environment with an indoor coaster that’s just enough to thrill you but not enough to make you sick. Coaster enthusiasts would call it tame, but it was just right for me. Great special effects, animatronic warrior mummies and other surprises.

E. T. Adventure | Grade: A
Fantasy Ride
Based on the movie. One of the park’s original rides, this one is still spellbinding. It just never gets old. Soaring through the forest and over the city in your bicycle…it’s always magical. We rode “E.T.” probably a half-dozen times or more, providing a different “name” for our intergalactic passport each time, just for fun.

Terminator 2: 3D | Grade: A-
Interactive Ride/Show
Based on the “Terminator” movies. This show’s hallmark is its seamless mixture of live and 3-D action. A truly outstanding production, but it was a bit loud for my tastes, and the 3-D would have worked better if the film part hadn’t been so dark. Still, it’s a must-do attraction. Very unique. It helps to have seen the original film, which I have not.

Men In Black: Alien Invasion | Grade: B
Interactive Thrill Ride
Based on the Tommy Lee Jones/Will Smith “MIB” films. A shoot-’em-up moving ride where you score points by zapping aliens which have invaded New York City. Good fun with some competition thrown in. The boys rode MIB at least 20 times; I held on for about 10 go-rounds. Zach and Addison routinely posted scores in the 200,000-300,000 range; my top score was about 125,000. Most of the folks we competed against were in the 50,000-75,000 range, but you have to be an enthusiastic shooter to make it work. Highest score ever posted is 999,999; we saw one person score around 360,000.

Jaws | Grade: B
Water Ride
A tour of the “real” (but fictional) Amity, where the shark attacks happened. A bit tired after all these years, but doing it at night added a bit of an edge and made the pyrotechnics better. The key is getting lucky and having a good “captain” of your boat – screaming “over-actors” distract significantly from the experience. I rode “Jaws” about 10 times back during two trips to Universal in 1992 and 1993, so I know where the shark appears, but I still enjoy it. Our last ride on Jaws on Sunday included a number of boat mates who obviously hadn’t taken the trip through Amity before, however, and hearing the screams of the teenaged girls and seeing them frightened by the big shark was more fun than the ride itself.

Twister…Ride It Out | Grade: B
Live Action Simulation
Based on the “Twister” movie. Combines props from the real film, footage of actual tornadoes and a pre-show with the film’s Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt talking about the experience of making the film. You end up in a setting similar to the scene where the tornado strikes the drive-in theater. We did it once and weren’t that impressed, but Addison and I did it a second time our final day and stood up front, and the impact of the “tornado” was much more impressive. Could have been better, though, with more wind and a few more effects.

Universal Horror Make-Up Show | Grade: B
Live Show
A 25-minute show demontrating how blood and gore are done for the movies. Great fun, and funny, too.

Fear Factor Live | Grade: B
Live Show
I’ve seen just a few bits and pieces of the real “Fear Factor” show. This was a pretty decent outdoor stage show…gross, but decent.

Disaster!: A Major Motion Picture Ride | Grade: B
Live Action Ride
Several pre-shows, an actual “filming” of a few of the final scenes from “Mutha Nature,” by the “acclaimed” director Frank Kincaid (portrayed wonderfully – and realistically – by Christopher Walken, one of my all-time favorites) of “Disaster! Studios,” and a ride. Frantic fun, but a bit drawn out. Seeing the “Musion” technology used to have Walken interact with your real-life guide is almost worth the price of admission. He was almost real…

Opened 1999 | Ranked #9 in park attendence in USA, 2006

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man | Grade: A+
Moving Simulation 3-D Ride
Based on the comic-book character. Simply an amazing experience, combining a moving ride, 3-D and motion-simulation to create sensations you won’t feel anywhere else in the park. A bit dizzying for me, but it’s so well-done I had to do it again and again. The premise is you’re a reporter for The Daily Bugle, and after walking through the newspaper building (great fun for me) you board a Bugle vehicle to get the scoop on the city’s crime wave. The sensations that follow aren’t to be missed. Check out the video clips on the Universal website, and read more about the technology (and staggering costs) of this ride here.

This ride’s highlight is when you fall 50 or more stories from a skyscraper, bounce off an adjacent building, then fall to the street – all in 3-D, all while pursued by famous villains. It’s sooooo real…

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges | Grade: A
Water Ride
Raft ride made great by the real white-water feel. I was told it was the 4th-wettest water ride in the USA. Glad I had my poncho.

