"Created as counterpoints to large, well-established medical organizations whose work is subject to rigorous review and who assert no political agenda, tiny think tanks with names often mimicking those of established medical authorities have sought to dispute the notion of a medical consensus on social issues such as gay rights, the right to die, abortion, and birth control.
Senior Bush aides, asked for the basis of the comment about adoption, now say they are unaware of any studies comparing heterosexual and same-sex adoptions -- by Cameron or by any pediatric association. The president, they say, was probably referring to studies that show children are better off living with both biological parents -- though those studies have nothing to do with adoption by same-sex couples."
Neither Homer nor Virgil could be reached for comment.
Briski discovered that over 7000 women and children live in Calcutta brothels. She decided to spend the next two years finding a way to live among them and photograph them to hope for some understanding of their lives.
The children are some of the lowest of India's caste system. They were taken with Briski and her camera and she soon found herself teaching them how to shoot their own photos. She brought point and shoot cameras and the resulting images led to Kids with Cameras.
The mission of this organization is ultimately to bring hope to the children that are ignored by society.
"Kids with Cameras is a non-profit organization that teaches the art of photography to marginalized children in communities around the world. We use photography to capture the imaginations of children, to empower them, building confidence, self-esteem and hope. We share their vision and voices with the world through exhibitions, books, websites and film. We are committed to furthering their general education beyond photography either by linking with local organizations to provide scholarships or by developing our own schools with a focus on leadership and the arts."
A documentary about Briski and her mission called Born in Brothels won an Oscar for Best Documentary and is airing in August on HBO. There is a book featuring the kids photos and prints are available from the organizations website.
There has been a repeated them in the last year of my life that consists of me getting stacks of books to review. I sort the books first by due date then by interest. Then I read. And read. And read, ad nauseum. The books begin to move from the headboard to the computer desk. Outlines are written, research is done and reviews are written. Then re-written.
With few exception I've been taking less enjoyment from doing this then you just took from reading about it. But it worsened this week; this day.
I realized I was dreading reading.
Reading and writing have been passions of mine since I learned to string words together. Given my druthers I'd have up to five books going, three or more short stories in production and one big project at least outlined. Then reading and reading and reading started taking over doing any writing. My brain has been so saturated with the words of others my own dissipated and wallowed. Looking in my folders I saw scads of short stories and two book outlines that have been sitting with no activity. It's all still in my brain, back burnered and ignored.
No more. There is a review moratorium in place effect until at least November.
I can tell you of one book that fed my brain and actually fostered my writing.
Geoff Dyer's Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It.
It covers 11 trips to 11 places beginning in New Orleans (Dyer is in his twenties; bawdy and young) and ends in the desert of Nevada. Over twenty years have passed. One can hardly tell by Dyer's brilliant and belligerent grievances. He is a man too vigorously cerebral to know contentment but a man thoroughly entertaining in his restlessness.
As he travels from place to place and person to person, the reader experiences the streets of Paris and the beautifully decayed columns of Leptis Magna via perpetual disgruntlement mixed equally with wonder.
Here is a slice of the section entitled 'Hotel Oblivion':
In the cramped confines of the toilet I had trouble getting out of my wet trousers, which clung to my legs like a drowning man. The new ones were quite complicated too in that they had more legs than a spider; either that or they didn't have enough legs to get mine into. The numbers failed to add up. Always there was one trouser leg too many or one of my legs was left over. From the outside it may have looked like a simple toilet, but once you were locked in here the most basic rules of arithmetic no longer held true. Two into two simply would not go. It was insane, it took a terrible toll on my head. I concentrated hard, applied myself with a vengeance to the task at hand. I got one leg in. I got the other in. Hurray! A man who has finally put behind him the spectre of thirty years of unwanted celibacy-I'm in!-cannot have felt a greater surge of triumph and self-vindication than I did at that point.
