Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Long Link Log for September 23

Stuck in Kingsport, due to illness, not mine. Lots of links. Categories: Animals, Books, Crafts, Food, Girl Power, Green, Music, Sports, Traffic Safety, Words.



Now, here's a seriously controversial idea: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, should stop protecting bears. Or let's say, we should protect bears who have a healthy instinct to avoid humans, but if a bear is within sight from a house or a paved road, that bear is saying "I'm tired of living."


This (below the rant) is an interesting post. Not so much the tally of statistics that prove that, when fiction awards are given out in the United States, they are probably always going to be given to writers who are well distributed and well known here; 75% U.S., 10% U.K., up to 5% Canadian and 10% "other" (meaning mostly the other English-speaking countries, and meaning that, most years, Australia will be represented and Kenya won't) probably does reflect the best efforts of a panel of people who value cultural diversity to make a diverse selection. Even books that are successful in England aren't necessarily published here, and many books that are successful even in England or Canada aren't necessarily likely to be understood here. Authors like Chinua Achebe, whose novels about Africa are simple enough to make sense to American readers, are likely to be read as writing on a primary school level with some adult content mixed in. Authors like Wole Soyinka and Salman Rushdie...I've read Rushdie's nonfiction and his children's book and liked them, but I had to ask friends about a lot of things in those of his novels that I read, and remained aware that I was missing a lot of references. I can see a lot of Americans, including English majors, bogging down in a book like Grimus just because they don't hang out with people from India. We have to choose whether to be pedantic and make little notes, or just let things elude our understanding, even when reading a book by somebody like Margaret Atwood who's lived in the U.S. and at least has enough information to know when she's saying something most of us won't get. So there's just no way, even if an equal number of people in Venezuela were equally talented writers, that an equal number of books from Venezuela would win U.S. literary awards. We wouldn't know a good Venezuelan book if it hit us on the head. Not because we're bigots, but because we're ordinary mortals who are doing well if we understand one culture well enough to judge its literature.

But consider the list of science fiction writers at the end of Lynnoconnacht's post. Did you ever think of Rushdie as a science fiction writer? Of Italo Calvino? Do you, for that matter, think of Atwood as one? If not, to what extent is that because your definition of science fiction is less about "fiction that speculates about a current scientific question" than it is about "second-rate"?

For those who'd like to raise their cultural diversity levels a teensy bit, here's the reading list of an Indian book lover:

In a different literary vein, altogether: Ridley Pearson:

And, in yet another...This web site is a niche bookstore, specializing in material that helps people who've had an Illiberal Left education recover some balance.

And, finally...strictly for laughs, Gentle Readers:


Natalie Ford knits some more pretty socks:

Food (Yuck) 

Beware of Mexican cucumbers! Actually I've had salmonella and would rather have it than GMO-contaminated corn or rice, any day and twice on Sunday. However, can we link this news item to the one below? Yes. Local, organically grown cucumbers may be odd-sized, odd-shaped, unwaxed and all that, but they're less likely to make us sick, because nobody in my neighborhood uses raw sewage as fertilizer.

Girl Power

There are more like Malala Yousafzai. Awesome teenagers, I mean.


Saving the endangered (natural, sustainable, Green) family farm:


The graphic at the top of this post makes the real point. About some other things Lloyd Marcus says in the post, I will say that when people are trying to reach across a gap, sometimes they try too hard to reach too far. Like I think it's appropriate that the city of Baltimore paid compensation to the Gray family. The timing, amount, manner, etc., may have been "appeasement" but some compensation was due. But this post started out with "The Star-Spangled Banner," which is Maryland's great gift to the nation.

One afternoon in the early spring when I was eight years old, I was goofing off at home as usual, and my mother came up to me with the Girl Scout Manual in hand. She said, "Here are all the words to 'The Star-Spangled Banner.' Can you sing it?" I could not. She said, "Well, it's our national anthem, and you need to know how to sing it." So I spent that afternoon learning "The Star-Spangled Banner."

I already knew "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," the one the teacher felt capable of teaching us at school, and "America the Beautiful," the one my grandmother had been capable of teaching me during the last year of her life. (This was the grandmother who had been declared dead at the age of thirty-five, who was in fact disabled between the ages of seventy and seventy-one.)

In every country there are certain old songs, one of which is the official national anthem, that everybody should know. The United States is a big country and has several of these songs. "Hail Columbia" is another fairly formal song, not too easy to sing, but if you're a "USAmerican" you should know it. "God Bless America" is an easy one to sing. "Lift Every Voice" is fairly easy. Some of the songs about our individual States are pretty hard to sing with a straight face, but everybody should know their own State songs.


Calling all guy-watchers...what do you think? Does Detroit Lion Don Carey have what it takes to be a poster boy for the idea of young men not causing abortions? Check it out: looks, money, multiple talents, the beginning of the right thoughts...and the position he plays is described as "Strong Safety." That's quite a ball of opportunity that's been thrown his way, now let's see him run with it.

Traffic Safety 

Bad news for Gate City...but maybe it'll call attention to the fact that motor vehicles kill many times more Americans than firearms do, every year.


How AP tells writers to avoid political neutrality...see my comment at the Blaze post.

And here's a severely confused White guy...according to police, one of the two White guys the cop is separating, here, was screaming about the other one's "White privilege." Well, of his mind, he's a Klingon.