Monday, December 22, 2008

Watch Your Back, Chemists

From xkcd:

Click through to get a closer look.

Now that I know what power they have, I kind of want to go back and major in biology.

A Million Little Diagnoses

James Frey's gotten in trouble for writing not-so-nonfictiony nonfiction. So he's moved onto fiction. But now he's going a little more historical. Apparently he's looking to write the third testament of the Bible. He says:

"'My idea of what the Messiah would be like if he were walking the streets of New York today. What would he believe? What would he preach? How would he live? With who?'' Frey said his version would see Jesus living with a prostitute. 'It doesn't matter how or who you love. I don't believe the messiah would condemn gay men and women.' Judas, meanwhile, would be the 'same as he was two thousand years ago', a 'selfish man who thinks of himself before the good of humanity, who values money more than love.'"

Okay, it's a nice idea, I guess. Basically Jesus is someone who loves everybody, even if contemporary society doesn't think they're cool. (Lepers, anyone?) But is that really a unique idea? What I'd like to see is Frey do something else with this. I can see it as an okay idea that doesn't really go anywhere.

It's a challenge, Frey. Step up.*

*Not that I've actually read his books. But even if this were an author I loved, I'd expect a lot of work out of this idea.

Books For a Happier Christmas

JK Rowling should get an award from the publishing world. Every time she releases a book, the industry explodes. And although the Harry Potter series is over, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is no exception. In about two weeks, it's sold over 2 million copies.

"Oh, gee," you might say, "that's so great for her. Yay, she can get another castle."

Hey, if JK wants another castle, JK should get another castle! But she's more giving than that:

"Rowling today thanked everyone who had bought a copy of the book. 'I am absolutely delighted that so much money has been raised,' she said. 'All royalties will be going to help children without families, many of them with disabilities, whose voices have been unheard for many years.'"

Although the reviews for Beedle aren't quite as strong as they have been for Harry Potter, I don't think Rowling is going for the same level of storytelling. This sounds like a charming series of tales from the magical world we all know and love. (Perhaps stories the Weasley children would have grown up hearing.)

Hurray for JK!

"All I did was trade lunchables"

Why didn't you tell me baby?

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Twenty five years old is not too old to pick up a new sport... right?

Let's Get Retrospective

It's the end of December, that time to look back at the things we've learned this year. And who better to guide us than Sarah Haskins.

She's so right about that armpit commercial.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hedgehogs are Taking Over the World

And rightfully so! With their combination of prickly and adorable, they're the cutest of woodland animals. One blog documents their movements in society--real hedgehogs, hedgehogs on baked goods, hedgehog ornaments, etc. And it's called Hedgies, Hedgies, Hedgies!

Be still my heart!

No Man is a Failure Who Has Friends

It's a Wonderful Life becomes more and more meaningful every year.

(Yay for Indexed!)

Scones for a Snowday

I made these:

meyer lemon and fresh cranberry scones

Although I don't think the lemons I used were meyers. And I added some lemon juice. (Also the picture isn't mine.) But they're totally delicious and the recipe is really easy to follow.

Also, smitten kitchen (the blog this recipe is from) is fantastic and one of my favorites.

Puppet Love

Yesterday I got to see Twilight, which was just as angsty as I would have hoped. Plus Edward's hair was about three feet tall. (I was also surprised at how pretty Washington is, and how genuine some of the characters seemed.) But if you don't have the time/money/inclination to actually see it on the big screen, check out the puppet version:

Dramatic puppets! Apples with faces!

And one more

Because you love this stuff, right?

Go Butterball, go!

More Cute Stuff

There's a snowstorm coming, so why not be inside with puppies?

He's so teeny!

Hammer Time!

Sharks are cool. But you always see the Great Whites, the Makos, the Baskings, etc. The Hammerhead Shark is really funky looking, but for some reason I never see them as often. (You know, at shark conferences.) So I always assumed they were a little smaller, maybe a little less aggressive.

Not this guy.

A 600 + pound, 12 + foot long hammerhead was caught off the coast of Florida.

