Saturday Review 9-27

Bulletin Board – “my stuff” edition
*****This is for my own personal cause – thanks for your consideration!
    My mother died on October 8, 1999 after seven years in a nursing home with early-onset Alzheimer‘s. In remembrance of her, and to help raise funds to support patients, caregivers, and research into this disease, my sister and I have formed a team to participate in our local Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk. We try to do this every year, and we’ll be walking in Thousand Oaks, California on Saturday, October 18. If you’d like to support us with a donation, please visit my page. If you’d like to support us with an encouraging comment, just leave one right here! (And if you’re a local, the Los Angeles Memory Walk will take place on Saturday, October 5. But if you’d like to join us for the Thousand Oaks walk on the 19th, please e-mail me!)

*****Book bloggers, this is for you: LA Blogger Gal is looking for reading suggestions for her book club – head on over to this post and leave her some, please!

*****As of right now, I have no other posts lined up in draft. That will probably change by the end of this weekend, but I feel a slowdown coming on. If I miss a day or two here and there for the next little while, don’t worry – I’m not going anywhere, I’m just a little short on post inspirations :-). 

New in Google Reader
Scobberlotch, the blog of author Karen Harrington (Janeology, which is on my book wishlist)
xoxoxo e
Diary of an Eccentric
The Literate Housewife Review

Random reading, with a heavy dose of politics
Visit an imaginary world in which President Bartlet advises would-be-President Obama. And in other election-related reading, my friend Deacon Ann sent a link to this “Advice for Electiontide” posting at Episcopal CafΓ©. The writer is Sara Miles, director of ministry and pastoral care at St. Gregory of Nyssa Church in San Francisco, and her whole latter is worth reading, but here’s the gist (emphasis added):

…I can tell you that anger flung around recklessly during a conflict poisons the water of civil society for a long time. And I see how carrying around rage and resentment hurts individuals personally. And as someone who considers herself a part of what we call the Body of Christ, I can tell you that it’s impossible to hate a part of that Body without damaging the whole.

So I want to ask you, first, to take a deep breath and pray for your enemies.

Please notice that I’m not asking you to pray that your enemies will repent and see the error of their ways, or that they’ll start doing what you think they should do, or that they’ll be punished for their wrongdoings. I’m asking you to simply pray for them.

And then I want to ask you, if you feel that the stakes in this election are simply so high that you must do something, to, for God’s sake, do something. And by that I don’t mean watch more TV, or compulsively follow your favorite political blog. I don’t mean forward a nasty email to your friends, or tell a hateful story about the other side to people who agree with you politically.

I mean act…I urge you to avoid the trap of “right thinking” and ideological purity, and instead to leave your home and your circle of like-minded friends. To get out there and work for your candidate or your cause, going door to door and talking with real live human beings, some of whom will be on the other side politically.

It’s always easier to hate the other side when you only talk to people who agree with you. It’s harder to demonize people when you have to look them in the face.

On a related note, one woman’s anti-spam campaign, and another woman’s efforts to address it personally lead her to wonder if some political chasms can’t be bridged. Meanwhile, while one more woman is losing sleep over politics, another shares an e-mail we can only wish was spam – something about funds transfer requiring a blank check for $700 billion…

But as far as “only talking to people who agree with you” goes…I’ve mainly been linking to those people, so here’s one with whom I disagree on a lot, but I respect her opinions and wish I had even a quarter of her guts in expressing them.

Maybe one reason I’m so much less gutsy is that I’m an introvert and I’m pretty sure she isn’t. Is “introvert” a compliment or an insult, and is it the same thing as shyness?

A debate over the definition of book-banning (just in time for the start of Banned Books Week)

Hopefully, next year I’ll know to celebrate Stepfamilies Day before it happens (it was last week, on Sept. 16)

These moms are explaining elections and financial crises to her kids right now…and then there’s that mom.

