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I Wrote a Book

So I should probably let you know that I wrote a book. Two, in fact. Here they are:

Joseph Cover                       Jacob Cover

Here’s how it happened: sometime in the fall of 2007 (I think), I was looking for freelance writing jobs online. Happened across an ad for someone to write biographies of biblical figures. Figured I could do that — turns out, they agreed, and the books were published a couple of months ago.

The two books are part of a series called “Money at Its Best: Millionaires of the Old Testament.” They’re done by an educational publishing company in Pennsylvania called Mason Crest Publishers.  Here’s what their website says about the series:

The purpose of the series Money at its Best: Millionaires of the Bible is to examine the lives of key figures from Biblical history, showing how these people blended their faith in God with their wealth or privileged positions in order to make a difference in the lives of others. Each book in this series weaves stories from the Bible with legends (for) a plausible account of the subject’s life. These portraits are fleshed out by 35 to 60 full-color illustrations, including pictures of or folk tales, other scriptural sources, and modern archaeological research to create artifacts and paintings of religious scenes from Rembrandt, Michaelangelo, and other great artists. Each book includes resources for further study, as well as a detailed index.

The complete series includes 12 books — other figures include Abraham and Sarah, Daniel, David, Esther, Job, Moses, Noah, Sampson and Solomon. They’re aimed at middle school-level readers and higher.

Each book took two or three months to write. Lots of research, lots of late nights, lots of patience from my wife. Learned a ton. Loved being immersed in the lives of God’s chosen people, who weren’t all they were cracked up to be — just like us. Stumbled upon a cool name for my blog (the story can come later). Loved doing it, can’t wait to do it again.

The publishers did a great job making the books look good. Lots of cool design and graphics.

So there ya go. A couple of books with my name on them. Who’d a thunk it? Not that I have any particular ability on my own — as the song says, “Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song.”

If you want to see them on a real website to make sure I’m not just pulling your leg, check here and here. They’re also on Amazon — here and here. There’s no danger of them cracking the best seller list. Jacob has no ranking, while Joseph is rocketing up Amazon’s list at #8,059,841.

–End of self-promotion. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.–


How to Make Golf Exciting

Since the U.S. Open is in a rain delay, here’s how to make it more exciting on television: put basketball announcers in the broadcast booth. You gotta go watch this — it’s hilarious (sorry, can’t get the embed to work):

How to Make Golf Exciting

Pulitzer Prizes

From today’s Writer’s Almanac:

It was on this day in 1917 that the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded. Here are some things you might not have known about Pulitzer Prizes:

  1. They’re announced each year in April and then awarded at Columbia University in May, during a luncheon at the campus library.
  2. Each Pulitzer Prize winner receives a $10,000 award and a certificate, except in the Public Service category, where the winner is given a gold medal. Only a newspaper, not an individual, can receive the Public Service prize for journalism.
  3. There are 21 Pulitzer categories. Two-thirds of the prizes (14) revolve around journalism. There are six for letters and drama (fiction, drama, history, biography, poetry, and general nonfiction), and there is one prize given for music.
  4. The Pulitzer Prize for fiction used to be called the Pulitzer Prize for the novel. The name was changed in 1948.
  5. Poet Robert Frost won the Pulitzer Prize four times. Playwright Eugene O’Neill also won four Pulitzer Prizes.
  6. The Pulitzer Prize is a very American award. Only U.S. citizens are eligible for the non-journalism Prizes. The exception to this is in the history category: a non-American can win the Pulitzer Prize if he or she wrote a book about the history of the United States. Foreign journalists can win Pulitzers if they write for a newspaper published in the United States.
  7. The New York Times holds the all-time record for number of Pulitzer Prizes received. The paper has collectively won 101 Pulitzers.
  8. Newspapers generally nominate themselves for Pulitzer Prizes. The fee for each entry is $50, and the material that the newspaper wants the prize board to consider must be accompanied by an entry form. An entry has to fit into one of the 21 categories; it can’t be submitted on the grounds that it is just generally good. To be eligible, a paper must be published in the U.S. at least weekly.
  9. In 2009, for the first time, online-only news organizations were eligible for the Pulitzer. Before, it was restricted to print publications.
  10. Decisions about prize winners are made by the Pulitzer board in secret. Afterward, the board does not publicly discuss or defend its decisions.

Sowell on Sotamayor

Thomas Sowell has been writing about the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. He has an incisive way of cutting through the clutter and media spin and making you think about the heart of the issues. A couple of quotes:

It is one of the signs of our times that so many in the media are focusing on the life story of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States.

You might think that this was some kind of popularity contest, instead of a weighty decision about someone whose impact on the fundamental law of the nation will extend for decades after Barack Obama has come and gone.

Much is being made of the fact that Sonia Sotomayor had to struggle to rise in the world. But stop and think.

If you were going to have open heart surgery, would you want to be operated on by a surgeon who was chosen because he had to struggle to get where he is or by the best surgeon you could find– even if he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and had every advantage that money and social position could offer?

And this:

The clever people in the media and elsewhere are saying that “inevitably” one’s background influences how one feels about issues. Even if that were true, judges are not supposed to decide cases based on their personal feelings.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that he “loathed” many of the people in whose favor he voted on the Supreme Court. Obviously, he had feelings. But he also had the good sense and integrity to rule on the basis of the law, not his feelings.

Laws are made for the benefit of the citizens, not for the self-indulgences of judges. Making excuses for such self-indulgences and calling them “inevitable” is part of the cleverness that has eroded the rule of law and undermined respect for the law …

It would be considered a disgrace if an umpire in a baseball game let his “empathy” determine whether a pitch was called a ball or strike. Surely we should accept nothing less from a judge.

You can read all of his columns here. Highly recommended.