If I saw him in the water, I would freak the hell out. He looks like something seriously out of a prehistoric era. (Which sharks are, but most of the time I forget that, being so used to seeing them on the Discovery Channel.) And look at those teeth! This guy is a freaky killing machine.

But still really cool to see.

Howling Buddies

It might be cold out, but this warmed my heart.

He's so tiny! And the noise is so cute! My brain! My brain!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm Not Happy

Pout it out, princess.

I Figure You Probably Drink Things From Time to Time

There's a lot of pressure around the holidays, particularly in the gift department. Usually I limit the gifts to people I'm particularly close to--my boyfriend, my superclose friends, my immediate family, that kind of thing. But sometimes you know you have to get a present for someone you don't really care about. It's not a "here, I thought a lot about it and I really hope you like it," present. It's "I secretly hope you die" gift. And sometimes those thoughts slip into your actual gift.

Check out this list of the things Christmas presents could say.

Some favorites:

Can't Get You Outta My Head

A warning: this is pretty gross. Stories about parasitic twins usually are.

But this isn't your average parasitic twin! In Colorado, a surgeon removed a tumor from an infant's brain. Oops, not just a tumor. There were also some body parts in there--specifically an "almost perfect" foot, along with a partially formed hand, foot, and thigh.

Ewwww. But Dr. Paul Grabb was a little gentler with the language:

"It looked like the breach delivery of a baby, coming out of the brain..To find a perfectly formed structure (like this) is extremely unique, unusual, borderline unheard of."

Ewwww again.

So this baby's super special. I sure hope his parents tell him about this when he's sixteen or so. That'll make him feel awesome.

Also, apparently this isn't a totally unheard of issue. They even have a name for it: "fetus in fetu" — in which a fetal twin begins to form within another. Talk about being close with your sibling. But it's extremely rare for this to have happened in the brain.

Feel the glow of your specialness, little baby Esquibel.

(The photo is to remind you of cute twins. Grossness over.)

Modern Wisdom

From today's Quotes on my Google homepage:

"Everyone's a hero in their own way, in their own not that heroic way."
Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jed Whedon, Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, 2008

Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, Joss Whedon. Men of genius.



Lil Jon -- rapper/philosopher if ever there was...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wanna Know How I Got These Scars?

Check out the Joker from the old Batman show. Not exactly Heath Ledger. But I used to love that show--Batgirl was kind of my hero. And Cesar Romero totally camped up the Joker.

Look! He even hit his mark! Good archenemy!

Maybe He Can Make a Tiny Spaceship or Castle

Not at all related to real news: Blagojevich has Lego hair.

Attack on Cute

At Lady Faces, we like cute things. We like uglycute things. And we even like when people try to argue against cute things. At Fuck You, Penguin, once voice stands alone against all the cute on the internet.

For example, the Sloth. Not ubercute, but he's got those sleepy little eyes. But watch out, Sloth!:

"Sloth, get off your fucking ass and get down out of that tree. I don't care if it is practically impossible for you to walk on the ground, you've been sleeping for nearly a full day now and you promised you would start looking for a job this morning. WELL IT'S ALMOST TWO IN THE FUCKING AFTERNOON. And have you taken a shower recently? Your hair looks like it is literally made out of straw."

Dream it away, little sloth.

Then there's the Platypus:

"What. The. Fuck. I don't even know what to say, Platypus. YOU MAKE NO SENSE. You're like some kind of anti-drug message, designed to make high people totally freak the fuck out. You are so weird, Platypus, that they don't even have a universally agreed-upon word for the plural form of you. That's because if you see two of these animals(?) together, the fabric of space and time will literally tear apart. Remind me to never close my eyes again, Platypus, you duck-billed asshole."

This blogger might seem mean, but I think underneath he secretly loves these animals. For example, the Squirrel:

"You little fucker, you think you can just fucking waltz into our lives like nothing ever happened, but I know your kind, Squirrel. I turn my back for one second and you are causing power outages and breaking the noses of Finnish opera singers. So just go back to being hunched over nibbling on an acorn in my backyard, because you can stand there waiting for an invitation to my Christmas party all you want, IT'S NOT GOING TO COME. You may have found my weakness for animals that stand on two legs, but I'm smarter than you, Squirrel. And I will defeat you."

