Saturday, July 30, 2005

You're going to want to file this under "More than I wanted to know"

So, some more news on the health front. I have just been diagnosed with "Leaky gut syndrome," and if that diagnosis holds water (no pun intended), it certainly explains a lot.

"Leaky gut" refers to a hypothesis that the lining of one's digestive system sometimes becomes permeable to proteins that are not sufficiently broken-down and digested. The purpose of the digestive system of course is to break foods down into simple proteins (or amino acids?) that can be absorbed into the bloodstream and carried throughout the body. The theory about leaky gut is that some abnormality in the gut lining is permitting larger, more complex protein molecules to be passed through. Then, the theory goes, these proteins invoke an immune response, since the body sees them as foreign matter instead of just nutrients. This puts a constant strain on the immune system and can cause inflammatory responses. According to some of what I have read, this can even lead to nutritional deficiencies, since some minerals and so forth can't be properly used by the body if the proteins they are "carried" on aren't the right shape.

The whole "multiple environmental sensitivies" thing is being blamed on leaky gut, now (you develop antibodies to things in your environment because your gut is allowing more things from your environment to enter the bloodstream), and some think it could be an explanarion for things like "chronic fatigue" and "fibromyalgia."

Of course "Leaky gut" is one of those "altie" things: i.e., not quite "mainstream" medicine. I know this partly because the lab they sent my blood for this test to is something of an "altie" lab (they also test for things like candida, another "altie" thing: though I tested completely negative for candida and in fact most of my tests even from these "altie" labs have come back normal: if they were complete quacks, I think that everybody would test "positive"), and because the test results came with a disclaimer like "this is just for informational purposes" because clearly the FDA hasn't approved the test yet. (Certainly, many of the websites I've come across that mention it do seem a bit nutty.) Anyway, at the beginning of this test I had to drink some "stuff" in the test kit, and then they tested my urine. They found molecules that were abnormally large and complex that shouldn't have been there, that had clearly passed through from my gut into my bloodstream from that stuff I drank. If the test is valid in the first place, then it does seem conclusive.

I am not an "altie" by nature. Before my experience with Cipro and Levaquin, I certainly didn't believe in things like candidiasis (I'm still not sure I do) and I was even skeptical about fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. After two years of chronic pain and fatigue and a host of other symptoms and no answers from even the doctors willing to believe me, I'm willing to look a little further afield for help. Even if perhaps I can't reverse every symptom (I suspect, for instance, that the constant, high-pitch tinnitus I've suffered in both ears for two years now is permanent), I'm willing to try things - so long as they are non-invasive and don't involve the ingestion of more substances that might not be adequately tested.

One of those things has been an "elimination" diet to see if there are any foods that make me feel bad: the idea is to take most things out of the diet, see if you feel better, and then reintroduce things one by one to see if they make you feel worse. So far the only type of foods I might have a problem with are the (so-called) "nightshades", which unfortunately include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and bell peppers (along with chili peppers). I can live without the eggplant. In fact I demand to live without eggplant: UGH! But I will miss the others, if it really turns out that I can't tolerate them. I was already on the elimination diet when I spent the week going to the delightful concerts of the Boston Early Music Festival, and halfway through that week I was in major agony: hurting all over every square inch of my body as if I'd been run over and beaten with pipes. Then we discovered that even though we thought we had eliminated nightshades, we hadn't because we were only eliminating tomatoes and potatoes and were in fact eating even more bell peppers than usual! Pretty much all you can eat on the elimination diet is meat, brown rice and a few other whole grains like millet and quinoa, and some vegetables: you don't eat eggs, dairy, any white or processed carbs, any sugars or sweeteners, any alcohol or tea or coffee, any wheat or oats or foods with gluten, any corn, or any soy. But you can have guacamole and hummus, and those make good dips, so we were having a lot of veggies, including bell pepper, chopped up with dips. Coincidentally or not, ever since I stopped the bell peppers, I've been in less pain.

