Monday, March 14, 2011

Continuing Crisis in Japan - Info Link

Google Crisis Response Center for the 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

People searching for news of loved ones or the latest information on the nuclear crisis can find links for all that and more at the above Google Crisis site.

And here is a page of links for people wanting to send help to Japan.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Perspective

A 9. 0 magnitude earthquake, followed by a tsunami sweeping 1300 miles of coastline, accompanied by fires, explosions and radioactivity released from nuclear plants malfunctioning - multiple disasters beyond the scale of human comprehension. Whole towns swept away, and even at the edges of the disaster, homes ruined and business demolished.

The eastern coastline of Honshu is home to the majority of the one-hundred-twenty-seven million people of Japan, and the northern part of the island is very cold this time of year. But areas of the island are without power due to the shutdown of five nuclear reactors. Reports are of 200,000 evacuated from near the nuclear plants.

As terrible as they were, this disaster is worse in scope and magnitude than the quake in Haiti or hurricane Katrina. According to a report on CNN, the quake appears to have moved the island of Honshu eight feet, and shifted the earth four inches on its axis. Parts of the coast have dropped lower, leaving water where cities used to be. It puts my personal worries and concerns in perspective. We pray for the people in Japan who are suffering in the aftermath.

Here is a link to the Huffington Post page on How to help Japan. Where to begin? One small act of kindness at a time.

Here's multiple links at PC World to stay informed and in touch with your friends - everything from live network feeds and live blogs in Japan to the United States State Dept. and the Red Cross, helping families communicate.

Among the help being sent by the United States government, here is a list of Navy ships sent to assist the Japanese government rescue operations. The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is already off the stricken coast, serving as a floating platform for refueling the Japanese and other helicopters involved in rescue efforts.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What is Anagogical?

I love to come across unfamiliar words. I enjoy tracking them down to their lair and discovering their meanings, usage and pronunciation.

The word today, anagogical, comes from John Granger in Harry Potter's Bookshelf. The definition comes from Merriam-Webster online:

"interpretation of a word, passage, or text (as of Scripture or poetry) that finds beyond the literal, allegorical, and moral senses a fourth and ultimate spiritual or mystical sense"

Of the several online dictionaries I checked, only Merriam-Webster puts anagogical in its proper literary context of four interpretations of a text. Granger applies all four interpretations to the Harry Potter books, beginning with the literal and ending with the mystical (anagogical) sense of the plot, action, dialog, names, colors and numbers in the books.

Some of Granger's revelations are not only stunning to me, but so obvious once they were pointed out that I was embarrassed to not have seen them already.

(Anagogical is a word new to the spell checker for eblogger - it keeps wanting me to change it to 'analogical', which is not at all the same. What a difference one letter makes.)

I have seen most of the Harry Potter movies, but have not read the books. Now I am happily anticipating reading all of them.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Harry Potter's Bookshelf

Today I am reading Harry Potter's Bookshelf: The Great Books Behind the Hogwarts Adventures.

I stumbled across this enlightening work by John Granger while browsing the offerings at Library2Go, Oregon's Digital Library Consortium. Granger's analysis reveals ten genres and four layers of meaning in J.K. Rowling's amazing books. She disclosed in interviews that she planned the seven novels for five years before writing the first one.

I recommend HP's Bookshelf for a thought-provoking revelation of the depth of literary allusions and mystical meanings in the Harry Potter books.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Friends: old, true and gone

I have reached that time in my life when nearly every week brings news of a classmate that has passed on. A reminder that we graduated as a group from high school but we graduate to what is next individually, at seemingly random times and places.

This is a time to appreciate old friends and true: the ones who look me up on Facebook to say we are still friends after all these years; the ones who send emails and letters and cards, even though my response is sporadic at best; the ones who text me their important events as they happen. All generous souls who share their love and hopes, concerns and fears, with a dollop of humor and a helping of humility.

I am so grateful to be included in their lives, however haphazardly, for I am inconsistent in communications, often turning inward with depression, something I want not to share but probably most need to.

This afternoon I have an appointment with a mind doctor (aka psychiatrist). I wonder if psychic surgery were possible, would we choose to have painful memories excised? But that is a function of many anti-depressants - to repress the sad memories and enhance the good times. Too bad my biochemistry repudiates those happy pills and produces nasty side-effects. Oh well, when life gives you sh**, plant flowers!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vampires Biting Mother Earth

A recent development in drilling for natural gas, "high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking", resonates with me as a strong corollary to vampires biting our Mother Earth. Like the mythical monsters of blood-sucking fame who inject their poison to paralyze their victims and then drain them of life, these corporate monsters inject poisons into our earth before draining her of fluids.

Or at least, that is the nightmare I had last night, and waking did not dispel it, as proven here: The New York Times: Regulation Lax as Gas Wells' Tainted Water Hits Rivers.

What is next on the agenda? Glow-in-the-dark rivers? Glow-in-the-dark people? Perhaps when their profit-dollars also glow in the dark they will not want them quite so much?

I thought Erin Brokovitch fought and won this battle for us already, but the undead monster has risen again to torment mankind. As long as profits outstrip pollution-penalties, corporations will ignore the risks to humanity.