He's just trying to protect himself against so much cute. But no one can hold out for that long. I like to think after he's done ranting, the writer waits a minute and then hugs all the animals while Disney music plays in the background.

Or maybe the cute things of the world are just getting their due. Watch out, cutes and uglycutes!

They Were Nice Hats

The fact from my Nantucket Nectars today:

"In 1692, Nantucket was purchased for 30 English pounds and two beavers hats."

How did that deal go down?

The Dog Days of College

Finals are rough. Or ruff. Because at the University of Pittsburgh, they bring in the dogs for exam-time stress relief.

"Every Tuesday night from 7 to 8 p.m., university officials let the dogs into the Commons Rooms, a heavily used study area...About 25 dogs participate in the program, which is called College Canine. All of the dogs and their owners attended training classes at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, and all passed a tough test that won them certification from Therapy Dogs International."

What a great idea! I want to snuggle puppies every day, but especially during stressy periods like the end of the semester. Although, as Dan at Best Week Ever says:

"I love that they say the dogs ‘participate,’ like the dogs mulled it over then decided to sign up and donate their time. I also love picturing myself going to ‘College Canine’ nights and not studying for three hours leading up to the dogs’ arrival because 'the dogs are almost here' then playing with the dogs for an hour then not studying for another three hours because 'c’mon, we just played with the dogs!'"

Yeah...that's actually how it would go. Oh well. We can dream.

Is "Bucket" Supposed to Rhyme With "Fish?"

It's so catchy!

And I love the backpack!

Can I Get This For My Thesis?

It's a treehouse/writehouse!

Private Library from A Space In Time on Vimeo.

Although I think it might be too much pressure--"Come to your special writing home, where you will write great works of literature! Be meaningful!"

So for now it's just coffee shops and the library. But maybe someday I'll live in the treehouse and go to write elsewhere.

Under the Sea

Check out these amazing underwater sculptures by artist Jason de Caires Taylor. He's created several sculptures of people/things and put them at the bottom of the ocean, where water and barnacles and natural decomposition have their way with the art. Really engaging, really eerie, really awesome.

A description from his website:

"Jason de Caires Taylor’s underwater sculptures create a unique, absorbing and expansive visual seascape. Highlighting natural ecological processes Taylor’s interventions explore the intricate relationships that exist between art and environment. His works become artificial reefs, attracting marine life, while offering the viewer privileged temporal encounters, as the shifting sand of the ocean floor, and the works change from moment to moment."

I love stuff like this. Anything that takes art into the real world, utilizing what's around us--that gets me every time. Here are just a few favorites:

Moments that make you cringe a little

A personal story from my evening...

I left work at 9:30pm feeling a little ill. Nothing horrid, but something queasy in the tummy. I'd intended to go to the gym, but I didn't quite feel up to it as I walked out. I got on the subway, started to feel better, and thought I'd maybe try to get that workout in afterall. I get off at the stop near my gym. Not drastically out of the way, but not the stop I'd use otherwise. And it's not until I push back out of the turnstyle that I realize I'd left my gym bag at the office in a moment of not feeling well. Oops. Well look, I'm right in front of Urban Outfitters. Maybe I'll pop in and see if that skirt in the window would look cute on me in addition to the mannequin... you know... for kicks...

I'm listening to Heartbeats by the Knife on my pod as I approach the store. I'm about 5 steps away as I hit pause, and start to wrap up my earbuds. I enter the store, and what's playing? Heartbeats by the Knife. Cue cringing. Actual physical cringing. Don't get me wrong, I like this song, and heck -- five years ago this type of coincidence would have made me feel cool, but tonight it just made my stomach flip all over again at the misery of my own homogeneity.

So I went home and have been listening to bluegrass have the night... I stumbled across this. I feel just a little better.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Grammar Owl


Reject Rejections

Everyone knows the pain of rejection. Writers get little pieces of paper telling us we didn't make the cut. So I loved this rephrasing of various lit journals' rejection notes. It's like what they do with movie reviews.

