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28 June 2007

World, meet Gordon

Have you ever had a situation where you had two good friends, that you never saw together, and never really thought of together, and then it turns out they know each other better than they know you? That was sort of how I felt when I received today's SojoMail, the e-mailing from Jim Wallis, a left-leaning religious politics pundit well-known in the US. The segment was titled Someone You Should Know, but it turned out to be about someone I know (of) very well, and in fact had been thinking about most of the day - Gordon Brown! It was strange, because the piece was obviously aimed at Americans (real Americans, not phony ex-pats like me) and it presumed the reader had heard little or nothing about Gordon Brown; whereas I had been bemoaning the fact that I was so busy at work, I had still not found out who was on his new cabinet at 8 pm tonight.

27 June 2007

Deborama's WWW Number 28 - Schmap Travel Guides; Flickr

I got an e-mail tonight from the editor of the Schmap online travel guides saying that a photo of mine found on Flickr had been shortlisted to be used in their upcoming Atlanta guide. I thought it would be the one above, but it was not, it was this one of the foyer of Mary Mac's Tea Room, which is also a pretty good picture if I do say so myself. But this other one, which is Lucky Street, downtown Atlanta, on a sunny April afternoon, is one of my favourites ever, and makes me feel all gooey and nostalgic and homesick - for Atlanta of all places! which I haven't counted as home for decades! Funny thing, nostalgia.

23 June 2007

NewOrleans deaths up 47%

Not my usual link source for this blog, but USA Today reports that deaths in New Orleans were 47% higher in the year following the Hurricane Katrina flood disaster than in the previous year.

Doctors say the dramatic surge in deaths comes as no surprise in a city of
250,000 mostly poor and middle-class people who lost seven of 22 hospitals and
half of the city's hospital beds. More than 4,486 doctors were displaced from
three New Orleans parishes, creating a shortage that still hampers many
hospitals, says a companion study released Thursday.

Elsewhere, on the Gulf Coast mainly of Mississippi (including Deborama's parents' and sister's home town of Gulfport) cities and towns still remain in ruins and in a definitely related case, State Farm insurance company has been accused of racketeering.

20 June 2007

Deborama's WWW Number 27 - Scots Cafe

The website of the week this week is a wee social networking site called Scots Cafe. It's like a MySpace but in miniature, based in Scotland. You don't have to live in Scotland to join, but it's designed for Scots and people with a Scottish connection or interest. I have just joined it so I will tell more (good or bad) after I have explored a bit.

13 June 2007

Deborama's WWW Number 26 - (Still) Made Here

This week's Wednesday Website of the Week is from Trendwatching.com , self-described as "an independent and opinionated consumer trends firm, relying on a global network of 8,000 spotters, working hard to deliver inspiration and pangs of anxiety to business professionals in 120+ countries worldwide. " The particular post I am highlighting is called (Still) Made Here and concerns the trend in demand toward locally-produced goods and services. Like organic food, humane farming and green businesses, these ideas formerly languishing in niches of right livelihood are beginning to enter the mainstream in great shock waves. Often a lot of the fashionistas clamouring for the green or ethical cachet miss the point, by quite a large distance in many cases, but still it's better than going the other way, in my opinion. So it's up to those of us who have been considering and trying to practice these things since the 1970s to educate them, now that we (finally) have their attention. Interestingly, one of the entrepreneurial initiatives featured in (Still) Made Here is a new loyalty card in the UK called Wedge, which gives loyalty points for shopping at local small businesses. (This is a funny coincidence for me, because in Minneapolis, I lived in a neighbourhood called the Wedge and shopped a lot at the food co-op there, also called the Wedge.)

06 June 2007

From God's Politics Blog - the Rebirth of Irony

Just a quick link here, because I don't need to add anything to this insightful piece by Diana Butler Bass on the Sojourners-related Blog, God's Politics. She talks of Reinhold Niebuhr's definition of irony in the context of American Protestantism and how conspicuous is its absence in the "theology of glory" espoused by a lot of religious conservatives. Deep but worth it.

Deborama's WWW Number 25 - SimonG; Favourite Things & The Dressing Up Game

Last week, when I was doing the Deborama's WWW, I was looking around the blogosphere for some extra links about Ask Elvis, so as to jazz it up a bit. That was how I found Favourite Things, which in turn led me to the Blog of SimonG, which in turn led me to The Dressing Up Game. All three of them share a hostname, so I guess they can all be the WWW at once. I like these concepts and this site because they and it are very silly. The basic idea, as I understand it, is that the registered users of the site (zillions, including, now, me) post their favourite Thing in some category of their choosing, and the other users accept the challenge to try out their favourite thing and post their opinion/review/rating of this Thing on the forum. (Although I am really too old to like stuff like this, I do anyway.) Here is a brief excerpt from the FAQ for Favourite Things, just to get a flavour.

Well, I think it must have some... hang on, aren't I supposed to be asking the questions? Oh, so you are. carry on.

Thank you. Er... where was I? No idea.

Oh yes. Isn't the plural of forum forums? Shut up.

Okay. Can I become a Thinger? I don't know. It takes a special kind of person.

Oh, please. Ack, alright then. Just register, and then get Thinging.

What kind of stupid word is Thinging anyway? The best kind.

Why has your index page got a picture of Julie Andrews on it? I'm sure you can
work that out for yourself.

Seriously, isn't the plural of forum forums? I said shut up.

It appears that the categories of the Favourite Things are just made up at the same time, as no two are the same as far as I can tell. But Ask Elvis was a Thing; here is the entry:

Category: comedy elvis radio thing
Title:'ask elvis'
Submitter: henry the thirst
Submit date: 19 Jan 2004 03:12
Status: Normal
Last update: 13 Apr 2007 16:26
Submitter comments: shame i can't post an address, but i CAN post an address.tune in and work from the bottom up for chronological effect or just do what you want. the king of rock 'n' roll won't mind. go to... http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/wright/elvis.shtml

The picture above is from the Dressing Up Game, or DUG. The idea of this is that a persona to dress up as is posted and the contestants have an hour or so to find a costume in the stuff around the house, dress up, take their photo and upload it. Pictured is the winner of Elizabeth II.

04 June 2007

Ironies of history

This is classic, this is supremely stupid, this is adding insult to injury in a whole new level, this my friends, is irony writ large! After years of to-ing and fro-ing, trying desperately to find a fool-proof way to prosecute and convict the clearly "bad people" illegally incarcerated in Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Bush Administration and the subservient Congress got a law of sorts to use in its endeavours, based primarily on an acceptable (to the Supreme Court, hopefully) definition of this new phenomenon the "illegal enemy combatant".
Armed with their pristine new law, the military prosecutors prepared documents for their first best case (and clone them for all the other cases waiting in the wings) and sallied into court only to be thrown out of court by their own hand-picked judge because, unbelievably, they failed to use the terminology of the law designed just for these cases. The defendant in the case was never called in the suit an illegal enemy combatant, but merely an enemy combatant. God may be on the side of the big batallions, but He occasionally likes to deliver a backhand slap to those with the tiny intellects, and the moral vision to match.

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