Sunday (not terribly) brief: Don’t forget!

Last week I encouraged folks to list the various wares they make and sell for fun n’ profit, for the perusal of whomsoever might want to peruse. You can check out that post (“Holiday Marketplace“) in its entirety (and post queries to the various makers/writers/photographers/etc-er-ers in the comments), or you can use this here as a window shopping gateway:

Reading material:

  1. Paul Wartenberg, commenter at both Ta-Nehisi Coates’s blog and Balloon Juice, has a book out: Last of the Grapefruit Wars, about which he sez: “The book is a collection of short stories I wrote between my college years (1990) to 2003. The genres bounce from character pieces, to science fiction, action thriller, coming of age, and pure dialogues. Levied throughout are tidbits of witticisms, some of the stories full-bore attempts at humor. Includes Author’s Notes to justify how bad the grammar gets in some of the tales;-)” To check out the analog version on Amazon, click here; to consider the e-book, click here.
  2. Russell King, who writes a killer political (but-not-always-political) blog, Russ’ Filtered News, has a book out: A Hint of Frost — Essays on the Earth, about which he sez:  “Back in the 80s and 90s, I wrote a newspaper column for several small newspapers around Wisconsin. It started out being your typical camping/hiking/fishing ‘outdoor’ column, but quickly evolved into a weekly musing on the Earth, the kids and whatever else I was pontificating on in those days. It sells for $16 on Amazon. I’ll send you a copy for just $7.50. Heck, I’ll even autograph it (thereby driving its value down to $3.50!) . Drop me note and I’ll tell you where to send the check: russell_k_king (at)” (You might also want to check out his “Meditation on keeping Christ in Christmas [a would-be viral email],” the best, most Christian response I’ve ever seen to the “War on Christmas” nonsense).
  3. pdfreedman (who I’m pretty sure I know from Balloon Juice, but honestly, I sometimes get my intertrons confused, it might be TNC!), blogs here, and edits, lays out, and occasionally writes for a music-n-more magazine called Burning Ambulance, about which he sez: “The new one features articles on saxophonists Anthony Braxton and Jon Irabagon, trumpeter David Weiss, an electronic music group called the Moritz von Oswald Trio, an essay on 1960s Hollywood and studios’ attempts to court the ‘youth audience,’ an excerpt from a book on progressive heavy metal, and a piece on composing for orchestra by an actual composer. The magazine is $10 for a print copy (paperback, no ads, 104 pages) or $5 for a download.” Click here to purchase (and if you go to the blog, there’s a discount code available!)
  4. Peter Cashwell, commenter at TNC’s place, has a book out: The Verb ‘To Bird’, about which he sez: “A couple of years ago I wrote a book about birding. (It’s also about non-lending libraries, venomous insects, sports marketing, and animated Christmas specials.) Barnes & Noble made it a Discover! pick. The Independent Booksellers Association made it a BookSense 76 pick. And for some reason, Martha Stewart liked it and let me plug it on her TV show. Makes a great Christmas gift! Never needs winding! Removes embarrassing stains from contour sheets!” To check out Peter Cashwell’s book on Amazon, click here.
  5. 12/21/10 update: Cassandra2, over at TNC, has thrown her writer’s hat in the ring! Click here for a list of her writings (poetry, fiction) and/or to listen to her latest poem.


  1. ajw93, commenter at Ta-Nehisi’s blog, sells her photography on etsy, which she describes very simply as “Landscape, architecture.” Click here to see what she means!
  2. baiskeli writes “I do photography on the side and I do sell my photos online.” Click here to see what manner of photography baiskeli does on the side!


