Archive for October, 2011

Florence + the Machine

Florence Welch of Florence+the Machine has an incredible voice, powerful and full of emotion. She is also artistic as all hell, as evidenced by her videos and wardrobe.  I thoroughly enjoy her music and hope that you will, too.  The first video is from Ceremonial, her newest album being released in November; the rest are from her previous album, Between Two Lungs.


Ok, for some reason WP has deleted my previous two attempts to post this blog.  Hmmm.  Anywho, below is the link to a very informative, and scary, blog about factory farms and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), along with another link to a petition to require labeling of any foods that are genetically modified. Even if this sort of thing doesn’t usually interest you, please read it; you owe it to yourself and your family.

Here is the link to Treehugger’s blog.

Here is the link to the petition.


You have only to turn on the TV ( Game of Thrones, True Blood) or check out the movie box office standings (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) to see that the sci-fi/fantasy genre is experiencing an explosion in popularity.

Several months ago, NPR asked it’s readers to nominate their favorite books for inclusion on it’s list of Top 100 Science-Fiction and Fantasy Books of All Time.  Over 5,000 readers submitted nominations and over 60,000 readers voted.  The result was a very interesting mix of classic and contemporary novels. The awesome crew at SF Signal went one better and developed a flowchart to help you “follow your tastes, provide context, and fulfill (indeed exceed!) any need for pithy commentary you might harbor.”  After using the flowchart several times, making different decisions each time, I was given Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Brandon Sanderson‘s The Mistborn Trilogy, Patrick RothfussThe Kingkiller Chronicles, and Iain M. banksThe Culture Series.  I have already read several of these books, but I do plan on picking up The Mistborn Trilogy from the library this week.  This flowchart is a very impressive tool, both intuitive and funny. The amount of work involved in developing it was considerable; it was obviously a labor of love.  Kudos, SF Signal!   You now have another loyal reader.

Just click on the chart to enlarge.

That’s why I’m not allowed to be here unsupervised. —

I strongly suspect that this woman and I were separated at birth.  I made the mistake of reading it at midnight, when everyone else in the house WAS asleep. I’m afraid my laughter (complete with snorting) was rather loud.  Whatevs.   Nothing like a good belly laugh to make you feel like all’s right with the universe. Even one containing mange-ridden mongooses. (mongeese??)


Best Non-Sex Feeling Ever? | UrlyBits.

Yeah, so I agreed with most of these…How ’bout you?  Any better ideas?

Bluesy Saturday

I’m feeling very mellow tonight and in the mood for some bluesy, soulful music.  These videos are very different from one another, yet each artist has borrowed  heavily from the blues in developing their style.   The Doors, Adele,  Eric Clapton, Michael Grimm and The Black Keys should fill the bill. Enjoy!

Last week, a young Marine from my hometown was killed in Afghanistan, on his second tour of duty there.   He went to high school with my oldest daughter and was only 21 years old.  He was typical of many young men and women killed over there;  loved by his friends and family,  instilled with a sense of responsibility from childhood and eager to protect his country.   I cannot imagine how his parents are coping, having carefully raised their son, keeping him safe from the many pitfalls of childhood, only to lose him to some anonymous enemy half a world away.,0,2810585.story

I am part of a military family;  my husband, myself and my eldest son have all served. My younger son, now a senior in high school,  plans on enlisting in the Marines when he graduates,  just like his older brother.  I fear for him.  My oldest son was a mechanic for Chinook helicopters as part of a Marine Air Wing out of San Diego.  He was on the USS Boxer when it was chasing pirates around off the coast of Somalia,  was onshore a brief time in Dubai, and spent the rest of his enlistment participating in various trainings and deployments at sea.  I felt so very lucky when he completed his 4 year enlistment last summer and came home to us, whole and with his witty, prankster nature intact.  I can’t help but feel that maybe asking for the safe return of both sons from duty in the Middle East is pushing my luck.  But, how can I try to dissuade my younger son from doing the very thing that we have all done?  He is 17  and “unstoppable,”  as all teenagers see themselves at that age.  I know that he would see himself as somehow less than his father and brother if he didn’t go.  He has always stood up for what he thinks is right, often getting in trouble for his vigorous defense of various causes and people.

My oldest son, home for Christmas

Many, especially those who have never had a member of their family in the military, can’t understand why young men and women enlist.  Some stereotype them as rednecks, or under-achievers who couldn’t afford college on their own, or even as right-wing dupes brainwashed by the Republican Party and its agenda.  They would never consider risking their  lives for honor and integrity,  traits which are mocked and exploited  in their worlds of politics and business.  Which brings me to a point: In one way, the elitists are correct.  Many of those enlisting can’t afford college and feel the military is their only way out of a dead-end future.  Unfortunately, for too many, they are seriously maimed or killed while serving their country.

I consider myself to be a moderate,  liberal in some ways, conservative in others, but nothing radical in either direction.  Despite my political inclinations, I have found myself wondering why the U.S. doesn’t adopt a period of mandatory service for all citizens, rich and poor alike,  following high school graduation; either traditional military enlistment or full-time volunteer-type service similar to the peace corps.  Israel requires this of its citizens.  The movie Starship Troopers was also based on a similar theme.   Once their service was complete, then they would be able to attend any state college, free of charge.  Just something to consider, wishful thinking, mostly.  I think it would be good for the character of our citizens to have to put others before themselves, if only for a short while.  I know that the ACLU, and many other organizations,would be all over this like white on rice, but that is their right. Just as it is the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to insultingly, hurtfully demonstrate at the funerals of fallen soldiers.  The rights my son will be defending when he signs those enlistment papers next spring, the rights LCpl Terry Wright, and many others, have died defending  for you.  Please appreciate the sacrifice.