Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Unstable Environment by Marcia Collette

Author: Marcia Collette
Title: "Unstable Environment"
Pages: 250
Publisher: Parker Publishing
Misc: Marcia's Blog & MySpace & FaceBook

I haven't read it but Harry Markov over at Temple Library Reviews blog has so here it is:

Monday, September 22, 2008

weekend movie-viewing

Well, I spent the weekend watching Columbine type indie movies.

Saw Elephant by Gus Van Sant. Loved it. Also tried to watch The delicate art of the rifle. Also on independent film channel. Every once in a while you see the difference between a great artist and a wannabe -pretentious arty type. Okay, I don't know if the guy who wrote The Delicate Art of the Rifle was trying to be pretentious. But dang, he seemed to be! And the weird thing is that in Elephant there is soo little talking and what talking there is is just plain cryptic. You don't know the Dylan-Klebold type main characters very well. You didn't know why they wanted to shoot everyone in their school. But you also didn't know their victims very well. The victims were kinda in all the categories one sees in school: jock, lonely, loser, rejected, lone black kid, queen bee types. Although they were not really known, you kinda knew them. But you're still kinda confused. Yet, there is this total wonderful eerieness to the flick. You don't know what the heck is going on. There is no clear plot except for these guys planning to kill everyone. And yet you can't turn your eyes away. And when it comes on TV you want to see it again. Maybe because you're trying to figure out what maybe you think you missed something. Or maybe you just weirdly like the thing.

But the Delicate Art of the Rifle is all talk. We know way too much. We see mostly the shooter and his roommate. And for all that talk, there is no sense of connection.

Now, maybe I'm being hard on this flick because I didn't see all of it. But it was just very hard to sit through it. I have little patience for pretentiousness.


Monday, September 15, 2008

The Road to Lost Innocence Blog Tour


Book: The Road to Lost Innocence
Author: Somaly Mam
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Publication Date: September 9, 2008
WaterBrook Multnomah, a division of Random House

This is the blurb:
Born in Cambodia and orphaned at an early age, Somaly Mam, a Buddhist sex trade survivor, grew up never knowing her real name or birthday.

As a teenager, Somaly Mam was sold into prostitution and spent years in the brothels of Cambodia where she witnessed and experienced the full-blown horrors of the human sex trade – rape, torture, and nearly unfathomable abuse. After her eventual escape, she could not forget the young girls (some as young as 5) left behind in the brothels, and so she returned to serve them. Her new book, "The Road of Lost Innocence," is her newest means of advocacy. It tells her personal story, ultimately inviting people of conscious, such as our Christian community, to become involved (or to continue involvement) in this war against an epic evil, a modern battle for "the least of these." Truly, not only is this book worth reading, it's worth sharing.

I have a review over at Blogcritics. But I'll just give my ruminations of the book here. Reading this book got me thinking about normalcy. Normalcy, like human nature, is often dependent on history, religion, and culture. In Cambodia, it seemed it was normal for poor girls to accept being abandoned, raped, sold to husbands to pay off for debts, and sold by parents or husbands repeatedly. It’s all they know and their society supports this cruelty. It’s also normal, when war begins, for the poor to find themselves sleeping beside dead bodies or amputating the legs of wounded soldiers even if they have no medical knowledge.

Interestingly, the book's synopsis says it's the Buddhist sex trade. But most of Somaly's chief exploiters are Muslim. I hadn’t known that Cambodia had a Muslim population but it seems weird that the publishers should say this. Are they afraid of saying anything anti-Moslem. This doesn’t matter, of course. Slavery in the United States was practiced by so-called Christians. Even so, most Americans are very provincial and do not really understand the world. And I suppose there were many Buddhist men who abused the author. Interestingly, many of us imagine every Buddhist in Asia to be a kind of pure-hearted noble-minded boddhi, geared for truth. It’s apparent from this memory that this is not true. Perhaps all men are naturally like that – would-be rapists who want to attack women. Perhaps that aspect of the male nature is toned down by education, cultural approbration, fear of punishment, and religious indoctrination against extra-marital sexual. Yep, I believe religion protects women. If religious men adhere to it. But perhaps war and poverty only made men nastier. Reading this book one feels that the only thing on men’s mind is the desire to rape…and once they have met a wounded a woman, all they can see is an object they can use and abuse.

