Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Goodnight Wednesday

Dan Savage at ALA


Tailoring his message to an ALA audience, Savage connected his It Gets Better campaign to the mission of libraries: "Librarians get what It Gets Better is really about-it's about information, and access to that information."

The premise, he said, is that if bullied students had more access to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) role models through these videos, they'd find the hope that the adults in their lives might not be able to provide. Savage says the problem is the same, whether it's a lack of LGBT presence in the community, the emotional toll brought on by disapproving parents, being "bullied from the pulpit," or getting rejected for any variety of other reasons.

Happy Hump Day

OK, OK, so it's half a hump, but that's better than no hump at all. ;)

Happy Hump Day

Via Shadow Angle

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Books on the New Cart

An enthralling new novel from the highly acclaimed author of Becoming Jane Eyre

The compelling story of a forbidden marriage, a baby lost, and a love triangle gone horribly wrong, Love Child centers on Bill, a South African woman whose life has been defined by the apartheid-era, class-riven society in which she lives. Under pressure to make her will, Bill is forced to think about the momentous events and decisions that have made her an extremely wealthy if somewhat disillusioned woman. To whom should she leave her fortune? As Bill relives her past, we learn that this is a simple question with a complicated answer. In elegant, sensual, and nuanced prose, Kohler skillfully explores the space between our dreams and our reality, between our hopes and our disappointments.

Eleven stories showcase a dexterous use of language and a startling, if frequently elusive, imagination as ghosts, aliens, and the living dead invade the most mundane aspects of everyday life. Newcomer Link references fairy tales, mythology, and bits of our common contemporary cultural experience, not to offer commentary but to take off on her own original riffs. So in "Shoe and Marriage" we meet a dictator's widow, unavoidably reminiscent of Imelda Marcos, living in a museum that displays the shoes she took from her husband's murder victims. The story, which also describes a bizarre beauty pageant, plays verbally with shoe metaphors from Cinderella's slippers to Dorothy's ruby reds, but what touches you is not the author's verbal acrobatics but the widow's deep sense of sorrow and horror. Like many of the pieces here, "Shoe and Marriage" joins disparate parts that don't always fit together, but linear connections are not the aim. When she depends too much on pure cleverness, Link ends up sounding derivative and brittle. "Survivor's Ball, or The Donner Party," in which two travelers come to an inn where a creepy if lavish shindig is in full swing, reminds you too insistently of Poe. "Flying Lessons," about a girl's love for a boy whose desire to fly ends tragically (hint, hint), and "Travels With the Snow Queen," in which the fairy tale is revamped to read cute, come across as writing-school literary. But at her best, Link produces oddly moving imagery. In "Louise's Ghost," two friends named Louise have overlapping affairs. The shared name at first seems like another joke, but the tale gradually digs deep into the emotionally charged waters of loss and redemption. Stylistic pyrotechnics light up a bizarre but emotionally truthful landscape. Link's a writer to watch.

People around the world, join hands, join the Stieg Larsson train, Larsson train...

In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there's only one surviving witness—the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die: he's suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. Desperate for information, Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes.

It's the sort of work that Bark has sworn he would never do again—ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.

An international sensation, The Hypnotist is set to appear in thirty-seven countries, and it has landed at the top of bestseller lists wherever it's been published—in France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark. Now it's America's turn. Combining the addictive power of the Stieg Larsson trilogy with the storytelling drive of The Silence of the Lambs, this adrenaline-drenched thriller is spellbinding from its very first page.

A new novel by the master storyteller that explores what it means to go home

When he was a young man, Randy Lopez left his village in northern New Mexico to seek his fortune. Since then, he has learned some of the secrets of success in the Anglo world—and even written a book called Life Among the Gringos. But something has been missing. Now he returns to Agua Bendita to reconnect with his past and to find the wisdom the Anglo world has not provided. In this allegorical account of Randy's final journey, master storyteller Rudolfo Anaya tackles life's big questions with a light touch.

