Search Results for: label/Sarah Palin

Anatomy of an Apology

In his first apology he really didn’t apologize for what he said but rather defended himself and even took shots at the ones he was apologizing to for making a big deal out of a possibly inappropriate joke he told that was the reason he was apologizing in the first place. Make sense?

I may have to read that sentence again myself. Slowly. During this first apology, one of the things David Letterman explained was that the criticism he was receiving was based, at least in part, on a simple misunderstanding that could easily be cleared up. When he joked that Todd and Sarah Palin’s daughter was getting ‘knocked up’ by Alex Rodriguez during the 7th inning stretch at Yankee Stadium, he thought people would know he meant the Palin’s 18-year-old daughter, not the 14-year-old daughter who was actually at the game and who was therefore “erroneously” assumed to be the one he was referring to.

As a parent, I would have felt a whole lot better if he was referring to my 18-year-old and not my 14-year-old, wouldn’t you?

Letterman also explained he’s told other jokes that he’s not proud of. Again, just the kind of reasoning to help things simmer down in a hurry.

Surprisingly, this first apology wasn’t received well by the Palins and others. Even women’s groups not known as staunch Palin supporters expressed dissatisfaction.

So five days later Letterman apologized again, but this time he really meant it. Somber newscasters declared this second apology attempt as “heartfelt” and “sincere.” The first apology was an obvious mulligan. In a blame reversal that even Bill Clinton would envy, a number of commentators took the time to criticize Governor Palin for inflammatory words of her own in an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today Show when she said it would be wise to keep Willow away from Dave. Matt didn’t like that. Not at all. But as a hard nosed journalist that’s his job. And think about it. Palin did have her nerve picking on a helpless 62-year-old television icon, going so far as to make a statement that could be construed to indicate that she thinks he is a dirty old man, when expressing outrage over what was said about her 18-year-old daughter – though not the 14-year-old Willow as was previously mentioned.

Robert Schlesinger opined in his U.S. News and World Report blog that in her statement Palin had equaled Letterman for “cheap and classless jokes.” I might agree with Schlesinger but it’s still not clear she was joking and if it is determined she was, it was only one joke, not jokes.

So during the same week that protestors have taken to the streets in Tehran what does this compelling news episode teach us about apologizing? Just maybe, we ought to be straightforward, heartfelt, and sincere the first time out of the chute as opposed to a face-saving, self-serving, self-righteous, and sarcastic approach. Most of us know that’s easier said than done. So if we can’t pull off the contrite and clear method it seems that blaming the person we’ve wronged for putting us in a position to botch our apology is a good backup plan … it worked just fine for David Letterman after all.

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Bestselling Books of 2012

2012 was a good year to sell books as an author if your last name was James or Collins.

The January 4, 2012, online of edition of Publishers Weekly provided a chart with three bestseller lists, all dominated at the top by Fifty Shades of Grey (E.L. James) and The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins).

Bestselling Books of 2012
Nielsen Bookscan Top 20
Amazon Kindle Top 20
Amazon Print Top 20
1. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (Vintage)
1. Fifty Shades of Greyby E.L. James (Vintage)
1. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (Vintage)
2. Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James (Vintage)
2. Fifty Shades Darkerby E.L. James (Vintage)
2. Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James (Vintage)
3. Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James (Vintage)
3. Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James (Vintage)
3. Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James (Vintage)
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)1
4. The Hunger Gamesby Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
5. StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Gallup Press)
6. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
6. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
6. Fifty Shades Trilogy Box Set by E.L. James (Vintage)
7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books)
7. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown)
7. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
8. No Easy Day by Mark Owen (Dutton)
8. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
8. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
9. Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly (Henry Holt)
9. Bared to You by Sylvia Day (Berkley)
9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books)
10. Fifty Shades Trilogy Box Set by E.L. James (Vintage)
10. The Racketeer by John Grisham (Doubleday)
10. No Easy Day by Mark Owen (Dutton)
11. Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly (Henry Holt)
11. Reflected in You by Sylvia Day (Berkley)
11. The Hunger Games Trilogy Box Set by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
12. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson)
12. The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central)
12. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown)
13. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (Hyperion)
13. Defending Jacob by William Landay (Delacorte)
13. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (Hyperion)
14. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown)
14. War Brides by Helen Bryan (AmazonEncore)
14. The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd Edition by the College Board (The College Board)
15. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)2
15. A Game of Thronesby George R.R. Martin (Bantam)
15. A Song of Fire and Ice, Books 1–4 by George R.R. Martin (Bantam)
16. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)3
16. The Innocent by David Baldacci (Grand Central)
16. Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly (Henry Holt)
17. The Hunger Games Triology Box Set by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
17. No Easy Day by Mark Owen (Dutton)
17. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (Amer. Psychological Assn.)
18. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (Little, Brown)
18. A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin (Bantam)
18. Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly (Henry Holt)
19. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books)
19. 11/22/63 by Stephen King (Scribner)
19. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House)
20. The Racketeer by John Grisham (Doubleday)
20. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Berkley)
20. Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander (Simon & Schuster)
Nielsen/BookScan (week ending Dec. 30, 2012)
Amazon Kindle (as of Dec. 31, 2012)
Amazon (as of Dec. 31, 2012)

Christmas Reminds Us That Greatness Begins In Small Packages

The man who is called father by three of the world’s major religions—Islam, Christianity, and Judaism—had but a small family of his own. In fact, he and his wife, Sarah, weren’t sure they could even have one child. But from Abraham’s offspring, there remains a lineage that circles the globe.

