Swine Flu

Having lived through a norovirus epidemic at work, I'm not all that worried about the swine flu (although having a compromised immune system might be a problem). However...

Thing One's niece attends St. Francis Prep. She had swine flu. Thing One's boss' daughter attends St. Francis Prep. She had swine flu. Thing One's boss? Yep, he has swine flu. So how is Thing One doing? HPOW has consulted lawyers, locked and disinfected at least one room, and has asked him to take the rest of the week off. He feels fine, despite having had a flu-like thing two weeks ago. Having seen his doctor last Saturday for an annual check-up, he even has a clean bill of health (for now).

MPOW is staying open... for now. With AP exams set to start next week, I can't see schools wanting to close (although the College Board should consider a reschedule given the heightened sensitivity to this outbreak).

I've been working with my 8th graders, asking them to synthesize their research know-how to find out the truth behind the virus (surprise! you can't get it if you eat pork products). Perhaps they'll be able to help quell any fears in our Middle School. Still, people are nervous and the media aren't helping.

Yes, it's a pandemic. Yes, washing your hands will help. Yes, you have the right to be concerned. But no, you don't have the right to panic and spread fear. Just get informed. And be careful out there.


You're kidding, right?

I just read that Virgin is allowing wireless during flights. Now, this is marginally better than allowing cell phones but really, when you think about it, it's horrible. One of the last bastions of "quiet" or "downtime" has just been breached - it's bad enough that you can use your laptop during a flight, but now that you can stay connected?

Am I the last person on earth that really would prefer it if there were places in which you could not log on/log in? Places where you're forced to go just a little slow? I know there's a whole slow movement Out There, but it seems like they need to move just a bit quicker in getting the word out.

Yes, that's an oxymoronic idea, but then, always being On is just, to me, moronic.


Checking in...

Hello! Miss me? I know it's been sparse posting around here... but no, I haven't disappeared!

April is the cruelest month in many ways, particularly at MPOW. How so? Projects, projects, projects. It's one of the big research times, we're starting to think about the next year's course packs, budgets are due, and then there are the "special" events (Poetry Month, Poem in your Pocket Day, Grandparents Day, Earth Day/Week, National Library Week, etc.). Lucky for me, Book Fair was in February... but we're now working on Summer Reading. Whew!

Of course, being the lazy gal I am, there's plenty of reading going on (not as much as in March, but still quite a lot) and Netflix-viewing and culture-vulturing and all the other lazy things I get up to. Stay tuned for upcoming posts on all of that.

Oh, yes, one more thing: I'm on the hunt for Spring. Friday morning I was scraping ice off my windshield... Friday night I was scraping clothing off my overheated body. Go figure.


Word Rant

Over the past month or so I've been bombarded with examples of bad writing - it's enough to make a Lazygal cry, I tell ya!

Example one: 'impactful moments' Is this even a real phrase? And how does any self-respecting writer then follow it with "these interactions can have an impact"? My eyes hurt just reading that.

Example two: 'such that' instead of 'so that' ("the database is arranged such that is is easy to find your information")

Example three: 'To the extent you procure those rights' - you're missing a word there, buddy, and as a vendor, it doesn't look good.

Example four: people abusing impact because they're too afraid of confusing affect/effect (as in, "which professor at [college] impacted your life the most?" on my 25th college reunion questionnaire)

Example five: the use of "word" and "fail" to connote hipness (or, as a school friend said recently, what ever hip phrase hipsters now use). It doesn't sound up-to-date, it sounds desperate. Word.

And then there's the jargon...



Sequels that should never happen

Didn't anyone learn from Wicker Man, Sabrina and Psycho? Nope: Clash of the Titans and Fame are on their way.


Boycotts, girlcotts, and other protests

Years ago my mother insisted that our family join in the boycott of Nestle's products. Don't remember that one? It was because Nestle sold baby formula to third world countries, a formula that they knew poorer families could not afford and would buy anyway (but mix it with unsanitary water or dilute it beyond being nutritious). Back then, mailings and buttons and bumper stickers were the way one spread the word; in this case, successfully... for a time. Nestle continues to market its formula and in 1988 the boycott was reinstated. Still haven't heard about it? Well, now you have.

I don't remember when I first heard the phrase girlcott, but its the opposite of boycott: you buy the company's products, not avoid them. Here's an example.

Over the weekend, calls started for a boycott of Amazon. Why? Because apparently they're removing books from their sales ranking - books that fall into a GLBTQ area. Books like Well of Loneliness and Brokeback Mountain. Now, this isn't the first time that there have been calls to boycott Amazon. However, the viral spread of this via Twitter has meant that major news outlets heard about it within hours, Facebook had a page up quickly and an internet petition was started over on Care2.

I remember the Divest Now movement (now being appropriated for both Darfur and Israel)... I even remember the peace marches of the 60s.

The causes change, the technology changes, the passion remains. Get involved.


Holy Thoughts

Nancy White's posts are among my favorites - lots to think about and chew over about how we interact and learn in communities (two tweets: Challenge: We'll struggle with personal & professional boundaries (as we do now). We'll worry about privacy but -- too late? and Over time, SNing and comm life changes as our tools and processes emerge. Look for changes in practice and tech, not fundamentals). So you know I'm still mulling over this post, about the Lord's Prayer:

What translation is she talking about? This one.

