Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
"There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all." --Oscar Wilde, 1891
It's Banned Books Week again. Banning books--restricting access to knowledge, ideas, and imagination, in other words--is one of the worst things I can imagine. It is a political act--and one we can easily overlook. "It's only a book." But in banning books, we attempt to shape minds to our way of thinking by getting rid of other potential modes of doing so. It is oppression at its most insidious.
I'm posting the American Library Association's list of the 100 most challenged books from 1990-1999. (The stats from this decade are still being complied.) I've bolded the ones I've read (or started to read). If you'd like to spread awareness you might consider doing the same on your own blog/journal/MySpace/Facebook/whatever.
Scary Stories (Series), by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy’s Roommate, by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Forever, by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
Heather Has Two Mommies, by Leslea Newman
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Giver, by Lois Lowry
My Brother Sam is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Alice (Series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Goosebumps (Series), by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Sex, by Madonna
Earth’s Children (Series), by Jean M. Auel
The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
The Witches, by Roald Dahl
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
The New Joy of Gay Sex, by Charles Silverstein
Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
The Goats, by Brock Cole
The Stupids (Series), by Harry Allard
Anastasia Krupnik (Series), by Lois Lowry
Final Exit, by Derek Humphry
Blubber, by Judy Blume
Halloween ABC, by Eve Merriam
Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters, by Lynda Madaras
Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman, by Paul Zindel
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
Deenie, by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind, by Nancy Garden
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat, by Alvin Schwartz
Harry Potter (Series), by J.K. Rowling
Cujo, by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl
A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein
Ordinary People, by Judith Guest
American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
Asking About Sex and Growing Up, by Joanna Cole
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons, by Lynda Madaras
The Anarchist Cookbook, by William Powell
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
Boys and Sex, by Wardell Pomeroy
Crazy Lady, by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
Killing Mr. Griffin, by Lois Duncan
Fade, by Robert Cormier
Guess What?, by Mem Fox
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies, by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells, by Daniel Cohen
On My Honor, by Marion Dane Bauer
The House of Spirits, by Isabel Allende
Jack, by A.M. Homes
Arizona Kid, by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets, by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg, by Babette Cole
Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From?, by Peter Mayle
The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline Cooney
Carrie, by Stephen King
The Dead Zone, by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts, by Howard Stern
Where’s Waldo?, by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene
Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
Little Black Sambo, by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
Running Loose, by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education, by Jenny Davis
Jumper, by Steven Gould
Christine, by Stephen King
The Drowning of Stephen Jones, by Bette Greene
That Was Then, This is Now, by S.E. Hinton
Girls and Sex, by Wardell Pomeroy
The Wish Giver, by Bill Brittain
Jump Ship to Freedom, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
- Blackadder. First appearing in as the ruthless Prince Ludwig (who reaped he "ree-wen-gee" on Queen Elizabeth I), then as the empty-headed Prince Regent, and then finally as the even dumber WWI officer George, Laurie is so convincingly stupid it's sometimes hard to believe he's the same guy that plays House.
- And speaking of upper-class twits, in Jeeves and Wooster, Laurie brings P. G. Wodehouse's gormless Bertie Wooster perfectly and hilariously to life.
- A Bit of Fry & Laurie. He and b.f.f. Stephen Fry wrote and starred in their own sketch comedy show for the BBC, which was full of biting social and political commentary. And Laurie in drag.
- Sure, you may have heard of Band from TV, in which Laurie plays with other TV star musicians, or maybe you knew that he does his own piano playing in Jeeves and Wooster and House. But I bet you didn't know that he wrote all the songs in Fry & Laurie, like this one:
- The Gun Seller. A novel that he wrote about a seemingly idiotic though really wittily sarcastic private eye who gets caught up in international espionage. A rarity for celebrity authors, it's actually very well written and quite clever.
- Sense and Sensibility. Laurie had a brief but memorable role as the long-suffering Mr. Palmer, whose sarcasm goes way over the head of his clueless wife.
- And last but not least, House. It's the character that draws us to the show, not the medical mysteries. He really gets to the humor and pathos of our favorite TV doctor.
Friday, August 21, 2009
- What to bring. Those lists you get at Target or Bed Bath & Beyond are intended to get you to by more of the stores' products. Take inspiration from them, but use common sense, and know your school's regulations.
- Computers. If you don't buy a Mac, by the third Blue Screen of Death in a week, you'll wish you had. And anyway, no matter what the Windows commercial says, Apple offers most colleges way better deals than PCs do.
- Quarters. They are the most valuable piece of currency you will have in your pocket for the next four years. Use them for parking meters, bus fare, vending machine snacks, and, above all, laundry!
- Laundry. I know what your moms told you about sorting colors, but most clothes are ok mixed together if you wash them on cold. It's cheaper (no tiny load of whites wasting your precious quarters), keeps your colors brighter, and is better for the environment. There are even detergents specially designed for cold wash use. At the laundromat, sometimes it's cheaper to shove everything in the triple-loader. Finally, ladies, most commercial washers don't have a delicate cycle, so get yourself a bucket and some Woolite to wash you unmentionables.