Such exultation was short-lived, however, for these trousers were wet too. Somehow, I had put back on the wet pair that I had just taken off. The dry ones were still dry, waiting to be put on. I was back where I started. After all the effort of the last-how long? I could have been in here for hours-this was a crushing blow, and one that I was not sure I could recover from.
A joy to read. He plays with words, ideas and life in a way that stimulates as it entertains. I've seen it described as an existential travelogue but that's hardly a persuader. My favorite summary comes from Wendy Lesser when she says:
“What is the proper way to describe Geoff Dyer? Not deeply companionable, not viciously funny, not shockingly original, not effortlessly hip, not naively romantic, not wryly analytic, not endearingly foolish, not engagingly clever, but, perhaps, some as-yet-uninvented phrase which implies all these things at once.
As expressed by my current heroes, the Delgados:
HATE IS ALL I NEED
This was how I broke the best
Indifference, overblown with confidence and ignorance
It all made sense
And then I watched them take the test
I believe it’s better to inflict than to attempt relief
You ask me what you need
Hate is all you need
Hate is all around find it in your heart in every waking sound
On your way to school, work or church you’ll find that it’s the only rule
Build a different world, hate will help you find what you’ve been looking for
Hate is everywhere, inside your mother’s heart and you will find it there
You ask me what you need hate is all you need
This was how I won the west
Charity, a joke that friendly cities think that we believe
Or so it seems
We kicked and punched and stabbed to death
And everyone applauded my fine actions I was overcome
You ask me what I’ve seen
Hate is all I’ve seen
Hate is in the air
Come on people feel it like you just don’t care
Everlasting hate feel it in the people where it’s warm and great
Come on hate yourself everyone here does so just enjoy yourself
Hate is everywhere, look inside your heart and you will find it there
You ask me what I mean
Hate is all I mean
What's That Bug? will help you figure out what all those weird crawling things are - like the puzzle of my summer which I found out is the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth.
This also drove me to find a page that lays bare all the ology words any word hungry person such as myself would ever want to know. Thank you Wikipedia. But the American Museum of Natural History has an ology page that isn't to be ignored.
The 20cm-long, 3cm-wide stone object, which is dated to be about 28,000 years old, was buried in the famous Hohle Fels Cave near Ulm in the Swabian Ju
The Tübingen team working Hohle Fels already had 13 fractured parts of the phallus in storage, but it was only with the discovery of a 14th fragment last year that the team was able finally to put the "jigsaw" together.
He has since moved to WHYI in Miami. We need to change the shipping address."
One Sony memo from 2002: "Can you work with Donnie to see what kind of digital camera he wants us to order?"
Another internal memo newbrief - this one courtesy of Sony Music.
Somebody has figured out that the music business is generated by the music companies buying air time and creating 'stars'.
But we always knew Music Hurts.
Various posts on Recombinomics echo the sentiments.
Peter: Well, I'm gettin' something really special too. And by special I don't mean special like that Kleinaman boy down the street. More special like... like Special K, the cereal. Hey, what do they do with the regular K? And for that matter, what ever happend to K. Ballard? You know, if you said mallard and you had a cold, it would sound like ballard.
Brian: Do you listen to yourself when you talk?
Peter: I drift in and out.
Family Guy - blog website
A German magazine sold out in a day after offering readers vouchers for a free sex session at a brothel in Austria.
Damn strange, I thought. If the magazine sold out, obviously the public is interested.
Which lead me to think, Hmmmm. What other damn strange things could the public be interested in? My post earlier this week is really only the beginning, only the tip of a massive iceberg, of strangeness.
This lead me to Dogpile and I have compiled for your pleasure, your disgust, your slack jawed amusement, some damn strange things the guy or gal sitting next to you thinks about in their spare time.
1.) A website devoted to girls eating sandwiches. With inane descriptions!
2.) Even more strange, the Zit Lovers Community page. Posts, comments and links to zit photos for the acne obsessed.
