stuff and things: some links from the week

As I put this list together on Saturday morning, it's a crisp, clear, chill autumn day. Daylight savings time last weekend has ushered in early nights (Hanna is happy) and brought us back the earlier sunrise (I am happy), at least for the next month or so. Leaves are turning and falling and we definitely need our heat on overnight, as temperatures are dropping to around freezing. It's both difficult and easy to believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Meanwhile, here's what I've been reading on the internets this week.

Leading off with some good news from last Tuesday's election day, the town of Kalamazoo, Michigan (not too far from where I grew up), passed an ordinance against discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. (I like to think they did it in part so they'd get congrats from feministing :)!).

In similar news, the Louisiana justice of the peace who refused to perform a marriage ceremony for an interracial couple has resigned. I'm really only disappointed he didn't get fired first. And the couple is still pressing a federal civil rights suit against him.

On a sadder note, Britain's only Steiner Waldorf teacher training course, at Plymouth University, was forced to close due to lack of funding.

This offensive sign from a doctor's office in Aspen, Colorado, has been making the rounds on the feminist and pregnancy/birth blogs. The folks at Unnecesarian are holding a photoshop contest to re-design the sign to say more directly what it actually means (e.g. "if you want to have a say in your health care and the health care provided to your children, then fuck off"). Go check out some of the submissions here and here!

Ophelia Benson, over at the Guardian argues that atheism is not, and cannot, constitute a political or religious movement: "Mere non-belief in any X can't by itself constitute a movement, because it's merely an absence (or at most a refusal) of belief. If every absence of belief in [your chosen belief-object here] amounted to a movement, the traffic jam would be a nightmare." Since I've been thinking a lot about counterculture activism right now, I appreciate the distinction between criticizing X activity or philosophy and actually articulating an alternative. Living one's life defined by opposition seems like a very impoverished mode of being to me.

Speaking of believers and nonbelievers, when Hanna and I were in Vermont a few weeks ago we saw a news blurb in one of the local papers about , Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, an organization that offers to care for your pet in the event you are taken up in the rapture and your pet (not being in possession of a soul) remains behind. ClizBiz over at blogher also saw the story and wrote a post about post-rapture pet care.

Following links this week, I discovered a web magazine, killing the buddha, "a religion magazine for people made anxious by churches, people embarrassed to be caught in the “spirituality” section of a bookstore, people both hostile and drawn to talk of God. It is for people who somehow want to be religious, who want to know what it means to know the divine, but for good reasons are not and do not." Since I definitely fall into the category of "people made anxious by churches" I'm looking forward to seeing what this magazine has for me :).

Cracked.com brings us the five most ridiculous sex self-help books, which had me in tears on Thursday night. Sample commentary from book #1 (How to Make Love With Your Clothes On: 101 Ways to Romance Your Wife): "Reading the introduction to this book is like reading the panicked ramblings of a man with his dick caught in a Bible while his wife is flapping directly at him on leathery wings holding a Bible laser." (As a side note, you can see from the URL that the post was originally titled "How to F*** Like a Librarian" and has since been changed . . . I'd like to think a few of my fellow librarianistas gave the poster a piece of their mind because, as Hanna said, "well, we know that's patently false.")

From the Guardian again, via Hanna, comes a fun run-down of films in which architecture stole the show. I haven't seen all of them, but it sure as hell made me want to see Blade Runner again (and my dad had the same reaction when I sent the story to him!)

And on a final happy note, Wallace and Gromit celebrated their twentieth birthday on 4 November! Many happy returns of the day, you two. Hope the cheese was tasty.

*photo credit: Autumn sail, Boston by Kportimages @ Flickr.

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