The World’s Craziest Traveler

20090501_r29_0520As someone who has had to answer the question, “So what brings you to Bangladesh?” by holding up a pair of Jingle These Christmas boxers and saying, “My underwear were made here,” some might think I could vie for the title of The World’s Craziest Traveler.

But there’s a whole level of crazy that can’t be matched by underwear quests funded by second mortgages.

I was working at an adventure outfitter in North Carolina, when I encountered the craziest traveler I’ve ever met.

“I need a sleeping bag,” the man said, “a warm one.”

He looked normal enough: well dressed, bathed, no slobber.

“Where you heading?” I asked, expecting to hear something…

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Weekend Update

1) I’m speaking at Manchester College in West Manchester, Indiana, Thursday in the Wine Recital room at 7:00 PM.  I’ll be visiting a few classes during the day. (here’s a list of other places I’ll be in the near future).

2) Philadelphia’s libraries are staying open! I hope other struggling libraries around the country can say the same thing.

3) Harper bit me in the back.

4) If you’d be interested in having me speak at your school, church, organization, business, or cult, I made this handy page to help you.

5) I got grass stain on the knees of my jeans for the first time in a long time.  It feels good.  I was playing Aerobie (those things are magic) with my nephew Jared and I dove (okay, I…

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Talking with Ted Kooser

Do you ever feel like a dog in your indecision?  You know those times when you are trying to convince your dog to do something new and they start to whimper and walk circles.  That’s how I felt yesterday.

I was driving and listening to one of my favorite talk shows on NPR “On Point”.  There are bigger and more popular shows on the radio, but there are few hosts I would rather sit down and chat with than Tom.  I sent Tom a copy of “Where Am I Wearing?” with a note expressing how much I enjoy the show.  I didn’t hear back, but I’ve kept listening.  Unfortunately I rarely catch the show live.  Instead I listen to the podcast, which is convenient but I don’t have an…

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Grameen Bank: Small loans, a big difference

(This weekend I got into a conversation on Twitter with @sloane about microfinance. The Grameen Bank is a shining example of how giving women access to credit can lift families out of poverty. Here are a few photos I took when I visited the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 2007 . Below that is an excerpt from “Where Am I Wearing? about the experience. )

Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunnus believes in Bangladesh, too. He formed the Grameen Bank, which gives microcredit loans to people who couldn’t get loans from a traditional bank.

I went with a representative of the Bank to see the program in action.


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Jane Goodall: "You've got to get into somebody's heart"

I heard primatologist Jane Goodall, Champion of the Chimps, on the Diane Rehm show today.  She’s been fighting for our closest primate cousins for decades.  She said something that really resonated with me.

“You’ve got to find a way to get into somebody’s heart. And just shouting at them and telling them they’re doing bad things and blinding them with numbers and statistics…you’ll never get anyone to change.”

She was referring to environmentalists who take more aggressive and political approaches to the issues. Her issue-centered philosophy dominates her work.  A caller asked her about Diane Fossey (the Gorillas in the Mist lady).  As contemporaries, Goodall tried to talk Fossey into reaching out to the Gorilla poachers.  They were doing the awful…

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Happy (craptastic) Labor Day!

What a craptastic day to be a worker. The rest of the world celebrates Labor Day May 1st, but like football and our refusal of the metric system, we like to do things different (If you’re curious why, here’s last year’s Labor Day post).

Unemployment is pushing double digits in the U.S. And here are a few more…

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Fair Fashion

My in-laws match.

Their shorts are different patterns of the same four colors. Their leather sandals are the same shade of brown. Their shirts are His and Her polos.

No one wants to think about their in-laws underwear, but if I was a betting man, I’d bet on theirs matching.

Gloria, my mother-in-law, deserves most of the credit (or blame; it depends on your perspective) for this. Jim, my father-in-law, could care less. Jim and I have this in common and it’s why I have a purple shirt.

I also have a pink shirt, Annie, my wife, says it’s salmon — as if that makes the shirt more manly. Men catch fish while drinking manly beer and floating in manly boats. Fish stink. Men stink. Therefore a color named…

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