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Monday, November 15, 2021

Greetings

Welcome to the blog, 'zine, and bookstore of Priscilla King. We encourage comments, contact, and support. If the comments section isn't working, or the "contact" tab isn't showing, please feel free to e-mail salolianigodagewi@yahoo.com (our Message Squirrel's address, which routes messages to Priscilla King, Grandma Bonnie Peters, Gena Greene, and others). And please e-mail us if you'd like to buy anything you've seen here.

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As discussed below, due to recent world events our discussions of U.S. political issues have moved to a U.S.-only web site called Freedom Connector. Many writers, elected officials, and others active in U.S. politics have pages at this site. U.S. readers should find it easier to comment and socialize at FC than it's been here.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review: Being Committed

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Being Committed
       
Author: Anna Maxted

Author's web page: http://annamaxtedbooks.squarespace.com/

Date: 2004
       
Publisher: Harper Collins
       
ISBN: 0-06-009670-5
       
Length: 372 pages
       
Quote: “I was a girl with the best gadgets, the smallest phone, the biggest TV. And yet I felt with the girl with the biggest phone, the smallest TV.”
       
When Hannah, the central character quoted above, starts narrating this novel, she’s been asked to marry a man three times. By the end, it will be four times. There are only two men in Hannah’s life, apart from work and family. Her commitment-phobic relationships with them form the plot of this romantic comedy.
       
Actually, it’s more of a psychological case study than a romantic comedy, and the psychology is not necessarily wrong, exactly, but older-fashioned than Hannah is. Hannah has a good oldfashioned Freudian complex about marriage because her parents have a bad marriage. In order to choose between her two less than thrilling young men, she has to shift her loyalties from her father to her mother, stop blaming her mother for sleeping with one of her primary school teachers and start blaming her father for sending her into the room where she caught them in flagrante delicto, and start thinking of her mother as “depressed” instead of “bad.”
       
I think what puts me, personally, off a script like this one is the historical reality that it was a script. There were a few dozen similar scripts. When I was Hannah’s age, which was probably around the time Anna Maxted was Hannah’s age, the scripts were taken very seriously. Presumably they did work for some people in real life, just as neatly as they do for Hannah in the novel. For people I actually knew, the scripts didn’t work, and instead of simply accepting that the scripts might have fitted some people’s real stories but not ours, the people who wanted our real lives to fit their scripts psycho-hexed us with creepy talk about our relatively trivial problems having deep roots that were probably destined to develop into real mental illness later on...
       
So Maxted trots Hannah through her psychological script, and it works for Hannah. I can suspend disbelief long enough to laugh at how neatly and comically it works for Hannah. If, at the end of the book, I like Hannah less than I liked her at the beginning, if I would never have accepted a second date with either of her men and if I hope no male friend or relative of mine would have asked Hannah for a second date...well, comedy is what we pay Maxted for, and comic characters are supposed to be thickwitted and have psychological blind spots a yard wide. I find myself thinking, “Hannah is awfully immature, Jason’s a bore, and Jack’s a jerk,” and then I remember how seldom fictional characters come alive even to those extents.


        
If you've read other romantic comedies by this writer and like her comedic style, you must have Being Committed. If  you like laughing at a fictional character more than with her, then you’ll probably enjoy Being Committed. There are better romantic comedies. Anna Maxted wrote some of them. But there are certainly worse ones. According to Amazon, quite a few people who normally like romances (which I don't) love Being Committed.

Fair Trade Books are books this web site is able to sell secondhand at a price from which we can send ten percent to the author. The baseline price, the one we put on nearly all Fair Trade Books, is $5 for the book + $5 for shipping. Shipping charges are consolidated for as many books as can be shipped in one package. Out of this total $10, the writer, or a charity of her/his choice, will receive $1. If you'd like to encourage Anna Maxted in this way, e-mail salolianigodagewi @ yahoo.com.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Link Log for January 26

Sarah Arrow lists places to find digital pictures:

http://www.sarkemedia.com/choose-right-images-content/

My longish comment appears below this newspaper article:

http://fairfaxfreecitizen.com/2015/01/25/14667/

Once again, here's where to find my comments on the Virginia legislature. There's a link to an education-specific web site some Virginia readers will want to follow, too:

http://connect.freedomworks.org/node/195382

I liked the image of "finding facts and fingers" to support controversial positions. There is no such thing as non-controversial writing. Blogs that try to avoid all controversy are boring blogs. Blogs that tolerate controversy as long as people can debate things in a civil way tend to attract "the finger" from trolls...but what do youall think?

http://www.bloggingwizard.com/blogging-controversy/

Daniel Mandel shares fun facts about America's all-time favorite Prime Minister, Winston Churchill:

http://spectator.org/articles/61578/fifty-years-winston%E2%80%99s-death

I found a set of three bills relating to animals that aren't what's ordinarily called "political" at all, but were obviously written at the behest of the Humane Pet Genocide Society, basically in order to legalize petnapping. Then there's this abomination, forbidding people even to try to sell pets to good homes before putting them in horrible HSUS shelters:

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+ful+SB1001

This is not politics. It's business, and unfortunately the business is being voted on by outsiders who don't realize how profoundly  inhumane the effects of HSUS' agenda really would be.

Does bad news excite you? Energize you?

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/109200282201/reaction-to-bad-news

Christians who are just too, too sensitive...or have lost the faith? Doesn't George Stephanopoulos belong to the Greek Orthodox church any more?

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/26/our-god-wins-bobby-jindal-pressed-by-stephanopoulos-on-whether-it-is-the-presidents-job-to-lead-a-spiritual-revival-and-heres-how-he-responded/

Warning: this post is about dogs and trees. Charming postcard picture!

dogpawsitivetidbits.com

Current fashions to crochet? Yes, crocheted clothing is back in fashion. Retro-chic.

http://marshasspot.blogspot.com/2015/01/super-sunday-reviews-fashion-crochet.html

Here's a rarity: in Mongolia, icy weather causes the sun to appear reflected like a triptych.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/25/how-many-suns-see-how-a-rare-phenomenon-drastically-changed-an-asian-skyline/

Was 2014 "the hottest year on record"? Really? Where? I remember it as quite a mild summer. The summer of 1987 was brutal. The summer of 1986 was disastrously dry. The summer of 1999 was mild in the western point of Virginia, but deadly hot and dry in the east and Maryland. But 2014 was, in my part of the world at least, a year of nicer than average weather--more sunny 68-degree-Fahrenheit spring and autumn days, not very many Code Red heat waves, no really intensive cold weather, and quite a lot of sunshine.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/25/ap-reports-that-2014-was-the-hottest-year-on-record-then-they-issue-a-clarification-that-says-something-very-different/

Just because this web site opposes censorship, let's repeat it here: Illegal. Illegal. Illegal. So b'there. I said it and I'm glad. There's nothing racist about it: if there is a law, and you break it, you're illegal.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/25/despite-vandalism-protests-and-pressure-newspaper-wont-cease-printing-this-racist-word/

This article is actually about math, but it's also about lovely arts-and-crafts-inspiring squiggles. (Thanks to Elizabeth Barrette for sharing.)

http://www.theguardian.com/science/alexs-adventures-in-numberland/2015/jan/13/golden-ratio-beautiful-new-curve-harriss-spiral

Finger painting for grown-ups, also shared by Elizabeth Barrette:

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/iris-scott-finger-paintings

Yet another reason to buy real books instead of "e-readers."

