Dinner is Served: Spaghetti and Meatballs, AMERICAN GODS, pp. 304- 305

Shadow is invited to dinner by a woman named Marguerite Olsen and meets Marguerite’s half-sister Sam (same father, different mothers: Sam’s mom moved to Tasmania after meeting “a guy on the Internet who lived in Hobart”) Sam tells him

  • “how all the aboriginal natives of Tasmania had been wiped out by the British, and about the human chain they made across the island to catch them which trapped only an old man and a sick boy. She told him how the thylacines — the Tasmanian tigers — had been killed by farmers, scared for their sheep, how the politicians in the 1930s noticed that the thylacines should be protected only after the last of them was dead.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: The Talk of the Town, The New Yorker, Dec. 19 & 26, 2016

“. . .  after proposing, late in the campaign and apparently without irony, that her mission as First Lady would be to campaign against bullying, she (Melania) has retreated to the background, and will reportedly be staying in New York with the couple’s son, Barron, when the President-elect moves into the White House.”

#amreading: Talk of the Town, The New Yorker, December 19 & 26, 2016

. . .  congressional Republicans are feeling bullish about finally achieving a goal that they’ve sought for years: getting rid of federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides health services like cancer screening and contraception, as well as abortion. If a Trump Administration succeeds in dismantling the Affordable Care Act, or simply in eliminating the mandate that health plans include contraception coverage, many more women will lose access to health care and, especially, to more expensive, but also more effective, long-acting contraceptive methods, such as the I.U.D.


Under Jeff Sessions (new Attorney General), the Justice Department is unlikely to provide robust protection for abortion clinics.


For Labor Secretary, Trump has in mind Andrew Puzder, the C.E.O. of the company that runs Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. An opponent of raising the minimum wage and of expanding overtime pay, Puzder, referring to the company’s ads, told the magazine Entrepreneur, “I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.”

Trump won the Presidency despite a well-documented penchant for the vulgar belittlement of women, and with the help of a fan base energized by chants of “Lock Her Up.”

Against the Odds: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 15 February 2017

An unexpected victory? A snapshot of an unlikely moment? This week, show us something that defines the odds.

— Michelle W., The Daily Post

Last year, on the 2nd day of self’s trip to the UK, her camera shutter stopped opening all the way. Rather than buy a new camera, self decided to see how far she could push that old thing. And it lasted till the very end of her trip.

One of the last places she visited before returning home was Bletchley Park, about an hour train ride from London. Bletchley Park is where the World War II codebreakers did their work. According to the visitors’ brochure, “the Codebreakers’ efforts helped to shorten the war by up to two years, saving countless lives.” The codebreakers worked year-round in unheated wooden huts. “The first Enigma ciphers were broken in early 1940.”

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Bletchley Park: June 2016

Self took the picture below in Chinatown. She forgets which street it was on. It was either on Grant or on Stockton. Look closer at the words, and it turns out to be about Filipino immigration: the first immigrants faced discrimination. Caucasian women were not allowed to marry Asian immigrants, most of whom were single men. Yet, those early immigrants endured. Their descendants are all over California.

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Wall Mural, Chinatown, San Francisco

Anne-Adele Wight coordinates a monthly reading series at Head House Books in Philadelphia. She is a published poet. Just before June’s event, she hurt her knee and had to wear a brace. But — the show must go on!

She is fantastic.

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Anne-Adele Wight introducing speakers at the Head House reading series, which she coordinates: Philadelphia, June 2016

So there are self’s examples of “Against the Odds,” which is a very, very interesting photo challenge.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Story of the Twins: AMERICAN GODS

It’s a very long fable that gets dropped in on p. 252, and it is one of self’s favorite sections, so far.

The events unfold in 1778 (How does self know? Because Gaiman puts the date right before the beginning of the fable, lol). The twins are born, captured by slave traders, and separated at auction. This part is so horrific, but Gaiman’s voice is at its most mesmerizing:

Their uncle was a fat and lazy man. If he had owned more cattle, perhaps he would have given up one of his cattle instead of the children, but he did not. He sold the twins. Enough of him: he shall not enter further into this narrative. We follow the twins.

