pameladlloyd: icon from <lj comm=magic_art> (old books)
2014-01-29 11:18 pm

I Oppose Arizona House Bill 2379

Today, one of my friends, a librarian, asked for help from the community in defeating Arizona House Bill 2379. This bill would, according to the library director, slash funding to Arizona's system of county libraries. She recommended that we contact our state representatives, and provided a link to the Arizona State Legislator "How to Contact Member" page.

Since I live in Arizona District 3, my state legislators are Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford, Representative Sally Ann Gonzales, and Representative Macario Saldate IV, all democrats.

Here is the text of the letter I sent to them:

Dear Senator Bedford and Representatives Gonzales and Saldate,
I am writing to you today in support of all of the public library systems in the state of Arizona, and specifically for the Pima County Public Library system, and to urge you to oppose the passage of Arizona House Bill 2379. It's my understanding that passage of this bill would have disastrous consequences for our public libraries, reducing the funds for library services so severely that as many as twelve branches might close, hours and services at remaining branches be reduced, and library employees laid off.
This would be a terrible disservice to the people of Pima County and to all Arizonans. Our libraries provide us with far more than the books, computer and internet access, homework and job help, English and GED classes, early childhood literacy programs, and other services that are part of their mandate, but also with a sense of community and hope. Our libraries represent the opportunity that knowledge and learning can bring, and are essential to building and maintaining a healthy, prosperous society.
I hope that you will agree with me that it is extremely important that our libraries fill a vital and fundamental role in the well-being of Arizona, and that you will stand with the citizens of Arizona in ensuring that our libraries will continue to be fully funded.
Pamela D. Lloyd

If you live in Arizona, I urge you to contact your representatives and to express your support for our public library system. You are welcome to use what I wrote, if you would prefer not to compose your own letter. Thank you.
pameladlloyd: 10000 Golden Dragons Mushroom Soup, an original sketch by asakiyume (10000 Golden Dragons Mushroom Soup)
2013-12-12 01:29 am

New Traditions

Genealogy, and genealogy blogs, tend to focus on the past. But, tonight, I'd like to share a bit of the present. For the last couple of years, I've been making calendars to help my stepson Fritz, who has Down's Syndrome, better understand how long he has to wait for important events, such as his birthday or Christmas. Fritzie loves his calendars and loves marking off the days, which he does with the help of a family member, usually his dad.

Here's this year's advent calendar:
Read more... )

What else are we doing this year? We're baking biscotti. Or, to be more accurate, my husband is baking biscotti with Fritzie's help, although I hope to be able to help with tomorrow's batch. He's made at least four different batches so far, in a variety of flavors, and we're all chiming in with suggestions for new flavor combinations. Tonight's batch is orange-almond. I managed to snag a taste from the small stack of imperfect cookies that won't be going back into the oven for their second baking, so I can attest to the fact that they're very yummy.

ETA: Crossposted from my genealogy blog at:
pameladlloyd: Happy Bear by Boynton, "Oh, What a Great Moment!" (What a Great Moment!)
2013-12-06 10:06 pm

My First Guest Blog Post & Other Random Blogging News

I managed to announce this on most of my social networking sites, but not here. I was asked to do a guest blog post for a genealogy wiki, called WikiTree, and my first post went live on Tuesday. You can find Pamela's Perspective (Their name! I never thought to name it, somehow.) on the WikiTree blog. This is my first guest post for someone else's blog, so I was thrilled to be asked to participate.

You might also have seen my occasional mentions of posts on Searching for Roots and Branches. Searching for Roots and Branches is my journal of genealogical discovery, where I explore various aspects of genealogy, anything from a photo of an ancestor or other relative, to a biographical sketch, to a detailed examination of my research and proof process. This evening, instead of getting work done, I posted about a a sudden nostalgia I was feeling in An Unusual Lullaby: The Whiffenpoof Song. My husband tells me it's a weird post, but "in a good way." Go figure.

