Tuesday, November 23, 2010
What Bloggers Owe Montaigne
November 12, 2010 | by Sarah Bakewell
The weekend newspapers are full of them. Our computer screens are full of them. They go by different names—columns, opinion pieces, diaries, blogs—but personal essays are alive and well in the twenty-first century. They flourish just as they did in James Thurber’s and E. B. White’s twentieth-century New York, or in the nineteenth-century London of William Hazlitt and Charles Lamb. There seems no end to the appeal of the essayist’s basic idea: that you can write spontaneously and ramblingly about yourself and your interests, and that the world will love you for it.
No end—but there was a beginning. The essay tradition blossomed in English-speaking countries only after being invented by a sixteenth-century Frenchman, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne. His contemporary, the English writer Francis Bacon, also used the title Essays, but his were well-organized intellectual inquiries. While Bacon was assembling his thoughts neatly, the self-avowedly lazy nobleman and winegrower Montaigne was letting his run riot on the other side of the Channel. In his Essais (“Attempts”), published in 1580 and later expanded into larger editions, he wrote as if he were chatting to his readers: just two friends, whiling away an afternoon in conversation.
Without hesitation or combing through the classics (maybe later), I nominate Montaigne, essays published in 1580, as likeliest candidate for 'first among urbloggers.' Montaigne's invention, the literary form of essay, a short subjective treatment of a given topic, is the made-for-blogging genre, just as aphorisms are for tweeting.
Fast forwarding to the Enlightenment, salons and London Coffee House culture, writers there would have taken to blogging like second nature and put us all to shame.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
We have heard time and time again about the importance of shopping locally but with theholiday season just around the corner it becomes more important than ever. But dollar for dollar what does choosing a local retailer mean for your community? When push comes to shove, it's a lot more than wasting fossil fuels on goods flown in. Local shopping puts dollars into your community and keeps the stores that make your community unique in business.
This year my Columbia, S.C. community is making a big push toward shopping locally this holiday season. And in a town where each week I watch a local store go bankrupt due to a difficult economy and huge retail competition, this is a long time coming.
According to an article in The State,
BuySC.org, a website from the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce, lets consumers search for local retailers by county or category. Listings for businesses are free but can be upgraded for a fee.
And shopping at smaller retailers benefits your community more than you may know. When you spend $100 at a local store, $45 of those dollars stay in your community but when you spend $100 at a multinational store only $13 of those dollars stay in your economy. And what's more, if you want local choice, you have to support these stores or they won't last. While up front your costs may be a bit more, supporting your local economy means more jobs, more choice, and the opportunity to support the ideals that you find important with your dollars.
Parnick Jennings, co-founder of the Bartow Business Connection, detailed the sobering facts of local patronage.
If we don't [shop locally], come the first of the year some of our friends are not going to be in business -- I fear that. Last year, there were several that because they did not generate enough business during the holidays, which is the major time they make their money, they won't be here.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
She walks in and heads turn. I'm stunned. This is my setup? She looks sixteen. Course, it's hard to tell, through the scope.
I'm sorry, but there's not enough air in here for everyone. I'll tell them you were a hero.
More here.There had been rumors from the North for months. None of us believed it, until one night we started to kill our children too.
Dixie Boyle, Joan Page, Judy Biggars, Karen Staats, Ben Steinlage, Sandi Steinlage (Temporary Secretary) attended the November 9th meeting at Ancient Cities. Writer-members Judy Biggars, Joan Page, Karen Staats and Ben Steinlage introduced themselves, briefly describing their writing interests and current projects. The group decided on a name, “The Manzano Mountain Scribes.” Ben Steinlage gave a short lecture on how to write a story (get the ideas down on paper, worry about editing later) and a writing exercise.
Ben will send members copies of the Read “Write” Adult Literacy writing contest poster. Karen brought up and talked about Stream of Unconsciousness Writing. The group agreed email minutes and exercises to non attending members and anyone interested in group.