I was also affected by the race issue. Always, the love of light-skinnedness and the hatred of darkskinnedness. Everywhere in the world. What is that about?

As I read this book, I felt somewhat vindicated. As a Christian I am often told by some Christian writers that my stories are dark. I often wonder why American Christians don't seem to understand that the world is in a great deal of pain. Not just sin, mind you. The person who sells and buys children for sex is a sinner. But the world is also in pain. The people who are victims of sexual abuse: prostitutes, incest survivors, etc are in need of healing from their pain. Often Christian books are so far from touching painful situations that one ends up with books that cannot reach past the Christian reading community.

This is a book that really reminded me of how lost and confused and evil human nature is without the holy spirit working within.

A bit of a documentary is on youtube

to purchase the book at

This is her update page at her website

Some other Tour participants are:

Amazon Link:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

weekend movie-viewing

Saw The Quiet. Do NOT EVER EVER EVER see this overwrought silly stupid incest movie. Never!!!!!! It is crap. Supposedly arty but totally childish. I honestly think The Quiet is the worst movie that I personally have ever seen. And after the deaf-mute pretender kills the father-godfather-incest-abuser and the doped-up-goody-two-shoe-self-medicating-to-keep-herself-from-seeing-the-truth-mom PRETENDED that she had killed said abuser and went off to prison leaving the incest-survivor-cheerleading-queen-bee and the murderous-former-mute bonding at the piano. Well, I wanted to scream rather loudly.

Saw No Country for Old Men. Wow, feral! Didn't help matters that I read Somaly Mam's memoir on being sold into brothels. Okay, it was good for me to spend the weekend being reminded about how lost human beings really are. But wow! I supposed I also needed to see the power of greed.

Saw Trespass. An oldie but a goodie. Wow, I hadn't seen it in a long while. Funny how your opinion of a movie can change over time. Okay, so I have a crush on Bill Paxton and I really liked Frailty (which few people saw and fewer liked) but this was a really good hoodlumb/po white boy/po black hoods flick. And of course it was about greed. The funny thing is when I first saw it I was annoyed about who got the money in the long run. But this, i must've changed, uh?-- i was cool with the ending.

Saw The Lookout. Very good. I really liked this one. I like oddballs. I like wounded folks striving to attain normalcy. So this film rekindled in me how I have always longed for a group of eccentric non-conformists to hang out with. Hoping for religious eccentrics but regular ones might have to do. I so want a Christian community around me who are not so addicted to normalcy and the accountrements of normal middle class life. I have eccentric friends, Christian friends, christians friends who are recluses, eccentrics who are recluses. I guess I just wish all the good abnormal Christians friends o' mine lived nearby. It was a good movie, mind you, but it really brought back that longing. It would definitely help me to grow spirituallly and it would make me feel very peaceful. Cause I wouldn't be dealing with Christians who get into judging me on my housework.

That's it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

hispanic Heritage Month Recommended Speculative Fiction Reading List


the following speculative fiction books by writers of Latin American heritage

for Hispanic Heritage Month:

COSMOS LATINOS: AN ANTHOLOGY OF SCIENCE FICTION FROM LATIN AMERICA AND SPAIN: a terrific, five-year-old anthology of early-to-contemporary SF stories from Spain and Latin America, showing the breadth of Latino social concerns and imagination.

Jorge Luis Borges LABYRINTHS: A short story collection very like FICCIONES, his other book. Am not sure which one has my two favorite Borges stories: A) the story about the man who is on a bus trip and who is fated to die 2) the story about Judas being the real savior because he was the one who was despised and rejected of men. Just turning the entire Jesus story around and saying Judas was the lamb who sacrificed himself.

Adolfo Bioy Casares THE INVENTION OF MOREL: Casares was an Argentine writer in the circle of Jorge Luis Borges. MOREL steps directly into the realm of science fiction, in the tradition of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU, dealing with unnamed technology and its very specific effects on human psychology.

Julio Cortazar HOPSCOTCH: Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books where you get to choose your own endings, make your own timeline, and generally skip around and rearrange the chapters? This is the best of the best. It's a novel about philosophy and order and meaning and quite fun.

Carlos Fuentes DEATH OF ARTEMIO CRUZ: This is the first book (the only book?) I ever read where each chapter is written in a different person. First person, Second Person, Third Person. There is also the great f*ck chapter. An old revolutionary is dying and thinking about his life. We see a lot about the Mexican revolution and get tons of stuff about political corruption.

