In Which Keepsakes Turn Up

12 April 2006

I think everyone who's interested in the American political system and its outcomes should look at this graphic comparing the regulation of slot machines to that of electronic voting machines. It's scary, even with the nice smiling lady in the headdress at the top. Well -- maybe especially with her. (Link from Making Light.)

In non-troubling news, Mark and I spent the weekend in Omaha helping my folks sort through a few of my old things before the move. (Actually Mark mostly sat around playing computer games and reading, but that's not intended as criticism: he couldn't be expected to know which stuffed animals were of great significance and which were just kind of placeholders, which doll had always played the villain, etc.) I found my paper dolls, my blue moose, and the invitation to my after-Prom party, which said, with refreshing honesty, "It's the only thing to do." Although perhaps, "It's the only thing to do that won't really upset your parents if they find out," would have been even more honest. I didn't keep it -- I have pictures from Prom, and they're much more important as memory-triggers go -- but it made me smile.

I also found pictures from my year in Kansas. Much silliness -- we were eleven, which was old enough to make a good deal of our own fairly complicated silliness, not depending entirely on adults for it.

And I found the last -- the only -- letters I got from my Gran. Mostly Gran was not much of a letter-writer, and mostly I was up there often enough that she didn't have to be. But the last year of her life was my first year at college, so I got a few letters from her.

My back went back out from where I fell down the stairs last week, so I didn't post this when I intended to. What I did instead was to curl up with a stack of library books. I wholeheartedly recommend Colin Cotterill's The Coroner's Lunch. I read it and its sequel Thirty-Three Teeth, out of order, but they worked all right that way, too. If I had to name a genre, I'd call them magical realist historical murder mysteries. They're set in Laos just after the revolution. I'm not sure why they make me so happy, but they hit me just right, and I think they're really good. It's one of those situations where I've read a book in borrowed form and want to own a copy. This is extremely rare for me with mysteries, but the examples are all things I feel very strongly about: Dorothy Sayers and Kate Wilhelm, mostly, some early Lawrence Block, some Ellis Peters. Most of the mysteries I read from the library are things I'm glad I didn't spend money on: fleeting entertainment. But The Coroner's Lunch is better than that, for me at least.

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