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Wildly Interesting Books

  • Adam's Task by Vicki Hearne
  • Anything by Colin Cotterill
  • Auguries of Innocence by Patti Smith
  • Big Box Swindle by Stacy Mitchell
  • Darwin: A Life in Poems by Ruth Padel
  • Gehry Draws
  • Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker
  • Out of Our Heads by Ava Noe
  • Stylepedia: A Guide to Graphic Design, Mannerisms, Quirks and Conceits
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson
  • The God of Small Things by Arundahti Roy
  • The Long Fall by Walter Mosely
  • The Martin Beck Series by Maj Sjowall and Per Waloo
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  • The Wrecking Crew by Thomas Frank
  • Vermeeer in Bosnia by Lawrence Weschler

Friday, November 30, 2007

We All Did It!!!

An amazing NaNo year for all of us. Geoff Smith, the come-from-behind-boy (notice now that I am willing to hyphenate!) is worthy of being the subject of someone's NaNo novel 2008.

Kirk and Jeanne got sick and finished anyway. Fionna's character was on a journey to the center of the earth when she, Fionna, got bored and had to blow the character out of a volcano and land her in the south of England where she got a job as a librarian and went on a bus tour where Miss Marple, yes, that Miss Marple, was a member of the tour. Geoff's meat-stealing characters get involved with a Used Meat Store and eventually an "Onion Restaurant". Not to mentioed being threatend by hyenas and other scary things.

First timer, Rose Cheyette may eventually reveal the fate of the psychotic mailman.

Joe Stohlman, another first timer plowed through to the finish line with style.

Suzanne McLeod came in in spite of also getting sick and finding out the her mother was being forcibly removed to a nursing home. Amazing work, Suzanne.

I loaded Jim's words on the site last night. So he's in too.(will we ever find out who really murdered Trixie?)

My online NaNo buddy, a high school senior from New Jersey, came in a glorious winner this time.

I haven't heard from Dave Bufano about the fate of the infamous Vin and Baby.

Tom's friend Blig Blug also finished his novel. You will be seeing pictures of Blig Blug writing his novel at next week.

For all the fabulous people who wrote along with us, congratulations. I'm guessing that you have never written that many words in one month before. Dont envy those of us who got to 50,000. I'll bet your stuff stinks way less than ours.

I cheated and dredged up an article from the New York Times about authorities not being able to protect witnesses to mob crimes. This is a dilemma that my character has to face in the beginning of the book. My character suddenly notices that the cop on duty in her hospital room (she's been shot by the mob) has conveniently left a copy of the Times near her bed. She reads a whole bunch of this article and--Voila! I am a winner too.

Thank you to everyone who followed our progress with great interest, real or feigned. We love you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lucky he was only hit with a stick

Looks like a pretty scary stick to me!
An opponent to President Hugo Chavez, left, uses an iron stick to hit a Chavez supporter during a rally against the reforms to the nation's constitution proposed by the president in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007. Venezuelans will vote to approve or reject the reforms in a referendum on Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Angel Manzanares)

Nineteen year old Jose Oliveras was not so lucky. He was shot three times and killed by anti-reform students attempting to block workers from PetroCasa, a company that builds housing for the poor in Venezuela from getting to work.

The opposition students are portrayed in the media as leftist fighters for democracy. After studying the demographics, it becomes clear that the opposition students are from the private and most costly universities in Venezuela. Furthermore, they put forward no alternative program to the programs of the Chavez government. Their issues are about Chavez and his programs.

I have read just about every mainstream media report on the opposition to the reforms. It has not once been said that seventeen countries in Europe have no term limits for heads of state.

I have also printed out and read all of the 63 reforms that are up for approval by the people of Venezuela. I honestly do not believe that here is anything in there that would lead to a dictatorship. Not even a dictatorship that I might like.

These student protests are very scary to me. The one peaceful march that was held ended with opposition students barricading pro-Chavez students in a room at the UCV and setting fire to the place and then hurling rocks at the windows where the students and others were lying on the floor trying to avoid getting hit. You can see this in the video footage. The press blamed the Chavistas. With the independent unedited film footage telling the real story, the press has simply downplayed this. All the other actions by these opposition students have involved the throwing of molotov cocktails, throwing rocks and setting fire to public property. And now they've killed someone. Up until now it's just been a lot of "fun" kind of violence. Gee whiz folks, can you say "Brownshirts"?

