February 2009 Archives
Now I just have to hope that it doesn't get canceled.
One reason for my decision was that all too many people advised me not to do it. Perhaps, like many other novelists, I tend to do the exact opposite of what I am told. If people are telling me -- and especially if they are warning me -- "Don't go there," "Don't do that," I tend to want to "go there" and "do that." It's in my nature, you might say, as a novelist. Novelists are a special breed. They cannot genuinely trust anything they have not seen with their own eyes or touched with their own hands.
And that is why I am here. I chose to come here rather than stay away. I chose to see for myself rather than not to see. I chose to speak to you rather than to say nothing.
Please do allow me to deliver one very personal message. It is something that I always keep in mind while I am writing fiction. I have never gone so far as to write it on a piece of paper and paste it to the wall: rather, it is carved into the wall of my mind, and it goes something like this:
"Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg."
The full text of his statement can be found here.
Today's case is a doosy as well. A divorced man in his 50s married a young Vietnamese woman, had two children, gave them to his ex-wife to raise, then divorced the Vietnamese woman. When the mother sued for custody, the court granted the father full custody, citing that the children "lacked awareness of their mother." But, they are granting the mother weekly visitation rights...yeah, I don't get it.
Very good read.
Here is an example greeting:
jknight: Kusheh, Howdy body?
aristotle: Dee Body fine fine. Howdy day?
jknight: Tell Got tank you. OK, a de go naw
aristotle: Arayt, wi go tok bak
Korea has adopted this barbarous celebration and given it a little twist. Instead of the man blowing $156 on flowers, cards, and jewelry, Korean ladies have to buy ever-more-expensive and elaborate chocolate gifts for their boyfriends.
According to some dribble I saw on CNN last night, around the world, some 85% of all Valentine's gifts are purchased by women, so maybe the Korean take is not so uncommon globally.
When people ignore the preponderance of science, I am agitated, chagrined. Question science, certainly. Science demands that you question it. Nearly every theory can be improved by the right question, by one clever man or woman disagreeing with the conclusion of her peers.
Which brings me to the tragic nexus of familial pain, fear and science that is the autism/MMR vaccine story. Never for a second do I loose sympathy with the families who are involved in this issue. The staggering rise in autism cases is something that demands answers. However, when people ignore study after study after study that discredits a theory out of fear, I cannot support them.
Consider this article that casts grave doubts of the very study that gave credence to the idea that vaccines may cause autism. That Dr. Wakefield was working with a lawyer preparing a case against the MMR vaccine, and that the medical records of the 12 children involved in his research discredit claims he made, there can be no faith in the theory he advocated. That this theory has led to a surge of measles cases around the industrialized world, and that children too young to be vaccinated have died from the actions of parents not getting the vaccine is inexcusable.
I could go on and on with this topic. And certainly one could raise many questions about anything I've said here. People should. That's how it works. When science is your religion, the only thing that is truly sacred is the scientific method itself.
Photo by Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images.
Next up, the hotel. After staying in the Park Lane Sheraton, central London on Piccadilly, in an executive room I was, umm, spoiled. I knew the Freetown hotel would be different but I wasn't expecting a thin sheet covering a plastic wrapped hard mattress sitting on a bed three inches off the floor. But after the flight and a few beers I was tired and the bed began to look good. Thanks to the few beers I wake up in the middle of the night. I proceed to stub my toe on a 2 inch high piece of wood blocking off my entire bathroom door. I curse at the wood trying to figure out why it is there. I devise a plan involving either a crowbar or a blow torch and a monkey, every good plan has a monkey. Then this morning when my shower floods my bathroom and the wood keeps the water from going into the rest of my room I begin to understand why and decide to nix the plan, except for the monkey. Welcome to West Africa.
Book World will remain a distinct entity online. I hope that this means the weekly podcast survives.
It is a sobering realization to see just how much we (i.e. Americans) spend on the military. Almost 50% of the world's defense dollars are American. I would imagine that if one adds in support given to Israel, South Korea and other nations for their defense budgets, the percentage would likely be over 50%.