While I'm posting about blogging, perhaps I should mention that I also blog on Red Poulaine's Musings. This is a joint blog which my husband and I write. Red Poulaine's Musings started shortly after we opened an Etsy store, Red Poulaine, where we sell vintage postcards and photographs. In our item listings, we include a lot of historical information about the people featured in the images, the photographers who took the pictures, and other historical tidbits and trivia related to the paper ephemera we sell. (My genealogy work sometimes comes in handy when we're researching the people associated with the images, allowing us to share information not easily found elsewhere.) Our shop had readers! So, we decided to create a blog and give people who don't visit our shop a chance to read some of the historical work we do. Although almost every image we sell has a story associated with it, we don't manage to post as often to our blog as we post pictures in the shop. We wish we could, but there's only so much two busy people can manage. Still, we hope that the stories and history we share on our blog is interesting and fun for our readers.
pameladlloyd: icon from <lj comm=musesrealm> (Not All Who Wander Are Lost)
2013-11-13 12:14 pm

Who Are the Best Science Fiction Authors of the 21st Century?

A young writer, whom I'll call Jaylin, recently asked me an interesting question: "Who are the best new science fiction writers of the decade?" Jaylin mused about the issue of literary versus genre fiction and their different writing goals, and we discussed the fact that there are some authors whose work crosses the great divide between these two. But, the focus of our conversation was really about what makes writing really good, and the difficulty of knowing which current and contemporary writers are likely to stand the test of time.

One thing that became very clear to me over the course of the conversation is that my awareness of what is current in science fiction, who our most respected authors are, is very outdated. So, I'm hoping that my readers (if I have any left) will help out by sharing their thoughts on the new and emerging writers of this century, by answering this question:

Who would you nominate to be on the list of the best science fiction authors of this century? Please explain, if you can, why they should be on this list.

Thank you!
pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (Default)
2013-11-11 03:45 pm

Alpheus McClelland Rote and Ella E. Ward, and their Children

I've published another post on my genealogy blog, this time about two of my great grandparents and their children:

Alpheus McClelland Rote and Ella E. Ward, and their Children

ETA: Looks like I missed yesterday's post: Mom Won Big Bucks in DAR-Sponsored Contest, Circa 1933.
pameladlloyd: icon from <lj user-shatterwise>, art by Rackham (Pensive Woman)
2013-11-06 02:50 pm

New Post on Searching for Roots and Branches

I keep meaning to share my posts on my genealogy blog (which, however irregular, has been my most active blog for quite some time now) to my Dreamwidth and LiveJournal blogs. Usually, I forget. Or, maybe that should be, I always forget. Right now, I can't remember if I've ever shared.

But, I remembered today. So, here goes.

Today's post over on Searching for Roots and Branches is Wishful Wednesday: I Wish I'd Met Grandpa Lloyd. There are lots of blogging prompts for genealogy bloggers, and sometimes I respond to them. This is one of those times. This post is a response to the Wishful Wednesday blogging prompt from Geneabloggers.

pameladlloyd: icon from <lj comm=magic_art> (old books)
2013-05-21 05:35 pm

The Willies

One of my stepsons was recently discussing his appreciation for the explanations of grammatical terms offered by The Word Detective. The website is the online version of a newspaper column by Evan Morris, for which he answers readers’ questions about grammar and the written word. Although I often explain the correct usage of of it's and its to students, it was the explanation for the history of why the current usage of it's and its that brought me to the page of column entries that includes Dr. Morris' advice concerning these words. However, once there, I couldn't resist reading the rest of the entries, the last of which was titled "A Visit from the Willies." In response to a question regarding the origin of the term "the willies," Dr. Morris responds:
By virtue of an eerie coincidence, I happened to be puzzling over the origin of "willies" just as your letter arrived (start the spooky music, please). The previous evening I had attended a performance by the American Ballet Theater of "Giselle." In the first act of the ballet, Giselle, a sturdy peasant girl, responds to a procession of unsuitable suitors by dancing herself to death. (I know, I know -- I didn't entirely understand this part myself).