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls | Grade: A-
Water Ride
Log ride; not too many surprises, but a good ending, with a spray-filled final drop.

Jurassic Park River Adventure | Grade: B+
Water Ride
Based on the films. A tour through Jurassic Park goes wrong. Above-average water ride with well-done animatronic dinosaurs.

Poseidon’s Fury | Grade: D
Interactive Show
Huge disappointment. Our only “bad ride” was this attraction. Billed as “a colossal battle between ancient gods with no hope of escape,” it ended up being a flame- and water-filled joke. Great build-up and a wonderful outside design, but it fizzled badly.

We didn’t do Islands of Adventure’s major roller coaster rides – the Incredible Hulk Coaster, Dueling Dragons and Doctor Doom’s Fearfall. They looked fun, and very scary. But my boys aren’t into coasters of that sort, which is totally fine by me.

A note: Universal Studios’ “Universal Express Plus” passes are a must if you’re going. The passes (which we got because we stayed on-site, at the Hard Rock Hotel) allow users to utilize a separate line for most attractions. A limited number of passes are sold to non-property guests each day, but we were told they often sell out in advance. During evenings while we were there, and on Sunday, attractions with posted “wait times” of 30-45 minutes were common. But we’d show our “Express Plus” passes (actually our room keys), enter the Express line and often walk right onto a ride, by-passing the lines.

And a final note…on May 31, 2007, Universal Orlando announced that it had secured the rights from Warner Bros. and from British author J. K. Rowling to bring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Islands of Adventure. Scheduled to open late next year, the 23-acre island will feature attractions, shops and restaurants set inside such locations as the Forbidden Forest, Hogsmeade Village and the iconic Hogwarts castle. Some existing attractions within the Lost Continent are to be updated to the new theme, and will be joined by a state-of-the-art attraction that remains unannounced.

More Reading: Top 100 Children’s Books

February 5, 2008


CHARLOTTE’S WEB | Top children’s book

If you, too, were overwhelmed by the seriousness of Art Garfunkel’s list of “read” books, check out this list…it comes from a recent NEA survey of parents and teachers, who listed these books, in the following order, as the top 100 for children… 

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
I Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Oh! The Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
The Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
The Mitten by Jan Brett
Crunching Carrots, Not Candy by Judy Slack
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willlems
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
Corduroy by Don Freeman
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Tacky the Penquin by Helen Lester
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type Doreen Cronin
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
Olivia by Ian Falconer
The BFG by Roald Dahl
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
Bunnicula by James Howe
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom DeLuise
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
Frederick by Leo Lionni
Frindle by Andrew Clements
Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
Is Your Mama A Llama? by Deborah Guarino
Jan Brett’s books
Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
No David! by David Shannon
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Stephanie’s Ponytail by Robert Munsch
Swimmy by Leo Lionni
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner
The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper
The Empty Pot by Demi
The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop
The Giver by Lois Lowr
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown
The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements
The Napping House by Audrey Wood
The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
The Wide-Mouthed Frog: A Pop-Up Book by Keith Faulkner

Today’s List: The Art of Reading

February 4, 2008


HIGH BROW | Garfunkel’s amazing list

Art Garfunkel has read 1,023 books since June 1968. How do we know this? He’s kept a meticulous diary of his literary conquests over the last 40 years, which include quite a bit of scholarly stuff that smart people read and very little of the kind of pulp fiction the rest of us read. If you’d like to see his list, you can check it out on his website here.

I felt pretty insignificant while perusing the Garfunkel collection. My sister and I graduated from a small high school nestled out in the prairie adjacent to a Kansas wheat field; my one literary experience there was reading “Catch-22.” High brow we weren’t. In high school, Stephen King was more my speed. To boost my sophistication level, I would occasionally read the dust jacket of one of the Leon Uris novels my brainy sister loved.

But I do remember the Simon & Garfunkel song “The Dangling Conversation,” and the references in it to Emily Dickinson (whom I haven’t read) and Robert Frost (yes, I have) and intellectual pursuits as a barrier to a real relationship. So I’m not as depressed now as I was when I first heard about this impressive list. For fun, you can read the “Talk of the Town” piece about Art’s list from the recent edition of The New Yorker magazine (which I read solely for the cartoons) here.

And if you’re artsy-schmartsy, you can also find some of Art’s poems on his website, including this dazzler:

Write the poem out loud.
Authorize the heart.
Burn the Bridge
and Be the work of art!


