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Cleaning Up the Idea Files:
Part II

more dumb ideas and other stuff

going somewhere?

Precautions to take when you travel (from Conde Nast Traveler, 5/01) 
This is good stuff:
-Don't advertise that you're an American (right, try to sound French or German...)
-Consider hiring a driver/guide (in other words, travel with lots of money!)
-Listen to the English-language radio station (even though you are passing for Italian.)
Avoid rallies and demonstrations (I know this is difficult but...)
-Nix the fancy camera (just buy postcards. They turn out better anyhow)

A slew of sort of uninteresting photos of old lion statues. I will eventually get around to publishing them, but so far they don't work together as an update.

Here are some friendly reminders from Audubon (from Dec '99)
1. Save the endangered species in your own backyard
2. Garden for wildlife: plant native species, build birdhouses.
3. Stop invaders -- a tip for gardeners, not UFOs
4. Keep it common: don't buy exotic pets or products made from endangers species (faux everything)
5. Eat good veggies... for example, shop at Whole Foods
6. Get out of the sun: buy shade-grown coffee, spend more time in the casino
7. Don't be fishy: check out the Audubon fish guide before ordering restaurant fish
8. Get political: support green legislation
9. Pay your tax: if your state offers the option of contributing money to protect the environment, do it.
10. Toot your horn: keep talking about what you are doing to help save the planet!

Continuing that list of 100 novels you must read (remember, it's an alpha list), according to the reference book called Stuff you should have Learned at School:

11. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (this is definitely a must read)
12. Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara (Samarra is in Iraq, not sure you want to keep it)
13. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (depressing title, non?)
14. A Bend in the River by V. S Naipaul (not to be confused with the Jimmy Stewart movie)
15. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (written ages ago, but still relevant)
16. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (WWII, again)
17. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky (difficult)
18. The Call of the Wild by Jack London (I loved reading this book when I was about 12)
19. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (inane and frustrating, but still relevant)
20. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (teenage angst)

At the top of the file: I received an intro chapter to a mystery story, one of those sort of round robin stories where different writers take a stab at writing each ensuing chapter. I'm not sure I'm up to editing that project, but it is an intriguing idea.

Notes on weird topics:
A postcard featuring Norwegian Medical Terminology (examples: artery=the study of paintings, barium, what you do when CPR fails...)
A Love note that I found in a used book, it was a nature book. Wonder why the recipient left it there?
An article explaining how to write a "no news" essay. (I think I already know how to do that.)
A list of phobias (did you know that chionophobia is fear of snow?)
Two small poetry books that my daughter wrote when she was about 10 years old.
A list of invasive plants
A recipe for papaya pie
A newspaper article about what is added to wine, besides grapes!
A collection of Yahoo maps showing the Indian casinos that are close to the CA Bay Area
An Audubon picture of an Egret (did you know that Audubon painted his birds from dead carcasses?)
A greeting card that I sent to a friend in France that was returned to me.
Some info on Lewis and Clark, for their 200 year anniversary. I missed that deadline.

Let's finish our National Geographic 50 favorite places to visit:
Paradise found:
Italy's Amalfi coast
Boundary Waters in Minnesota (Huh? What's Minnesota doing in Paradise?)
British Virgin Islands
Greek Islands
Hawaiian Islands
Japanese Ryokan inns
Kerala in India
Pacific Islands
Seychelles in the Indian Ocean
Torres del Paine park, Chile

Country Unbound
The Alps
Big Sur
Canadian Maritime provinces
Coastal Norway
Danang to Hue in Vietnam
England's Lake District
Loire Valley, France
North Island, New Zealand

World Wonders (there used to be 7, but now there are are 10 on this list, due to inflation.)
Acropolis in Athens
The Great Wall in China
Machu Picchu in Peru
Mesa Verde in Colorado
Petra in Jordan 
The Pyramids
Taj Mahal
Vatican City

The idea file is much thinner now. Just the really sketchy stuff is left for another issue, or maybe a fully fleshed-out article. Stay tuned.

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