Randy's entry into the haunted canyon that leads to his ancestral home begins on the Day of the Dead. Reuniting with his padrinos—his godparents—and hoping to meet up with his lost love, Sofia, Randy encounters a series of spirits: coyotes, cowboys, Death, and the devil. Each one engages him in a conversation about life. It is Randy's old teacher Miss Libriana who suggests his new purpose. She gives him a book, How to Build a Bridge. Only the bridge—which is both literal and figurative, like everything else in this story—can enable Randy to complete his journey.

Readers acquainted with Anaya's fiction will find themselves in familiar territory here. Randy Lopez, like all Anaya's protagonists, is on a spiritual quest. But both those new to and familiar with Anaya will recognize this philosophical meditation as part of a long literary tradition going back to Homer, Dante, and the Bible. Richly allusive and uniquely witty, Randy Lopez Goes Home presents man's quest for meaning in a touching, thought-provoking narrative that will resound with young adults and mature readers alike.

Beau: I Heart Steven Retchless

Here's his YouTube channel.

And if you missed my earlier post.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sometimes I Just Wanna Walk Away From Everything

NextReads: Historical Fiction

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

In the 1660s, on the island now known as Martha's Vineyard, minister's daughter Bethia Mayfield befriends a Wampanoag boy named Caleb. While scholarly Caleb accepts the tutelage of Bethia's father, who aims to convert the young man to Christianity and make a clergyman out of him, Bethia is expected to abandon her own desire for an education in favor of marriage and motherhood. Although it seems that their paths must diverge, tragedy ensures that their lives remain entwined as they travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts--he as a student, she as an indentured servant. Based on the life of Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk, the first Native American student to graduate from Harvard College, Caleb's Crossing is a "thoroughly researched" story told in "stunningly lyrical prose" (Booklist, starred review).

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

When their boss, the enigmatic Commodore, sends gun-toting brothers Charlie and Eli Sisters to kill a gold prospector named Hermann Kermit Warm, the boys set out on a quest that takes them from trail's end Oregon City all the way to bustling San Francisco. But as their target proves elusive, the siblings--particularly Eli--begin to question the purpose of their mission. Set during the boom times of the California Gold Rush and narrated by Eli in a matter-of-fact voice that recalls Mattie Ross of Charles Portis' True Grit, The Sisters Brothers is a gritty, darkly humorous Western.

22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson

The Nowaks, a Polish immigrant family in 1946 Suffolk, England, live in a red brick house at 22 Britannia Road. But the tranquil suburban façade masks a dark past. Just seven years before, Januscz and Silvana Nowak were newlyweds in Warsaw whose happiness was abruptly shattered by the German invasion of 1939. Januscz joined the army while Silvana hid in the forest and raised their son Aurek, who, after years of isolation, is practically feral. Now reunited, the couple attempts to rebuild their marriage and family, but wartime trauma and devastating secrets threaten their fragile stability. Don't miss this powerful debut, which Publishers Weekly calls "a sweeping tale of survival and redemption."

Doc: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell

Years before the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral secured his place in history, John Henry "Doc" Holliday was a Southern gentleman who "began to die when he was 21." In 1878, following a diagnosis of consumption (tuberculosis), Doc relocates his dental practice to the frontier town of Dodge City, Kansas. Soon abandoning dentistry for a life of drinking (which eases his symptoms) and gambling (which pays better than pulling teeth), Doc befriends the Earp brothers and finds his soul mate in Hungarian prostitute "Big Nose" Kate Harony. This atmospheric novel of the Old West offers an unsentimental look at the early years of an American legend.

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You: A Novel by Louisa Young

When working-class boy Riley Purefoy becomes the protégé of Sir Alfred Waveney, he befriends Sir Alfred's daughter, Nadine. As the years pass, friendship blossoms into love, but the couple's different backgrounds prevent them from being together. Further separation comes with the start of WWI, as Riley enlists and Nadine becomes a nurse. However, the greatest challenge of all comes when Riley sustains terrible injuries on the battlefield that leave him permanently scarred--both physically and psychologically. Although My Dear I Wanted to Tell You takes place in a different time period than Ian McEwan's Atonement, both books present poignant wartime love stories that also delve into issues of social class.

Some Images from Pride

We're here. We're queer. We have balloons!

Children playing in the fountain at the south end of the festival.

Buy a brownie from a Bear.

My friend Shaun, who was the target in the dunk booth, under water.

