June 17th, 2006

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Father's Day Eve!!

Good Morning!!   What a day and night!!   We slept with all the windows open, and the night is alive with sound.  It is unbelievable.   We used to sleep out on the deck, but merged back inside one day, and didn't make it back out, but last night felt like sleeping outside.   We have an owl, and I was outside at twilight, with my friend Doe.  I followed her route with her.  She loves the part of the yard I dedicated to my mother, and then, she circles around.   My mother's part still has a bare spot in the middle from when the landscaping was done.  I sprinkled beautiful rocks there, and made a spiral, and the plants now are closing in on it.  It feels like how my heart is healing.  The open pond of pain is filling in with plants of love.   Our dog Sada is buried there, too, and the deer love that spot.

I am thrilled with this warmth and being able to have the doors and windows open and run inside and out as one.  I feel completely healed today.  Jane is coming over and we will work together.  I have set up a quiet space for us.  The day is enchanted as can be!!

I am alight!!   May you, too, twinkle today in the warmth of this friendly sun.
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If you haven't checked out Wikipedia, the free on-line encyclopedia, do so.  It is a wonderful resource.  I see that they are needing to tighten up their policy of "anyone can edit," but it is a marvelous achievement of mainly volunteers offering a place to quickly check what you want to know.  

Go to:


and find out what you have been wanting to know, but didn't even know it.  Have fun!
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Freeways -

50 years ago, President Eisenhower created the Interstate Highway System.   What a project, and it brought us all closer together.  The disadvantage is that it contributed to urban sprawl, and isolated some small towns and we lost them, but, in this case, I think the project was what we needed, even though it meant even more dependence on the car. 

Wouldn't it be lovely now to see a vision to upgrade the infrastructure in this country, rather than bombing the infrastructure of other countries?  Of course, vision requires open eyes, and Bush can't open his.  He squints, as though he is looking into the sun, or maybe it is his way not to see.  Perhaps, he has been blinded by the sun, so he can't see the obvious alternative to oil.   I would love to pry his squinty, tiny, too-close-together eyes open so he could see. 

The book I am reading, A Time of Gifts, by Patrick Leigh Fermor is an intriguing look at how  Hitler built his base.  Patrick is walking across Germany in 1933, and records his impressions.  Almost all of the people he meets dismiss Hitler and the "fanatics" in support of him.   It is a wonderful book in every way, but that aspect is fascinating.  It demonstrates how important it is to not be complacent about a leader of whom we disapprove.

The Friday seniors were out yesterday, as they are every Friday,  in protest against the war.   Good for them. 
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This is unbelievable!

We are now all used to the obvious product placement in movies, and sometimes TV programs, the placement that began with ET and Reese's pieces.  It might have been M & M's, but they turned it down, missing the first opportunity to pay for advertising in movies.  Now, there is this.  I am shocked, and I wonder why I am shocked, and I am. 

Editorial in the NY Times today!

The Art of the Deal

Published: June 17, 2006

When a publisher starts talking about a book as "an experience that transcends the book itself," you know that what matters isn't going to be the writing. What matters is the synergy, as they used to call it in the good old AOL Time Warner days.

The book in question is "Cathy's Book," a novel for adolescent girls featuring a heroine who gives tips on makeup while the story unfolds. As it happens, the makeup she uses is by Cover Girl, which, in return for product placement, has agreed to feature the novel prominently on a Web site it runs for girls of the very age group likely to buy "Cathy's Book." If nothing else, this deal is a reminder that writers will nearly always take publicity if they can't get cash.

But this deal is also a reminder that it's almost ridiculous to speak of a "book" or a "record" or even a "movie" anymore. What we should be talking about is different states of the same cultural matrix — the way ice, water, and steam are different states of H2O. Sure, there are writers out there intent on writing a "book," just as there are musicians intent on making a "record." But for projects of a certain ilk — a much better word than genre, somehow — the real artistry lies in the elusive way so many cultural threads are tied into a single knot. It's easy enough to bemoan a project like "Cathy's Book," and yet it captures the weird coalescence of the shape-shifting culture adolescent girls live in, where the borders between advertising and literature, podcast and sitcom, novel and lipstick go unpatrolled.

When you think about it, literature must seem to young readers like a strangely antiseptic universe, wholly devoid of the art form they know best: advertising. It's a fair bet that an ordinary young American has absorbed far more "content" — to use a synergistic word — derived from advertising than from almost any other source. Marketing products in literature intended for young readers is still a terrible idea, of course. If nothing else, books should remind them that there once was a time when life was not entirely about shopping.

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Equal health -

In the following editorial, of which I give the last section, Marianne Legato is concerned that we are neglecting the health of men.   In 2004, twice as much was spent on health studies for women as men.   I feel some concern as I read this on her proposal of  "an estrogen-like molecule to postpone the onset of coronary artery disease in susceptible males."  My estrogen is now cut off.  What does that do to my chances of heart disease?

I present her words, and pop you right into the tail end of her talk.   I think you can catch up. 

    "It's possible, too, that we've simply been sexist. We've complained bitterly that until recently women's health was restricted to keeping breasts and reproductive organs optimally functional, reflecting the view that what made women valuable was their ability to conceive and bear children. But aren't we doing the same thing with men? Read the questions posed on the cover of men's magazines: how robust is your sexuality? How well-developed are your abs? The only malignancy I hear discussed with men is prostate cancer.

    It's time to focus on the unique problems of men just the way we have learned to do with women. In 2004, the National Institutes of Health spent twice as much on studies done only on women as only on men. We are not devoting nearly enough money to men's health; worse yet, we may be spending those insufficient funds to answer exactly the wrong questions.

    The National Institutes of Health should therefore convene a consensus conference to identify the most important threats to men's well-being and longevity and issue a request for research proposals to address them. Would an estrogen-like molecule postpone the onset of coronary artery disease in susceptible males? Are there ways to strengthen the male immune system?

    Thinking about how we might correct the comparative vulnerability of men instead of concentrating on how we have historically neglected women's biology will doubtless uncover new ways to improve men's health — and ultimately, every human's ability to survive.

Marianne J. Legato, the director of the Partnership for Women's Health at Columbia, is the author of "Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget."