21 February 2005

In Memoriam: Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson, literary icon and legendary gonzo journalist, has killed himself at the age of 67.

"Hunter Thompson took his life with a gunshot to the head at his fortified compound in Woody Creek," Juan Thompson said in a statement. "Hunter prized his privacy and we ask his friends and admirers to respect that privacy as well as that of his family."

There are links to many articles and memorials about Hunter here.

15 February 2005

Stoopid Michigan!

Damn! Another Chris Crutcher book is under fire in Michigan, this time the fabulous Whale Talk.

It seems so patently ridiculous: "In Grand Ledge, administrators sent a letter home to parents, warning them about the profanity and letting them read something else if they so chose. But Himebaugh says that's not good enough. 'I would like for them to pull the book.'"

Even better is that the dissenting parents claim God is on their side: "Reverend Himebaugh says a higher power stopped these kids from reading 'Whale Talk' on Monday, and he'll take his case to the school board Monday night so it stays that way."

Chris has posted an eloquent response to this latest mess, which reads in part: "To those who say their children don’t have those kinds of lives, I say this: Don’t be so sure, but if you’re right, they still spend six hours a day sitting in a room with other children who do have those kinds of lives, and learning to lead lives of inclusion couldn’t be such a bad thing for them. You do not protect your children by keeping them ignorant."


I almost never bring up matters of religion here, but why is it that so many people who do things in the name of Christianity seem to have skipped over the parts where Christ admonishes us to love our neighbors (Matthew 19:19, 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:8, 13:9, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8)? I don't ever remember reading the part where He said not to love certain groups or to keep from learning about others in order to keep from developing compassion. Maybe I have a different book?


Anyway, thankfully, the principal at the school in this latest case seems to have his head squarely on his shoulders. Hopefully, the School Board will as well.

And I hope that Chris sells a gazillion more copies of his amazing books as a result of this nonsense. Hell, I am considering buying an extra copy of Whale Talk to give as a gift! (I don't know to whom, but I know plenty of people who would appreciate it...)

12 February 2005

"He loved his enemas"


Then again, I do love Yahoo for sharing such fascinating stories.

This made me laugh

33 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Post Your Picture on the Internet

Making my blood boil

How unbelievably ridiculous is it that the mayor of Salinas has to pass the hat and beg for donations to try to keep the library open one day a week? For the love of John Steinbeck, how have we let things get so bad?!?

Read a Challenged Book!

A parent in Florida wants to have some of Lois Lowry's books removed from the school library. When I first heard that news, I figured that the books in question must be The Giver and its companion books. Nope. It's the Anastasia Krupnick books.

Author Lois Lowry says she's surprised and dismayed that someone wants to ban her Anastasia series of books from Polk County schools.

"I'm against book banning just in general principle," she said. "Those particular books, I'm just astonished that anyone wants to remove them from the library."


Another of my absolute favorite authors for young adults is Chris Crutcher. His work, too, is at the center of a considerable amount of fuss in Michigan: "Tension is swirling after a collection of short stories that uses derogatory racial names was removed from four public schools and a teacher was suspended for using it."

The teacher ended up keeping her job, although she was transferred to another school.

Crutcher, who is one of my personal heroes for his honest writing and obvious passionate efforts to make the world better for kids, defended his work eloquently in an open letter "To the Parents and Students (and the Surrounding Community) of Ottawa Montessori Academy Grand Rapids, Michigan:"

"I hate the words Telephone Man uses as much as any of you do. That’s why I put them in the story. They are the words of raw racism and they are depicted as such. The 'n' word (and I use that euphemism only because it seems we have lost our capability to speak real truth) is probably the single most vile word in our nation’s historical vocabulary, a sadistic weapon of a word that has been used in this nation’s history like a hammer. You don’t hide a word like that. You expose it. You tell the truth about it. Unlike the people who are challenging the story, I have confidence in our children’s intellectual ability to understand that."

Read the whole letter. Then go straight to your public library, get a copy of his award-winning book Athletic Shorts, and read "Telephone Man," the story that is causing so much fuss.

(While you're at the library, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Crutcher's King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography, one of the funniest books EVAH.)

11 February 2005

Death of a Playwright

Arthur Miller has died at the age of 89. His most famous play, of course, was Death of a Salesman. I've always been a little partial to A View From the Bridge, but that may be only because I saw it performed by the Lyric Opera.

Rest in piece, Mr. Miller. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

06 February 2005


Which Website are You?

It seems to fit in with my Librarian thing.

And I *do* like free shipping...

Thanks lalcorn!

04 February 2005

Pretty Pictures Supply Solace

I am really kinda sad about Ossie Davis, so I went searchin' for something to cheer me up and this has helped some because of its incredible beauty.

Science Boy showed me this site when I told him I wanted some "pretty pictures" of what the Hubble has seen. Sure enough, this site has a link to "Pretty Pictures." The best, most awe-inspiringly amazing part, though, is this video that shows just how far-reaching the Hubble's site is and gives some hint of the wonder it can see. Absolutely gorgeous.

Sad, sad, sad

Ossie Davis has been found dead in Miami at the age of 87.

An amazing actor and, more importantly, a genuinely good man who fought for social and racial justice throughout his life, he will be deeply missed.

Well, of course it would be a step up

For the state of Texas, I mean.

Author, musician, and icon, Kinky Friedman, has announced that he will run for Governor of Texas.

The author of numerous books, columns and songs he performed with his bar band "The Texas Jewboys," Friedman, 60, stressed he'll use humor to frame a serious candidacy in the Republican-dominated state.

"Don't worry about my lack of experience," Friedman said. "Trust me. I'm a Jew. I'll hire good people."

Poem o' the Day

It's been a little while since I posted a poem and when I just (re) read this one, it moved me quite a bit...

"When You Are Old" by William Butler Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

Aren't some things just obvious?

I heard on the radio this morning that German boxing legend Max Schmeling has died at the age of 99. "No cause of death has been given," stated the reporter.

Hmm... Interesting. You don't suppose that the fact that he was 99 years old had anything to do with it?