Anne Lamott



I’m reading April’s favorite author right now, although April doesn’t yet know that her name is Anne Lamott. As far as I know, April has never read anything by Anne Lamott, and neither have I, although I’ve had good intentions. I have, however, listened to a couple of podcast interviews with Anne while walking the park.

So how do I know Anne Lamott will be April’s favorite author? Because I know April. I know she only reads nonfiction, primarily in the sub-genres of self-help and spirituality, and Anne’s three most recent books are collections of essays on faith.

Anne Lamott’s first book in the collection is entitled Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith. It’s on my nightstand, but I haven’t read it yet.


Her follow-up book is Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. This is the one I’m currently reading. Why the second book first? Because the library sent the hardcover of Traveling Mercies and the CD audiobook of Plan B. I finished my last audiobook, and Plan B was next in line.



Anne’s most recent book is Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith. Don’t have it yet.




So back to Anne and April. Anne is the most honest, blunt, self-deprecating, hilarious writer I have ever read. She is a carnival of contrasts. She loves Jesus, but she hates George W. Bush. She is a woman of prayer, but she cusses freely, even dropping the F-bomb in the first chapter of Plan B. She is a Presbyterian, but also a left-wing flaming liberal. A former druggie who founded a Sunday School in her church.

I could go on, but for now, enough said. You see, April is a woman of contrasts as well. She has a sharp tongue that will rip you to shreds when you’re wrong, but she will cry with you when you’re down, and she will be the first person to open her wallet when you’re in need.

April, meet Anne.

Postscript: One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Anne Lamott, although she gives credit to a friend. To read the quote, click here.

Published in: on August 22, 2007 at 6:50 pm  Comments (8)  

Two Great Ladies! Two Women of God! Two Heroes!

I’m busy painting my house, so I can’t write much now, but I wanted everyone who loves Tammy Faye and Dottie Rambo to see the pictures on Dottie’s site before they take them down. I especially love the picture of Dottie praying for Tammy. I believe it was taken at a concert in California not too long ago. I’ll write more about these great ladies and many more of my heroes later on.

Here is the link to Dottie’s site:

And Tammy Faye’s site:

Published in: on August 9, 2007 at 1:45 pm  Comments (1)  

Thanks to Bloggers in the Forum, I Can Embed Video!

I remember thinking when I started my blogs that it would be cool to embed video clips in my posts. The WordPress FAQs are not that helpful for us novice bloggers, so I thought I would research the topic on the WordPress Forum. I immediately found a post by imnotmarah (whose blog has recently been deleted) that gave a simple explanation how to embed YouTube video. As a result, I took my first foray into HTML code. The explanation in the post said it was “very, very easy,” to do, and it WAS!

I was also having some problems with paragraph spacing and text justification on my Hairspray post. So while I was still in HTML mode I took a moment, and by slowly examining the code I was able to figure out how to remedy those issues, too. The result of my work is that I was able to embed the Hairspray trailer in the new post, fix my paragraphing and justification issues, and I went back and added the Sicko trailer to the original post. In the process I lost some of my fear of HTML.

Here’s a shout out to all the WordPress bloggers who take time to share the knowledge they’ve acquired by trial and error with us newbies on the Forum!

Published in: on August 4, 2007 at 12:30 pm  Comments (4)  

Hairspray . . . You Can’t Stop the Beat!


I went to see Hairspray all by myself this week. April didn’t think she would like it. Her loss! She missed a great movie and a chance to spend some quality time with her favorite cousin.

I’m not a dancer, but it was hard to keep my feet still. The music was so catchy with an infectious upbeat rhythm. Love that 60s sound! Since Hairspray was non-stop fun, there probably won’t be any heavy discussions on this movie like there was with Sicko. Not to say that there was no controversy in the film, there was, but it was part of the story. With its civil rights theme, the movie would have been very controversial in 1962.

Before Hairspray was a movie it was a musical on Broadway . . . .

And before Hairspray was on Broadway it was another movie. Now that movie is a DVD. You can get it for $8.88 with free shipping at I’ve already seen it, but I just ordered my own copy, and no I’m not getting a kickback. I just love great prices and free shipping.

Note of Interest: Ricki Lake played Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 movie, and she makes a cameo as a talent agent in the new movie.

