You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. --FRANZ KAFKA
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
10 THINGS I read in the newspaper today...
1. I read that critics are praising Mel Gibson's new film Apocalypto...but they still don't like Mel. I don't know much about the film, but the name sounds kind of goofy to me.
2. I read a letter from a woman who said that we lost the war in Vietnam because of the protesters. According to her, the same people are spoiling our chances for victory in Iraq. I wondered at the different ways people can think.
3. I read the individual stories of four prostitutes who were murdered in Atlantic City. I looked at their faces, too--four bright faces and promising lives that were brought down by crack cocaine, long before they ever encountered their killer. When I I tried to move on to the next article, I kept seeing those faces.
4. I read that scientists have discovered it's not a good idea to talk on your cell phone while crossing the street. Text messaging in traffic isn't advised either.
5. I read that Roz Chast used to entertain herself at age nine by sitting on her bed, reading about scurvy and lockjaw in the Merck Manual. No wonder I like her work so much!
6. I read that more than 1,000 homeless people sleep on the beach in Oahu every night. Who are those people? I wanted to know. And did their numbers grow since last year?
7. I read the obituaries. People continue to die every day; and though we can say we're they've been, nobody, nobody is telling us where they've gone. I keep looking for clues though.
8. I read that crime is down in New York City, but the rat population is up.. maybe it's related?
9. I read that one person is five is affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder. Some days that one in five is me. Other days I produce enough seasonal light for three people.
10. I read that Babel is "a towering achievement"; Happy Feet is "America's #1 movie"; and The Queen is "the best picture of the year!" Those were ads, so they don't count. But since I adore Helen Mirren, I still want to see The Queen; and how can you go wrong with a movie about penguins with happy feet?
11. What did you read today? And what did it make you think about?
In other news, The Third Day Book Club has spoken. We will be reading Irene Nemirovsky's much praised, Suite Francaise for January 3rd.
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I'm twisting my head trying to read that story on anxiety! Today I read about a 98 year old man who likes to play Scrabble and Joe brought me a Time magazine home because of a feature story on how siblings shape each other.
I just want to say that I had a blast doing the 3rd day book club this month. I read all the reviews and comments and enjoyd the whole dialouge. I'm glad I read the book, for the writing and the story. I think it was a good match for me.
colleen: Now you have to go find that 98 year old man and bring him to floyd to play with you and Mara!
Glad you enjoyed the book club. You definitely added a unique perspective.
NASA, the US's space agency, is planning on building a permanent colony on the moon by the year 2020. The US wants to start this now because they want to be there first, before other countries get the capability of reaching the moon.
I think space exploration is exciting, but I'm also concerned. Wars and conflicts rage on Earth now — who's to say this won't transfer to outer space?
Maybe we Earthlings should get our act together here, first.
kg: I agree with you about getting our act together here first! "Colonies" has a disturbing sound to it.
Lot of interesting things. I remember hearing about some mainland US city govt that got the brilliant plan of giving a bunch of their homeless one-way tickets to Oahu. What an idea!! I think they (the govt officials) got busted for it, though I don't know what the legal charge could be. One of the most interesting things I read this week was an article in Wired magazine about "face blindness" -- the neurological disorder that makes some people completely unable to recognize any human face, including their own. Ever! Isn't that wild? It's a disorder that has really only been "discovered" because of the internet, and people who suffer from it finding each other. Now neuroscientists are speculating the brain's mechanism for recognizing faces is completely separate from the mechanism for recognizing everything else. Whoa.
Wow - great idea this post! Loved reading your and others' excerpts.
My article contribution is the one that Rick Warren, highly popular evangelical pastor, invited among others Barack Obama to speak on AIDS. "That Obama received a standing ovation suggests that Warren is right to sense that growing numbers of Christians are tired of narrowly partisan politics....In their different spheres, Warren and Obama are both in the business of retialing hope." (Dionne, Wash. Post).
Husband and I also had a discussion on the moon colony - and getting it right here on earth first.