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2015/01/23/big-brother-for-books/?

One petnapped animal dumped into a horrible HSUS shelter found her way back home. (Not necessarily unharmed, though. Very likely harmed.) We need laws criminalizing any effort to "rescue" animals that aren't verifiably homeless or in mortal danger...

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/24/dog-that-disappeared-last-year-from-texas-back-yard-finally-turns-up-but-not-exactly-down-the-block/

We need more humans moving around outdoors, and it's good for humans moving around outdoors to be accompanied by animals who will at least try to help and who also control rodent populations, rather than trying to save all the rodents for animals who'd be more likely to start eating a wounded human alive. Vote Yes on dogs and cats. Vote No on bears and coyotes.

http://www.dogpawsitivetidbits.com/2015/01/canine-companion-stand-by-me-when-i-fall.html

I love a Habitat store!

https://wendywelchbigstonegap.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/the-new-bookshelf/

Hoot...this blog post won't even let me post a comment asking how SARK recommends asking for money. But if somebody out there wanted to invest the money, we could have a lovely, book-lined computer center and Internet trade portal in my home town, with SARK's cute, colorful books in it...

http://planetsark.com/transformative-practices/the-art-of-asking-receiving-part-1/

Hey, this reminds me of a frugal tip I've not shared (here) before: If you live near a store that offers senior discount days, and you don't qualify, don't complain. Bribe an older person to shop with you. If you drive, look for one who's had to give up driving and will go through the checkout line with you just for the free ride. If you don't drive, look for one who still drives and needs some extra gas money. I used to do this at Ames regularly, back when Ames existed, and now it's about the only way I ever go to Kroger's.

http://marshasspot.blogspot.com/2015/01/frugal-friday-with-marsha-12315.html

One should be able to trust a smoke detector. Alas...

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/23/they-thought-they-couldnt-be-seen-inside-their-own-homes-but-what-they-found-hidden-in-a-common-household-items-has-them-afraid/

I've been so profoundly casein-intolerant, all my life, that it's hard to say anything more unappetizing  to me than "it's like real cheese" without violating this web site's contract. However, this web site discusses vegan food. Here is a vegan food that many vegans will want to try.

http://vegnvenus.blogspot.com/2015/01/field-roast-chao-cheese-freaking-mazing.html

This web site does not generally recommend suicide. However, here's a magnificent example of what to do if you truly don't care whether you live or die.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/26/she-wanted-a-lucrative-career-in-corporate-america-but-when-the-emptiness-started-eating-away-at-her-something-radically-changed/

Do you believe God cares which side wins a game? I don't--but I think God might care about helping people not to injure themselves or others.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/26/does-god-play-a-role-in-picking-the-winning-team-in-sports/

This blog is a catalogue...no, cata-blog...

http://raintreeearthdesign.blogspot.com/

Thanks to Coral Levang for challenging me to track down e-friends' screen names at Persona Paper. Here's another story about Valentino...can you read two in one day?

http://www.personapaper.com/article/21707-rainy-day-gift-of-gratitude

Very nice article by Theresa Wiza:

http://www.personapaper.com/article/21521-what-is-your-definition-of-beauty

Some delicious recipes are inspired by leftovers. Here's an inspiring leftovers story.

http://www.personapaper.com/article/21922-sundays-lazy-day-of-frugal-cooking

Worth a try, if you can handle egg, soy, and milk...

http://writersworld82.blogspot.com/2015/01/food-review-eggos-gluten-free-waffles.html

Personally, I haaate Internet formatting. I like traditional book-type formatting. Single-spaced, even margins, white space between sections but not between every single paragraph. I accept that the way this blog looks is the way computers are programmed to make blogs look, but I find it ugly, and in the printed Yearbook I fix it. So I was quite surprised to read, in comments on an e-friend's blog, that some people think all that wasted white space, large fonts, etc., actually make things easier to read on a screen.

http://www.articlewriterforhire.com/blog/web-writing-tips-ugly-formatting-scares-readers

As usual, when I open Twitter and Tsu to post this log there, I'm likely to discover more good things there. I've abandoned hope of tracking everything I plus or comment on...but here's most of it for today.

Virginia Needs Laws Protecting Cats

This one is not political...it's a warning that all people who care about animals need to take action to prevent an emergency.

Cat haters want the right to kidnap, mutilate, and dump your pets!

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+ful+HB1586

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+ful+SB693

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+ful+SB699

It sounds "humane"--they just want to spare those poor feral cats from the misery of having kittens--but since it requires no proof that the outdoor cats these people want to trap are in fact feral, what each of these bills really means is "If we can catch your pet and dump it out at the other end of the state, we will." 


To cat haters, this well-fed, well-groomed, contented pet is "feral" just because she's outdoors and doesn't have a collar. 

Here's the e-mail I sent to my State Senator and Delegate:


"Please count this voter in vehement opposition to HB 1586, SB 693, and SB 699. Although these bills sound humane, and I suppose it's possible that they were meant to allow people to vaccinate genuinely feral cats against diseases without trying to make pets of them, that's not what they say. By failing to establish proof that an animal is not a lost, strayed, or stolen pet and is genuinely feral, these bills would basically authorize cat haters to steal neighbors' pets and dump them hundreds of miles away.

I'm disgusted that three sponsors have been found for such unethical bills.

Anyone who's spent time in the "rat sanctuaries" that communities lacking outdoor cats quickly become, as I have, would actually support legislation making it a felony to interfere with an outdoor cat in any way. I suspect that my own cats are deliberately supplied with nuisance animals by town dwellers who trap and release rats, squirrels, raccoons, and other nuisance animals in rural neighborhoods, but I know for sure that it's not unusual for the two cats who (noticeably) hunt to bring home four or five rodents in one evening. We need to focus on the rat overpopulation problem."

Scott Lingamfelter Reports on the Legislature

From Virginia Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, edited for paste errors:

"General Assembly Update #1

It's been a very busy first full week of the General Assembly session! I'm happy to report on the progress of my key priorities, including: supporting our veterans, making college more affordable, and a budget that funds the core functions of government without raising taxes.

 
Making College More Affordable

 
It's becoming increasingly difficult to save and pay for college, with Virginia students now borrowing more than $1 billion every year to pay for school. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama outlined a tax scheme that includes targeting 529 college savings accounts for taxation, which would make it even more difficult to save. At a time when we should be making college more affordable, taxing savings plans that are designed to help families afford college doesn't make any sense.  I'm supporting legislation that makes college more affordable by capping expensive athletic fees and making it easier for small schools to cut wasteful spending, both of which I'm happy to report passed unanimously out of committee this week. You can read about some of the bills to hold down college costs at CBS6 at http://wtvr.com/2015/01/19/panel-oks-bills-aimed-at-college-affordability/ 


The Budget

 
As one of the senior members of the Appropriations Committee, I am keenly focused on our budget work.  Unlike Washington, we have to have a balanced budget requirement in Virginia; and that means when we are in a tight economy as we are now, we have to make tough choices.  We are looking at the budget stem to stern right now to make sure that we are using your money wisely on the core areas of government.  That means we need a conservative budget that funds our core priorities, like: education, public safety, and transportation while cutting wasteful spending.

