Monday, October 24, 2011

A Bunch of Crock

What do you get when you cross vintage art and snarky (but accurate) political commentary? Why you get my favorite thing of the day, A Bunch of Crock.
Nearly one-in-five (18%) Americans say President Barack Obama is a Muslim. 

A Bunch of Crock is the creation of artist Safwat Saleem, who has this to say about it on his website:
A Bunch of Crock is an art exhibit about the absurdities of political campaigns and the unfortunate role of minorities. Filtering through various political messages in any election year, the common thread seems to be this: 1) politicians and pundits think the general population is too stupid to tell fact from fiction and 2) promoting fear of minorities is good politics.
Using satire and good old-fashioned profanity, this exhibit attempts to bypass the bullshit and tell the audience what the politicians and pundits actually mean, and how they portray minorities to promote fear and manufacture outrage.

Life's No Fun Without A Good Scare

Today marks the start of my favorite week of the year, the week that my birthday and Halloween both happen. To celebrate, I'm going to post awesome Halloween stuff all week long. So sit back and enjoy today's creepy delight, Neil Gaiman's Newbery Award winning book, The Graveyard Book.

In true Gaiman fashion, The Graveyard Book is a wildly imaginative tale full of twists and turns that take you to magical and fantastical places. The story focuses on Bod, who starts the story as a baby. His family has been murdered, and he alone escaped the knife of the man Jack. Bod wanders into a graveyard where he is taken in by the ghostly and otherworldly inhabitants who vow to raise Bod as their own. 

This book is funny, macabre, thrilling, painful, but above all terribly beautiful. And though it was written for a younger audience, there is no reason adults won't enjoy it as well. In fact, the layers of complexity that Gaiman weaves together ensure that they will. 
Sleep my little babby-oh

Sleep until you waken
When you're grown you'll see the world
If I'm not mistaken.
Kiss a lover,
Dance a measure
Find your name
and buried treasure...
To say I like this book is simply inadequate. I devoured this book in an afternoon. At 312 pages (included the acknowledgments) it's not that big a feat, but it's not something I usually do. And after I devoured it, I read it again, slowly, spreading it out over a week. The second read was every bit as wonderful as the first. 

Right now, Neil Gaiman has videos of himself on his website reading The Graveyard Book to an audience. I've had them playing in the background all day while I write, helping set the mood and tone for the week. His voice makes a haunting and wickedly entertaining book all the better. 


Sweaters for Penguins

In case you haven't heard, there was a terrible oil spill in New Zealand in early October and it has caused what is probably the worst environmental tragedy the country has ever seen. The penguin population of New Zealand has been hit quite hard by it:
The fallout from the incident, which saw Rena run aground on a reef last Wednesday, is already being felt, with seven little blue penguins and two cormorants recovered and treated today at a centre in Tauranga.
If you are a knitter, there is a way you can help. New Zealand yarn company Skeinz has put out a call to action to get people to knit sweaters for the rescued penguins. This may sound crazy, but I can assure you they are vital accessories and not tragicrafting. The sweaters keep the penguins from preening themselves and ingesting the oil, which can be a serious problem. Of course it also has the added bonus of being totally adorable.
Cutest Call To Action Ever of the Day

Directions on knitting the sweaters and information on where to send them are on the Skeinz website. If you knit, please take time to help out a penguin. And if you don't, do what I did and help spread the word.