Monday, May 29, 2006

To My Dad and Granddad

Some friends and I were having a bit of a discussion about what's right and wrong to remember on Memorial Day (yes, it's to honor those who died during war), but I wanted to give a shout out to my Dad and Granddad, who fought and lived through the Korean War and WWII. I have some relatives in the Army and Air Force right now, but I'll wait until Veterans Day for them.

Thanks to all those who lived and died.

Thanks to all who are fighting now.

Dad during the Korean War

Granddad during World War II

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Towel Day 2006

Towel Day :: A tribute to Douglas Adams (1952-2001)

Douglas Adams gets me through life.

I constantly say "Don't Panic" when I'm about to panic, which has been a lot lately.

One of the saddest days ever was when he passed away of a heart attack while exercising. Apropos, but sad nonetheless.

I will carry my towel tomorrow. Here's to you, Douglas.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

hattip Actor for the link!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Being that I'm in Michigan until tomorrow and have had to hear about the digging up of a farm in Milford for the past five days, I thought you'd all like to know that my home state is still insane. The Feds have been busy searching the "Hidden Dreams Farm" (Hidden Hoffa Farm?) in an attempt to dig up (hahaha) a lead on the whereabouts of a man that has been missing for most of my life, Jimmy Hoffa.

If one thing is for sure, Hoffa is dead. Who the hell cares where he is buried? I'll never get it.

Anyway, the New York Times has an article about the various marketing devices the town of Milford, Michigan has thought of to get through and cash in on, the latest "Where is Hoffa" tale.

Yeah, it's a NYT photo... shoot me...

Poor Jimmy... still dead... and rolling in his grave...

A week of digging by investigators at the Hidden Dreams Farm outside town has turned up no evidence of the remains of the former Teamster boss James R. Hoffa, but it has unearthed a cavalcade of colorful characters and stirred a morbid sense of humor in residents of this village of 6,300 people. "Hoffa Search Finds Town's Sense of Humor"


Yes, you thought only those gals from "Sex in the City" loved Fleet Week (May 24-31), but think again... it's one of my favorite 'Holidays' in the City. In fact, my friend Liz and I love to call each other when we see a gaggle of see-through and white-panted fellows on the New York streets. What is even more delicious is that not only can one see hot American sailors (and some not so hot looking ones, too), but also sailors from all sorts of countries. In the past, I've seen sailors from Britain, Germany, Spain, Greece, and Holland.

I think I'll have to make a date with Liz to head around Times Square and go sailor watching. It's such a wonderful New York sight to see!

Some Flickr examples:

Four Sailors and a Starbucks
Sailors at Chilis, Times Square
Foreign Sailors
Three Sailors in Times Square
Two Camos and a Gay Flag
Dress Marine at World Trade Center with Camo Camera

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Montenegro Votes to Drive Last Nail in Yugoslavian Coffin

At least 56 percent of the people of Montenegro have voted to break off from the last remnant of Yugoslavia, the uneasily united Serbia and Montenegro, and form their own country, free from Belgrade's grasp.

The Montenegrin vote over this past weekend will further frustrate and irritate Serbia, but hopefully not so much that they decide to go and start yet another war on the European continent. Needless to say, this latest blow is going to be both painful and humiliating, but Montenegro deserves to be as independent as it was back in 1918.

Let's hope, however, that pro-Serbia Unionists in Montenegro realize when it's time to let go, peacefully, unlike when Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo tried to do the same. There's been enough bloodshed in that area to last more then a few lifetimes.

In another vote over the weekend, New Orleans reelected Ray Nagin as Mayor. After reading the current issue of Vanity Fair, which excerpted Douglas Brinkley's new book regarding Hurricane Katrina, I personally have reconsidered my defense of Nagin and Louisiana Governor Blanco, and now put them in the same category as President Bush, Homeland Security and FEMA in the handling of Hurricane Katrina: incompetent cronies and idiots. Maybe I'll reconsider on Nagin and Blanco again, based on what they both do in the reconstruction of the State, but we'll have to see. I'm really tired of bad politicians. When will we get some politicians with balls, competence, and heart? Maybe this vote and Brinkley's article (and granted, Brinkley leans slightly right), hit me the wrong way at the wrong time. Maybe I just thought that Mitch Landrieu would be better at this time, though some (like my dad), would consider that kowtowing to the white man. That's something else I'm sick of, too: black and white politics. Sick of it all.

