Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

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‘The Open Road’ and 30 Years With the Dalai Lama

While not a work of travel literature in a strict sense, Iyer nevertheless infuses the story of the quiet, compassionate Buddhist monk with vivid descriptions of the many places he takes his message of peace and understanding, particularly his headquarters-in-exile, in Dharamsala, India.

In Iyer’s first interview about the work, I talked with him by phone Monday from Santa Barbara, where he lives three months out of the year….

World Hum | Travel Interview | Pico Iyer: On ‘The Open Road’ and 30 Years With the Dalai Lama

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For Clarke, Issues of Faith, but Tackled Scientifically

Whatever attitude comes through — and it is almost always fraught with ambiguity — religion suffuses Mr. Clarke’s realm. He demands the canvas of Genesis and upon it he enacts experiments in thought. All science fiction does this to a certain extent, trying to imagine alternative universes in which one factor or another is slightly different. What if carbon were not the fundamental element in life forms? What if a society existed that never experienced nighttime?

Mr. Clarke’s enterprise, though, is at the edges of the frame: trying to examine the moments when things come to be and when they come to an end….

An Appraisal of Arthur C. Clarke – Books – New York Times

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Flying Off the Shelves

In my eight years working at an independent bookstore, I lost count of how many shoplifters I chased through the streets of Seattle while shouting “Drop the book!” I chased them down crowded pedestrian plazas in the afternoon, I chased them through alleys at night, I even chased one into a train tunnel. I chased a book thief to the waterfront, where he shouted, “Here are your fucking books!” and threw a half-dozen paperbacks, including Bomb the Suburbs and A People’s History of the United States, into Puget Sound, preferring to watch them slowly sink into the muck rather than hand them back to the bookseller they were stolen from. He had that ferocious, orgasmic gleam in his eye of somebody who was living in the climax of his own movie: I suppose he felt like he was liberating them somehow.

Flying Off the Shelves – Books – The Stranger, Seattle’s Only Newspaper

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Harry Potter And The $4 Million Book

How well is Amazon doing? Well enough to spend millions on a publicity stunt: Yesterday the company paid $3.98 million for a single copy of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard,” written by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

OK.  Let’s see a Christian author do the same thing — and donate all the proceeds to charity.  Hmmmm….?

Harry Potter And The $4 Million Book (AMZN) – Silicon Alley Insider

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The high cost of living ‘A Free Life’

When he flies to Beijing after winning a grocery-store raffle, Nan recalls his first flight to the States, during which confused new travelers like himself carefully wiped and saved their plastic tableware from their meals, unable to imagine that such valuable utensils could possibly be disposable. “They had no idea what kind of plentitude and waste they were going to encounter in this new land.”

The high cost of living ‘A Free Life’ |

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Burnout on the God beat

Covering religion may be harmful to your faith. Two leading religion journalists — one in Britain, one in the United States — have quit the beat in recent months, saying they had acquired such a close look at such scandalous behaviour by Christians that they lost their faith and had to leave.

Pertinent quote: Bates, who says he still regards himself as a Catholic, said he was turned off by the intolerance he saw towards gays and the self-righteousness of Christians who “pick and choose the sins that are acceptable and condemn those – always committed by other, lesser people – that are not.”

Burnout on the God beat – second top religion writer calls it quits – FaithWorld

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Writing Tips

These ideas are not mine. They are the rules I try to live up to when I write, with varied success. I have E. B. White and my freshman English prof at the University of Kentucky, Dr. George Cutler, to thank for them. Do with them as you will.

1. Avoid expressing things in ways that distract the reader from the writing. Try to keep your ego out of the way. If you have something worth saying, your material will take care of itself. Remember that you are initiating a dance with the reader, who is just as important to the performance as you. Strive for clarity. Make the reader comfortable. Continue reading

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Greenspan attacks Bush over tax cuts and high spending

Alan Greenspan, the former head of the US Federal Reserve, has issued a withering attack on President Bush’s handling of the American economy.

The man credited with guiding the US through two decades of economic boom says Bush and his inner circle put their political priorities ahead of the economic good of the country.

Denouncing the tax cuts brought in by Bush, Greenspan says in his memoirs, which we serialise in The Daily Telegraph this week, that the Republicans deserved to lose the last Congressional elections in November because they abandoned fiscal discipline and hugely swelled the US budget deficit.

But Greenspan, 81 – a lifelong Republican who served six presidents as an adviser and as Fed chairman from 1987 to 2006 – writes in The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World: “Little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences.”

Greenspan attacks Bush over tax cuts and high spending – Telegraph


Harry Potter and the Unbidden Opinions

TalkAbout Topic: Harry Potter and the Unbidden Opinions

All right, I’ll confess. I get a kick out of Harry Potter. I haven’t read every book, but I’ve enjoyed those I have read, and the Harry Potter films I’ve seen, and I hope to catch up sometime. I reserved my copy of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” early and got about 200 pages into it over the weekend. Still going, and I hope no one spoils the ending for me.

I admire J.K. Rowling….

I’ve often wondered how many of Potter’s detractors and hell-and-damnation critics have actually read any of the books.  I, too, spent last weekend reading the last book, and found it literate, well-crafted, and remarkably subtle, given the issues it had to deal with.  Go Jo!

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Shrum and Dumber: The Memoirs of a Political Consultant Who Knew How to Lose

AlterNet: Shrum and Dumber: The Memoirs of a Political Consultant Who Knew How to Lose

A lifetime working at the highest levels of political hackdom, and he’s reached essentially no conclusions on any subject of interest — or, if he has reached any, he seems disinclined to share them. Instead of a book making some point about the world, he’s written what is, in effect, Shrum’s last campaign — a race to save his much-tattered reputation as a perennial loser, a man who’s lost more presidential campaigns than anyone else alive.

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‘Harry Potter’ and the Gospel of J.K. Rowling

By Jeff Diamant

Religion News Service

Saturday, June 30, 2007; Page B09

I had never read a “Harry Potter” book until three months ago, when a hopeful editor buttonholed me with a plea: Would I, a religion reporter, write about religious imagery in
the series?

We reporters don’t freely turn down editors’ assignments, so a force-feeding of all six books ensued. After 3,362 pages and 12 weeks of very late nights, I can say I liked the series. I
get the hype.

I even understand the intrigue that’s leading real people to bet real dollars on the ending — specifically, on whether the young wizard Harry lives or dies in the last volume, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which comes out July 21.

It’s true, Agence France-Presse has reported: Gamblers wealthy or odd enough to wager on
fiction have put down money with bookies. The prevailing bet? Potter to die.

His death will be a noble one, it is prophesied in the blogs, a death both sacrificial and necessary to save the world from the satanic Lord Voldemort. I agree with this line. I also expect Harry’s death to show that his character’s path is modeled on the Gospel accounts of Jesus, and, more significantly, that the link between him and wizardry-school headmaster
Albus Dumbledore is patterned on the most essential relationship in the Christian Bible — that between Jesus the Son and God the Father.