A Pride Gnome piñata.

And of course there were lots of cute guys, many shirtless, holding hands, hugging and kissing. I don't think I've kissed so many men in public in a very long time. :)

For more pics, visit my Facebook

Good Monday Morning

Via gerhard.treu

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Snatches of Sky

On my way downtown from Kroger, past Woodland Park.

My favorite tree stands in front of the Woodland Christian Church.

I love these semi-triangular buildings. There are two in Lexington.

Blooming hydrangea by my building. (That's my window in the upper right corner.)

The Lexington Pride Festival is today! :) Happy Pride!

Must-See Movie: The Black Balloon

I LOVE Toni Collette. I would simply say this is an amazing movie and that you should definitely see it, but since I've checked out Better Than Great: a plenitudinous compendium of wallopingly fresh superlatives, I will try to say...

"The Black Balloon" is an "axe for the frozen sea inside us," mesmerizing, beauty blazened, a brain jubilee, and a distillation of joy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Griff the Invisible

OMG. The trailer made me cry!

Repost: Taking Eloquence and Wringing Its Neck

Via A Different Stripe:

Nicole Rudnick at the Paris Review blog interviewed Jamey Gambrell about translating Vladimir Sorokin. Here is a bit of that interview:

Some in Russia have campaigned against the violence and obscenity in his work. The government even tried to prosecute him for it. Did that aspect of his writing bother you?

Not all of his books are quite like that, but the majority are. If I hadn’t already known him, in a general social context among artists, I might not have agreed to it, but he’s so unlike his books. He’s a very soft-spoken and mild-mannered individual. Otherwise, it would have been scary to translate them. Even something like “A Month in Dachau”—after a while it was a matter of what to do with the language, because the language was torture, too. It’s like Verlaine said about what he wanted to do with the French language: “Take eloquence and wring its neck”—break the language, which is particularly pertinent in French, because French is so pretty. Tsvetaeva wrote about some of Rilke’s last poems that French is the most ungrateful of languages for a poet, meaning that the language—its sounds, its nature—overwhelms in poetry. It’s a force, in and of itself, that the poet probably has little traction against. I really think she was right; it’s very overwhelming.

Russian, on the other hand, isn’t. Like English, it’s very difficult to find something that distorts or changes. It’s very difficult to shock in English with language. Not that that was Sorokin’s intention, just to shock. If you look at him in a sense as an abstract painter, where the paint on the canvas is what the painting is about—how the paint is applied, how the strokes are used—there’s no message in a way. Painting is about painting. Words on a page are about words on a page. I think that dehumanizing, really extreme violence that takes place in some of the novels is partly an attempt to do the same thing. At a certain point the brotherhood of the twenty-three thousand stop being able to read letters on a page; it just becomes black ink moving around, and words don’t have any meaning. They also can’t see faces; there’s no individuality. So I think, in an American context, you might call him a modernist, plain and simple.

Ice is...

Moscow has been hit by a wave of brutal murders. The victims are of both sexes, from different backgrounds, and of all ages, but invariably blond and blue-eyed. They are found with their breastbones smashed in, their hearts crushed. There is no sign of any motive.

Drugs, sex, and violence are the currency of daily life in Moscow. Criminal gangs and unscrupulous financial operators run the show. But in the midst of so much squalor one mysterious group is pursuing a long-meditated plan. Blond and blue-eyed, with a strange shared attraction to a chunk of interstellar ice, they are looking for their brothers and sisters, precisely 23,000 of them. Lost among the common herd of humanity, they must be awakened and set free. How? With a crude hammer fashioned out of the cosmic ice. Humans, meat machines, die under its blows. The hearts of the chosen answer by uttering their true names. For the first time they know the ecstasy of true life.

For the awakened, the future, like the past, is simple. It is ice.

What is Ice? A gritty dispatch from the front lines of the contemporary world, a gnostic fairy tale, a hard-boiled parable, a New Age parody, a bitingly funny fantasy in the great Russian tradition that begins with Gogol and continues with Nabokov, a renegade fiction to set beside those of Philip K. Dick and Michel Houellebecq, and the most ambitious and accomplished novel yet by Vladimir Sorokin, the stylistic virtuoso and master of provocation who, in the words of The Moscow Times, is “the only living Russian author who can be called a classic.”

