Archive for January, 2009












Dr. Strangelove Transformation Complete (via Life in the NohoDome)

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johansson1Ingemar Johansson, the Swede who stunned the boxing world by knocking out Floyd Patterson to win the heavyweight title in 1959, has died. Johansson was 76.” (via ESPN)

[Sometimes a person, or an event, sticks in your head in ways you don’t necessarily appreciate until much later, perhaps not until the person dies or the event regains relevance.  I have been an avid sports fan, mostly of baseball, since I was a young boy growing up in the 1950s in a home with a sports-crazed father. I remember vividly my father’s shock, and disappointment, when Johansson KO’d Patterson in 1959 – my father went on for months about how it was the greatest upset he had ever seen in any sport.  The following year, in October 1960, just two months shy of my 8th birthday, my beloved New York Yankees were upset by the Pittsburgh Pirates in a classic seven-game World Series — classic if you rooted against the Yankees — ended by Bill Mazeroski’s famous home run. While the Yankees loss meant much more to me than the Patterson defeat, I think that together, the two famous upsets, one coming so soon after the other, “proved” to my nascent sports-fan’s sensibilities that the world of sports was a world in which anything — anything! — could happen. If so, Johansson is owed my thanks (as is my father, of course, and the still-despised Bill Mazeroski) for my lifelong love of sports.]


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“How can we navigate through the information landscape that is only beginning to come into view? The question is more urgent than ever following the recent settlement between Google and the authors and publishers who were suing it for alleged breach of copyright. For the last four years, Google has been digitizing millions of books, including many covered by copyright, from the collections of major research libraries, and making the texts searchable online. The authors and publishers objected that digitizing constituted a violation of their copyrights. After lengthy negotiations, the plaintiffs and Google agreed on a settlement, which will have a profound effect on the way books reach readers for the foreseeable future. What will that future be?”

(via The New York Review of Books)


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Found online today, during a waaaay-too-long procrastination break (OK, I’m not working on a novel, but still . . .):

Invaluable tips for would-be authors from the no-nonsense book How NOT to Write a Novel (via Times Online)

If all else fails, there’s always self-publishing!

Self-Publishers Flourish as Writers Pay the Tab (via NY Times)

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“Jackie Robinson was my boyhood hero and with every passing year I have a richer appreciation of what he went through and how he made this world a better place with his courage and grace.” (Tom Brokaw)

Earlier this week in New York, in advance of what would have been his 90th birthday tomorrow, Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, kicked off a fund-raising campaign for a planned Jackie Robinson Museum. “The museum will consolidate the major themes that defined Robinson’s life and the lives of all who aspire to effect change: commitment and courage. ‘I saw [those traits] in Jack and I see that in President Obama and others who prevail,'” said Robinson, during an interview with New York Times sports columnist William C. Rhoden. 

A Way to Mark Robinson’s 90th Birthday (via NY Times)


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The Audacity of Hate

church-fireIn Springfield, Massachusetts (barely 30 minutes south of my home in Northampton), during the early morning hours immediately following Barack Obama’s election as President, a predominately black church under construction was destroyed by fire.  Earlier this week, the three Massachusetts men, all white, accused of having set the fire, were formally indicted.  The indictment alleges the men talked about their racial motives before setting the fire.  Although I was horrified when I heard the news, I was, sadly, unsurprised that even in Massachusetts, the bluest of blue states, this sort of hate crime could be perpetrated.  Now comes evidence that not only are hate crimes on the rise, but that “A new black president and the deepening economic crisis are creating the perfect storm for racist groups intent on swelling their ranks.”  So says Neo-Nazi David Duke who offers that “Obama will be a ‘visual aid’ for angry white Americans and will provoke a backlash among relatively mainstream whites that will ‘result in a dramatic increase in [the] ranks’ of extremists.”  A sampling of racial incidents, from Maine to California, reported in the wake of the election would appear to support his claim.

Obama Called a “Visual Aid” for White Supremacist Recruiting (via AlterNet)


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Turtles for sale in an open air market near Oudong, Cambodia (December, 2006)

“At open-air markets and restaurants in Asian communities here and abroad, millions of turtles are being butchered for food and their alleged “medicinal qualities,” and conservationists note that this rapacious craving has already wiped out some wild turtle populations in China, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.  The international turtle trade is big business, and it’s conducted with little concern for the continuation of species.”

Eating Turtles to Extinction (via The Progressive Puppy)


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