Anyway, good luck to Montenegro and New Orleans. You are both gonna need it.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Bushlandia vs. Reality Map

By way of WhiskeyBar, a new map:

This maps reflects the three states that still hold a positive (or Bushlandia) view of President Bush: Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho, all with a combined population of 4,288,830 deluded Americans.

Though even those Redstaters are changing their minds, too:

Only residents of Utah, Wyoming and Idaho view the president favorably. Though Bush remains in positive territory, in the past month he has fallen 10 points in Utah, fallen 9 points in Wyoming, and fallen 3 points in Idaho.

Small miracles, baby steps, even if I'd like to take a hammer over their heads...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Home to Detroit

So, I'm sitting at the Chili's in LaGuardia Airport, chillin' with a cold Sam Adams and reading Rolling Stone. I'm also sitting here mobile blogging. Woohoo. My flight doesn't leave until 6:00 (it's 4:30 now), so I plan on having at least one more giant, cold, Sam Adams so that I'll be woozie on the plane.

I'm going home to see my dad, who underwent colon cancer surgery last month and is now undergoing radiation therapy by pill. Which, I think, means I'm going to have to talk to him through his bedroom door or don surgical scrubs, not quite sure which.

Anyway, this will be the first time I've been able to see him since the surgery last month.

If the parental units haven't pulled the plug on the Internet, I'll still be blogging, from a Detroit perspective.

Right now, however, Rolling Stone and Sam Adams are calling my name.

Drink me, says Sam; read me, says Rolling Stone; eavesdrop on the guy sitting next to me talking loudly about meeting President Clinton and Broadway shows... Priceless.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

6+6+06 = Impeachment

Whereever you stand on the issue of impeachment, some genius has taken it one step further. The billboard below is for the remake of "The Omen." The ad actually reads: "6+6+06: You Have Been Warned."

Visual Resistance by way of Gothamist

Halifax is Foggy in Early May

I suspect, however, that Halifax is foggy a lot.
While I was there earlier this month, the sun constantly played phone tag with me.

I travelled to the city (Pop. 2001: 355,940) for the Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences conference, though mostly I went for the free vacation. Mind you, the ALHHS conference was rocking, but I, like most people, go to these meetings to learn a bit of this and a tad of that and see some colleagues, but mostly we go to conferences to visit a place that we've never been before... say, for instance.... Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Being from Detroit, and having grown up across the river from Windsor, Ontario, I watched the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. A lot. So I know a tad more about Canada than the average American. Mind you, just a tad more, but not the entire history of the county. I've always wanted to visit Nova Scotia, mostly because of the Titanic, in which the city of Halifax played a role, but mostly because it's a different view of the Atlantic. I love the Atlantic, and I was looking forward to seeing it in a different... well... light. Too bad I wouldn't be able to see it at all!

The airplane ride to Halifax was lovely, on a small American Eagle 52-seater plane. On the way to landing, I could see a sea of pine trees, pine trees, pine trees and a steel-grey sky heavy with rain and light fog. Few houses, but a hell of a lot of pine trees. They looked dry, as if one lit match could set the entire peninsula ablaze. The trees were actually coming out of their winter hibernation, but even a few days later, when the sun was out, it was evident that Nova Scotia, under the right conditions, could go in one fell swoop. I took a tour with a lovely fellow, Blair Beed ("DTours" 1 902 455-9977), who said that after Hurricane Juan in 2003, which wrecked havoc throughout Nova Scotia, the threat of fire by dead and dry pine trees has been a worry to the province.

The Canadian Navy is stationed in Halifax, and as the insane driver of the airport van drove us into Halifax proper, I spied a giant hospital ship. Turns out that it was an American hospital ship, conducting medical exercises with the Canadian, British and Japanese Navys. It looked very familiar to me, and then I realized it was the USNS Comfort, which engulfed the Hudson River as it rolled into New York Harbor after 9/11. It's way huge.

There's really not much to do if you don't have a car and are confined to the Halifax area. I felt a bit claustrophobic after awhile, as if I could smell an entire province out there, but I just couldn't get to it. I hit all the major attractions that I could within the time I was in the city and with my conference schedule, including the Citadel (amazing views, make sure you go when the museum is actually opened), the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (excellent museum, don't miss the Halifax Explosion exhibit, along with the model ships), and the Public Gardens (it's a garden, all right). I also drank a lot, or at least went to several bars.

