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A Wigwam for a Goose's I
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creepy doll
Girlie jones made a post yesterday asking whether swine flu was just a clever ploy to justify WHO's budget, to which I started drafting a long comment, until I realised I was, well, going on at great length. So I decided, hey, I've got my own lj where I can mouth off to my heart's content.

I just happened to be doing some research in the area for my novel when the flu news broke. Although I really didn't need to for the purposes of chronicling the first horseman's ride through my novel, I started checking the WHO swine flu news releases daily. Sadly, they were as exciting as watching paint dry. So to respond to one part of GJ's post, there's nothing particularly scaremongering about the WHO media releases. The media themselves did all the running in circles, screaming and shouting.

WHO are, on the one hand, treating this flu seriously because it seems to be spreading rapidly and easily and could turn into a pandemic. This does not mean it's going to turn into a killer virus. It could just mean a lot of people will get the flu, spend five days on the couch with honey lemon drinks and blowing their noses. WHO have been waiting for more data on the extent of H1N1 mortality and morbidity. They've repeatedly made that clear.

It does no harm for people to do a dry run on what to do in case of a pandemic, even if it turns out that this one that has a low mortality and/or morbidity rate -- just on the off chance it has a high mortality rate, or for the next one.

The other part of GJ's question, the more cynical one was, who benefits?

Roche pharmaceuticals and Donald Rumsfeld. Go on, don't trust me, you can check Snopes.

It's the stocking of Tamiflu that rocks my cynic-meter into the red.

Here I wish I had a translation of this article from Le Grand Soir to point you to, in which they discuss how Tamiflu's effectiveness has been questioned, in no less an august publication than The Lancet, and its use has been connected in Japan to sudden death in very small children. Other under-reported side effects include neurological and psychological disturbances.

But by all means, let's line the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies. Cynical? You betcha.

On the other hand (I'm growing spares in my closet), let's face it, with global warming, there's more coming. WHO and various national governments aren't wrong to get their drill down pat in advance. Frankly, GJ, if I were living in Queensland, I'd be more worried about malaria.

And hey, what about those poor pigs in Canada, who caught the swine flu from the worker who'd been on vacation in Mexico. Is anyone worried about them?

On yet another hand (you should see me play piano) I had a storybook when I was a girl with a tale in it about a gatekeeper who made a deal with cholera, plague and yellow fever (I could be getting the diseases wrong -- I was young, they were weird names, but you get the picture -- three killer plagues). The gatekeeper negotiated entrance into the city with each disease, and they agreed on the number of souls each would take in advance. Come the end of the pestilence, the gatekeeper was indignant. He was down way more bodies than he'd bargained for. When he confronted the three and demanded to know why who'd cheated, they all insisted they'd taken only what was agreed.

"You forgot our brother, Fear," they said. "He travels with us, and always takes his share."
2nd-May-2009 12:37 pm - Book me in at the Eiffel Tower
Okay, how cool are these images of the re-imagined Eiffel Tower? Champagne, fois gras, marble tub, tout Paris at my feet... Ah yes, I can see it now... Then again, if you combine the proposals for the tower, add the underground shopping complex to this hotel that gets more swish the higher up the Iron Lady you go, chances are I'd end up in a pokey room with a hand shower behind the FNAC on level 6-basement munching a stale Gruyere baguette.
24th-Apr-2009 05:57 pm - Oz grrrrls feeel the love
There's a best women SFF writers Mind Meld at SF Signal worth checking out, and some gals here on the big red island figure in the list: Margo Lanagan, Justine Larbalestier, Juliet Marillier. Lucius Shepard tips his hat at Kaaron Warren and Jay Tomio wags a finger at KJ Bishop to get her next book out.
17th-Apr-2009 08:16 am - We are no longer invisible!
For a tiny interwebberly moment (probably already well passed), thanks to the voice of Susan Boyle, women in their late 40s may strut.

By the way, if you only know of this video, and are mumbling, "yes, yes, the scottish virgin", but haven't listened to it, I bid thee, blow this popsicle stand, and go listen to it now!
Enjoy this article from the Chronicle Review on the evils of Strunk and White. I did. Of course, there's a bit of stretching of the shoe to make it fit, but still. Who doesn't like heroes to have feet of clay?

Lifted, with thanks, from aliettedb.
13th-Apr-2009 05:36 pm - Something rank at Amazon...
creepy doll
Groovier people than me have posted on this, here on the big red island, but as I have a book that's been de-ranked, allow me to blow off some steam...

Amazon has removed the sales ranking from several GLBT fiction and non-fiction books.

What this means is that if you pop onto Amazon, and slap a title into the ALL DEPARTMENTS search box, say, for example:
Zami by Audre Lorde
Kushiel's Scion by Jacqueline Carey
Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown
Tipping the Velvet (Sarah Waters)

or any of dozens of other titles, including my titillating Gender Studies: Terms and Debates, the latest paperback and hardback editions will not come up. If there's a Kindle edition, or used copies for sale, they'll show, but otherwise, the books just don't appear.

This isn't just a tragedy for latenight egoboo, this means people won't be able to find those books, and their existence and importance is receiving a digital kick in the teeth from the monolith.

For a growing list of titles deranked, check out this post by meta_writer, and follow the links there for beginning and then the full unfolding story.

When you get over being unpleasantly surprised at the incredible stupidity of it all, please feel free to write Amazon, or send in a complaint to their customer service people, or contemplate something more drastic. Follow links for suggestions, I'll leave it to you. Despite knowing that they've been very, very bad, they've done nothing to fix things.

I'm off to email my publisher, now...
31st-Mar-2009 12:16 pm - Delicious melancholy
Yesterday, I was strolling along the Esplanade, watching seagulls stealth divebombing at the fish and chips carefree picknickers weren't protecting earnestly enough.

Today, I'm listening to the rain on the leaves, filled with a nostalgic longing for something I can't quite name.

In my oven, simmering quinces are slowly turning from cream to deep red. 
Colour change.

Autumn has arrived.
I take advantage of this surprising burst of electricity supply and DSL connection to wish aliettedb  and chrisbarnes  many happy returns (I mean this in both the birthday and typewriterly ways).

And an apology: My DSL connection has been down...down...still down...  and meanwhile, the government of the Dominican Republic forgot to pay their electricity bill...so while their check is in the mail, folks here have been contending with 10-18 hour long daily power outages. 

If I've been not present digitally, there's a reason (other than my usual sloth...)

I still luvs y'all.... 
24th-Oct-2008 12:39 pm - aging genius
I paste this quote from Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker article on the myth of precocious genius here for those moments when solace might be required...mine, yours, whoever's.

"But then there was Alfred Hitchcock, who made “Dial M for Murder,” “Rear Window,” “To Catch a Thief,” “The Trouble with Harry,” “Vertigo,” “North by Northwest,” and “Psycho”—one of the greatest runs by a director in history—between his fifty-fourth and sixty-first birthdays. Mark Twain published “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” at forty-nine. Daniel Defoe wrote “Robinson Crusoe” at fifty-eight."
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