In Act Two, the now defunct but still remarkably sprightly Giselle meets up with a troupe of spectral Rockettes who haunt the nearby forest and are known as, guess what, the "willies." Together they dance around a good deal until the suitor Giselle really liked all along wanders by, whereupon the "willies" literally dance him into the ground, and the two lovers live, or don't live, happily ever after. I love culture, don't you?
I have checked several reference works, and most agree that "the willies," meaning "the jitters" or "nervous apprehension," is of "unknown origin." One exception, my own parents' Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, traces "the willies" to the slang expression "willie-boy," meaning "sissy" -- presumably the sort who would be prone to the "willies."
That theory is far from impossible, but I think I may have found, thanks to my evening with "Giselle," a more likely source. The "willies" in the ballet take their name from the Serbo-Croatian word "vila" (in English, "wili" or "willi") meaning a wood-nymph or fairy, usually the spirit of a betrothed girl who died after being jilted by her lover. It seems entirely possible to me that "willi," the spirit or ghost, became the "willies," the feeling that something creepy is going on. Now, where's that spooky music I ordered?
I just love the various connections Dr. Morris makes in this response, in large part because the story of Giselle and the willies has so many fairy tale elements.
pameladlloyd: Green Woman West - Self Awareness by  Johanna Uribes, c. 2009-2011 (greenwoman)
2013-05-07 03:10 pm

Should Writers Only Write Positively About the Future?

According to an article on Co.EXIST, Can Science Fiction Writers Inspire The World To Save Itself? there is a new collaboration between science fiction author Neal Stephenson and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination. Project Hieroglyph, Co.EXIST reports, suggests that science fiction writers should stop writing stories about dystopian futures and instead focus on visions of a rosy future. Their hope is that this will result in a resurgence of the optimism that has marked more prosperous eras and, thus, to create a contemporary culture that encourages the creation of a more desirable prospect.

But, is the idea that science fiction writers can directly influence the future a realistic one, or is it little more than an application of sympathetic magic to the complex problems of the day? And, is it even necessary, or can the very literature to be eschewed, of dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic futures, a part of the solution that can help to bring about the same push to create a better future?

Neal Stephenson writes about his perspective on the need for a more positive approach to the future in his article, Innovation Starvation, and I get the impression from his article and from the Project Hieroglyph site that their actual vision is far more interesting and complex than simply asking writers to stop writing about what's wrong with the world, and start focusing on what we want to see, but I feel the need to address the underlying assumptions of the article, written by Co.EXIST Senior Editor Ariel Schwartz, which first brought this to my attention.

There are no simple answers. It's unrealistic to expect that if only writers would just stop being so negative and start being more positive it would make the world a better place. Literature is a part of an intricate conversation that exists within society between those who comment on the world around them and those who act to change it, with there being very little distinction between the two groups. We are all observers, all commenters, all participants, all actors, in the dance of social change. Writers respond to the world around them, as well as act in ways that will change the world. We see the world and identify possibilities, some attainable, others more fantastic (psychological and mythopoeic), and in response we imagine a world in which we attempt to follow those trends to their logical, or illogical, conclusions.

It’s a well-known phenomenon that published fiction tends to follow societal trends: when times are tough, when people as a general rule are discouraged, our fiction will reflect this mood; when things are better, economically, socially, environmentally, and so on, our fiction will reflect this only. And this is nothing to be ashamed of!

Writers as a whole (or, better yet, a herd of cats) cannot sound only a single note, for that is little more than putting our fingers in our collective ears and singing “la, la, la,” but must instead create a symphony of notes, sometimes aiming for the sublime and at others for a clashing discordance that reflects the cacophony of dissolution. It will take all of these myriad visions and creations to effect change, and the societal changes that result will rarely be something we could have predicted or planned for, but we must move forward with the confidence that our contributions are a valid part of the overall conversation. To write only of sweetness and light is as likely to create a world of complacency in the face of horrors as to create a world of eager engineers, striving for the betterment of man. To write only of darkness and terror may leave our readers frightened and discouraged, or may inspire them to forge ahead with endeavors that will solve the world’s problems.

Writers, let us continue to write in response to the world around us. Let us write stories of idyllic and horrific possibilities. Let us rewrite the past and pre-write the future. Let us, above all, create! Above all, let us continue to do so without muzzling ourselves, for it is when we write from our hearts that our writing is most powerful and most likely to effect the changes we want to see.

