Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hot and a Tight End and an Author?? Woof!

Image via and post about Jackson's new book Slowing Getting Up: a story of NFL survival from the bottom of the pile at NPR

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Island Appears After Earthquake

Image and article via BBC

A 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck Pakistan yesterday leaving 328 dead, many wounded and many more homeless. But it also caused an almost 700 foot long island to appear offshore.

The 7.7-magnitude quake struck on Tuesday afternoon at a depth of 20km (13 miles) north-east of Awaran, the US Geological Survey said.

Many houses were flattened and thousands of people have spent the night in the open.

After the quake, an island appeared off the coast near the port of Gwadar.

People gathered on the beach to see the new island, which is reported to be about 200m (656ft) long, 100m wide and 20m high, and scientists have been sent to survey it.

Officials say such land masses have appeared before in the area, and usually disappear again over time.

Tuesday's quake was so powerful it was felt as far away as India's capital, Delhi, and Dubai. Workers in Karachi had to evacuate their offices because of the strong tremors.

Balochistan is Pakistan's largest but least populated province.

This Week's Books

Award-winning novelist Trebor Healey depicts San Francisco in the 1980s and ’90s in poetic prose that is both ribald and poignant, and a crossing into the American West that is dreamy, mythic, and visionary.

When troubled twenty-one-year-old Seamus Blake meets the strong and self-possessed Jimmy (just arrived in San Francisco by bicycle from his hometown in Buffalo, New York), he feels his life may finally be taking a turn for the better. But the ensuing romance proves short-lived as Jimmy dies of an AIDS-related illness. The grieving Seamus is obliged to keep a promise to Jimmy: “Take me back the way I came.”

And so Seamus sets out by bicycle on a picaresque journey with the ashes, hoping to bring them back to Buffalo. He meets truck drivers, waitresses, college kids, farmers, ranchers, Marines, and other travelers—each one giving him a new perspective on his own life and on Jimmy’s death. When he meets and becomes involved with a young Native American man whose mother has recently died, Seamus’s grief and his story become universal and redemptive.

Also...the author is HAWT!

For the first time ever — a comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth century’s most innovative creative artists: the incomparable, irreplaceable Jim Henson

He was a gentle dreamer whose genial bearded visage was recognized around the world, but most people got to know him only through the iconic characters born of his fertile imagination: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were just part of his remarkable story.

This extraordinary biography — written with the generous cooperation of the Henson family — covers the full arc of Henson’s all-too-brief life: from his childhood in Leland, Mississippi; through the years of burgeoning fame in Washington D.C., New York, and London; to the decade of international celebrity that preceded his untimely death at age fifty-three. Drawing on hundreds of hours of new interviews with Henson's family, friends, and closest collaborators, as well as unprecedented access to private family and company archives (including never-before-seen interviews, business documents, and Henson’s private letters), Brian Jay Jones explores the creation of the Muppets, Henson’s contributions to Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live, and his nearly ten-year campaign to bring The Muppet Show to television. Jones provides the imaginative context for Henson’s non-Muppet projects, including the richly imagined worlds of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth—as well as fascinating misfires like Henson’s dream of opening an inflatable psychedelic nightclub or staging an elaborate all-puppet Broadway show.

An uncommonly intimate portrait, Jim Henson captures all the facets of this American original: the master craftsman who revolutionized the presentation of puppets on television, the savvy businessman whose dealmaking prowess won him a reputation as “the new Walt Disney,” and the creative team leader whose collaborative ethos earned him the undying loyalty of everyone who worked for him. Here also is insight into Henson’s intensely private personal life: his Christian Science upbringing; his love of fast cars, high-stakes gambling, and expensive art; and his weakness for women. Though an optimist by nature, Henson was haunted by the notion that he would not have time to do all the things he wanted to do in life—a fear that his heartbreaking final hours would prove all too well founded.

An up-close look at the charmed life of a legend, Jim Henson gives the full measure to a man whose joyful genius transcended age, language, geography, and culture—and continues to beguile audiences worldwide.

Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them.... and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all... Acclaimed suspense novelist and New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box) creates an all-new story of dark fantasy and wonder, with astounding artwork from Gabriel Rodriguez.

Bestselling author and environmental activist Bill McKibben recounts the personal and global story of the fight to build and preserve a sustainable planet

Bill McKibben is not a person you'd expect to find handcuffed and behind bars, but that's where he found himself in the summer of 2011 after leading the largest civil disobedience in thirty years, protesting the Keystone XL pipeline in front of the White House.

With the Arctic melting, the Midwest in drought, and Irene scouring the Atlantic, McKibben recognized that action was needed if solutions were to be found. Some of those would come at the local level, where McKibben joins forces with a Vermont beekeeper raising his hives as part of the growing trend toward local food. Other solutions would come from a much larger fight against the fossil-fuel industry as a whole.

