Matthea Harvey's excellent Modern Life appears on the NY Times 100 Notable Books of 2008 list. Aravind Adiga's Booker-winning The White Tiger, which I thoroughly enjoyed (but, hey, I still count American Psycho among my favorites), does not. Interesting to note that poetry books appear in the list's fiction section--not in nonfiction, where Dewey puts them.


Sabupuraimu, "Morning Banana," and more--

The Top 60 Japanese Words and Phrases of 2008, brought to you by publishing company Jiyu Kokuminsha and translated by the folks at Pink Tentacle.

"Invisible and Overlooked": Gay Seniors in Newsweek

I missed this 9/18/08 Newsweek article, ‘Invisible And Overlooked’: A growing population of lesbian and gay senior citizens seeks recognition for their unique needs and challenges. It's a worthwhile short read. I've often been frustrated that, while my library does pretty well by GLBT teens--has a decent selection of books there--once a GLBT patron turns 18, we have near-zilch. Those who focus on service to seniors in public libraries should consider their GLBT seniors, too. Sexual orientation: it ain't just for kids.

Some excerpts from the article:

Gerontologists haven't traditionally viewed sexual orientation as relevant to their work—and, according to a study by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, most national health surveys of elderly citizens fail to assess sexual orientation. But gay seniors confront unique challenges: they're twice as likely as straights to live alone, and 10 times less likely to have a caretaker should they fall ill...Many face discrimination in medical and social services, and on top of it all, they're less likely to have health insurance: one survey, by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law, at UCLA, estimates that gay seniors are half as likely to have coverage as their straight counterparts...

...Over the next 25 years, persons in America who are 65 and older are expected to grow from about 12 to 20 percent of the total population, and various estimates indicate that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals will comprise 7 to 10 percent of that senior population...

...For those who can afford it, there are gay-specific retirement communities and free service centers dotted around the nation, mostly in urban areas. But most regular nursing homes give shared-room preference to their married clients, and only a few states require employers to give leave for employees caring for same-sex partners. Inside care centers, advocates tell stories of social workers using gloves to treat only their gay patients, or those patients being shuffled around from room to room to avoid harassment from other residents. In rare cases, social workers say that couples have gone to the extent of agreeing not to visit each other, for fear the staff will treat them differently. And many patients revert back into the closet to protect themselves...

...Financial and estate-planning matters can complicate things further. In most cases, gay survivors don't have rights to a partner's pension plans, and are taxed on 401(k)s and IRAs they might inherit. Same-sex couples must also pay federal estate taxes on jointly owned homes where married couples don't. Sometimes they even have to fight with blood relatives over how to dispose of a partner's remains. To approximate some of the protections of marriage, many gay couples have to set up extra legal frameworks, such as powers or attorney and joint tenancy agreements. "Senior citizens have enough of a challenge just figuring out all the paperwork for health insurance—but gays and lesbians have this added layer," says attorney David Buckel, the director of the Marriage Project at the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a civil rights group. "It can be overwhelming."

Sidenote: Heh heh. In the article, Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), is quoting as having said "not one emoticon of respect." Think he might actually have said "modicum"?


1 minute, 4 seconds in London, 1904

Via Folderol, one minute and four seconds in London, 1904. I love the kid camping it up on the bridge. Metafilter says: Birkbeck College professor Ian Christie rediscovered this footage in an archive in Canberra, shot for a travelogue by film pioneer Charles Urban.

New Anxiety Medications for Coping With Economic Gloom

--a McSweeney's list by Peter Scallion. These look about as good as ice cream flavors right now:
























Toys, Games, Puzzles: Poems?

I like a call for submissions that makes me want to write poems.

It's Jessy Randall that's calling:

I am guest-editing the February 2009 issue of the online poetry magazine Snakeskin. The theme of this issue is ... TOYS, GAMES, AND PUZZLES. Send up to six poems. No previously-published poems. No simultaneous submissions. No attachments -- poems should be in the body of the email. The deadline is December 15. My email address is jessyrandall [at] yahoo [dot] com. I look forward to reading your work!

...and a toy poem I [EL, not JR, though she might, too] admire:

Chatty Cathy Villanelle
by David Trinidad

When you grow up, what will you do?
Please come to my tea party.
I'm Chatty Cathy. Who are you?

Let's take a trip to the zoo.
Tee-hee, tee-hee, tee-hee. You're silly!
When you grow up, what will you do?

One plus one equals two.
It's fun to learn your ABC's.
I'm Chatty Cathy. Who are you?

Please help me tie my shoe.
Can you come out and play with me?
When you grow up, what will you do?

The rooster says cock-a-doodle-doo.
Please read me a bedtime story.
I'm Chatty Cathy. Who are you?

