What a difference between two mornings!

Yesterday morning was as dark, rainy, windy, omninous, and tornado-threatening as this morning is bright, clear, sunny, and peaceful!  Woo hoo to all the runners who braved the weather to compete in the Country Music Full and Half – this one will be memorable!

Today’s post is to be a book review post, but I must first update the 50 New Things project.  I have loved hearing all of your responses, and of course, I left a couple out on the last post.

Daughter Amy in Humboldt County suggested climbing a redwood, which is an absolute.

BF Becky in Clarksville (from upstate NY) suggested hiking the Adirondacks in the fall, which I’m going to do with her, whether it’s this fall and an official part of this undertaking, or some other fall when she can make a trip home!

Buddy Ted from my Nashville Secular group had three spectacular ideas:  learn to fight with a sword (on the list), drive a race car (ON THE LIST), and hike the AT (not on the list – 6 months is too long for this project!).

Precious Shannon, the mother of my precious grandchild Aden had two suggestions:  Take a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class with her (done).  Her other suggestion goes under the Streaking Through Publix line:  Visit a jail for a few hours.  That suggestion may accidently go under several of the other lines.

I guess I’ll begin issuing this disclaimer now:  To any of my young readers contemplating a version of this for your 18th or 21st birthdays:  DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.  There is a difference in spending a little time in the back of a patrol car when you are 18 or 21 and when you are 50!  (Which can’t go on the list, because it has to be for the FIRST TIME…whatever, I was 20, stupid, a little drunk, and a lot over-confident.  Story for another time.)

Now on to the next topic:  Boobquake.

In my blog-reading recently, I came across Jen McCreight’s blog (www.blaghag.com).  I have never read her before; she’s a self-described feminist-atheist-activist, and this particular post has taken on the proverbial Life Of Its Own, receiving comments from Richard Dawkins AND Christopher Hitchens (supposedly), becoming a Facebook Fan Page, and being linked to Pharyngula, one of the most popular blogs of all time.  In response to a radical cleric’s declaration that provocatively-dressed women and the resultant promiscuity lead to earthquakes, Jen has offered up her ample cleavage in a mass experiment to occur Monday, April 26.  Thousand have joined in with her to harness the power of the boob, in a light-hearted effort to make the point that perhaps earthquakes are caused by more natural forces than a malevolent supernatural avenging god.  I will lend my own effort to the cause, albeit it limited in size and scope; we small-breasted women unite in saying:  “It’s not the size!! It’s not the size!!”  (And yes, we have discussed the impact of an actual earthquake occurring the day of our little experiment, and we have a response for that:  Behold the Power of the Boob – think of the implications…what ELSE could our body parts do??)

Now, finally, to the book review…

I have just simultaneously finished reading two books.  They are The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith, and Godless by Dan Barker.  I was reading the first when I discovered I had the opportunity to hear Dan Barker speak and quickly had his book beamed into the Kindle to read before his lecture.

Dan Barker was an evangelical preacher in California as a young man.  He made multiple mission trips to Mexico throughout high school, college at Azusa Pacific, and his young adulthood.  He described himself as a fundamentalist, and was also a gifted musician.  He wrote several children’s holiday musicals that are still being performed today (Mary Had A Little Lamb, for Christmas, and His Fleece Was White As Snow, for Easter).  His story is of his conversion (de-conversion) from fundamentalist evangelist to atheist.  He is now co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (www.FFRF.org – well worth a visit), and is an international speaker and debater.  In person he was charming, funny, and articulate (he spoke at the Belcourt in Nashville last Monday night).  Because of his personal history, he speaks and writes gently and with compassion about believers who hold the same aggressive conviction he once did.  His book and website address the impact of fundamental religion on our country, our children, and our position in the international community.  His book is a terribly interesting read, and not only does his share his journey, but he throws in the basic philosophical and theological reasons most former theists leave their faith.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book, for believers and former believers alike.  Former believers will appreciate his insight and humor in his discovery process, and believers will appreciate understanding why he and others leave the faith they once held so very dear.  This book is well-written, personal, funny, and important.  It is available in Kindle version, and I’ve seen it in B & N, Borders, Books-A-Million, and of course Amazon.

The second book is The Vegetarian Myth, by Lierre Keith.  Don’t let the title throw you.  You do not have to have any connection whatsoever to vegetarianism to read this book.  If I had the leverage, I would make everyone on the planet read this book; as it is, I’m going to bribe/threaten/cajole my family and posse to read this book.  One review I read said that everyone should read it, and everyone who eats should memorize it; I agree.  I consider it one of the most important books related to personal and planet health that has EVER been written.

My disclaimer is completely up front:  Ms. Keith is a radical, lesbian feminist.  Get over it.  If our criteria for reading any book was that we should agree with every belief the author holds, we wouldn’t have read much of anything, would we?  Read this book ESPECIALLY if you are troubled by her views!  I have joked that if I could have any superpower, it would be to force people to read books (I know, right?).

Another review of this book says this: “In any course about writing, you are instructed to figuratively cut open a vein and bleed on the paper – this book comes as close to doing that as any I have ever read.”  Ms. Keith was a vegetarian/vegan for 20 years, for moral, nutritional, and political reasons.  Her compassion for animals is palpable on every page, and her intentions were as pure and altruistic as any vegan I’ve ever known.  There is a vegetarian I love who is one of the 4 most important people in my life, and I am willing to admit that I read this book with my arms wrapped around that precious soul.

Ms. Keith addresses the science, history, intent, implications, and results of vegetarianism.  The book is brimming over with new information about our food supply and its process.  She brings to light the ugliness that is our commercial meat industry, the despicable way we are treating our food animals, and the reflection that shines on our society.  She writes a chapter on soil (soil!) that is so loving and descriptive I read it three times.  I have ordered and sent this book to my Forestry-and-Conservation-soon-to-be-graduate-of-UT son in New Zealand.  I’ve ordered and had it sent to my hippie son in Colorado, my California Redwoods daughter, and will soon send it to my precious vegetarian, free-spirit, compassionate, smart, beautiful daughter in France.

I’m so torn about wanting to tell you everything in the book, and allowing Ms. Keith to do it in her much more passionate and articulate way.  Let me just say that I dare you to read it.  I beg you to read it.  I’ll bribe you to read it.  I’d force you to read it if I had any dirt on you.  And when you do read it, I’ll be waiting for your phone call or text about meeting at Starbucks to discuss it.

The daughter I have referred to several times in this post has as one of her life mottos:

Comfort the disturbed.  Disturb the comfortable.

I love that expression, and it is never more applicable than to this book.  Read it.  Please.

One tiny reference to training – going well, going strong, feeling great, loving the running/biking, hating the swimming (wetsuit in a pool – yuk).

Thanks for reading!  (THE superpower!)