. . . ‘Cause you can’t stop
The motion of the ocean
Or the rain from above
They can try to stop ths paradise
We’re dreaming of
But you cannot stop the rhythm
Of two hearts in love to stay
You can’t stop the beat!

Published in: on August 3, 2007 at 11:15 pm  Comments (2) Correction

Thanks to the kindness and advice of a gentle, more experienced blogger, it is no longer necessary to navigate through the Nathan’s Uncle blog to locate a link to my favorite books. The link to my favorite books cataloged at can now be found in my blogroll listed in the sidebar, or you can just click here.

Published in: on August 2, 2007 at 11:07 pm  Leave a Comment

I recently found an amazing site called LibraryThing. com. It is a comprehensive site with many features related to books. Although it is possible to catalog your complete library, I plan to catalog just my favorite books. At the moment I only have a few titles listed, but I plan to work on it over the next few days to make the list more inclusive.

I had planned to link to my account through a sidebar widget on this site, then I discovered, after choosing WordPress as the host for this site, that it does not allow live links using JavaScript. Fortunately,, where my Nathan’s Uncle blog is hosted, does allow JavaScript links. I guess isn’t as computer savvy as WordPress. (Yes, you do detect a note of sarcasm in my voice.) So for now you will have to go in the back door to access my library.

To access Howard’s favorite books listed at, click my Nathan’s Uncle blog link and skim down to the My Library heading. Click on the “my library” link to access my catalog. If you click on any of the book covers it will take you to an Amazon page.

Published in: on August 2, 2007 at 3:51 pm  Comments (5)  

April, Doyle, SICKO & the Healthcare Crisis

Sicko Poster

I hadn’t planned to start this blog with a discussion on a major issue. I was thinking more along the lines of listing my favorite books, CDs, and DVDs or starting a discussion on my current reads. But my cousin April forwarded me this conversation she had with our cousin Doyle after she saw Michael Moore’s SICKO. It was too good to pass up, so we’ll get to the light stuff later.

April and Doyle are the two cousins I am closest to on my mother’s side of the family. Along with my sister Carla we form a tight foursome. I guess it’s only natural. The four of us are offspring of Evelyn, Mary Lou, and Sharon, the three youngest daughters of Emory and Ellie Hinson. If you attend a Hinson family reunion, chances are you will see the four of us huddled together around a table having a whispered conversation punctuated with outbursts of laughter rather than socializing with extended family members we haven’t seen in years. It’s not that we are avoiding anyone, it’s just that we enjoy each others’ company the most.

April is the funniest person I know. She can make me laugh like no one else. When it comes to strong opinions, she’s got me beat. She hates injustice and duplicity. She has no tolerance for people who claim to be one thing, yet whose actions demonstrate another. She is the unofficial family attorney. Don’t mess with any of our relations, including the one’s who aren’t her favorites, or you will tangle with a copperhead. April is the kind of person who will rip you up one side and down the other about something inconsiderate you did, then empty her purse when she hears you’re having a tough time financially.

Doyle is one of the kindest people I know. As a child he was shy, often a loner, and we were worried about him. All that has changed. Doyle has accomplished so much in his life. After getting his education, he worked as a city planner in Tampa and Orange County, Florida. Now he works in the private sector as a planning resource manager in Orlando. Over the years I have watched Doyle traverse the political spectrum from conservative to liberal. Doyle is as opinionated as April and I are, but he’s soft-spoken and much nicer about it. And one more thing . . . Doyle loves Dolly!

I give you April and Doyle . . .

From: April
Sent: July 23, 2007
To: Doyle
Subject: Sicko

just saw sicko. Im sad even more now. Did you see it? whats even sadder is that most of our family would not go see it at ALL, yet will make judgements on the fear they are continuing to gobble up!

From: Doyle
Sent: July 25, 2007
To: April
Subject: Re: Sicko

Yes I saw it.……From what I hear things in Canada aren’t quite that rosy (meaning that they do have to wait awhile before seeing a doctor), but at least no one there has to worry about not getting any treatment when needed. It’s pretty sad that the most wealthy country in the world can’t provide this basic services to all its citizens. I’m mean, we all have access to free public education (k-12) so our forefathers saw the benefit of that! What’s the difference?

