Bob Graham’s Notebooks In the News

A few years ago, former Senator Bob Graham, then a presidential candidate, raised some eyebrows when it was revealed that he kept extremely detailed diaries noting how he spent every minute of his day:

12:50: Cissy thinks she’s going into labor
1:15: Cissy preparing to leave for Baptist Hospital
1:20-1:30: MLTH. Bedroom, bathroom. Dress in blue slacks
1:30-1:45: Rewind Ace Ventura
2:00: Adele ready to go. Drive to Baptist Hospital
2:15: Stop at to return Ace Ventura
6:00-7:05: Cissy in examining room, delivery room, watch ABC News. Cissy commences preparation for labor
7:05-8:40: Drive to Bennigan’s Restaurant with Adele. Listen to New England Patriots-Miami Dolphins (39-35)
7:20-8:25: Bennigan’s. Eat supper (ham and cheese sandwich). Return to hospital
9:05-9:10: Waiting room. Read NYT, mingle
11:00-12:45: Waiting room. Watch CNN, CBS News
12:44: It’s a boy!

Since then, he’s retired from politics and his notebooks have been archived at the University of Florida. Now they’re in the news again, as he claims they show that the CIA did not brief Democrats about interrogation tactics as often as they claimed:

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham said Friday that his detailed diaries show Democrats were told less about the interrogation of terrorists than the CIA claims.

Graham said the CIA claimed he was briefed four times about extreme interrogation techniques as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

He said he called the head of archives at the University of Florida, where his notebooks are stored, to check if he had listed the briefings.

Have you ever done this kind of detailed life-logging? Have your records ever come in handy later, to answer a question or prove a point? And does it really take 15 minutes to rewind Ace Ventura?

Updated: I just found this article, with more details on the notebooks, and an image of Bob Graham’s official portrait, which was hanging next to the governor’s office in the Florida capitol in 2003. There he is, notebook in hand!

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5 Responses to “Bob Graham’s Notebooks In the News”

  1. For a while, I kept a similar log at work. I used a Ampad Gold Fibre notebook and I would basically write down everything that I did as I did it. I didn’t put down times. The reason was to show that I did work outside of what was logged in our ticket system. Mostly a CYA move. Nr

  2. Senator Graham’s method is fascinating to me but it also makes me slightly crazy just thinking about it. However, I find that I am using Twitter to do something along the same lines, just electronically.

  3. He should have banded together with the late Robert Shields, a retired minister from Washington State, author of the world’s longest diary–every waking moment recorded in five-minute interludes. This is his obituary, as broadcast on NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15739268

    Graham did have another common bond with Shields: They were both members of the United Church of Christ.

  4. [...] Senator Bob Graham’s notebooks are in the news again, as he’s published a thriller based on his experiences with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the inquiry into 9/11. You are known to take notes and keep a very strict record of everything you do. Do you still do that? Yes. [...]

  5. Interestingly, my journal provided me with a fact today. My husband asked me when did we moved into current house. I gave him a month and year from my head, but we needed to know date more specifically, so there I dug into my journal box, and found a journal from a particular year, and few moments later, I knew not only when we moved into this house, but when we found it.

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