3.) For those of a more intellectual bent, the Weird Research, Anomalous Physics site.
i) this is worthless nonsense;
ii) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view;
iii) this is true, but quite unimportant;
iv) I always said so.
4.) Weird Links is a clean and wonderfully navigatable site covering everything from auras to stigmata.
5.) The state that gave you Ed Gein, cheeseheads the House on the Rock - yes, it's Weird Wisconsin
6.) Let's throw in a quiz for you: What is your weird body part fetish?
7.) Something Weird Videos. From Alice in Acidland to The Undertaker and his Pals, SMV has got some damn strange videos and DVD's. Some are raunchy, some are amusingly bad but all of them have been lovingly amassed and assembled because people are strange even when your acquainted.
8.) A must visit for anyone looking for something strange is FORTEAN TIMES. A treasure troff of information from Nazi occultism to cryptozoology. The On this Day feature is worth a daily visit and you simply must explore the Breaking News and It Happened to Me! features.
9.) Feral Robot Dogs. I enjoyed just typing that. I think I'll type it again. Feral Robot Dogs. Yep. Liked it the second time, too.
10.) Shock Comics - to satisfy your inner asshole.
11.) Someone finally took the time and gotten it down in html - Weird Band Name Hall of Fame.
A few examples:
Hitler Stole My Potato
Your Mother Was a Man
12.) A quite teal website featuring Strange & Unusual Dictionaries which has lovely links to places like Dictionary of Custom License Plate Terms. This one solved a lot of head scratchers I've experienced whilst in horrible traffic.
13.) For the harried traveler, Sleeping in European Airports.
14.) Museums you must see if you're strange:
The Medieval Crime Museum
Museum of medieval Criminology in Tuscany
The Museum of Torture
The Museum of Weird Consumer Culture
The R. Crumb Museum
The Museum of Bad Art
The Mutter Museum
The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices
The Willow Creek - China Flat Museum (dedicated to Bigfoot) You can stay at the Bigfoot Motel when you visit.
Strange enough for you?
I'm rather sated.
"According to the sources, Mr. Bush had been meticulously planning to surprise Mrs. Bush with a “Welcome Home” party upon her return from her goodwill trip to Africa, even going so far as to decorate her office with streamers and blow up dozens of balloons himself."
Read a book. A book that said, on it's very well-done, barbed wire and trouble kind of cover - "A Fly Fishing Mystery"
The last thing I want to read about, I thought, besides Paris Hilton's social agenda, is a book about fly fishing.
I put it on the bottom of the stack of books to be read.
And, of course, it's the read of the stack.
Except for Bowker's newest book, maybe my read of the summer. What is this book?
The Blood Knot by John Galligan
It's hard-boiled fly fishing. Maybe noir fly fishing. Not sure of the sub-sub-genre to reign it in with.
But it isn't dry, mechanical boring fly fishing.
This book grabbed, yanked, hauled me in with the first page.
Galligan writes about The Dog, a character living on the fringes in a place where the fringes are unknotted, frayed and libel to trip you up if you dare to walk across them. He's living there by choice, knowing he'll move on to a possibly more out there place soon enough.
He started out thinking he was on a fishing trip.
He didn't know what was going to happen next and neither did I.
Let me share:
"There are two types of rabies: mad rabies and dumb rabies. The labels are perfectly descriptive. You snap, unprovoked, at everything, or you drool at nothing, or you do them in sequence, like entree and dessert. It all depends on the mechanism chosen by the Rhabdo virus to effect what will become, either way, your total cerebral derangement and horrible death.
Hence, this introduction to the quality of my thinking on that chilly September morning, in the moments before I found the Barn Lady’s soggy, bullet-riddled body in the West Fork of the Kickapoo River.
My brain was doing this: If one is prone to both snapping and drooling---at everything and nothing, simultaneously---and these symptoms have persisted since long before the beaver bite---say, since a certain unforgivableble disaster in one’s past---then one is in the clear.
