It has been while since I took a sabbatical from blogging, but the time has come! I plan to take a break for the rest of April and May. Lord willing, I will return to the blog June 1st. See you then!
Whisky Sour City – Published by Black Moss Press
First, Shields did a great job editing this book. Her tireless efforts (and those of the many other people involved) to get the book out so quickly also is to be applauded. She really made this a delightful project to contribute to. Second, the design of this book is very attractive! Third, the concept of this anthology is brilliant. Fourth, while I would say a fair number of the poems here were not necessarily my cup of tea, the talent represented here is clearly impressive and the book’s candid perspective is certainly an important addition to the growing body of “Windsoriana”. Fifth, my favorites were probably “Under Construction: August 16, 2012″ by Debbie Okun Hill and “Sidewalk Sideshows” by Natalie Hillis. Sixth, there are some haunting lines in the two aforementioned poems as well as Anne Baldo’s “Finally Sweet” which are fantastic and I simply can’t get out of my head. That’s all. I’ll let reviewers less connected to this project share their thoughts.
One of my older poems, County Road 39, has been featured over at The Rusty Nail.
Whisky Sour City is a remarkable anthology of poems about Windsor, Ontario that I’m looking forward to reading. I suppose you could call it an addition to the growing collection of “Windsoriana” out there. The book is edited by Vanessa Shields and has a forward by Alistair MacLeod. It was published by Black Moss Press with the help of the University of Windsor publishing practicum class. My poem, Buildings That Scream, is featured therein.
Yesterday there was a launch party for it at the Giovanni Caboto club. There was quite a crowd.
Here is the list of authors:
- Brendan Houghton, Eva Antonel, Karl Jirgen
- Debbie Okun Hill, Donya Tag-El-Din
- Mary Kate Brogan, Keith Inman, Rosalind Knight
- Jesse Poho, Marty Gervais, Michael Laverty
- Lynn Tait, Maria Matuscak, Laurie Smith, Sonia Sulaiman
- Donna Hreceniuk, Kate Hargreaves, Jason Rankin
- Sarah Faye Morris, Priscilla Bernauer, Natalie Hills
- Penny Anne Beaudoin, Eugene McNamara, Josh Kolm
- Leonore Langs, Ellie Csepregi, Robert Earl Stewart
- Karen P. Oulllette, Carlinda D’Alimonte, Mary Ann Mulhern
- Susan McMaster, Anne Baldo, Vanessa Shields, a.m. kozak
- Jordan Turner, Dawn Marie Kresan, R. Patrik James
- Lisa Pike Fioindi, Sarah Faye Morris, Ryan Gibs, Marisa Gelfusa
- Dorothy Mahoney, Ema Varutti, Terry Ann Carter
- Dorothy Jane Kavanaugh, Peter Hrastovec, Melanie Janisse
- Maureen Rudall, Mark Nenadov, Hugh MacDonald, Roger Bell
- Marie Groundwater, Kim Conklin Hutchinson, John B. Lee
Back in September, I made a quick comment on the strangeness of the situation in Syria, in it you have an interesting common cause between Al Qaeda, The U.S.. Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia on one side (sided with the rebels). And Iran, Iraq (whose government has been installed by the U.S.), Russia, and China on the other (sided with the Syrian government).
Eric Harroun, a former U.S. solider, is now potentially facing life imprisonment, or perhaps a death sentence (in the U.S.) for personally fighting against the Syrian government (which the U.S. has loudly and clearly said should be overthrown).
This is extremely peculiar. Especially when Secretary of State, John Kerry, said: “the United States does not stand in the way of other countries that made a decision to provide arms, whether it’s France or Britain or others.” McCain, Graham, Condoleezza Rice, and Senator Marco Rubio have said that the Syria rebels should be armed by the U.S..
Harroun’s lawyer has said: “It is extremely unusual for the US to charge a person who is fighting in a manner that is aligned with US interests”
So, this raises some interesting questions. If the Syrian rebels ought to be supported, then why is Harroun on trial for doing just that? On the other hand, if the rebels should not be supported–for whatever reason, then why all the rhetoric from both parties about the need to support them? If a person works for a terrorist group to accomplish an objective that the U.S. supports and desires to be accomplished, can that person be tried as a terrorist?
This is a messy conflict, and it brings out many interesting contradictions. I think the situation in Syria is becoming a very helpful demonstration of the merits of non-interventionism.
- The Biblical Spirituality blog lists some good features of the Heidelberg Catechism.
- There is a new podcast for Reformed Baptists, The Confessional Baptist (RSS feed here)
- Yesterday was my wonderful daughter’s 1 year birthday! I took a day off from work and I had a wonderful time with my family. As usual, my wife did a terrific job of capturing it in Ashley’s 1 year post.
- Jonathan Crowe has some interesting thoughts on book reviewing.
Foreign Policy, Liberty, and Security
- More sad news from Afghanistan. It has recently been discovered that 11 children have been killed in a recent NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan.
- Glenn Greenwald made an interesting point earlier today when he observed that this Politico article which dismisses fears over domestic drones, only quotes from drone industry lobbyists. That’s great journalism, isn’t it?
- R.C. Sproul Jr. has a great article about writing. Highly recommended.
- Poetry fans in the Windsor, Ontario area will be interested to know that the launch for the Whisky Sour City anthology (of poems about Windsor) is this Wednesday. One of my poems is featured therein.
- Eric Margolis has an article about what a third Korean war could look like. He concludes by saying “The Pentagon estimated a full-scale invasion of North Korea could cost 250,000 American casualties. In short, a real war, not the jolly little police actions launched by the US in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.”
- More civilians (and police officers) are dying at the hands of NATO in Afghanistan.
- Did you know that Herman Bavinck wrote about “The Christian Family”? Here is a bit of a taste.
When Google announced that it would be closing Google Reader on July 1, I began to see how much I depend on this web app and how none of the alternatives really address my needs. I’ve since then come to the conclusion that no hosted solution satisfies my needs for a web and mobile feed reader.
It was then that I turned to look at self-hosted solutions, namely solutions that you can put on a web server and run on your own. In exploring what was available, I discovered selfoss. I’m very pleased about this open source product, which is run by Tobias Zeising. It isn’t perfect, but I believe it is useable for my purposes.
The app is licensed under GPLv3 (if that means anything to you–basically, it means you have a great deal of freedom to do what you want with it, including modifying it). It is written in PHP and can use Postgres, MySQL, or sqlite for the database. I decided to use sqlite since that is the optional was the quickest to setup for a test run. In the future, if I run into issues, I can always switch over to a more heavy duty database.
The app is really easy to setup if you know the basics of running a web server. It has an OPML import, which was what I needed to get all my Google Reader feeds into it. I made a few minor config tweaks (added the update script to my crontab, changed it so it ‘marks read’ automatically, setup authentication, etc.).
The one key thing in starting to read through items on selfoss, is to realize that there are a few important keyboard shortcuts. “Space” takes you to the next item, and that’s very import for the way I quickly read through feeds (shift-space takes you backwards, for instance). For my purposes, the only keyboard shortcut I will need to remember is “Space”.
selfoss has a nice mobile version on the web interface that, while certainly not anywhere close to great, is fairly useable (unlike The Old Reader and others). The Twitter sharing option is pretty good (seems to work better than Google Reader twitter share). Sharing via e-mail is also quite straightforward.
At this point I only have two outstanding annoyances:
- There isn’t any easy way to mark your entire list of items (across all feeds) as read. I like do that once in a while when I get behind. Maybe I’m missing something, but so far the only way I could do that was to go into the sqlite database.
- On the mobile version, when you click into an item, there isn’t good navigation to the next item (nothing like ‘space’ on the traditional web version of the interface) . You can’t swipe over to the next items (which makes sense, since this is a mobile web site, not a full out mobile app), but there are also no navigation buttons to go to the next item. Very annoying!
I hope improving navigation through items remains a huge priority in future development of this product!
I suspect that only #2 will bother me long term. I hope that #2 will either be fixed in future version, or I may have to fix it myself. But that requires touching PHP. Yuck. We shall see.
In any case, it seems I am now ready for Google Reader to go goodbye! I would almost start offering to host instances of selfoss for friends, but at this point I’m not sure I want a ton of extra traffic on my server, especially since most people have a lot of feeds. My wife can have an account if she wants, though