Unfortunately, we’re now in a trap where the big pharmaceutical companies are afraid that a national health care system will infringe on their profits. Those companies have BIG BUCKS to lobby our legislators to defeat any attempt at changing their current system. Plus as long as the conservative right (republicans and many southern democrats) are too afraid to raise taxes to pay for such a thing, chances are slim that it’ll ever change.

Most of the Democratic Presidential candidates favor a national health care system and in fact, some have a plan. But when and if they get in office it will be very difficult to get passed. Remember, the Bill Clinton tried to implement a national health care system in his 1 st term (with Hillary the point person). That went absolutely nowhere, because everyone thought it would cost too much (higher taxes). At some point this Country has got to understand that it’s a cost we have to pay! To me this is an ethical question, not a political question. Love you, Doyle

From: April
Sent: July 30, 2007
To: Doyle
Subject: Re: Sicko

I got my family’s point of view on the whole heath care thing. I assumed it was solely based on fear. Its more than that really. They think health care is a privilege, that you work hard and you receive. Not for them to work hard and pay for those who are lazy and live off “the system”. It angers them that they should work soo hard to pay for others. I kinda get their point ? but still.

From: Doyle
Sent: July 30, 2007
To: April
Subject: Re: Sicko

April: You’re really stirring up my Democratic juices!!!!

What they’re forgetting is that millions of Americans are unfortunately born into a “lifestyle sand trap” that makes it almost impossible for them to escape. For example, those who are born into a stable situation (both socially and financially) have a HUGE advantage over those who aren’t. If you’re lucky and blessed enough to grow up in an environment that fosters success – health care may not be something you have to worry about. But if you’re one of the millions of Americans who are born into a poor and unstable family environment, the likelihood of success in life is much lower.

For example. Let’s take me vs. my old neighbors Sissy, Willie, Boo, Cootsie, Delbert and David.

I grew up in a middle-income American Family where my parents had both a quality education and jobs, and provided a good environment for me to grow up in. I was able to go to College (with much of that paid for by my parents) while still living at home.

Now let’s compare to Sissy, Willie, Boo, Cootsie, Delbert and David. They grew up in shacks with out-houses and no air-conditioning. Their father’s were either drunks or completely out of the picture. Their mothers struggled to put food on the table by picking strawberries and vegetables. If they were able to finish High School, what were the chances they could go to College? I’m willing to guess that most of them never finished H.S. and were probably having babies of their own by age 18. Need I say more?

Who’s more likely to have a good job with health insurance today, me or them? Don’t you think they wanted to make a better life for themselves OR did they purposely choose those circumstances? In terms of working hard, I’d be willing to guess that if you could find Sissy, Willie, Boo, Cootsie, Delbert and David today, you may find that they’re working their butts off to make about $25,000 a year (if that). Sadly, however, it’s more likely that they’re either drunk, wasted, or even dead! They’ve probably contracted more diseases than we can imagine and have about 5 kids each.

Am I going to kick them while they’re down and say that it’s their own fault they’re in that situation? Am I going to argue that they had a choice in life and chose to be lazy so that they could live off “the system” that you and I pay for? No! All I can do is thank God that I came from a privileged family and hope that I never have to worry about those things.

But let’s no be as naïve to think that everyone without Health Care grew up in poor families. What about those Americans who at one time had good jobs and health care, but suddenly found themselves without a job and debt up to their eye-balls? Sure they could take a job at McDonalds or Walmart just to get insurance, but before too long they’d have to sell their home and car, start taking the bus to work and completely change the lifestyle that they were accustomed to. If I were them, I’d probably go without health insurance until I landed the job that I was qualified for and that paid the bills. The problem is that many Americans don’t have that luxury because they’re already on expensive medications for high cholesterol, diabetes, HIV, etc. As pre-existing conditions, these health issues may not even be covered by their new McDonald’s or Walmart Insurance.