Oil and Honey is McKibben’s account of these two necessary and mutually reinforcing sides of the global climate fight—from the center of the maelstrom and from the growing hive of small-scale local answers. With empathy and passion he makes the case for a renewed commitment on both levels, telling the story of raising one year’s honey crop and building a social movement that’s still cresting.

The incomparable Dara Horn returns with a spellbinding novel of how technology changes memory and how memory shapes the soul.

Software prodigy Josie Ashkenazi has invented an application that records everything its users do. When an Egyptian library invites her to visit as a consultant, her jealous sister Judith persuades her to go. But in Egypt’s postrevolutionary chaos, Josie is abducted — leaving Judith free to take over Josie’s life at home, including her husband and daughter, while Josie’s talent for preserving memories becomes a surprising test of her empathy and her only means of escape.

A century earlier, another traveler arrives in Egypt: Solomon Schechter, a Cambridge professor hunting for a medieval archive hidden in a Cairo synagogue. Both he and Josie are haunted by the work of the medieval philosopher Moses Maimonides, a doctor and rationalist who sought to reconcile faith and science, destiny and free will. But what Schechter finds, as he tracks down the remnants of a thousand-year-old community’s once-vibrant life, will reveal the power and perils of what Josie’s ingenious work brings into being: a world where nothing is ever forgotten.

An engrossing adventure that intertwines stories from Genesis, medieval philosophy, and the digital frontier, A Guide for the Perplexed is a novel of profound inner meaning and astonishing imagination.

A provocative history of the role of silence in Christianity by the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author

In this essential work of religious history, the New York Times bestselling author of Christianity explores the vital role of silence in the Christian story.

How should one speak to God? Are our prayers more likely to be heard if we offer them quietly at home or loudly in church? How can we really know if God is listening? From the earliest days, Christians have struggled with these questions. Their varied answers have defined the boundaries of Christian faith and established the language of our most intimate appeals for guidance or forgiveness.

MacCulloch shows how Jesus chose to emphasize silence as an essential part of his message and how silence shaped the great medieval monastic communities of Europe. He also examines the darker forms of religious silence, from the church’s embrace of slavery and its muted reaction to the Holocaust to the cover-up by Catholic authorities of devastating sexual scandals.

A groundbreaking work that will change our understanding of the most fundamental wish to be heard by God, Silence gives voice to the greatest mysteries of faith.

Hush yo mouth!

"Easily the most unsettling work of nonfiction I've ever read... the book is beyond relevant. It's critical reading in a nation with thousands of nukes still on hair-trigger alert." ~Mother Jones

Famed investigative journalist Eric Schlosser digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America’s nuclear arsenal. A ground-breaking account of accidents, near-misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: how do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? That question has never been resolved--and Schlosser reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind.

Written with the vibrancy of a first-rate thriller, Command and Control interweaves the minute-by-minute story of an accident at a nuclear missile silo in rural Arkansas with a historical narrative that spans more than fifty years. It depicts the urgent effort by American scientists, policymakers, and military officers to ensure that nuclear weapons can’t be stolen, sabotaged, used without permission, or detonated inadvertently. Schlosser also looks at the Cold War from a new perspective, offering history from the ground up, telling the stories of bomber pilots, missile commanders, maintenance crews, and other ordinary servicemen who risked their lives to avert a nuclear holocaust. At the heart of the book lies the struggle, amid the rolling hills and small farms of Damascus, Arkansas, to prevent the explosion of a ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead ever built by the United States.

Drawing on recently declassified documents and interviews with men who designed and routinely handled nuclear weapons, Command and Control takes readers into a terrifying but fascinating world that, until now, has been largely hidden from view. Through the details of a single accident, Schlosser illustrates how an unlikely event can become unavoidable, how small risks can have terrible consequences, and how the most brilliant minds in the nation can only provide us with an illusion of control. Audacious, gripping, and unforgettable, Command and Control is a tour de force of investigative journalism, an eye-opening look at the dangers of America’s nuclear age.

A powerful investigation into the chances for humanity's future from the author of the bestseller The World Without Us.

In his bestselling book The World Without Us, Alan Weisman considered how the Earth could heal and even refill empty niches if relieved of humanity's constant pressures. Behind that groundbreaking thought experiment was his hope that we would be inspired to find a way to add humans back to this vision of a restored, healthy planet--only in harmony, not mortal combat, with the rest of nature.