 
Human Trafficking

 
While many think of it as an issue in remote parts of the world, sex trafficking is a growing problem in Virginia.  According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 100,000 children are trafficked for commercial sex every year and human trafficking is the second fastest growing criminal industry. I'm supporting legislation this year that would give prosecutors additional tools to combat sex trafficking in Virginia. NBC29 reported this week on our efforts.

 
Veterans

 
Virginia is home to more than 780,000 veterans. In Prince William and Fauquier alone, there are over 46,000 veterans. There is a critical need for more veterans care centers in Virginia to support them. As Del. Chris Stolle noted, "Maine has a bed in a veterans care center for every 200 veterans in the state. Virginia has a bed for every 2,000 veterans." I'm pleased to announce that the Appropriations Committee has reported legislation to the full House to fund new care centers in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads this week. These two new 230-bed centers would not only provide valuable services to veterans in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, but they would also allow the existing centers in Richmond and Salem to better meet the need in those regions.

 
Status of Your Legislation

 
I will keep you updated on my legislation as it proceeds.  I have a busy week ahead and will update you next week.

By the way, if you haven't yet, please fill out my legislative survey at http://survey.house.virginia.gov/Survey.aspx?s=41e770b2071d43ab99f6fdeda3ac1576 to share your priorities for this General Assembly Session.

 
Finally, it's an honor to represent the 31st District of Prince William and Fauquier Counties in the General Assembly.  I take my job very seriously and I need your input so I can do the best job I can.  When you take my survey it helps!  But if you have time and plan to be in Richmond, I hope you will pay me a visit.

 
Stay warm this weekend.  I plan to spend some time with my wife Shelley and from what I hear we may also see some ice and snow in northern Virginia.  So stay warm and be safe this weekend!  http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/woodbridge-va/22193/weather-forecast/9200_pc

All the Best!
Scott

WATCH: Press Conference on 2015 House Agenda - http://www.vahousegop.com/2015/01/watch-house-gop-outlines-2015-agenda/ 


"

P.S. from P.K.: I received this e-mail because this web site is read by people in the 31st District. If you're in a different one, please focus e-mails and surveys on your own state senator and delegate. 

Book Review: The Education of Little Tree

Title: The Education of Little Tree
       
Author: Asa Carter as "Forrest Carter"
       
Date: 1976
       
Publisher: Delacorte
       
ISBN: 0-8263-0879-1
       
Length: 216 pages
       
Quote: “I came to live with Granpa and Granma when I was five years old. The kinfolks had raised some mortal fuss about it.”
       
The writer known as Forrest Carter had published some novels before he produced this alleged memoir of his early childhood. Since then I’ve read numerous claims that the story he tells in this book is not, could not be, a true autobiography...but none of these claims documents anything about the man’s real childhood. Instead they wander off on tangents about his having committed hate crimes against African-Americans as a young man. The claim is thus “He can’t ‘really’ have been three-eighths Cherokee, because he hated African-Americans." Bosh. Much as I hate to disturb stereotypes that may be working in some of my relatives’ favor, the fact is that Cherokee genes do not automatically immunize people against hate, bigotry, or even stupidity.
       
Neither does having had three wonderful, idyllic years of early childhood with loving grandparents who died, for no obvious reason, far too young. In fact, I can imagine how the loss of grandparents might have contributed to Carter's embitterment.

And, was Asa Carter three-eighths Cherokee? Consider the photo evidence here. Biracial Americans born in 1925 tended to be ambivalent about the source of the kind of DNA Carter's face shows. He might have had Native American ancestors; he might not. He would certainly have seen the uglier side of White racism...even if his reaction to White racism was to buy into it and hate Blackness and Jewishness more than the average Euro-American did, even in 1950. (I hate to say it but that was, in fact, how some biracial and Southern European types tried to prove themselves White in those strange, sad, bad days.)
       
I’m not convinced, therefore, that The Education of Little Tree may not be as factual as most of the novelized versions of writers’ childhood memories are. Memory is never perfect. Novelized memories always have to leave things out, and usually have to simplify what’s left in. I can say this much: Carter knew the Blue Ridge Mountains. If he didn’t actually live there for three years, he was very close to someone who had.
       
The story ends with the tough little orphan heading west. We know that even in North Carolina , even in the 1930s, he wouldn’t have got far. Other brushes with schools, orphanages, bigoted White kinfolks, and “politicians” lie ahead of Little Tree. Could he have been convinced that all the people like his grandparents were dead, and that, in order to fit into the dominant White culture, he had to persecute surviving people who were less White than himself? I believe the historical reality was that he could. I doubt that anyone born after 1950 can really understand the race hysteria that gripped North America and Western Europe during the first half of the twentieth century, but we have to remember that otherwise intelligent people, otherwise of good will, really were sucked into it, and sometimes the ones who were themselves multiracial were the most thoroughly demented by it...e.g. black-haired, Slavic-looking, Slav-hating Adolf Hitler.
       
Next question: How “authentic” is the education of Little Tree as a Cherokee? Actually reading the book may help correct some people’s sentimentalism about Cherokee culture...because this book is not about pure, pristine, pre-Columbian Cherokee culture. It doesn't claim to be. According to Little Tree, his Granpa is half Scotch.  Granpa’s “whisky trade” and use of words like “kin” come straight from Scotland. Perhaps the folk cultures always were more compatible than some people think; geologists find evidence that Britain may once have been physically connected to the northern Appalachian Mountains, anthropologists remind us that the early Celts were shorter and darker than the Saxons and Vikings with whom they intermarried, and historians keep digging up evidence of occasional contact between Western Europeans and Eastern North Americans before Columbus’s time. In any case, although we’re convinced that Little Tree is deeply rooted in the Blue Ridge Mountains , upon close reading we also see that he is a hybrid tree. Granpa knows only a few words of Granma’s ancestral language (which probably was not Cherokee), and neither Granpa nor Little Tree knows exactly how Granma prepares her native-plant foods and remedies. The education of Little Tree is remarkably like the education of his Scottish-and-English-American contemporaries in Jesse Stuart’s Hie to the Hunters. Granpa’s understanding of frugality is presented in Cherokee terms...but many people in North Carolina use the word “Scotch” to mean “frugal.”
       
The bottom line is that, whatever else happens in his life, the boy learns a simple, sustainable, and enjoyable way of living in harmony with the land from three thoroughly lovable older people.
       
Does the story realistically show that this lifestyle, although idyllic, has certain limitations? Yes. The story is about the time in Little Tree’s life when a child loses his baby teeth, but all Little Tree says about this life passage is that watching how a local man extracts damaged adult teeth makes him wary. Reading between the lines, we notice how prematurely all the adults in Little Tree’s life seem to be dying. We notice also that, although Little Tree’s grandparents have worked out ways to live well on a low income, they are in fact dirt-poor. 
       
Does the story preach? Well...a little. Even in their time and place, Little Tree’s grandparents are not ordinary people. Their lifestyle is not a matter of plucking the lotus and dreaming about past incarnations. It involves hard work, thrift, generosity, loyalty, and fine character...and reverence. The grandparents aren’t fully convinced by any of the Christian dogmas inferior minds debate so hotly at their nondenominational church, but they take Little Tree to church just the same. And their compassion for the inferior human beings they meet at church is well tempered with awareness that these people are, by their own choices, inferior (another thing often observed in both Scotch and Cherokee culture).
       