What about the elder Bush's tears over Jeb's loss, in 1994, of the Fla. governership?
Re: #5 -- Aha! I always wondered why her work made me giggle so much, and now (bear in mind I used to read my daddy's dental surgery books) I know.
BTW, thanks so much for coming by and commenting -- do come back when you can!
Looks like you are getting some spam, maybe turn on the annoying scrambled letter screening.
Enjoyed your list. I don't read newspapers, and nothing on the web struck my fancy. The homeless are everywhere and I worry about them in an ineffectual sort of way. However, on the TV I hear more about the sad travails of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.
Laini: I had never heard of "face blindness" before. How intriguing! Sounds like a good subject for a short story or a novel...hmmm.
tammy: I felt a lot of hope seeing the reception Obama got from Warren's community.
lori: Dental surgery books! Thank god those weren't available in my house. I would have had a whole new set of things to worry over!
p.s. I'm wearing a pair of red and white polka dot glasses right now that bear a suspicious resemblance to yours. I wonder if we shop in similar places.
gerry: For a while, I thought so many people were using the filter that the spammers had given up. But you're right; looks like they're back in force.
As for Britney and Paris, I'm mystified. What do these two actually DO that the whole world is so captivated? I never even hear of Britney singing anymore, just flaunting.
I don't get the paper anymore. I never have time to read it. I get DemocracyNow in my inbox and today it hasn't arrived, but I'm sure it'll be depressing, except for the fact that it exists in the first place, and is growing more popular. Amy Goodman even has a syndicated newspaper column now.
I'm reading Too Loud A Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal for my college reading group. I was going to choose a sentence at random, but they're all too long, so I'll choose part of one: "I could see how right Rimbaud was when he wrote that the battle of the spirit is as terrible as any armed conflict; I could grasp the true meaning of Christ's cruel words, 'I came not to send peace, but a sword.'"
Patry, I have to disagree with you and kg about the lunar colony.
Part of getting our act together here must involve going foward... out there. We've lost an entire generation to hand-wringing.
And "colony" has a bad connotation becuse where we've called "colonies" before somebody else called "home." That will not be an issue on the Moon. What will be interesting is how quickly a group of pioneers on the Moon -- who will have a truly global perspective -- lose interest and patience with our parochial wranglings here on Terra Firma.
I read about those prostitutes, too. It grieves me still-- can't even remember the rest of the news.
Oh, there was a photo of Nick Nolte from an old DUI arrest-- his hair like many windmills!
I read about food in New Orleans. And I read about jazz and blogging.
curmudgeon: I love your hopeful spirit; and if indeed we do create colonies on the moon, I hope you're right. Maybe they will be the havens of peace and concern for the common good that we haven't been able to create here.
k-oh: The prostitute story had the same effect on me. When you just hear the headline, the personal side doesn't hit you. But dig a little deeper into the stories, and you can't help but feel the weight.
fred: Food in New Orleans? Now that's one of my favorite topics, and jazz is the perfect complement.
oh, patry, i have been reading about the family from san francisco, lost en route to gold beach, oregon on their way home after thanksgiving in seattle. snow in a mountainous SW OR area off the interstate was the culprit. he is a manager with CNET, she a young wife and mother of 2 babies. after 9 days they found the mother and 2 babies alive on monday, but he is still missing. he set out on sat. to get help. i've been following the story from its origin, wishing i could help, wanting to "fix" it. they are searching fast and furiously for him right now, believing he is in a state of hypothermia causing him to feel disoriented. he is leaving a trail of clothing along his path.
it makes me think of how glad i am to insist that we keep a box of blankets and warm clothing in our van for road trips in winter. it makes me scared - knowing how frantic i would be if my beloved were out there alone in that snowy, dangerous terrain. it makes me feel grateful not to be living in that crisis, impotent that i cannot help resolve it, hopeful that he is trying to signal help.
i also read some of colleen's blog this morning, one i always enjoy but don't read nearly often enough. that made me feel happy!
now i am reading yours - and as always it lifts me, filling me with appreciation that you came into my life! :)
Interesting tidbits, everyone. Good timing, too, because today life interfered with my usual on-line news reading.