In fact, I spent the past two weeks in classes (work-related training: in my line of work there are always new technologies that one needs to learn). This was grueling: 4 days last week, and 4 days the week before. The first week up in Westford, which is a 45-to-50-minute drive for me, and this last week in downtown Boston, which is a 20-40=minute subway ride. I had to be there by 9am every morning, which is very early for me, and I had to sit all day in a chair. After my experience with the BEMF, I was afraid I would be a wreck. Certainly by yesterday, I was: I really could hardly move and I felt so faint and light-headed I could hardly think straight. But actually I really held up way better than I had expected to: in fact it really wasn't until almost the end of the two weeks that it really started catching up with me in a big way. So maybe going off the bell peppers helped. Of course, I was way too tired every night after class to write in the blog. In fact I was going to bed by about 7:30-8 every night. So that's why I was incommunicado for the last several days. But again, I was really holding up better than I had expected.

So that's sad, since I realllly love tomatoes and I like potatoes a lot, too. Of course I won't know for sure until I re-introduce them. But nightshades are - according to the websites out there - notorious for worsening joint pain in people with arthritis and the like (not just for people who had a bad reaction to quinolones). It sure does look like a smoking gun ...

The only other "intolerance" I know of that I acquired since the Cipro and Levaquin is an intolerance to B-vitamins, specifically B6. One of the problems I've had over the past two years is (relatively mild) peripheral neuropathies: numbness, tingling, pins and needles, burning sensations, etc. And one of the best ways to bring them on is to take a multivitamin or a B-complex pill. And - as with all my post-quinolone sypmtoms - these are typical, if not universal, symptoms experienced by others who have had bad reactions to fluoroquinolones.

Of course, if leaky gut is real, then leaky gut could certainly be the cause of that food intolerance. If I can get rid of the leaky gut problem, then maybe my intolerances to nightshades will go away. Maybe the B6 problem too. Plus, many of my symptoms are consistent with nutritional deficiencies, especially magnesium. And although my blood tested normal for magnesium, if the leaky gut theory is valid, then my body may not be using it properly even if it's there.

Can this explain the whole quinolone thing? It is a mystery why two drugs I took two years ago could still be bothering me long after they must be out of my system. One possibility that the drugs triggered some kind of auto-immune disorder. But the leaky-gut idea sounds pretty good actually: by simply continuing to eat food, I've been pummeling my immune system and putting toxins into my bloodstream. Now the question is how to get over the leaky gut. Apparently one possibility is to go for a while without eating at all -- a 3-4-day fast. Another possibility is to substitute an "amino acid drink" - essentially pre-digested food - for real food. The idea is to simply give one's body a rest. I suspect in my case that it will take more than 3-4 days to fix whatever is ailing me, but again, I don't think there is anything terribly invasive or dangerous about a fast (although a fast that long is pretty unimaginable) or even a protein drink for a while. Anything, if it actually helps.

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Mystery Solved ("Incredibles Epigraphy")

I made an earlier post on this subject: the mystery of why the home of Edith Head in The Incredibles was decorated with what appeared to be an epigraphic inscription in very archaic Greek characters, reading "GLUQOS".

I have mentioned earlier that since starting this blog I discovered the fantastically fun and useful site TextKit, and the equally useful and fun community of Classics Geeks in their forum. I wish I had known about this site sooner: ever since I stopped taking Greek and Latin at the Harvard Extension School (after almost three years, it was starting to get expensive), I've been reading on my own. And although one can generally correct one's own translations simply by consulting an existing English translation, there are times - especially in Greek - where the meaning is so obscure, and the text so inscrutible, that you want to know why it means what it does. Indeed, I have noticed more than one occasion where different translators gave notably different interpretations to a very difficult line of text, presumably because it is difficult (and possibly even corrupt) and therefore even very experienced scholars may not agree on the "correct" meaning. Anyway. Having a community to bounce such ideas off is a very nice thing indeed.

I've been meaning to ask the folks over at TextKit what they thought of the illustration in the Incredibles, and they came through without hesitation. It turns out that this topic has been discussed before, in some classics mailing list, and the illustration has been identified as from a "now lost Chalcidian vase depicting Ajax fighting off a Trojan attempt to capture the corpse of Achilles."

Greek learning texts from the 19th and early 20th century had a habit of including etchings or line-drawing illustrations of various Greek and Roman vases, sculptures, frescoes, and other artwork, and indeed a drawing from this particular vase appears on page 22 of this book:

Cover image for Homeric Greek: A Book for BeginnersHomeric Greek: A Book for Beginners
Clyde Pharr and Wright
$29.95 (No discount)

where it is made clear that "GLUQOS" does refer to "Glaucos" - and that's clearly where I first saw it and why I found it so recognizable when I saw the movie. (Pharr was, by the way, my first Greek textbook at the Extension School. It's a book which some people love, but which most students tend to hate. It's certainly not for the faint-hearted. But there is something truly magical about learning Greek first through Homer, and indeed the uncontracted Ionic forms are much easier to learn than the standard Attic contractions - though the Aeolic forms do tend to complicate matters quite a bit, especially with pronouns.)