Were there ever people like Little Tree and his grandparents? Yes. Some of them are related to me. Some of them are still alive. I enjoy their company very much, but some people tend to find them intimidating.
       
I recommend The Education of Little Tree to everyone. There is truth in it. I’m not sure exactly whose truth. I’m quite sure that Asa Carter didn’t know any of my elders, and the directions he gives from the place he calls Clinch Mountain in the book obviously don’t refer to the Clinch Mountain I know. (In fact, the mountains in the book are higher than the Clinch Mountain I know.) Nevertheless, the truth in this book is our truth as well as Carter’s. Of all popular books about the Appalachian Mountains (northern or southern), this is the one that resonates best with my elders’ stories and my memories, and the one I recommend that people read first.

But read it with your eyes open. If you want to learn the Cherokee language, study guides are available. Note that the words Little Tree's Granma uses are not the ones they use. Neither, according to Wikipedia, did Carter's surviving relatives know who, if anyone, Carter might have remembered as having been like Little Tree's Granma. Does this make the story false? Not necessarily. A lot of people in Virginia and North Carolina had dark tan complexions and poorly documented ancestry. The Granma character may be fiction but she reflects a fact...and that fact is that some of these people, having given up hope of being accepted as White, wanted to be perceived as associated with a living (and wealthy) Native American nation rather than as being the last survivor of a small, poor group or family.

Asa Carter has been dead for a long time, so we can't offer The Education of Little Tree as a Fair Trade Book. If you buy it online, we'll have to charge $5 for the book + $5 shipping anyway. If you buy it together with another book, or books, that we can ship in the same package, you pay only $5 for the whole package and can still buy a Fair Trade Book and support some other writer who is still alive.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review: I Know a Secret

Title: I Know a Secret
       
Author: Christopher Morley (1890-1957)


Author's fans' memorial quote-collection site: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/c/christopher_morley.html
       
Date: 1927
       
Publisher: Doubleday Page & Co.
       
ISBN: none (but click here to see it on Amazon)
       
Length: 235 pages
       
Illustrations: black-and-white drawings and 4 color plates by Jeanette Warmuth
       
Quote: “It is sad to have to tell it, but the angry squirrels made short work of that Tree.”
       
Christopher Morley was a popular writer in his time; he wrote novels, essays, verse, and a volume of one-act plays. Cuteness and whimsy were in style, so this is a cute, whimsical book of bedtime stories for young children. Perhaps some readers will get an idea of how young the children need to be when reminded that one of these stories (the fable about the modest puppy) was reprinted in Told Under the Christmas Tree.
       
Morley co-authored one book with Don Marquis; in I Know a Secret, as in Archy and Mehitabel, the animals act just like humans. So do some inanimate objects, like a Pilot Light who suffers from envy of the Main Burner on the new gas stove. My perception is that Mehitabel is a reasonably credible cat—she says things humans might say about things cats actually do—but Fourchette, the mother cat in this book, is not. On the other hand her kittens are believable.
       
I don’t find Gissing, the modest puppy whose belated request for just one toy prompts Santa Claus to leave him a dozen toys, plausible either. Nor am I particularly stirred by the character of Escargot, the snail who functions as the other animals’ literary agent.
       
The squirrels, however, I could believe were real. Morley gives them a motive for revenge on an “Unamiable Child” who always offers them empty shells instead of peanuts...but I can picture real squirrels sneaking into a house and eating all the nuts, apples, and popcorn strings hung on an oldfashioned Christmas tree.
       
Believable or not they're all amusing. It’s possible that some grandparents remember this book and would like to share it with their grandchildren.
       
Adults really need to be in the mood for this kind of book, but I chortled while reading through the reasonably well preserved first edition I found. The pictures are also very typical of their period, in exquisitely mellow pastel colors.


I Know a Secret sold so fantastically well, and was so often lovingly preserved, that it's not yet become rare, and so I can offer it for sale online for $5 for the book plus $5 for shipping. You might find a better bargain at another site...and then again you might not. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Link Log for January 22

This helpful blog post about blogging lists online sources...how well do you readers know and trust the online sources she mentions?



http://www.sarkemedia.com/how-to-create-more-effective-content/



Fellow Virginians, HB 1287 might become important to you some day.



http://connect.freedomworks.org/node/195382



For new readers, U.S. citizens have always been encouraged to read and comment on proposed new laws, but few of us were able to do that before state legislatures started maintaining web sites. Here's HB 1287 at Virginia's legislature's web site:


http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+ful+HB1287



African Queen dolls who look ready for a visit with Barbie? Why not? Thanks to Elizabeth Barrette for sharing:



http://www.queensofafricadolls.com/about-us.html



Arlene from Israel thanks the often controversial Congressman John Boehner:



http://noisyroom.net/blog/2015/01/22/seeking-sparks-of-light/



End of a NASCAR era: Jeff Gordon announces retirement plans.



http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/22/nascar-legend-announces-impending-retirement/?


For the football fans, Lloyd Marcus has this:


http://noisyroom.net/blog/2015/01/21/seattle-seahawks-quarterback-wilsons-message-for-tea-party/


Somebody had to try this, and the position of this web site remains: If the baker wants to lose a customer, that's her prerogative. He can hire a different baker. Though he may have a hard time finding one who's willing to put a message about God on a cake, especially one as presumptuous and judgmental as "God hates..."


http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/22/baker-refused-to-make-bible-shaped-cakes-with-god-hates-gays-message-and-now-the-govt-is-investigating-her-for-religious-discrimination/?


Cute felted slippers, even if this woman doesn't actually knit them.


http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/22/american-made-spotlight-sheepy-shoes/?


Word that the King of Saudi Arabia had died came in while I was working on this post, although Oliver Darcy here reports that it happened last Friday. Should this web site express condolences toward people who, even if they know how to read English, are probably banned from reading this web site?


http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/22/saudi-king-is-dead-according-to-statement-read-on-state-tv/?


Over to Google +, where Jaipi Sixbear shares (good news) a firsthand report on the clunky way Common Core re-teaches arithmetic (bad news):


http://grandmashouseplus4.blogspot.com/2015/01/more-adventures-in-common-core-math.html?spref=tw


Francis D. Schaeffer left his name and publishing connections to one confused heir.


http://booktrib.com/2015/01/frank-schaeffer-and-why-i-am-an-atheist-who-believes-in-god/


One good thing about lupus...please promise you won't be the first to bring this up in conversation if you don't have lupus yourself...


http://www.lifesuccessfully.com/lupus-love/lupus-thumbs-its-nose-at-catholic-guilt


Interesting report on British pop music. If you're still blessed with a member of the Greatest Generation in your family, you might print and share it.


http://annieangel1.hubpages.com/hub/dame-vera-lynn-2


Why is this blog not more widely read? (How do I know it's not my writing? Because I've been comparing page view counts between Blogspot and Associated Content. Before Twitter I was consistently seeing about one-quarter as many daily views as I got on AC. Since Twitter it's been up to almost half as many. Lots more people know who I am now than knew when I wrote for AC; most of my e-friends e-met me through AC, where I started out with no e-friends.) One reason: it's too hard to post comments here. That's why I started Twittering--it's dead easy to post comments there! Twitterers, please tell me: Obviously diehard regular readers (Hi, Mom) don't mind the dearth of pictures on this web page. What about you?