Patry -- I got a laugh out of #5. I'm scared to even open the Merck Manual. I don't want to know what lurks in the Merck, if you know what I mean. Perfect name for such a book, though.
Also, I was intrigued by the rat/criminal connection. :~) It's a messy visual, but there's something enticing about the thought of criminals disappearing in the night. Maybe the rats are just counseling them. In Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,it's clearly revealed that mice are the smartest species. Could rats be so far behind?
This isn't new, but it's extremely useful to keep in mind when reading movie ads:
Gelf Magazine's running feature entitled "The Blurb Racket"
It shows you the quotes in the ads, and then it shows the words where they appeared in the reviews from which they were drawn, and sometimes quite brazenly redrawn. Very educational.
the carmudgeon--I'll echo Patry. I hope your optimistic visions for a moon colony are 100% right, too.
It would be great if there were some overriding "peaceful philosophy" guiding the moon exploration and colonization. All countries who go there would have to pledge to work through their conflicts diplomatically and keep the moon as a symbol of hope and peace and progress for human kind on earth to emulate.
Maybe NASA takes comments!
I read about a 102 year old man who says the secret to his long life is laughing; I have done research on human behavior and found that having humor in your life is a wonderful panacea.
thanks for sharing your newspaper; great articles.
until next time,
I read your blog (among others) and I also wonder about those homeless people on Oahu. I say if you are homeless, that is the place to be!
Oh Sky, so sad to see how it turned out for that young husband and father in Oregon. Heart wrenching.
Glad to see you're enjoying Colleen's blog. Truly one of the happiest places on the web.
robin: I think you must be secret twin. My little green Merck Manual is staring at me from my book shelf right now, but I, too, am too scared to ever open it. (The last time I looked up some obscure symptom, I didn't sleep for a week.) I guess that's why I love Roz Chast's "Insomniaplex." I have at least six movies running every night.
sara: love the movie blurb link. Very educational. If I get any less than stellar reviews, I know exactly how to cut and paste...
kg: Like the idea of NASA taking comments. Hee.
tarakuanyin! Sorry I missed your wonderful comment earlier. I love your sentence. It's more enlightening than any number of newspapers. (Sometimes scarcity of time is a good thing; it forces us to focus on what matters.)
sage: Thanks for sharing your 102 year old man. He sounds like someone we can all learn from.
kenju: It definitely beats New England in the winter, but you have to wonder who all these people are. Undoubtedly, there's 1000 stories here, all unique.
I just read some reviews of Apocolypto. It sounds like Gibson's movie savages the truth about Mayan culture. Go to http://www.xispas.com/blog/
to read some reviews from the Indigenous peoples point of view
I'm blog reading today, which is why I am here.
Mental Multivitamin made me think of seeing "A Long Day's Journey Into Night" at a local play house and of a conversation I overheard about how gloomy this season's plays are.
But that I don't think gloomy is a problem. Life is that way sometimes.
Of course, life is also hysterical at other times.
fred: Interesting perspective. Maybe I'm cynical, but now I'm wondering if some of those "great reviews" he's getting are authentic.
lisa: Thanks for reminding me that I haven't read Mental Multivitamin in far too long--and also that I might need to see that gloomy play, too.
Almost forgot. Today I walked hardly at all, just into and out of the bike shop (bike getting some needed attention), into and out of the "yuppie market" (for some specialty food items), into and out of Borders (ah, books). When my perked up bike and I got home, I did a leisurely 10 mile or so ride, listening mostly to Tori Amos. A good day.
gerry: bike riding, tori amos, and a trip to the book store--sounds like a great day. Hope you bought Suite Francaise!
Colleen is thinking the same thing I thought--I want the article on anxiety too.
I like Roz Chast also. Her cartoon was instantly recognizable. I probably would have read the Merck manual if my family had owned one. Now I get the PDR for free every year. That makes med school worth it all by itself (LOL).
^^ nice blog!! ^@^
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