Angelica Gorodischer KALPA IMPERIAL: a quirky collection of stories about a fictional great empire that rises and falls and rises and falls. Translated by Ursula K. LeGuin

Mario Vargas Llosa AUNT JULIA AND THE SCRIPTWRITER: hilarious, mischievous, and masterful...a wonderfully comic novel almost unbelievably rich in character, place and event.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE: Totally wonderful love story with folk-legend. It's like listening to one's hoo-doo believing grandmother telling you about events in her life. A lot of brothers, a lot of love, a lot of passion, a lot of spiritual cause and effect.

Guillermo Gomez-Peña THE NEW WORLD BORDER: the strangest book about performance art you've ever read, Gomez-Peña casts forward into, and writes news reports from a borderless future where whites are a minority and the language is Spanglish.

Juan Rulfo PEDRO PARAMO: A man goes back to his parents' village to try to find the father who abandoned him. Trapped there by ghosts, he learns the horrifying story of his father's evil deeds. One of the first "magical realist" novels from Latin America.

American Indian Heritage Month is in November, and we're going to start that list in a couple of weeks, so brace yourselves!

Women of a New Tribe

Here's the blurb:


If you seek the soul
of a people, look to
its women.
For it is at their bosoms
that the seeds of love,
compassion and courage
are first planted and
Look into their faces
and see what was
and what will be.
-Jerry Taliaferro, Photographer

If google give you problems click on youtube again. If you still have trouble with it, go to

Here is more info:

Hat tip to my ebuddy Moondancer

Friday, September 12, 2008

FLOW: For Love of Water

Am highly recommending this.

Here is the website for the FLOW water documentary. It's won countless prizes and if it stops you from drinking tap water disguised as spring water (Remember Pepsi's confession that aquafina was nothing more than tap water?) then we will at least have begun the battle.

Water is the very essence of life, sustaining every being on the planet. 'Flow' confronts the disturbing reality that our crucial resource is dwindling and greed just may be the cause

Click on the youtube video twice. Sometimes blogger and youtube are a bit iffy. If you have problems with it, go to the youtube url.

Salina's award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century - The World Water Crisis.

Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world's dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel.

Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis, at both the global and human scale, and the film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culprits behind the water grab, while begging the question 'CAN ANYONE REALLY OWN WATER?'

Beyond identifying the problem, FLOW also gives viewers a look at the people and institutions providing practical solutions to the water crisis and those developing new technologies, which are fast becoming blueprints for a successful global and economic turnaround.

Sept. 12
New York - Angelika Film Center
Los Angeles - Laemmle Sunset 5

Sept. 19
Huntington, NY - Cinema Arts Center
Washington, DC - Landmark E-Street Cinema
San Francisco - Landmark Lumiere
Berkeley - Landmark Shattuck
San Diego - Landmark's Ken

Sept. 26
Philadelphia - Landmark Ritz at the Bourse
Denver - Starz Film Center
Boston - Landmark Kendall

Oct. 3
Columbus, OH - Gateway Theater
Atlanta - Landmark Midtown

Oct. 10
Portland - Cinema 21

Oct. 17
St. Louis - Landmark Tivoli

Monday, September 08, 2008

weekend movie-viewing

Well, finished watching The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford. Ah me! Actually, I'm kinda touched. I have to admit that although I found the presentation kinda maudlin. First, of all it's got this narrator that shows up on all kinds of noble science historical nonfiction stuff. To say this guy has gravitas oozing out of every cell of his vocal chords is an understatement. But then there is this "wasn't Jesse wonderful?" thing happening. True, it's fair to Jesse and to Robert Ford...and we see that Robert was kinda stuck in an odd position (fear of JJ killing him and his brother, being pegged by government officials to betray his friend, Jesse supposedly getting world weary and kinda fatalistic and kinda hinting Rob should kill him.) And it shows that Jesse also shot folks in the back and was kinda supposedly mentally wobbly and paranoid toward the end. But the Jesse as Jesus, Robert as Judas is a bit much. And it doesn't help matters that historically Jesse was killed the day after Palm Sunday and buried on Good Friday. Not since Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet has I see christ-figuritis raise to such a maudlin tremor.

