I don't have a central theme today...just thought I would pass on some things I have heard about, that may be of interest.
1. I was listening to the ever-beloved iPod this morning, to a podcast of To the Best of Our Knowledge, and one thing they mentioned in passing was these genetically modified flowers that have been developed in Denmark. Not so hot on the genetically modified agriculture, but these are good in a way that few things in this world are good. What do they do? You take the seeds to a country that has been at war, like, say, Afghanistan or Iraq, and you plant them in a field. If there are landmines in the field, the flowers over the landmines turn red. No kids blowing up, (as long as you can keep them from going to pick the flowers, but that's just parents knowing what's up with the flowers, I would think) no people afraid to build new houses or schools or water treatment plants in the area. Amazing. As Martha Stewart would say, It's a Good Thing. (By the way, these plants aren't NEW, but I hadn't heard of them before. Sorry if it's all yesterday's news to you...)
2. We've all heard about the amazing work done by Habitat for Humanity, right? Well, here's another amazing group called Architecture for Humanity. They provide ways for architects from around the world to create designs to help solve problems around the world. They are involved in reconstruction efforts following earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes. The program they were talking about on the radio, though, was an attempt to reduce AIDS infections in South Africa. How in the heck can Architects affect the infection rate of AIDS in South Africa, one would rightly ask. Well, they did some research and discovered that one reason that so many young women get infected in South Africa is that there is no real place for them to gather, to come together and talk and find out information. So, what to do? They are building a soccar field, an amazing soccer field, combined with a health outreach program. They invision the coaches being medical professionals, and there being a medical clinic on site. And over 300 girls have already signed up to be in the soccer league, and the field isn't even built yet. Amazing.
3. On a more pop-culture type subject, have you heard about the new 6-part 'reality' series on FX, "Black. White."? Well, the premise is that they have taken two families, and with make up have made the black family look white, and vise versa. They have to live together for awhile, and of course the white family is pretty well off, because, well, aren't ALL white people country club republicans, and aren't ALL black people poor and into gangster rap? (not fair...the black family on this show is just your average middle class family, not the stereotype that some people fear...I was just talking about stereotypes in Hollywood there...)Maybe it's gonna suck, but it's kind of an interesting concept, and it's getting pretty good reviews.
4. I'm reading this book right now, because I can't seem to get into 'Cloud Atlas', which is the other book I'm 'reading'. This is my first experience with Alice Munro, and boy, she's an amazing writer. She writes short stories, but they aren't like most short stories that I've read. Usually, short stories seem to me to be snippets, like the author wanted to write a novel but ran out of ideas or something. They are so...slice of life-ish. Well, these short stories seem to hold a complete novel in the space of a short story. I'm really digging it. So, if you're in the mood for some good reading, pick this book up at your local library. :)
5. I got this from Wendy's website (we both did random thought posts today, too...I started this one this morning, and am just now updating it with #5 because of her post...). It's fun. You can find out the #1 song in America on the day you were born (assuming birth after 1940), your marriage date, whatever. The song for my birthday was "The Sounds of Silence", Simon and Garfunkel. Perhaps not so coincidentally, S & G was the first concert I ever went to see, in '82 or '83, Oakland Coleseum. Amazing concert. The #1 song on the day I was married was "That's the Way Love Goes" by Janet Jackson. Ugh. Doesn't sound like a good omen, does it? But as I posted on Wendy's comments, if I'm gonna take my omens from Janet, I'm doomed. At least we didn't get married on the same date in 1991, because then the song would have been "Rush Rush". GOD I hated that song. Maybe because my upstairs neighbor played it OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN, so loud that the walls would shake. What a horrid memory THAT is. #1 for Maya's birth date is "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion. I sure hope THAT's not the first concert she ever goes to see. Wait...too late...her first concert was BB King. Whew. Dodged a bullet there. Ted's birthdate song was "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter" by Herman's Hermits. Never heard of it. So check it out, and have fun!