  1. zic, from TNC’s place, designs knitting patterns, and sells them on Ravelry. She writes:  “If you have a knitter you love, take a look. And thank you.” Click here for zic’s patterns (I believe you’ll have to register, but it’s free and from what I hear, it’s worth it to see zic’s stuff!). Update: Not sure what to make of this, as I am not a knitter and thus have no experience with Ravelry, but apparently once you set up an account via the above link, you don’t go straight to zic’s stuff. So, if you’re looking for her patterns, I think some names are “Opposing Views,” “Swirled Striped Hat,” and “Rainbow Collar.” (I’m about to send zic an email to try to see if she can help me figure this out!). Update to the update: zic left a reply on my comment at TNC’s place, in which she sez: “I think you have to register, even though I’ve set the patterns to be visible by anyone…. My user name is the same, zic, and I’m registered as designer Rebecca Zicarelli; both should get you there.”
  2. Persia, from both TNC and Balloon Juice, has a friend with a fiber store on etsy. Persia sez: “My friend Kristen just opened up her fiber shop, with mohair blend yarns and roving. I’ve met her goats and they are delightful, and the yarn is too!” To see Kristen’s wares, click here.
  3. Kiran (from Ta-Nehisi? I think?) has made some tote bags in Harry Potter/Gryffindor colors, about which she sez: “This came about from the copious amount of fabric I had left after making 9 robes for the Goblet of Fire premiere night! They come in two sizes, and several different colour & fabric combinations.” To see the an example on etsy, click here.
  4. Scylfing, a commenter at TNC’s place (and apparently a very good son!) suggests we swing by his mother’s etsy shop, Montana KnitWit, “where she sells her handkitted items, especially legwarmers, hoods/cowls/hats, ponchos and cellphone bags.” To view Scyfling’s mother’s handiwork, click here.
  5. Not a seller, but a recycler of unused yarn, Tata (from BJ? I think? + she blogs here) sez: “if you’re a knitter with yarn left over from old projects or a person with yarn in his/her house for no reason you can recall (everyone has yarn; almost no one knows why), please contact me and send it to me. I knit cat blankets for animal shelters. It takes about two hefty skeins to make a blanket, so don’t throw away your old yarn. Thanks!” However, I just realized that she didn’t leave contact information, and I don’t see contact information on her blog, either! So, if you want to help Tata out with this very worthy project, I would say either leave her a comment on the blog (here’s another link), or shoot me an email at elhauser [at] hotmail [dot] com, and I’ll pass it on to her.

In a class of her own:

Laura W., she of Balloon Juice commenting, does beautiful mixed media and pique assiette mosaics, about which she sez: “Most folks are sorta whacky for my vintage jewelry frames. I’ve sold many to Juicers over the last two years. As a matter of fact, an hour ago I shipped a very special memorial jewelry frame to a Juicer, a tribute to his sister’s beloved cat. Half my work is commissioned, which I adore.” For her etsy shop, click here (and for a 15% discount, use this code: MOSAICCATS22); for her blog (“which has a lot of great photos and a new post with another Christmas commission I just completed for a woman who lives with a black Pug and a brown Dachshund”), click here.

All righty then! Go forth and shop! And if you, too, are a creative type and would like me to add you to this list, just leave a comment, and I’ll update the fore-going.

Once the New Year is behind us, I think I’ll create a designated page for those of you out there in the lands of In My Head, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Balloon Juice, or Angry Black Lady Chronicles who make and sell — it wouldn’t be likely to make anyone rich, but I’d love to help you put another dime or two in your pockets!

Sunday (not so) brief: Q/A with my commenting peeps!

I don’t usually post on Sundays, but as I keep noting: Last week saw a whole bunch of new readers arrive! And I feel I should reiterate something that I reiterate from time to time, to wit: I don’t comment (reply to comments) in my own commenting section. I’m just following the rules, I swear! Rule #6, to be precise:

The blogger will not participate in the commenting. I have decided that in terms of my own need for structure and sanity, the comments section is for commenters, the posts are for me….

But, as the rules are of my own making, there is also Caveat #6.1:

In the interests of fairness, the blogger will occasionally answer questions and/or respond to commenters’ expressed needs/desires/ requests in the body of a post.

And as a few questions have been asked in the comments over the past week, the time has come for a brand-spanking new edition of Questions/Answers!

1) What are your criteria for acceptable comments? Actually, this question was asked (in a rather ruder fashion) as part of a comment that never saw the light of day, but it bears addressing.

In my About Commenting page, you’ll see that rule #1 for this site is: Be a person. Be polite. Treat others as you would have them treat you. And so on. The corollary, rule #7, is: If I determine that you are not being sufficiently polite and respectful, I will cut you off at the knees. Hey-oh!

