Thursday, October 16, 2008

Great story on an effort to support local agriculture

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Devil Who Sells You Prada

Interesting interview with Dana Thomas about her book, "How Luxury Lost its Luster".

I think the ultimate effect of this is that the true cognoscenti will be abandoning Prada etc. and buying their goods from little hole-in-the-wall companies that still make stuff by hand. When the luxury brand name is so diluted that it's become a mass brand without a luxury cachet, the people who can afford well-made stuff will spend the money for something that nobody else has -- a really hand-made leather satchel or hand-sewn suit.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Entitlement Generation

Franklin's post about an encounter with a college student with an overwhelming sense of entitlement is, as usual, just perfect.

It makes me realize that my email encounter with a twit about something on my website wasn't really an isolated incident. Yes, some people really DO have an overwhelming sense of entitlement, and have no idea how rude they are.

I feel relieved, and somewhat justified. (Well, I felt justified before, but now even more so.)

The short version:
Twit emails me asking demanding that I take down pictures/descrition of an item from my website, as she now owns the item (a piece of vintage clothing), and my having a description and photos of the item on my website (taken, with permission, from the website of the person who was offering the item for sale) constitutes copyright infringement.

Um, no.

a) I had permission from the person who wrote up the description of the item and took the pictures (i.e., it was her intellectual property), and that person has not rescinded her permission. The reason I posted the pics / description in the first place is that the seller didn't want the additional traffic that would be caused by my simply putting up a link.

b) You can't own "copyright" on a 200+ year old item of clothing, especially one as common as this one. It's public domain. The design is not copyrighted, nor could it be.

c) Ms. Twit was confusing physical ownership of the item with ownership of any intellectual property pertaining to that item. (Yes, really. We went around and around on this point, several times.) I told her that what she was demanding was the equivalent of telling an author they had to retract any articles they'd written about an item when one museum sold it to another.

Oh, and sis, before you contradict me again, yes, she was really rude; no, she had no idea what copyright law said on the issue, and yes, I will send you all the relevant posts if you really want to see what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"A Troubling Thought"

Rod Dreher says, more eloquently, some of the things I was trying to say last week.

"It's Not Just Pet Food"

Another reason to eat less processed food: ingredients from China that go into much of our processed food and vitamins aren't well-regulated, and likely contain heavy metals and other harmful substances.

Oh, yay. Well, given my allergies, I don't eat a lot of processed foods anyway, but I do take vitamins. Think I'd better start looking at where those vitamins come from.

Monday, April 23, 2007


A friend recently started treatment (radiation, chemo) for cancer. She shaved her head preemptively, and is refusing to wear "cute" chemo hats etc., opting instead for a baseball cap. Her SO says she looks better bald than Britney (which wouldn't take much, frankly).

I ordered her a tshirt with the radiation symbol on it. I think it'll suit her twisted sense of humor.

Heck, what else can you do in the face of Death but flip him the finger?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Vortex, 2

Ok, this kid, Cho, was beyond the edge -- he'd been living IN the Vortex for a long time, and the system failed to help him or prevent him from hurting others.

It's apparently very difficult in Virginia to get someone psychiatric treatment if they're delusional and refuse treatment. That needs to change. The kid who shot up the police station in Chantilly is another case in point, and there were a number of articles and essays in the Post about how hard it is for the parents of mentally ill kids to get their kids proper treatment; the kids wind up being a danger to themselves and others. This is the latest instance.

The law used to make it possible to commit people who were not mentally ill, which was wrong. But now it's gone too far in the opposite direction. I hope the state of VA takes a serious look at this.

The rant he mailed to NBC is interesting. He targets rich kids and our consumerist culture. That certainly doesn't justify his actions, but it's clear that alienation and bullying aggravated whatever else might have been wrong with his brain.

The opposite of alienation is connectedness/community. He was uprooted at a young age (8) and thrown into a completely alien environment. That's a difficult experience even for kids who don't have mental health issues. Some come through it (Cho has a brother who is, by all accounts, highly successful), but in this instance, maybe it pushed a fragile child further toward being broken.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Vortex

Re: the VT shooting --

So all the chirpy media types are going on about "how could this happen?" I want to smack them upside the head and say, "Fuckin' DUH". Another poor kid was teetering on the brink of the abyss of rage, alienation and despair, and fell in. It was suicide. Only he decided to take other students with him, which is the difference between him and, say, a random student who might have hung himself or taken pills. You never hear about those kids on the national news, because they go quietly. This one decided to go with a splash.

From "Dark Matter: The Psychology Of Mass Murder" in today's Post:
"They're not looking for highs -- they're depressed, angry and humiliated. They tend to be rejected in some romantic relationship, or are sexually incompetent, are paranoid, and their resentment builds. They develop shooting fantasies for months or years, stockpiling dreams and ammunition. The event that finally sets them off, Welner says, is usually anticlimactic -- an argument, a small personal loss that magnifies a sense of catastrophic failure.

"But they don't 'snap,' as you so often hear people say," Welner says. "It's more like a hinge swings open, and all this anger comes out."

They plan everything about the killings, he says, except how to get away.

"It's about suicide," Welner says. "It's about tying one's masculinity to destruction."

It's also rare for them to be truly psychotic, he says."
So. Alienation, disconnection, frustration, rage. Modern dis-eases, sicknesses of the soul.

Most of us dance around the vortex. Many of us develop ways to cope. Some don't. The difference between the shooter and the rest of us isn't that big. Or maybe the difference is that we're hanging on to hope with our fingernails. Dostoyevski's little oak leaves in the spring, the damned dandelions popping up their optimistic yellow heads despite death, destruction and Roundup. You just have to keep going.

April is the Cruellest Month


APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.