For great info from inside Venezuela, and wonderful information on the cultural scene go to

For more great info and some fabulous dark humor go to

For all the Venezuelan news go to

Friday, November 09, 2007


I will leave this world with an unshakeable conviction. Beyond ideologies and religions, we must hold the truth of our shared human destiny in our minds, and we must hold our planet’s well being in our hearts. Like all healing projects, the power of life works patiently to bring us to our senses. This is still a very sick world, where it requires courage and vision to say “Tout Moun se Moun” (a Creole slogan from Haiti, meaning “every one is somebody”). --David Maybury

Uh, Maybe We Don't Know Exactly Who's Responsible for the Violence, But We Know It's Them Venezuelans

This from the Associated Press:

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said it was unclear who was responsible for the violence "but it's just an appalling act and just another indication of the kind of atmosphere that you see in Venezuela."

Other reports are beginning to mention that some students were trapped inside the university. This information is presented in a fuzzy way. One article let the cat out of the bag--they were pro-reform students. Get a grip people. They were taken hostage by the thugs who last week went on a rampage through the streets throwoing molotov cocktails, rocks and sticks at the police and setting public property on fire. The same people who are threatening out loud to prevent people from voting on December 2nd. (Note: Molotov cocktail thrower not wearing red.)

Reports from alternative media are spelling it out. The oligarchy cannot believe that the country's poor majority have taken over and are running the place. That's what democracy is-that the will of the majority prevail and that the rights of the minority be protected.
Except when you kidnap 60 people and hold them hostage you kind a don't have the right to do that. Intimidation, bullying, willful destruction and stuff like that is not covered under 'the rights of the minority'. Nobody gets to do that.

By the way, the goverment has sponsored over 9.000 meetings thoughout the country to discuss the reforms. And then you get to VOTE ON THEM!! How would you like to see something like that in North America?

The source of the anger here is not the waiving of term presidential term limits-although the oligarchy knows that they have a snowball's chance in hell of getting rid of Hugo Chavez through the ballot box. Everyone knows that most European countries don't have term limits.

The source of the anger is the disbelief that with all their money, and the U.S. taxpayer dollars that are flooding into the pockets of opposition groups through NED and other sources, they still can't make it be the way they want it.

So when you see the media reports on Venezuela, wait and see what comes to light a few days later.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Real Story

Eva Golinger reports from Venezuala (click here to read the whole story)

Some Highlights"

  • Peaceful opposition marchers were able to send a commission into the Supreme Court where they were received by the judges. The students read a statement before the high court which was broadcast live on national T.V.
  • This is in contrast to a march the previous week where students tried to chain themselves to a staircase outside the CNE(National Election Council) headquarters.
  • However, after the peacful march to the Supreme Court the students returned to the Central University and proceeded to kidnap around 60 pro-reform students. The photos in the press of the armed pro-Chavez students 'attacking' the opposition students are actually members of Venezuela's Civil Protection Unit

There's more, plus pictures on Eva's blog above.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Psyched Out by NaNo Bar/Great Write-In

Daunted. That's what I am. After preening my feathers all morning over my 7,282 words I accidently let my cursor glide over the bar on my profile page. Who knew? Up popped the number of words left....42, something something...I couldn't see as my eyes glazed over and my spirit flagged. Help! I need to reset my living-in-the-now button.


We had a major word-producing write-in(and a cartooning about writing) yesterday.

(See Olivetti Dave)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Takuan Says

Right now, do you have a phrase that goes beyond the barrier? The writing brush comes forward and says: Daba-daba-daba-daba..

