Tuesday, January 01, 2008

At The Pivoting of the Years

Happy New Year, All. Two brief items before bed. First, the Koontz has been good reading so far: one of the characters turns out to be a mobster-turned-monk whose conversion was occasioned by reading Kate DiCamillo stories. Title and author are not mentioned, but the references to the stories about the "china rabbit" and the "mouse who rescued a princess" are clear enough. The mobster monk, Knuckles (yes, there is a lot of, er, transparency here) finds his lost vision of himself by rereading and rereading what would be The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane until he understands why it makes him sad. I was much taken with this. Then the ghost of Elvis showed up. Unnecessary, in my view, but I'm hanging in. The story carries one on, as mysteries tend to do.

Second, after much wavering, and, if one cares to note, no shoe-buying, I ordered (or should I say donated ?) an XO laptop, which some of you may recognize as the device offered by the One Laptop Per Child initiative. OLPC Link HERE. In brief, because there is much more to say that I cannot articulate tonight, the OLPC is Nicholas Negroponte's dream of supplying children in extremely impoverished parts of the world with laptops and internet connections to the rest of the world. He does not deny that these children and their peoples need food, clothing, medicines, and shelter; his idea of the laptops is, essentially, that they open up a world of possibilities before unknown. And, of course, this requires an infrastructure of servers, electricity, etc, so this is exciting and daunting. Yet a friend of my mother's remembers Roosevelt's rural electricity project, electric light and the radio finally coming to his farmhouse in the thirties. The idea of "donating" is a program called "give one, get one," i.e. one buys two, and one goes to you and the other to a child. There is also the offer of free TMobile hotspot for a year for "donors." I must say I felt more like a purchaser. I confess: I wanted one of these cool, ultra connected touchscreens, linux driven, python preloaded, solar chargeable, (I believe I shall have to buy the charger separately if they make it available to the public) machines. The website states that they will send the XO for "the child in your life." I am the child in my life; I lean toward geekitude. And we circle back to Brother Odd and his mobster monk friend: Knuckles found his childhood self in storybooks. We will have to see what the XO holds for me.

Fireworks outside. Let us hope 2008 brings peace to the world and to all of us. Goodnight.


John B. said...

"Geekitude." There are worse traits to possess, especially given that geekitude has tended your thoughts toward the impoverished.

Peace and blessings on you and yours this new year, Cordelia.

Two Dishes said...

So I put the Kate DiCamillo on my Amazon wishlist.

I find it irresistable when authors namedrop their reference points. In Strong Motion by Jonathan Franzen the main guy takes a whole box of paperbacks out to the curb and Franzen lists them in detail without comment. I think it led me to read Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer, some Denis Jonson (sp?) short stories, and Rick Moody. That's a lot to spin off of one novel. I really like Franzen so I trusted him.