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Here's a Petley postcard that's been in my "Idea" file since
my last trip to New Mexico!

Cleaning out the Idea File!
Part 1
by the editor...

Clevermag has been in business since August of 1998. Amazing, right? So what, you ask. Well, for the last eight years I've kept a file on my desk labeled "IDEAS" (actually two of them) filled with notes, pictures, bits of magazine articles, and all sorts of accumulated junk that I thought at some point might become an interesting article. 

Don't you think it's about time to sort through those files? I do. So starting with this issue, we're going to go through those files together and decide what is worth keeping and what we should throw out once and for all.

First up: A page from a book. The book is Stuff You should have learned at school. The page I tore out is titled, "One Hundred Must-Read Novels". Are you interested? Of course what I did was go thru the list and count how many I had read (or started to read and then thru against the wall). (I've read more than half the list, if you really must know.) The list is alphabetical, which is nifty and rather scholarly -- don't you think? -- because alpha listings are less competitive, we have no idea which book is actually the most important book you should read.

Anyhow, below are the first ten books on that list.
1. 1984 by George Orwell (he makes it to the top because the title is numbers! Atta boy, George.)
2. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner (I've tried to read many Faulkners, but alas...they are unappealing to me.)
3. The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (I just started my Bellow years. Perhaps I'll try this one soon.)
4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (I never read it!)
5. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
6. The Alexandra Quartet by Lawrence Durrel
7. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
8. The Ambassadors by Henry James (I just started reading James. He's sort of windy.)
9. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
10. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
(To be continued)

I realized in looking thru this file that I have lots of papers referring to books. We'll paper-clip them all together and put them aside for awhile. You might not like reading quite as much as I do.

Second: a pamphlet entitled You, Starbucks and Nutrition. Look for this the next time you're in Starbucks. It gives you more information than you ever wanted to know about what you're drinking. They have built a huge chart of: calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbos, dietary fiber, sugars, protein, vitamins A & C, calcium and iron -- for every drink! Hint: for the extreme dieters, get a cup of plain decaf coffee, it's very good. Add non-fat milk and sugar substitute. You've got a delicious drink, low in price, and low in everything else that's bad for you too!

Third: a photocopied article entitled "National Geographic picks 50 favorite places". It's a list. I went to the internet and tried to find this list but of course, there's no list, just a bunch of advertising. They don't want you to just look at the list, they want to sell you a vacation. Fear not. We'll look at the list together, but not the whole thing at one time. That might be too overwhelming for you.

We'll start with Urban spaces:
Hong Kong
New York
Rio de Janeiro
San Francisco

and Wild spaces:
Amazon forest
Australian Outback
Canadian Rockies
Coral reefs, Papua New Guinea
Galapagos Islands
Grand Canyon
Sahara desert
Serengeti plain
Venezuela's Tepuis highlands

(My copy belonged to somebody else first. She checked off the places she had already seen. Get this: she has been to nearly every place already. She must be old. You've heard of that book called 1,000 Places to see before you die. Once you've checked off all those places, you can check out.)

Fourth: an article from USA Today (Friday, May 26, 2006) entitled: "Best drives on the big roads". They divided the USA into 5 geographical locations and then chose one 50-mile drive within each location that they thought was really nifty! Here are their choices:

Northwest, Alaska's Seward Highway (I've been there. It's a lovely drive!)
Southwest, Route 66 in New Mexico (done that too, ya gotta love the desert to like this one!)
Southeast, Louisiana historic Cajun country (Hmm. Wonder what it looks like post Katrina?)
Northeast, New Hampshire's bucolic appeal (Whatever that means.)
Midwest, Badlands and missiles in South Dakota (The army chooses the weirdest places to set up shop.) 

Fifth: some quick rules for opening bids on Bridge hands. Did you know that over the past 30 years the rules have been changing while we weren't paying attention? Here are the rules according to my friend Carol, who knows a thing or two about bridge:

Preferred opening is always a five-card major.
Second is "No trump" if you have at least 15 points and a balanced hand.
Third is a "convenient minor". (You must be very careful opening 1 club, it could be a signal rather than a suit.
Weak twos (that means opening at 2 instead of 1, gulp), you need only 6 to 10 points and a six-card suit with 2 or 3 honors! This is the new "deal" and is sort of fun if your partner knows what you're up to.

Here's a list of pure junk that I'm going to throw out:
A receipt and an empty bag from the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park for postcards
A real estate brochure from 2001 for a small house in Pacific Grove, 750 square feet, selling for over $400K then. It's probably worth even more today.
A memo on how to convert Celsius temperatures to Fahrenheit temps.
An article from Travel & Leisure Magazine from 2001 explaining what to do with digital pictures!
A letter dated August 18, 2001, from Air France apologizing for opening my luggage and searching it. I had complained to them about cutting off my luggage locks and rummaging through my personal stuff. (That was less than a month BEFORE 9-11. Well, maybe I'll save that letter for laughs.)
An article dated 1972 from the LA Times Home Magazine explaining how to grow begonias in glass jars. I haven't gotten around to trying it yet. I know you're dying to know how it will work. Well, maybe not.

        (Toss, toss, toss -- shred, shred shred...)


Last but not least,
I found one of those refrigerator magnets from the animalsasia.org in my idea file. They sent it to me after I made a small donation to their organization. The magnet features a rescued Moon bear rehabilitating peacefully in the rescue center that has been set up by Jill Robinson. She deserves so much praise for her courageous endeavor to save these bears. She is also beginning work on changing Chinese culture with regard to killing dogs and cats. Chinese people continue to slaughter dogs and cats for food every day. They do it because of the perpetual myth that dog meat has medicinal properties. This is difficult work but she is beginning to make strides. If you want more info about Jill's work, go to the animalsasia.org website.

That's it for this issue.

Here's part 2!

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