READING TWO BOOKS AT ONCE? COMBINE THEM!I Capture the Castle of Otranto: Bloodcurdling, gothic--but tender--coming-of-age saga.Gone With the Wind in the Willows: Thrills, romance, voles.Go Ask Alice in Wonderland: Teen girl becomes drug addict, takes the trip of her life.From Russia With Love Story: James Bond discovers that the love of his life has a terminal illness. Mind your sides!On the Road to Wigan Pier: Author meets working-class people, borrows money.Stupid White Noise: … [Read more...]

BUT I CAN'T SAY THAT I SEE THE POINT OF THE GIANT SPACE STARFISH: Scattered thoughts prompted by Jim Henley's "Gaudy night: Superhero stories and our own," and the comments thereto.First let me get the polemical point out of the way: People who complain about superhero characters' vigilantism are being too literal-minded and missing the point. The situations superhero characters confront are meant to mirror or illuminate situations we face. Sometimes the vigilante nature of the superhero helps … [Read more...]

"Let us reflect in another way, and we shall see that there is great reason to hope that death is a good, for one of two things: --either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another. Now if you suppose that there is no consciousness, but a sleep like the sleep of him who is undisturbed even by the sight of dreams, death will be an unspeakable gain. For if a person were to select the night in … [Read more...]

PLEASE PRAY FOR STUART BUCK'S RECOVERY. Information, and other prayer requests, here.Update on Buck's condition here. … [Read more...]

edited, I should read entire articles before linking to them!There's a discussion of the issue this post was about (drug war and search warrants) here. … [Read more...]

SIMPUTER FOR POOR GOES ON SALE: From the BBC: A cheap handheld computer designed by Indian scientists has been launched after a delay of nearly three years.The team first came up with the idea for the Simputer in 2001 to help India's poor join the internet age.But development of the computer was hampered by lack of investment and by little interest in the idea from computer manufacturers.The Simputer was officially launched on Friday and the basic model costs around $240.The Simputer … [Read more...]

LISTEN TO THE ARAB REFORMERS: Jackson Diehl. Excerpts: ...The most underreported and encouraging story in the Middle East in the past year has been the emergence in public of homegrown civic movements demanding political change. Two years ago they were nonexistent or in jail. Now they are out in the open even in the most politically backward places in the region: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria. They are made up not only of intellectuals but of businessmen, women, students, teachers and journalists. … [Read more...]