Then there was this need for glory thing which was the bane of old gunslingers plus some upset nutcase travelling to the midwest to kill Robert. And the comparisons of crowds at Jesse's funeral and photos of him on the piece of board (like Jesus pretty much) compared to no crowds at Rob's funeral and no postcards. So yeah, I was touched . At the end when Robert is hated by all and the evils of fame -- ah I bet the actors who watched this really understood the idea of hangers-ons, and stalking people who want to destroy what they emulate. The guilt poor Rob had to deal with after betraying his friend will also help me depict my main character's guilt. Okay, he was a weak character definitely. Not mentally together but who would be with folks messing around and picking on him. Harshness and teasing is par for the course in certain cultures. Maybe this is one of the thing that annoys Psal. Before psychology made us aware of how nutty we all are, and how cruel such teasing was.....well, of course this kinda thing would happen.

Easy enough to get into the story although I always think, "Why the hell should I like JEsse JAmes? He was a southern racist." The in-law part I don't mind. But a southern racist dying at the hand of another guy who cowardly though he be is also a southern racist. But I can be "american" enough to like a national outlaw hero.

Watched The Last King of Scotland. Like Glory, it's a story about a black main character but they have to use a white main character to tell his story. I'm sure Nisi and Cindy (co-authors of Writing the Other) would get a chuckle out of that. Seemed to be a weekend for me to delve into megalomania. Well, forced myself to sit through it. Jim McAvoy. Way cute so I accepted it. Plus I also love Forrest. But dang! Remember this thing is fiction. McAvoy plays a scottish doctor who ends up being Idi Amin's doc...and sleeping with one of Amin's cast-off wives. (Let me repeat that: sleeping with one of Amin's cast-off wives. Oh the ridiculousness of that.) So it's basicially an Innocents Abroad falling into trouble film joined to a white man surrounded by gorgeous black women film plus noble youth wanting to uplift the natives film. I swear! It was hard to not see it as a work of fiction. Because everything --in this white country-- seemed to depend on this white kid. ::rolls eyes::

I honestly find myself saying, "Why the heck do I continue to trust movie critics?" They praise certain movies and I keep forgetting that I am not part of the mainstream. Heck, Gone with the wind is the favorite movies of most white americans with Casablanca a close second. And black folks hate them both. And most film critics are white. So why the heck did I trust them? The trouble is I forget. I mean I'm pretty aware of certain things like religion and abortion issues so I avoid films like those cause I know I won't agree with the characterizations. But race....totally forgot about that. Or maybe I had been a bit naive and assumed that this taking up the white man's burden/sex savior thing is still valid in some circles. So annoying this movie. Although I will say that Forrest Whitaker was great.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Fake, corny, nice

Do you know the way certain things just jump out at you?

Well lately I've been hearing the word "fake" a lot. Okay, I'll admit that I put myself in that position. After all, I am a reality-tv addict and I've been watching a heck of a lot of reality tv lately. (From G's to Gents, New York Goes to Hollywood, I love Money, I want to Work for Diddy, Making the Band 4...oh do I have to go on?)

This is where I hear the word "fake" a lot. People are always accusing each other of being "fake." The weird thing about this is 1) I never seem to think the person being accused of being fake is fake. 2) It's mostly black folks accusing other folks (usually white folks) of being fake.

Okay, I have to examine this. It is quite possible that I am a supreme wuss who happens to be very gullible. Maybe I can't see through fakeness. I mean I generally don't walk around like wondering if someone I'm talking to is being fake. I don't think I have ever done that. Maybe I should but...why even go there? Many people are pretty fake in something. But I doubt they mean their fakeness for harm. The old fake it til they make it bit. They might truly be trying to be nice.

The next problem is that it's black folks accusing white folks. I find myself thinking, "Is it because we black folks are way too cynical? Is it because we are too frank and that some of us are mouthy and not prone to hide our feelings? Is it because we distrust white folks? Is it because white folks have different communication styles and black folks simply don't trust them?" I mean I cannot count the amount of times some black girl has accused some white girl (who I was thinking was pretty nice or at least honest) of being fake.

I've had an occasion where I was called fake. It was back in 1977 when I was in college and I complimented a (very cynical) white girl on something. She immediately lashed into me and said I was fake. Dang! As far as I knew I wasn't being fake at all. But the girl wasn't used to kindness or frankness.