I say the mystery is "solved", but in fact the person I quoted above from the mailing list goes on to ask:

Can anyone on the list venture a guess as to how or why it got there (besides the obvious observation that the film is about heroism)?

And, in fact, that little part of the mystery is still as unsolved as ever, except that, as I mentioned in my earlier posting, the artist in question has a Greek last name. Nonetheless, I am glad that I am not the only person who noticed it, and even gladder that I'm not the only person to think it worthy of discussion.

Especial thanks to William Annis, author of the delightful site, for pointing me to the answer.

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Some people actually seem to read me!

Well, I've reached something of a milestone today. According to Technorati, Koranteng is no longer the only person who links to me on the entire internet.

It's rather difficult to find where the Reporters (contributors? writers? they're funny, whatever they are) of Last Week's News are linking to me, but a "View Source" pointed me to the location: I'm the second "t" in the phrase "The Real Story" just after "the husband of Laura Bush herself. " and before "See, this is why James Bond never married. Well, except for Diana Rigg." Very odd; haven't quite figured out why anybody would link to me in that manner, but there ya go. And the owner of "Nightmare Hall" (does he really look like Emilio Lizardo?) actually has me hard-coded in his sidebar along with the other blogs he links to.

Somehow, I feel I've arrived.

Well, except that my "Technorati Rank" is only 426,903, which sounds pretty darned unimpressive.

Although, if we are to believe the New York Times research department, and they are right that there are really "more than 13 million blogs," that would mean that despite the 426,902 blogs with more inbound links than mine, I actually beat the pants off the other 12,573,097. (Oh - and, by the way, I now know way WAY WAY too much about Stephanie Klein's personal life. That girl has watched too much Sex in the City. Eewwww. And the Globe was getting all squeamish about poor Paul Feig? So he was a 24-year-old virgin: so what?! I bet you don't need to go wash out your mind's eye after reading his tell-all.)

UPDATE July 26 19:11pm EDT: looks like I have FOUR total subscribers on Bloglines. Not exactly a teaming multitude. Not even a crowd. Hardly a cohort. And *one* of those people is me! Koranteng is the only public one. I bet I can guess who the other two are ...
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If only summer in Boston was *ALWAYS* like this ... says it's 79°F and Verizon Time and Temperature says it's 83°F but it really feels more like 75°F. Bright blue skies; no humidity (they say it's 29% or so); and a lovely breeze. Nice to be able to air the house out and give the host of window A/Cs a break. (Though I know the electric bill will probably be myocardial-infarction-level.) Just sitting out on the back porch with our laptops and the Sunday paper and the dogs.

My little family: Our little family on the back porch (DSCN1498)
The dogs and a whole lot o' dead grass:
The dogs on the back porch (DSCN1497)
Circe surveys her domain languidly from the back porch (DSCN1493)
And Prospero:Prospero lies in the dust (DSCN1494)

Lisa works on the Great American Novel and Circe Surveys Her DomainLisa and Circe on the back porch (DSCN1495)

*contented sigh*

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Saturday, July 16, 2005

We got our Harry!

Took the dogs in to Porter Square Books for their treats at the counter: they pull hard to get into the store and immediately sit in front of the counter, expectantly.

Looking forward to curling up with this baby tonight!

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ArtBeat 2005!

This was one of those wonderful kinds of days that remind me why I love so much to be able to live in the area of Davis Square, Somerville, Massachusetts. (And why I am so lucky to have been able to buy a house in this area before it became absolutely insanely expensive - though it was only 1996 so it was already pretty durn expensive by my standards anyway.)

Every July, the Somerville Arts Council holds a wonderful arts and music festival right in the middle of Davis Square, with bands, booths, arts, crafts, and all sorts of people-watching (and dog-watching).