Our flag is red, white and blue.
Let's makebelieve you're Mommy.
When you grow up, what will you do?
I'm Chatty Cathy. Who are you?

Theft of the Magi

Yesterday's xkcd:


Madnight: new album from RIAA

RIAA, the mashup geniuses that brought you Sounds for the Space-Set, have a new (fully free and downloadable) album out called Madnight. Their own description:

Inspirations: dreams, nightmares, Los Angeles noir film and literature, "Lowbrow" and Surreal art, carnivals and sideshows, 78 rpm records, weird old black and white movies, autumnal weather.

Sources listed include Kate Bush, some dialogue from an Ed Wood film, Tom Waits, Jelly Roll Morton, Young MC, Sal Mineo, "Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam," audio from "Children's Fairyland amusement park," a school filmstrip called "Who's Afraid?", Suzanne Vega, Alan Ladd, and many others.

You can listen to or download most of RIAA's albums here.


Exvotos and Retablos Mexicanos blog

I recently found and subscribed to La Gracia de Dar Las Gracias, a blog by Selva Prieto that posts "exvotos y retablos mexicanos y algo mas." Prieto reproduces the text under many of the image scans. I love looking at exvotos (or ex-votos), which I realize means they're probably already listed on the "Stuff White People Like" blog (okay, I just checked. They aren't, yet). Some examples from the blog, with a mish-mash of Google's translation and mine underneath:

My daughter was born with a rare disease that prevents her from receiving the sun's rays, so I had to organize a night life for us. The idea was difficult for me, but, thanks to the Virgin of San Juan, we have gotten used to a paradise of moonlight. Instead of dogs we have cats and canaries. I believe that when the time comes, my daughter will find a sensitive man who does not mind living at night.

Bats invaded Carlota Valdez's house and flew over her bed at nights and they filled her with nightmares and their dreams. She feared they could be vampires and would suck her and her cats' blood and they would be converted into the living dead for all Eternity. Very worried, Carlota prayed to Saint Quiteria for protection. The saint worked a miracle for her, the bats left to live somewhere else, and Carlota gives thanks with this altarpiece.

I was quick to anger and to shout and argue. This affected my husband and therefore my marriage was being threatened. I thank the Virgencita of Zapopan, who gave me the idea of channeling my anger into a pair of knitting needles. Now when I feel that I'm getting angry, I run and grab the fabric and start knitting furiously. I have already knitted sweaters and scarves for the whole family and for cats and dogs, and I am still knitting and weaving. Thanks to this, now I can be sweet with my husband and my family almost always.

Also of interest: Everyday Miracles: Medical Imagery in Ex-Votos
(a 9/08-1/09 exhibit at the National Library of Medicine)


Stop! It's the Claw!

image found at FFFFOUND!

"The Whole World Was Watching"--K.G. Schneider

Karen Schneider of Free Range Librarian was in Australia on the night of the US election. Here's her blog post on watching Obama's acceptance speech in a Sydney pub:

Don’t get me wrong, when it became obvious Obama was winning big, it was fun to be at the Democrats Abroad party at the Slide Nightclub in Darlinghurst, Sydney, waving my pint and shouting as the results came in. It was all the sweeter because it was clear this was no ordinary victory. To borrow an expression, “we beat them like rented mules.”

But the full significance of this election to the world at large swept over me an hour later, in an ordinary pub where a woman with a chihuahua snuggled in her arms sat outside sunning herself, men in the back played video games, and workmen struggled to install one more table near the door.

Lizanne and I had thought it was too early for McCain to concede, and were sprawled on a couch talking about the events of the day, when a screen-scroll announced that regular programming was preempted.

As Obama strode onto the stage, we stood up. This was for practical reasons — we couldn’t see the screen from where we sat — and yet it somehow felt right for other reasons. We were honoring something much larger than a new president.

The workmen put down their tools.
The bartender stopped wiping glasses.
The woman with the chihuahua walked in and stood with us.
The men in the back left their video games and came forward.
People drifted in off the street and stood quietly, eyes fixed on the screen.

No one sat. Everyone stood for Obama.

As Obama spoke, the pub was pregnant with respectful silence. I wanted to take a picture but my hands were wet from wiping away tears.

Obama finished his speech; then everyone in the pub--all but two of us Australians--cheered and applauded.

Life picked up where it left off. The television resumed its mindless daytime chatter, and soon the workmen were making a tremendous racket. The video-game players wandered to fresher territory. The woman with the chihuahua reestablished her post at the prime outdoor spot in front of the pub, her nervous little dog still tucked in her arms. Everyone else either got a beer and sat down, or stepped back into the sunshine of a Sydney spring day to resume their quotidian tasks.

But I felt, at long last, no longer an American with an asterisk, apologizing for a government at odds with the world.