Karen Staats will do a presentation for December 14th meeting.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
From Geocurrents, a special series on the nation, nationalities, and autonomous regions in Spain, including the nation/nationality of Catalonia, the contested regionalism in Andalusia, Leon, and Asturias, the paradoxes of Basque politics, the parallel paths of the Basque County and Scotland, the Basques of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and a look at Spain and the fallacy of the nation-state.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
But online freedom of Americans is at risk.
Wolfgang Nedobity (Vienna): Casanova and the Italian Taste. The world is lousy with aspiring novelists who will probably never be published; Alix Christie offers insight into what keeps them working. From The Chronicle, apes and monkeys, dogs and cats are being unnecessarily confined, vivisected, and killed while animal advocates are ignored as a lunatic fringe; the cruelty of much animal experimentation cannot be justified on scientific grounds, because it has proved largely unproductive; and letter-writing campaigns may ease consciences, but they won't cure diseases. David Weigel on Pete Peterson's unserious campaign to get America to think seriously about the national debt. Annie Lowrey on why the deficit commission's proposal is unlikely to go anywhere. Moral judgments in social dilemmas: How bad is free riding? Die, Phone Book, Die: After a decade of obsolescence, the local phone directory is finally getting the chop as states wise up to reality. Hope, change, reality: Attorney General Eric Holder entered the Justice Department on a mission to reinvent it — unfortunately, Washington doesn't like an idealist. Year-end best-of lists can make for predictable reading — does anyone not know that Jonathan Franzen wrote the big novel of 2010? Instead, Bookforum asked the authors of our favorites to tell us what they liked reading this year. In the grip of the new monopolists: Do away with Google, break up Facebook? We can't imagine life without them — and that's the problem. Fool's Gold: Why the idea of a gold standard is best relegated to the dustbin of history (and more). Are we hardwired to love taxes? Jonah Lehrer on feeling rich, poor or overtaxed. Why conspiracy theorists think The Simpsons may have predicted 9/11. Police State 2010: A series on American MP's in Kandahar. Bringing the coffin industry back from the dead: How barcodes and touch screens are resuscitating a casket factory.
another interesting, semi-themed collection of annotated links from Omnivore, the Book Forum blog, xblogged to flâneuse, arts and places ("nowhere" is a place, isn't it? An "unplace" at the very least.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
At this point I have over 25 vendors. I have a few repeats from last year but not as many as hoped for. Many are jewelers, with styles ranging from handmade to Indian silver jewelry with stones. There is one photographer. Celeste Simon is bring her clayworks. JoAnn Dale will be there too, probably with items from her gift shop. She always has quite a variety: pottery, fiber art, dreamcatchers, etc. The Cowbelles will be selling their cutlery. I'm bringing gift items from Out of Tyme Shoppe, the chocolate fountain and other chocolates. Rebecca Lueras and a friend are making handmade Christmas ornaments. Kathleen Clute emailed for a spot, probably music CDs. Christie Riley is selling her clothing line, bling bling jewelry, embellished wallets and other items. She was there last year too in the front. No doubt some vendors will be doubling up. A few others have called or emailed.Yesterday I saw a flyer advertising the Purse (or maybe Handbag) Sisters and wondered if that was Christie Riley or someone else. No Dennis and Kristi for the first time in years. Schedule conflict. iCreate will have a table, just guessing that it will be mostly information and a sign up sheet for music sponsorships. Joan Embree did send a nice write up on offerings from the Mountainair Community Garden, sister organization sharing vendor space:
We'll be at the Fair Saturday, trying to raise money for next year's seeds and water by selling products made from this year's green tomato bounty: green tomato jam, green tomato and apple mincemeat (meatless), green tomato pickles, and green tomato chutney. All or some of this might come in handy for holiday recipes and events. The gardeners made the jam and the mincemeat. Our "friends-of-the-garden" Jan Eshleman and Cindy Hollenberg offered to help us out by turning some of the produce into chutney and pickles
We will also have some spice-cake cupcakes made -- along the carrot cake model -- with (what else?) green tomatoes. We've tried this recipe and it's pretty good. (We've tried all the recipes and they're all tasty, or we wouldn't have gone to the trouble.)I'll be there this year, so there might even be a follow-up.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Andé Marimba video playlist