- Cafeteria food. It's disgusting. But it usually comes in all you can eat format, so be wary. Sure, the meatloaf could probably get up and walk around the room, but it's so easy to add to it a side of french fries, pasta, soup, salad, pie, ice cream, cookies... hey, where did those extra 15 pounds come from?? Self control is a must, as is keeping an eye out for healthy options. Other on-campus eateries often offer more palatable fair, but watch out--it might not be on your meal plan. (Susquehanna students: Beware the Encore fries.)
- Snacks. I like the little individual packs of cookies and chips like you'd put in a kid's lunch box. Sure, technically it's cheaper to buy the big bags, but it's easier to control your portions this way. You'd be surprised how fast that can of Pringles goes. Again, consider healthy options like those little cups of applesauce or fruit cocktail. And for those times when for one reason or another you can't be bothered to leave your room to go eat, Ramen noodles, Easy Mac, and those little microwavable cups of soup or Spaghetti-Os are your new best friends. Also, find out who delivers to campus.
- Beverages (the boring kind). Avoid those energy drinks. They keep you up, but not focused. Stick to good old fashioned coffee, tea, or soft drinks. Be sure to drink lots of water, and juices high in vitamin C, especially in cold and flu season.
- Beverages (the fun kind). Get completely wasted once. This will help you know what your limit is, and will also hopefully make you never want to do it again. Also, drink wisely. If you're under 21, don't get drunk. It'll be much easier to convince the cops that you've just come from Communion... uh, I mean, Don't drink at all! It's illegal! Shame on you! If you're over 21, it's ok to get drunk occasionally, but do it safely. Keep an eye on your friends to make sure they're not getting taken advantage of or being an ass. Paying cash at the bar means you have a set limit on how much you'll drink. Obey B.Y.O.B. or else you'll be drinking nasty keg beer. Drink water to avoid a nasty hangover, and KEEP AN EYE ON WHAT'S GOING INTO YOUR DRINK!
- Hangovers. Here's my cure: 1) Wake up as late as possible. 2) Turn on football, lay on bed or couch, barely paying attention to the game. 3) When you feel you can keep something down, take 3 ibuprofen with a bottle/large glass of water. 4) When you can move around, make Ramen noodles and consume with sufficiently caffeinated beverage. 5) Continue watching TV until you're feeling better. (Note: This works best on Saturday and Sunday. Contrary to popular belief, the weekend does not start on Thursday.)
- Roommates. You will hate them. And they will hate you. If you're lucky, you can draw a line in chalk down the middle of the room, but chances are you'll be living on top of each other. To survive the year, you both need to be considerate, but sometimes you get stuck with someone who just doesn't get it. The only ways to really get along with your roommate is to a) never EVER be in the room at the same time, or b) get drunk and/or high together.
- Classes. Don't just take things to fulfill a requirement. Always try to take classes you're interested in. You'll do much better in them. And don't be afraid to challenge yourself or take something way outside your major. One of the best classes I took was taught by a chemical physicist.
- Studying. Find the place to do so that's right for you. Some people need absolute quiet, some need to study with the TV on. Do all the readings on time, pay attention (and TAKE NOTES) in lecture, and ask questions, and you will do better on the test. Form study groups with other students.
- Papers. Don't write them the night before. (I know, I'm the last person you'd expect to hear that from, but the only way that works is when it's the paper you've been dying to write for ages.) Do research well in advance. Take advantage of your professors/TAs and talk over your ideas or show them some paragraphs. Make an outline, if only on a napkin. AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD USE A THESIS STATEMENT!!!
- TAs. Remember, they're students, too, and probably have a full course load in addition to their teaching duties. There's a lot you can do to make their job easier, which will benefit you in the long run. Do the reading on time, pay attention in lecture (and TAKE NOTES), and participate in class. If their method isn't working for you, tell them what you need. And if you don't understand something ASK QUESTIONS!
- Professors. If you go to a large university, chances are you won't interact with one for about the first two years. If you got to a smaller university or college, you'll more than likely get them straight off the bat. Either way, you need to make them know who you are. The obvious way is to do well in the class. Suck up, but do it sincerely. Don't tell them you loved their book when you haven't even read it. But, if you found something in the class interesting, ask them if there's anything else you can read on it. Let them know if you found a connection between what you're doing in their class and something you learned in another. (Interdisciplinary stuff is hot right now, and profs are always looking for new article ideas.) And if you actually did read their book, ask them questions about it. Professors love talking about their work.
- Work. The best jobs are the ones that let you play Minesweeper, um, I mean , study while you work, so look for something at the library, in an office, or at a reception desk.
- Advice. Your parents are good at the general life stuff, but, remember, when they were at college, they had card catalogs. So take what they say with a grain of 20-year-old salt. Good sources of advice: older siblings or cousins, professors, TAs, RAs, upperclassmen, councilors, etc.
