Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Margins

Back again after a bit of a blogging hiatus. Been so busy I've rarely even been online, let alone had time for blogging. Hope to get back into a regular routine again this week, starting with this collection of marginal news items that caught my wandering eye while trying to catch up on a month's worth of missed news.

Double Hero: Amazing Washington teenager performs not one but two inspirational acts in one busy day. "It's all in a days work I guess," she says. "I mean, I don't see myself as [a hero]. ... I'm sure a lot of people would do the same thing."

Red Sun Rising: Last October we felt compelled to ask, "Will Japan become the new France?", after reading about the rising popularity of the Japanese Communist Party among young voters in Japan, partially resulting from the popularity of a comic book adaptation of the marxist novel, Kanikosen. This week the UK Telegraph offers its readers a troubling update: "Japanese turn to communists in downturn".

Rampant corruption combined with the spiralling unemployment caused by the global economic downturn has given the [Japanese Communist Party] a huge new support base.
Party officials say that more than 14,000 people have joined the cause in the last 18 months, a quarter of whom are under 30. Similarly, circulation of the party newspaper, Akahata (Red Flag) has risen to 1.6 million copies.
This increase in grass-roots support has been boosted by a manga version of Karl Marx's "Das Kapital," which sold more than 6,000 copies in the two days after it was released in December, and revival of interest in a 1929 novel titled "Kanikosen" that told of a rebellion among workers on a crab processing ship off northern Japan.
Despite the recent surge in its fortunes, Shii and his supporters accept that the JCP will not have a majority in the Diet in the near future. They will fight the national elections, of course, but they are focusing much of their attention on winning hearts and minds at the local level.
Winning hearts and minds, through popular culture like comic books. I wonder if that's been happening here, as well. [Ah: work in progress.]
Hill of beans: the state of modern parenting in Santa Barbera, California. If you don't treat your kids as if they are hapless imbeciles, they'll call the cops on you.

106th Birthday: An Indiana gardener celebrates the fruits of a life well-tended.
"I like to work in the garden, I like to play golf," Ethan says.
He began hitting the links at the young age of 72 and began ballroom dancing at 90.
And it's that on-the-go lifestyle that keeps this father, grandfather, great grandfather, and great-great-grandfather busy.
And Ethan's secret to longevity?
"I don't have any secrets," he admits. "I stay pretty active."
It is a remarkable birthday surrounded by family, friends, and more than a century of memories.
"I don't think you'd be able to add very much more to it. It seems just about perfect," Ethan concludes.

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