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February 28, 2001

Selected Han-Shan Poems for Hippie

Selected Han-Shan Poems for Hippie Reading

The Unimog, a converted German

The Unimog, a converted German military vehicle manufactured by Daimler-Chrysler will be sold as a luxury vehicle in the US later this year. (This ten-foot-tall, six-ton beast dwarfs the Hummer.) According to Unimog marketing manager Bruce Barnes, "even in Scottsdale, Arizona, moms will want to take it to the grocery store. It's a head-turning vehicle." It seems to me this thing pretty much condemns itself, but here's a tree-hugging press release to chew on.

I'm enjoying listening to Seattle's

I'm enjoying listening to Seattle's KCMU.

February 27, 2001

I think this one's pretty

read meI think this one's pretty good.

It should be understood that

It should be understood that caught in between is on fire, but I've been remiss in not mentioning the Black History Month blogging that BoyCaught's been doing all month long. Take a minute today and an hour this weekend to peruse the great links he's gathered. Maybe if we ask him nice he'll collect them into a single page somewhere that's easy to point to.

The next time you Napster,

The next time you Napster, instead of rushing to download the latest flavor of Grammy-approved pop why not take a chance on something you'd never risk your hard-earned cash on? What have you discovered on Napster that surprised you, like full audio books (The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings are out there), spoken word (Kerouac and Ginsberg), rare live & cover versions? Let's [discuss]!

Ugh, I need to make

Ugh, I need to make this page look better...

Anyway, a couple thoughts. First, I sadly read much less poetry than I used to precisely because it requires such a high level of attention. Yesterday I saw a woman on a Metrobus reading No More Masks!, which I believe is an anthology of poetry by women. I've not once attempted to read poetry during my subway and bus commutes, except for the ones in Harper's. In such noisy environments, I just don't think I could muster the necessary attention. It's very frustrating, because the level of attention you put into reading poetry pays back many times over -- reading poetry is good for the mind and soul in a way that no other literary form can achieve. (And I've still never been able to enjoy poetry on the Web, for some reason.)

About Joyces and Rachels: Joyce was, I think, both a stereotype and a disguised but ominous truth. There may be people like Joyce out there, but much more prevalent are people who, although not entirely like her, share her self-flattering but patronizing attitudes. Which was what made her both simultaneously fun to laugh at, but also a bit sad because she was so deluded. I can't help but feel sorry for self-deluding characters, even if their delusions lead them to wicked ends. Rachel, on the other hand, was far too one-dimensional to elicit any sympathy, and I didn't like the way Kingsolver used her, because I felt like the author was just feeling smug by letting us in on the in-joke Rachel couldn't understand. It's like Kingsolver was saying, "See, you and I both know that Rachel is shallow -- funny, right? I'm being funny!" The drawback of that smugness is precisely what you underline, hcog -- that all white people are just as guilty of Rachel's flaws to some extent, but, by feeling superior to her, I think we're unjustly encouraged to let ourselves off the hook. (And empathizing with Leah, a much more sympathetic character, might make us feel even more worthy of being let off the hook, even if we aren't. I'm saying "we" here as a white person.)

I'll just get DeLillo's new one out of the library, if it's ever checked in when I go. Right now, I'm reading Cruddy, by Lynda Barry, which is amazing. I'm a big fan of Barry's cartoons, but I honestly had no idea she was capable of writing such a book -- I'm glad she's working on another novel now.

So what's DeLillo's best book? End Zone is his funniest, I think. But White Noise packs a more thoughtful message. They're both so good, though, I can't decide. Great Jones Street and Ratner's Star were both wastes of time, though the more scholarly side of me enjoyed seeing the influences bearing on DeLillo in those two books (Godard, Beckett, Alice in Wonderland).

if three white guys

if three white guys chain a black man to a truck and decapitate him by dragging him down a dirt road, that’s a hate crime; but if five white cops pump nineteen bullets into a black street vendor, having shot at him 41 times, that’s just "bad judgment?" And what’s more, we should pass hate crime laws that require enforcement by the police? Call me crazy, but something about this brings to mind the one about the foxes and the henhouse.

The wildly inconsistent but always satisfying LiP Magazine has a great name and a new weekly on-line edition. I became a subscriber 2 years ago and have yet to see a print edition in my mail box, so hopefully this means I'll see one soon.

