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Friday, June 18, 2004

Vacation reading

I always take a big stack of reading with me on vacation and try to catch up on some materials that I should have seen weeks ago.

As an academic, I suppose this means that I should be taking a bunch of journals and reading the key articles -- but I don't.

I did bring Mother Jones, however, and want to point everyone to an hilarious piece by Al Franken in the March/April 2004 issue. Unfortunately, that link merely takes you to the first few paragraphs of the article.

Because this is the internet, however, there are other ways of reading the entire piece.

Some readers probably saw it: "Tearaway Burkas & Tinplate Menorahs," which is about Franken's USO Tour to Iraq and Afghanistan. He toured with his brother, another former SNL writer, some country singers, and a TV actress on a show that neither he nor I watch.

Franken writes with a lot of humor, but the travel diary is great too. Here's my favorite one liner:
So, our traveling troupe of show folk included musicians, composers, an actor, a writer, a comedian, singers, and dancers. My wife said to me before I left, "You don't see Bill O'Reilly doing a USO Tour."

"That's not fair, honey. O'Reilly has no talent."
Cheap, but effective.

Another article worth reading: Joshua Green's piece on campaign opposition research in the June 2004 Atlantic . He writes a great deal about the 2000 election, of course, and discusses how Wesley Clark's people (Chris Lehane) helped take out Howard Dean's candidacy and inadvertently helped make John Kerry the front-runner and candidate.

Mark Fabiani, another former debate (check 1979, which explains why I knew him only by reputation since I was a 1983 graduate), makes a cameo appearance in the article.

Green's story is not funny.

More like stomach turning, but fascinating. Check it out.

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