But with a million more of us every 4 days on a planet that's not getting any bigger, and with our exhaust overheating the atmosphere and altering the chemistry of the oceans, prospects for a sustainable human future seem ever more in doubt. For this long awaited follow-up book, Weisman traveled to more than 20 countries to ask what experts agreed were probably the most important questions on Earth--and also the hardest: How many humans can the planet hold without capsizing? How robust must the Earth's ecosystem be to assure our continued existence? Can we know which other species are essential to our survival? And, how might we actually arrive at a stable, optimum population, and design an economy to allow genuine prosperity without endless growth?

Weisman visits an extraordinary range of the world's cultures, religions, nationalities, tribes, and political systems to learn what in their beliefs, histories, liturgies, or current circumstances might suggest that sometimes it's in their own best interest to limit their growth. The result is a landmark work of reporting: devastating, urgent, and, ultimately, deeply hopeful.

By vividly detailing the burgeoning effects of our cumulative presence, Countdown reveals what may be the fastest, most acceptable, practical, and affordable way of returning our planet and our presence on it to balance. Weisman again shows that he is one of the most provocative journalists at work today, with a book whose message is so compelling that it will change how we see our lives and our destiny.

Cue music.

Inspired by one of the greatest creative minds in the English language-and William Shakespeare-here is an officially licensed retelling of George Lucas's epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome Stormtroopers, signifying...pretty much everything.

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations--William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.

The gay male world today is characterized by seductive beauty, artful creativity, flamboyant sexuality, and, encouragingly, unprecedented acceptability in society. Yet despite the progress of the recent past, gay men still find themselves asking, "Are we really better off?" The inevitable byproduct of growing up gay in a straight world continues to be the internalization of shame, a shame gay men may strive to obscure with a fa?ade of beauty, creativity, or material success. Drawing on contemporary psychological research, the author's own journey to be free of anger and of shame, as well as the stories of many of his friends and clients, The Velvet Rage outlines the three distinct stages to emotional well-being for gay men. Offering profoundly beneficial strategies to stop the insidious cycle of avoidance and self-defeating behavior, The Velvet Rage is an empowering book that will influence the public discourse on gay culture, and positively change the lives of gay men who read it.

Get ready for Halloween. So far I've decided to read Something Wicked This Way Comes, but that still leaves 3 more books to choose.

DRACULA COMES TO NEW YORK: Kim Newman returns to one of the great bestselling vampire tales of the modern era. Considered alongside I Am Legend and Interview with theVampire as one of the stand-out vampire stories of the last century - this brand-new novel is the first in over a decade from the remarkable and influential Anno Dracula series.

Newman’s dark and impish tale begins with a single question: What if Dracula had survived his encounters with Bram Stoker’s Dr. John Seward and enslaved Victorian England?

Fallen from grace and driven from the British Empire in previous instalments, Dracula seems long gone. A relic of the past. Yet, when vampire boy Johnny Alucard descends upon America, stalking the streets of New York and Hollywood, haunting the lives of the rich and famous, from Sid and Nancy to Andy Warhol, Orson Welles, and Francis Ford Coppola, sinking his fangs ever deeper into the zeitgeist of 1980s America, it seems the past might not be dead after all.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Video from Queer Artist Brendan MacLean

And as a reminder, here is his first video - well first to us - Stupid or as I like to call it, my inspiration to buy red skinny jeans.

Also, here he is covering Joni Mitchell's River

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I Wish You the Best

Via People

Zac Efron hasn't been seen out and about on the nightclub scene as of late – and it sounds like there's a reason.

The actor, 25, completed a stint in rehab about five months ago, sources confirm to PEOPLE.

The actor – who recently walked the carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival – is "doing great," a source tells PEOPLE. "He's taking care of himself and it shows."

Efron will next star in Parkland, a drama about the Kennedy assassination. "It's really a surreal experience for me," he tells USA Today of working on the film. "It feels very mature and really interesting. It's a whole different kind of filmmaking and I feel blessed to have been a part of it."

Monday, September 16, 2013

I've Been Struck Speechless...

More wet and wonderful via BuzzFeed

OK. I'll be a middle-aged Creeper and say...

...that these two members of One Direction are much hotter than the two who typically get the spotlight.

Via BuzzFeed

Friday, September 13, 2013

For Your Weekend

Thank you, JamTheCat

Cue Romantic Music and begin to Cry

Originally published in a 1961 issue of the magazine One. Click to embiggen.

Via Upworthy

Matthew Shepard's Killer was his bisexual lover? I'm. Not. Sure....

...*looks behind himself looking for security to help escort the (potential) crazy out of the building...

Via Towleroad

In a new book by Stephen Jimenez entitled, The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard, Jimenez puts forward a different telling of the events and motivations surrounding Matthew Shepard's brutal murder in 1998. Jimenez recently sat down with Andrew Sullivan and The Dish to discuss the book.

