April 30th, 2009

Fly Free

Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day

Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day. Of course, there are already a lot of poems available here under the "poem" tag, which you're welcome to print out and put in your pocket. Donors, if you have previously sponsored a specific poem, remember that you have reprint rights and can repost that one to your blog if you wish.

I also wanted to add a nice short poem, suitable for general audiences, just for this occasion. I've done this for each of my three blogs; the one for this blog is pasted below, and the other two are here:

Gaiatribe: Put a Poem in Your Pocket Today
Hypatia's Hoard of Reviews: Today Is Poem in Your Pocket Day

The Breath of Spring
a triolet

The breath of spring is wet with rain
And sweet with flowers blooming bright.
It breaks the winter like a chain.
The breath of spring is wet with rain
And beckons to the new-sown grain.
It warms itself with golden light.
The breath of spring is wet with rain
And sweet with flowers blooming bright.

If you are celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day by sharing a poem on your blog, feel free to post a link here. You can also visit the Bloggers Unite event page for more posts on this theme.

Racism and SF: "Alien Nation"

Continuing our discussion of racism and science fiction, I want to point out another favorite from the genre: Alien Nation. This began as a movie, turned into a television series, then some TV movies, and eventually added several books. The premise is that a ship full of alien slaves crash-landed on Earth, and the "Newcomers" (or "Slags," and Slag = n*gg*r) have a hard time fitting in due to human prejudice. The whole thing is built around exploring all differnet aspects of racial tension and identity. If you aren't familiar with Alien Nation but you're interested in this theme, it is well worth your while to track down.

Alien Nation -- Wikipedia hub page
Tenctonese -- Wikipedia description of alien species
Alien Nation -- IMDB page on original movie
Alien Nation -- TV show episode guide
Alien Nation -- concept description and overview
Alien Nation (TV series) -- analysis of show including themes and plotlines
"Race and Racism in Science Fiction" -- essay citing Alien Nation

Oh, and for you xenolinguistics fans, there is also considerable exposure for the alien language, Tenctonese:

Tenctonese alphabets
Alien Nation Appreciation Society
Bureau of Tenctonese Language

My Google-Fu Is Strong

We're setting up for our Beltane event today. One of the things we've decided to use in the ritual is a mist fountain, similar to this. We couldn't find the instructions, though, and the mister gizmo lit up but didn't start moving the water around. So I came back to my office, typed in "mist fountain operation instructions," and hey presto! There they were. I printed out a couple of versions, we figured out that the water water too shallow and added more water, the gizmo kicked on, and the mist emerged.

I love it when I can find quick answers like that.

In case you're curious, we are celebrating Beltane as a purification/protection ritual. It will involve passing between two fires (woodstove and candles), then past the mist in the west, and some other stuff. I'm looking forward to it.

Also we have a tandoori-pasted chicken in the rotisserie oven, a pot of dal makhani in the crock pot, and mango ice cream in the freezer. Coconut shrimp are yet to be made. (With the exception of the ice cream, these are mostly Doug's territory, though I did paint the chicken.)

The Banks Own the Senate

This is not democracy. This is plutocracy, and it is a very bad thing, which we are seeing demonstrated right now. Nobody elected those bankers and their lobbyists to run this country, but that is what they are doing. And the senators, who were elected, are letting the bankers get away with this. I am extremely displeased.

Dick Durbin: Banks "Frankly Own The Place"

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has been battling the banks the last few weeks in an effort to get 60 votes lined up for bankruptcy reform. He's losing.

On Monday night in an interview with a radio host back home, he came to a stark conclusion: the banks own the Senate.

"And the banks -- hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created -- are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place," he said on WJJG 1530 AM's "Mornings with Ray Hanania." Progress Illinois picked up the quote.