1. Malcom X
I've been doing some reading this year about the Civil Rights movement. I learned that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a real radical who toned it down until he had some power and then ramped it up. When he started talking about the Vietnam War and economic racism, that's when he got himself killed.
2. 12-Step Programs
This year, my wife and I went through a 12 Step Program to become sponsors of families of addicts [drugs or alcohol]. I found the 12 Step Process to be wonderful. When I first saw it, I looked at it and sort of thought to myself with all of my seminary experience, that I probably already "got" it. I didn't.
So, after Malcom X and the 12 Step, you might think being grateful for good whiskey seems a little out of place. [Its not very often that someone is thankful for both 12 Stepping and alcohol, but there is apparently a first time for everything.] It is. But I don't care. I am still grateful for it.
4. Really Good Historians
I generally don't like history. Most of it is unrealistically dualistic for me (the good guys did this and the bad guys did that), and people tend to make more of it than it really was. The whole "knowing history to avoid it repeating itself" is a bunch of bulloney on multiple levels.