Jimenez reveals that he first became interested in Matthew's story as he was researching a screenplay he was writing on Matthew's murder. However, upon settling into Laramie and starting to dig into the details of the murder, Jimenez quickly began to suspect that there was more to the story than what was being played out in the press and in the courtroom.

Early on, he claims he found proof that "Aaron McKinney had been a male hustler, had been familiar with gay guys and gay bars" and "that he really did like having sex with gay guys and that he was not unfamiliar with homosexuality and the gay world," which in Jimenez's mind at least seemed to contradict the "gay panic" defense that McKinney's lawyers were putting forth. What began as a trip to "fill in some color and detail" for a screenplay turned into a "13-year investigative obsession."

Does every fucking story have to have a "love story" (since it's gay a "TRAGIC" love story) inserted into it?

This Week's Books

In Douglas Lain's debut novel set during the turbulent year of 1968, Christopher Robin Milne, the inspiration for his father’s fictional creation, struggles to emerge from a manufactured life, in a story of hope and transcendence.

Billy Moon was Christopher Robin Milne, the son of A. A. Milne, the world-famous author of Winnie the Pooh and other beloved children's classics. Billy's life was no fairy-tale, though. Being the son of a famous author meant being ignored and even mistreated by famous parents; he had to make his own way in the world, define himself, and reconcile his self-image with the image of him known to millions of children. A veteran of World War II, a husband and father, he is jolted out of midlife ennui when a French college student revolutionary asks him to come to the chaos of Paris in revolt. Against a backdrop of the apocalyptic student protests and general strike that forced France to a standstill that spring, Milne's new French friend is a wild card, able to experience alternate realities of the past and present. Through him, Milne's life is illuminated and transformed, as are the world-altering events of that year.

In a time when the Occupy movement eerily mirrors the political turbulence of 1968, this magic realist novel is an especially relevant and important book.

Also, Good Night Billy Moon.

A stunning allegorical novel about one man’s enduring love for his daughter

Hailed as “a masterpiece” (NPR), Tinkers, Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize–winning debut, is a modern classic. The Dallas Morning News observed that “like Faulkner, Harding never shies away from describing what seems impossible to put into words.” Here, in Enon, Harding follows a year in the life of Charlie Crosby as he tries to come to terms with a shattering personal tragedy. Grandson of George Crosby (the protagonist of Tinkers), Charlie inhabits the same dynamic landscape of New England, its seasons mirroring his turbulent emotional odyssey. Along the way, Charlie’s encounters are brought to life by his wit, his insights into history, and his yearning to understand the big questions. A stunning mosaic of human experience, Enon affirms Paul Harding as one of the most gifted and profound writers of his generation.

A fully realized portrait of one woman’s life in all its complexity, by the National Book Award–winning author

An ordinary life — its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion — lived by an ordinary woman: this is the subject of Someone, Alice McDermott’s extraordinary return, seven years after the publication of After This. Scattered recollections — of childhood, adolescence, motherhood, old age — come together in this transformative narrative, stitched into a vibrant whole by McDermott’s deft, lyrical voice.

Our first glimpse of Marie is as a child: a girl in glasses waiting on a Brooklyn stoop for her beloved father to come home from work. A seemingly innocuous encounter with a young woman named Pegeen sets the bittersweet tone of this remarkable novel. Pegeen describes herself as an “amadan,” a fool; indeed, soon after her chat with Marie, Pegeen tumbles down her own basement stairs. The magic of McDermott’s novel lies in how it reveals us all as fools for this or that, in one way or another.

Marie’s first heartbreak and her eventual marriage; her brother’s brief stint as a Catholic priest, subsequent loss of faith, and eventual breakdown; the Second World War; her parents’ deaths; the births and lives of Marie’s children; the changing world of her Irish-American enclave in Brooklyn — McDermott sketches all of it with sympathy and insight. This is a novel that speaks of life as it is daily lived; a crowning achievement by one of the finest American writers at work today.

A major new novel from the Nobel Prize–winning author of Waiting for the Barbarians, The Life & Times of Michael K and Disgrace

Nobel laureate and two-time Booker Prize winner J. M. Coetzee returns with a haunting and surprising novel about childhood and destiny that is sure to rank with his classic novels.

Separated from his mother as a passenger on a boat bound for a new land, David is a boy who is quite literally adrift. The piece of paper explaining his situation is lost, but a fellow passenger, Simón, vows to look after the boy. When the boat docks, David and Simón are issued new names, new birthdays, and virtually a whole new life.

Strangers in a strange land, knowing nothing of their surroundings, nor the language or customs, they are determined to find David’s mother. Though the boy has no memory of her, Simón is certain he will recognize her at first sight. “But after we find her,” David asks, “what are we here for?”