This should not be a “Political Issue” but instead an “Ethical Issue.” Did Jesus tell Mary Magdalene to “get a real job” or did he reach out with love and compassion? What would Jesus do today? Would Jesus tell Countries like Canada, Germany, England, France and Cuba to stop providing free health care to the poor and kick-em out to the street until they got their act together? Personally I’m not in a situation to judge those without health insurance. Sure, there are lazy, good-for-nothing, idiots like “[EDITED]” out there who will always have their hand out begging for assistance – and worse yet, expect it! But I’m out there fighting for everyone. If that means that the [EDITED] of the world benefit – so be it. I personally have no issue whatsoever, paying the price for every American’s right to quality and affordable health care. We do it for education, and that’s probably less important.

I pray that God never lets a feeling of superiority slip into my mind – and if so, may I find myself sleeping under a bridge eating out of a trash can.

Would love to hear your thoughts and feel free to share mine with anyone else. Love, Doyle

From: April
Sent: July 30, 2007
To: Doyle
Subject: Re: Sicko

beautifully put. you put in words what I seem to not get out to my family. I feel alone & extremely misunderstood with them. I need therapy for them, though they are really the ones that need therapy.

PLUS, i think because they were raised soo poor they feel they worked out of poverty and the Sissy, Boo & Cootsie ‘s have the same opportunities that they have or had.

From: Doyle
Sent: July 30, 2007
To: April
Subject: Re: Sicko

April: The Hinson’s and other Durant Families are some of the exceptions. Yes they were poor, but I don’t think realized it. Which remind me of Dolly’s lyrics in “Coat of Many Colors”…….

….”My coat of many colors that my momma made for me;
Made only from rags, but I wore it so proudly;
Although we had no money, I was rich as I could be;
In my coat of many colors, my momma made for me….”

See, that’s the difference between today’s poor and yesterday’s poor. There’s a much bigger gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” in today’s world. When our parents grew up, they didn’t stick out as “different” because everyone was in the same boat. Who did our parents go to school with? Were they bused to Tampa were people had more money? No. They went to Strawberry Schools with other poor kids.

A child living in a poor environment today is reminded constantly of their plight. Everyday, whether it’s at school or on TV, a child from a low-income family is reminded of their situation. How discouraging and depressing that must be. Are these children seriously given the same opportunities for a better life than their more wealthy school friends? I think not.

April, hang in there. Always remember that I understand you – Don’t give up fighting for your convictions – regardless of who that fight’s against. Love, Doyle. P.S. God Bless Dolly!

From: April
Sent: July 30, 2007
To: Doyle
Subject: Re: Sicko

lol, u are so funny, when are you going to run for office?

Published in: on August 1, 2007 at 1:14 pm  Comments (2)  

It Had to Happen


Who knew blogging was so infections?

I started my first blog, Nathan’s Uncle, just last month, and here I am already starting another. I knew from the start that I wanted to discuss books, music, and movies, as well as take the occasional foray into conversations about, dare I say it, politics and religion. I thought I would integrate those posts with the other mundane postings about work, family, my travels, and of course my amazing nephew. Now I see the need to separate the common from the creative and the need for a new forum dedicated to conversations on topics raised in my favorite media.

So here goes . . . .

I am crazy about books, music, and movies. Like most, I love being entertained with a great story whether it be told, read, or performed. But even more than being entertained, I want a work of art to move me to laughter, to tears, or amazement. I also want to LEARN and for my thoughts, opinions, points-of-view, beliefs, and core values to be challenged, altered, even transformed by the truth however it may be revealed.

I invite my friends and readers to join in the dialogue.

For most of my life I have been opinionated, even narrow-minded, due I’m sure to my conservative raising and a vexing personality flaw. Ask anyone who knows me. I admit it. I don’t want to be that way anymore. I am on a personal mission to be more open, understanding, and accepting of the truth as others see it.

I’ve also been outspoken, freely offering my opinions whether anyone wanted to hear them or not. That’s a personality trait that I hope never to change, other than by learning to present my views with more tact and diplomacy. I know. It’s a growth process. We live and we learn.

So, I invite you to freely agree or disagree with my points of view as presented in this forum. Friendly repartee and general banter is welcomed, as is as serious discussion of sensitive, delicate, even controversial topics. I’m sure I’m opening a can of worms, but who knows? Perhaps your or my words may open the eyes of someone else.

Published in: on August 1, 2007 at 12:42 am  Leave a Comment