ETA: I think part of my reaction to the article, which I left unexpressed earlier, was the mention of several recent dystopian works and the statement: "It almost seems as though science fiction writers--and the general public--have given up on the future as a happy, technologically enhanced place to be." I feel that the article criticizes both writers and audiences for having a "bad attitude," and in so doing dismisses those involved in the specific works mentioned and all science fiction writers as doing a public disservice.

It ruffled my feathers, so I had to squawk.
pameladlloyd: Green Woman West - Self Awareness by  Johanna Uribes, c. 2009-2011 (greenwoman)
2013-01-05 03:19 pm

Cardinals in January

It's January 5 (Happy New Year, Everybody!) and here in Tucson that means cardinals. For many years now, we've had a mated pair of cardinals nesting in our pomegranate tree. My husband spotted the female earlier today, and one of my stepsons spotted the male, so we know they have arrived for their annual visit. Given that it's been close to ten years, now, that our visitors have graced our neglected garden, we do not know whether this is the same couple, or succeeding generations of a cardinal family, but we enjoy their presence, nonetheless.

This afternoon, we were graced with a couple of hours of liquid birdsong. Now, it's mostly quiet, with occasional moments of sleepy-sounding near warble. Are cardinals songbirds, as well as beautiful, or has another pair of birds taken up residence nearby? We do not know, but we are pleased, as always (except, perhaps, when the singing starts before dawn), by these cheerful reminders that now that we have passed the Midwinter Equinox, the days will be growing longer and Spring is soon to arrive.
pameladlloyd: Fairy reading a book, children's book illustration by Christian Martin Weiss (Reading Fairy)
2012-11-29 10:12 am

Five First Lines, An Exercise

Snaffled from [ profile] eneit, who got it from [ profile] anghara, who got it from this post, by [ profile] fiction_theory.

The exercise, which originated with this book, is as follows: Come up with five opening lines for books you never intend to write. Use different techniques and try out different genres than you usually would. Just make them as interesting and compelling in one line as you can.

To further challenge myself, I've selected genres in which I haven't written and with which I have limited experience. Which means I have done some limited research by reading small bits of works in each of my chosen genres.
  1. Lady Agatha Gordon-Smythe was dying and Cynthia Billingsworth found that she was quite perplexed as to whether she should feel sympathy, or relief, having spent the last five years acting as nurse to her demanding and cranky aunt and sitting by as the old woman married off all her daughers to wealthy young men, and her sons to even wealthier women; while Cynthia cared little for life in the ton, she did not look forward to a life of caring for her various elderly relatives, or, worse, those of others, and so she knew she must find some other means of survival, even if it meant finding a husband. (Regency romance)
  2. Stepping onto the platform at the station in San Buenaventura, Addy was grateful for the sea breeze that gave her her first taste of ash-free air in days; also carried on the breeze was the lyrical sound of Spanish, the predominant tongue in the city, which worried her, for her knowledge of the language was limited to her study of a battered lexicon purchased in Utah and a copy of Don Quixote left behind by another passenger. (Western)
  3. Emily looked up at the clock and decided that 45 minutes of desultory work on the Bramwell campaign was enough to earn her a coffee break, especially since her manager, Laura, was in a meeting and the hot new guy from Marketing was in the break room. (Occupational fiction / Workplace tell-all)
  4. I see ghosts, everywhere. I know they are only fragments of memory, bits of flotsam left behind by those who leave, but as no one ever stays I have only the ghosts. (Existentialist fiction)
  5. Late for the first day of class, Martin ran up the steps of the Cesar E. Chavez Building, glad they were few and his economics class was on the first floor, since Coach had required all the new recruits to run laps for the last half-hour of practice, but no sooner had he slammed through the door into the entranceway than he came to a full stop, stunned by the sight of a pretty blond girl lying in a pool of blood. (Campus murder mystery)
Note: Looking for genres you might want to play with? Wikipedia has an extensive list.