And, how much does it matter to you that the original photos that are found only at this site are blurry images of flowers, cats, or stunningly badly photographed knitwear? Right, Tori is back in town, there's some hope of getting better photos of knitwear...in time for next fall. Apart from that, the really good pictures here come from Morguefile. How bad is that?


http://dailytwocents.com/5-reasons-posts-dont-get-views/


Speaking of dear old AC, Lyn Lomasi just recycled one of the articles AC asked us to write, years ago. I'd add that there should be no difficulty finding someone to take recycled copper pipes. There may be a slight security problem if any thieves happen to find out that you're willing to part with them.


http://www.betterplumbingdenver.com/blog/how-to-go-green-with-plumbing


This one appeared on AC years ago, too, but some people still need to read it...


http://www.articlewriterforhire.com/blog/commenting-etiquette-101-for-freelance-writers


Gardeners do not need to wait for warm weather to start planting...or harvesting...indoor kitchen herbs.


http://cheapfoodhealthyfood.blogspot.com/2015/01/budget-tip-for-one-grow-your-own-herbs.html


But we can look forward to the quiet joys of gardening. (Sometimes I think they're even more delightful during these brief winter thaws, when the sweat and insects are still far away...)


http://diaryofwildgarden.blogspot.com/2015/01/do-you-ever-stop-look-and-listen-in.html


For those who do Tsu, I plan to spend the last few minutes I'm here on Tsu...may find a few more choice tidbits there.

Book Review: Life's Little Destruction Book

A Fair Trade Book


Title: Life’s Little Destruction Book
       
Author: Charles Sherwood Dane
       
Date: 1992
       
Publisher: Stonesong Press
       
ISBN: 0-312-92927-7
       
Length: pages not numbered
       
Quote: “Call friends during the Super Bowl to talk out your problems.”
       
In the early 1990s a pocket-sized paperback book called Life’s Little Instruction Book, full of one-line pious thoughts and reminders to do good deeds, was a popular gift item. Life’s Little Destruction Book was the parody. It contains 512 one-line descriptions of behavior you can probably pat yourself on the back for not indulging in.
       
That's probably enough to tell you whether you want this book or not. Merely in order to expand this review to a reasonable length, I’ll say that only about 500 of these one-liners describe behavior I’d call Truly Obnoxious. Nobody sniffles for pleasure or profit, so “Sniffle a lot” does not quite belong on the same list with things like “Take more than ten items to the express checkout line” or “Borrow a book and dog-ear the pages.” Have an alias and the IDs to prove it” may be illegal, but it’s not obnoxious. “Leave papers in the copier” and “Step on your dance partner’s foot” are things it’s hard to imagine anyone planning to do.
       
“Open the casket for one last look” is a double-edged line. It’s a cultural thing. At least, if you don’t belong to a subculture that expects the deceased to be visible at the funeral, you’re not among the people expected to drop a last kiss on the cold dead face; count your blessings. But a casket is a little box meant to sit on a stand holding letters written by your true love’s hand. A coffin is a coffin. Calling a coffin a casket is part of the set of abuses of the English language that were created by people who couldn’t deal with the reality of death, like calling a graveyard a “memorial garden.” If you don’t belong to a subculture that expects you to misuse words in this annoying way, these misuses of words are obnoxious.
       
“Chew ice cubes” seems to me a great deal less obnoxious than either sweating into someone else’s furniture or demanding that they turn up the air conditioning (which is probably already turned up as high as it goes), or, for that matter, wasting ice cubes. Fretting about the fact that someone else can still chew ice cubes without pain, as most of us middle-aged people with tooth fillings cannot, can easily become obnoxious. As we get older we need to stifle those feelings of envy.
       
“Serve wine” is a Truly Obnoxious mannerism, all right, but it needed to be mentioned only once. No refinements make drunkenness anything but obnoxious.
       
Dane also includes “Use ‘like’ at the end of sentences, like,” which may need historical explanation. Once upon a time, when Dane and I were young, using “like” at either the end or the beginning of sentences was a fad among the “cool” crowds at some schools during some years. Some people who went to those schools also seemed to believe that they were cooler than we were. Like, okay, people I knew used “like” at the beginnings of sentences, but why is Dane showing his insecurity about this now? Even in 1992, did he know anyone who still used “like” as an interjection, and if so, didn’t that person still say “far out” and “groovy”?  With this he had a problem? Like that’s crazy, maaan...
       
Anyway, this book contains at least 500 things most of us can reasonably feel superior to people who do: “Don’t shovel snow from your side­walk.” “Forget the pooper scooper.” “Drink your roommate’s last beer.” Like, you’re not the total jerk that you might feel yourself to be after realizing how seldom you think of doing any of the little niceties in Life’s Little Instruction Book. Like that was groovy, maaaan....Or at least, if you didn’t need Life’s Little Destruction Book, someone else out there does. This is a book to pass along. Small size and short independent one-page sections make it a good choice for anyone who's in the hospital and can safely laugh out loud.


Life's Little Destruction Book is not hard to find. In real life I'd charge local shoppers less than $5; online, $5 for the book and $5 for shipping is our minimum, although we can consolidate the shipping charges (you pay only $5 for as many books or other things as we ship in one package. You may find a better price online for this almost greeting-card-sized book, but so far as I know nobody else is offering Dane one-tenth of the price for which they sell his work, which means he (or his favorite charity) gets a dollar per copy of this book you buy here.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Link Log for January 21

First: The McDougalls now send out e-mail...but they've not worked all the bugs out yet. A triumphant e-mail showing the cover of a Woman's World feature article about the McDougall diet ("good carbs") opened in the browser window showing a Twitter button, but that Twitter button didn't work. So here's where to see the WW headline..in their trademark competing-with-tabloids style, it shrieks "LOSE 200 LBS. EATING GOOD CARBS!"(And would you? Possibly, if you had 200 pounds to lose and followed the weight-loss version of the McDougall diet for a year or two. I have to admit that all I've ever lost by rigorous "McDougalling" was fifteen or twenty pounds...but that was all I needed to lose. One does not waste away on a low-fat vegan diet. In combination with exercise, the diet can even help some young people gain weight...losing flab, building bone and muscle.)

http://www.womansworldmag.com/

Next: Bash those plagiarists, Sarah!

http://gr8.com/r/zXyB9/E/yFaG?t=

Between many cities, taking the bus is safer and cheaper than driving...even for people who own cars and don't hate driving as much as I do. Believe it or not, even Gate City, with its population just over 2000 and its three traffic lights, used to have bus service to Kingsport and Big Stone Gap. Very likely we could have bus service to those towns again if M.E.O.C. would move its big fat boondoggle out of the way.

http://www.metro-magazine.com/motorcoach/news/293190/report-intercity-motorcoach-usage-continues-to-rise

Quote from Mark Levin being batted around Twitter:

"If you look at the length of history, it's not the private sector that has slaughtered & enslaved human beings. It's government."
 
