If you, people of the world, don’t already know, permit me to inform you that today is World Information Day. This is the annual acknowledgement of worldly information first observed in 2006 by the International Telecommunication Union, a specialized agency of the United Nations.
So, why haven’t you heard about it until now? Like many specialized international agencies (S.P.E.C.T.R.E. comes to mind), sometimes information is hard to come by.
When trying to fix this, I enjoyed a brief correspondence with Sanjay Acharya, the ITU’s chief of “media relations and public information,” who directed my request for a quote to a four-and-a-half minute YouTube video of ITU Secretary-General, Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré. Well-played, Sanjay, but if I were going to quote a YouTube video, it would probably be something a little more viral than Dr. Touré’s monotonic admonition not to text and drive. Though a worthy sentiment, the doctor should also warn drivers not to watch his video lest they fall asleep at the wheel. [click here to continue…]
Our son’s maternal grandmother was a kindergarten teacher, consequently we’ve inherited children’s books spanning both the decades of her career and those of her own child-rearing. We’ve inherited a library dating back to the 70s with many gems and as many that seem to be cultural artefacts form a parallel universe.
Among the my son’s current favorites is this peculiar title credited to a one “Theo. LeSieg.” Thanks to my superhuman ability to decipher anagrams (the result of mild dyslexia), I immediately recognized the surname as a mirror of “Geisel,” as in Theodor Geisel who is perhaps better known as Dr. Seuss. Though this was apparently no secret to either publishers or readers, it was a revelation to me and for a moment I felt like Dan Brown’s Harvard-bred symbologist Robert Langdon. And nearly as fictional to boot.
Apparently Geisel used the backward nom de plume for books he authored but did not illustrate. Among them is Wacky Wednesday, which steps up the surreality of most Seuss works with a Buñuel-like play on the banal – a shoe on the wall. Then there are two shoes on the wall. Then the androgynous protagonist observes:
“Then I looked up and said, ‘Oh, MAN!’
And that’s how Wacky Wednesday began.”
[click here to continue…]
Here’s the secret recipe to writing fantasy fiction, courtesy of an audiobook engineer I know:
When activist Anna Jarvis originally conceived of Mothers’ Day, it was intended as an intimate, perhaps even somber event, during which children can acknowledge the myriad sacrifices endured by the women who birthed and raised them. By 1914, her campaigning led to President Woodrow Wilson’s signature on a bill establishing Mother’s Day as the second Sunday in May. Nearly a century later, that “intimate” event, according to estimates of the National Retail Federation, is a $20.7 billion business.
Naturally, our moms deserve every bit of that $20.7 billion brunch they get from us but Jarvis would not have approved. She brought numerous lawsuits against organizations that used the “holiday” in conjunction with charity causes and even petitioned the government to remove it from the calendar after having worked so hard to get it on there in the first place.
History.com reports an incident that occured in 1925 in which “…an organization called the American War Mothers used Mother’s Day as an occasion for fundraising and selling carnations. Jarvis crashed their convention in Philadelphia and was arrested for disturbing the peace…” [click here to continue…]