Month: September 2009
The following quote is from an article by Sabrina Tavernse in today’s New York Times:
“New Wardrobe Brings Freedom to Women in Pakistan’s Swat Valley“
When the Taliban took control here in February and forced women into burqas, an epidemic of clumsiness swept this city. Women began banging into lamp posts. Nurses fumbled needles. Many simply stopped going out altogether.
Now the Taliban are mostly gone, driven out by a military operation this summer, and the women of this northern Pakistani city, the largest in the Swat Valley, are returning to public life. Teachers are back at work, maids are commuting to jobs across town and nurses are giving injections without having to squint through a coarse layer of netting.
Quite an interesting beginning, wouldn’t you say, dear blog readers?
In the same newspaper, on the same page, a little farther down, was this small item:
Pakistan: Militants Destroy a School for Girls
Islamic militants blew up a girls’ school close to Peshawar, the main city in northwestern Pakistan, on Tuesday, the police said. The school was empty at the time and no one was injured.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.
Self is preparing to send out a manuscript for another contest (Yes, hope does spring eternal, and so forth and so on). She was dithering about whether or not it was worth coughing up the contest entry fee, but she was looking through some old letters and there was something from someone praising that very manuscript self had been planning to send! Self then took it as a sign from God and decided that she would mail out her piece (yes, nothwithstanding $25 contest entry fee– GAAAH!) forthwith!
In addition, self got a new rice cooker. It is an eight-cup capacity, bright red and chrome thing (from (more…)
Car is acting up again. And, self still being besieged by students assigned to write papers on poem “Like the Molave.” Why they keep going to self’s site, even though all she’s done is quote a very short excerpt of the poem, self can’t fathom.
Since car is not safe to drive anywhere farther than a few miles, she can’t get to Costco in Mountain View, boo.
Anyhoo, at least she’s still reading Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders. The book is very interesting, for author John Mortimer decided to do a “prequel.” (Who was the first to think up this word, self wonders? Was it George Lucas, when he revealed that “Star Wars,” the first movie, was actually Episode IV of a series?) Mortimer shows us Rumpole as a young man just beginning his career, when his “wig was still pristine,” and before he married She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed.
He loses his first case, and is quite dejected. But his client’s family is absolutely enthralled. One of them goes up to Rumpole and says: “You did great, Mr. Rumpole! We never had a brief who put a judge in his place the way you did. And that speech? It brought my wife, Brenda, near to tears. Let’s just hope this case is the first of many you do for the Timson family.”
Rumpole, somewhat mollified, returns home to his lonely flat and opens his trusty companion, the Oxford Book of English Verse. And finds there a favorite poem by Wordsworth, the “Old Sheep of the Lake District” (Is this, in fact, a poem? What a very curious title! Anyhoo, self quotes an excerpt from the poem, below, because it seems to speak to self’s current situation as well):
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.– Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
A barrister quoting Wordsworth! That is what self loves so much about Rumpole.
In addition, self has the September/October issue of the Women’s Review of Books. And here are a few of the highlighted articles: The Young Women Workers of China’s Export Processing Zones * Juvenile Delinquency: It Wasn’t Just for White Boys * Ida B. Wells: Barnett and the Campaign Against Lynching * Alicia Ostriker on Feminism and Poetry
Isn’t that a most fascinating list? Self thinks she will have more than enough reading material to keep her occupied and productive for the remainder of the day.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.
First, the book sale (Self is quoting from the website of Achiote Press, which published the poetry chapbook):
Kundiman is an organization dedicated to creating “a nurturing space for Asian American poets.” For the past few years, they have conducted an annual summer workshop at the University of Virginia, a workshop whose goal is to provide “a safe yet rigorous space where Asian American poets can explore, through art, the unique challenges that face the new and ever-expanding diaspora.”