Some favorites:

“YOUR STORY DID … MEET OUR STANDARDS…” —American Literary Review

“WE … PUBLISH IT … WE APPRECIATE …” —The Paris Review

“… YOU THE BEST[!] …” —Faultline

I am so going to cut up future rejection letters and do this on my own.

Swan's Way

Black swans are gorgeous. They also remind me of parks in London.

More presidential pet news

I am behind the curve on this story by a couple days, but before there was Barney there was Socks. THE GREATEST PRESIDENTIAL PET EVER.

Socks is sick. He's also 19, so it's not that unexpected. Apparently the kitty is on death's doorstep thanks to a bad case of cancer.

Keep Socks in your thoughts and prayers. We haven't had such a high profile cat in the White House in a while (I barely knew who "Willard" was when I watched Barney's most recent video). I think Socks was a far classier pet than any we've seen recently. He never bit anyone. He was a mutt, yet dignified -- just look at that regal pose.

And sadly, we probably won't be seeing a new feline cosying up in the rose garden anytime soon with the allergic little dog lovers moving in. So the death of Socks will certainly be the nail in the coffin on the era of classy presidential pets.

In Every Generation, There is a Sparkly One

Even though I like to make fun of Twilight, I know that if I were thirteen again, I'd freak the hell out over it. Forbidden vampire love? Heck yeah! After all, I was obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer throughout middle and high school. That Buffy/Angel thing? So fantastic, especially for a thirteen year-old who thinks that maybe true love means one of you is undead.

But everything on Buffy was so much smarter. The Buffy/Angel thing wasn't some weird, stalker-boyfriend thing. (Edward does save Bella a lot, sure, but she's also a weak little bunny.) Buffy kicked ass on her own. And she had her own set of friends. And her own problems outside of "Hey, I'm dating a vampire!"

So when I saw Edward vs. Buffy, I laughed out loud. A glimpse:

BUFFY: Uh-huh. All right, Bunnicula. Step away from the damsel and let's do this. EDWARD: But Bella needs my protection! She'll hurt herself terribly if I'm not there to protect her. BUFFY: Riiiight. Seriously, not even Riley was this lame.

I can only hope this is how the series ends. And that young Twilight fans eventually stumble across Buffy.

The Great Debate

On Inside the Actor's Studio, James Lipton always asks, "What's your favorite curse word?" Right now, mine might be asshat. At least, it's my favorite thing to call someone I don't like. But this term has also raised questions.

What is an asshat?
Should it be asshat or ass-hat or ass hat?
Is it a hat on an ass?
Or a hat that looks like an ass--in other words, a butthead?

As for the definitely, I say the latter. I think of asshats as buttheads. Their heads are so full of stupid that it might as well be their ass.

If they wore a hat on their ass, they'd just look silly. But that's what people have mentioned to me so far.

What do you think of when you think of "asshat?"

I hope that's not plugged in!

Don't iron the kitten, Steve!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm gonna miss him when he moves out...

The White House is losing one totally lovable little guy this coming January.

No, not George. Barney! He and his ladyfriend Miss Beazley have been inhabiting the White House along with the Bushes for years now. They've also starred in a series of Christmas videos.

This year's Barney Christmas video just posted recently. You can find it here. As you'll notice, it proves once again that Jenna Bush may be the worst actress ever. You should watch this video because it is spectacularly hokie. I mean REALLY hokie. It's bad, but bad in a way that's almost good again. There's awkward dialogue between the first family. Weird references to the Olympics in the form of a strange dog dream. And Michael Phelps porn (not really porn, just gratuitous Phelps). Watch til the end, so you can see the credits that take up almost a third of the total run time, and feature awkwardly laughing George and another cute clip of Barney.

Merry Christmas Barney and Miss Beazley. I'll miss you.

Wayback Machine (to April)

"I proudly accept this award and begrudgingly forgive the Peabody Committee for taking three years to recognize greatness. On a personal note, I'd like to say that I've long been a fan of Mr. Peabody, as well as his boy Sherman."

— Stephen Colbert, upon receiving a Peabody Award for The Colbert Report.

