#903 I Shouldn’t Even be Doing This by Bob Newhart

I Shouldn't Even be Doing This by Bob NewhartI Shouldn’t Even be Doing This by Bob Newhart

Bob Newhart used to have his own show, these days he guest stars on The Big Bang Theory from time to time as a washed-up television scientist. He’s always been a comedian, except for when he was an accountant. He started out small–writing funny skits to perform on stage or radio and eventually started working in casinos and then he got his own show that ran for six seasons. He’s also been in a few movies.

Through all of this, Bob has found things in life to observe and make fun of.

What I liked

I vaguely remember The Bob Newhart show. I don’t recall disliking it, but I would have been pretty young. Bob is a funny person. He’s not a raunchy comedian; he observes life and pokes fun at it. Sometimes, the best thing you can do in a bad situation is make fun of it. I admire Bob in the things I see him in on television these days. I think he just seems like a nice person.

What I didn’t like

The humor in the book isn’t laugh out loud, which is a little unfortunate, but it’s still humorous.


I wonder if Bob practiced his one-sided telephone conversations a lot.

Weigh In

Do you remember the Bob Newhart Show?

Do you like Bob on The Big Bang Theory?

#888 A Boy of Heart Mountain by Barbara Bazaldua

A Boy of Heart Mountain by Barbara BazalduaA Boy of Heart Mountain by Barbara Bazaldua

Shigeru and his family lived in California, but then the war came. Some people treated Shigeru differently, even though he was an American. His parents had to put signs up in their laundry shop window saying they were loyal Americans. Soon people told Shigeru’s family that they had to leave their home and go to the middle of the United States. People even came into their house and took their radio. They had to sell their things, which people offered them very little money for. Shigeru even had to give away his dog, Skippy.

The family got on a train and left. Where they arrived was nowhere. There was nothing around. They had to live in a small room, which was nothing more than a shack. The room was shared with strangers. The food was awful.

After a time, the family was moved to Heart Mountain which was marginally better. There was a school and Shigeru made some friends. He even got a pet bird that learned to talk. The camp became a new life to Shigeru. One day, it came time to leave and return to a normal life; the war was over.

What I liked

I’ve read books about the Japanese concentration camps before. It’s a sad thing, but ultimately very important. We have to remember what we did so it doesn’t happen again.

Shigeru was a real person, which makes this book much more real. These things happened to a real person.

It seems Shigeru did not let the experience of living in a concentration camp taint his life or his experience of America. That’s a very optimistic view of the whole thing.

What I didn’t like

Why did this happen? Why were innocent Americans imprisoned for no reason? It all seems like an overreaction. We don’t have any right to treat an entire people with suspicion because one person did something bad. Granted, we are talking about more than one somebody doing something bad, but it was still a very small percentage of an entire people.

The good thing about American concentration camps, if you can ever say there are good things about concentration camps, was that they weren’t like the German camps. People can say they were imprisoned by the American government, but they mostly can’t say that they were murdered or exterminated. It’s a wonder Japanese-Americans who were in these camps found it in their hearts not to hate the United States for what happened.

I hate that anybody had to go through something like this just because of their ancestry.


Let’s be glad this is over.

Weigh in

Do you think these concentration camps prevented any war?

If you were imprisoned by a government because of your ancestry, do you think you could look favorably on that government afterwards?

#864 Cole I love you to the Moon and Back by Aaron Dean Ruotsala

Cole I love you to the Moon and Back by Aaron Dean RuotsalaCole I love you to the Moon and Back by Aaron Dean Ruotsala

Aaron and his wife had been on a fishing trip with their two children. That night, Cole, the oldest, complained of a stomach ache. The parents deliberated on whether or not to take him to the doctor, but when Cole asked, they took him to the hospital. What they found out would change their lives forever. Cole had a tumor in his abdomen and it was very large. There were tests and more tests before the diagnosis came back. Cole had cancer, a fast-growing cancer. Every measure was taken to save his life.

During this, Aaron started a webpage about Cole and his progress. People began to read it and offer prayers and hope to the family. Cole’s story inspired many others to be prayerful and think about what their mortality meant. Ultimately, Cole lost his battle with cancer, changing the family forever, but he did inspire many people.

What I liked

I liked that Cole’s situation gave people the desire to be more spiritual, whatever that means to them. I think sometimes, if we are spiritual people, we need to be reminded about why we are spiritual.