An eerie allegorical tale told largely through dialogue, The Childhood of Jesus is a literary feat—a novel of ideas that is also a tender, compelling narrative. Coetzee’s many fans will celebrate his return while new readers will find The Childhood of Jesus an intriguing introduction to the work of a true master.

In Old Man River, Paul Schneider tells the story of the river at the center of America’s rich history — the Mississippi. Some fifteen thousand years ago, the majestic river provided Paleolithic humans with the routes by which early man began to explore the continent’s interior. Since then, the river has been the site of historical significance, from the arrival of Spanish and French explorers in the 16th century to the Civil War. George Washington fought his first battle near the river, and Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman both came to President Lincoln’s attention after their spectacular victories on the lower Mississippi.

In the 19th century, home-grown folk heroes such as Daniel Boone and the half-alligator, half-horse, Mike Fink, were creatures of the river. Mark Twain and Herman Melville led their characters down its stream in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Confidence-Man. A conduit of real-life American prowess, the Mississippi is also a river of stories and myth.

Schneider traces the history of the Mississippi from its origins in the deep geologic past to the present. Though the busiest waterway on the planet today, the Mississippi remains a paradox—a devastated product of American ingenuity, and a magnificent natural wonder.

Kentucky by no means is about to join the "GanjaNation," we are pushing forward with industrial hemp.

An in-depth look at the legal cannabis industry and how the “new green economy” is shaping our country

The nation’s economy is in trouble, but one cash crop has the potential to turn it around: cannabis. ABC News reports that underground cannabis industry produces $35.8 billion in annual revenues. But, thanks to Nixon and the War on Drugs, marijuana is still synonymous with heroin on the federal level even though it has won mainstream acceptance.

Too High to Fail is an objectively (if humorously) reported account of how one plant can change the shape of our country, culturally, politically, and economically. It covers everything from a brief history of hemp to an insider’s perspective on a growing season in Mendocino County, where cannabis drives 80 percent of the economy. Doug Fine follows one plant from seed to patient in the first American county to fully legalize and regulate cannabis farming. He profiles a critical issue to lawmakers, media pundits, an ordinary Americans. It is a wild ride that includes college tuitions paid with cash, cannabis-friendly sheriffs, and access to the world of the emerging legitimate, taxpaying “ganjaprenneur.”

And just because he looks like he's about to pounce on your shmushy face...

Friday, September 6, 2013

I have a thing...

...for wet people...

...in chunky, nerdy glasses...

...who are also Benedict Cumberbatchly shaped...

Just sayin'.

Welcome to Life According to The Walking Dead 101

Via UCIrvine News

AMC, Instructure and the UC Irvine today announced the joint production of a massive open online course exploring a broad range of scholarly topics through the lens of a hypothetical zombie apocalypse.

The eight-week MOOC, titled “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead,’” will be offered on Instructure’s MOOC platform, Canvas Network, and will be taught by a multidisciplinary team of UC Irvine faculty: Zuzana Bic, public health; Joanne Christopherson, social sciences; Michael Dennin, physics; and Sarah Eichhorn, mathematics. They were handpicked based on experience in teaching MOOCs, history of using pop culture in the classroom, and strong curricular alignment with case studies from the TV series.

“Fans of the show know that ‘The Walking Dead’ is about more than zombies; it’s about survival, leadership and adapting to situations that are perilous and uncertain,” said Theresa Beyer, vice president of promotions and activation at AMC. “AMC is excited to be the first entertainment group to make the foray into the online education arena through this unique partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and Instructure. There is clearly a growing appetite for engagement with ‘The Walking Dead,’ and we hope this online course will drive a deep, sustained connection with the show during its upcoming fourth season and offer a legitimate educational experience that can be applied even more broadly.”

Make it happen, make it happen, make it happen...

Via BuzzFeed

Catherine Tate has said she would reprise her role as Donna Noble and this cannot happen soon enough.

Robert Pattinson is apparently a Method Actor

Via BuzzFeed

According to an interview with a German magazine, Pattinson full on pleasured himself to completion in the scene, because faking it “just doesn’t work.”

So...how long before that crusty towel ends up on ebay?

Benedict Cumberbatch on Chelsea Manning Sentence

This is one of the reasons why I am a Cumberbitch.

Via BuzzFeed

“I don’t think it’s as simple as that, really,” the English actor said when asked whether Manning is a hero or villain. “I think what she did was incredibly brave, and at the same time, a legal process had to take place. It’s a very complex issue to just come down on one side or the other.”

I'm also very happy that he fairly (and relatively) picked up the proper pronoun.