I don't know enough (all right, all right, any) Aramaic to know how accurate this is, but the power of these words really resonates.

Happy Easter/Passover/Spring to all.

In Friendship,



Spring is springing

I love this time of year - all that possibility and hope.

Here's a Fun Lazy Fact: I'm a fruitivore. I'm also someone who likes fruit in season. Not such a big fan of strawberries in December, or apples in July. Pomegranates and Concord grapes indicate the start of fall. Thing Two eats apples and grapes year round; I've never seen him buy peaches, nectarines, pears or horned melons. That somehow feels false to me. Note that I'm not mentioning citrus fruits or bananas. Perhaps contradictorily, I consider them all-year fruits.

Spare_Oom has been discussing the meaning of being a Luddite (something I could be accused of sometimes). What's the connection? Morf's post:
Have you tasted a grocery store tomato lately?

Have you noticed the state of physical health of young adults lately? Heart disease, high cholesteral and diabetes are rampant among those in their twenties....

Where are the stewards?

Am I a Luddite for expecting my food to be safe, nutritious and tasty?

Am I a Luddite for expecting young people to be healthy and productive in the prime of their lives?

Am I a Luddite for wanting my children and grandchildren to know what a real strawberry tastes like?

Am I a Luddite for believing that we are capable of having an enduring, equitable and relatively stable economy as our legacy to the future?

Am I a Luddite for expecting Christians (of all people) to take seriously the core command of Genesis?

If these are the definitions of "Luddite" - I'll wear the term proudly.

During this weekend of passion, think about this. And about this. Then decide to do something about it.


Links Galore



I've been listening to Johnny Cash at San Quentin and enjoying the fact that when he introduces a song, it's at the start of the track. Most live albums seem to have the intro at the end of the previous song, so if you've got your iPod on "shuffle" (as I do)or if you're downloading individual tracks, you miss out.

Why did they start doing it in what seems to me to be a backwards way? Why won't they remaster things to change them???


Notable Quotes

My family did the same ridiculous thing on their trips, posing in every picture they took, the landmark out of focus and obscured behind them -- a subtle and subversive proclamation that my family, with their clothes wrinkled by travel, the boredom poorly masked by the we're-taking-a-picture-now smile, was far more important than the eye-candy that had inspired removing the lens cover.
Cheeni Rao, In Hanuman's Hands


Notes from Mt. Bookpile

Wow! What a quarter: 57 books read (35 in March alone). Reviews for all books can be found on Lazygal Reads.

A Different Life, Quinn Bradlee
The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris

Children's/Young Adult
Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson
The Amaranth Enchantment, Julie Berry
No Such Creature, Giles Blunt
Darkwood, M.E. Breen
Skeleton Creek, Patrick Carman
Fire, Kristen Cashore
Al Capone Shines My Shoes, Gennifer Choldenko
The Secrets of Greymoor, Clara Gillow Clark
The Plague, Joanne Dahme
Never Cry Werewolf, Heather Davis
Along for the Ride, Sarah Dessen
If I Stay, Gayle Forman
The Homeschool Liberation League, Lucy Frank
Operation Redwood, Susannah T. French
Deep in the Heart of High School, Veronica Goldbach
The Softwire: Worm Hole Pirates on Orbis 3, PJ Haarsma
A Taste for Red, Lewis Harris
North of Beautiful, Justine Chen Headley
Breathing, Cheryl Renee Herbsman
Need, Carrie Jones
Skunk Girl, Sheba Karim
Also Known as Harper, Ann Heywood Leal
The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had, Kristin Levine
Well Between the Worlds, Sam Llewellyn
Fragile Eternity, Melissa Marr
Jack Tumor, Anthony McGowan
Peace, Love and Baby Ducks, Lauren Myracle
The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness
Twenty Boy Summer, Sarah Ockler
TMI, Sarah Quigley
Punkzilla, Adam Rapp
When the Whistle Blows, Frank Slayton
Strange Angels, Lili St. Crow
Marcelo in the Real World, Francisco X. Stork
Chasing Lincoln's Killer, James L. Swanson
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Nagaru Tanigawa
Access Denied (and other eighth grade error messages), Denise Vega
Peace, Locomotion, Jacqueline Woodson
Absolutely Maybe, Lisa Yee

The Crow Road, Iain Banks
You or Something Like You, Chandler Burr
The Moonflower Vine, Jetta Carlton
Don't Cry, Mary Gaitskill
The Believers, Zoe Heller
The Taqwacores, Michael Knight
The Blue Notebook, James Levine
The Bellini Madonna, Elizabeth Lowry
While I'm Falling, Laura Moriarty
Love or Something Like It, Deidre Shaw
The Weight of Heaven, Thrity Umrigar

The Birthing House, Christopher Ransom

Darling Jim, Christian Moerk
Bone by Bone, Carol O'Connell

Science Fiction/Fantasy
Dark Volume, Gordon Dahlquist

Books on Mt. Bookpile: 339
Added: 67
Net Gain: 10