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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Friday, May 4 2001

Reading habits

In a previous incarnation of the Jonal I would occasionally comment on my recent reading. The entries evoked no response so I finally gave it up. But I can't resist coming back to it now, probably because both of the books I'm reading now are extremely evocative. And I won't "review" them with an eye to encouraging you to find and read them, but just as conversation starters on topics that may be of general interest.

First, some comments on my reading habits.

In high school I developed the habit of reading more than one book at a time; Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet during third-period study hall; Dickens' David Copperfield in sixth period. I wanted to read Dickens but dreaded Shakespeare so I felt, as a future English major, I'd better read him as a hedge of college preparation. But after becoming a newspaper and magazine editor (1962-1995) my newspaper and magazine reading took up so much time that the book habit fell off.

As a graduate student I learned to scan and cull quotes from books, a skill that stood me in good stead through the years of campus ministry and magazine editing, when articles and lectures had to seem more erudite and informed than they possibly could be. Since there were so many books "required' in grad school that they couldn't all be read cover to cover, one had to learn researchers' shortcuts and techniques.

About a year before my newspaper editing career ended in '95, I saw the film Shadowlands—though I'm not pushing reading the books, I will plug the film; if you haven't seen it, rent it! It's a slightly fictionalized tragedy about British author and Oxford University instructor C. S. Lewis, and his late-in-life marriage to American poet Joy Davidman. I'd admired Lewis for many years because of his positive influence on university students (and "thinkers" more generally) worldwide. But though his books had been recommended from the mid-'60's, I hadn't read them. It took the movie to drive me back to the bookstores.

An aside.... After seeing what was probably a "B" movie of the 1950's, Solomon and Sheba, at the Capitol Theater on one of my hitchhikes into town, I started reading the books about and by Solomon in the Old Testament and eventually the whole Bible as a result.

Earlier, I'd tried reading Lewis and lost interest. The biggest selling of his books, The Screwtape Letters, is to me also his hardest to get into, and was the first one I had at hand. This time, I undertook the Narnia tales (written for children but interesting, in fact, fascinating, for all ages), his "space trilogy," then his theology books like Mere Christianity and The Great Divorce.

This "introduction" is already longer than what I wanted to write today;...to cut it short, Lewis broke my newspaper and magazine habit, by his own expressed opinions about such reading, and won me back to books. From there, we'll take the topic of reading up again tomorrow.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

A shameless blonde joke; 51 Days

A bartender is sitting behind the bar on a typical day, when the door bursts open and in come four exuberant blondes. They come up to the bar, order five bottles of champagne and ten glasses, take their order over and sit down at a large table. The corks are popped, the glasses are filled and they begin toasting and chanting, "51 days, 51 days, 51 days!"

Soon, three more blondes arrive, take up their drinks and the chanting grows. "51 days, 51 days, 51 days!" Two more blondes show up and soon their voices are joined in raising the roof. "51 days, 51 days, 51 days!"

Finally, the tenth blonde comes in with a picture under her arm. She walks over to the table, sets the picture in the middle and the table erupts. Up jump the others, they begin dancing around the table, exchanging high-fives, all the while chanting "51 days, 51 days, 51 days!"

The bartender can't contain his curiosity any longer, so he walks over to the table. There in the center is a beautifully framed child's puzzle of the Cookie Monster. When the frenzy dies down a little bit, the bartender asks one of the blondes, "What's all the chanting and celebration about?"

The blonde who brought in the picture pipes in, "Everyone thinks that blondes are dumb and they make fun of us. So, we decided to set the record straight. Ten of us got together, bought that puzzle and put it together. The side of the box said 2-4 years, but we put it together in 51 days!"

Sent by Mike Harrison

Beautiful women

They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without new shoes so their children can have them.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend. They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about a birth or a new marriage.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They have sorrow at the loss of a family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all sizes, in all colors and shapes.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or email you to show how much they care about you.
Women do more than just give birth. They bring joy and hope. They give compassion and ideals. They give moral support to their family and friends.

Sent by Virginia in Millville
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