Penny Parker's amusing column in today's Rocky Mountain News spotlights Yohannes Gebregeorgis, founder of Denver-based Ethiopia Reads, which raises funds to bring books and libraries to Gebregeorgis' native land. Our November 13 blog "Vote for Ethiopia Reads' Yohannes Gebregeorgis as CNN's Hero of the Year" noted that Gebregeorgis was one of ten notables whose selfless efforts would be celebrated during a Thanksgiving night broadcast. And while Liz McCartney won the $100,000 first prize for devoting herself to helping Hurricane Katrina survivors rebuild their storm-battered homes, Gebregeorgis got plenty of attention and admiration from celebrities such as Forrest Whitaker, who presented him with an award, plus Cameron Diaz, John Legend, Meg Ryan and many others. Not that he always understood their words of praise. Laura Bond, Ethiopia Reads' North American director, recalls him saying to her, "What does it mean to rock? These people keep telling me I rock. Is it good?"
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Gebregeorgis asked the right person. Bond knows all about subject, having spent several years writing beautifully about it as Westword's music editor. For proof, check out some of my favorites from her stint at this here publication: profiles of locals Maris the Great, Cephallic Carnage and Barry Fey; a Q&A with Jack Black and Kyle Gass of Tenacious D; and her hilarious account of joining the Flaming Lips onstage dressed as a giraffe. If that doesn't make her an expert on rocking, I don't know what would. -- Michael Roberts