Friday, September 26, 2008

Do the math

A lot of folks seem to think that the Republicans traditionally beat the Democrats on economic issues.

Wrong. Since World War II the Democrats have been overwhelmingly better at running the economy. Hands down, case closed, beyond any statistical doubt. They've borrowed less money, created more wealth and opportunity, and left the next generation in better shape. YA author Scott Westerfeld does the math and shows us why Obama is the candidate to lead us out of the fiscal mess that the Republicans have gotten us into. Check it out: YA for Obama.

KidLit Central

I'm blogging today over at KidLit Central about interesting behind-the-scenes stories about childrens' literature. (Teaser: Did you know that Margret and H.A. Rey were German Jews who bicycled out of Paris in 1940 on the day the German army moved in to occupy the city; they eventually made their way to the U.S. via Brazil. One of the few things they carried with them was the manuscript for Curious George. True story!)

Monday, September 22, 2008

YA for Obama

YA author Maureen Johnson recently started a social networking site for YA writers and readers, YA for Obama. Loads of talented YA authors have joined. I did too; so can you! Check it out by clicking on the widget below. Here's what Judy Blume has to say in a post titled, "Why I support Obama":
All I ask is that you make an informed decision. It's about the issues. It's about health care, the economy, education, the environment, a woman's right to choose, equal pay for equal work -- it's about who will be appointed to the Supreme Court, and it's about never rushing into war again - not without all the facts, not without trying everything we can to prevent war first. This election is too important for all of us to decide in any other way.

Visit YA for Obama

Monday, September 15, 2008


Remember that April Fool's joke I made on this blog about my manuscript, Mommy's Visit to the Tattoo Parlor?

Sminthophile, aka Jacqueline, alerted me a new book, Mommy Has a Tattoo. From the website:

For the LOW cover price of $16.95 you will receive a SIGNED first edition copy of MOMMY HAS A TATTOO, while supplies last! MOMMY HAS A TATTOO tells the story of a little boy named James, who is afraid of his tattooed neighbor until he discovers that his own mother has a tattoo as well. Tattoos are a source of pride for lots of Mommies, and a source of endless curiosity for their kids. Discover why tattooed families across the country are falling in love with this book!

Who's laughing now? Phil Padwe, that's who. It's self-published, I think, but I bet there's a pretty decent niche market for it. My sister and I could be raking in the dough if we'd run with this. I know at least one reader of this blog who was looking for this VERY book.

Meanwhile, for those of you unwilling to make the jump to permanent ink, I have just the thing for you, especially if you have to be an assistant prof of information science at the University of Iowa. The Illustrated Librarian: 12 Temporary Tattoos for Librarians and Book Lovers. Available at Patina Stores.

David Foster Wallace

When I heard that David Foster Wallace had killed himself, I felt momentarily sucker-punched. Not just because I love his nonfiction (no, I never tackled Infinite Jest), although I do. I felt as though I knew him, although I have never met him. He grew up in Philo, a small town near Champaign-Urbana, the son of academics here in town. He wrote about our particular spot in the midwest with bitingly funny detachment. Harper's Magazine has made available, in PDF form, the essays he wrote for them. Two of my favorites are "Tennis, Trigonometry, and Tornadoes: A Midwestern Boyhood," and "Ticket to the Fair."


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sarah Palin's choice

I have been talking with a number of my women friends about Sarah Palin's choice to have Trig. We are all pro-choice. One of them has a brother with Down Syndrome; another has a niece with Down. The brother and niece are both loved and cherished. Personally, if I found out that I was carrying a child with Down Syndrome, I know I would have the baby and love it with all my heart. But the point is, that would be my choice. And thank goodness that Sarah Palin had a choice.

My friend Beth Finke has a disabled son, now 22 years old. She writes movingly about the decision she and her husband made to carry that baby to term, despite the risks to her own health (she has Type 1 diabetes). But the point is, no one forced her to have Gus. It was a decision that she and her husband made.

You can read Beth's op-ed piece here: "When choice is part of the equation."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 memories

Today, of course, is the seven-year anniversary of the day that changed all of our lives. It started off as a beautiful day--sunny, with just a hint of fall's approaching crispness. I remember it so well--the kids had gotten off to school and Tony was at work. I was sitting here in the kitchen, finishing my coffee and getting ready to go upstairs and write when I heard the news on the radio. First one plane, then two, and then a third. And even as this darkness seemed to descend on us all, the sun continued to shine as brightly as ever, indifferent to our hate and fear and sadness. And so life went on for those of us left behind.

Butterflies on the sedum in my backyard. 9/11/08


Sorry for my prolonged absence; as Barack Obama said on the Letterman show last night, we've entered the silly season of politics. All I could think of to write about was politics, and I didn't want to turn this into a political blog. So I just kept quiet. I'm in the process of revamping my website and hope to get back to blogging on a more regular basis.

But for today, anyway, I had to jump back into the action and give a shout-out to my husband, Tony Liss, and all of the other physicists involved in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN! Because, amidst the "lipstick on a pig" flap yesterday, the world learned that the LHC finally turned on. He and his colleagues at the U.I. were interviewed for an article in the local paper, "UI Team Takes Part in Worldwide Science Experiments," and they appeared on the local TV news stations. Even though they they won't begin collisions or taking data until October, it's still pretty exciting. Either they find the Higgs boson--which will be pretty cool--or they won't, which in its own way may be even more exciting, because physicists will be forced to re-evaluate their theories. And then there's the possibility of determining the nature of--drum roll, please--dark matter!

Stella Brite, the sequel. Yes?