Well, we have to wait till January for new episodes of Burn Notice (boo!), but in the meantime, we get The Park Bench‘s “Nerd Man of the Month” for September, Bruce Campbell (yay!)

I just discovered one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Suzanne Vega, is an occasional music blogger for the New York Times. I think some of her best-known songs fall into the “love it or hate it” category, and while I suspect that a lot of people find her song “Tom’s Diner” annoying as hell, I’ve always liked it, and I enjoyed reading its backstory here. (And did you know that the same “diner” is the restaurant from Seinfeld? It was news to me.)

E-mail of the week
My spam has gotten boring again, so here’s an e-mail that needed the Snopes treatment:

Please pass this on even if you do not have kids in school. Parents should know about this killer drug. Grandparents, send it to your families and friends.

This is a new drug known as ‘strawberry quick ‘.
There is a very scary thing going on in the schools right now that we all need to be aware of.

There is a type of crystal meth going around that looks like strawberry pop rocks (the candy that sizzles and ‘pops’ in your mouth). It also smells like strawberry and it is being handed out to kids in school yards. They are calling it strawberry meth or strawberry quick.

Kids are ingesting this thinking that it is candy and being rushed off to the hospital in dire condition. It also comes in chocolate, peanut butter, cola, cherry, grape and orange.

Please instruct your children not to accept candy from strangers and even not to accept candy that looks like this from a friend (who may have been given it and believed it is candy) and to take any that they may have to a teacher, principal, etc. immediately.

Pass this email on to as many people as you can (even if they don’t have kids) so that we can raise awareness and hopefully prevent any tragedies from occurring.

Snopes sez: the drug is real, BUT the candy flavoring intended to hook kids IS NOT. It took me less than two minutes to check this out rather than needlessly push more parental alarm buttons – it’s really not that hard. (Oh, and please delete the previous recipients’ e-mails before forwarding – I was surprised to discover one of my co-workers on the distribution from an earlier sender!)

I didn’t go to my book club meeting last night after all, but the rest of the weekend looks plenty busy. Hope you’re having a good one!

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  1. I am sorry about your mother, Florinda. One of my grandfather’s suffered from Alzheimer’s as well, although his condition was a little farther on. It’s a nasty disease regardless. I also had a grandmother who suffered from vascular dementia, which was much like Alzheimer’s in symptoms. It’s wonderful that you are doing the walk, Florinda.

    It’s been quite a week for politics, hasn’t it? Thank you for sharing the snippet from Sara Mills article. And thank you too for the information about Suzanne Vega. She’s one of my favorites too–and I love the Tom’s Diner song. It’s been stuck in my head all week, as a matter of fact. πŸ™‚

  2. Literary Feline – Thanks, Wendy. There are a few conditions that present similar to Alzheimer’s, but they’re all miserable. The walk has been my sister’s and my way of remembering and honoring our mom every year, and the timing works out right for that. My dad has Masses said for her.

    “Tom’s Diner” is probably one of the stickiest songs I know :-).

  3. Very sorry about your mom. I’ll check out your page later. The walk is a good idea.

    I think I’m “that dad” after reading that link. Sure, some doesn’t apply to me, but I’ve done most. πŸ™‚

  4. Mike – Thanks. I’m not trying to pressure anyone to donate, but this cause is important to me.

    Yeah, there’s no rule saying that “that mom” can’t be a dad, too :-).

  5. Florinda, I’m sorry about your mom. My husband’s grandfather had Alzheimer’s. He passed away right when we started dating, so I didn’t know much about his condition. It know it was very hard on them. I think the walk is a wonderful idea.

    Btw, thanks for adding me to google reader! I’ve added you to bloglines. BBAW drew my attention to some wonderful new blogs!

  6. I am so sorry about your mother. I have an uncle in the early stages of that disease and it is so hard to watch him struggle for words. You are doing a great thing with this walk. Thanks for highlighting it.