The City Limits When you

The City Limits

When you consider the radiance, that it does not withhold
itself but pours its abundance without selection into every
nook and cranny not overhung or hidden; when you consider

that birds' bones make no awful noise against the light but
lie low in the light as in a high testimony; when you consider
the radiance, that it will look into the guiltiest

swervings of the weaving heart and bear itself upon them,
not flinching into disguise or darkening; when you consider
the abundance of such resource as illuminates the glow-blue

bodies and gold-skeined wings of flies swarming the dumped
guts of a natural slaughter or the coil of shit and in no
way winces from its storms of generosity; when you consider

that air or vacuum, snow or shale, squid or wolf, rose or lichen,
each is accepted into as much light as it will take, then
the heart moves roomier, the man stands and looks about, the

leaf does not increase itself above the grass, and the dark
work of the deepest cells is of a tune with May bushes
and fear lit by the breadth of such calmly turns to praise.

Poet A. R. Ammons passed away Sunday at the age of 75. He was a visionary in the tradition of Emerson and Whitman, as the Post article says. My wife and I had the good fortune to meet him and talk with him a few times when he returned to his alma mater, Wake Forest, to teach a poetry workshop. As his poems demonstrate, he was a warm and generous guy, and I'm sad he's not with us anymore.

February 26, 2001

Hey Hcog - Adam and

Hey Hcog - Adam and I read Playing In The Dark too! The part of the book that stands out most in my mind is her analysis of Hemingway's story, specifically that whole bit when the narrator saw that his shipmate saw whatever-it-was (I can't remember). The last book I read was The Debt by Randall Robinson. I learned some interesting things about peonage, the construction of the U.S. Capitol building, Cuba, and Popes.

If you follow the mainstream

If you follow the mainstream media, you may be told by a trustworthy, concerned-looking talking head this evening or read in a stolid, respectable rag tomorrow morning that CD sales are down 39% since last year. If you pay close attention, you might discover that the number applies to CD singles, but in any case 39% is quite a lot, isn't it? You may think to yourself, "Oh, my... what have we done?" Well, I'm happy to say you can relax, and here is slashdot's jamie to look at the source of that statistic:

That's right, CD singles. Unit sales for the singles were down 39%, revenue down 36% (they raised prices, of course).

And CD singles account for how much of the RIAA's profits?

Not quite one percent.

Yes, that's right: they lost 36% of 1% of their profits.

And the news media is reporting it as a 39% loss.

The facts are that their "CD sales" are up this year, even over last year's stunning performance. The RIAA increased the average price of a full-length CD from $13.65 to $14.02, and still managed to sell 3,600,000 more of them.

Total profit increase on this, the core of their business, was 3.1%, or just shy of an extra $400,000,000. (read more ...)

Dr. Menlo's Manifesto in Hypertext

Dr. Menlo's Manifesto in Hypertext is a sort of State of the Revolution address. Good reading when you're feeling kind of isolated and out-of-sync with the world around you and wondering for the umpteenth time who's crazy and who's sane after all.

I'm reading Conversations with Toni

I'm reading Conversations with Toni Morrison, transcripts of interviews from 1974 to 1993. I just finished her Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. I'm also reading a book of Sonia Sanchez poems--although I am actually reading the poems :). I'm taking a poetry workshop so I have a vested interest sitting with the poems to help me in my work. I think part of the difficulty I have with reading poems, and I love them, is that each word is like a paragraph, but I forget that all the time. I want quicker gratification, an experiential understanding that reading the same amount of words in prose would give me. But the poem's words laugh in my face about that. So I'm reading slower. And damn does she get to the core and passion of things. Her haikus are amazing; i'll post one or two up soon.

Re: Morrison, thinking about a Joyce Chalfen or a Rachel Price (Poisonwood Bible) makes me question the literary imagination used to create them...I guess Smith's characters weren't intended to be full complex people anyway, so stereotyping and its comedic effect may have more place. Even then, I question: Is Joyce a stereotype? Or is she like a clown portraying an ominous truth? Rachel seems less easy to excuse as a stereotype since she lives within a family of much more complex characters. I am trying to think about Morrison's message that white writers have created these white characters that actually don't make sense in reality but the authors (Cather, Hemingway, etc) are so stuck in the illogic of whiteness that they did not write outside of it. Is awareness of Rachel's cluelessness enough? I guess I wish Kingsolver implicated white readers more. Maybe she implicates white readers by showing Leah as an alternative. I get the feeling though that most white women who could relate to Rachel would be able to distance themselves because she is such a blatant social climber and her setting (Africa) is so distant.