He wasn’t supposed to live beyond infancy. All the other baby boys of his birthplace died the year he was born. His mother had to give him up to the care of another. But the tiny baby survived, even when he was floated down the Nile River in a basket. And the man Moses grew into led his people out of slavery and against impossible circumstances presented by nature and enemies, he brought them to God’s Promised Land.

He was the youngest son of an inconsequential family that was a member of a small tribe that lived in the hill country of an obscure nation. Yet David, a man after God’s own heart, prevailed in combat against lion, bear, and giant. Poet and warrior, he became a king and nation builder against whom all other kings to come would be measured.

In a dark and violent world; in a bleak and blighted village; a tiny life appeared. What difference does the life of one small make baby? Particularly one of questionable lineage, of humble means, far from the center of worldly power?

Jesus, the Babe in the manger, brought light and hope to a world engulfed in strife—and forever changed the course of history.

We look to the big, expensive, and impressive; we admire the powerful and influential; we check price tags, even during the holidays. But the message of Christmas is that great things come in small packages. A simple kindness. A gentle word. A smile. A listening ear. A shared meal. A song. A handwritten note. A surprise phone call. The shining eyes of children. All these small gestures hint at the greatest blessing of Christmas: a grand and magnificent love broke into the world when Jesus was born in a humble manger.

Enjoy the bright lights and big moments of the season. But don’t lose sight that the greatest blessings come in the smallest packages.

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.

Matthew 13:31–32

The Simple Blessings of Christmas by Mark Gilroy

From the Simple Blessings of Christmas by Mark Gilroy

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

 

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

Card creates a brilliant and nuanced cosmology in the Ender quintet.

I like Science Fiction just fine but must not love it because there have been many years I didn’t read even a single SciFi title. I had read a few of the standards over the years without much prompting and recommend them all – Frank Herbert’s Dune Series, Philip Dick’s Valis Trilogy and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (became the movie Bladerunner), Asimov’s I, Robot, Ray Bradburry’s Farenheit 451, Robert Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Arthur Clarke’s 2001: Space Odyssey, C.S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet trilogy, and I’m sure others.

My son Merrick introduced me to Orson Scott Card and his child genius Andrew Wiggin – Ender – in Ender’s Game. A slow start – probably because of my own low expectations – and an ending that was so unexpected that it made me want to read the book again. Immediately. I’ll leave it at that so I don’t even stray towards a spoiler. My reading of preferred genres goes in streaks I admit, but I devoured all the books in Card’s series as quickly as I could get to them: Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, and I’m sure I’m leaving something out. (Thanks Merrick!)

Ender grows up in a home with a cruel older brother, Peter, and the love of his life, Valentine, his older sister and the only one who doesn’t seem to resent his brilliance. Card does have an ability to see the future – his description of communication over the Internet before Al Gore had the thing really up and going is amazing – and in a world of overpopulation Ender wasn’t even legally allowed to be born. Peter and Valentine are both eligible to be selected for Battle School but Peter’s anger turns to lethal hatred when it is Ender who is chosen to train as a fighter to repel a hostile alien forces’s next invasion.

My description may make this sound trite but the psychological, moral, and physical conflicts are brilliant and emotionally exquisite. [Note: The movie was made after I read the novel. It just didn’t capture the psychology of the book.]

Like Frank Herbert in the Dune books, as you read through Card’s series you find an author who doesn’t just create other settings or even worlds – but whole cosmologies complete with religions, races, histories, and complex moral dilemmas, including definitions of the soul and consciousness. (Yes, there are some slow sections, particularly in Xenocide, but the whole experience is more than satisfactory.)

Just a note or two about Card. He is a descendent of Brigham Young and graduated from BYU and the University of Utah, and did doctoral work at Notre Dame. He served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While passing through Salt Lake City on a Delta flight I saw that he has also written the novels Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel and Leah, which are known as the Women from Genesis Series. The Internet says he lives in North Carolina now. I don’t know anything about his ongoing personal religious life but would simply observe that as with other author’s from a high identity religious background, there is a discipline and training of thought that seems to spawn a counter-intuitive imaginative freedom with the ability to dream up huge, comprehensive, and interconnected realities as he’s done in his Andrew Wiggin novels.