NextReads: Horror

The President's Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth

In this action-packed thriller, agents of the United States battle the Other Side, whose warriors come from the hidden supernatural realms most people think are just mythical. Vampire Nathaniel Cade, the President's top-secret security agent since 1867, fights off the evil hordes while investigating the Shadow Company, which may be behind the monstrous onslaught. He's also looking into the possibility they have infiltrated a major military contractor. Only Cade's special vampire powers and long experience with the supernatural world have any hope of saving civilization as we know it. Find out how Nathaniel Cade got his position as a sworn defender of the U.S. President in the 1st of this series, Blood Oath.

The King of Plagues: A Joe Ledger Novel by Jonathan Maberry

Detective Joe Ledger, called back to duty after he resigned from opposing the forces of evil, faces a terror group bent on worldwide destruction. From the potential release of a deadly virus in Scotland, horrific destruction of the Royal London Hospital, bombing of the Bombay Stock Exchange, and attempted assassination of Ledger himself, the Department of Military Science realizes the mysterious Seven Kings have vast resources at their disposal. Ledger once again must battle deadly, scientifically created horrors attacking from all directions--and at terrifying speed! King of Plagues is the 3rd in the Joe Ledger series, which begins with Patient Zero.

Graveminder by Melissa Marr

In Claysville, everyone lives until at least the age of 80, barring accidents. This is because Death made a deal with the town--but the price of the deal is that all the Claysville dead must be buried there. Those who are buried elsewhere become the Hungry Dead, who return to seek revenge on the living. The graveminder's task is to make sure the dead stay buried. When one of the vengeful ghosts comes back and murders the graveminder, her granddaughter, Rebekkah, learns she is next in line for this important post, and that she is the only one who can lay the Hungry Dead back to rest!

Other Kingdoms by Richard Matheson

American soldier Alex White settles in an English village after he returns from the trenches of World War I. One of his British comrades-in-arms who died in the war told him about his hometown, so Alex decides to go there when he's released from the service. Sixty years later, Alex tells about the War and about what happened in the creepy town where he settled, when a witch and a faerie competed for his love. If you're new to author Richard Matheson's writing and can't survive without reading more, I Am Legend is the next book for you.

The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse by Steven C. Schlozman

On a remote island research station, scientists dissect monsters infected by Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome, or ANSD--the virus that causes zombiism. Researcher Dr. Stanley Blum records his findings in his notebooks even as he sees that the virus is spreading rapidly. Sly, black humor permeates this tale along with the terror from the encroaching virus. Author Steven Schlozman is an MD and really knows how to crank up the fear level when writing about a scientific mishap. If you can't get enough about zombies, try The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.

Definitely check out Richard Matheson's books - his subject matter is the paranormal but it's on a spectrum from I Am Legend to What Dreams May Come. Also, check out World War Z also by Max (son of Mel) Brooks (or you could simply wait for the movie).

Death Has Given Up on Chess

Via Daventry Blue

Death has taken up wrestling, but, apparently, He likes to tickle. :)

Friday Beau: Patrick Obrien

Via Sozo's Blog <--- for the love of all that is good in the world, click over and see all the beauty.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Repost: Religious Freedom

Thanks, Joe.My.God.

I've posted this before but with Marriage Equality up for vote again in New York, it's making its rounds on Twitter (and Joe.My.God, as before mentioned).

Vagina Lit: It's Been Forever

The state of Mass Market Paperback Romance covers hasn't really been all that exciting lately. Yes, there've been plenty of tats and hot guys, but mostly I've been "meh."

Until today. Even if the book sucks, isn't he simply GORRRgeous!

NextReads: Fantasy

Dark Jenny: An Eddie LaCrosse Novel by Alex Bledsoe

Mystery Fantasy. On a cold winter's night, private investigator and self-described "sword jockey" Eddie LaCrosse is enjoying a pint or two in his favorite tavern when a visitor shows up carrying a coffin addressed to Eddie. Who's in it? Well, that's a long story--one that begins years ago in the kingdom of Grand Bruan, where King Marcus Drake's Knights of the Double Tarn hold court. Although Alex Bledsoe's Eddie LaCrosse mysteries, beginning with The Sword-Edged Blonde and Burn Me Deadly, take place in a medieval world full of swords and sorcery, their wisecracking protagonist and hard-boiled storylines may appeal to fans of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files.

