Location: Vienna, Virginia, United States

A graduate of Dartmouth College (2005) and Washington and Lee University School of Law (2010). These are my personal blogs, and the musings expressed on them do not reflect the positions of my employer. They do reflect my readings, thoughts, and aspirations, which I figure is good enough.

Sunday, April 17, 2005


I read a lot when I was growing up. A lot of people know this about me. I read novels, biographies, short stories, plays, anything I could get my hands onto. One of the stories my dad like to tell to embarrass me is the one about my vow to read every book in the Greenwich Library.

I really did say that, by the way. I said it because back in Queens, NY, our library limited you to borrowing 20 books every time you went. It might have been a decent limit for most people, but I felt imprisoned. And when we moved to Greenwich, and I stepped into the Greenwich Public Library, which was larger, cleaner and more accomodating than the Queens Library, I was ecstatic.

We were getting library cards, and my dad asked how many books we could borrow at once. The library employee just looked at him funny.

"I guess if you could carry it all, you could borrow the entire library," the guy said.

If I was ecstatic before, I suppose that then I was feeling like Red meeting Andy down in Zihuateneco, Mexico at the end of Shawshank. So that's a little background for you.

In addition to being a voracious bookworm, I also read newspapers and magazines. I read Time religiously, and sadly have lapsed since I came to college. Time isn't the most intellectual of magazines, but it is a large step up from Entertainment Weekly (a magazine which should be read by no one), and every once in a while, one of their essayists writes something mind-bogglingly simple but absolutely brilliant.

The last essay I read was written by one of their regulars, who wrote that the pro-choice movement emphasizes the wrong aspects of their "side." Instead of emphasizing the woman's right to choose, they should emphasize the need to reduce abortions in general. The argument goes that it's a middle ground that both pro-lifers and pro-choicers, who have polarized unnecessarily, can meet at. It would push the extreme Christian right into a very uncomfortable moral position, and you wouldn't have to necessarily decide on Roe. V. Wade again. And yet, very few politicians say "I would like to set a goal - a 25% reduction of overall abortions in 4 years." Great essay.

I also read a lot of newspapers, although sometimes I focused a little too much on the sports sections. While some people grew up reading Peter Gammons, I grew up reading Mike Lupica. I think I was first attracted to his articles because of his funny last name. I really enjoy the way he writes though.

For example of a blurb I like, this is a part of a piece he wrote for the Daily News regarding the Sheffield/Fan incident at Fenway (for those of you not in the know, Sheffield got tangled up with a piece of the Fenway air conditioning unit while chasing down a line drive. The fan, blowing hot air on a cold April night, almost knocked Sheffield's cap off as he went down to pick up a ball. just kidding. kind of.)

"This was like some sports version of "Rashomon" in the end: Everybody saw something different. Or what they wanted to see. And if they want to see this at Fenway Park at Auburn Hills, they really ought to go back and take another look at Auburn Hills. This was a ballpark misdemeanor. Not a felony. And it is dumber than Chris House to treat it as more." - Lupica, Daily News

Now, I realize that Lupica actually isn't practicing good journalism here - the Kurosawa reference will fly over the head of a lot of people. But hell, what's the fun of writing if you can't throw a bit of elitism or an inside joke in there every once in a while?

I much prefer the very apt Kurosawa analogy to what Bill Simmons of ESPN does. I love Simmons' articles, but he uses analogies involving "The Shawshank Redemption" a little too often. I swear, he uses the Andy/Red/Zihuataneco metaphor once every other column. There are other ones from the movie too - getting it like the warden, framed like Andy Dufresne, screwed over like Gil Bellow's character, they go on. Almost everyone will get them, because the average American has seen Shawshank fifteen times. I made that up. But it could be true.

But he uses it so often it gets annoying. Read his next column. There's a 50% chance it will have a Shawshank reference in it.

The point of my including that Lupica quote, though, was an attempt by me to show that my reading Lupica was meant to be. Lupica is a film buff, I'm a film buff (even though I haven't seen a movie in a theatre for nine months). Is the connection there? Not really. But the thought of it makes me feel good.


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