In addition, today, self watched Fences. She hasn’t seen the original play, but the first third or so of the movie is very play-iike. The action is mostly limited to the confines of a house, and there’s a whole lot of braggadocio from Denzel’s character, Troy. About a third of the way in, however, the story takes a very interesting turn, and self was never less than absorbed.

She does feel, however, that the movie should have closed with the image of Troy swinging futilely away at a baseball attached by a frayed rope to a tree branch. Troy’s face as the camera zooms in — riveting. Instead, we’re given a kind of epilogue. It’s nice to see what happens to Troy’s son, Cory, though.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2nd Sentence of the Day: AMERICAN GODS, p. 239

San Francisco isn’t in the same country as Lakeside anymore than New Orleans is in the same country as New York or Miami is in the same country as Minneapolis.

— Wednesday, in a conversation with Shadow, p. 239 of American Gods

 

Sentence of the Day: San Francisco Chronicle, 26 January 2017

In a review of Silence! The Musical by Lily Janiak:

Lambs don’t actually appear in the 1991 thriller Silence of the Lambs; they’re a metaphor for the lifelong inner suffering of Jodie Foster’s character, FBI agent Clarice Starling.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2017 Winners: World Press Photo Awards

Self only has a few minutes to post this, as she’s running here there and everywhere and the only reason she is still in her apartment is because she decided to work a little more on her sequel to “First Causes”: “This Is End” (dystopia, fantasy, apocalyptic, etc what else is new, lol)

Winner:  Associated Press Photographer Burhan Ozbilici, for his image of a gun-wielding off-duty Turkish policeman standing over the body of Russia’s ambassador, Dec. 19

CONTEMPORARY ISSUES

Singles

  1. Jonathan Bachman (USA), Reuters: “Taking a Stand in Baton Rouge”
  2. Vadim Ghirda (Romania), The Associated Press“Migrant Crossing”
  3. Daniel Etter (Germany): “The Libyan Migrant Trap”

Stories

  1. Amber Bracken (Canada): “Standing Rock”
  2. Lalo de Almeida (Brazil): “Victims of the Zika Virus”
  3. Peter Bauza (Germany): “Copacabana Palace”

DAILY LIFE

Singles

  1. Paula Bronstein (USA), Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting: “The Silent Victims of a Forgotten War”
  2. Tiejun Wang (China): “Sweat Makes Champions”
  3. Matthieu Paley (France), National Geographic: “China’s Wild West”

Stories

  1. Tomas Munita (Chile), The New York Times: “Cuba on the Edge of Change”
  2. Elena Asonova (Russia): “Out of the Way”
  3. Francesco Comello (Italy):  “Isle of Salvation”

GENERAL NEWS

Singles

  1. Laurent Van der Stockt (France), Getty for Le Monde: “Offensive on Mosul”
  2. Santi Palacios (Spain): “Left Alone”
  3. Noel Celis (Philippines), Agence France-Presse: “Inside the Philippines’ Most Overcrowded Jail”

Existential Crisis of the Day: To See or Not to See Fifty Shades

Fifty Shades Darker or John Wick 2?

Self is a big fan of Dakota Johnson.

Yup, that’s right. DAKOTA JOHNSON.

Plus, the Jamie. Come on. Ever seen this guy’s back blown up on the side of a building?

Well, self has. London, 2015. Somewhere in the South Bank. That back was pretty fine.

She is also a big fan of Keanu Reeves. Yesterday, an NPR reviewer called John Wick 2 the apogee of something: “designer violence” or “designer mayhem” or, anyway, something designer. Niiice!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Anticipation: 2017

  • It is the Year of the Rooster. Kung Hei Fat Choy!
  • There will be a Trainspotting 2! Also a Baywatch movie! Also a Barbie movie! Also another Star Wars movie!
  • EU will abolish roaming charges for cell phones!
  • The world will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, today’s most bestselling author!
  • Museum of the Bible becomes DC’s newest museum!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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