Just thinkin'.

originally posted by hcog

February 24, 2001

Unfortunately, I left my copy

Unfortunately, I left my copy in the UK. It's such a short read, it may take you less than three visits to Barnes and Nobles to finish it off though. BTW - Zadie won the British Literary Award for best new author - she and I were both in London, and I didn't even know it!

February 23, 2001

I have two books of

I have two books of contemporary poetry titled Poems for the Millenium. They're big, fat, colorful collections of modern and postmodern poetry, edited by Jerome Rothenberg and Pierre Joris. Great books. But I rarely seem to read any of the poems. This is because each poet's section ends with a quote from him or her, usually on the subject of his/her craft, and then a short bio about the poet written by Joris and Rothenberg. I always go to the poems and try to read them but then get sidetracked and skip right to the quotes/bios instead. So I know what you mean, dj. The narrative arc of a life, and a short pithy quote--well, how can any poem compare?

Other than such distractions, I don't think there's anything wrong with authorial obsessions.

I definitely need to see this new picture of Smith. Also, I need to read her short story. By the way, she has one over at nealpollack.com (is that spelled right?), but I'm too lazy to find the link right now. Yeah, she has a story in the Nick "Horny" collection. So does Dave Eggers, actually.

And I must read DeLillo's new book. Can you loan it to me? And what's so enigmatic about him? His studied reticence and reclusiveness (which, in itself, is actually overhyped)? Or just the fact that he's so damn brilliant? I will tell you this: a key to his work is Samuel Beckett. At some point, I will write a dissertation on the subject. You'll see it here first.

Squidfactory found a site that

VW MicrobusSquidfactory found a site that has lots of pictures of the new VW Microbus concept.

Anxious to sanitize their product

Anxious to sanitize their product to the point where it passes muster with compassionate conservatives everywhere, especially those living on Pennsylvania Avenue, major producers in the industry are proposing to discard or ban a host of sexual acts and scenarios that have in some instances become staples of the genre. Welcome to the era of kinder, gentler smut.
Mark Cromer writes for The Nation about the porn industry's reaction to the Bush presidency.

February 22, 2001

I really dig weather.com's new

I really dig weather.com's new hourly forecast.

February 21, 2001

Did my mother realize how

Did my mother realize how strongly our trips to the fabric store would affect me? I doubt it. And I can only recall them in the most fleeting glimpses, when I'm exhausted or otherwise intoxicated.
Music for Babies is Charlie Bertsch's look at the startling choices that confront new parents.

From the soc.culture.asian.american FAQ:9. What's

From the soc.culture.asian.american FAQ:

9. What's the difference between "Oriental" and "Asian"?

"Oriental" is a term which has negative connotations for many Asian Americans because it reflects European and American colonialistic attitudes of the past and present. It is also a term that has always been used to exotify people and products. i.e. Exotic oriental teas/women/attitudes/customs/foods/etc. A general rule of thumb is "Oriental is for rugs, not people." Besides, no one uses the term "Occidental" to describe white folks. Additionally, "oriental" is a term which describes location in respect to Europe (and to England specifically). "Asian" is in respect to nothing.

Once I read an interview

Once I read an interview with Madonna where she talked about her envy of black culture, where she stated that she wanted to be black as a child. It is a sign of white privilege to be able to "see" blackness and black culture from a standpoint where only the rich culture of opposition black people have created in resistance marks and defines us. Such a perspective enables one to ignore white supremacist domination and the hurt it inflicts via oppression, exploitation, and everyday wounds and pains. White folks who do not see black pain never really understand the complexity of black pleasure. And it is no wonder then that when they attempt to imitate the joy in living which they see as the "essence" of soul and blackness, their cultural productions may have an air of sham and falseness that may titillate and even move white audiences yet leave many black folks cold. Needless to say, if Madonna had to depend on masses of black women to maintain her status as cultural icon she would have been dethroned some time ago.
bell hooks from Black Looks.