A Citadel cannon points toward the
Public Gardens

A real deck chair from the Titanic at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

This is either Horatio or Nelson, one of two very originally named swans at the Public Gardens. The cannon is not pointed directly at them. I think.
I took a chance and hired a guide that the hotel, the Delta Barrington, recommended. My tour guide was a local native and historian who has written books on the Titanic and the 1917 Halifax Explosion. Mr. Beed runs tours to Peggy's Cove out of his six-person Nissan van, fully licensed by the Province. A nice Scottish lady and her daughter, who had just been on a whirlwind tour of Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and then Halifax, came along for the ride.

Our first stop was at the Fairview Cemetery, were we paid homage to the 121 victims of the Titanic that are buried there, including the fellow modeled on Leonardo DiCaprio's character in that awful Titanic movie, and the unknown child found after the sinking who was eventually matched to his biological family a few years ago. Though he has now been claimed, the child continues to remain "unknown" as a symbol of all those lost when the Titanic went down.

Poor Jack Dawson, still rolling in his
grave over that damned movie
People continue to
leave momentos for the
"Unknown Child"

Some of the 121 folks left in Halifax

As you can tell from the above pictures, it was sunny outside of Halifax as we toured the cemetery, so I was very excited to head out to see the Atlantic! I could have sworn that since it was sunny in central Halifax, that it would be sunny in Peggy's Cove.

Boy, was I wrong.

As we neared Peggy's Cove, the landscape became incredibly rocky. In fact, there were rocks that seemed to have been thrown around by some Norse god about a thousand years ago, sitting pecariously on top of other giant rocks that just shouldn't have been there. In actuality, it's the leftover remnants of glaciers that froze and melted and dropped their rocky deposits upon the shores of Nova Scotia. It looked eerie. And foggy.

Can you see the Atlantic? Neither could I.

Still, it was pretty. We had a hour at the Lighthouse/Gift Shop, so I climbed a few rocks, but I heeded the sign that said:
"WARNING: Injury and Death have rewarded careless sightseers here. The Ocean is treacherous. Savour the sea from a distance."
I figured that the locals could laugh at someone else's stupid plight; I wasn't going to be a death laughingstock. Walk carelessly at your own risk, indeed!

Do you see more than 100 feet of the Atlantic?
Neither do I. But I do see the Warning sign.

I stopped in the gift store to send some postcards out;
I love postcards, and I actually like to send them. I wrote them in the restaurant so that I could post them at the Post Office, which also happened to be in the gift store. It's a small town. I could see the lighthouse and a lobster boat picking up its lobster traps. I ordered a haddock burger with fries, and I swear to God, the haddock was so fresh that it was still squeaking. It was like buttah, it was so damned good. Thank you, Mr. Haddock. You were very tasty.

I was the last to get back to the Nissan van, and as we drove toward Halifax, we passed the SwissAir Flight 111 memorial. In 1998, Flight 111 crashed five miles from Peggy's Cove after suffering from electrical problems. There were, unfortunately, no survivors.

{{Here is a Flickr set of photographs from a sunny day from a much better photographer than I.}}

We drove back into sunny Halifax.

The entire time I was in Nova Scotia, I kept saying to myself, "God, it's really Scottish around here." Maybe it was the bagpipes I heard at the Citadel, or the names of the streets (Argyle, for one) that kept reminding me of all things Scottish. Of course, in the back of my mind, I knew that "Scotia" meant Scotland, but hey, am I a Latin scholar? As Mr. Beed drove us back into Halifax, with the Scottish mother and daughter in the back seat, he talked about the various tartans that were being newly recorded in Nova Scotia and approved by the Scottish Tartans Society. Apparently a whole slew of tartan designs were being recorded by Nova Scotians in a renewed Scottish frenzy. I said to myself (thank God, only to myself), "There goes that Scottish thing again." Finally, as if reading my mind, Mr. Beed said, "Well, you know, 'Nova Scotia' does mean 'New Scotland' after all." Finally, it clicked. D'oh. What an idiot. I just thank all the Universe that I hadn't asked what was up with all the Scottish stuff. (I had earlier scored some points with the Scottish mother/daughter when I mentioned that I regularly watched "Monarch of the Glen" when it aired on BBC America, and felt mighty proud of myself. Whew... I just barely survived "stupid American" with that one.)

