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28 March 2005

Blogkeeping

Deborama's Kitchen has a post about the arrival of Bisquick in the local hypermarket. The Book Review blog has a post about the BBC production of Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters (highly recommended).

27 March 2005

For Easter - A redemption story

Like Jeanne, I too meant to blog about the story of Ashley Smith, a suburban single mom who subdued a "dangerous" murderer with home-cooked food and acceptance and talk. And like Jeanne, I am glad someone else did a good job of explaining the importance of this compelling story. Instructions for Care: What Ashley Smith Reminded Us is an article by peace activist Susan Van Haitsma in Common Dreams.

24 March 2005

Hardly Lake Wobegone

Red Lake to White Media - stay out! Non-Americans may not have noticed - there has been another mass killing at a high school, and this one is a predominantly Native American (Ojibwe tribe) school on the Red Lake Indian Reservation near Bemidji Minnesota. "Normally" (and how sick is it to use that word in reference to such a thing?) when a community experiences a murderous teenage rampage, the whole town and its environs and inhabitants are transformed (not for the better) by the intense media attention. Red Lake, however, is what is known as a "closed" reservation, where the Tribal Council has broad powers to limit access by anyone not an approved resident of the rez. And they are exercising their power fully in this case. Which has got to be a good thing, in my opinion.

23 March 2005

Blogkeeping and some journalling

I just recently added Creative Loafing (Atlanta) to Deborama's Fund of Knowledge under the Local News Sources category. I was browsing the web trying to find places to shop in Atlanta. That's because I am going there for a week, from April the 9th, primarily to visit my son, Carey. But hey, I may as well shop a bit too.
I recently attended a meetup in Nuneaton of American Ex-pats. I met two, Jay and Carla, and also Jay's English husband. We were all three American women with English husbands and we live within 5 miles of each other. We are trying to grow the network of Midlands Americans.
Deborama's friends, colleagues and family have been plagued by illness and stress lately, so even though I am theoretically fine, with my thin psychic skin, I am feeling the effects. My mother-in-law had a heart attack (she's much better now), my husband is in an emotional trough, the guy next to me at work on the verge of a total emotional meltdown, and a woman I ride to work with on the train most days has a 21 year old grand-daughter who just had her second major brain surgery and has apparently had some brain trauma because she is in a sort of fantasy state and has severe short-term memory loss.
All this is partly why I have not been blogging very much. I am just wiped out when I get home and then the weekends pass in a daze of TV and messed-up sleep patterns. I am off work until next Tuesday so maybe I can get something done, at least my backlog of book reviews. I am thinking of introducing some TV reviews. I am in awe of the wonderful site Television Without Pity, but I would do much more selective, and much shorter, reviews. Feedback?

19 March 2005

Rosie O'Donnell

Yes, that Rosie O'Donnell, has a blog and it is written in blank verse and this post is about depression, mostly. It's very good, read it.

13 March 2005

Blogkeeping

A little while ago I got an invitation from a person who had started up a website to feature posts by various bloggers in a news digest format. It sounded like a good idea, but I did not want to submit any posts until I had checked it out. I am glad I did; after monitoring it for about a month, I was moved to write the following reply to the founder of the site:

Dear ******:
I have been reading your blog *** for a few weeks now, having added it
to my Bloglines feed as soon as you had the feed up and ready (and
just watching it before that.) On reflection, I have removed it from
my Bloglines feed, and I want to take the opportunity to notify you
that I am not interested at this time in participating as a writer,
forum-member or supporter. Quite frankly, I am very turned off by the
quality of most of the writers. And I do think you have a real
problem with bias. You are basically sounding a single note, and it
is the note of a rather shallow, male-dominated, US-boosting, blindly
and reactively conservative viewpoint, one which I do not even care
enough about to bother arguing with.
I wish you well for the future, and I will probably check in about
once a month to see if things improve, but at the age of 52, my life
is too short to spend any of it reading the drivel of pimply-faced
frat boys who think they are libertarians, or the middle-aged men who
write like them.
Kind regards,
Deborama

In a way, this is rather tragic, because I am not sure that the founder of this blog shares the bias of his writers (whom he is paying, by the way, as soon as the blog generates enough revenue. But even so, good idea, poor execution. Would it be possible to start a similar enterprise that featured a balanced number of liberal and conservative but high-quality bloggers, a few interesting nutters of various fringes, and a real international viewpoint, rather than just a few token stories by American "friends" abroad? I seriously doubt it. And that is very sad.
On another note - I have a nice post about bananas at Deborama's Kitchen.

England, abolition and the current immigration debate

The air of England is too pure for a slave to breathe, and so everyone who breathes it becomes free. Everyone who comes to this island is entitled to the protection of English law, whatever oppression he may have suffered and whatever may be the colour of his skin.
In preparation for the mammoth task of reviewing the mammoth literary work known as "the Barock Cycle" (Neal Stephenson) I have been browsing the Quicksilver Metaweb, where I found the sublime quote above. Slavery and the history of abolition movements is one of about a dozen major themes that run through the three weighty tomes that make up the Barock Cycle. As you may know, abolition movements, the study of, is one of my areas of passionate interest, and the Stephenson novels seem to uncannily hit upon a lot of them (cryptanalysis, metaphysical debates, religious wars and slightly unusual sexual practices also feature prominently.)
I am struck by the vast philosophical gulf between the sentiments in the quote above, from an English judge in an historic case which may have sparked the British abolitionist movement, and the beliefs (or perhaps total lack of beliefs) of the current guardians of British liberty, ironically known as the Labour Party.
Several cases in point will illustrate this:

10 March 2005

Things are not looking good for Sinn Fein

Parliament has decided to fine the Sinn Fein party for the crimes of the IRA. And things are looking very bad indeed for the IRA, which has (predictably) been called upon to disband by many parties, including the American envoy to Northern Ireland and six out of ten nationalists and almost half of Sinn Fein supporters.

You want a rabbit?

Riverbend's latest post at Baghdad Burning starts out with some opinions about the killing of Nicola Calipari and then segues into an anecdotal account of a horrendous confrontation between doctors and Iraqi National Guardsmen in a hospital, and thence into discussing the inadequacy of Iraqi officials under the occupation. It ends up with a piece of Iraqi folk wisdom, hence the rabbit thing:
“Tireed erneb- ukhuth erneb. Tireed ghazal- ukhuth erneb.” The translation for this is, “You want a rabbit? Take a rabbit. You want a deer? Take a rabbit.” Except we didn’t get any rabbits- we just got an assortment of snakes, weasels and hyenas.

09 March 2005

Trudeau's tribute to the inspiration behind Uncle Duke


Doonesbury is running a little series featuring Duke (now an American warlord in Iraq) in an existential yet surrealist tribute to the good doctor, aka Mr. Fear and Loathing, aka Hunter S. Thompson.

05 March 2005

US troops kill rescuer as Italian hostage is plucked to safety in Iraq

Story from the Guardian. I could hardly believe I was hearing this correctly when I caught just the tail end of the story on the news yesterday. And yet, in a way, it was a disaster just waiting to happen. It has long been noted that the demoralised American troops in Iraq (and to some extent this is true of all coalition forces), having been given an essentially impossible mission (shades of Vietnam again) have been responding by becoming increasingly "trigger-happy" and careless of suffering and the loss of human life, which is all around them daily whether they precipitate it or not. And now it has happened, and the victim is a coalition agent in a high-profile rescue operation.

Buy some stuff

My daughter, Aimee Danger has an online store with some very cool things for sale. Wouldn't you like a wall calendar with a picture of my first grandchild on it? I know I would.

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