- Activities. Don't spread yourself too thin, but get involved. Your life will be so much better if you do something you enjoy to get your mind off classes and other crap. Most colleges have something for everyone, and if there's nothing you're interested in, it's usually pretty easy to start a club.
- Travel. Whether for spring break or a whole year, waste no opportunity to go abroad. Don't know where to go for Spring Break? Here's a hint: the cool people might go to Florida or Mexico, but the interesting ones go to Poland.
- Free Time. At colleges in a big city like New York or Boston, it's not hard to find something to do. And most big universities are in college towns, which, despite their rural local, usually have a vibrant and varied social life. But if you go to a small college in Podunk, U.S.A., your campus may be the only hot spot around. Now, your college will probably provide you with things to do (i.e. other than consuming copious amounts of alcohol), but you may find yourself some Saturday night having to choose between IM-ing your friend in the room next door while watching SNL and going to a frat party and getting drunk with horny Greeks. But fear not! You and your friends can always get creative and make your own fun (see below).
Friday, August 14, 2009
- Floor. Hardwood, of course. What else would you find in a funky-yet-not-dangerous neighborhood? Plus, carpet and allergies really don't mix.
- Rug. Need not match anything else in the room, but should be reasonably soft for getting down on my hands and knees to race R2-D2 and K-9. Uh, I mean, for rug rats to play on while I work. Yeah... *coughs*
- Window. With a view of a Boston/London/Paris street. Unless the neighbors are interesting, that is.
- Door. Locks.
- Wall. Covered with fanish posters, including the ones I have now, Rolling Stone covers, and funny pictures cut out of magazines. So basically, like every dorm room I've every had.
- Couch. Comfortable and old, though not smelly. To be covered with a tapestry, so ugly is OK. If space does not permit, then may be substituted by a papasan chair.
- End table. To hold a lamp and glasses/pop cans/beer bottles.
- Beanbag chair. Preferably tye-dyed. For playing video games or listening to music with headphones.
- Desk. Has a hutch, on which will be stored reference books, binders, data backup, software, and old journals. There will be drawers to hold office stuff in a not-to-orderly fashion. On top of the desk will be my Mac, one of those printer/scanner/fax machine combo thingies, and various nicknack's to play with while I'm bored.
- Desk chair. One of those ergonomic things.
- Lamp. I thought that corner needed something.
- CD rack. For all my Cds, so it will be very large.
- Entertainment unit. Will hold a reasonably sized TV, gaming system that plays Blue Ray, region-free DVD/VCR combo, stereo (turntable, CD player, cassette, and iPod dock), and has storage space for games, TV shows, movies, and LPs and cassettes.
- Bookshelf 1. Floor to ceiling. This one holds all my sci-fi/fantasy stuff. I even have plans for how I want it all set up. I'm keeping fandoms together, and they will be in alpha order (with one exception). For example: Buffy--DVDs then the Season 8 comics, Harry Potter--books then movies, X-Files--TV with the movies thrown in at chronologically correct places. After all that will be misc. sci-fi books. Finally, all the Doctor Who (and related spin-offs) will be at the bottom since there's a lot of it. I'll probably organize it by media (Doctor Who episodes in order, then SJA, then Torchwood, then audio adventures by number, then books by series and number), though it would be tempting to try to put everything in order of the Doctor's personal chronology.... Finally, most of my action figures will be displayed on this shelf.
- Bookshelf 2. Floor to ceiling. For literature. To be organized by Dewey Decimal, but I probably won't divide by nationality. Children's lit and comic books not on Bookshelf 1 will be on the bottom where little brats (mine or otherwise--hopefully otherwise) can reach them. Also, will display literary/historical action figures.
- Bookshelf 3. Floor to ceiling. Non-fiction. Overflow of grown-up books from the other shelf, books on writing, literary theory, film books, and then everything else by subject. Will display things that don't fit either the category or space of other surfaces.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Just ignore Havers on the right there. Everyone else does.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Note: I haven't actually seen/read/heard every single companion in the Whoniverse, so I'm sticking to the characters I know best. Sorry, Dodo fans.
Finally, there's Kamelion (5), who would not be in any house because, it, had it lived in the Potterverse, would be a Squibb.
So, a few discussion questions. (Yes, I'm gearing up for the fall semester. How can you tell?) What Hogwarts houses would the characters from your favorite fandoms belong to? What kinds of crazy crossovers would make your day?
*The Doctor and Rose made a cameo appearance in the Buffy Season 8 comics, so anything is possible. Which gives me hope for my crack theory about the 10th Doctor's regeneration involving a fob-watch and Dementors.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Finally, we got to see what Doctor #11 and his new companion, Amy Pond, look like. I must say, I like the look. The old man get-up is a nice contrast to the fact that Smith is the youngest Doctor to date. I'm thinking that the costume implies some interesting things about the character.