What I didn’t like

It’s awful that Cole got cancer. From the sound of it, there was nothing that could have been done to prevent this. It just happened and the family had to deal with it.

I don’t think Cole was particularly special. Sure, his parents think he’s great, but is he more special than any other kid? No, he’s not. It’s unfortunate that he had cancer and died from that cancer, but I don’t believe it was determined by God that Cole should get cancer and die just so other people could be a little more spiritual. I think this was an unfortunate circumstance, but if people were able to find comfort in Cole’s attitude, that’s great.


I hope Cole’s family is doing well.

Weigh In

Do you believe God makes bad things happen to innocent people so other people can learn lessons?

If you found yourself in this situation, do you think you would have enough mental clarity to write a book about it?

#858 Little Black Sheep by Ashley Cleveland

 Little Black Sheep by Ashley Cleveland Little Black Sheep by Ashley Cleveland

Ashley spend the majority of her growing up years thinking that she was too fat. Her parents told her so. They were concerned about her appearance rather than her happiness. At a young age, Ashley turned to drugs and alcohol. She also discovered that she was a talented musician and songwriter. She made money here and there playing at various events, but most of it went towards drugs and alcohol. She went into rehab and came back out again, only to go back to drugs and alcohol.

She had a baby, but that didn’t stop her from chasing things that would dull her feelings about life. She started writing more songs. She went back to rehab. She met a wonderful man and eventually had a family, but drugs and alcohol were never far behind. These days Ashley is an award-winning country musician and songwriter with a personal relationship with God.

What I liked

I’ve never heard of Ashley Cleveland. She seems like an interesting person. It’s unfortunate that so much of her life has been dictated by substance abuse and mental abuse from her family. There are worse things than being overweight, like being a stuck-up, holier-than-thou jerk, who thinks that everyone should be so thin that they can fit between deck slats and use their body in spread-eagle position as the frame-work for a kite on windy days, with only the help of a sheet.

I like that Ashley found herself. I like that she found a religion, which does help her in life. She has a lot of talent and shouldn’t be wasting it, by dulling it with drugs and tons of alcohol.

What I didn’t like

When parents condone the mental abuse of a child and even participate in it, that’s not cool. It’s one thing to worry that your kid might need to lose some weight; it’s another to make it the soul focus of your opinion about that child. Seriously, there are worse things your kid could be than fat. They could be one of those kids that goes and shoots up their classmates at school. I feel for Ashley, I really do. Her parents weren’t a ton of help to her when she needed them most.


I’ll keep an ear out for Ashley Cleveland.

Weigh In

Do you know someone whose parents put an extreme emphasis on their appearance?

If you did know someone like that, did it affect them negatively?

#853 Tiger Heart by Katrell Christie

Tiger Heart by Katrell ChristieTiger Heart by Katrell Christie

Katrell grew up in Atlanta and she opened a tea shop. It had a strange name, Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party. She soon got a few loyal customers. One day, she decided to go to India. While in India, she discovered an orphanage run by monks. When the girls there turned seventeen, they were put out on the street. Katrell thought this was awful and decided to do something about it.

She rented an apartment and set three girls up there. They were enrolled in school and given money for clothes and food. Katrell said she would come back in six months, which she did. Soon Katrell’s program expanded. She found more girls to take care of. She started selling tea in her tea shop to help fund her project.

People became interested in Katrell’s project and she started taking people to India. There was an unfortunate incident with a toilet in a hotel, but other than that, Katrell has had many positive experiences and has helped many young women go to college when they wouldn’t have been able to before.

What I liked

Katrell is a very admirable person. I kind of want to meet her. She sounds awesome. She named a tea shop Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party. How neat is that? She just kicks butt. Not only does she have her own business, but she has also done a ton of charity work. She has given lives to young women who wouldn’t have been able to have those lives before. She cares about them and their well-being. Hurrah for Katrell.

Katrell is the kind of person that people want to be. She’s got guts and she has determination. She has the know-how, or at the very least, the persistence, to get things done and make the world a better place.

She’s also hilarious. The bathroom incident was unfortunate, but also kind of fated.

Maybe the next time I’m in Atlanta I’ll see if I can check out Katrell’s tea shop.

What I didn’t like

I liked this book. I didn’t expect it to be that impressive, but it really is.


Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Shop just sounds like an awesome party.

The Learning Tea webpage

Weigh In

Would you go to India and start a charity?

What do you think of people like Katrell?