In my hood, I've noticed that we black folks are such a wounded people that people are always suspecting folks of fakeness. They also use the word "corny" a lot. From what I've seen, whenever someone accuses someone of "corniness" they are commenting once again on the niceness of people. Except in this case, they judge the niceness of the person not by accusing the person of being fake but by accusing the nice of being old-fashioned and too silly and idealistic. At least that's what I think corniness means.

So what's going on, I wonder? Are we in the black community so unaccustomed to sweetness that if we receive it from the wrong people (instead of an old lady who is expected to be nice) we have to say the person is fake or corny? That scares me. Cause -- you know-- I'm really nice. And I'd like our people to be so accustomed to sweetness that we don't slam or suspect evil when folks are being nice.

Friday, September 05, 2008

yeah..i've got anti-additives issues.

Now, in an exclusive Mike Adams interview, Dr. Russell Blaylock reveals the startling truth about these common taste-enhancing chemicals: monosodium glutamate, aspartame, yeast extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed proteins and more!

Download the full interview right now at: Truth.pdf
You'll have to right-click on it. It's a pdf file

In this tell-all interview, you'll learn:
* How MSG and aspartame are related to cancer, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases, and metabolic disorders.
* How food companies hide MSG on food labels by using a "secret code" of innocent-sounding ingredients.
* Why kids eating Splenda may end up with suppressed immune systems.
* How the manufacturers of artificial sweeteners enforce scientific censorship on the dangers of their products.
* The real reason why the American Diabetes Association won't speak out against aspartame.
* Why yeast extract is more dangerous than monosodium glutamate.
* The hidden link between soy and dementia.
* Why many foods labeled "all natural" aren't healthy -- or natural!
* How you can slow MSG and glutamate absorption using nutrients and herbs.
* How aspartame both causes and accelerates cancer.
* Why the pharmaceutical industry needs MSG to help create more patients.
... and much more. Read it yourself at:

Check your food labels now
How common are these dangerous ingredients? Check the ingredients labels of the food in your pantry right now. Look for yeast extract, aspartame or monosodium glutamate. Also check for any ingredient that's hydrolyzed or autolyzed. If you spot any of these, you have excitotoxins in your food!

Who God wants us to vote for

I'm always amazed when I hear Christians talk about God wanting to bless America. First of all, we really don't know that. The United States is responsible for so much heart-ache and corruption in this world. Our government, movie industry, and wealthy corporations have overturned so many countries, killed financial growth in other countries, propagated racism, poisoned our food supply etc, etc, etc. So why should God want to bless us?

Am thinking of all this cause I had a dream about John McCain a few months back. Yeah, imagine my surprise. And actually, he was kinda nice. Now, let's assume the dream was not born from my brain but was actually sent there by God. Or maybe I "picked up" something in the ether. Some would say God might be telling me who to vote for. Others might say God is telling me who will win. A vast difference there.

The weird thing is that before Bill Clinton became president I had a dream about Hillary Clinton. She was quite nasty to me. And from that moment I totally disliked her. Yeah, I live in a weird reality where dreams matter to me.

But this is me and my dream. Many other Christians are saying they feel God wants them to vote for John McCain or Barack Obama. Generally, the white ones want McCain, the non-whites, and generally the Blacks, want Barack. These folks are utterly convinced that God wants them to vote for these people.

Question, though, when some Christians get a hint from God as to who to vote for, why do they assume that the reason God hints at voting for a certain person is because the person is good for the country. Is it possible that God wants us to vote for the person who will destroy the country? Hey, the Almighty is subtle. In the book of Kings and Chronicles, God often arranged for the wrong person to become king so that the kingdom could be punished. Will see.

Right now, I pretty much trust that God knows human nature. He knows, for instance, how spiteful Hillary Clinton's supporters are. He knows how many blacks want to vote for Barack simply because he's black, and how many whites don't want to vote for Barack because he's black. He knows how it'll all come out in the mix. Will see. -C

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Quantum Physics: Sound and light and creation

Sometimes you might have to click twice to get youtube to do something on blogger. If you can't get it to work here, I've put the youtube links here also.

In the beginning was the word....

Or, if you can't see it here...go to:
Yes, we should praise God. Praise and song and sound uphold the world! -C

Inheritance excerpt over at Terra Little

Writer Terra Little has posted the first chapter of my current WIP over at her website. Inheritance is not fantasy but, it has supernatural elements. Check it out if you wish. -C

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