Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Monday, April 05, 2010

Blogaround for Jon Swift

I’m remiss again. At least this time I have a somewhat plausible excuse. Not only do our office’s servers (as y’all probably know by now) block my ability to blog, but it’s been Season, as they call it. From mid-January through the end of April or mid-May, our firm is very busy with various deadline-oriented services for our clients. This hasn’t affected me in the past, but this year I’ve been asked to help out, which has meant much overtime and little leisure time. That’s now coming to an end, and I look forward to regaining a sense of equilibrium and some more time to write again. At least I’ve been able to catch up on blog reading again, which means it’s time for another blogaround:

• Jon Swift was the pseudonym of Al Weiser, who left us last month. There are lovely tributes to him all around the net. Here’s a good compendium from Skippy, another from Kevin Hayden, and another from Stephen Herron. Al/Jon was one of my blog friends to actually keep in touch with me as I dropped from a solid B-list blogger down to C or D, and he was always encouraging and enthusiastic. I miss him a lot.

• Roy Edroso is moving from NY to Texas and leaving his Village Voice blog (which I could never read anyway ‘cause our servers blocked it, but I like Roy and lot and will miss seeing his face). It’s also the end of the line for Mikhaela Reid’s Boiling Point, as she prepares for motherhood and other adventures.

• Congratulations to Terrance Heath and his husband Rick Imirowicz! Here’s a nice interview with them via Pam Spaulding.

• Why isn’t Tomorrow’s Law better known? Maybe because the word ”triumphalism” is a bit unwieldy? In any case, it doesn’t seem to apply to the latest crop of iPad skeptics, who remind me more than a little of certain comic book fans (both in the sense of “You haven’t loved comics for years, you’re just in this shop because you saw the Batman movie, you’re ruining the hobby for us Real Fans” and “I’m verbally bashing this gadget because of what it isn’t rather than reviewing what it is”).

• Speaking of fan privilege, I liked Val D’Orazio’s take on the ridiculous outrage over Kathryn Bigelow’s triumphs.

• And speaking of “so last month,” Barry Crimmins views the Massa scandal (remember that one?) from the POV of someone who actually knows the former Congressman. And Merle Kessler skims through the Joe Stack Manifesto.

• Mark Evanier must be getting old to remember what journalism is actually supposed to mean.

• Robin and I are hoping to take in Macy Park this weekend to take some photos of the spring foliage, but I’m sorry I missed seeing, as the Awl calls it, The Tryon in Winter. Some really lovely pictures! And speaking of amazing photos, Bob Harris details his trip to the Peruvian Andes on BoingBoing; well worth the perusal!

• If you’re anything like me, you’re staying far away from Jamie Oliver’s new show on ABC, even if you’re a foodie. Not only is it chock full of fat-shaming, but Oliver seems fairly clueless about the real reasons kids may be unhealthier (as opposed to fatter; the “obesity epidemic” is more fearmongering myth than fact) such as overly processed food and corn subsidies that allowed the explosion of high-fructose corn syrup and the more limited food choices one has when one is poorer and struggling to get by. Fortunately, for every Oliver there’s someone like Michael Ruhlman who recognizes not everyone shares his personal privilege and comfort when it comes to the ability to cook at home.

• Over at Digby’s place, Tristero looks at an older Ruhlman rant about vegetarianism versus acknowledging that we’re animals who eat other animals, like so many other animals in the world. What’s interesting is that Tristero suggests Ruhlman do what I suggested above that Oliver do – point the finger at the source of the food issue, not individual consumers. (I also loved Tristero’s remembrance of Abbie Hoffman’s American flag shirt.)

• On to politics. Yesterday Robin brought to my attention a NY Times article examining Talx, a company to which employers outsource unemployment claims and which then proceeds to use every trick in the book to deny those claims. Check out the Awl’s overview of this article here. This is not a system bug, it’s a feature in a country whose unscrupulous leaders (with help from a complicit media) convince a large section of the populace that “government is the problem” and therefore it’s desirable to outsource the very things a government is equipped to do more efficiently, cheaply and honestly – when the reality is quite the opposite. Talx gets a leg up by convincing employers with multiple locations that the various state laws differ so much and are so complicated they’re better off having Talx handle things. When this used to be the case for, say, getting an insurance license, the answer was to standardize the laws (I witnessed the NAIC doing it), not to outsource everything.

• Speaking of the public being convinced that up is down, don’t be fooled by anyone who worships Reagan and thinks he was a wonderful president. Those of us who remember what things were really like during those years can tell you – well, Mark Adams at American Street does just that.

• Anne Zook has an excellent post for the You're Not Helping people, about telling the difference between folks who are victims of political discrimination and folks who are just acting like jackasses.

• Sara Robinson has another must-read post, this one about student loans.

• What Digby Said - in passing along Billmon’s great post about “charging the opposing side (i.e. the enemies of the people) with doing exactly what you yourself have been accused of doing” and false equivalence; and about Atlas Shrugged, Abridged; and about how some only seem to care about the Great White Rescuers rather than the idea that local populations can care for their own.

• Nicole Belle at Crooks & Liars asks, Did NBC Give Sarah Palin’s “Stand-Up” Debut a Little Audio Encouragement? Most likely; as someone who’s seen the difference between the Macy’s parade in person and on TV, I can assure you that pretty much everything NBC does seems to be “sweetened.”

• Must-reads from Melissa McEwan - What makes a family; her childhood in a kitchen sink; and the story of Iain's citizenship.

• And from Lance Mannion: Describing my feelings exactly vis a vis Obama's "drill baby drill" plans; how Republicans use words to make themselves feel better and worse; catching up with Doonesbury in the 21st century; an ode to the fine art of letter writing; and how the fix, in fact, is in and always has been.

• Fafblog catches us up on the situation in Iraq and a very tautological Afghanistan and Pakistan.

• Michael Stickings has the news behind the rumors behind the news about Chief Justice Roberts’ alleged imminent retirement.

• I’m fairly ambivalent about the health insurance reform bill that’s passed, and Barry addresses my misgivings nicely. He has also made his entire Hereville graphic novel available online! In, erm, thumbnail form, but still...

Lastly, and not to belabor the point, my husband Robin Riggs is seeking professional comic book pencilling or inking work. As it’s now comic convention season, I would like to again implore Pen-Elayne readers to mention Robin’s name “early and often” to attending pros, editors, etc. You know his work, you know he’s good and fast and reliable. He just needs to be employed as well. Thanks in advance for the good word of mouth!


Alan Coil said...

Elayne, your links seem to be broken, at lest for me. When I click them, I get urls with


in front of them, and what looks like quotation marks around the link, too. It I delete the quotation marks and the http://www.blogger.com/ from the link, the links then work.

I'm a Firefox user, Windows XP if that helps.

Elayne said...

Thanks Alan. Nothing to do with Firefox or Windows, I'm afraid, unless you count "doing the draft in MS Word 2007" as Windows. :) Links should be all fixed now.