Care2 Blog Weekly Roundup (02/25/12)

Not much this week, I’m afraid. Only two new posts since last time, and, in actual point of fact, both were written at the time of my last roundup. They weren’t included only because they weren’t published until later in the weekend. I’ll try to do better next week.


Wealthy, Foreign-Born Parents Think US Public Schools Fine

What is “Almost Rich” Anyway?

Care2 Blog Weekly Roundup (02/18/12)

Environment/Human Rights:

Bittersweet: The High Cost of Cheap Chocolate

Green Construction is Here to Stay

The Planet Hasn’t Noticed Your Green Lifestyle

The Future of Eating

Why Monsanto Fails at Sustainability


“There’s No Market for LGBT Fiction”: Are You Sure?

2013 NASA Budget Gutted

Leaked Documents From Climate Denialism Lobbyists Revealed

Slow Down

Well, only 10 days left in Costa Rica. Next week will include a fair bit of touring around and a low writing output. But I also have some stuff I’m working on the next few days that has had the effect of lowering my energy for blogging. It would be a lie to say I don’t have time. But I’m putting in as much time as I feel like putting in.

This weekend will involve reworking an essay, and some fiction. Fiction doesn’t pay, usually. But I feel a little inspired so I’m going to take some time to work on it. That’s just how it is.

I also need to keep up with my reading. I’m down to three review books, and expect to get through two of them before we leave. And once back in Canada, I’ll be back to working a day job as quickly as possible, so we’ll have to see what the new writing schedule is.

Anyway, next two weeks will be slow for blogging. Just FYI.

Care2 Blog Weekly Roundup (02/11/12)

Class Politics:

Local Politician Spends Month on Welfare

What Do Job Projections Mean When There Aren’t Enough Jobs?

Animal Welfare:

Canine Ear Cropping Banned in Manitoba

79 Dogs Seized from Illegal Manitoba Breeding Operation

Think Global, Work Local: Pet Ownership as Social Justice

Civil Rights:

Teachers Forced to Remove LGBT “Ally” Cards

Environment and Health:

Canada Health: BPA’s a Toxin But It’s Okay to Have It In Our Food

Almost a Hero

Did I ever tell you about the time I almost saved a baby in a carriage from rolling into rush-hour traffic? I was walking down the street when I noticed a father with a baby carriage less than a block away. The dad was distracted by something and was turned away from the street and the carriage. Slowly but surely the carriage began to roll towards the street.

I started running flat-out, but at that distance it was probably going to take me at least 20 or 30 seconds to get there. Before I’d covered half the distance the dad turned around, noticed his baby rolling away and quickly closed the distance and grabbed it. It had rolled onto the street but was still in the curbside lane where cars parked, when he managed to secure it.

At this point I realized I could have just shouted out to him some kind of warning, rather than trying to get there myself. After all, sound does move faster than a person on foot, even one who used to be a track star in high school. (Also, I was never a track star in high school.)

It’s not even necessarily true that there wasn’t time to think. I was running for five or 10 seconds when he noticed his rolling baby and moved to save it. That’s enough time to sit and think about the wisest response to the crisis.

But I guess the point is that I wasn’t sitting and thinking. My first instinct was to run for it, and I put all my energy and focus into continuing to run. Only when the baby was safe did my brain, now out of crisis mode, come up with the strategy of shouting a warning.

That’s the story of the time I was almost a hero. Feel free to almost congratulate me.

The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes

I’m sure you’ve all watched Guy Ritchie’s second Sherlock Holmes movie. Where can you get your detective fix, now? I can help you with that.

In keeping both with his to-the-point writing style and the cultural expectations of the time, Conan Doyle did not much expound on Sherlock’s early life or psychology, and the detective himself rarely spoke of such things. The potential for interpretation is broad. . . .

While Robert Downey, Jr. portrays somewhat of a wise-cracking action hero, Sherlock‘s title character (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is both intensely intelligent and coldly indifferent to the human element in his puzzles. . . . “I can’t be the only one that gets bored.”

Read about several of the most interesting film, television, and book properties to re-imagine the great detective recently in my article, The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes.

This and That

There are only three more full weeks before we return to Canada, and there’s lots to do. I’ve just finished the Murakami book, so I need to write up my review for that. That leaves me with four more review books to read this month.

Odds are I’ll still be working on the last one as our plane touches Canadian soil, but as I know I have fresh new review material waiting for me at home, I’m endeavouring to be as close to caught up on my Costa Rica reading as possible by the time we head back. I don’t want to arrive there with more than one unfinished book.

I’ll be doing my usual Care2 blogging throughout the week, and I’ll also be working on a piece I’m writing for a magazine, which I won’t name unless and until they actually decide they like what I came up with and are going to run it. I don’t want to count my chickens, after all.

I have been reasonably diligent with submitting other unsold articles, but don’t expect too much to happen with that, at least immediately. I’ve already mentioned a new blogging gig, but I don’t even know if it’s going to start this month, since the site itself has yet to be launched.

The last week we’re here will involve a lot of last-minute touristy stuff. A canopy tour, a trip to the zoo, a couple last treks to the ocean, and even just local stuff in our nearby towns. My writing output will probably be lower that week as a result (not to mention the need to clean house and pack). So I hope to be on the ball this week and next and keep to a good working schedule.

That’s all for now.

Care2 Blog Weekly Roundup (02/03/12)


Time to Stop Canada’s Polar Bear Hunt

Increase Arctic Shrubbery May Destroy Permafrost

NYC Cancels Winter Jam, Citing Lack of Winter

Hanford Site: Radiation Levels High, Progress Slow

Top Industry Experts: Green Energy is a Smart Investment

Animal Welfare:

Cat Undergoes Revolutionary New Full Knee Replacement

Civil Rights:

Are We Living in a Caste Society?

African Americans for Humanism Launch Awareness Campaign

Pseudoscience, Women’s Rights, and Skepchicks


Is Anyone Out There? Do We Care?

Who Are the Real Advocates For Oil?

New Study Links Racism and Conservative Beliefs with Low IQ

The Convenience Button and the Ethics of Climate Change

Rogers Challenges Truth in Advertising, Citing Civil Rights

What Are We Here For?

No existential angst, no ennui. What I mean to ask with that post title is what are we doing here on this site? I know why I’m here. I find it useful to keep track of what I’m working on, even if I only discuss unpublished projects obliquely. It’s also somewhat useful to provide a pointer to potential clients where they can see some of my work.

Readers, though, I’m not so sure about. Ideally, someone who likes something I’ve written can come here to find links to more of my stuff. But I’m not sure how well that would work. Recently I’ve had a spike that could only have come from readers of my articles at Care2 following the link in my bio. A smaller number likely come after reading one of my book reviews at any number of sites.

But will a person who reads a book review I wrote about a Heinlein juvenile be interested in my book review of The Manga Guide to Biochemistry, or The Authorized History of MI-5 (each published somewhere different)? And that’s just my reviews. I write about educational policy, popular science, literary criticism, straight up travel writing, food blogging. If someone who read one piece of mine were to choose something else I wrote completely at random, the odds would probably be against them actually being interested.

And it’s not even entirely about my interests, but a part of freelancing. If I can write something and get paid for it, I have to do it. I don’t much care about stock analysis but I have just enough knowledge to do so competently, and I can’t pass on a commission when it’s offered. Broadness pays off in freelancing. (Though limiting one’s writing only to those things you’re really interested in is a luxury I look forward to when I finally get back to my day job next month and return to writing part-time.)

On the other hand, maybe I’m wrong. There may be some very eclectic readers out there, after all. If so, feel free to stick around.