This year is the first time the new(ish) group SomDog participated in the parade that kicked off the festivities. Lisa and Prospero marched with them:

Lisa and Prospero in the ArtBeat 2005 Parade (DSCN1478) (You can see Lisa is using her parisol to shade Prospero from the sun.)
And here they are chilling out before the parade:
Lisa and Prospero at Seven Hills Park waiting to start marching with the ArtBeat 2005 Parade (DSCN1466)

There was a BoatCycle (the theme this year was "Mix and Mash", whatever that means, but I think this contributor had a pretty good idea):

More Boatcycle (DSCN1475)
And Dragons: ArtBeat 2005 Parade in Davis Square (DSCN1469)

ArtBeat 2005 Parade, Davis Square, Somerville (DSCN1472)
And Stilts: ArtBeat 2005 Parade, Davis Square (DSCN1476)

Overall, lots of fun. The festival had a really good feel to it this year. Lisa bought a couple of pairs of earrings; I got a couple of T-shirts (sadly, I missed out on getting a "Somerville 02144" T-Shirt - all they had were Mediums and I haven't been able to squeeze into a medium since the 70s); we entered a raffle at the Fi-Dough booth; and we thought about getting some pottery or glassware, but we didn't.

SomDog's posting on ArtBeat is here.

Actually, this wasn't Prospero's first parade: he marched in this year's Somerville Memorial Day Parade with SomDog. You can see Lisa and Prospero marching here. Poor Circe is a little too rambunctious for parades, sadly, and much too strong. (They're opposites: in the house, he's a putz and a nightmare and a brat, but she's an angel.) It was way too hot for Circe anyway: mid-July in Somerville is not Husky weather.

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Friday, July 15, 2005


Yeah, I'm a fan. I resisted for years - mostly because I am turned off by anything that gets hyped that much - but finally I was given the first book as a gift, and I was hooked. I read the first three in one gulp and then could hardly wait for the fourth to come out. Two years ago, when The Order of the Phoenix finally arrived, I was so desperate after finishing it that I was casting about for anything else I could read in a "similar" vein - actually, I discovered Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy during that period and they are absolutely fantastic.

No, it's not the same quality as the Chronicles of Narnia or Tolkien or Ursula LeGuin or - whatever, name your poison. But Rowley is a damn good story-teller. And that's what it should be all about. The movies have for the most part been weaker: though the third (most recent) one was by far the best. The first one, though extremely faithful, really just had no feeling to it. It felt like just someone going through the motions of presenting each necessary scene, in order. I simply didn't feel Harry's misery with the Dursley's. I didn't feel much of anything. But you can say that about most movies that come out of Hollywood these days.

It's hard to believe that it was two years ago that I read the last book, and that has a particular resonance with me because it was two years ago, while I was reading that book, that my current health problems began. First with the "prostatitis" - or whatever it was (it was a lot of pain) - and then with the cure that turned out to be vastly worse than the disease: a course each of Cipro and Levaquin, two Fluoroquinolone antibiotics that left me with innumerable symptoms ever since: massive numbers of floaters in each eye, distracting and uncomfortable whenever I read, constant high-pitched tinnitus in both ears, tics ands spasms that move about from body part to body part, periods of numbness, pins and needles, or excrutiatingly painful burning sensations in my hands and feet, and worst of all, constant chronic pain around the joints and tendons and debilitating "brain fog" and fatigue.

I remember well sitting on my back porch trying to read The Order of the Phoenix and not being able to focus on the page because everything in my vision seemed to be "dancing" - it wasn't until (thank God) I discovered and that I found that thousands of others had the same symptoms I was having and I realized I had to get off the Levaquin before things got even worse. In hindsight, I know now that I wasn't in my right mind while I was on the stuff: it was like I was "tripping" on something. (Another Boston-area "floxie" I have come to know was found wandering a parking lot while she was on a fluoroquinolone antibiotic and had forgotten the previous six months of her life, including the fact that she had moved to Boston! - and the psychoactive effects of Lariam (Mefloquine), an anti-malarial drug that is chemically very similar to fluoroquinolone antibiotics, and which was implicated in a series of murder-suicides on Army bases, are also well known: not to mention that a young man in Memphis is in jail on multiple attempted manslaughter charges for stabbing his family while on Cipro - none of whom died, and all of whom are blaming the drug and supporting the kid.)

Given the shape I was in - by the 6th day of Levaquin (after 14 days of Cipro) I wasn't even able to stand without someone helping me - I doubt I would have survived if I had tried to finish the entire 21-day course. At least the worst of the psychoactive symptoms went away as soon as I stopped the drug, and I recovered to the point of being able to walk unaided again and - of course - to finish reading Phoenix. But I've been a shred of the man I was, ever since. I'm looking forward to reading the latest installment, but it's bittersweet.