Here’s Art’s list of his favorites… The two books in bold are the only ones off the list I’ve read. (P.S.: I showed the list to my wife…she’s read 16 of them. But she doesn’t know the lyrics to half the Simon & Garfunkel songs I do…)

1. Jun 1968 Jean-Jacques Rousseau The Confessions 1781 606 pp.
2. Jun 1968 Erich Fromm The Art of Loving 1956 146 pp.
3. Oct 1968 P.D. Ouspensky In Search of the Miraculous 1949 389 pp.
4. Feb 1969 L.N. Tolstoy War and Peace 1869 1444 pp.
5. May 1969 Philip Roth Portnoy’s Complaint 1969 274 pp.
6. Sep 1969 Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights 1847 320 pp.
7. Jan 1970 Johann Wolfgang Goethe The Sorrows of Young Werther 1774 199 pp.
8. Mar 1970 Garrett Mattingly The Armada 1959 402 pp.
9. Mar 1971 Bill Moyers Listening to America 1971 342 pp.
10. Jul 1971 Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre 1947 477 pp.
11. Jan 1972 L. N. Tolstoy Anna Karenina 1873 852 pp.
12. Mar 1972 Albert Schweitzer J.S. Bach, Vol. 1 1911 428 pp.
13. Oct 1973 Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice 1797 430 pp.
14. Oct 1974 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 1892 248 pp.
15. Feb 1975 Robert A. Caro The Power Broker 1974 1162 pp.
16. Jun 1975 Henry James Portrait of a Lady 1881 545 pp.
17. Dec 1976 John S. Shelton Geology Illustrated 1966 424 pp.
18. Jan 1977 Saul Bellow Humboldt’s Gift 1973 472 pp.
19. May 1977 C.G. Jung Modern Man in Search of a Soul 1933 244 pp.
20. May 1977 Charles Chaplin My Autobiography 1964 497 pp.
21. Sep 1977 Stephen King The Shining 1977 447 pp.
22. Jul 1977 Bulfinch Mythology 1855 236 pp.
23. Apr 1978 Charles Darwin The Origin of Species 1859 460 pp.
24. Apr 1978 Robert M. Persig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance 1974 406 pp.
25. May 1978 Erik Erikson Childhood and Society 1950 424 pp.
26. May 1978 Marcel Proust Swann’s Way 1928 325 pp.
27. Jul 1978 Plato The Last Days of Socrates Euthyphro, The Apology, Crito, Phaedo 390 b.c. 199 pp.
28. Aug 1978 Fydor Dostoevsky The Idiot 642 pp.
29. Sep 1978 Robertson Davies Fifth Business 1970 268 pp.
30. Dec 1978 Jack Kerouac On the Road 1955 310 pp.
31. Aug 1979 Jean Rhys Good Morning, Midnight 1974 190 pp.
32. Sep 1979 Richard Price Ladies’ Man 1978 264 pp.
33. Sep 1979 Jean Rhys Voyage in the Dark 1934 159 pp.
34. Nov 1979 Thomas Hardy Jude the Obscure 1896 164 pp.
35. De 1979 Jonathan Swift Gulliver’s Travels 1726 360 pp.
36. Jan. 1980 Isaac Bashevis Singer The Slave 1962 287 pp.
37. Sep 1980 Jean Dorst The Life of Birds, vol. 1 1971 341 pp.
38. Sep 1980 Marcel Proust Within a Budding Grove 1920 386 pp.
39. Feb 1981 Edward Gibbon The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Abridged) 1787 713 pp.
40. Feb 1981 J. P. Donleavy The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman 1977 402 pp.
41. Mar 1981 James Joyce A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 1916 253 pp.
42. Jun 1981 Gary Zukav The Dancing Wu Li Masters 1979 332 pp.
43. Jul 1981 David Halberstam The Powers That Be 1979 1027 pp.
44. Oct 1981 Saint Augustine Confessions 398 a.d. 347 pp.
45. Jan 1982 Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Don Quixote 1604 940 pp.
46. Jan 1982 Virginia Woolf A Room of One’s Own 1929 118 pp.
47. Feb 1982 Baldesar Castiglione The Book of the Courtier 1518 345 pp.
48. Mar 1982 D.M. Thomas The White Hotel 1981 240 pp.
49. Apr 1982 Leon Edel Henry James – The Middle Years: 1882–1895 1962 389 pp.
50. Jun 1982 Johan Huizinga The Waning of the Middle Ages 1919 335 pp.
51. Jun 1982 Honoré de Balzac The Black Sheep 1842 339 pp.
52. Oct 1982 Robert G. Weisbord Ebony Kinship 1973 220 pp.
53. Feb 1983 William James The Varieties of Religious Experience 1902 500 pp.
54. Mar 1983 Thornton Wilder The Bridge of San Luis Rey 1927 124 pp.
55. Jun 1983 Emil Ludwig Napoleon 1926 682 pp.
56. Aug 1983 Henry David Thoreau Walden 1854 247 pp.
57. Aug 1983 Peter Gay The Enlightenment (The Rise of Modern Paganism) 1966 419 pp.
58. Sep 1983 W. Somerset Maugham The Razor’s Edge 1944 314 pp.
59. Sep 1983 Vladimir Nabokov Lectures on Literature 1980 382 pp.
60. Jan. 1984 James Joyce Ulysses 1921 783 pp.
61. Mar 1984 J.D. Salinger Nine Stories 1953 198 pp.
62. Ap. 1984 Thomas Mann The Confessions of Felix Krull Confidence Man (The Early Years) 1955 378 pp.
63. May 1984 L.N. Tolstoy What is Art? 1896 191 pp.
64. Oct 1984 Iris Murdoch A Severed Head 1961 205 pp.
65. Jan 1985 William M. Thackeray Vanity Fair 1847 636 pp.