From Naomi Klein

Published on Friday, November 2, 2007 by The Nation
Rapture Rescue 911: Disaster Response for the Chosen
by Naomi Klein

I used to worry that the United States was in the grip of extremists who sincerely believed that the Apocalypse was coming and that they and their friends would be airlifted to heavenly safety. I have since reconsidered. The country is indeed in the grip of extremists who are determined to act out the biblical climax–the saving of the chosen and the burning of the masses–but without any divine intervention. Heaven can wait. Thanks to the booming business of privatized disaster services, we’re getting the Rapture right here on earth.
Just look at what is happening in Southern California. Even as wildfires devoured whole swaths of the region, some homes in the heart of the inferno were left intact, as if saved by a higher power. But it wasn’t the hand of God; in several cases it was the handiwork of Firebreak Spray Systems. Firebreak is a special service offered to customers of insurance giant American International Group (AIG)–but only if they happen to live in the wealthiest ZIP codes in the country. Members of the company’s Private Client Group pay an average of $19,000 to have their homes sprayed with fire retardant. During the wildfires, the “mobile units”–racing around in red firetrucks–even extinguished fires for their clients.
Read on, friends, at

Youth orchestra of Venezuela's poor wows the world
from the Christian Science Monitor
Venezuela's Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra arrives next week at the New England Conservatory. What drives this revolutionary group of musicians? Since 2001, there have been short-term student and teacher exchanges between the conservatory and Venezuela, and around 250 students with the conservatory's Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (a group for musicians up to 18 years of age) have traveled to Venezuela to play. Those who have taken part say their Venezuelan peers have much to teach them.
"The way the Venezuelans play music is exactly how I always thought it should be played," says Joshua Weilerstein, a violinist at the New England Conservatory who was invited to join the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra's current tour after two previous trips to Venezuela. "I think American musicians are incredibly enthusiastic, but there isn't a desperation about the way we play. [The Venezuelans] play as if their lives depend on every note. There's complete passion."
There is also a sense of collectivism and common purpose that might be sacrificed in an emphasis on individual training. "In Venezuela, the most important thing is the orchestra," Mr. Dudamel told The Independent in September. "You create a community, a shared objective."
Why the Venezuelan program, a seemingly obvious model for many places, is not better-known in this country might come down to politics. The administration of current president Hugo Chávez funds most of its $29 million annual budget, and Mr. Chávez, moved by the success of the program in Europe, has pledged to expand it.
With relations between the US and the Chávez administration often tense – and given Chávez's avowed anti-Americanism – shunning the US in favor of European venues might have been more expedient. But Churchill believes that "music will transcend" political discord and "be a model for harmonious relations."
'Freshness, excitement, and energy'

Click on the link below for the rest of the story

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Some Burmese Monks March Again

From Democracy Now!
Monks Return to Streets of Burma in Protest
In Burma, hundreds of monks marched in the temple town of Pakokku Wednesday. It was their first protest since the military junta’s crackdown on a mass uprising. Witnesses say the monks chanted prayers but refrained from political statements. The march comes ahead of a return visit from UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari. Speaking in Thailand, the exiled Burmese opposition leader Maung Maung called for increased international pressure on the military junta.
Maung Maung:
“We have to stop the money going to the regime and that is why we are calling for the Jade bill and also we are calling for action to be taken on oil and energy companies that are working in Burma so the money that goes to the regime is blocked and the regime doesn't have the money that will enable the military to move on the democratic opposition. So this is what we are asking for.”The U.S. oil giant Chevron

It's All NaNo All of November

It began last night at midnight. Here's an excerpt from my NaNo novel 2007. 2,150 words and counting.

It was my second to last night at the Coyote Club in Grafton Arizona when the thing happened that changed everything. The Coyote was a tacky town bar. It took at least two drinks to make the place glitter. It was decorated as if it were in another part of the country trying to look like it was in Arizona. This always cracked me up. When I mentioned it to Georgia one time she had no idea what I was talking about.
“But it is in Arizona, don’t you see” I explained.
“Right”, she said. “So that’s why it looks like Arizona”
“No, because it is in Arizona, it doesn’t have to try so hard to look like it is”.
The conversation went around for a while before I gave up.
On this particular night, two drinks down and a third on the table, I was enjoying the lit up plastic cacti along the bar and the neon coyote in the front window. I was leaving, getting out, and life was good. The Coyote owner, Joey Soucie, bought us a farewell round, though it was only me leaving. Life was very good. I didn’t much like it when the two creeps burst in from the street and shot Joey dead behind the bar. It was almost closing time. The three of us were the only ones in the place. Ray and Georgia were facing the bar and I was facing the creeps. I got a good look at them. Too bad for me. The tall one turned, aimed at me and fired. I went down like a clay duck at the amusement park.

People: Help me out here. I don't think the ducks at the amusement park are made of clay. What are they made of?