Because the arts in general, and, it follows, organizations like Kundiman, survive on hope as much as financial resources, it’s been severely affected by America’s economic downturn. As part of their fundraising, Kundiman has (more…)
Self has been up since 2:45 a.m. Rather than wallow and curse over her lack of sleep, she decides to get up immediately and act as if 2:45 a.m. were really 6:45 a.m. Amazing, the things you can dream up at 3 a.m. Books she never shows the slightest interest in reading in the full light of day now seem very compelling. She went back and forth to the bookshelf, back and forth.
But now she is groggy. And self has been trying to read the same passage in The New Yorker, over and over, and the darn thing is being stubborn and obtuse instead of opening itself up fully to seat-of-the-pants analysis. As far as self can make out, the article seems to be about coffee mugs. And who or who does not have access to tickets to a Duke basketball game. And there is a connection to Obama’s health care plan thrown in there somewhere.
Okey-dokey, now to the article’s main point, which seems to be that the public “skittishness” about the Obama plan can be attributed (at least according to the article’s writer, James Surowiecki) to something called “the endowment effect.”
It works this way: “the mere fact that you own something leads you to overvalue it.”
There is also something called “status-quo bias” : According to Surowiecki, “Just designating an option as the status quo makes people rate it more highly.”
As proof, Surowiecki turns to behavioral economists, who “have established that we feel the pain of losses more than we enjoy the pleasure of gains.”
Now, then, has self already mentioned the interesting detail about the coffee mugs, and about the tickets to the Duke basketball game? No? Let’s just say those are niggling details. The meat of the argument is this:
People have been rendered unnecessarily anxious by “reams of disinformation.” Anxiety has been “exacerbated by the Obama Administration’s initial emphasis on the way the plan would help hold down health-care costs. This approach was understandable: most people think health care is too expensive, so the ability to hold down costs seems like a selling point for the plan. The problem is that once you start talking about cost-cutting you make people think about what they might have to give up. And that makes them value what they have more highly.”
Phew! Is self glad the article is over! Because trying to understand all the finer points of the argument are proving extremely taxing to her brain!
Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.
Dearest Mum presented at Mall of Asia, with self’s eldest brother!!
She bought 15 copies of self’s book!
Phone rang at around 5 p.m. California time. It was Dearest Mum!
She said, “I don’t care about what other people say, that it wasn’t so good . . . ”
“The Book Fair,” she said, with an air of purest certainty. “I liked it. I had fun!”
“Oh,” self said. “I thought you were talking about my book!”
“And,” Dearest Mum continues (much like a rushing river, without pause), “Sister xxxx wants you to give a reading in xxxx in Antipolo.”
“But, Mom!” self begins. “My stories, you know, they’re pretty violent, and — ”
“You can read that one about the colegiala who has an affair with the Ateneo professor!” Dearest Mum says. “That was good!”
@@!!## (Pause) @@!!##
“Whaaat? To high school girls? I don’t think so!” self blurts out.
“Why not?” Dearest Mum says. “People might like to read about themselves for a change!”
At this point, self will give dear blog readers a rest from this exchange. Besides, she has to start the sprinklers, since it’s extremely hot today. Stay tuned.
There’s a cycle in the pattern of sending out and getting word back — about manuscript submissions, that is.
First there’s summer, where all magazine editors in their right minds take a break from reading slush piles. (Only a handful of — oh, let’s go ahead and make (more…)
It is so fun to end the weekend with an Awards show. As soon as self could, she kicked hubby off the flat-screen HDTV so she could watch the Emmys. Neil Patrick Harris is the host, she missed his performance at the Tony Awards, which was said to be remarkable. Here, he is undeniably smooth, but self isn’t bowled over.
Nothing untoward has happened so far on the show (Unless you count a cartoon where a dog was being attacked, “Sopranos”-style, by some little creature who wanted the dog’s vote for an Emmy-nominated show. The dog was bleeding from its eyes, dear blog readers. It had its head stuck in a toilet. Self felt almost (more…)
Self has a lot of respect for Ansary. She greatly enjoyed his memoir, West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story, and a few years ago she attended a reading he gave in the Redwood City Library. Last Sunday’s SF Chronicle contained (more…)