66. Feb 1985 Thornton Wilder The Ides of March 1948 204 pp.
67. Mar 1985 Constantin Stanislavski An Actor Prepares 1936 295 pp.
68. May 1985 Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin 1852 590 pp.
69. Jun 1985 Lucretius On the Nature of the Universe c. 54 bc. 256 pp.
70. Jul 1985 Marcel Proust The Guermantes Way 1925 425 pp.
71. Aug 1985 Lao Tsu Tao Te Ching 6 Cent. bc. 81 pp.
72. Sep 1985 L.N. Tolstoy Confession 1879 93 pp.
73. Oct 1985 Richard Ellmann James Joyce 1959 744 pp.
74. Oct 1985 Herodotus The Histories 446 bc. 624 pp.
75. Nov 1985 Edith Wharton The House of Mirth 1905 329 pp.
76. Jan 1986 Virgil The Aeneid 30-19bc. 336 pp.
77. Ap. 1986 Julian Jaynes The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind 1976 446 pp.
78. Sep 1986 William Kennedy Ironweed 1983 227 pp.
79. Nov 1986 Vladimir Nabokov The Enchanter 1939 95 pp.
80. Dec 1986 Harold C. Schonberg The Lives of the Great Composers 1970 627 pp.
81. Dec 1986 David A. Stockman The Triumph of Politics 1986 411 pp.
82. Jan 1987 Thomas Hobbes Leviathan 1651 729 pp.
83. May 1987 Carrie Fisher Postcards from the Edge 1987 218 pp.
84. Jun 1987 Marcel Proust Cities of the Plain 1913 378 pp.
85. Oct 1987 Rudyard Kipling Just So Stories 1902 158 pp.
86. Oct 1987 Peter Ladefoged Elements of Acoustic Phonetics 1962 108 pp.
87. Nov 1987 Mark Twain Life on the Mississippi 1882 352 pp.
88. Feb 1988 Fyodor Dostoevsky Notes from the Underground 1864 158 pp.
89. Apr 1988 George Eliot Middlemarch 1872 908 pp.
90. Jun 1988 Francis Parkman The Oregon Trail 1849 286 pp.
91. Jan 1989 Charles Dickens Bleak House 1853 975 pp.
92. Mar 1989 E.L. Doctorrow Billy Bathgate 1989 323 pp.
93. Jul 1989 Brenda Maddox Nora – The Real Life of Molly Bloom 1988 381 pp.
94. Aug 1989 Sanche de Gramont Epitaph for Kings 1969 428 pp.
95. Oct 1989 Sigmund Freud Civilization and Its Discontents 1930 104 pp.
96. Jul 1990 Mark Twain Innocents Abroad 1867 492 pp.
97. Jul 1990 Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar 1963 216 pp.
98. Nov 1990 Thomas Mann The Magic Mountain 1927 716 pp.
99. Nov 1990 Fredric Dannen Hit Men 1990 327 pp.
100. Feb 1991 Will and Ariel Durant The Story of Civilization VIII: The Age of Louis XIV 1963 74 pp.
101. Mar 1991 Thomas L. Friedman From Beirut to Jerusalem 1989 525 pp.
102. Apr 1991 Marcus Aurelius The Meditations 177 ad. 129 pp.
103. May 1991 Marcel Proust The Captive 1921 289 pp.
104. Au. 1991 Oscar Hijuelos The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love 1989 407 pp.
105. Nov 1991 John Updike Rabbit, Run 1960 249 pp.
106. Nov 1991 William Styron The Confessions of Nat Turner 1966 429 pp.
107. Jan 1992 H.G. Wells A Short History of the World 1922 357 pp.
108. Feb 1992 Swami Prabhavananda The Sermon on the Mount according to Vendanta 1963 126 pp.
109. Apr 1992 Nathaniel Hawthorne The House of Seven Gables 1851 245 pp.
110. Dec 1992 Camille Paglia Sex, Art and American Culture 1992 287 pp.
111. Fe. 1993 Hermann Hesse Demian 1919 179 pp.
112. May 1994 Franz Kafka The Trial 1920 256 pp.
113. May 1994 Daneil Defoe A Journal of the Plague Year 1725 256 pp.
114. May 1994 Jean Rhys After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie 1931 191 pp.
115. Aug 1994 Henry Kissinger Diplomacy 1994 835 pp.
116. Dec 1994 Gustav Janouch Conversations with Kafka 1923 201 pp.
117. Jan 1995 Samuel Butler The Way of All Flesh 1903 444 pp.
118. Apr 1995 Stendahl The Red and the Black 1830 574 pp.
119. Mar 1996 Robert D. Kaplan Balkan Ghosts 1993 300 pp.
120 Ma. 1996 Gustave Flaubert Flaubert in Egypt 1850 222 pp.
121. Jun 1997 Charles and Mary Lamb Tales from Shakespeare 1807 313 pp.
122. Oct 1997 Keith B. Richburg Out of America 1997 254 pp.
123. Dec 1997 David Denby Great Books 1996 463 pp.
124. May 1998 Patrick Süskind Perfume 1985 263 pp.
125. Au. 1998 Ralph Ellison Invisible Man 1952 469 pp.
126. Nov 1998 D.H. Lawrence Sons and Lovers 1913 484 pp.
127. Feb 1999 Arthur Golden Memoirs of a Geisha 1997 428 pp.
128. Apr 1999 Russell Banks Cloudsplitter 1998 758 pp.
129. Oct 1999 Dan Kindlon, Michael Thompson Raising Cain 1999 267 pp.
130. May 2000 Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God 1937
131. Aug 2000 Jacques Barzun From Dawn to Decadence 2000
132. Nov 2000 Jakob Walter The Diary of a Napoleonic Foot Soldier 1830
133. Mar 2002 Elizabeth Gaskell Wives and Daughters 1866
134. Dec 2002 Harold Nicolson Good Behavior 1955 285 pp.
135. Feb 2003 Charles Bukowski Post Office 1971 196 pp.