The Chaos Crystal by Jennifer Fallon

Epic Fantasy. Eons ago, a group of magic-using immortals called the Tide Lords created the Crasii, a slave race of human-animal hybrids, to help them rule the lands of Amyrantha and Glaeba and all the humans who live there. But not everyone accepts the Tide Lords' authority. In fact, some--like Lady Arkady Desean and her allies--are actively fighting against it. The Chaos Crystal is the 4th and concluding volume of the Tide Lords series; newcomers will want to start with The Immortal Prince.

Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

Historical Fantasy. With her beloved Alexandria besieged by Octavian's army following the Battle of Actium, and her lover, Marc Antony, dead, there's no way out for legendary Egyptian queen Cleopatra except death. Or is there? Using magic, Cleopatra calls upon warrior goddess Sekhmet, but the spell goes awry and transforms her into a vampiric creature that shuns daylight and craves human blood. And that's when the real battle begins. If you're interested in another magic-infused tale about othe Queen of the Nile, check out Jo Graham's Hand of Isis.

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

Fairy Tale Fantasy. Set in Leningrad just after the Russian Revolution, Deathless is a retelling of the Russian folktale of Koschei the Deathless, a wizard whose immortality results from the fact that his soul resides in a separate place from his body. Koschei steals a bride, a human girl named Marya Morevna, and spirits her away to his home in the Country of Life. But as magical crone Baba Yaga reveals, any fairy tale heroine worth her salt can expect seemingly insurmountable trials before her story is finished. If you enjoy the blending of Russian history and fairy tales, check out Ekaterina Sedia's The Secret History of Moscow or Kim Wilkins' Veil of Gold.

After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn

Fantasy. Celia West is the estranged daughter of legendary superheroes Captain Olympus and Spark, who have been saving the world since before she was born. Utterly lacking in superpowers (unless you count her talent for getting kidnapped by bad guys), Celia works as a forensic accountant. It's as far from the family business as she can get - until her firm assigns her to the District Attorney's office to gather evidence for the trial of the century, involving her parents' arch-nemesis, the Destructor. There's just one problem: when she was 17, Celia briefly joined forces with the Destructor in the ultimate act of teenage rebellion. For another look into the everyday lives of superheroes - and supervillains - try Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible.

Repost: Report on Our Oceans Predict Possible Extinction

Via DavidMixner:

An international conference and workshop sponsored by leading environmental organizations dealing with our oceans released a shocking and disturbing report. The conclusion of the report by the International Programme On the State of the Ocean (IPSO) speaks for itself:

The participants concluded that not only are we already experiencing severe declines in many species to the point of commercial extinction in some cases, and an unparalleled rate of regional extinctions of habitat types (eg mangroves and seagrass meadows), but we no face losing marine species and entire marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, within a single generation. Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, overexploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean. It is notable that the occurrence of multiple high intensity stressors has been pre-requisite for all the five global extinction events of the past 600 million years.

What are the key factors that led to such a dire prediction? The report lists:

  1. Human actions have resulted in warming and acidification of the oceans and are now causing increased hypoxia.

  2. The speeds of many negative changes to the ocean are near to or are tracking the worst-case scenarios from the IPCC and other predictions. Some are as predicted but many are faster than anticipated, and many are still accelerating.

  3. The magnitude of the cumulative impacts on the oceans is greater than previously understood.

  4. Timelines for action are shrinking.

  5. Resilience of the oceans to climate change impacts is severely compromised by the other stressors from human activities, including fisheries, pollution habitat destruction.

  6. Ecosystem collapse is occurring as a result of both current and emerging stressors.

  7. The extinction threat to marine species is rapidly increasing.

You can read the entire report by clicking here

Beau: Muggler

Thank you, Towleroad

Good morning, QTs

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I love Steve the Subway Pole Dancer

Watch here

Dinner Hump Day


It's best to surround yourself with your adopted family for Dinner.

Be sure to turn that TV off.