Once, even in small towns,

Once, even in small towns, people might learn about offbeat music at mom-and-pop record stores or from a locally owned radio station that reflected the taste of a knowledgeable music director. Now, as both of those species dwindle, it's becoming harder -- especially for the millions who don't live near a city with plenty of radio options and well-stocked record stores -- to discover music that doesn't come straight off the assembly line.
"Big box" retailers such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy are selling more music, but offer less variety, which means bad news for musician who can't compete with Britney or Faith. Support those local independent music stores!

Recently I've been obsessed with

Recently I've been obsessed with the Authors of the books I've been reading. This is the same way I'm obsessed with the personal lives of baseball players, movie and music stars. This is clearly unhealthy, but it has affected the way I read books a great deal, of course. For instance, I only read Blu's Hanging after knew a little about the contreversy surrounding it, and so I read the book sort of 'rooting' for the author in a weird way, and then when I finished as a result I couldn't tell if I had liked it or not. Not only is this too bad for my enjoyment of books, but it's too bad for you all who have to read my self-indulgent posts as well (haha):

  • In the paperback copy of White Teeth (still no. 1 on UK charts here in the UK) Zadie Smith has literally let her hair down for the back cover picture. This is a dramatic change in image. Where is Zadie? What is this new story she is writing for a Nick Horny edited collection?
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, Pulitzer winner for "The Interpreter of Maladies," got married in Calcutta two weeks ago, to a westerner, the day before one of my workmates there got married in Calcutta. At the end of her book I almost cried, but this of course is unrelated.
  • Don Delillo is still an enigma. His new book The Body Artist is wonderful.

February 20, 2001

The Eightfold Path to Enlightened

The Eightfold Path to Enlightened Websight [sic].

In India, the carrots

In India, the carrots are red, instead of orange like they are in the U.S. Orange juice is reddish there too. Interestingly, the word "orange" is possibly derived from Dravidian, an Indian language.

Continuing the food theme, I'd like to mention the dozens of times non-vegans have complained to me that pizza has to have cheese. I always explain that although pizza has been around for several thousand years, it wasn't until 1889 that it was commonly made with cheese on top. There are plenty of online pizza timelines that talk about this. I recently had cheeseless pizza from Lombardi's, which is allegedly the first pizzeria to open in the U.S. (right here in New York City, of course).

Other food facts you should know: fortune cookies are from San Francisco and I ate lunch at Burritoville.

Russia's Federal Security Service, the

Russia's Federal Security Service, the heir to the KGB, said it would once again investigate anonymous accusations against Russian citizens, a practice banned by Mikhael Gorbachev in 1988. DARE, the anti-drug organization, admitted that its program does not work. School officials in Virginia Beach were paying students to turn in their classmates for drug offenses. A Virginia state senator complained that "spineless pinkos" in the House of Delegates education committee were ruining his efforts to require that public school children recite the pledge of allegiance every morning.
Finally, Harper's, my favorite magazine, is getting around to putting stuff on its website besides its famous Index and a bunch of boilerplate. It's started a new feature called the Weekly Review, which is sort of like a Today's Papers without citations, and on amphetamines.

As you can tell by the tail end of the above excerpt, Harper's chose to recognize my home state, Virginia. This legislative session, our lawmakers have been trying their darndest to break down that pesky little wall between church and state. It's almost as if they're angling for some sort of award in the category. Thankfully, though, not all of their efforts have been successful. Yesterday a state Senate panel killed a bill that would have forced public schools to post the motto "In God We Trust." But (from today's Washington Post):

Del. Robert G. Marshall, a Republican from Prince William County who sponsored House Bill 1613, vowed to revive the measure during next year's General Assembly session.

"I'm puzzled by the effort to relegate the national motto to the status of a Triple-X movie, where people under 21 aren't allowed to see it," he said.

Yeah, and that little "national motto" isn't all over our money already? Robert Altman said he would leave the U.S. if Bush became president. I don't know if he's lived up to his promise, but U.S., hell. I should have left Virginia a long time ago.

This article about the stereotyped

This article about the stereotyped Black man offered up by nearly every reality TV show broadcast in the US ends just as it's getting to the essence: why is this the "reality" the networks -- and damningly the audiences -- are choosing?