Pandora also introduced me to a new to me song

All Things Testicular

Via NPR

Among the odder "revelations" coming out of a new J.D. Salinger biography is the claim that the author of Catcher in the Rye had only one testicle. According to David Shields and Shane Salerno, the biography's authors, two women "independently confirmed" the story. They go on to posit that testicle-shame may have been one of the reasons he became such a recluse. But given that wearing clothes is customary in many parts of New York (exception: the subway), it seems Salinger needn't have shunned society if he wanted to hide that particular problem.

Pandora reminded me of a great song

Noli timere

Via NPR

The last words of Seamus Heaney, the Nobel laureate and Irish poet who died last week, came in a text message to his wife: "Noli timere," Latin for "Don't be afraid," the poet's son Michael said at his father's funeral. Heaney was buried in Northern Ireland's County Derry, where he grew up and where many of his most famous poems are set. Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral, including Irish President Michael D. Higgins, taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, Sinn Fein members Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, and celebrities such as Bono. The Irish poet Paul Muldoon said in a eulogy delivered at the funeral and printed in The New Yorker, "It was Seamus Heaney's unparalleled capacity to sweep all of us up in his arms that we're honoring today. ... I'm thinking of his beauty. Today we mourn with Marie and the children, as well as the extended families, the nation, the wide world. We remember the beauty of Seamus Heaney — as a bard, and in his being."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday Books

Library Journal: This book proves once again that Robinson's (2312; Antarctica; The Years of Salt ane Rice; "Mars" trilogy) fascination with the human condition and mankind's journey transcends easy genre labels. This journey begins in undated prehistory when ice still covers the land to the north. Loon begins his wander naked and alone in the cold fourth month of the year at the new moon. By surviving and returning to camp in style at the full moon he becomes a man of the Wolf pack. His apprenticeship to Thorn, the pack's shaman, also intensifies. At the great annual gathering of many packs, Loon meets and falls in love with Elga. The following summer, after the two have married, Elga is kidnapped by a clan of northerners who live between the sea and ice. There is a natural cadence to these lives that is reflected in Robinson's prose, whether describing grand adventures, intimate moments, or the work of the pack through the wheel of the seasons. VERDICT Despite all his previous accolades, this may be Robinson's best work to date, focused so sharply as it is on the simplest way of being human. His fans as well as fans of Jean Auel or those who simply enjoy a great wilderness tale will be delighted.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Lib., Wisconsin Rapids

The American master's first novel since Winter's Bone (2006) tells of a deadly dance hall fire and its impact over several generations.

Alma DeGeer Dunahew, the mother of three young boys, works as the maid for a prominent citizen and his family in West Table, Missouri. Her husband is mostly absent, and, in 1929, her scandalous, beloved younger sister is one of the 42 killed in an explosion at the local dance hall. Who is to blame? Mobsters from St. Louis? The embittered local gypsies? The preacher who railed against the loose morals of the waltzing couples? Or could it have been a colossal accident?

Alma thinks she knows the answer-and that its roots lie in a dangerous love affair. Her dogged pursuit of justice makes her an outcast and causes a long-standing rift with her own son. By telling her story to her grandson, she finally gains some solace-and peace for her sister. He is advised to "Tell it. Go on and tell it"-tell the story of his family's struggles, suspicions, secrets, and triumphs.

"Author of the bestseller Young Adult Literature: From Romance to Realism, Cart applies his considerable expertise as columnist and critic for Booklist to identifying 200 exceptional adult books that will satisfy a variety of young adults' recreational reading tastes. Reflecting the notoriously choosy reading interests of today's older young adults, this useful book:

  • Features only the best of the best - no cheesy star bios or chick lit lite here
  • Covers a wide range of genres, from graphic novels and real-life adventures to romance and speculative fiction
  • Includes numerous read-alikes and related-titles lists, making it a great tool for both collection development and readers' advisory
  • Makes finding a great book easy, with multiple indexes and thorough annotation Cart's roundup of high-quality titles, put together with insight and obvious affection, spotlights hundreds of great books for a hard-to-satisfy audience."

In the spring of 2013 the cicadas in the Northeastern United States will yet again emerge from their seventeen-year cycle—the longest gestation period of any animal. Those who experience this great sonic invasion compare their sense of wonder to the arrival of a comet or a solar eclipse. This unending rhythmic cycle is just one unique example of how the pulse and noise of insects has taught humans the meaning of rhythm, from the whirr of a cricket’s wings to this unfathomable and exact seventeen-year beat.

