Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Department of Strange and, to My Ears, Eerie-Sounding Branches of Federal Government

Did *you* know the United States has an ambassador for (and office of) international religious freedom? I didn't, until I read this story.
Department of Things That Make Me Sick to My Stomach

Supplemental Report on September 11 Detainees' Allegations of Abuse at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York

Though physically paling in comparison to the other allegations of abuse documented in the report, this part struck me as especially sick and sadistic: "T-Shirt with Flag and Slogan"

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Nephrology Department

So it turns out that my kidney doctor, Gerald Appel, who is the nation's leading authority on my disease, IGA nephropathy, also ministers to NBA star Alonzo Mourning, who is being forced to retire because of his kidney problems. Who knew?

I don't follow the NBA, or any pro sports, for that matter, so I only found out when I walked into Dr. Appel's office today and saw on the wall an article with a photo of him from the New York Times. (It ran on Dec. 4, so you have to pay to access it now or I'd give y'all the link.)
Department of Things I Would Have Blogged Long Ago Had I Had a Blog at the Time That I Can Now Blog Because I Have One (a.k.a. Czech Matchboxes Rule)

(Be) Careful, Kids
Department of the Things You Find Out When You Google Yourself

Last year I translated a play for a series called New Czech Plays: Staged Readings in Translation. This is an event the Czech Center New York—in particular, its whip-smart, energetic deputy director, Irena Kovarova—launched in 2002 to offer, duh, new Czech plays to theater-hungry New Yorkers in an intimate, informal setting.

The series is fantastic. Every play I've been to has been followed by an enlightening and entertaining discussion between members of the cast and the audience, which is typically a mix of Czech-Americans, assorted East European emigrés, American Czechophiles, and New York theaterites. Often Irena will also invite a director or author from the Czech Republic to speak as well, and I never fail to walk away feeling that I've learned something new about acting or writing or any aspect of theater you can think of pretty much. And, most pleasing to me, it is one of the only times I have ever heard "regular" people talk about translation.

I should add here too that the series, though only two years old, has already proved itself so popular that the 2004 edition is going to be held at the illustrious Public Theater, founded by the legendary Joseph Papp.

The play I translated for last year's series, Minach, by Iva Volánková, was a 2002 winner of the Alfred Radok Prize, awarded each year since 1992 to the best original Czech and Slovak plays. Apart from a chunk of crownage, the winners are honored by having their works translated into English (and possibly other languages as well; I just don't know about that), in the hope that they will be performed in other countries.

So I knew my translation was going to be published, but until this evening I didn't know it had already happened! (To be honest, I had wanted to do a little more work on it still, after I saw it performed in the Czech Center's series. Oh well.)

P.S. I have also this evening, while putting off work on the translation I should be doing right now, added a few more links on Czech lit, City Sister Silver, and Jáchym Topol. Czech lit lovers, live it up!

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Department of Bands That Include Bartenders from Enid's

I've added Enon to my music links below. In this case, it's the bass player, Toko, who tends bar at Enid's (when she's not out on tour with the band, that is). She also plays keyboards and sings, wonderfully.

Enon has a really fun and interesting Web site, including a joke "Livecam" feature, two MP3s, three videos, and a free, Web-only song of the month, hidden in a different place on the site each time around. Plus the usual photos, discography, and tour news.

The best thing about Enon, though, is that they are *great* in concert, and these days they are almost always touring, so you can be sure they'll be coming soon to a club near you—even if you live in Europe, Australia, or Japan.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Department of What Life Is Like, And Don't You Forget It

(Courtesy of Katharena Eiermann)
Department of They Came to Play, Part II

Paula Zahn of CNN spoke with a Jew and a Muslim about the First Annual Muslim Football Tournament, noted here on Dec. 8th.

It seems the names of some of the teams have caused consternation among overly sensitive types who don't understand the principles behind naming a football team in this country. (Apparently, the critics won out; clicking on the teams link reveals that a couple of the names cited in the interview as offensive—in particular, Mujahideen and Soldiers of Allah—have since been changed. Intifada, however, remains.)

Here is the transcript of the Paula Zahn interview (scroll down to the first mention of Sabiha Khan).
Department of Putting to Rest, Once and for All, Old Czarist Propaganda

Specialists from the Simon Wiesenthal Center have written a book that scholars say is the first item-by-item rebuttal of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

It's about f***in' time.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Department of Politically Correct Synonymetry

I just discovered that my copy of Microsoft Word does not offer any synonyms for the words slave or slavery. No bondage, no serfdom, no servitude, nothin'. How stupid.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Department of Moving On

Lizzy Ratner, with whom I've marched the streets a time or two, has a profile of Eli Pariser of MoveOn in the current New York Observer.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Department of What It Was Like Trying to Get Back Into Our House After Going Out "for a Few" During the Snowstorm This Past Weekend

If I could only get that damn key in the lock . . .