It's a Vengeful Life

Apparently back in the day, villains in movies had to be punished. That way, people would see crime doesn't pay. But in It's a Wonderful Life, Mr. Potter never gets his punishment. SNL takes care of that:


Also, from IMDB trivia: "Vincent Price was considered for the part of Mr. Potter."


Scariest Christmas movie ever!

I've Got My Acceptance Speech Ready

The Academy loves certain performances. Actors know this. They love a good biopic. (Musical ones have been big recently.) So if you want your Oscar, make sure you have one of these roles on your schedule for next year:

From Pretty to Not So Pretty


Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

This time around The Joker's trademark grin was the result of a terribly severed face rather than a clever make-up job. In fact, his make-up job was more slapped together than detailed clown paint. Ledger used the creepy look to jumpstart, and elevate, Batman's famed arch-nemesis to a whole new level of sinister, one far beyond the snickering purple-suited no-gooder of performances past. This Joker was a tragic, psychologically warped figure who simply wanted "to watch the world burn."

Charlize Theron in Monster

Charlize Theron in Monster

Quite simply one of the most stunning transformations in movie history, Theron's performance often came second to the visual shock of seeing the South African beauty attain the look of Aileen Wuornos. Theron also offered a nuanced performance, channeling the ugly girl within to play the psychologically conflicted real life killer.

Oscar Bait: Physical and Mental Disabilities


Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump

Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump

After surfacing in the '80s by portraying various incarnations of the same funlovin' character in silly comedies like The Man with One Red Show and The Burbs, Hanks officially completed his transformation to legitimate actor with this touching portrayal of Winston Groom's titular character. He also took home the Best Actor Oscar for the second consecutive year, which should have been enough to erase Joe Versus the Volcano and Tuner and Hooch from audiences' minds forever.

Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man

Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man

He'd already pulled off playing a woman, so the autistic Raymond Babbitt should have been a walk in the park by comparison. One of America's best actors for more than two decades, Hoffman's performance in Rain Man made you completely forget anything the actor had done before. He simply was the Rain Man. Sadly, the performance had the side-effect of opening the floodgates for a sea of Oscar hopefuls banking on mentally challenged roles to bait their Oscar fishing line. (see "Failures" below).

Don't forget to check out the others, as well as the potential failures. (When you go from pretty to ugly, don't get a fat suit. The Oscar doesn't love that.)

And Joe the Plumber Has a Book Deal

From Media Bistory, the big question: What is this recent trouble in the publishing world going to do for books?

There are two camps: the "Fewer books mean more quality books" side and the "big publishers will focus on for-sure sells and celebrity authors."

I can't really see much of an argument for the former. Sure, usually when you have to really focus on what you sell, you want it to be the best of the best. Unless you can sell Paris Hilton's dog autobiography and people will actually buy it. So why try out this amazing new writer if you can just get Joe the Plumber to "write" a book? It makes sense when you think that these people are looking at the bottom line.

Of course, I think that small presses have an opportunity to step it up and get people's attention with good work. They might be the saving grave of the publishing decline--that is, if they can survive that long.

I'm Glad They're Not Dead

Bea Arthur and Angela Lansbury
: two awesome ladies.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I love London. If it weren't so expensive and so far away from everyone I know, I'd live there in a heartbeat. So Little Green Street blows my mind. Off Highgate, it's one of the few original Georgian streets in London. From the Little Green Street website:

"Most of the dozen houses were built in the 1780s, are Grade II listed, and both survived the Blitz and more than two hundred years of wear and tears from the generations who have raised their children in the narrow cobbled terrace."

So basically, Little Green Street is a survivor. Except now it's in danger:

"Although, after eight years of campaigning by more than fifteen thousand people...Camden Council are still vacillating about whether the construction work on a gated community with an underground car park should continue."

Come on, London. Leave your pretty street alone. Especially when it looks like this around Christmas time. (Anyone want to plan a visit?)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Where's Pac Man?

Creativity with snow--yep, it's winter.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Why So Serious?


Maybe he bought some more colorful vests.