One cannot have rabies.
Somehow, The Dog has to stay afloat in chaos peopled by amorous Amish, back country bullies and the occasional well intentioned cop.
And then, The Dog knows; this is not a fishing trip.
Talks with my Dad can lead to mutual frustration but many times they lead to interesting and previously unknown (to me) information.
Our most recent discuss was about the German P.O.W. camps kept in the United States during the WWII. The history is extensive, fascinating and exactly in the history curriculum. There is a list here and stats here. A page of murals painted by the P.O.W.s housed on the Wright-Patterson AFB is here. A plaque about the murals is here.
Some P.O.W.'s were glad for the chance to be encamped in America, thinking it was a chance to escape from the Nazi grasp. Americans were, for the most part, not sympathetic to their plight. The death of a Captain, terrified for his life, changed that.
NBC's Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, was involved in an "incident" this morning in Sudan. As she asked a question during a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir, she was grabbed by security and dragged from the room. Her first hand account can be found second column down here.
Even U.S. officials were barred.
Sudan apologizes. For this episode of violence. "We do not want to go back to war in any part of the country," said President Omar el-Beshir at the beginning of the meeting with Rice. But an official present for the entire meeting said he was noncommittal about disarming the government-backed Janjaweed militia.
The government's proxy militia has been accused of murder, torture, widespread rape and other human rights abuses against the civilian population.
Some 300,000 people have died so far in Darfur, mostly civilians. United Nations has described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis. After he bid Rice farewell at Khartoum airport, Ismail hailed her visit as "a positive sign towards improving relations between our two countries."
It has been raining all day.
The birds show up at the feeders bedraggled, shaking their feathers in a failed attempt to dry themselves.
Overhead, gray clouds produced almost constant low, rumbling thunder. Not a beam of sun in sight.
It is wonderful.
My sister and I have a long standing love of Shakespeare that led us to have round robins at our house whilst we drank prodigious amounts of herbal tea and burned incense. I've seen good productions and bad productions but never a great production - let alone one that attempts the original pronunciation. I envy anyone that takes that in.
Having already posted about a more than passing strange sexual act and it's fall out, I feel no shame in posting the following oddities.
You've all read Vicki Hendricks story in Tart Noir, right? What? OK, let me explain. Dolphin sex. But not with each other - and that's what this little website is dedicated to.
Sock fetish? Here's your girl.
Learn safe sex at Mumbai's sex museum!
German police send a nude shopper home. Spin the bottle indeed!
Oh, and that guy found in the bottom of an outhouse? He says he was looking for his wedding ring.
I can make this stuff up but I don't need to...
I'm consistently provided with real news about real people that do really weird/odd/stupid things.
Look around you...
The world is filled with weirdness perpetuated by odd people.
Spellcheck did not like bestiality.
Learn! I clicked over and over again.
There were videos.
There is a list of states where bestiality is legal.
Get drunk (it can be down and down badly for $25)?
Buy a book (to add to your tottering stack)?
Buy a CD (that you get for that one song you heard and discover the rest sucks hoovers)?
Adopt a sea otter.
Over at Defenders of Wildlife, if you become a sponsor by adopting a sea otter, you save the lives of those crazy otters from oil spills and other evil human stupidity AND you get this cute guy:
Arsonists attacked the base of a small inter-faith sect called the Sky Kingdom in the strongly Muslim state of Terengganu in Malaysia.
Its leader, Ayah Pin, says he is the saviour of the world. His message of love and tolerance allow his followers to be members of any faith, including Islam. The group was raided by police and 21 followers were arrested for possessing documents contrary to Islam. All were freed on bail pending a court appearance in September.
The sect is noted for building a giant teapot to symbolise its belief in the healing purity of water, and group's controversial structures are said to combine architectural elements from Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism. They stand accused of luring Muslims away from Islam
Robinson received £30 per 1000 words for 'Hound of the Baskervilles' as Doyle collected £100. But the mystery really begins when Robinson suddenly dies at the age of 36, apparently of typhoid. One theory being bandied about: Robinson was poisoned by laudanum administered by Doyle, a qualified doctor.