All in all, I'd love to visit Halifax again in the summer, with a car to explore the place and to finally see the Atlantic Ocean.

Oh, and the men were really cute, too. Scottish Canadians. Yummy and fresh. Like Mr. Haddock.

More of my photos here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Andi Warholas Take a Stroll on a Sunday

{{A big welcome to Gothamist Readers, the Andis love you, too!!}}

In celebration of Andy Oh!'s birthday, the Andis did brunch at Cafe Mogador in the East Village, made a stop at James De La Vega's art store, walked past the Village Voice, then headed to see the boy in the bubble, David Blaine.

Here we are, walking toward Cafe Mogador after visiting the De La Vega store across the street while waiting for our table to be called. Yes, we did have to wait like every one else. We finally got a fabulous table for six, the five Andis of the day and Marco Paparazzo. Lovely and tasty brunchables were had by all. We read from Andy Warhol's "From A to B: The Philosophy of Andy Warhol" and tried to figure out our ultimate purpose. No luck with that, so we just ate. Andy wrote that though he knew he should eat protein, he only wanted to eat sugar.

Street graffiti artist James De La Vega relocated his art store from East Harlem to the East Village. De La Vega saw us hanging out at Cafe Mogador (like I said, across the street), and came over with his ever present cigar. He asked us to take a picture with one of his "My Mom As..." series of paintings. We thought it a fabulous idea. This one just happened to be "My Mom As Warhol." How appropos. This is one of three pictures Marco Paparazzo took of us and it. The best one (not this one) will be going to De La Vega and he promises to put it in his store.

After our lovely brunch, we strolled toward the D train (yes, these Andis take the subway; Andy was notoriously cheap, by the way); we stopped for a snap at the Village Voice. According to, in early 1966 Andy took out an ad in the Voice which read:

‘I’ll endorse with my name any of the following: clothing, AC-DC, cigarettes, small tapes, sound equipment, ROCK ‘N” ROLL RECORDS, anthing, film, and film equipment, Food, Helium, Whips, MONEY; love and kisses Andy Warhol.
EL 5-9941”

Andy wrote that he wanted to be an Art Businessman or Business Artist. Andy R (who was unable to attend the day's stroll) sent the following NPR link regarding one of those objets d'art that Andy endorsed with his name.

Continuing our stroll, we walked by a fabulous store that sells retro chairs, and we had to walk in and sit down in a few of the masterpieces.

Reminds us of the Factory days...

and effective

Product Placement...

We continue on to the subway.
{{Interlude on the Subway}}

We arrive uptown.

And see a photo-op...

Which would have been perfect if not for that Andy T on the end. We need personal stylists to make sure our photo-ops are perfect. Or maybe we'll just find some Interns. Yes, we need Interns to help us, and not the leftover kind. Andy hated leftovers of all types, particularly typists, Interns, and takeout.

Our stroll finally takes us to the event of the day! Blaine in a Bubble! It was a circus! An event! A happening! But when the Lady said it was spiritual and deep, the Andis chuckled inside. We knew it was only "How People Today are Doing Things." Nothing spiritual or deep about it.

Alas, like our table at brunch, we waited in line like everyone else to get our picture taken with the man in the bubble. We were patient and kind to strangers who would ask us what we were doing, even though we ourselves didn't quite know. But they kept asking, and we kept thinking we needed to have an answer. Hmmm.

Marco Paparazzo said that we were "Blurring the Line Between Consumptive Art and Consumption of Art." Hmmmm.

After 45 patient minutes in line (what idiots stand that long in line, anyway?), the line suddenly stopped. Why? Emergency leak or some sort of freak Gary Larson Far Side moment? No. It was only dress rehearsal, so to speak, for the next night's show on ABC freeing the water-logged Blaine in a Bubble. We waited for another 1/2 hour in hopes that the line would proceed. Andis got antsy, and our patience wore thin. Finally, despite a four to one mock vote (it is a democracy, after all!) in favor of leaving (see photo below to find out which Andi didn't want to go), we left. Who would have thought that the craziest photo-op of the day would be defeated by the need to get the right camera angle?
Ultimately, we're just having fun. It was a lovely day for a stroll.