In fact, in keeping with my chronic post-FQ fatigue, I'm just too tired to stay up tonight to make it to the Harry Potter party at our local independent bookstore, Porter Square Books; plus, I'm in class the next two weeks, at 8:30 am some days, and so I'm trying to re-set my sleep schedule to an earlier slot in preparation for the ordeal. (I work at home most days since my "floxing", as they call it, so I'm not used to having to go in every day: let alone at the crack of dawn.) It's ok, I don't need to start reading it tonight: we already pre-ordered our copies and can pick them up tomorrow with the dogs (they'll want their treats at the counter, after all). But I wish I had more energy, of course. And I bet it would have been fun.

A couple miles further away, Harvard Square's only remaining independent general-purpose bookstore, Harvard Book Store, is having an even bigger "do". It's so much fun that I'm taking the liberty of pasting it in here. Anybody (as if I had any readers) who reads this will find it too late to join the party, but at least I fixed up their links so if you click on them you can actually order from them and support an independent bookstore (for this post, at least):

From :

Scholastic, Inc.


20% Off: $23.96

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince PARTY

The wait is almost over!

Celebrate with other Harry Potter fans at Harvard Book Store on July 15th at 10:30 p.m., as we prepare ourselves for the commencement of Year Six at Hogwarts and the continuing adventures of our hero as told in the forthcoming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

As we wait for the stroke of midnight and the official release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, we’ll be keeping things fun for kids and adults.

  • Test your knowledge of Hogwarts history with our roving “triviadours” for a chance to win a temporary Harry Potter tattoo
  • Receive a lightening bolt scar just like Harry’s, courtesy of Harvard Book Store face painters
  • Enter our Diagon Alley Raffle for special treats straight from Flourish & Blotts Bookstore, Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor, and Ollivander's Wand Shop
  • One lucky student from each Hogwarts House will capture a Golden Snitch with their purchased copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Each Snitch wins one fabulous audio book of the new Harry Potter adventure! (retailed at $75 for CD and $50 Cassette)
  • Costumes highly encouraged—come dressed as your favorite character from J.K. Rowling’s beloved series!

No tickets or purchases are necessary to attend Harvard Book Store’s Harry Potter celebration.

Copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince are 20% off at Harvard Book Store. Buy it in the store or order it online.

Boy. They've been creative. I hope they have a lot of fun, and I hope they sell a lot of books! (Porter Square books, too!) Anyway. Off to bed for me!!

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Somebody's going to jail and it's NOT going to be me!

What is the deal with all the carping on the right about them evil liberals being for Eminent Domain to take poor people's houses away and give them to Developers?

Since when did liberals like big Developers? Gee, every liberal I know thinks of urban and suburban sprawl and the destruction of green space and the Walmartification of small mom-and-pop stores and corners cut in construction and the like, when they think about Developers.

I have never known a liberal cry to let Developers have poor people's houses so they can be torn down and turned into office parks or shopping malls - or even mixed-income housing if it came to that. If that was part of the so-called "liberal agenda" then somehow I missed that memo.

Hey, guys and gals on the right: it's not often that we agree on something, but I think you'll find most rank-and-file liberals are in agreement with you about this. I think most people outside of city halls find the recent supreme court decision distasteful. So stop trying to whip this one up into another "here's why liberals are so evil!" story. We disagree on enough things (almost all things, these days) without picking fights on the things we don't.

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Jour de la Prise de la Bastille

Well, yesterday was Bastille Day, not a day I typically observe one way or the other, though I've always enjoyed its odd symmetry with the July 4 Holiday. The Globe's coverage of yesterday was amusing:
What a difference 10 days makes: Where we celebrate signing a piece of paper, the French celebrate a riot and prison takeover. Who says Americans are more violent?
But the 14th this year was also one week to the day of the London terrorist bombings, marked by two minutes of silence (from Reuters):

The chimes of Big Ben boomed at midday across the city to mark the start of a two-minute silence that was observed across the country and elsewhere in Europe.

Black cabs and double-decker buses pulled over as an eerie silence descended on the capital.

