Celebrating Books

Yesterday I made my annual pilgrimage to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. This is the third time I’ve gone and I look forward to it every year. Warwick’s Books charters two buses and I did that again. It’s nice not having to drive up and back to LA but it can also be a little limiting: we arrived 5 minutes before the first panel I went to and the woman next to me on the bus had to leave her last session early to catch the bus. On the other hand, the price of the trip includes a swag bag and they bring local authors who lecture on the ride.

It’s held on the campus of UCLA; far and away the best part of the festival is just being on campus with so many people interested in books and publishing. The rest is gravy. Tommy Lasorda, longtime manager of the Los Angels Dodgers was there promoting his book I Live For This! Baseball’s Last True Believer. He’s a great storyteller and I was grateful to be there.

Part of the fun also is seeing the booths of all the different publishing houses and bookstores. They say it’s difficult to get a book published these days but given all the publishing houses that seems strange. So if you’re looking for Theosophical University Press or want to talk with someone from the Ayn Rand Institute this is your place.

One blemish this year is that I’ve noticed a number of people handing out leaflets for activities not related to books. The Jews for Jesus people were there handing out leaflets along with other Christian Churches. Obviously they have a right to be there and I’m not opposed to churches giving out information, but they were on public walkways and sometimes obstructed traffic. There was also a guy screaming about how people need to embrace atheism, especially in the African American Community, since religion is meant to keep people oppressed. Did I mention that he is as white as I am? Then again, UCLA is a public place and I’m not sure there’s anything anyone can do.

Bottom line: sign me up for next year.

They Are Not Making This Easy For Me (but that's OK)

On the left side of this blog I’ve tried to keep track of two things: (1) Who is running for President and (2) How many delegates are committed in the Democrat’s race. John McCain has already wrapped up the Republican nomination and the other parties don’t have the primaries.

In terms of who is running, that is getting a little complicated. I periodically try to click on the links to make sure all the candidates are still running. Especially with the independent candidates I get the feeling there isn’t much going on. The pages don’t seem to be updated much but no pages have gone down and nobody has announced pulling out of the race. The one change is that there does seem to be some party hopping. Mike Gravel began the race as a Democrat but has switched to the Libertarian party. On the other side of the aisle, Alan Keyes has announced that he has left the Republican Party but I’m not sure where he is going. Since he is still running for President I’ll keep him with the Republicans until he announces where he is going. Also, Bob Barr has announced that he is thinking of running as a Libertarian but hasn’t decided. I’ll include him if/when he decides to run.

The delegate race is the same mess it’s been all along. I’ve removed the delegate count for the Republicans since there’s no longer a race. Almost every news outlet counts superdelegates who have committed to a candidate; I haven’t since they don’t need to commit until the convention and can change their minds.

It’s not the easiest thing in the world to keep up with this, but I have to confess that I’m loving it. Frankly, it’s democracy in action and I think the Founding Fathers (and Mothers) would be pleased to see it.