Friday, February 06, 2009

Deepening Our Understanding? Huh?; Dennis Miller and a New Book Blog; Happy 17th (Friday Roundup)

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Library ... To be truthful, I was already IN the library, dropping off kids for a special event, but was on my way through the library and over to the shiny new café, then back again to Adult Fiction. And this is where I found a modest collection of African-American literature, displayed as part of a tribute to African American History Month, which is described by the Library of Congress here:

National African American History Month in February celebrates the contributions that African Americans have made to American history in their struggles for freedom and equality and deepens our understanding of our Nation's history.

And on the shelf and sitting on plastic stands and hanging on the wall were some good books -- titles by Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid and so forth. In the middle of the display hung a large poster with an image of Frederick Douglass and this quote: "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." The poster and this campaign are sponsored by the American Library Association. Sitting right below the poster and an illustration of the father of the abolitionist movement was this book. (Normally, I would include the cover image here, but it's on the steamy and tasteless side. And I'm so not steamy. Tasteless at times, yes. Steamy, no. Click at your own risk.)

Somebody, please, explain to me why this falls under the category of African American literature and merits space on a shelf alongside Alice Walker and an image of Frederick Douglass. What does this have to do with freedom and equality? And literature?

All This Talk About Books Has Me Thinking ... that it's high time I crank up the book review blog. Look for it Monday, February 9. That's right -- you can kick off the beginning of your work week or your kids' return to school after the weekend, whatever, with a little to-do list of fun reads. And unlike this blog, I will allow for comments on the book review blog. And in that space, you can tell me how much you value my insight and recommendations, how little you respect my opinions, how you can't believe a library would ever grant me lending privileges, or how you've never read a book in your life but my thoughts and references have inspired you to give it a try.

The disclaimer on the blog header states: "If you're looking for only the bestsellers, the latest releases or today's most popular titles, you might be in the wrong place." I'll provide the link and an intro to this shiny new blog in this space on Monday morning. And you thought you had nothing to look forward to. Silly reader.

You're My Obsession, My Obsession ... People with undiagnosed adult ADD don't really need an obsession. Or another obsession. Or a discussion about obsession. It's all very distracting.

Yet somehow I got tripped up and found myself with another obsession. Dennis Miller. Yes. That Dennis Miller. SNL Dennis Miller. The same groovy Dennis Miller we've all known and loved for years. But now, I love him for different reasons. Even if he is consuming MY ENTIRE DAY.

In my market, his radio show airs immediately after Laura Ingraham's radio show, which stretches a scant three hours in the morning, then he follows with yet another three hours, and next thing you know, the kids are home from school, and all you have to show for your day is a nice addition to your vernacular: "kiddo," "prison ripped," "a real honey," "what's shakin'," and so on.

Here's the problem: Talk radio cannot — and should not — be background noise. You cannot tune it out. You can make believe that you're doing something productive while listening, but you're a liar. Check it out for yourself. And kiss your day GOOD-BYE. But in a very good way. You will walk a little taller, use words you previously didn't know existed, and find yourself forming opinions about things that maybe didn't warrant opinion a day earlier. Good stuff.

Seventeen years ago this weekend ... I was enjoying my last two days of being child-free. That's right: I crossed that threshold into motherhood Feb. 9, 1992. But not before indulging in a little Waffle House spread that left me, at once, bloated and fulfilled. And before you could say, "scattered, smothered and covered," I was in full-throttle labor. That Last Meal also led to all sorts of concerns in the delivery room, and when the baby was born, she went on record as The World's Earliest Talker, saying "Whew! I had to get out of there." And all the nurses laughed and said they had never seen such a thing.

At 8 lbs., she entered the world with a head full of thick, black hair (that made her look like a Navajo), big red lips and fair skin that led one passerby at the nursery window to say, "Hey, looks like Snow White had that baby."

The bluebird isn't always on her shoulder (she is, after all, 17), but she's a good kiddo. A very good kiddo.

Have a delightful weekend ...