More Stroll photos here.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Pisces Blue

I haven't posted since I got back from Halifax; I want to relate about the rest of my trip and also about the fascinating Halifax Explosion of 1917, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I did an Andi Warholian event on Sunday, and then my cat went into heat something fierce (she was suppose to get that taken care of on Monday, but alas, I have to wait until tomorrow now). Unfortunately, I've been Pisces Blue for a couple of days, so things are a little sluggish. In fact, my Vanity Fair forecast in "the Anderson Cooper on the cover issue" pretty much sums it up:
Because your mobility makes you feel a bit freer, go right ahead and buy that new car when a lunation occurs in your third house. *ok, that won't be happening* Do whatever it takes to convince yourself that you can still bop around at will, although it won't change the fact that this is a bizarre period for you. While you can avoid getting lost in your head by staying in touch with people (the stable ones, anyway), with your 12th house still so active you must cope with doubt or grief by holding on to whatever shred of faith you have left.
Whew... it's good to know the thoughts of throwing myself in front of the 4 train are only temporary... as long as I can hold on to faith... in something.

Wish me luck.

If you have an idea of something I can have faith in, please, please, leave it in the comments. Quick, time is of the essence.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Halifax update

I think I'm going to head out to the Split Cow for a nightcap, but I wanted to say thanks to all you Canadians (current and former) for all the tips about Halifax. The sun made a brief appearance yesterday, but other than that... nuthin'! It's ok, though, I'm having a fabulous time! Everyone is super friendly and the guys actually look at you like a human being and not human meat, as in New York! How fucking refreshing (or at least refreshing!).

Today was a conference day, so we hopped the bus to Dalhousie University for our conference, then to St. Mary's for a talk about the doctor/writer/Quebec separatist Jacques Ferron, and viewed the travelling exhibit on Ferron that's on view there until May 7.

The librarians and archivists then headed to a few other locations, but truthfully, I was burned out by then and one of the other attendees and I headed back to the hotel to get out of our 'conference gear' and into our 'beer drinking gear.'

Once safely out of gear and into gear, we headed to Your Father's Moustache, which has won the "Best Chicken Wings" in Halifax award for four straight years. While they were good, they weren't Buffalo wings, as they were way too crispy, but the sauce was rocking with the excellent taste of FRANK'S® RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce, yum, yum. I guess by non-Buffalo standards, they were pretty good, but I was hankering for Buffalo wings, so I was a little sad but the Coor's Light tastes better in Canada then it does in America. (I've also noticed this phenomenon with Amstel, which tastes great in Amsterdam, but not so hot in New York City.)

Afterward, we went to meet another archivist and his wife at McKelvies. I had a Keith's on tap and a small seafood chowder. We had met the other two for dessert, so they had already eaten, and were about to start on their dessert course. We talked about archives mostly, but then started talking about Stephen Colbert, and I relayed the "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" line, which my archivist acquaintance and his wife hadn't heard yet. I brought it up because we were talking about the Maritime Museum, which has an actual deck chair from the Titanic. I took a picture of it and will post it when I get back to the States.

All in all, a lovely, if overcast, rainy and cloudy, day.

The conference portion is over for me, so tomorrow, a walk in the Public Gardens, and then a tour of Peggy's Cove by a local historian in his six-person Nissan van. It's been nice in Halifax, but I feel a bit claustrophic (even with the trip to Dalhousie, which is on the other side of the Citadel), and am yearning to break free and see some other portions of Nova Scotia. In fact, I'm actually yearning mostly to see a free and clear shot of the Atlantic. I love the Atlantic, and if I'm this far up, I have to pay homage to the grand ocean. One can barely see the ocean from the Citadel, so I'm seeking a clear, uninterrupted, view. If, of course, the sun comes out tomorrow.

(Note to self: the next time you go somewhere, bring your flash drive to transfer photographs to your damned blog from your stupid camera.)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Canada! (Halifax, Nova Scotia, That Is!)

First impressions: PRETTY! And very dry. No one light a match! Tons of pine trees and fews houses. Dry or just awakening from winter?

The bus driver from the airport to the hotelwas driving fast fast fast, and the heat was like a billion degrees. I was at the back of the bus and felt like puking.

It's pretty, but so far though mostly cloudy and overcast. Massive sky, pine trees as faras the eye can see, and man, was I gonna puke if I didn't get out of the vehicle soonish.

