Monthly Archives: October 2015

A Look Back At The Evolution Of Publishing With The British Library (kind of)

The Irish Wonder wondered again and came up with a wonderful resource and laughter inducer for everyone to ogle!

Tara Sparling writes

That sounds awfully highfalutin, doesn’t it? I mean, it’s Saturday morning. Who wants to read about the history of publishing at this hour of a bank holiday weekend?

Don’t worry. I wouldn’t do it to you. I just thought I might share some resource news with you before I go into hibernation, because the clocks are going back on Saturday, all the leaves will be off the trees by Monday, and because, well, Ireland.

I read recently that the British Library made over 1,000,000 images(taken from old books) free to any and all users on the marvellous Interweb. It’s a fantastic resource for bloggers in particular, and I couldn’t resist fiddling around with some of them. So in the interests of passing on this marvellous information, here we go.

A Look Back At The Evolution Of Publishing With The British Library (kind of)

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A Look Back At The Evolution Of Publishing With The British Library (kind of)

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A Look Back At The Evolution Of Publishing With The British Library (kind of)

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Have a lovely weekend. Zzzzzzzzzz.

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Bad knees and adult coloring books

I haven’t been writing much lately, either here or on my fiction, because of the two items in the title, a bad knee and the discovery of the salutary effects of coloring books. My left knee developed, about a month ago, a twinge that rather rapidly ramped up to the knife-in-the-knee level of pain. After a few weeks of acetaminophen (generic Tylenol), I caved and went to a physical therapist. Of course, the morning of my appointment, I awoke pain free. It was symptomatic by the time I arrived, but not nearly as bad as it had been. He evaluated me and found definite irritation in both the meniscus and the medial ligament, which runs up the inside of the knee. Stretching and icing are the prescriptions for the first week. Only time will tell if the knee healed at the threat of PT.

The coloring books are a self-inflicted injury. I got a marketing email from Amazon with the picture of an adult coloring book in it. It was not a flowery one, but rather one of animals, and much to my liking. I ordered it, and awaited with bated breath. Imagine my surprise when I received two copies. I had apparently ordered it in April but not completed the sale and so it was already in my basket. I gave the second copy to a friend, and marched over to the artist supply store on the second floor of the building housing my writers workshop.

The proprietor, a charming woman, sold me some very good colored pencils in a nice packet of 12 different colors. They weren’t enough, and Staples had a pre-school sale on Crayola pencils, so I went and bought 24 of them for $3.00. I thought I was set, but the Crayola colors duplicated several of those I already had, and I was disappointed in the number of colors I had. A friend then bought me a 50 pencil collection, and I discovered––Horror!–– there is a difference between good and mediocre pencils. Sigh.

I have been coloring like crazy for a few weeks now, hoping to spur my creativity on. It sounds like a wheezy engine, my creativity, about now, but with drawing up a storm, I feel as if I’ve made enough progress to be productive at the writing retreat I’m going to on Saturday. Here’s hoping, because I made a rather silly commitment.

I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo this year, and may disappear for the month of November as I try to get 50,000 words down on paper. If you don’t hear from me, don’t start worrying until the first week of December. I should be coming up for air about then.

Daniel Ellsberg and Drones

For those who remember the Pentagon Papers, documents that showed the unconscionable behavior of the United States government in pursuit of the Vietnam war, the name of Daniel Ellsberg is familiar and, indeed, revered. An employee of the Rand Corporation, he acquired these documents in the course of his employment and decided to take the unprecedented step of releasing these damning reports to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other newspapers. Ellsberg was the first, and in many respects the bravest, of a long list of whistleblowers against our national government.

As a society, we decided, through our elected representatives, to protect whistleblowers in the everyday world, codifying a number of protections for them because they were performing a public good. The only exception to this act would be items that affected our national security. And there’s the rub, for the most heinous acts being perpetrated in our country are being done in our name covertly and without any oversight whatsoever. The list of whistleblowers about our serious misbehavior include, but aren’t limited to, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning, Assange is currently in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he is being saved from arrest by the British government on warrants for his arrest. Snowden is in Moscow where he is allegedly in talks with the US government about terms for his return to the United States. Manning is in prison for a term of 35 years for her involvement in releasing papers about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is a new, unnamed hero in this long line of Americans brave enough to take on the government. This individual has released a number of papers, reports and other documents related to the drone wars now being pursued by the government. The use of drones has been much bruited about in the liberal media as a questionable method for removing our enemies in the “War on Terror.” Now, because of this brave individual, we have the information necessary to discuss this subject intelligently and critically. The brave souls at The Intercept have studied this material and written comprehensive and excellent reports on the unethical and idiotic decisions made with regards to targeting individuals and in naming all otherwise unidentified dead as enemy targets. The individuals targeted may have been victims of misinformation campaigns, and the civilian dead as innocent as your average school kid, but the way they are discussed in these documents will turn your blood cold. The military speech patterns would be humorous were they not so callous and horrifying.

I try to avoid being overly political in this blog (pace Bernie Sanders) but when my government does something in my name that is dishonorable and even evil, I will be heard. I hope this whistleblower retains his/her anonymity as the disclosure of this information is undoubtedly a violation of some law. Our government has shown a lack of appreciation for these whistleblowers that is disproportionate with the people’s right to know. In this most transparent presidency, the response to these disclosures has been amazingly insensitive, given that the protests against the government’s behavior have been based on constitutional provisions and simple morality.

Innocent men, women, and children have died as a result of the U.S. drone program, without any acknowledgment that they died in vain and needlessly when other options for the attack existed and the basis for the attack was questionable at best. Doubt me on that? Go to The Intercept and read it for yourself. Make up your own mind. I suspect you will join me in wishing the best for this anonymous whisteblower.