Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Arlington Rap

Comedian Remy Munasifi was hailed on an ABC interview with "Weird Al" Yankovic as a successor to the parody Czar. After you watch his absolutely brilliant rap, "Arlington" (praising the thug atmosphere of the Washington, DC suburb), you might be inclined to think the same.

Wanna know more? Check out the Washington Post Express interview, "From the School of Starbucks," or Remy's other offerings at Munasifi's hompage

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sweet showers of deliciousness

Please ignore the logo, and just enjoy the beautiful cascades of candy.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Ain't That A Shame

Author Justine Larbalestier writes Young Adult fiction and has written a letter to her fans regarding the outcry over the cover of her latest novel, "Liar". You see, the novel's protaganist, Micah, is a young black girl with nappy hair, while the the cover features a young white girl with straight hair.

Justine explains that, "Authors do not get final say on covers. Often they get no say at all." but goes on to lambast her puplisher, bloomsbury for whaite-washing its covers. Moreover, the book is about a pathological liar, and a cover with a girl looking nothing like how the protaganist describes herself, the meaning and truthfulness of the story is called into question.

You can read Larbalestier's entire response at her website, Justine Larbalestier: writing, reading, eating, drinking, sport.

Ursula Le Guin complained over the same white-washing of her covers in (one of my personal favorite responses to this kind of thing), "A Whitewashed Earthsea: How the Sci Fi Channel wrecked my books" on The Slate, where she describes publishing the orginal Earthsea trilogy thirty years ago:

I had endless trouble with cover art. Not on the great cover of the first edition—a strong, red-brown profile of Ged—or with Margaret Chodos Irvine's four fine paintings on the Atheneum hardcover set, but all too often. The first British Wizard was this pallid, droopy, lily-like guy—I screamed at sight of him.

Gradually I got a little more clout, a little more say-so about covers. And very, very, very gradually publishers may be beginning to lose their blind fear of putting a nonwhite face on the cover of a book. "Hurts sales, hurts sales" is the mantra. Yeah, so? On my books, Ged with a white face is a lie, a betrayal—a betrayal of the book, and of the potential reader.

I remember reading the trilogy in middle school and when I realized Ged was not white I scrutinized the cover fitfully. Ged was so small, I could have hardly been able to tell if he were purple.

Finally, I encourage you to take the time to read, "Shame," a short essay from Pam Noles about growing up black and loving science fiction and fantasy, while being black. One of my favorite tidbits is condensed below while she talks about Star Wars.
Then "Star Wars" came out. I was 11...I spazzed all the way through the screening, my first science fiction movie on the big screen and with everything so huge, it made a big difference...Han Solo had this ship that he flew upside down! Darth Vader even breathed scary!! And there were robots!!! And Luke had to fly into the canyon on the Death Star with the other ships shooting at him and he had to get the bomb into a tiny hole and then he turned off the machine thing and he prayed to Obi Wan and bomb went in. And then they got medals. Also there was a giant teddy bear with stringy hair and a gun.

He said it sounded as if I liked it. I said I mostly thought it was absolutely great. And it was, really. Don't get me wrong. But it was like most of the other stuff I had seen. I explained to him about the planet where Luke came from, a desert with two suns? And how here, where we only one sun, in the desert the people are black. I told him how there wasn't even one black person in the whole movie, even in the background, and I had looked.
Just reminding movie producers, book publishers and video game marketers that we are want our stories as stories. And we are watching, all of us, the black, white, yellow, female, male, straight, gay, Christian, Islamic, Jewish, martian all of us. And we don't like everyone in our heads to be white and male. Even the white males don't like it. So you got a lot of catching up to do. Bozos.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Giant Steps Are What You Take

40 years ago, with computing technology that could barely run a gameboy today, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin strapped themselves into a tin can and turned their eyes to heaven.

We Choose the Moon is a very cool interactive site that recreates the launch and mission through digital graphics, stills, and archival audio from mission control.

NPR has the story of the search for the original footage of the moonwalk - footage which NASA most likely TAPED OVER sometime in the 80's. As a librarian, I'm dying a little inside. But all was not lost, as you can see from the restored clips here.

UPDATE!  The National Geographic Society's library has compiled an exhaustive list of Apollo 11 links, articles, and blogs.  It's one stop shopping for all your lunar needs.  You know we bring you nothing but the finest time wasters.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sars and Wing Chung are Places to Go

Hey, sometimes wax|wendy and I overlap, basically because Whit and I share a brain. After spending s few hours on forums housed in UK sites it makes me long for the herculean moderation of sites like Television Without Pity. Even after they sold out to corporate skunks, their forums are still one of the best places to go on the web to discuss your favorite shows without the community descending into boring flamewars. My favorite places to (not) lurk? The Dr. Who and True Blood forums. (How I miss musing about Cylon religion! So long Battlestar Galatica forum!). And don't just peruse the community, several of TWoP's recappers run rockin' blogs of their own including Sars's Tomato Nation, currently in the middle of a serious cereal smackdown, and Wing Chung's Tara Ariano, where you can get links to her hilarious recaps of popular movies including Twilight and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Of Art and Laundry

Jessica Dimmock for The New York Times

The lights of New York's newly opened High Line Park point directly at Patty Heffley's apartment.  What would be an annoyance to most became for her a source of inspiration. Together with singer Elizabeth Soychak, they have created the Renegade Cabaret.  Open nightly when the party lights are on.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Cost Conundrum

In Atul Gawande's article, "The Cost Conundrum," for the New Yorker, Gawande examines the peculiarities of McAllen,Texas a small border town just outside of El Paso which also happens to have the most expensive health care costs in the United States (sans Miami, a thriving, population gobbling metropolis). Kickbacks, pay days for more expensive tests, unnecessary procedures, unessential operations, anti-collaboration culture, all contribute to worsening health care in this example of the broken foundations in America's "health insurance" culture.

Gawande likens the current conventions of the industry to constructing a house with an independent electrician, plumber and carpenter, each paid by how many (respectively) outlets, faucets, and cabinets he puts in. Without a contractor to pull a team together and keep them coordinated, the house would be filled with unnecessary bits and pieces all unrelated to the house general well-being. Getting the country’s best electrician isn’t going to help, neither will changing the person who writes him the check (as certain members of congress would lead us to believe).

Hey, the last time I asked for a copy of my records from my endocrinologist the first thing she asked me was, "Is this to go to another doctor? Because there is a forty dollar fee." The "copying fee" mysteriously evaporated when I explained the GYN who recommended me never received a copy. The two doctors, by the way, have practices in the same medical office building, but have never spoken to each other. My GYN, in fact relies on me to relay information from the Endocrinologist.

NPR also covered the story in a broadcast, "Spend More Get Less, the Health Care Conundrum."