"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Monday, December 9, 2013

Things That Matter

Imagine sitting in a quiet place, a place where there are no distractions and no interruptions.  There is only one person in that room with you, sitting beside you, telling you of things that matter the most to him, and you are spellbound.

He is a great intellect with a gift for speaking, a wit that you admire and wish you could emulate.  You might not agree with him all the time, but you listen carefully and absorb what he has to say.  He speaks of his brother, baseball, politics, foreign relations, and the foibles of mankind.   He talks of dogs and cats and their eternal comparison.   He tells stories about life and death, war and medicine.

That is what it’s like to read Charles Krauthammer’s new book Things That Matter, Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics.   Had I written that title, I would have inserted a comma after Pastimes.  Dr. Krauthammer did not, and he did not because thinks commas are a pestilence and they “must be stopped.”   He wages war on commas.  I, however, write with a congestion of commas, a little collective noun I made up to describe my writing style, and I use the series comma, sir, to avoid things like Eats, Shoots and Leaves, the guide to punctuation by Lynne Truss with pandas on the cover that signify the title should have been Eats Shoots and Leaves.

I have heard Dr. Krauthammer speak so often that I am familiar with the cadence of his speech and the slight change in his voice and his droll delivery when he is making devastating fun of something or pointing out those dreaded foibles.   As I read his book (I’m less than half way through), I hear his voice in the printed words.   He is an engaging, welcome, and appreciated guest in my home. 

One of his most recent pronouncements was in regard to President Obama.  He said the President was the first president to commit “death by punctuation” when he said, “If you like your health care insurance, you can keep your health care insurance.  Period.”

I heartily commend this book to you.

(Financial News has called Dr. Krauthammer the most influential commentator of our times.)


  1. I watched an interview with him a couple of weeks ago on one of the "off" channels. I didn't know who he was by sight but recognized his name when spoken by the commentator later on. First it was his voice that drew me in then it was the words he spoke in answer to a question. There was just something about the "package" that held my attention. I may just have to read his book.

  2. I saw the interview that Rilly mentioned. I respect Dr. Krauthammer and hope to read his book in the very near future. Thanks for poking me in the ribs and saying something like, "just do it."

  3. Have you told Patti about this book? .. I will have to do so to be sure she knows about it .. Smiles .. Cap ..