Today’s List: Favorite U2 Songs

January 29, 2008


U2 | Best of… 

Our editor, Billy Liggett, and his wife Jennifer took in the new U23D show over the weekend; you can read his review on his blog.

I first heard about U2 back when I was a sophomore at the University of Kansas in 1983. The boys from Dublin came to Lawrence for a concert, as I recall; a fraternity brother who worked for the campus radio station interviewed Bono and The Edge. The album “War” was just climbing the charts and it wasn’t long before Rolling Stone called U2 “the greatest band in rock ‘n roll.”

I’m much more partial to the band’s early stuff – particularly, as you’ll see, from the albums Boy, War and October.

My favorite U2 songs:

Love Comes Tumbling
A haunting song with great bass lines off the “Wide Awake in America” EP…

Drowning Man
From “War,” the distinctly faith-based song is tied to the band’s spiritually-focused “October” album…includes references to Isaiah 40:31 in the Old Testament…

Beautiful Day
From “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”…

New Year’s Day/Sunday Bloody Sunday
Two big hits from “War”…

The Unforgettable Fire
Title track from the 1984 album…that fire coming from the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki…

Indian Summer Sky
…also from “Unforgettable Fire”…

Stories for Boys
From “Boy”…

Another Time, Another Place
Also from “Boy”

I remember reading somewhere that Bono improvised many of the lyrics of this song, which is from the “October” album…

Can be interpreted in many ways, but the story goes that Bono wrote this after his mother’s funeral…

…another mysterious, haunting early song…