THIS show may end up

THIS show may end up being the only reason i turn on my television. Hint: the White House has told the producers to back off. Hint 2: ever heard of South Park?

originally posted by fflood

February 15, 2001

Recent Heart Maker hearts are

Recent Heart Maker hearts are better than any I could come up with.

I want Mumia to live,

I want Mumia to live, I've signed the petitions, I've helped pay for the ads -- hell, I'll personally go and kick the butt of the governor of Pennsylvania! But, for chrissakes, the woman working at Sears just wants to be able to spend an hour with her kids before she heads off to Denny's. Can't we help her? Do you want to help her?
Michael Moore in 1997 on the failure of the left. Via the underrated hobbsblog.

We are, thank God, beginning

We are, thank God, beginning to convince people of the idea that pillows should be washed or thrown away. Some people were using six-year-old pillows continuously without being washed, in unventilated bedrooms where the windows were kept shut at night. At the end of the six years, a tenth of the weight of the pillow consisted of old human skin, mould growing on the skin, mites growing on the mould, dead mites and mite dung. If you ask children to put their heads down on bags of grot like that night after night for a third of their lives, you don't have to invent traffic fumes as a cause of asthma.
I feel dirty.

February 14, 2001

You might ask: if any

You might ask: if any information can be represented as a finite sequence of symbols, can we represent other aspects of the world, such as a 1-centimeter cube of pure gold or an infinitely long non-repeating decimal like the square root of two, as information? We can. I just did.
Jef Raskin, creator of Apple's Macintosh, insists that there is no such thing as Information Design. He's also got some refreshing ideas about the future of human-computer interfaces.

Being a fan of

Being a fan of teen movies, certain movies, I had a list of pitfalls and things that I absolutely wanted to avoid, that I hate in teen movies. I wanted it to be smart, but, then, it had to fulfill these requirements of a sports movie and, also, a comedy. It's a strange hybrid of a movie, really. I was terrified of doing a movie about race, because it's such a touchy issue, and I didn't want to make a movie that was preachy or had really extremely shallow solutions. I loved the idea of using cheerleading as a background, like telling the history of rock 'n' roll, in that, you know, how white culture had always co-opted black culture in that way.
Peyton Reed, director
Bring It On, my second favorite movie from last year (behind "You Can Count on Me") comes out on DVD today. If I were in the US, this DVD would be my valentine. I love this movie. It is problematic at points (that makes it human), but it's a far far better look at white privilege than you will get from 99.9% of Hollywood movies.

February 13, 2001

Cartoonbank.com is The New Yorker's

Cartoonbank.com is The New Yorker's online database of cartoons. You can search (internet dog, racism), order prints and t-shirts, and launch a pop-up "cartoon channel" window that refreshes with a new cartoon twice a minute.

Fucking corporations, always fucking with

Fucking corporations, always fucking with shit. Though from a publicity perspective, it's a pleasant problem when underground movies and comics get to the point of being ripped off.

February 12, 2001

At last, a theory

At last, a theory of race that's not racist. Nina Jablonski and George Chaplin found that indigenous skin color correlated with ultraviolet light exposure and they think they know why.

Sorry about the delay in

Sorry about the delay in putting up my thoughts... I finished the book almost two weeks ago, so I will not be as lucid as I should be, but I needed some time to let it settle. A couple thoughts I have... I picked the book on my friend's recommendation, and a lot of that had to do with the controversy surrounding the book. So as I was reading it, I think I was looking for that a little too closely.

The ending of the book was a little too neat, and whenI finished it I was afraid she made those scenes more graphic to add more punch to her ending. On the other hand, I don't doubt at all that's why life growing up in Hawaii is like, but the fact that she included them suggests (slightly) that the books was written to be read by outsiders (like me). And I am also glad, as MJ said, that she didn't try to vindicate the obstacles. That would have been a disaster.

I'll write more later too

Interview with Joe Sacco, author

Interview with Joe Sacco, author of the great journalistic comic Palestine.

February 9, 2001

Amuse and annoy your friends

Amuse and annoy your friends with Just a Tip.

February 8, 2001

Golden-haired, blue-eyed Jesus seeks loving

Golden-haired, blue-eyed Jesus seeks loving young woman (18-29), preferably of recent Norse-Germanic heritage, who wishes to live in the spirit of the eternal.

originally posted by dm8k

6.5 million people in the

6.5 million people in the US are under "some form of correctional supervision," including 135,000 inmates in federal prisons (up from 20,000 in 1979), 1.3 million in the 50 states' prisons (up from 268,000 in 1979), and 700,000 in local jails (up from 150,000 in 1979). There are currently more than 50 million criminal records on file.

