Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall is in the air

Beginning Saturday afternoon, with the onslaught of the current chilly weather, fall has definitely been in the air. Temperatures are in the 60s, for the daily high, and the leaves are just starting to change color. I've always loved the fall - the cool chilly breezes, the early darknesss of late afternoon, the scent of fireplace smoke in the crisp air. But ever since I've moved to Illinois, the beginning of fall has become bittersweet. Fall, for me in central IL, is synomous with major allergies, and just like last year, my allergies became severe as soon as the fall weather ushered in. I'm guessing that the allergy problem has everything to do with the fall corn harvest. Now, as last Fall, I can't tell if I have severe allergies, a minor cold, or some combination of both.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Guilty pleasure

With all that's wrong with the world, I feel guilty looking forward with great anticipation the TV season premiere of Dexter this evening. Maybe it's because a Showtime subscription seems so bourgeois. But is it really? Everyone spends money, just on different priorities. And what's wrong with a little pleasure in life, a little TV or whatever, as long as it doesn't replace other priorities?

ISU brings in 'Super Size Me' director

We loved his movie Super Size Me a few years back, for which reason we'll be heading to ISU in Normal this Wednesday to hear Morgan Spurlock speak on his life and career after his career-making movie.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hope is in the streets

These great pictures of the Pittsburg G20 protests, taken by photographer Jon Pratt, uplifted my spirits. On not so positive of a note, Cindy Sheehan comments on her blog on the authoritarian police presence in Pittsburg.

For an overview, here is the New York Times coverage.

Thoughts provoked by the Iliad

I'm plowing through Homer's Iliad. Well, actually I'm only in Book 3, but it feels like I'm plowing through it. As I read it, though, I'm reminded by what Bernard Knox said in the Introduction of this volume - that the Greeks in Homer's day had no conception of the after-life being granted to mortals. Immortal deities were lucky to have everlasting existence, but mere mortals died and then retired to an eternal, black sleep. (In this context, Knox comments on the cruelty and capriciousness of the Greek gods, who in intervening in the lives of people and in many cases causing needless suffering and death, they lacked any sense of decent morality given that they did not have to die and be vanquished for all eternity.) I was wondering, however, if this view that death was the end, without afterlife, was true for the Greeks throughout their history, or if it was true only for Homer's age. It seems that I have read that the after life was commented on by later Greek philosophers.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Looking forward to seeing The Informant

Tonight we're going to see Soderbergh's The Informant with some friends of ours. A reader of my blog recently pointed out, under my June posting on the labor struggles in Decatur, that the movie take place in Decatur, Illinois, dealing with a major corporate scandal involving ADM. I can't wait to see what parts of Decatur are shown in the movie, while watching what should be an excellent film.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Honduras back in the news (except for U.S. corporate news)

Amazing. Honduras is once again making international news, with the return of President Zelaya and his holing up in the Brazilian Embassy, and I couldn't find one word of it on the cable channels. Just more proof of Noam Chomsky's thesis in Manufacturing Consent. Of course, Democracy Now! aired almost a half-hour worth of coverage.

Plague of aphids

Last Tuesday I biked to downtown Normal to meet my sig. other and friends to see the fantastic documentary Made in L.A.. On my way there, I was shocked to see the number of gnats flying around, not just swarms of them, but a curtain of gnats enveloping the city. By the time I got to Normal, gnats were stuck in my arm hair, plastered to my shirt. It was gross.

Turns out, I recently learned that what I thought were gnats are aphids. Light green aphids are coming out every day and grow in intensity until late afternoon and dusk. Especially toward late afternoon, all these aphids have made biking, and even walking, a real pain. I'll be glad to see them go!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

National day of action against the Iraq and Afpak wars

Organized by the National Assembly Against the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, Oct. 17th is the next day of protest against what is now Obama's war. This time around, actions will be local and regional across the country. Here in Bloomington-Normal, we're going to organize a caravan to support the Peoria Oct. 17 protest, and invite other peace groups in Central IL to attend as well.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Anti-eviction movement back in Minnesota

A Minnesota friend of mine sent me this link, a video of the resistance in Minneapolis against evictions and foreclosures. For months now a movement has been developing around the foreclosure of Rosemary Williams' home. Supporters of Rosemary have resisted her eviction by staging a sit-in of sorts at the house, but on Friday, police raided the home and arrested those doing civil disobediance.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A new perspective

This might be my perspective for awhile now, sitting on my porch as I try to get some writing done on my research project. I'd rather be delving into some of my recently borrowed ancient Greek philosophy texts, reading my Paco Taibo Ignacio novel, or doing what I'm doing now - blogging! - but I need to get this damn M.A. finished. Priorities!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Back when I was free a few weeks ago

Our friends at Lisa's going away party a few weeks ago...

Monday, September 07, 2009

The real Labor Day is May 1st

I celebrate Labor Day, whether in September or May. But, I must add, the true Labor Day is May 1st, the International Workers Day, which is celebrated internationally by workers around the world (everywhere but here in the U.S, except for a small minority of us, I might add).

This point, that International Labor Day is May 1st, was driven home this year by a requirement that the Bloomington-Normal Trade and Labor Assembly has for its Labor Day parade. They stipulate that all parade vehicles must be union-made (great! I support that) and American-made. American-made? What exactly does that mean? I have a Toyota Corolla that was assembled in California, by American union workers. Does that count as made in America? Or must the company be based in America? Of course I would object if the answer was no. Why should we care about the home country of company management?

I would go even further and say that it shouldn't matter where the car is made, as long as union workers made it. True worker solidarity knows no country!