links for 2010-04-14

  • sounds a lot like the Indianapolis teen who "shot himself" while handcuffed in the back of a police car.
  • The goals of the Girl Scout Research Institute are to originate new projects and initiatives that bolster knowledge about girls, as well as to synthesize the research that exists on the healthy development of girls. These efforts not only support the development of the Girl Scout program but also supply accurate information to educational, not-for-profit, and public policy organizations, parents seeking the best ways to help their daughters, and girls themselves.
  • Interesting article on a culture clash in New York over bike lanes. Choice quote: "But at some point, you don’t get to pull the seniority card when it comes to your religiously-based objections to female use of public space and transportation. And here, the hipsters weren’t making rules for the entire community. They were using a public street, paid for with everyone’s tax dollars, to ride their bikes. I run out of patience for objections to people using public streets because your religion objects to the female form. This isn’t about, “Damn, all these outsiders are coming in and driving up the rental market and now I can’t afford my place” or “I moved here to live in a neighborhood, not to have a bunch of loud bars built on my block.” This is, “I think that my religious belief regarding the appropriateness of women in public should trump the rights of women to move through public space.”
  • Handy list of alternatives to Futura.
  • You'd think that Disney would be the one place where you could take photographs, but not so much. Disney has started harassing photographers with DSLR cameras and accusing them of being terrorists – not because they really think that, but because DSLR photogs are competition for their pricey photography. Congratulations, Disney – I'll never visit one of your resorts.
Continue Readinglinks for 2010-04-14

About Roman Polanski

I’m sure you’ve had an opportunity to read all the media circus surrounding the arrest of movie director Roman Polanski. Over on Shakesville, Melissa McEwan notes and discusses several of the high-profile people defending him, including Harvey Weinstein, Debra Winger and Whoopi Goldberg. And on another blog post, she lists others.

I’m deeply disappointed by celebrities coming to his defense.

I know for certain 5 people who were molested as children or as teens – I probably know more than that, but those are the folks with whom I’ve actually held conversations about their experiences. Of those 5, all of them have been deeply affected by what happened to them, all of them have difficulty with romantic relationships, all of them have contemplated or attempted suicide. Some of them struggle with other demons – alcoholism and dissociative identity disorder among them.

If i could magically make their lives whole again by pushing a button and deleting every Roman Polanski movie ever made – picture me right now pushing that button, over and over again.

Continue ReadingAbout Roman Polanski

Terrorist opens fire in UU Church in Knoxville, TN

I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now that the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennesee was the target of a mass shooting. Two people were killed and 5 more are in serious condition after Jim D. Adkisson, 58, walked into a children’s Sunday school play and opened fire on the crowd.

Like many Unitarian Universalist churches including the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis, and the church of the minister who married us, Andy Burnette of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Danville, The TVUUC was a “welcoming congregation” that believes all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, deserve respect and support, and are welcome members of the church.

According to the latest news reports, Adkisson chose the church because he wanted to target liberals and gays, whom he felt were responsible for the current economic crisis, and for his particular economic situation. He left a 4-page long note in his car, and was also reportedly speaking out to the congregation as he was firing. He carried 76 rounds of ammunition with him, and intended to continue firing until the police arrive to kill him. Fortunately, he was subdued when one member of the congregation grabbed the rifle and 3 men wrestled him to the ground. The Knoxville News coverage has more information about the victims of the shooting.
My wife Stephanie is a third-generation member of the Unitarian Universalist church.

Continue ReadingTerrorist opens fire in UU Church in Knoxville, TN

links for 2007-10-27

Continue Readinglinks for 2007-10-27

Stakeout on Millennium Drive

I hate throwing in the towel on books. I feel guilty if I can’t get through one, and I will struggle to the end of even the most difficult stuff. And I wanted to like Stakeout on Millennium Drive; I really did. It is, after all, a book set in Indianapolis, by a native writer, Ian Woollen. We just don’t have enough of those, so I was hoping to write a glowing review of a “must read” book. He even sent the book to IndyScribe so we could review it. It’s a murder mystery, and I love those.

The premise of the story is that a police officer shooting has occurred on “Millennium Drive” (a fictional street the approximate location of which I wasn’t able to determine) witnessed by a reporter named Kurt Blackwood on a ride-along with said policeman, Louis Garcia. Blackwood is a bit of a crackpot and writes for a fictional alternative local paper — the “Whipping Post” — where he writes a tinfoil-hat column called “Naptown Nuggets” (that name alone made me want to reject the book). Officer Garcia gets shot and killed by a woman as he tries to knock on her door to break up a domestic dispute between her and her husband. Despite the testimony of the reporter, the inquiry into the shooting determines the husband fired the gun, and that the incident was an accident, so the case is closed.

But Blackwood, who hears the voice of the slain policemen in his head, believes that the real facts of the shooting were covered up because there was some connection between the quarreling couple responsible for the shooting and the Mayor of Indianapolis, a fictional character that seems to be modeled on former mayor Steve Goldsmith (references to privitization and corruption abound). So Blackwood begins a stakeout of the street to gather more information, and at the same time begins writing reports on his progress in the form of long, rambling, disjointed letters to the Assistant Deputy Mayor of Indy (Randall Fleck), whom Blackwood conveniently has dug up some dirt on. The novel is composed almost entirely of these letters, with some short snippets of narration about Fleck’s reaction (or non-reaction) to these epistles.

You can see my problem, can’t you? If you were given a bunch of nutty ramblings about something you didn’t have a reason to care about, would you sit and read them? Even if they were conveniently bound in book form?

Woollen inserts a lot of interesting Indianapolis history into Blackwood’s ramblings through the character’s backstory; his family were long-time residents and had connections to early local architecture and culture movements. But I was bothered by the character expressing scathing feelings about the city. Everyone’s entitled to his own opinion, of course, but I wondered why an author would bother to set a book in a city that they appear to strongly dislike.

And as the letters to Fleck progress, Blackwood seems to lose track of his goal of ferretting out the truth as he interacts with the “colorful” characters of Millennium Drive, who hang out at his van and talk to him, and later invite him into their homes, instead of calling the police as anyone with an ounce of sense would do. He even becomes friends with the woman who shot officer Garcia and contemplates attempting to sleep with her. The point at which Blackwood begins a discourse on his sexual proclivities was one of my stopping points. I tried to power through it, but I got as far as the street’s pro-wrestler native american attempting a spirit-cleansing to exorcise the spirit of Officer Garcia from Blackwood’s head before I had to stop.

There was every reason for me to enjoy this book, but I couldn’t wait to put it down whenever I had it in my hands, and I dreaded picking up again. I even began cheating on it with other books on my to-read list. If you want to tackle the book, let me know how it wraps up. I wouldn’t mind knowing how it ends, but I just can’t devote the time to get there myself.

Continue ReadingStakeout on Millennium Drive

Apparently We Missed A Really Big Party

Indianapolis Police are looking for a disgruntled former beer delivery driver who, after being fired from his job, stole the delivery truck he drove and parked it on the west side of town. The trailer, which had contained 14,000 cases of beer, sat open for six weeks while people help themselves to the contents. Police discovered the location of the truck after someone attempted to sell a pallet of beer to a liquor store.

Police said they were surprised that there was still beer left in the truck when it was discovered on Wednesday.

Continue ReadingApparently We Missed A Really Big Party