Crossposted from Straw Castles on LiveJournal.
pameladlloyd: Girl on a space walk (space girl)
2012-11-15 11:58 pm

Crooked House (Centrum Rezydent), Sopot, Poland

City planners, I hope you're paying attention because if you built an entire community of surreal houses (using all the latest Green tech, of course), I would so want to live there. Really!
pameladlloyd: Fairy reading a book, children's book illustration by Christian Martin Weiss (Reading Fairy)
2012-11-14 11:54 am
Entry tags:

Work Toward Goals

What I’ve so far done this week
For Red Poulaine
  • Posted to Red Poulaine’s Musings and scheduled a second post
  • Printed packing slips and address labels
For my writing
  • Made a note of a story idea I got at TusCon
  • Contacted the members of my writing group to schedule our next meeting
For my CRLA certification
  • Spent approximately 2 ½ hours working on assignments
pameladlloyd: An illustration to Christina Georgina Rossetti's "Goblin Market" by the amazing artist Arthur Rackham (goblin market)
2012-11-12 12:15 pm
Entry tags:

Staying Connected and On Task

I've been neglecting my DW and LJ communities for a long time, now, in favor of what I realize are often broader, but shallower, connections. I reach more people, but I do so at the expense of the wonderful conversations I used to enjoy here. In a way, I've been going for what the corporate world calls low-hanging fruit, which are, at least in my case, goblin fruit. This doesn't mean that those other ways of connecting online don't have a place in my life, but simply that I don't think they should be my primary means of communicating online.

My life is busy, and I don't always spend my time wisely. I feel overwhelmed by the many things I want to do, so far too often I retreat into doing things that are meaningless. I know better—heck, I've taught time management skills to students—but, I am not as self-disciplined as I want to be, nor as I need to be. Maybe I'm just in post-con dumps—TusCon 39 was last weekend—but there's nothing like the reminder that yet another year has passed in which I didn't finish even a tiny fraction of the things I wanted to do, to make me feel that it's time for me to figure out how I can stay on task to complete more of the things that are important to me, while also being connected in more meaningful ways.

I'm not going to make promises, but I am going to make an effort to find a better balance in my life: one that supports me in my multiple creative efforts; that ensures I keep up my commitments at home, at work, and in the online business I share with my husband; and that helps me stay connected in the ways I want to be, with the people that matter.

Here are some highlights of my goals, in no particular order:
  • Write more
  • Submit more
  • Jump start the almost quiescent writing group I'm part of
  • Complete the CRLA Level II certification requirements before the end of the semester
  • Stay on top of all administrative tasks for Red Poulaine, the Etsy shop I share with my husband
  • Post at least twice a week to our shop blog, Red Poulaine's Musings
  • Finish the quilt I started at least three years ago, in time to ship it for Christmas
  • Finish this list
P.S. I really hate it when a post in progress gets inadvertently posted. :P

pameladlloyd: Happy Bear by Boynton, "Oh, What a Great Moment!" (What a Great Moment!)
2012-04-19 03:34 pm

Faerie Winter Paperback Release & Giveaway Offer

My friend, the terrific author Janni Lee Simner [identity profile], is offering prizes in connection with the paperback release of her YA novel Faerie Winter.

Faerie Winter novel cover

Faerie Winter is the sequel to Jannie's novel Bones of Faerie. These are the first two books in her Bones of Faerie trilogy. Bones of Faerie is a great book with one of the best opening chapters I've ever had the pleasure to read. While I haven't yet read Faerie Winter, I'm sure it meets the same high standards as the first in the series. Janni Lee Simner's Bones of Faerie series has received high praise from many distinguished authors and reviewers.

I highly recommend you read these books.

The Rules (as posted at

- Mention in a blog post, fb post, tweet, tumblr, and/or anywhere else online and publicly visible that Faerie Winter comes out in paperback on April 10 and that it's the sequel to Bones of Faerie (or, alternately, book 2 in the Bones of Faerie trilogy). If you want to say something more about either of the Faerie books, that'd be lovely, though not required.

- Link to the Faerie Winter website

- Come back to [Janni's] post and link to the places you did both of the above

- (optional, for blog entries) Copy these rules (including this one :-)) to your post, and encourage your readers to enter this contest by doing all of the above in turn, and telling them to then to come back to your blog and link to their mention or mentions

- Deadline is April 20 (at midnight Pacific Daylight Time) and [Janni will] ship anywhere.
pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (Stop SOPA & PIPA)
2012-01-18 03:13 pm

Stop Censorship: Stop SOPA and PIPA

Censorship affects us all.