Honest to Blog

It's a thing. Whenever something comes out that's indie and hip and whatever. And then the hipsters decide too many people like it so they turn their backs. It's not indie and hip enough. It's actually lame. In fact, it's the worst thing ever.

Such was the case with Juno.

Not a surprise. It is really, really dialoguey in the beginning. I happen to love stuff like that--I like Gilmore Girls and Pamela Dean novels--so it worked for me. But not for everyone. I understand that. You don't have to love every movie. But when it's a year after Juno was released and you try to hope on the "I Hate Juno" bandwagon now, like you're the first person to find it annoying? Then you're just a hipster-wannabe asshat:

"Which brings us to the plot, with its weird pro-life message based on the single unconvincing fact that fetuses have fingernails (?), its focus on idiosyncratic but completely unnecessary details, like Michael Cera's orange tic tacs "addiction," which is about as interesting and important to the story as the entirety of Garden State. Then there's Juno's blatant hodgepodge of well-worn mid-90s to mid-00s indie tropes. There's the hand-crafted graphics and twee visual motifs made popular by Wes Anderson and Napoleon Dynamite. There's the older man falling for a teenager subplot of American Beauty, Beautiful Girls, Election, and half a dozen other movies. "

First of all, thanks for rehashing every argument made since January. You added a lot to the world. Second, I love idiosyncratic details. Again, I know other people don't, but I think they make an imaginary world fun. Juno's world is obviously not the real world, and that's a reason I like it. I want to see how people really interact, I want The Hills and tear out my eyeballs. Third, the pro-life thing is a little forced, but Juno isn't a big pro-lifey girl and it took one creepy thing to freak her out. We needed that to make sense of the situation for this character. The visual motifs are valid for the teen world in which Juno lives. (With some of the most realistic looking teens ever in film.) And the "older man" plot is one of those things like the "Romeo and Juliet" plot or the "underdog" plot. It's a thing. deal.

Is Juno the next Citizen Kane? No. Is it trying to be? No! It's a genuine, sweet, funny movie. You don't have to love it. You don't even have to like it. But you don't have to be an asshat about it, either.

The Shame Will Be With You. Always.

Animals always look bad in costume. They know it. They hate it. But no more so than these two adorable dogs.

Although they're so cute that it makes me kind of want to replicate this scenario. My boyfriend insists animals should not wear costumes...but look at the little wig on that little face!

When a Piece of Popcorn is as Big as Your Head

It's a big day for videos here at Lady Faces!

Check out this adorable hamster! Sometimes hamsters are mean and bite, but this one's a bundle of cute. He just wants the popcorn.

The music really makes it. And he's so tiny!

Go Back in Time

The best thing about the end of the year is all the "Best of..." lists. (December 1999 was huge into that.) So let's look back at all those videos we IMed to friends this year.

My favorites? The Bert and Ernie, the Barack Roll, and the lion-love.

We're Going to Say Vague Things About Freedom!

Before the internet, people would say "Wouldn't it be great if we had a video compilation of..." And now that can be a reality, thanks to the painstaking editing of some people. Check out the inspirational video montage.

I love those inspirational moments in movies. Having them all talking about one big thing--awesome. And the ending!

Run, Kitten, Run!

I wonder what's going on in the minds of kittens.

Do they think "This is so much fun and I'm having an awesome time?" or "Fuck it, I am getting up that damn slide!"?

Either way, we win.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

So What's Next For the Tube?

The new proposal for the London bus redesign scares me.

Watch Yourself, Dennis

From the first sentence of his article, Dennis Drabelle and I have issues:

"There comes a time in every reader's life when he or she graduates from kids books and young-adult titles to nonfiction with no holds barred and fiction that draws on the full resources of the language in portraying complex human relationships."

Because obviously adult fiction is more emotionally resonant than children's literature. Because Everyone Worth Knowing has more language portraying complex human relationships than, say, Where the Red Fern Grows. Because adult fiction is inherently better than children's literature. Because reading and appreciating children's lit as an adult is like wearing diapers at age 30.

But whatever.

Sure, his list of "Five Books That Made You Feel Like an Adult Reader" is solid. He mentions a Bronte. He mentions Dracula. But I refuse to acknowledge his attitude that he just had to graduate to better books.

