Archives for December2008

Book About Birth is El Paso Native’s Baby

The El Paso Times did a write-up about Labor Pains and Birth Stories, which you can read here.

Still updating the website. Look for more blog posts soon….

Changes Have Begun

I’m thoroughly updating my website. So please be patient. It will continue to go through some changes but hopefully the end result will be sleeker and sexier, with a hint of orange spice. Or hot venice chocolate.

Favorite Quote of the Day

“College socializes you, so you learn to present even trite ideas well. —Elyse Graham, in Chris Hedge’s latest article “The Best and the Brightest Led America Over a Cliff”

How Africa is Treated In U.S. News Media

Here’s a short video satire on how the U.S. news media typically treats Africa.

The 90s: The Past is Another Country

Some of my current students make a habit out of referring to the 90s like it’s ancient history. I suppose if you’re 17 or 18 years old, the 90s do seem a long time ago. But I had to laugh when I read this comment from a 17-year-old student, who was critiquing the horror flick The Haunting of Molly Hartley:

“This movie is pointless. She tries to escape from something through out the whole movie but ends up joining it at the end. This movie would have been a good movie if we were in the 90’s, but we’re not. Today’s movies require more than just a simple movie that has no horror at all. If you feel like watching a bad movie, go watch this one. ”

Back in the Dark Ages called the 1990s, during the pre-Saw days, we were simpler folks with simpler tastes.

Booksigning in SA

henry-trotter-chris-gibson-and-jessica-powers.jpgI just found out that Zebra Book Blog posted a picture of me, Chris, and Henry Trotter at the Cape Town Book Lounge book launch for Andrew Brown’s Street Blues: A Reluctant Policemen.  It is a GREAT book, by the way, but I’m not sure it’s available in the U.S. Andrew Brown was an anti-apartheid activist, and apparently came close to bombing the same police station where he is now a weekend police officer. He writes compelling tales about the relationship between cops and civilians in the new South Africa. He writes about the fear he can taste every night as he tries to do his job. Each chapter shows the moral dilemmas that policemen face, told from the perspective of someone who is more a civilian than a cop (“reluctant” is the right word) but who is a reservist in the second most violent country in the world (second only to Jamaica, apparently). (I kind of wonder when they rank countries, how do they position countries like South Africa, who is not at war, against countries like Iraq? Is South Africa really more violent than Iraq right now? I’d much rather go to SA, I gotta tell ya.)

Here, you can see the relaxed Henry Trotter, the I’ve-gained-ten-pounds-in-six-weeks Jessica Powers, and the I’ve-just-stepped-off-a-24-hour-flight-from-the-U.S.-and-I’m-still-wearing-the-same-T-shirt Chris Gibson. All captured for posterity.

Cholera in Zimbabwe

Cholera has been hitting Harare, Zimbabwe bad since last August. Today, the media reports that the numbers lie at more than 12,000 people stricken and close to 600 dead. Zimbabweans are rioting in the streets; some are leaving for Mozambique or South Africa.

I heard an interview on NPR with some cholera expert, who said that this was evidence of a massive breakdown in Zimbabwe’s infrastructure, specifically sewage and water systems. She theorized that this was proof that things weren’t working very well in Zim right now. No duh. Where has she been for the last ten years?

Tennis Lane

The 17-year-old teenager who was kidnapped and tortured for a year in Tracy, California–which just got named the second safest city in the U.S.–is the big news around the Bay Area right now. I wonder if everybody who hears about news like this finds it unimaginable? The kind of thing you read in Stephen King novels but which never really happens just down the road from you?

Apparently, the police have been flooded with calls from people who want to help, including a man in Santa Cruz county who said he would foster the kid through the holidays. Good for them but my thoughts? Uhh–no way! If I was a professional therapist, I’d maybe think about it. He needs help, but he needs more help than most of us could ever hope to give….

 I like to think that people heal and move on from these things all the time, with residual PTSD, of course.  Women who were sexually molested as kids by their fathers grow up and go to therapy and find some hope and solace. Kids who are beaten–same thing. Maybe because those kinds of things happen so frequently, they still seem within the realm of “normal”–sadly. But there’s a sense that we have seen people recover from those kinds of abuse and go on to lead productive, happy lives. I’m not sure we have the same proof that people recover from kidnapping and torture in the same way. It’s (thankfully) not that common–so we don’t know.

I do know that I wish that kid well, whoever he is. He’s going to need a lot of grace and love to get through this.

A few pics from South Africa–finally!

Got off my lazy ass and finally saved a few pictures at a smaller resolution and a smaller size so I could upload them. I think I made them *too* small but that’s the shakes. I’m too lazy to go back and re-do them all again. You can click on them and they’ll be slightly bigger….


On the road to Cape Town. Love the clouds….


Some pottery makers


flea market in downtown Cape Town


a monkey in a car, playing with the locks


same monkey in the car…we’re preparing for wildlife


lions this close when I’m in an open landrover scare the crap outta me


cheetahs…we got out of the landrover and came within fifteen-twenty feet of them; they ignored us. Humans? Ah, who cares.


Our guide shows us some Bushman paintings a few thousand years old…


Bushman paintings….




Big brother elephant…


itty-bitty-baby elephant