Today, blogs and sites across America, Canada, and the world are blacked out in protest of two legislative bills proposed in Congress: SOPA and PIPA. These two bills, which Congress claims are intended to stop online piracy, would have disastrous consequences for free speech, online communication, and online commerce.

"Online commerce?" you ask. Yes, online commerce. SOPA and PIPA would overwhelmingly favor big business over small business, making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for independent creatives (authors, artists, musicians) to do business online. For an excellent overview of why this is so, read author and reviewer Cheryl Morgan's analysis.

Related articles
pameladlloyd: icon from <lj comm=magic_art> (old books)
2011-10-06 07:44 pm
Entry tags:

Inventing the Cardboard Box | Blog

I'm in the process of building an Etsy store, so I've been spending a fair amount of time on the site learning my way around and delightedly favoriting items I find charming, original, beautiful, or just plain strange.

I've also discovered the Etsy blog, which provides an eclectic window into a diverse range of subjects. Today, I found "Inventing the Cardboard Box,"  by chaps676. I love being able to collect such tidbits of esoterica; they charm my magpie soul with bright and shiny new bits of information and soothe my frustrated pragmatist with the hopeful promise of potential usefulness.
pameladlloyd: Green Woman West - Self Awareness by  Johanna Uribes, c. 2009-2011 (greenwoman)
2011-10-01 02:08 pm

Happy World Vegetarian Day, the First Day of Vegetarian Awareness Month

I just stumbled upon this year-old blog post and learned that today is World Vegetarian Day and the first day of Vegetarian Awareness Month. Sadly, the blog itself, which was well-written and entertaining, does not seem to be being updated anymore—but, back to the actual point of this post.

Several years ago, my husband decided to give up eating meat. Both of us had previously experimented with vegetarianism—I used to practice what I called "Vegetarian for a Week," figuring that one week out of the month was a moderate approach—so, this was fine with me. Especially, since my husband, who has cooked professionally and for whom food, good food, is a passion, does most of the cooking along with his sons.

Yet, I didn't consider myself a vegetarian at the time. Initially, I kept a little stash of meat products in the fridge for my personal use, but that practice gradually faded away as I found our meatless meals more and more satisfying. Also, at restaurants or when visiting friends, I didn't hesitate to eat animal products. Now, I rarely choose to eat beef or fowl, and find that on those rare occasions when I do indulge, my body protests this invasion. (Factoid: Just as we have special enzymes for digesting milk, we also have enzymes for digesting meat; stop eating meat, and your body will stop producing the enzymes.) The remaining set of creatures I will still eat is seafood; I will, given the opportunity, eat fish, shrimp, and shellfish.

While my husband, who loves animals, chose to become a vegetarian out of a reluctance to contribute any more than is possible to the suffering and death of living creatures, I initially held fast to the belief that, as an omnivore, meat was a normal part of my diet, something which I'd evolved to eat. But, since then, I've realized that I don't need meat to be healthy—in fact, I'm healthier without it—so, my reluctance to give up meat has been a form of denial.

Having acknowledged that I've been in denial about the importance of meat in my diet, the logical next step is, or should be, to resolve that I will never eat meat again. Logical, but not entirely realistic. I know myself too well to feel that I can honestly expect myself to never, ever, ever eat meat for the rest of my life. Still, I won't be eating meat today, or for the next month. If I do eat meat, it will be rarely, with full awareness of the physical consequences for myself, and with the realization that somewhere an animal died, most likely in pain and fear, so that I could have a few moments of gustatory satisfaction.

So, to all you vegetarians, vegans, plant-based diet fans, and, well, yes, to those who still eat meat, Happy World Vegetarian Day!
pameladlloyd: Horton the Elephant, from Dr. Suess' book, Horton Hears a Who (A Person's a Person)
2011-09-12 06:42 pm

Are We Really Free While Prejudice Rules Us?

Today, I've read three blog posts about prejudice back-to-back. The first is a first-hand narrative of an American woman of Arab and Jewish descent, Shoshana Hebshi, who, along with two Indian men, was detained and held by police yesterday. All three were strangers who happened to be seated next to each other on a flight to Detroit, and someone on the plane reported the three individuals as suspicious. The second describes the difficulties authors Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown have faced in their attempts to find representation for their collaboration, which has as one of its characters a young man who is gay, and links to yet another case in which author Jessica Verday was told that her story would be published in an anthology only if she changed the sex of one of the characters, so that a relationship involving that character would be between a male and female, instead of between two males.