(Thanks World New York)
Let's also end the death penalty.

originally posted by zagg

February 7, 2001

This is a poetic journey

This is a poetic journey among the weeds, starting in early autumn. The weeds are all from the immediate vicinity of my home: a different one picked, scanned and hypertexted each day. Persistent walking with eyes to the ground.

The water drops are for navigation.

The best thing in today's

The best thing in today's Washington Post: Zippy the Pinhead. A distant second is a feature about MTV's "Undressed". The article takes an unfortunate moral tone and fails to convey the genuine appeal of the show.

February 6, 2001

Who's going to Quebec in

Who's going to Quebec in April? Read about the new steel curtain surrounding the city as it prepares for FTAA madness. Download a Backgrounder on FTAA.

Other sites:

Quebec 2001

WTO Action


originally posted by zagg

The Rainforest Action Network. True.

The Rainforest Action Network.

True. False.

originally posted by zagg

One week after this (check

One week after this (check out the death toll of 60 in the CNN article 6 hours later!)

gd: hey.

dj: hi!

dj: what's up

gd: hey

dj: we're in a humid windowless room,

dj: where we always are.

gd: what r u doing up?

dj: talk about sweatshop!

dj: we are coding.

gd: that's horrible!is it hot outside?

dj: i figure, why relax when i am poor when i can relax later rich

dj: just kidding

dj: it is hot during the day

dj: freezing at night, typical desert

gd: r u near where the earthquake was?

dj: about 750+ miles

dj: but it woke us up.

dj: i was actually about to write about it for randomwalks...

dj: anyway, as you may or may not know it was republic day, the biggest holiday of the year

gd: was it yer 1st earthquake?

dj: (no it was my 2nd...)

gd: what happens on republic day?

dj: there had been a lot of bomb threats, because it it a day to celebrate india's unity and military might

dj: anyway, you can figure out that for a lot of people in india that's problematic

dj: so there is always the threat of violence

dj: and when the earthquake woke us up at first i thought it was a bomb.

dj: and i thought mark and i were dead for sure.

gd: how scary!

dj: and when i figured out it was an earthquake (because I was in an SF earthquake once)

dj: I was relieved!

dj: and Mark was like, "oh, earthquake"

gd: that's funny.

dj: and I was up for like ten minutes and then i said, you know mark, i bet a couple hundred people just died around delhi

dj: little did i know!

dj: and then we went back to sleep

gd: yeah, it's really horrible.

dj: it's completely inconceivable.

dj: take hundreds of communities that are already impovershed well past anything we have ever seen in our lives

dj: and then destroy all their buildings, food sources, and 25% of the population

dj: it's unbelievable.

Years from now, when my

Years from now, when my grandchildren ask me what happened to all of China's trees, I'll have to say, 'We made them into chopsticks.'
Chinese chopstick activists advocate the elimination of disposable chopsticks in favor of reusable chopsticks or recyclable spoons.

February 5, 2001

Good versus Evil is the

Good versus Evil is the most hackneyed, overused excuse imaginable for having two sides in a fight. With the exception of a small number of homicidal maniacs, no human being regards him- or herself as evil. As a Dogma designer, you are required to create a real explanation for why two sides are opposed - or to do without one entirely, as in chess.
Gamasutra presents Dogma 2001: A Challenge to Game Designers.

DeLillo fans, go wild.

DeLillo fans, go wild.

C'mon, Mr. Go Vegan, I'm

C'mon, Mr. Go Vegan, I'm sure you must have something to say... or at least explain what you liked about the characters' reactions to the acts of animal cruelty.

I thought Yamanaka did a good job of juggling two difficult tasks: she showed us a family suffering from the effects of poverty and racism in an environment unfamiliar to most of her readers. But she also made the book universal by writing about issues such as freedom and loss. In the end, I think Blu's Hanging turned out to be about the pain, and the necessity, of letting go. Maybe Yamanaka delivered too pat a resolution, but at least she only tried to resolve the more universal theme. It would have been worse if she had somehow tried to redeem the racism and abuse the characters suffered -- instead, she just let that be what it is, without sentimentalizing it. Going back and reading hcog's earlier comments, I guess the universal theme could be seen as a tactic to sell more copies of the book, but perhaps Yamanaka genuinely felt that those feelings and tensions were equally worth writing about. It's difficult to say.