And then it became official, the goddamn driver was insane, as he knocked out the bridge barrier as we were driving across the inlet and into Halifax.

There was a giant Navy hospital ship docked near downtown, and it wasn't until later that I found out that Halifax is where the Canadian Navy is primarily stationed. In fact, in the bar "Maxwell Plum," I read the local Navy paper with its rundown of all the ships that were destroyed during World War II.

Entering downtown Halifax, I was really ready to puke. And then I could see the Citadel, which is in the middle of Halifax. It must have been really impressive when there was really nothing around it. Now there's a lot of buildings. I'm gonna troop up there tomorrow. Why do I say "up there"? Because Halifax is on steep place. In fact, I stood in the middle of one of the upper streets, I could roll myself to the bottom, only stopping when I had hit the water.

I wouldn't recommend it, though.

I've had three beers and am a little tipsy. This is probably the last time I'll have internet access, as my credit card is near to maxed out on the hotel, and I realized that if I mobile-blogged or used my cell phone, I'd be calling Internationally, which is just too expensive. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

So far, I'm bored out of my mind, but it's great to be out of New York for a bit. Looking forward to seeing more Canadian sailors. The only ones I've seen so far have been from far away. Can't wait to see a few up close.

I love sailors.

When I left NY, there was a massive fire in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Some are speculating the possibility that it's arson. Who knows? It was just very convenient that the old factory that was supposed to go up for landmarking mysteriously caught fire just as plans for the new construction came out. Who knows? Maybe it was just lightning. Or not.

Here's a really bad photo of it from the air.

Mobile Blogging

Well, Ilm off to Halifax for a conference and I'm checking out the mobile blogginh option from Blogger. We'll see how this works out.

This will be my fourth time in a Canadian city, the others being Montreal (twice), Toronto (once), and Windsor (too many times to really care). I'm looking forward to being on the country's far right coast. I hear it's boo-tee-ful. Can't wait.

OK, time to go...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Writing Can Get You Murdered

I was thinking about my plagiarism rant the other day, when I came across a Yahoo! News story regarding Dutch Muslim Hirsi Ali.

If you haven't heard of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, then more than likely you've heard of Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker who was shot to death on the streets of Amsterdam by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch Muslim who was part of a group upset at van Gogh's directing of Ali's short film, "Submission." Bouyeri shot van Gogh eight times, then for added good measure, slit his throat, stabbed him in the chest, and left two knives lodged there, one of which pinned a five-page manifesto from Bouyeri's group, the Hofstad Network. The note text can be found here.


Partly because "Submission" was a short piece written in regards to the violence that can follow Muslim women. The piece showed passages unfavorable to women from the Koran. In the film, the words were projected on a woman's semi-naked body, a woman who had just been beaten and raped by a relative. The film's purpose was to expose the treatment of Muslim women, and hopefully begin a dialogue to change certain tenets of the Muslim faith, a Muslim Reformation, if you will.

After van Gogh's death (he was the great-grandson of Theodore van Gogh, artist Vincent van Gogh's brother), Ali went into hiding for fear of her own life. Her story is one of a Somali woman who was pawned off in marriage by her politician father to a Canadian cousin. Instead of going to Canada, Ali made her way to the Netherlands, eventually becoming an atheist, an outspoken critic of Islam and urger of reform, and a member of the Dutch Parliament. She has written several books, and a new one, The Caged Virgin : An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam, comes out tomorrow while Ali is coming to the States to promote her work. A work that can literally get her killed, maybe with a few knives stuck in her chest or maybe something else even more heinous just to make a point.

Whatever one may feel about Ali and her work, whether it's too over the top, unbalanced or one-sided, at least she speaks out regardless of the danger to her own self and safety. Which sorta brings me back to my original rant about plagiarism.

Writing can get you murdered.
Writing can get you hunted.
Writing can topple goverments and cause powerful men to fall.

Wrecking the sanctity of writing and getting published and telling a story by fabricating or stealing other people's stuff is like betraying all the writers who died risking their necks to make people free or convince people of another way. So when I personally hear of people plagiarising (and truthfully getting hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so), it gets my hackles up.

Not all writing is sacred or even good (hey, I'm a case in point), nor here nor there. But I figure if it gets to the point that you are published in a book or a journal or even on the web, then it better be original and it better be yours or it better be attributed, cause writing can get you murdered and ultimately, that's no laughing matter.