By the time I was 14, I had read Jane Eyre and Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird and freakin' loved them. Still do. But I didn't think of them as "adult books" vs. the children's books I'd been reading. I just enjoyed books. Whoever wanted to give me a good story--whether it be about 10 year-olds or 50 year-olds--I was game. It's like saying only Bach or Mozart wrote good music, dismissing the Beatles or Cole Porter.

One of the most emotionally resonant, interesting books I've ever read was The Giver. It made me think a whole lot more than The Great Gatsby. (And I like The Great Gatsby.) It's a really engaging view of a dystopian society, and a powerful ending. Why should it matter that it's directed to middle schoolers?

I think Carlie at Librarilly Blonde says it best:

"I don't think readers should read only children's and YA books all their lives. I certainly enjoyed my fair share of adult books when I was a teen and I expect that most of you reading this did as well. I do think, however, that children's and YA literature is not to be dismissed by any reader, especially those who think enough of their own maturity to call themselves grownups."



If you ask me, cilantro should be used in moderation, but Charlotte feels differently, apparently.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Want to Be a Weasley

I am a redhead! I'd fit right in!

TMI, Easter Bunny, T-M-I

Click it if the image is illegible here.

Word on the Street

Graffiti seen this morning, on a "No Turn" sign:


Subscription rates go up?

Or just worried about the paper?

Hold on to Your Handlebar...Mustache!

Followers of Gwenyth West, can you tell me what period of dress he's in? As always, give three irrefutable reasons.

What Are Those Laws About Goat Slaughtering?

Check out this Newsweek article about gay marriage and the Bible--and what exactly the Bible says. The author, Lisa Miller, is obviously pro-gay marriage, but I think it's good to take a look at the context of the passages people usually quote when referencing homosexuality in the Bible. For example:

"The Bible does condemn gay male sex in a handful of passages. Twice Leviticus refers to sex between men as 'an abomination' (King James version), but these are throwaway lines in a peculiar text given over to codes for living in the ancient Jewish world, a text that devotes verse after verse to treatments for leprosy, cleanliness rituals for menstruating women and the correct way to sacrifice a goat—or a lamb or a turtle dove. Most of us no longer heed Leviticus on haircuts or blood sacrifices; our modern understanding of the world has surpassed its prescriptions. Why would we regard its condemnation of homosexuality with more seriousness than we regard its advice, which is far lengthier, on the best price to pay for a slave?"

Leviticus is a whole crazy list of "dos" and "don'ts." Miller's right to reference issues of slavery. (And it's not just the Israelites and Egyptians. Remember the weirdness of Abraham and the whole pregnancy issue?) Obviously we don't have slaves anymore. And just as most of us aren't so careful about our goat-slaughtering, we need to reassess what religious laws mean in contemporary life.

And what about the New Testament? Miller says:

"The biblical Jesus was—in spite of recent efforts of novelists to paint him otherwise—emphatically unmarried. He preached a radical kind of family, a caring community of believers, whose bond in God superseded all blood ties...There will be no marriage in heaven, he says in Matthew. Jesus never mentions homosexuality, but he roundly condemns divorce (leaving a loophole in some cases for the husbands of unfaithful women)."

The divorce issue is one that gets me. How do we legally accept divorce and not homosexual relationships? If we're going to be so strict about these "rules," how does divorce get by?

Most of the time, I think the Bible isn't black-and-white. The general idea of "be kind to each other" is spot on. But even Jesus shook up people's ideas of what was religiously right and important. (How many times does he encounter somebody who gets the religion thing wrong?) So we can't assume that everything we have in this book is exactly what it seems to say. Add to that the issue of translation and human error, and you get a really, really complicated text.

That's not to say that you can't interpret the Bible how you want. But I think the issue of interpretation is so interesting, and one scholars and religious leaders are still wrestling with.

For me, a nice moment came when I was at mass recently, and the priest mentioned how there was a new gay/lesbian/transgender/bisexual support group forming at the church for people who are looking for support in the community, or for people who are looking to support those people. He ended with "Everyone is welcome at God's table."