"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Thought

"We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth."
~ "The Outermost House" by Henry Beston

Henry Beston was a naturalist who lived from 1888-1968. He spent a year in the outermost house on Eastham Beach, Cape Cod, and wrote the book The Outermost House about that year. I love this quote. I first saw it hanging in the vet's office.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Five Cents

Can I just say that the Starbucks $.05 promo -- that's right, five cents -- that's what they're donating to AIDS charities for each "hand-crafted" beverage (read: the more expensive ones) you buy within a limited time period -- can I just add that this does NOT impress me in the least? Hey, take plain brewed and send $2 to the charity instead, or, better, drink coffee at home and send $3. Or tell Starbuck's to bite the bullet and send more.

Jeez. Can they even spare a dime?

I guess this is kind of in the bookstore category for me because I only ever go to Starbuck's when I visit the local Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just The Facts Ma'am

Moonrat explains the awful facts of publishing's crash in September and October of this year. Her blog is one of my favorites (sidebar - Editorial Ass). I'll give a hint: it was the big chain stores' strategy of sending books back to publishers to raise money for the holiday shopping season. Publishers have to buy their books back whenever the stores decide they've been on the shelves long enough and haven't sold.

In fact, the books in my previous blog entry which were gutted and made into purses were quite likely originally returns of that kind. The solution? Buy books this Christmas. If you buy a book purse for your favorite book lover, buy a book to go in it as well. Books for everyone!

The NY Times is cautiously optimistic on the same subject, pointing out that inexpensive entertainment like books doesn't suffer as much in bad economic times as pricey fun like vacations, new electronics, new cars, etc.

Make it so, readers!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Holiday Shopping for Writers

Thanks to Ju'nen for leading met to this fab collection of book purses. Even if it is a bit naughty to gut hardcovers and make them into fashion items. I had a moment of rejecting the idea, then came around thinking it's a fact that many hardcovers get remaindered, then sent to the trash. Why not make something fun out of them? It's recycling.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Modest Proposal

While perusing this article at Reason.com arguing against consumption of local foods --

Local food production does not always produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the 2005 DEFRA study found that British tomato growers emit 2.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide for each ton of tomatoes grown compared to 0.6 tons of carbon dioxide for each ton of Spanish tomatoes. The difference is British tomatoes are produced in heated greenhouses. Another study found that cold storage of British apples produced more carbon dioxide than shipping New Zealand apples by sea to London. In addition, U.K. dairy farmers use twice as much energy to produce a metric ton of milk solids than do New Zealand farmers. Other researchers have determined that Kenyan cut rose growers emit 6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per 12,000 roses compared to the 35 tons of carbon dioxide emitted by their Dutch competitors. Kenyan roses grow in sunny fields whereas Dutch roses grow in heated greenhouses.

-- I had a brilliant idea. Since the most efficient sources of food seem to be in Africa and certain southern hemisphere locations such as New Zealand, why not turn those areas entirely into farms for the nourishment and support of the rest of the world? It would cut down on carbon dioxide emissions, slow or eliminate global warming, and make lots more space available for condominium development closer to home.

What do you think?

With thanks to Jonathan Swift.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Rejection Collection

of cartoons that failed to make it into the New Yorker.

This had me laughing out loud in Barnes & Noble. I particularly liked "Death Takes a Crap" and "You're lucky. I'm turning into my mother." (Husband turning into werewolf on couch next to blase, bathrobed wife fiddling with remote.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What's for (Naked) Lunch?

If you didn't read the Independent's article about And the Hippos Were Boiled in their Tanks, the "new" crime novel based on a true story and jointly authored by Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs, you might not know that the murder victim was an old friend of Burroughs' -- and the murderer a respected editor at UPI who wished fervently for the book to be suppressed in his lifetime, and it was, although the story was well known to beat aficionados.

The real-life events behind the book occurred in the early hours of Monday morning, 16 August 1944. Carr and Kammerer were walking beside the Hudson in Riverside Park on New York's Upper West Side. Lucien Carr was 19, slight, blond and good-looking. [David] Kammerer was 33, 6ft tall, athletic, muscular. They'd met in St Louis in 1936, when Carr was 11, and later at George Washington University, when Carr joined nature hikes conducted by Kammerer, the PE instructor. Kammerer was gay and had for years been sexually obsessed with Carr.

Both men were drunk. They quarrelled and rolled on the grass. Kammerer made what the papers called "an indecent proposal," presumably backing it up with action. Carr responded with fury. He stabbed Kammerer twice in the chest with a little Boy Scout knife. Then he put some rocks in the bleeding man's pockets and rolled him into the Hudson.

For his action, Carr received a maximum 10-year sentence, of which he served two years. Kerouac narrowly missed being charged as an accessory.

More at the Guardian.

I saw this book at the local bookstore the other day. As the Guardian points out, it has an understated cover for such a lurid story.