(see the rest of Jan Op De Beeck's sketchbook here)
I'd love to be back to daily posting, but I'm not. In the meantime, here's some detritus without forethought or organizational context.
1) Story about Momzilla who wouldn't reduce failing student's TV viewing as it was their family's quality time.
2) A beautifully written (I must read poets' prose more often) account of an accomplished non-joiner who is hired to attend her first conference. It's accurate for fiction writing, too, illuminating the difference between the workshoppers and solitaries. Myself, I'm divided. Many of Kay Ryan's observations about her crotchety personality and solitary relationship to writing hold true for me, but likewise I enjoy the occasional conference and have several writers from whom I gain great value in critique. I'm a socially mercurial hermit.
3) A great Guardian article about the rigors of life in Zimbabwe, even for the professional classes, written by novelist Ian Holding whose novel Unfeeling is about the Mugabe-endorsed black takeover of white farms and its subsequent chaos through the eyes of a former 16 year-old heir who's now orphaned.
4) Hollywood is filming Beowulf. Having read and adored Seamus Heaney's translation, and having learned Robert Zemeckis is producing and Angelina Jolie is starring, I have not much hope.
5) In breathtaking, but sadly not unimagineable, municipal hubris following the worm-ridden Kelo decision earlier this year, the city of New London having prevailed now wants to charge the evicted homeowners rent for the time they remained on "city property" while challenging the eminent domain action in court! Read about the underwhelming prices offered on the buyout, too. This is a classic example of why not to give the first inch on such principles.(hat tip: the gypsy speaks and Overlawyered)
6) Since the previous entry referred to a post where I discussed the also rotten Native Hawaiians Act, here's my other Hawaii post and additional round up from Michelle Malkin here. I am not registered with any party and side on an issue-by-issue basis. The current GOP is a little better on security and trade than the Dems, but they're currently spending like drunken sailors, failing to use their elected majority to support their platform and bust the judicial logjam, and they're showing themselves inconsistently principled- what else is new in politics? President Bush should be ashamed for supporting American apartheid no matter what Democratic concessions he's been promised.
In a subscription-only archived WSJ article (sorry) from August 16th, titled E Pluribus Unum? Not in Hawaii former Senator Slade Gorton of Washington and former Senator Hank Brown of Colorado write that they voted against Hawaiian Senator Daniel Akaka's official Apology Resolution toward Native Hawaiians in 1993 which eventually passed. They further say that at the time of the Senate floor debate, Akaka promised the apology's approval would never be used as a wedge to open the door to special legal status for native Hawaiians. Times change, but politics doesn't, and Akaka's apparently using the '93 mea culpa as a foundation for his new bill. However, a commenter upon one of my posts (whom I suspect is Kyl's staffer) has pointed me to Arizona Senator Jon Kyl's position paper in pdf form Kyl is currently chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee and has the appropriate perspective on this issue as far as I'm concerned. Convince the rest, will ya, and some Dems of egalitarian conscience? I hope good sense and progress win this coconutty battle royale.
7) Thomas Sowell in Capitalism Magazine discusses how intelligent children have become the newest disenfranchised by public education. Afraid to make others feel bad, we're failing to maximize our best and brightest and turning gifted programs into meaningless duplicates of mediocrity. Is it so impossible to deal with each child's potential where they are and acknowlege the differences? Equally worthy does not mean equally gifted at everything, the primary reason I didn't sue to get onto an Olympics team. I'm a fine person and an inferior athlete. I'm sucking up the reality and making the most of it, I think.
8) The Piano man, upon whom I commented here, has been identified. We now know he's a troubled Bavarian man, but the controversy whirls about his piano playing which now ranges in reports from virtuoso to one note plinked in repetition for hours. I can buy that the medical staff aren't musical experts, but this extreme difference seems hard to explain. Was the staff embellishing or reporters crafting a better story? I'll admit I wouldn't have been as interested without the amnesiac genius angle, but will I ever believe another similar article? The BBC itself opens up the discussion here, which is a good bit of transparency, but the comments reveal that while people don't care to invade this man's privacy, they feel unresolved about the truth of the original stories.
9) This Telegraph story is free, but may require registration. I introduce it only with the facts as seem incontrovertible. A family that owns a breeding enterprise for laboratory guinea pigs is closing its farm in an attempt to recover the remains of a relative who was exhumed from her churchyard burial plot by animal rights activists.