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hooray i awake from yesterday
13 March 2010 @ 10:44 am
Good morning everyone...

In the news this morning is the announcement from the long-brewing decision by the Texas Board of Education to literally change the history books to include a conservative bent (or, as one person says, to provide "balance" because "academia is skewed too far to the left").

One man, a Mr. David Bradley, is quoted as saying, "I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state. I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution."

So, here's the quiz of the morning: where in American legal history is the separation of church and state enshrined? 

(The article in its entirety can be seen here.)
hooray i awake from yesterday
05 January 2010 @ 12:13 pm
It's time for my annual What I Read This Year list. Here goes, in chronological order:

Ira Glass, ed.                                      The New Kings of Nonfiction

Terry Tempest Williams                 An Unspoken Hunger

Gabriel García Márquez                  Love In the Time of Cholera

David James Duncan                       The Brothers K*

Sarah Vowell                                      The Partly Cloudy Patriot*

Kurt Vonnegut                                  Galapagos

Deborah Rodriguez                         Kabul Beauty School

Åsne Seierstad                                  The Bookseller of Kabul

Kurt Vonnegut                                  Slaughterhouse Five

Anna Quindlen                                  Rise and Shine                                  

E. O. Wilson                                        The Future of Life                            

Roald Dahl                                           The BFG*

Kathleen Norris                                 The Cloister Walk

Bill McKibben                                     The End of Nature

Barbara Kingsolver                          Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Aldous Huxley                                   Brave New World

Marisha Pessl                                    Special Topics in Calamity Physics

Elizabeth Gilbert                               Eat Pray Love

I usually try to post this with no explanatory comments, but in this case there are two: 1) an asterisk denotes a second (or third) reading; and 2) as always, there were a few books that I picked up and let sit by the wayside rather than finishing. Rarely - very rarely, indeed - do I actually put something down deliberately because I am so annoyed by it. This year's offender was Salman Rushdie, in his Enchantress of Florence. I plugged along half-heartedly until I reached this description on page 33: "His lips were full and pushed forward in a womanly pout. But in spite of these girlish accents he was a mighty specimen of a man, huge and strong."  Excuse me? Did I actually just read the phrase "a mighty specimen of a man"? No, no... bodice-ripper language does NOT belong in my reading list. Sorry, Mr. Rushdie - you've been dumped.

Current Music: Górecki symphony no. 3, op 36: Symphony of Sorrowful Songs
hooray i awake from yesterday
25 November 2009 @ 12:11 am
Thanks to Flourish, here's a fantastic idea for how to spend Buy Nothing Day:

Go out and create art, a la Andy Goldsworthy! (More of his work here ... and here.)

It's so simple! I love it!
hooray i awake from yesterday
09 October 2009 @ 09:26 am
I don't know about all y'all, but when I opened my email this morning and saw the headline that Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize, I literally yelped out loud and sloshed my tea all over myself. I know the peace prize has a controversial history, but still... this was a shock.

Now don't get me wrong -- I am a staunch supporter, even though like many others I am a little disappointed in certain decisions he has (or rather, has not) made. And I do believe that he has ushered in a new era of American politics. But.... isn't this a tad early? 

Comments, anyone?

hooray i awake from yesterday

For those of you with a conservation bent (*ahem*, that should be everyone...), it's well worth checking out these photos of endangered and threatened species, compiled by Conservation International for the BBC. Yes, they're done in part for the scare factor of what we're killing off, but on the other hand -- they're gorgeous.

Take a look: A Struggle to Thrive

hooray i awake from yesterday
15 April 2009 @ 08:32 pm
You've got to be kidding me. THIS is what Spokane is in the national news for:

Spokane Parks to detonate squirrels.

Current Mood: astounded
hooray i awake from yesterday
15 April 2009 @ 06:39 pm
This headlined the Yahoo! news page today: Drought threatens 'Garden of Eden' marshes in Iraq

Is anyone else hearing the echoes of the Old Testament here? There are way too many stories of drought and desertification as punishment (or consequence) of human wrongdoing... have we learned anything in the last two thousand years?

hooray i awake from yesterday
14 April 2009 @ 10:57 am
I listened to Democracy Now! this morning for the first time in months - probably years, actually. The headline story, on Somali pirates, caught my attention; in it, Amy Goodman interviewed a Somali-Kenyan consultant/analyst who makes quite a lengthy argument that the pirates are really a community-mobilized coast guard, of sorts, who are acting in response to ongoing overfishing and toxic dumping by vessels from the US and Europe.

Let me repeat that: the now-heated, international hostage situations taking place off the Somali coast are actually an environmental problem.

Interesting, to say the least. I haven't sleuthed around to uncover any other information to corroborate his statements, but it does make some sense. Overfishing is a worldwide crisis - so why wouldn't this be connected? Anyhow, it certainly lends a different perspective through which to see the entire situation. (transcript)

In other news: my taxes are done (on the last day, as always, despite my best intentions). This day always leaves me feeling conflicted. The pacifist in me is dismayed, because I know that a good portion goes toward a System that I don't want to support. The socialist in me, though, is proud to do my part in contributing to The Common Good. (And the realist in me has to admit that I probably wouldn't get around to it at all if there wasn't a chance of being audited.) In the end, though, I suppose it makes no difference; my taxes are now in the pipe with everyone else's, and what happens with them, happens. Until there's a way to earmark what they're used for (wouldn't it be nice?), there's not much more to do except wait until they're due again next year.

hooray i awake from yesterday
02 April 2009 @ 03:35 pm
Ok, so it's nerdy as all getout, but I love the story that NPR ran yesterday on E.O. Wilson's research of the scent that ants emit when they die. Maybe it's because of my fifth-grade science experiment, which involved trapping ants from our backyard in quart jars and applying various powders from my chemistry set to see which would kill them, and how fast; or perhaps it's the Monthy Python-esque "I'm not dead yet!" frantic self-cleaning by the live-but-smelling-dead ant of the story. Or perhaps it's just that I have great admiration for a man who sees the greatness of the world in its minutae.

Regardless, it's a very amusing four minutes. Listen here.

Current Mood: amusedamused
hooray i awake from yesterday
23 January 2009 @ 12:10 am

Classical quartet played inauguration to taped music.

I had wondered out loud how they managed to play in such cold weather (especially the clarinetist)... now we know!

Current Mood: contentenlightened