So Many Things Wrong, So Little Time

The People-ification of news magazines is complete, now that an article in The Economist can begin with the author getting most of her pubic hair removed and end with “moustaches are a mystery, to evolutionary biologists and to practically everyone else.”

Breaching the Web notices what many reports on mad cow disease seem to gloss over: the sick cow “was killed and the brain and spinal cord were sent for testing while the rest of the cow was butchered and sold as meat before the test results came back. “

“We feel that it may have been politically motivated”: electronic voting firm gets electronically broken in to, because they were “a patch behind.”

On color-coded alerts, Pandagon has this to say: ”
Why has it taken so long for lawmakers to realize that a gigantic, nationwide, non-specific Be Fucking Scared sign is useless?”

Should be from The Onion but is from an actual news story: “The FBI is warning police nationwide to be alert for people carrying almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books covering everything from abbreviations to weather trends could be used for terrorist planning.” They should be extra alert “especially if the books are annotated in suspicious ways.”

And a final note, this one goes out to pinheaded Democrats everywhere: the party is supposed to be running against Bush, not Dean. This kind of thing is why you fools lose elections you should win.

The Importance of Priorities

“I did not push Mr. Eaves into the Pecos River and it wasn’t my idea to tie his camera to the windshield wiper of a speeding car.” If you think this sounds interesting, check out Mr. Eaves and His Magic Camera (found via riley dog.)

Other things to see: red winter sky, a pink bike, and a clever use of photoshop and an amphibian.

Yes, it has been quiet on the blog this week, and I’m just throwing out the ‘ole links instead of really writing something now, in the hopes that faithful readers will see this as a sign I am okay, just busy and caught up in other things and not ignoring the blog.

The attention pull is a combination of many things: sadness at home (Virginia), great happiness at and much energy going into a new job (so there is no reason for the new employer to worry that I am the number one google hit for work toys), and the need to get things together for the holiday, yadda yadda yadda…

In other news, I finally acquired an ugly doll. He is not ugly, though. Babo is awesome, and I expect to be posting his adventures on spotted soon. No, I am not kidding.

This is it for now, there is — like so many other times this past week — something else calling to me. Okay, right now it is a frosted brownie, but by my own rules I am not allowed to eat on the couch, so I have to put the laptop down to go into the next room and eat it.

We Love You, Virginia

Virginia

The thing with cats is, they act just like their normal selves until suddenly they don’t — and then they are very, very sick.

Feisty, loud-mouthed, queen bee of our household, Virginia, died this morning.

She didn’t seem to be herself yesterday, so we called a vet, and kept an eye on her. We got up quite early this morning, and decided to take her to the emergency room for animals — around here that is Angell Memorial Animal Hospital. The vet, who was incredibly nice, had a hard time listening to her heartbeat, and her body temperature was abnormally low. I didn’t know what I expected to hear this morning, but it wasn’t “the prognosis is not good.”

Then while we were taking care of some paperwork, the vet came rushing in to tell us Virginia was in arrest; then she was gone, and they brought us to a quiet room and let us see her, to say goodbye.

It wasn’t the kind of thing we saw coming; it wasn’t the kind of thing where bringing her to the vet’s a day earlier would have made any difference; it isn’t the kind of thing that is supposed to happen to playful, healthy eight year old cats.

Virginia was a talker, as anyone who has spoken to me on the phone when I am at home can attest (she acts like every call must be for her) and I can’t bear to think how quiet our house is going to be now.

The Second Annual 12 frogs list of 12 media bits

Last year I put out my first list of favorites, with the rules being that each thing had to be a non-blog media bit, and new-to-me for the past year. (Non-blog because there are enough lists with blogs already, so I think this is more fun.) I’m
adding one more rule this year: it has to be a “media bit” that, in theory, someone reading this list can go experience for themselves. So the excellent East Boston Open Studios and 2nd Annual MoCCA Festival aren’t eligible for the list — they were events that are over, so you can’t go see them now. (You should, though, go see them next year.)