Indeed, the moment of silence was apparently marked all over Europe, even in France, where it interrupted their National Holiday:
In Paris, President Jacques Chirac's annual Bastille day television address was put back to mark the moment. In Madrid government officials stopped work, Berlin's buses, trams and underground trains halted and in Italy, television stations cut into normal broadcasting.

The Early Show yesterday opened with the 2 minutes of silence, but their reporter broadcasting live from London couldn't keep her mouth shut during the silence. The whole rest of the city was still and quiet, and she was just chattered away. You could see bystanders in the background glaring at her. It just so happened that the Early Show began at 7am Eastern Time at precisely the time when the 2 minutes of silence were taking place at noon in London: I'm sure the producers really wanted to catch the flavor of the moment LIVE, but they ruined it by having their babbling reporter on the scene.

More later about London, Rove, and Santorum's latest too-crazy-to-be-fiction lunacy.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

More uncontrolled Book Acquisitions

Porter Square Books is very smart with the way they give out those coupons for every so much you spend (what is it? every $100? I do seem to get an awful lot of those coupons ...). I have a coupon, Lisa wants to take one of the dogs in to Porter Square (whenever we take them to Porter Square, they immediately drag us consecutively into Tags Hardware and Porter Square Books and B-line straight to the counter where they immediately SIT and stare at the startled clerk behind the counter, expecting a dog-treat from the stashes the stores keep there for just that reason — Pavlov — so it's kind of odd when you think about it that the clerks would be startled) and so of course I think I might as well use the coupon.

Do I ever come out of there with just the book I could pay for with one coupon?

What do you think?

This last time I really only went in there for the delightful edition of The War of the Worlds — illustrated by Edward Gorey, no less: here's a good look at the cover:

Buy from!
I actually discovered the book in an ad in the latest edition of the New York Review of Books (much ad-trolling from that issue that I haven't blogged yet). It turns out that Gorey drew these illustrations in 1960! And on re-reading (well, re-skimming) it, I find in fact that Gorey's illustrations - of the Tripods, definitely - are by far the most faithful renderings I have seen, while at the same time bearing his trademark whimsical style.

Of course I didn't stop there. For some reason, I just had to have the following books as well (taking advantage of my xsl skills to generate the table below from an Amazon web-services asinsearch request):

Buy from!Going Nucular: Language, Politics. and Culture in Confrontational Times
Geoff Nunberg
$10.40 (%20 off at Amazon)
Buy from!American Exceptionalism and Human Rights
Michael Ignatieff
$24.95 (No discount at Amazon)
Buy from!Divided by God: America's Church-State Problem--and What We Should Do About It
Noah Feldman
$16.50 (%34 off at Amazon)

Interestingly enough, Divided by God turned out to be previewed in the New York Times Magazine on the very same day I bought the book (though I hadn't seen the Magazine yet when I visited Porter Square Books). I'm not convinced by his proposed solution, but it's still a valuable contribution to the discourse. Going Nucular is by a Stanford Linguistics Professor who also writes a weekly language section for the New York Times Week in Review. I bought it anyway. And of course I've been quite interested in the concept of American Exceptionalism lately, particularly in light of the recent Orwellian re-writing of history that the Republicans have been engaging in of late (e.g., see here).

Of course, there's no point in asking whether I had first finished (or even begun?) reading the books from my last couple of sprees, blogged here and here.

I do feel the need to affirm that I have really been enjoying Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction, however. I'm reading it cover-to-cover. It's the best survey of the field I've seen in a long time.

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Another reasonably acceptable Lynley...

The last one was back to the old, bad, thinly-written standards: all the boring, overwrought, oh-so-very — and oh so very contrived — melodrama surrounding Lynley's relationship with his wife. (Somehow, despite their ages, they never dealt with the concept of a spouse actually also having a job or being very deeply immersed in their careers; and somehow they never talked about having children.) Overall, a disappointing outing.

This one, however, was better: the at-home melodrama was considerably less overwrought, though it still seems terribly contrived, and so many moments just strike the wrong note, or are at variance with the characters they have developed (e.g., Lynley struck me as precisely the kind of man who would be thrilled to have a child, and why did Helen suddenly get all bitchy on having Havers over at the house — for her own protection! — after having connected with her on a woman-to-woman level the night before?), but this time it was at least mostly about the mystery.

There were some stupid bits in the mystery, too (like Dennis would really have forgiven Shelly for killing his mother, even by accident), but overall it was compelling. It's a shame about Red. I really thought they were going to go somewhere with him and Havers...