Bottom line, what that means is: Feel free to disagree — with me, or with each other — but those who come in guns/insults blazing will not be allowed airtime.This is my home, and I don’t let strangers burst into my home and insult me, or my guests. Since I started this blog a little less than a year ago, I’ve only had to ban one person, but then, my readership is not all that enormous. Who knows what this brave new future will bring! The first comment a new commenter makes is vetted by me, and in this past week, I’ve rejected four or five for sheer rudeness, all told — but those represent an absolute minority of all the new commenters (thank you!).

2) What constitutes “rude”? Well, mostly, I think people know that all by themselves. If it’s not something you would say to someone you know, if it’s not something you would say to my face, if the tone you’re using is one for which you mother would say “you watch your tone with me!” — well, don’t type it.

3) What if it’s all a big misunderstanding? If you’re a new commenter and your comment hasn’t appeared, or you’re a veteran commenter and your comment has been removed (and replaced with a note explaining why), and you think I didn’t understand what you were driving at, please feel free to submit another comment, or shoot me an email at elhauser [at] hotmail [dot] com. I try not to be overly tetchy, but hey, I might very well misunderstand your intent in the heat of the moment — if I have, I’ll make it right, I promise.

4) What would you have Israel do in the short and medium term? Ok, this is (finally!) an actual, factual question, posed by jerry in Ok, now I’m pissed. And my answer is going to read as too easy to some, and too unrealistic to others, but what I, personally, would have the Israeli government do is pretty straight-forward.

In the short term, I would have them immediately cease all construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, open direct negotiations with the Palestinian government headed by Salam Fayyad, and ask the United States and Arab governments to do all they can to encourage a Hamas-Fatah unity government. If I remember correctly, roughly two-thirds of Israelis have said that they would support negotiations with such a Palestinian entity (I’ll find the source for that number and come back with an update), and no matter what I, personally, may think of Hamas (they’ve tried to blow me up on more than one occasion, so I’m not what you might call a fan), I believe it would be foolish to try to go forward with Fatah exclusively, given the support that Hamas has among the Palestinian population. People tend to forget that one doesn’t make peace with one’s friends — one makes peace with one’s enemies. Hence the need for peace.

In the medium term, I would have official Israel do everything it can to prepare its people for the costs and compromises of peace. The government will have to be honest about its end-goal (a two-state solution) and what that will require: a return of the occupied territories to Palestinian hands, with small and mutually agreeable territorial swaps, a shared Jerusalem, and an arrangement that satisfies the Palestinians but doesn’t threaten Israel on the question of the Palestinian refugees (see the Clinton Parameters, Geneva Accord, and Ayalon-Nusseibeh Plan). Mostly, the Israeli government will have to start acting like war is the scary thing, not peace negotiations.

I would ask the same of the Palestinians and the Arab governments, btw. Throughout the region, all the governments have played a central role in the continuing demonization of each other, and honestly, any peace accord will not be worth the paper it’s printed on if the people themselves feel they’ve been sold out — and to the devil, no less.

5) I disagree with you entirely. Would you please justify your opinions to me? This wasn’t asked literally, but that’s what a lengthy comment from new commenter Michelle boils down to, more or less. And Michelle, I don’t think I can explain myself in any way that you would find acceptable, given your opinions on such matters as the Israeli treatment of the people of Gaza and the nature of Islam. I appreciate your careful manner in stating your disagreement, but it’s clear to me that we have very little chance of reaching an understanding (a thing that I think that you know, too).

Moreover, I’ve already been pretty clear about these issues, right here on the blog. Re: Israel’s treatment of the people of Gaza, I would point you especially to Israel/Palestine: the basics, but also to “We convinced ourselves that we’re moral and everyone wants us dead”, titled after a column written last week by an Israeli journalist which I quote at great length in the post. I would also suggest you read How many dead to arrive back at square one.