The gluten-free life...not without its perils. (Thanks to annoying John1282 at Junkscience for sharing this link. Yes, these things are true, and none of them is exactly good news for those of us who have no realistic alternative to staying gluten-free for as long as we care to stay alive. What do I do about the extra fat and sugar often found in gluten-free grain products? I rarely eat them; most of the time I eat vegetables, fruit, nuts, meat, and brown rice, instead of processed grain products.)
 
 
This explains an incident on the way to the computer center...first an older man, who looked like one of those distant relatives who all look pretty much alike to me after I've not seen them for three years, insisted on buying my drink at the convenience store down the street. And then, on the sidewalk outside the store, an older relative whom I've seen more recently and recognized distracted me from asking whether he recognized the first one by asking for a hug. That relative has a sister who got into hugging after heart surgery, but he's never been a huggybear, nor have I, and certainly not on the street...Oh, well. For local readers who might have wondered, he's my first cousin once removed; the sister was our baby-sitter. Happy "National Hug Day," Gentle Readers. Go and hug whichever of your relatives can survive the shock.
 
https://twitter.com/SenRandPaul/status/557974231233724418/photo/1

All news from Karen Bracken is good news, even an e-mail that contains a broken link. (She still signs off with the americadontforget link; when I clicked on it, what opened was a screen announcing that the domain was up for resale.) Tnacc.net (Tennessee Against Common Core) need to discuss this with Ted Como at the Kingsport Times-News. He keeps saying that Tennessee has no reason not to want to raise its academic standards to match Virginia's. He's right about that. He seems not to be aware of the expensive gadgets, and their built-in child safety hazards, involved in fully implementing Common Core. All Tennessee readers are invited to discuss these things here:

http://www.tnacc.net/

Fair disclosure: Although the position of this web site is that any fracking is too much and any earthquakes are too many, I do invite everyone to read the article linked below. And think about it. Enough of an earthquake to knock a dish off a table is enough of an earthquake to create a landslide that would bury the workers in a coal mine...just for instance. Is this the kind of thing that creates the stereotype that National Review readers don't caaare about the working peeeeople?

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/396805/fracking-fracas-over-earthquakes-jillian-kay-Melchior

Cute, touching dog picture and story...

http://www.dogpawsitivetidbits.com/2015/01/dog-face-of-freedom.html

Quilt image. (Btw, if any needle crafters want to generate additional publicity for things you may be selling on E-Bay or Etsy or Zazzle or other web pages of your choice, please feel free to send JPG images to salolianigodagewi @ yahoo. I'd like to be able to pay for pretty pictures. I'm not. But I'll be delighted to share your pretty pictures, with links to your sites of course, just to boost the signal and to give the eye thinkers a bit of eye-candy.)

http://q-nonnie.blogspot.com/2015/01/first-finish-of-year-design-wall.html

Google + pages always look messy and change fast, but Google + just randomly chose to share a cool post by this German spinner/knitter...the one that showed how to use "Looper Loom" bands on your spinning wheel. I don't spin...yet. I agree that this is a cool idea. (Everything on her Google + page was showing up in English today, including a complaint that it hadn't been, yesterday.)

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+BeateMieslinger/posts

Can you chart and knit those scannable square codes that show up on Best Buy sales sheets? You certainly can! Here's a knitter who worked them into a pair of mittens:

http://www.web-goddess.org/mittens.php

In southwestern Virginia we've had a wonderful January thaw. (I didn't wear a coat or sweater over my winter-weight dress today!) On Twitter people were showing photos of snow heading our way from Washington, D.C. Oh well. If the thaw hasn't lasted long enough to suit you, you might want to admire this guy's tulip picture.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/+AlanShapiro/albums/5983349445410213377/6106778348834948530?pid=6106778348834948530&oid=%2BAlanShapiro

That's all for today...I've done what I came to do, checked e-mail and Google +. Won't have time to read messages on other venues today, though...it almost makes me miss the good old days when all my e-friends and e-communications took place on one web site (Associated Content, rest in peace).
 

Robert Hurt on Jobs and the Economy

From U.S. Representative Robert Hurt:

"House Passes Hurt Jobs Bill
The House also continued its work on the pressing issue of job creation by passing the Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act with bipartisan support. While the country has begun to experience modest economic growth, unemployment remains too high in Virginia's Fifth District, and wages are not growing enough to make working families feel that our economy has recovered. Small businesses also continue to be stifled by excessive federal regulation that stands in the way of more dynamic job creation across Virginia and our nation.
The legislation passed by the House on Wednesday combines the text of 11 bills, all of which address unnecessary or excessive federal regulations hindering our small businesses from accelerating job growth.
The Small Company Disclosure Simplification Act, which I introduced with my Democratic colleague Congresswoman Terri Sewell during the 113th Congress, was incorporated into the legislation. The provision we introduced removes burdensome regulations for small public companies and requires the SEC to perform a cost benefit analysis on the rule’s impact on these companies, offering a practical step forward to ensure that our regulatory structure does not disproportionately burden smaller companies and dis-incentivize start-ups from accessing the public markets. By streamlining these requirements, small companies will now be able focus on innovating, expanding, and creating jobs.
As the 114th Congress continues, we in the House will continue to advance bipartisan solutions like this one that get Washington out of the way and allow our small businesses and family farms to focus on succeeding and creating good-paying jobs. It is my hope that our colleagues in the Senate will now take up this bill and join us in advancing policies that will spur job creation and economic recovery.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.
Robert spoke with Delegate Lee Ware at the Business Leaders Roundtable on Virginia’s Economic Future.
Sincerely,
Robert Hurt
"

Book Review: The Rainmaker

A Fair Trade Book

Title: The Rainmaker
       
Author: John Grisham

Author's web page: http://www.jgrisham.com/
       
Date: 1995
       
Publisher: Doubleday
       
ISBN: 0-385-42473-6
       
Length: 443 pages
       
Quote: “My decision to become a lawyer was irrevocably sealed when I realized my father hated the legal profession.”
       
With this line, Grisham’s protagonist/narrator, Rudy, begins an exploration of the male psyche that runs deeper than some critics like to admit. As a story about a lawsuit, The Rainmaker is unlikely. As a study of the fantasy lives of gifted young men, it’s wonderfully frank.
       
I inherited this novel from my husband, who usually read only nonfiction and mysteries. I don’t remember his ever talking about it, and suspect it may have been a gift from someone who’d heard about his interest in Tony Hillerman’s Navajo-country mystery series. If so it was a mistake. There are no Navajos in The Rainmaker, nor is there a drought, nor much hope of a drought—it’s set in muggy Memphis . Rudy is what contemporary corporate jargon called a “rainmaker,” meaning “someone who can generate a lot of revenue for the corporation.” Part of the comic relief in his story is that he’s never allowed to generate revenue for a corporation, even though he could...Grisham is not known as a comic writer, but he has his moments.
       
Rudy nearly misses his chance to become a lawyer—ironically, because he shows signs of talent. As a student, he was one of the more promising members of his class, and was therefore offered a position with a local firm. The firm then sold out to an even bigger and more prestigious firm, and, just before graduation, the job promised to Rudy was cut from the company’s list. As The Rainmaker begins we find Rudy freshly jilted by a brilliant but heartless law school classmate and so desperate for work that he pleads with one of the older attorneys in town that a J.D. ought to be qualified for a paralegal position.
       
Even if his motivation for practicing law is not a true vocation, Rudy is bright. He soon finds himself taking on what appears to be a challenging case against the firm that denied him the job he’d been offered. He perseveres, and what initially seems impossible becomes what even cautious Rudy admits is “a slam dunk.” Playing the David-and-Goliath angle for all it’s worth, he wins the biggest award of punitive damages in the history of the state. It doesn’t hurt anything, of course, that upon investigation his client becomes more sympathetic, and his opponent’s client more dastardly, than one can readily imagine real litigants to be. Rudy wouldn’t know how to make his opponents look like disgraces to the name of “slime mold,”  nor does he try; they make themselves look that way, because they really are.
       
Then, instead of behaving like a Real Lawyer, Rudy suddenly begins behaving like a Real Guy Who Could Do Anything He Wanted To Do When He Was Twenty-Five. Having triumphed in law, he becomes a sort of modern-day outlaw. I don’t want to spoil the suspense, but let’s just say that any resemblance between Rudy and any real lawyer living or dead is purely coincidental.
       
It's an enjoyable read if you're adult enough to enjoy stories about work, anyway, and I recommend giving it to anyone who's ever nagged that you should have gone to law school so that you could be making more money now. As a Fair Trade Book, it will cost $5 for the book, $5 for shipping (one shipping charge covers as many books as can be shipped in one package), and out of this total of $10 John Grisham or a charity of his choice gets $1. If you want to encourage a madly successful novelist, buy this book here. If you want to encourage a more obscure writer, feel free to use the comment space to suggest one.

Book Review: Indians Are Us

A Fair Trade Book




Title: Indians Are Us
       
Author: Ward Churchill




Author's web page: http://wardchurchill.net/
       
Date: 1994
       
Publisher: Common Courage Press
       
ISBN: 1-56751-020-5
       
Length: 357 pages
       
Illustrations: black-and-white reprints of graphics from various sources
       
Quote: “[S]uggestions that Indians should actually be referred to as composing nations rather than tribes are often met with rather flippant (or vociferous) dismissal as being ‘rhetori­cal,’ ‘polemical’ or...‘politically cor­rect.’”
       
In 1994 Ward Churchill was an angry young man who’d done a lot of homework. He didn’t just sit around saying, as some Cherokee people had been saying for years, that the Van Buren administration’s policy toward Native Americans could have been the inspiration for Hitler’s policy toward German Jews. He dug up the documentation that it really was.




I don't agree with Churchill about a lot of things--he's often introduced in news media by phrases like "radical Leftist professor"--but I do give him credit for putting that documentation together. He's done substantial research, and he is a talented and witty writer, even if he's been known to put wittiness ahead of accuracy...prior to the nineteenth century, did any Cherokee ever use godagewi to refer to a carrot?
       
The articles collected in Indians Are Us address many legitimate grievances, some of them recent and some of them ongoing, that have never been fully addressed. Although they are research papers whose greatest value is bringing hundreds of references together in one place, and the whole stories are usually told in the primary documents referenced here, this book does index a whole historical reference library in one convenient-sized volume.
       
It suffers, nevertheless, from two flaws. One is that, since Churchill begins with the rather absurd argument that misappropriating a group’s collective name is genocide, it’s downright ludicrous that he consistently refers to the descendants of pre-Columbian Americans as “Indians.” Even when he quotes a tongue-in-cheek public statement by the artist Jimmie Durham (who claimed Cherokee ancestry but was not registered as a member of the Cherokee Nation), “I am not an American Indian, nor have I ever seen or sworn loyalty to India,” Churchill persists in referring to himself and other Cherokee, Creek, Dakota, Iroquois, Navaho, and similar ethnic types as Indians.
       
The other is that, although he offers readers an excellent understanding of the problem, he doesn’t offer much in the way of solutions. Not for the United States as a whole, and not for private individuals like Jimmie Durham, or like me, who have distant Cherokee ancestors, but feel that after our more recent ancestors enjoyed all the benefits of Whiteness during the years of blatant official racism, it would be on the tacky side to claim that Cherokee was still our primary identity.
       
Pages 65-72 of Indians Are Us make the case that the existence of sports teams with names like “Illini” and “Redskins” amounts to genocide. There’s no historical parallel for this argument. (The Nazi version of the Anglo-Israelite theory claimed that Jews were Edomites not Israelites—there’s no parallel here.) I've never read that any Nazis  “lowered” themselves or their children by organizing sports teams known as “Jews” or “Romany” or even “Teutonic French.” In fact the sports Nazi Germany had to offer young men were, at first, track and fighting (which don’t require expensive equipment), and, later, competitive shooting, against grown-up soldiers, in trenches. Germany became dangerous because Nazionalsozialism bankrupted Germany so much faster than other brands of socialism did other countries.
       
The contemporary point that illustrates the flaws in Churchill’s argument, here, is that Irish-Americans don’t perceive the existence of a team called the “Fighting Irish” as “genocide.” (If they weren’t a good team, maybe...) Nor do New Englanders moan and carry on about the fact that most of the “Yankees”  are neither real descendants of New England colonists, nor yet even residents of New England. Churchill identifies “Redskins” as hate speech, and proposes a few other obnoxious team names, like “Drunken Irish.” Which puts the flaw in this whole chapter clearly in view. The Washington team is not “The Drunken Redskins,” or “The Dirty Redskins,” or “The Thieving Redskins,” or any other phrase that really was used in the hate speech of the years between 1800 and 1950. “The Redskins,” all by itself, could just as reasonably be heard as a way of describing what happened to light-complexioned athletes who started practicing intensively in time for the national football season, in Washington, before sunblock was invented. (I've heard jokes about it describing what other teams have done to the Washington team in games...although I think the federal government has no business regulating the nicknames of football teams, I also think Dan Snyder might want to consider other names that would go with burgundy-gold-black-and-white.)
       
More than that: some of the fighting that has occurred in Ireland was as bad, for the collective image of Irish people and for the individual people of Ireland, as drunkenness was for Irish or Native American or any other kind of people. However, Irish-Americans don’t perceive “The Fighting Irish” as a defamation of anyone's character; we perceive it as a sort of salute to the facts that (a) when Irish people have decided to fight, they’ve been brave and tough about it; and (b) a lot of Irish boys have played on the team.
       
But suppose the owners of the Washington team decide that (a) puritanism is back in style, and the nation’s capital shouldn’t be associated with the practice of paying grown men to play childish games, or (b) if Washington has a football team, that team should have a nickname that reminds people of something about Washington. Anyone can think of a few dozen possibilities: Federals; G-Men; T-Men; Commanders, or Chiefs; Monuments, or Monumentals; Attractions; Tourists and Commuters; Keys, as in the Key Bridge; Peregrines (around the turn of the century the city started publicizing its pride in having attracted a family of urbanized peregrine falcons, but “Falcons” is taken); Bald Eagles (as distinct from the other team called Eagles)...I have no problem cheering for a Washington home team with a real Washington name, e.g. “Nationals.”  And the beerier and less inhibited team boosters could have a good time working out a half-time routine that is (a) suggestive of the team’s name, in some way that’s obvious even to fans who have drunk a whole six-pack, and (b) silly. And exactly what is this going to do for some Navaho family who aren’t getting decent prices for their wool rugs and turquoise bracelets, and have to depend on strip mining to buy food?
       
Churchill goes on to ridicule Robert Bly (a cartoon of the paunchy poet appears on the front of the book) and other New Age types who wish to incorporate some sort of Native American flavor into their religious rituals. By and large his judgment on the authenticity of the real and alleged Native American spiritual teachers of the 1990s is reliable. Wallace Black Elk, Archie Fire Lamedeer, and Ed Eagleman McGaa: real members of the traditions they’ve marketed, although their commercial exploitation of the traditions has been denounced by others in their groups.


Dhyani Ywahoo, Gary Eagle-Walking-Turtle McClain, some others not familiar to me: probably of Native American descent, but actually commercializing something different from the traditions of their alleged ancestors. (Ywahoo, whose name and face are obviously multiethnic, admits that her “Etowah Band” was not really recognized by the Cherokee Nation, nor were their crystal and chanting rituals of Cherokee origin. In her book the phrasing is that she has “not divulged any secrets.” The facts that “Dhyani” is an Indian, not Cherokee, name and that much of the philosophy in Voices of Our Ancestors is also Asian are fairly obvious clues.) Brooke Medicine Eagle is incorrectly described by Churchill as “a bogus Cherokee”; by 1994 he should have been able to get some clues to her real identity and ethnic origin, and the real origins of her school of New Age psychotherapy, from Buffalo Woman Comes Singing. (The book has merit when read as a story of how a multiethnic American patched together, out of family tradition, her own formal and informal studies, and the traditions of people she knew, an approach to emotional healing and personal growth that can actually help people. “Medicine Eagle” is not a Cherokee name, and if Churchill has any evidence that Medicine Eagle ever claimed that it was, he needs to present that evidence. She says she's from the Plains.)


Carlos Castaneda, Mary Summer Rain, and Lynn Andrews are best read, if you enjoy reading them, as novelists who have blurred and fictionalized the identities, origins, and teachings of any Native American teachers they ever had out of all recognition. Medicine Woman is not about the Dakota tradition but it is a lively, romance-free, feminist novel, which I enjoy as such. Castaneda’s “don Juan” may have been, like Zorba the Greek, a celebration of a memorable individual friend but can hardly be read by adults as a study of the friend’s whole culture.
       
The question of whether people without verifiable lineal descent from the founder of a tradition should be allowed to learn, practice, and pass on the tradition is hard to resolve. That the question arises is tragic. Perhaps descendants of immigrants can best understand the tragedy by imagining this scenario: You are suddenly invited to a special dinner at the embassy of a country from which one or more of your ancestors immigrated to the United States. At the dinner you are told that, due to a bizarre combination of murders, mysterious diseases, and disappearances having stripped your ancestral country of two thousand members of its extended royal family, you have been invited here on the grounds of your distant kinship to the country's aristocracy, in the hope that you can found the next royal family. Is this scenario flattering? Can you imagine this situation without horror? Indians Are Us is one long outburst of that kind of horror. 
       
Churchill makes what I believe to be his point—that most of the pre-Columbian cultures of North America are not dead, and deserve to be respectfully heard as a cultural, even political, influence, rather than “channelled” as dead spirits into a mishmash of imprecise “spiritual” scholarship—with more clarity when he writes about the dispute over which artists qualify for any special benefits as being “Native American.”
       
Even when he accuses people of calling groups like the Cherokee “tribes” rather than “peoples” or “nations,” however, he’s off the mark. He goes back into remote history to claim that “tribes” is normally used of animals. (It is not, and never was, except in scientific jargon.) The real difference between a tribe and a nation is the difference between a large extended family and an organized political entity. Tribes may exist within a national organization, or subsist as hunters and gatherers; either way, what makes them “tribes” is that, if called on to make a decision as a group, they’re lucky if they can agree on who should represent the group in negotiation or how the decision should be made. Some small disorganized groups, like the Nacostchunk on the Anacostia River, or the Melungeons in Tennessee, can only be described as tribes. It would not be unreasonable to describe the seven traditional sub-groupings in the Cherokee Nation as “tribes,” although “clans” is the word they use; no clan seems to have functioned as a political organization claiming sovereignty. The large group of all people whose primary identity is Cherokee has been an organized nation for a long time. To speak of “the Cherokee tribe” is not  disrespectful so much as it is inaccurate. An analogy might be speaking of “the county of Texas.” On the other hand, to speak of “the Powhatan nation” would be more like speaking of “the sovereign state of Dallas.” The claim that confusion about tribes and nations reflects hate, rather than lack of information, needs more evidence than Churchill has.
       
Indians Are Us is not a book to be easily condemned with faint praise. People who hoped that learning to pronounce “mitakuye oyasin” would solve all the problems of our “first nations” needed to be shown how much harder than that a real solution would be. I still imagine the sellouts who “began to trade blankets, beadwork, medicine bags—their younger sisters, if need be—for half-pints of rotgut whiskey” to have been considerably more degenerate than Dakotas like Wallace Black Elk, or “Plains” mixed breeds like Brooke Medicine Eagle. I still needed, and evidently some readers still do need, more insight into the kind of issues that have to be redressed before any real attempt to reconcile Native and immigrant American cultures can be made.
       
It’s worth reading Indians Are Us, if you’re up to the spiritual discipline of it, as an indictment of the greedhead tendencies within you, your family, the people with whom you work (regardless of your ethnicity) as they have conflicted with the natural, sustainable tendencies. Churchill anticipates a need to prevent those greedy for the prestige of “learning” from coming to pretend, or actually feel, that they know more about Native American culture than people actually living on “tribal” land. Some of us see similar things happening among the demographic groups that include us, even our demographic generations. In her first prose book, Dakota, Kathleen Norris wrote about the fear mostly Anglo-American family farmers expressed that they would “become the next Indians” driven off the land by greedhead corporations like Monsanto. The black-and-white moral conflict going on here is not the same thing as the Red-and-White ethnic conflict. For many of us the moral and ethical conflict may be of more immediate interest.
       
In the end I (predictably) find Indians Are Us disappointing. I don’t think Churchill is asking enough of readers. I think his haste to express the horror and indignation he was feeling weakened his book. The positive things he asks readers to do—boycott off-reservation sweat lodges, modify sloppy speech patterns, change the names of a few sports teams—are absurdly disproportionate to the existing problems. The book says very little about sustainable agriculture, ecologically sound industry, frugality, generosity, hospitality, respect for elders, or care for children, as areas in which all Americans can benefit from studying what was written about the first Americans; nor does it tackle the messy problems of overpopulation. Nor does it say much about addressing the economic needs of impoverished Native Americans in more helpful ways than buying a ticket to participate in some knock-off of some exotic cultural ritual. Indians Are Us seems meant to leave all readers holding a bunch of emotional loose ends. And politically...oh, why get me started on the many and inevitable failures of socialism?


Nevertheless: I've read it, and I recommend that others read it...partly because Indians Are Us can help you appreciate just how inadequate, as a response, carrying on about the names of football teams is. The book is easy to find online. You may find a better price than this site's minimum online price of $5 for the book, $5 for shipping. If you pay that price here, however, this web site will indeed send Ward Churchill or a charity of his choice a dollar, or one-tenth of the price of however many of his books you buy through our Fair Trade Books system.