Sometimes I felt the book was more poetic than novelistic, with its recurring lines (like the quotes from "Moon River"), metaphors (the rope that keeps you from going into dream-land), and some of Ivah's thoughts. Yamanaka let herself off the hook a bit by making it more poetic... I mean, the book doesn't have all that much of a plot, for example. But lyric poetry usually doesn't have a plot, either.

The only drawback of the poetic approach, I thought, was that sometimes Ivah said things that I don't really think a kid her age would say. I wish I had a copy of the book with me, but I don't, so I can't give an example. But my wife disagreed with me. I guess I don't know very many 13-year-old girls, so I'm no expert.

Back to work, but I'll write more later.

License plate seen while riding

License plate seen while riding on the on the Beltway: IDO WJWD. If I am lucky enough to see this car again, I will be sure to stick my thumbs in my ears, wag my tongue, and make google-eyes at the driver -- because I really want to know WJWD in that situation.

inspired by this poem, one

inspired by this poem, one of randomwalks' younger brothers invented the word bastopher.

"We must halt the incipient

"We must halt the incipient movement to link neighborhood graffiti with Internet advertising,".

Billy, I've got an idea. While I'm in India you post the India news, and I'll post the US news. cool? --

Six Sikhs killed in Kashmir

Six Sikhs killed in Kashmir gunplay; 5 injured... I found and posted this with newsblogger, which is pretty slick. I'm surprised it's not more popular.

"Apparently, the guy doesn't realize

"Apparently, the guy doesn't realize that in the unlikely event of a crash, we're all fucking dead."

1, 2, 3 oberlin alums

1, 2, 3 oberlin alums show the rest of us what home pages were and should be.

once gone, now back ...

once gone, now back ... the finger.

it's always a pleasure when

it's always a pleasure when ripped in 2000 is updated.

February 3, 2001

I'm happy to report that

I'm happy to report that I knocked out my first "rW books" book last night. Unfortunately, I don't have much to say about it right now. My strongest reactions throughout the book occurred during the various cat and dog situations, of course. I liked the way some of the characters (Blu especially) acted then.

Indians built the fire by

Indians built the fire by having long sticks or logs coming to a center like spokes toward the hub. Then as these logs burn up they are shoved in. In this way fire is kept up all night. Indians can tell a white man?s fire - the ashes show the white men to use green wood, Indians the dry wood. White men make the sticks to lie in an oblong, Indians the sticks lie in a circle, when fire burns out so the ashes and portions of the sticks, the race is told.
Alice Fletcher kept a diary while living with a Sioux tribe for 2 months in 1881.

February 2, 2001



It is recognized widely that

It is recognized widely that it fails to achieve its stated end and the failed methods are then pursued more vigorously while effective ways to reach the stated goal are rejected. It is therefore natural to conclude that the drug war, cast in the harshly punitive form implemented since 1980, is achieving its goals, not failing.

What are these goals? A plausible answer is implicit in a comment by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one of the few senators to pay close attention to social statistics. By adopting these measures, he observed, "we are choosing to have an intense crime problem concentrated among minorities." Criminologist Michael Tonry concludes that "the war's planners knew exactly what they were doing." What they were doing is, first, getting rid of the "superfluous population," the "disposable people" ("desechables"), as they are called in Colombia, where they are eliminated by "social cleansing"; and second, frightening everyone else, not an unimportant task in a period when a domestic form of "structural adjustment" is being imposed, with significant costs for the majority of the population."
Noam Chomsky on what the war on drugs is all about.
The National Justice Commission repeatedly points out that crime in the United States, while sort of high, is not off the spectrum for industrialized societies. On the other hand, fear of crime is far beyond other societies, and mostly stimulated by various propaganda. The Drug War is an effort to stimulate fear of dangerous people from who we have to protect ourselves. It is also, a direct form of control of what are called "dangerous classes," those superfluous people who don't really have a function contributing to profit-making and wealth. They have to be somehow taken care of.
More info on disposable people.

I'm excited you've finished, nedlog.

I'm excited you've finished, nedlog. I kinda consumed the book and set it down; I intended to read it again to catch more of it but I haven't yet.
I'm really interested in learning how to better critique stuff I read. I feel like I have some opinions and notice some interesting things, but I always feel like I don't know what to look for while reading or why and how to critique something. I never learned literary criticism and so would love tips or resources on ways to think about critique.
I just finished Poisonwood Bible. I liked it a lot. Kingsolver seems to have done incredible research; she inhabits Leah and Adah particularly well--convincingly and nuanced--and writes the other sisters and mother effectively, if not quite as subtly. Rachel Price and Joyce Chalfen would have quite a time over drinks; one of the problems of writing white women who are fully invested in their white privilege may be that these white women in reality do not behave wholly in the world. It is hard to find their humanity and write it when they are by definition remote to themselves--they are specifically NOT human, not prone to living as real people in the world, their white female personas work so well that there is no reason to question the SUV, the matching living room furniture, the travel. The only piece of reality that might be possible in depicting white women is the accompanying alcoholism, psychotropic-ly-soothed anxiety, or children who gundown their peers in school. Just thinking.

originally posted by hcog

After learning that Post, maker

After learning that Post, maker of Grape Nuts, is owned by Philip Morris, I set out to collect (almost) all of the brand names controlled by Philip Morris here. Can
anyone point me to a site that does this already, so I don't have to do it for any more companies?

originally posted by jdavis

The female student spat out

The female student spat out the partial appendage while eating her lunch at Barnstable High School on Wednesday...

Those with a weak stomach may want to avoid this.    

originally posted by dm8k

i was at the

i was at the giant caitlin gables rummage sale browsing their old videotapes;
exercise videos, 8 minute long demonstration videos, and stuff that people have
taped off of television for the past 12 years. i found one tape that said "1991
World Series game 7". i hadn't paid much attention to baseball in the early nineties
and didn't know who won or even who played. it's a curious phenomenon, to be able to
watch a broadcast of something that is largely charming for the fact that it is
played out moment to moment, it's outcome indeterminable by anyone.
but you're watching of course with the knowledge that these two teams fate, whatever
it may be, had long ago been decided. though the result may be news to you.
that this is possible, that real-time events of relatively little lasting historical consequence, events that
can be buried and mostly passed over (the world series may not ordinarily qualify, but this baseball
fan had forgotten) can be so readily and inexpensively preserved makes it a phenomenon
for our time.

and the game itself when viewed objectively is the best world series game ever
played. and after this year's stinker world series it was crucial that i see this. i just found some
talk of that series here. it
will of course ruin the game for you, so if you'd like to be spared that write me and borrow the video.

ben coleman

5126 ne 20th ave.

portland, or 97211

originally posted by oldwabbles

I guess we're in for

I guess we're in for 6 more weeks of winter

originally posted by dm8k

The Pixelpalooza icons are up

The Pixelpalooza icons are up for judging at the Iconfactory, and there are some unbelievable entries. Do your Mac a favor and download some today!

my world changed a little

my world changed a little bit today. of course it does every day.

February 1, 2001

Sometimes knowing a word's origin

Sometimes knowing a word's origin can forever change your view of the word. You probably think of the word feisty the way I once did: an often pleasant adjective meaning 'spunky'. You might describe Ross Perot as feisty, meaning full of spirit. If you guessed feisty comes from the root feist meaning 'spirit', guess again.

Please, pardon my bluntness. I

Please, pardon my bluntness. I could do it several times longer than I normally could. Once, I believe I must have gone at it for 12 hours, using up all the lubricants, shampoos, cooking oils, and even toothpastes I could find in my home, even fruit preserves.
The Erowid Experience Vaults are endlessly entertaining and informative.

hijack art

hijack art

If you watch TV, you

If you watch TV, you can't do better than TV Ultra.

...less like Big Brother than

...less like Big Brother than "a friendly uncle and aunt watching over you."

"The excessive precautions were a

"The excessive precautions were a victory for those who wanted to disrupt Davos," said George Soros, the billionaire financier whose prowess at playing the capital markets has troubled governments from Britain to Malaysia. "I do think these people have something to protest about. The global capital system creates a very uneven playing field."
It seems like more work went into establishing the divide than bridging it (or should those links be reversed?) at this year's World Economic Forum.