Re: Islam, I would say start at Anti-terrorism fatwa, which discusses an absolutely scathing fatwa issued against terrorism by a leading Pakistani theologian, and then move onto Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, by John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed, followed by Lesley Hazleton’s excellent After the Prophet (a list of books I recommend for learning more about Islam can be found here). I will certainly not try to argue that there are no violent extremists within Islam — but I do not believe that they represent most Muslims. And there is much that makes me uncomfortable or frustrated about gender relations within the Muslim world, but I think that Muslim women are better suited than I am to approach those issues honestly and respectfully — to learn about many who do just that, I highly recommend the book Paradise Beneath Her Feet, by Isobel Coleman.

6) Well then I guess we’ll just have to read more of your blog, won’t we? Yes, new commenter Wrye, yes you will! And I will be so pleased if you do.

7) Should I tell everyone I know and many with whom I am not in the least acquainted to read your blog? Ah, commenter-who-lives-in-my-imagination, you have struck an important nail right on the head!

Every fresh set of eyeballs on this blog makes me very, very happy indeed, and I would be deeply grateful to any and all who want to spread the word. (And that Twitter button up there to the right is probably a good tool for just those purposes. I’m not sayin’. I’m just sayin’).

Sunday brief: Following events in Iran.

I wrote the other day that I was holding my breath, waiting for today in Iran. Well, today is here. And so far, it’s been bloody.

As I sit at my computer, casting about to find out what’s happening/has already happened (bearing in mind that Iran is 9 1/2 hours ahead of CST, where I am, which is to say: As I write at 10:35 am in Chicago, it is 8:05 pm in Tehran), I thought some of you might also want to know where to go to learn more.

It’s important to remember that Iran kicked out virtually all foreign journalists in the wake of June’s post-election protests (here’s Amnesty’s quick take on those events, here’s a timeline of events during and since, and here’s leading Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji on what it all meant), and while some are there now, reporters are generally banned from covering any event that the government knows will be hot (and/or arrested if they do) — and, of course, internet service is tampered with all the time. So, journalists are doing the best they can, often from quite a distance. I’ve been checking the news sources of places geographically closer to Iran, websites that really covered the elections back in June, and the sites of news sources likely to have large Iranian ex-pat readerships.

And so:

  1. As is his habit, Andrew Sullivan is blogging prodigiously about events, almost liveblogging as information seeps out into the air.
  2. The BBC appears to have someone in Tehran, and they have a lot of useful analysis and background (such as this, about how the opposition is using the old slogans and symbolism from the 1979 revolution). You’ll also find a map locating some of today’s clashes.
  3. The Los Angeles Times has people reporting from Tehran and Beirut.
  4. DubaiDoh! I meant: Qatar-based Al-Jazeera is nearly as close as you can get to Iran without actually being in Iran, and despite what many Americans think, they do good journalism.
  5. The New York Times is in Beirut and is posting video and pictures periodically.
  6. UPDATE: Robert Mackey is also doing a great job blogging about events on The Lede, at the New York Times.

Ok. Back to obsessive reading. I hope that the sacrifices being made today by hundreds of thousands of Iranians serve them and their people, and that this may be the turning point for greater freedom — speedily and in our days, inshallah.

Sunday brief – tech update!

Ok, one feels to need to explain one’s self!

I do (honestly!) know and believe that all of the forms of technology that I currently eschew are in fact a boon to many. I don’t question that, nor would I ever take them away from anyone (except at the dinner table) — I, in fact, think it’s kind of ridiculous that I feel smug! What’s to feel smug about? It’s just tools, and they as good or as annoying as the people using them.

I have an actual dislike for the iPhone as a product, and I greatly prefer old-fashioned photography to digital. Other than that, these are all just things that I don’t know how to do, that some other people really enjoy.

There. Fixt!


Sunday brief.

It was brought to my attention on Friday night that I may not know what I’m talking about regarding the plague — I’m sorry, genre of Reality TV. One of my closest friends protested that there are three reality shows that she really likes, and let’s be honest, I love her for very good reasons, not least that she is very smart and has impeccable taste, so she may have something here! But I steadfastly refuse to open my mind to the possibility. LALALA, I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

And in the spirit of refusing to open my heart to the possibility that Reality TV might have anything good to offer anyone, I offer this awesome clip, brought to my attention by commenter notheretomakefriends, over at Jezebel. Awesome, just – awesome.


I, on the other hand, am here to make friends. Bring it on!

%d bloggers like this: