Monthly Archives: March 2008

Leaping babies

Just about everyone I know is having a baby this year. By “everyone” I mean numerous friends who have been in long-term committed relationships, and two otherwise intelligent people in a new relationship, who apparently don’t know about birth control. Maybe it’s the recent moon eclipses, maybe they don’t know the experts say we won’t have any food to eat in a few years’ time, but I think it’s more likely a leap-year phenomenon. I have no data to back this up, but truly, aren’t you finding the same thing? Aren’t your friends procreating like mad? Folklore has it that women can only propose to men in leap years. (Not sure what the penalty is if they are refused, though Wikipedia says in Denmark, it’s 12 pairs of gloves.) So let’s just say leap years come with a mandate to solidify family relationships. But this year must be a special even for a leaper, because many of these gestating couples were good and proper hooked up long before the last one, and they didn’t produce offspring then. Can’t think of many kids born in 2004, though I’m sure millions of them were—just not any belonging to friends of mine.

Most of these leap-year babies will be born to parents in their mid-thirties to early forties, so I must admit that biological imperative is a big part of it. Whatever the reasons, it’s really quite sweet, as they’ll all be gorgeous, really well connected and have friends to play with whom their parents approve of (at least for the first 12 years), go to decent schools and be world travellers. Twenty years ago I was doing the same thing, enthusiastically setting sail on the mommy boat, along with quite a few friends and family members. This time, auntie-hood is calling, and I’m so glad I’ll just be surfing the waves when I feel like, and not be the one scrubbing the decks. Congrats, y’all!

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Journalism 2.0 course … web headlines

For this assignment, we are to choose five “bad” and five “good” headlines we’ve found on the Net. I’ve just looked at two sites: CNN, US and broadcast-based and the UK Guardian, with its print background.

Apart from telling the story succinctly and with impact, we have been told that web headlines should be easy to find in a search engine, so should have key words. The absence of that Google-friendly requirement is what would make the following headlines “bad”:

• Time running out for kidnapped duo. cnn.com

• Body of missing Briton found in pit. guardian.co.uk

• Fears for sailors trapped in sunken ship. cnn.com

• Pre-collapse photos show bends on bridge. guardian.co.uk

• Shops defy binge brinking plans. guardian.co.uk

What makes some of the headlines work for the reader, though, if not for Google, is the fact that one wants to find out what happened. In the only one I clicked on, the Briton in the headline above turned out to have been killed in Jamaica.

Here are some “good” ones:

• China blasts Dalai Lama, Pelosi on Tibet. guardian.co.uk

• Bill Richardson endorses Obama. cnn.com

• Krill fishing threatens the Antarctic. guardian.co.uk

• Capello recalls Robinson. guardian.co.uk

Here’s one that does not fulfill the search requirements but is a great headline anyway, and one which I clicked on immediately:

• Rock in a hard place. cnn.com (about a heavy metal band in Iraq, of course)

Note on my new header

The photo on the blog’s header is a slice of the rain forest floor, taken during a hike in the Iwokrama area of central Guyana in December. I’ll probably take some time before I settle on the definitive photo, but this is the one for now.

Journalism 2.0 course … RSS feeds

RSS feeds new

Here’s a screen shot of the RSS feeds I’m subscribed to at the moment. My screen shots seem to be in thumbnail format, but click on them and they’ll open up. I think this page presentation is limited in that way, and if I don’t figure out how to get photos at a different size, I’ll have to change it (again).

Journalism 2.0 course … blogs

I have not explored very many blogs, but here are three that I like:

Nicholas Laughlin’s blog etc.

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Nicholas’s blog is passionate and packed full of information, intelligently written, and has links to many other useful Caribbean blogs and literary sites. The layout is clean and easy to navigate, therefore I’m not overwhelmed by the amount of information he presents.

Chez Pim

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Great blog for a foodie like me. The author, Pim Techamuanvivit, has a wonderful sense of humour and her recipes make my mouth water just looking at them. Her recipes are thorough, and even though some are complicated, she takes time to explain everything. Beautifully presented, chatty and with links to other good cooking sites.

The Sartorialist

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I’m hopeless at fashion, so I’m fascinated by the people Scott Schuman photographs on the street in New York and Milan and other places, most recently in New Delhi. This site is the essence of simplicity. Schuman, who apparently has years of work in the rag trade under his belt, presents photos of people whose style he thinks is interesting, and people comment on the looks. He comments as well, as in a recent post where everyone thought the look was dreadful and he disagreed. He has an impeccable eye, and maybe I can learn something from him on this visually exciting blog.

Holi Easter

It’s Good Friday, the quietest day of the year in these parts. It’s when Christians commemorate the death of Jesus Christ, and here on the hill, it began early with the sound of the priest and parishioners of the Roman Catholic church down the road solemnly setting off to make the Stations of the Cross … re-enacting Christ’s last steps before His Crucifixion. I must have lapsed back into sleep because I didn’t hear them coming back, though I don’t really know whether they go back to the church or not. Except for the birds, there hasn’t been so much as a sound for most of the day, as Good Friday is supposed to be sorrowful. But Easter will soon be here, symbolising the Resurrection … rebirth and new beginnings. So it’s quite lovely and fitting that this year, Easter and the Hindu festival of Phagwa (or Holi) fall on the same weekend. Phagwa is a spring festival, a deliciously joyous celebration where everyone, young and old, gets soaked with abir (coloured powder, usually mixed with water and sprayed on other giggling people from plastic bottles). I won’t be able to hear the music or shrieks of delight from here though, so we’ll take a drive to central Trinidad tomorrow or Sunday. Happy Easter Happy Holi!

Journalism 2.0 course

Info for class: RSS Reader: Google. I’m using Google because I already have a Gmail account and use other Google services like Docs, Calendar etc, as well as the toolbar, so it’s all connected and easy to access.

RSS feeds include: Daily Blog Tips; Trinidad Express; BBC; Google News; Food Network; Guardian.

News alerts I have set up: Venezuela Colombia Ecuador situation; Obama Clinton