Monday, October 08, 2007

Passage Party

Last night I attended Tim's 16th annual Passage Party and, as always, it was enjoyable and enlightening.

What is a Passage Party? The basic format is that guests read a 10 minute passage from a book, article, poem or other literary work. It is completely freeform although graphic violence, sex, political and religious propaganda are encouraged. No kids are permitted but children's books have been read from. There's about three hours of this, an hour to eat a pot-luck dinner, then another three hour of readings. Then, there is several hours of conversation and finishing up the food.

Many times, there are passages read that prompt me to go out and obtain said book to read the rest. Most of the selections I have chosen to read from have been humerus stories (to reference a Mark Twain passage on the subject that was read last night) though some have not been intended as such. Last night, there was time for me to get in two passages.

"The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. Chapter 6: The Roots of Morality, wherein Dawkins describes a statistical study of Harvard biologist Marc Hauser. Participants were asked their response to a number of moral dilemmas and the results between religious people and atheists found no difference in response. The conclusion being that faith does not make us good or bad.

"Critical Mass: Bicycling's Defiant Celebration" by Chris Carlsson (Editor). The Great Bicycle Protest of 1896 describing the massive bicycle advocacy rally in San Francisco at the turn of the century and how that movement, in agitating for and creating better roads for bicycles actually lead to their marginalization once the automobile came along a took the streets.

In past years, I have also read:

"Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae" by Steven Pressfield

"Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766" by Fred Anderson

"A Walk in the Woods - Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail" by Bill Bryson

"War of the Worlds" by H.G.Wells

"Tarzan of the Apes" by Edgar Rice Burroughs

"Stephen Hawking Builds Robotic Exoskeleton" from The Onion

"The Atlatl Hunt that got Weird or Blunt Trauma" by Bob Berg from "The Atlatl" 2002, Vol. 15, No. 2

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