In listening to cicadas, as well as other humming, clicking, and thrumming insects, Bug Music is the first book to consider the radical notion that we humans got our idea of rhythm, synchronization, and dance from the world of insect sounds that surrounded our species over the millions of years over which we evolved. Completing the trilogy he began with Why Birds Sing and Thousand Mile Song, David Rothenberg explores a unique part of our relationship with nature and sound—the music of insects that has provided a soundtrack for humanity throughout the history of our species. Bug Music continues Rothenberg’s in-depth research and spirited writing on the relationship between human and animal music, and it follows him as he explores insect influences in classical and modern music, plays his saxophone with crickets and other insects, and confers with researchers and scientists nationwide.

This engaging and thought-provoking book challenges our understanding of our place in nature and our relationship to the creatures surrounding us, and makes a passionate case for the interconnectedness of species.

In 2012, voters in Colorado shocked the political establishment by making the use of marijuana legal for anyone in the state twenty-one years of age or older. In the wake of that unprecedented victory, nationally recognized marijuana-policy experts Steve Fox, Paul Armentano, and Mason Tvert revisit the "Marijuana Is Safer" message that contributed to the campaign’s success--as the first edition of this book predicted it would in 2009. In this updated and expanded edition, the authors include a new chapter on the victory in Colorado and updates on a growing mountain of research that supports their position.

Through an objective examination of marijuana and alcohol, and the laws and social practices that steer people toward the latter, the authors pose a simple yet rarely considered question: Why do we punish adults who make the rational, safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol? For those unfamiliar with marijuana, Marijuana Is Safer provides an introduction to the cannabis plant and its effects on the user, and debunks some of the government's most frequently cited marijuana myths.

More importantly, for the millions of Americans who want to advance the cause of marijuana policy reform--or simply want to defend their own personal, safer choice--this book provides the talking points and detailed information needed to make persuasive arguments to friends, family, coworkers, elected officials and, of course, future voters.

Gloria Swanson defined what it meant to be a movie star, but her unforgettable role in Sunset Boulevard overshadowed the true story of her life. Now Stephen Michael Shearer sets the record straight in the first in-depth biography of the film legend.

Swanson was Hollywood’s first successful glamour queen. Her stardom as an actress in the mid-1920s earned her millions of fans and millions of dollars. Realizing her box office value early in her career, she took control of her life. Soon she was not only producing her own films, she was choosing her scripts, selecting her leading men, casting her projects, creating her own fashions, guiding her publicity, and living an extravagant and sometimes extraordinary celebrity lifestyle.

She also collected a long line of lovers (including Joseph P. Kennedy) and married men of her choosing (including a French marquis, thus becoming America’s first member of “nobility”). As a devoted and loving mother, she managed a quiet success of raising three children. Perhaps most important, as a keen businesswoman she also was able to extend her career more than sixty years.

Her astounding comeback as Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard catapulted her back into the limelight. But it also created her long-misunderstood persona, one that this meticulous biography shows was only part of this independent and unparalleled woman.

What does it mean to live against a wall? In this ambitious first person narrative, Marcello Di Cintio travels to the world’s most disputed edges to meet the people who live alongside the razor wire, concrete, and steel and how the structure of the walls has influenced their lives. Di Cintio shares tea with Saharan refugees on the wrong side of Morocco’s desert wall. He meets with illegal Punjabi migrants who have circumvented the fencing around the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. He visits fenced-in villages in northeast India, walks Arizona’s migrant trails, and travels to Palestinian villages to witness the protests against Israel’s security barrier.

From Native American reservations on the U.S.-Mexico border and the “Great Wall of Montreal” to Cyprus’s divided capital and the Peace Lines of Belfast, Di Cintio seeks to understand what these structures say about those who build them and how they influence the cultures that they pen in. He learns that while every wall fails to accomplish what it was erected to achieve – the walls are never solutions – each wall succeeds at something else. Some walls define Us from Them with Medieval clarity. Some walls encourage fear or feed hate. Some walls steal. Others kill. And every wall inspires its own subversion, either by the infiltrators who dare to go over, under, or around them, or by the artists who transform them.

In recent years neuroscientists have uncovered the countless ways our brain trips us up in day-to-day life, from its propensity toward irrational thought to how our intuitions deceive us. The latest research on sleep, however, points in the opposite direction. Where old wives tales have long advised to "sleep on a problem," today scientists are discovering the truth behind these folk sayings,and how the busy brain radically improves our minds through sleep and dreams. In The Secret World of Sleep, neuroscientist Penny Lewis explores the latest research into the nighttime brain to understand the real benefits of sleep. She shows how, while our body rests, the brain practices tasks it learned during the day, replays traumatic events to mollify them, and forges connections between distant concepts. By understanding the roles that the nocturnal brain plays in our waking life, we can improve the relationship between the two, and even boost creativity and become smarter. This is a fascinating exploration of one of the most surprising corners of neuroscience that shows how science may be able to harness the power of sleep to improve learning, health, and more.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Oops. Man Sues Lexington Doctors for Wrong HIV Diagnosis

Via Kentucky.com

Bobby Russell received HIV treatments for almost eight years before receiving a shocking diagnosis: He never actually had the virus that causes AIDS.

