Sunday, September 12, 2010

Writer Jonathan Franzen - Cover of Time Magazine

I get a lot of pleasure out of reading. I really do. But it has been many years since I deliberately read fiction for pleasure. In other words, other than reading through a few fiction pieces from the New Yorker over the years – yes, you’re right… the cartoons are the only part of the magazine that I consistently read – I have read no other fiction, relegating novels to a minor list on my fantasy retirement plan.

Then, I read the cover article about the writer Jonathan Franzen in the August 28, 2010 issue of Time Magazine, written by another writer, Lev Grossman. (His quotations from that article are shown below.)

And the article itself blew me away. It was so well written, and so enthusiastic, in a measured way, that I wanted to discover more about Lev Grossman’s own writing. So I went to Barnes & Nobel, (our main local bookstore), and purchased the Codex. I read it over three days and was thoroughly entertained! And in addition, learned some new things about early books and the early renaissance period of time in England.

- Richard Chandler

Monday, September 6, 2010

Combat Operations Troops Now Gone - 5th Anniversary of Katrina

Milestones & Commemorations… The week of August 30th marked two events for our country – the end of the combat mission in Iraq and the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. On Sunday, I heard the president’s speech about Katrina. This past Tuesday evening, he addressed the nation on Iraq. In my view, it is good for us to acknowledge that despite the fact there still remains much more to do in Iraq, Louisiana and Mississippi, a great deal has been accomplished.

James Carville, a CNN contributor and resident of New Orleans stated that it wasn’t a 50/50 accomplishment, but more like a 75/25 accomplishment with 75 being how far we have come in the five years since the disaster. Of the high in USA troops of 140,000 in Iraq, we have brought 90,000 home and the remaining 50,000 are primarily in a support and training role with combat action only if attacked.

So while neither of these warrants celebration, it is good for us as a nation to acknowledge that over time, with planning, funding, action and resolve, we Americans can solve problems and make things better. A good part of patriotism is being proud of the accomplishments of our nation. Let’s take just a little time to do that, temporarily setting aside our strong personal opinions of what we think wasn’t right and could have been better or different, to acknowledge that with the incredible commitment and sacrifice of our troops and the people who have dedicated themselves to restoring the Gulf region, things have changed for the better.

- Richard Chandler