April 19, 2010

Unsolicited shoutout

I had a request for more Okinawa pictures, which I aim to provide. But first I feel obliged to give props to a book that helped me survive the physical misery of two long overseas flights in economy class.

That book is....Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, a well-known author of fiction and nonfiction who has Appalachian roots. She made a big splash a couple of years ago with her book about local food, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Some of her fiction tends to be preachy at times but Lacuna seemed to have been written just for getting me through the flights.

In 2008, El Cabrero, the Spousal Unit and two friends went to Mexico, where among other things we visited the house of artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Rivera's murals at the Ministry of Education in Mexico City, and the museum at Leon Trotsky's home in exile where he was killed by Stalin's agents.

I've been fascinated by Trotsky since I was a pup and while I'm no follower, early exposure to his life and ideas has given me zero tolerance for Stalinist BS and anything that reeks of it, however, wherever and whenever it shows up. Later on, I also became a Frida and Diego fan (two turkeys on the farm are named after them).

Anyhow, Kingsolver ties their lives together with that of a fictional protagonist who eventually gets caught up in post WW II Cold War hysteria. She even weaves in ancient Mexican civilizations, including a visit to the pyramids at Teotihuacan, which is truly a magical place.

What can I say? The book scratched my itch. And I'm grateful for the diversion.

MINE SAFETY. Can you say "union?"

MINING AND MORE are the subjects of the latest edition of the Rev. Jim Lewis' Notes from Under the Fig Tree.

NO COMMENT. NPR reports that Massey CEO Don Blankenship's pay increased recently despite continuing concerns about mine safety.


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