Now the 43-year-old Lexington man is suing the doctors and others at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, the UK-affiliated Bluegrass Care Clinic, and the Fayette County Health Department for medical malpractice.

Russell, 43, claims the defendants were negligent in misdiagnosing him and negligent in failing to order the appropriate tests for HIV.

“I feel like I was sentenced to a crime I wasn’t guilty of,” Russell said in an interview. “I have intentionally put distance between my family and my friends because I thought I was dying, and I didn’t want my family to see me dying. I didn’t want my nieces and nephews see me deteriorating. I thought I was dyind…

“Emotionally, mentally, it destroyed me. It just destroyed me,” Russell said. “In 2009, when things got really bad for me, suicide was a strong option for me.”

But Russell said he never attempted suicide. He seeks a trial by jury and an award for compensatory damages and “all other relief” a jury deems appropriate.

The lawsuit filed in Fayette Circuit Court in August says Russell spent eight years believing he had HIV after he was incorrectly diagnosed in 2004. The diagnosis came after a visit to the UK Medical Center emergency room, where Russell was treated for profuse bleeding from the colon. (An earlier routine test at the health department had come back negative for HIV.)

Russell learned he never had the virus after a new test was done at Bluegrass Care Clinic in August 2012.

In between, Russell focused on treatment and “an extensive medication regimen” because “he was afraid he was going to die,” the lawsuit says.

Jonathan C. Dailey, the Washington D.C. lawyer who represents Russell, said no one ever conducted a full spectrum of tests for HIV.

“The fact is that the standard-of-care-protocol methodologies for HIV testing were never done,” Dailey said. “By failing to follow the standard protocol, and telling him that he was HIV positive, telling him that he could only have relations with HIV-positives, then that damage has been done. You can’t take that back. That’s the critical part of this case.”

UK spokesman Jay Blanton wrote in an email that, “as a policy, we do not comment on pending litigation.” (Bluegrass Care Clinic, an infectious disease and HIV/AIDS clinic, is affiliated with UK’s medical school.)

Greg Hiles, a spokesman for the Fayette County Health Department, had no comment but said the matter has been turned over to legal counsel.

Russell said after he was diagnosed with HIV, he took the drug cocktail HAART (or highly active antiretroviral therapy) that routinely keeps many HIV and AIDS patients alive today.

Through the years, tests would provide negative or “undetectable” results, but Russell said “I really never gave it any more thought because I’d already gotten to the point of accepting a diagnosis and treatment.”

That changed when Russell, a military veteran, sought benefits from the Veterans Administration.

“The Veterans Administration had always said, ‘You give us a confirmatory test and we’ll start these benefits for you,’” Russell said. “But nobody had a confirmatory test result to provide me to give to the Veterans Administration.”

The suit says that on Dec. 7, 2012, an infectious disease specialist at Bluegrass Care Clinic told Russell that it appeared no one had ever completed a confirmatory test.

In similar cases, defendants and insurance companies often insist that a plaintiff like Russell ought not to be in court complaining because he is still alive. Dailey has a counter-argument.

“I would ask a jury to look at what they (medical providers) exposed Mr. Russell to, look at the hell they put him in, and look at the emotional devastation that it caused him for over eight years, and then consider what they think the appropriate measure of damages is, even though, yes, he is still alive,” Dailey said.

“We’re talking about stigma, we’re talking about living with disease on a daily basis,” said John Tackett, Russell’s Lexington attorney.

The lawsuit does not seek punitive damages. But if victorious, Dailey said he hopes the suit will “change the protocol so there aren’t more victims in the future.”

Russell said he has had sexual relationships with three HIV-positive partners since he was diagnosed, but he has been in a committed relationship with an HIV-positive partner for the last two years.

Dailey was the attorney for Terry Hedgepeth, a man who sued a Washington D.C. clinic in 2005 because it had mistakenly told him five years earlier that he was HIV-positive. That case was settled in 2012 about a year after the D.C. Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that medical patients who are given incorrect information from their doctors about a life-threatening illness can seek recourse through the courts for emotional distress.

Russell’s suit doesn’t specifically seek damages for emotional distress, but Dailey said that is included in seeking relief for compensatory damages.

Russell lives on his Social Security checks, but he said the suit is not about money.

“This has been the most traumatic event for me. The worst. The worst,” Russell said. “I’m not so sure the next person can be as strong as I have to be able to stand up and fight for what they believe in. If it saves one person, it’s worth it.”