As this posts, I'll be in the air somewhere between Boston and Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I'm going for an all-too-brief rendezvous with my parents, youngest sib, a few close friends . . . and of course Toby the cat (see above). Meanwhile, here are a few of the week's internet finds to keep your brains active!
On a personal note, I've been cajoled into participating in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo; please repeat seven times fast) in which writers around the globe feverishly churn out prose and log words written with the organization, which tracks the mountain of creative effort expended (no actual skills needed, thankfully, other than the ability to produce a great volume of words -- something I have always been fairly adept at). Writing starts November 1st with a goal of 50,000 words (1,666 per day) by the 30th.
Coolest news item of the week: San Francisco now requires composting as well as recycling. While I'm not holding my breath, I'd love to see Boston follow suit!
Least-cool news of the week award is split between the judge in Louisiana who denied a mixed-race couple a marriage license ("I'm not a racist, I just play one on the bench"??) and Jan Moir, the UK columnist, who wrote a truly nasty, homophobic column for the Daily Telegraph and (cool news again) was called out by Stephen Fry, and a record 22,000 others.
Also worth reading was Charlie Brooker's op-ed in response:
It has been 20 minutes since I've read her now-notorious column, and I'm still struggling to absorb the sheer scope of its hateful idiocy. It's like gazing through a horrid little window into an awesome universe of pure blockheaded spite. Spiralling galaxies of ignorance roll majestically against a backdrop of what looks like dark prejudice, dotted hither and thither with winking stars of snide innuendo.
While we're on the subject of right-wing wackaloonery, commentator Debbie Schlussel recently got all bent out of shape about (of all things) Disney's re-design of Tinker Bell's costume, which she claims "masculinizes" the otherwise appropriately-feminine "nymph." This gave Jeff over at Alas, a blog, a wonderful opportunity to snark.
Maybe Ms. Schlussel would be happier if everyone lived according to the rules of this 1962 marriage manual, helpfully scanned and annotated by Gwen of Sociological Images.
I am probably not a nice person for finding fundamentalist Christians funny as well as scary -- chalk it up to necessary self-protection growing up in a conservative area where my childhood friends were convinced I'd end up in hell because I wasn't baptized. So on that note -- and in celebration of Halloween -- a church-sponsored book burning (story via Hanna) that will include translations of the bible (wrong translations obviously) and the face of Jesus which has been spotted on a toilet-stall door at an IKEA in Glasgow (via Melissa at Shakesville).
Hanna's new group blog, paper not included, is still in the planning stages, but until the official launch of the project, let me share a review she wrote recently of David Wellington's vampire thriller 99 Coffins, the sequel to 13 Bullets (I guess we're going for a number theme). I can't comment yet as I'm not finished with 99, but I thought the first one was great and am still rooting for the protagonist halfway through the second.
And before I sign off, two great library- and archives-themed jokes: the definition of "oldgasm" and a great shelf tag from Hanover, New Hampshire (if you don't get it right away, read the text out loud).