Bertram Fletcher-Robinson, a journalist Doyle met as the two returned from South Africa, was the man who came up with the central plot idea and the setting for The Hound. It has been suggested that Robinson had penned a tome with the same story entitled 'An Adventure on Dartmoor'. Rodger Garrick-Steele alleges Doyle is in his book, House of the Baskervilles.
"Why did Fletcher Robinson never see a doctor until the day his death certificate was signed?
"Given that typhoid is highly contagious, why did not one relative, friend, colleague, or member of his staff contract the disease?
"Why was his body taken from London's Belgravia, where he died, to his home in Devon for burial on a packed public train when typhoid victims were almost always cremated?"The whys in the story are paralleled by the definites.
In early March, 1901, Doyle wrote to the editor of The Strand, offering the magazine a "real creeper" of a story, with one stipulation: "I must do it with my friend Fletcher Robinson [who] gave me the central idea and the local colour."
Doyle wanted fifty pounds per thousand words for this joint effort, and when The Strand said yes, he and Robinson went off to Dartmoor together. They toured the moors, soaked up some of that "local color," and were set to write the story that revitalized Doyle's career.
Except Doyle later wrote it alone and Robinson became a mere footnote.
Sherlock Holmes fans aren't quit up in arms about Phillip Weller's book 'The Hound of the Baskerville: Hunting the Dartmoor Legend' . The book was rejected by 90 publishers before Devon Books took the plunge with a lush book filled with history, legend and beautiful photographs.
Robinson may or may not be exhumed at which time this mystery of mysteries may or may not be solved.
Jennifer Susan Jordan's Aliases
Your movie star name: Sunflower Seeds Howard
Your fashion designer name is Jennifer Prague
Your socialite name is Feather New York
Your fly girl / guy name is J Jor
Your detective name is Wolf Homestead
Your barfly name is Granola Pinot Noir
Your soap opera name is Susan Woodburn
Your rock star name is Skittles Mind
Your star wars name is Jengyp Jorvig
Your punk rock band name is The Amiable Silver Spoon
My favorite word is remacadamize. Why? Because it has parts from four different languages:
"re" from Latin
"mac" from Gaelic
"adam" from Aramaic(?)
"ize" from Greek.
I love this word for its connotation. It validates my emotions when I have a small problem by making the problem sound important and worthy of my attention to it, and yet the problem is usually easily solved. I also like to use this word when I have a big problem for the same reason. It acknowledges the importance of the problem while reminding me that a solution is close at hand. I use this word with my Writer's Craft class when I ask students to choose, define and defend their favourite word. (That's how we spell "favorite" in Canada, but that's another topic!)
Patti Haygarth, Burlington, Ontario
My beloved, erudite, charming and insanely busy sister-in-law, Ruth, has filled her plate to overflowing.
She and Judy Bobalik are co-chairing Bouchercon 2008 in Baltimore. As if this weren't enough, a blog has been birthed in honor of this event. Check it out and let's see how long Ruth and Judy stay legally sane.
I doff my hat to both of you....
#8 Struck a chord with this jaded viewer: Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to learn to speak German. Simply speaking English with a German accent will do. Similarly, when they are alone, all German soldiers prefer to speak English to each other.
Except I changed the recipe a touch.
Beer - beer - beer.
Strangely, I was feeling quite good, so...
...I went for a ride.
"Watch out," he said. "The breaks don't work very well."
After boarding the scooter, failing to adjust for the shortness
of my legs compared to his,
I took off.
I hit the breaks.
The breaks didn't work.
couldn't seem to come up with
an alternative to
slamming into the side of
The truck is fine.
So is the scooter.
My leg is funny colors
and seems to have increased in size.
I wish I were a moron--My God, perhaps I am!”