In alphabetical order, here is this year’s list of the media bits I
enjoyed the most and why:

Blankets I waited months and months for Craig Thompson’s graphic novel to come out. I was lucky enough to pick it up at MoCCA and have Thompson sign it. I find it is a rare thing when a book or movie can live up to the kind of expectation I had for this — it just makes enjoying it all the sweeter.

Empire Falls Richard Russo can write: he made me believe in all the characters in this small Maine town, from the assholes hanging out in the diner where Miles Roby’s worked, to his awkward teenage daughter, Tick. A believable slice of life as it is, not always as it should be, and all the better for that.

Finding Nemo Yes, there is the standard Disney element of killing off a parent (and overboard even for them, eliminating 499 siblings in the first five minutes) but Pixar really has the chops — it is a visually stunning picture. It is funny and smart enough for grownups, too. Best of all, I went to see this with someone who was really really excited to see the movie, and that made it even more fun.

Gould’s Book of Fish Richard Flanagan’s novel is one of the most unusual and engrossing novels I’ve ever read. It is about William Buelow Gould, a convict imprisoned at Sarah’s Island, but like all great novels it is about a lot of other things, too: “Once upon a time, terrible things happened, but it was long ago in a far-off place that everyone knows is not here or now or us.”

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix I don’t care if the latest from J.K. Rowling is on everybody else’s list, I’m still putting it on mine. L read the entire thing to me out loud — that was so much fun I’d probably have to put this on the list, even if the story wouldn’t have otherwise made the top twelve. And yes, Harry was an asshole in this book.

James Kochalka’s Sketchbook Diaries, volumes One, Two and Three I admit it is kind of weasel-like to count three volume as one bit, but hey it is my list so I can do what I want. I did get these all at the same time, and read them in close succession, and I think of them as one set. Also, I couldn’t pick just one, I loved them all. Kochalka has a warped sense of humor, he isn’t afraid to embarass himself by revealing his quirks, and he draws a really cute cat.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Not the third one, but the second: I saw it after December 12th last year, so it belongs on this year’s list. (I have high hopes LoTR: Return of the King will make next year’s list.) The Ents were amazing, Gollum was fascinating and creepy, and it was among the best $10 I’ve ever spent on entertainment.

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint Brady Udall’s novel was wonderful. Edgar gets his head run over by a truck almost immediately, and I can’t even say that is the worst thing to happen to him. Not a depressing book, though. Funny, adventurous in a nontraditional way, and deeply satisfying.

The Red Tree You can probably find Shaun Tan’s book in the Children’s section, but you need to go look at it even if you don’t have kids. The art is beautiful, not at all what you might expect from a children’s book because it isn’t easy or cute — it is haunting. A great message for kids, and one they probably don’t get often enough, about fear, loneliness, and the power of hope.

The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone Another kid’s book, Timothy Basil Ering’s first one on his own. This is the kind of book kids will want to touch, and will no doubt quickly memorize because so much of the story is fun to say out loud. Ering wrote the story, hand-lettered all the text, and created the illustrations. The art is multilayered, dark, absorbing, and unusual; the story combines the right amount of menace, expectations, and reward. Go look for it:
“Frog Belly Rat Bone,
one, two, three . . .
You must be patient and
then you will see. . . .”

Stranger Things Happen A weird collection of stories from Kelly Link. Stranger things may happen, but you will have a hard time finding anyone else writing them down. Early this year I was complaining that all the new-to-me books I was finding and really enjoying were all written by men — then I found this.

X-2: X-Men United I don’t feel one bit apologetic for loving this movie. I looked forward to it, I loved it, and as soon as the credits rolled I asked L when she wanted to see it again. I loved the opening scenes of the attack on the President, I loved it when Magneto said “You are a God among insects, never let anyone tell you different,” I loved it that the freaks kick ass, I loved it that the movie’s morality is more complicated than simple good vs evil.

That’s my list. What is on yours?