Ms. Hebshi's post, Some real Shock and Awe: Racially profiled and cuffed in Detroit, on her blog Stories from the Heartland, is quite upsetting. So far as I can tell from her description of the incident, the police and Homeland Security (I HATE the name of that department!) personnel did what they were required to do without excessive force or deliberate prejudice, but it was clearly prejudice that brought their attention to Ms. Hebshi and the two other passengers who were detained. You can contrast Ms. Hebshi's story with articles detailing the incident in which she was involved and a similar incident on another plane at No charges against 3 detained at Detroit airport and Military jets safely escort NYC, Detroit flights.

It makes me sad and angry to know that ten years after the attack on the Twin Towers, many Americans are not only still living in fear, but with such a strong level of prejudice that they feel the need to see suspicious activity where there isn't any. This is such a sad commentary on what has become of our nation in the last decade. We need to fight prejudice, not imaginary enemies.

In Rachel Manija Brown's and Sherwood Smith's account of censorship regarding LGBTQ characters in a YA novel, one statement jumped out at me: "silence, however well-motivated and reasonable […] allows the problem to flourish." One of those authors, Sherwood Smith, has been a LiveJournal friend of mine for some years. Her posts, often about writing, have consistently been thoughtful and thought-provoking.

It seems crazy to me that now, when we've known for decades that homosexuality is genetic and natural—it is also found in many other species from birds to primates, when people are finally beginning (again, the history is really interesting) to have the legal right to marry, when it's been well-publicized that homosexual teens are at high risk for suicide due to their feelings of isolation and rejection, when electronic books and self-publishing are threatening traditional publishing (so, limiting your books to "safe" books means cutting out yet another chunk of the market), that anyone in the publishing industry thinks they need to censor the sexual orientation of teens. People, get a clue! Homosexuality is neither a character flaw, nor a disease. Kids won't change their orientation, just because they read about characters with a different orientation in a book or story. They won't "catch" a different orientation, just because they read about it.

But, reading books with LGBTQ characters can help LGBTQ teens feel less alone. And, reading books with LGBTQ characters can help straight teens recognize that being gay is neither wrong, nor dangerous. Maybe, just maybe, reading books with LGBTQ characters will save someone's life.

Prejudice. We all experience it; that's part of being human. Treating people right? That's also part of being human, or it should be, and I hope that we, all of us, every single one of my cousins on this planet—and that's all of you, can learn to overcome the impulse to prejudice, and replace that with actions that reflect kindness and respect for everyone.
pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (Default)
2011-09-10 05:01 pm

Astra Taylor On the Unschooled Life

Filmaker Astra Taylor was unschooled at home, until she chose to attend high school and college. Here, in her first speech, she discusses what it means to be unschooled, the advantages and disadvantages for individuals, and the consequences for our society of schooling and unschooling.

This video, part of the Walker Art Center Artist Talk series, is quite long, an hour and fifteen minutes, but Astra makes some interesting and astute points about education in and out of formal institutions. Oh, and you can safely skip most of the long introduction by the announcer; the actual talk starts at 0:03:45.

pameladlloyd: Girl on a space walk (space girl)
2011-08-29 09:19 pm

Engaging with Science: Science Hack Day

I just ran across the article Hacking science: the intersection of web geeks and science geeks, by Ariel Waldman, on the Scientific American Guest Blog, thanks to someone on Google+ mentioning another article on the blog.

The brain storm of Jeremy Keith, Science Hack Day is a 48-hour marathon event intended to motivate adults to: "Get excited and make things with science!" The first of these events was held in London and the second in San Francisco, last year. This year, events are being planned in cities in Europe and across the North American continent.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is offering ten scholarships to people interested in attending this year's event in San Francisco (November 12-13, 2011) and learning how to organize a Science Hack Day for their communities. The application deadline is September 2, 2011. For links to additional information, including the application, check out the article on the Scientific American Guest Blog.