(Courtesy of G. A. Cerny, who himself got it from ex-Prognosisite Ken Layne.)
Department of the Place to Be This Thursday Night

POST ROAD 7 Publication Party
December 11 @ 7:30
85 E. 4th St. (bet. Second and Third)
Performances by Jonathan Ames and John Wesley Harding

Monday, December 08, 2003

Department of One of the Coolest Sites I've Encountered in Many a Moon

Give it a ride with Led Zep. (Thanks, Doug!)
Department of They Came to Play

First Annual Muslim Football Tournament, Irvine, California; January 4, 2004

"Taking the Intifada to the Football Field"
Department of Shocking Exports

"A new Amnesty International report charges that in 2002, the Bush administration violated the spirit of its own export policy and approved the sale of equipment implicated in torture to Yemen, Jordan, Morocco and Thailand, despite the countries' documented use of such weapons to punish, mistreat and inflict torture on prisoners. The U.S. is also alleged to have handed suspects in the 'war on terror' to the same countries.

"The total value of US exports of electro-shock weapons was $14.7 million in 2002 and exports of restraints totaled $4.4 million in the same period. The Commerce and State Departments approved these sales, permitting 45 countries to purchase electro-shock technology, including 19 that had been cited for the use of such weapons to inflict torture since 1990."

Read the rest of the press release.

Read the report: The Pain Merchants: Security equipment and its use in torture and other ill treatment

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Slang Treasure Trove Department

Courtesy of the White House: Street Terms: Drugs and the Drug Trade

"The Street Terms database contains over 2,300 street terms that refer to specific drug types or drug activity. The database is used by police officers, parents, treatment providers and others who require a better understanding of drug culture."
Department of Blogs Ad Nauseam

Vote for your favorite blogs in 20 different categories at Wizbang. Former Prognosisites Matt Welch and Amy Langfield are both nominees in the Media/Journalist category.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Department of Important Words Brought to Light by My Friend Lou at Reuters

"September 11, which has dominated the world's agenda for more than two years, claimed 3,000 lives. Every day, 20,000 people are dying because of poverty — from AIDS, TB, and malaria. Every single day."

"Economist Sachs Slams Bush on 'War Agenda,' AIDS"
Department of People I Know in the News

Jaime Clarke, comrade and creative colleague of my neighborhood pivo pal Pete "House" Hausler, made a splash this week with his revelations about the enigmatic J. D. Salinger.

Jaime is also the author of a finely written if frivolous novel titled We're So Famous, which I bought, read, and enjoyed. (Film rights to the book, I believe, are still available.)

Jaime (so) famously made waves when his book was published in spring 2001 by setting a bounty on the head of the anonymous reviewer who gave the novel a negative review in Publishers Weekly.

Cheeky stunt, that. What will Mr. Clarke come up with next?
Department of What's Wrong With Tom DeLay's Idea to House Some 2,000 Republican Members of Congress on the Luxury Liner Norwegian Dawn During the GOP Convention in NYC This Summer

Okay, okay. He backed down from the idea. (Read this, too.) Here, in a nutshell, anyway, are the reasons why it was wrong.

Why does a city host a political party's national convention? 1) To bring in money; 2) to curry favor with the party in question; and 3) to raise the city's profile.

And yet DeLay's plan (as stated in the title of this posting above) effectively nullified all of those reasons: 1) The people who stayed on the ship would be spending their money (hotel, booze, food, etc.) on the ship rather than in the city's hotels, bars, restaurants, cafés, and shops (the ship even has its own health club and theater); 2) No one in their right mind could possibly believe that by having the GOP convention here, New Yorkers are going to vote for Bush; 3) By choosing to stay "offshore" rather than on Manhattan, the GOPers would be sending a strong signal to the effect that they either do not like New York, do not feel safe in New York, do not think New York is high-class enough for them, or do not care about New York, or some combination of these—in any case, it would hardly be a boost to NYC's profile.

To these reasons add the fact that the ship's staff is multinational, meaning lost income for New Yorkers who would otherwise serve and wait on the ship's inhabitants were they to spend their money in Manhattan, and the fact that DeLay's former chief of staff, Susan Hirschman, is a member of the lobbying firm the ship's owners hired to sell the idea to DeLay, and it's clear this idea stank in just about every way, right from the start.

Here, by the way, is a picture of the Norwegian Dawn:

Monday, December 01, 2003

I don't have time to do it right now, as Monday and Tuesday are my busiest days of the week, work-wise, but come Wednesday I will attempt to put into words just how ticked off I am about Tom DeLay's proposal to put up delegates to the GOP convention on a luxury cruise ship anchored off of Manhattan. Talk about kicking a city when it's down.