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Boring sidebar maintenance ...

I've added a number of great-looking political blogs to my Bloglines account in the past few days:

Some good stuff there. I found most of them via Technorati searches about Benedict Rove and the like (actually I already knew about alicublog but I had forgotten to put it into bloglines, and I was reminded of it by my Rove searches).

I've also split out a "Daily Must Read" section of Political blogs. It's just too hard to keep up with the *whole* pack every day.

But even better is the link I added to the "hard" links under "More Politics": Antipreneur. That really looks interesting! From their home page:

Can activists harness the entrepreneurial spirit? It's time we try.

While giant corporations run roughshod over our lives, we whine and complain, protest and boycott. In vain, we even ask our governments for help.

But the one thing we've never done is fight the corporations head on.

For too long we've ignored the market, written it off as enemy territory. Yet, what do mega-corps like Walmart and Coke fear most? Competition.

Let's start putting our creative juice and energy into building real alternatives. We're talking about a new breed of bottom up enterprise that does things differently: promotes ethics over profit, values over image, idealism over hype.

Visit their site for more. Some of the ideas are pretty hokey (no surprise there), but some of them are really good.

I'll have some more to say about Rove, even though it's been blogged to death. In fact, the liberal blogosphere has reached something of a fever pitch on the topic of late.

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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Too much to blog!!

So, I haven't quite got the hang of this whole blogging thing yet. Maybe partly it's because I never had a diary, even when I was young. Lord knows it's not because I have difficulties with being prolix. I am a prolifically un-self-edited writer from way back: everyone complains my emails are too long for one thing (not to mention that I am constantly chatting - or gossiping - with coworkers via instant messaging, about politics or what-not; so I can certainly write.

But I just don't have that instinct that bloggers seem to develop that leads them to post to their blog every time anything happens in their lives or there is something interesting to write about. (I say something interesting to write about, not necessarily something interesting to say about that interesting something: I certainly make no claims in that area...)

Plus, the longer I take to make a new posting, the harder it is to get going again. It's been two weeks since my last posting (why do I suddenly feel like I'm in a confessional?), and an awful lot has been happening (politically and otherwise) in the interim. I begin to feel like the character Rob Morrow played when he hosted Saturday Night Live (in -- good lord, was it really 1992?!?! it seems more recent to me somehow ... drifting off in an "where did my 30s and half my 40s go" reverie ... ok, I'm back) in a skit called "Awkward Conversation", the point of which was that Morrow's character would always respond with a witty contribution not to the current topic of conversation, but to the last topic, or even the topic before that. If I fail to comment on a current political event in a timely manner, or even if I fail to comment on some interesting experience of mine, book I've been reading, movie I just saw (hey, what about Boris Goudenow and the sublime week with the BEMF, which I still haven't written on!!), then it just kind of seems to fall flat.

The politics has certainly been rich these past two weeks:
  • O'Connor announces her retirement (amply covered on the blogosphere and frankly too depressing for me to want to say much about)
  • Rove is fingered as the traitor and perjurer who leaked Valerie Plame's name (I even heard this topic mentioned on NPR today, along with the supreme irony of Novak's avoiding all (and it is finally, today, showing signs of breaking into the MSM just a teensy bit)
  • and of course, London

And in the meantime, I've seen some really fascinating movies (Mystery Street, We Are Not Alone), and some not quite so fascinating but still fun (Mad Miss Manton, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton); bought a whole new rash of books at Porter Square Books (argh!); got disappointed by yet another thinly-written Lynley; had some interesting dog-related moments; finally started trying to get my computer backed up regularly after 3 years of living on borrowed time (and irretrievably losing some precious photos and my 2002 Turbotax files): all of which was worth blogging about. Now I can only blog about them "awkwardly".

This is why I need to get into the blogging habit.

Oh, well. My friend Koranteng comes to the rescue again:

Now 9 or more months from conception to birth is typical for me and for most mammals even if it is a long time in the technology world, and it leaves much opportunity for others to make much the same point and vividly so. Thus I can make no claims to originality or insight. I happen however to believe in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's maxim that

"Any idea that couldn't stand a few decades of neglect is not worth anything".

Well, my bloggery pokery may not be worth much even when I finally do get around to it, but it's certainly going to be full of neglected ideas.

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