Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Read a Banned Book

I did about three hundred eyerolls reading this list - a lot of them are on my favorites list!  In honor of Read a Banned Book week...READ!

The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000

1 Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2 Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4 The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6 Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7 Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8 Forever by Judy Blume
9 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10 Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier & Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
20 Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30 The Goats by Brock Cole

Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40 What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up
Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50 Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60 American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
70 Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by
Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
80 On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer

Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
90 Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene

Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100 Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Most challenged books of 2004

1. "The Chocolate War" for sexual content, offensive language,
religious viewpoint, being unsuited to age group and violence

2. "Fallen Angels" by Walter Dean Myers, for racism, offensive
language and violence

3. "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture" by Michael A. Bellesiles, for inaccuracy and political viewpoint

4. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey, for offensive language and modeling bad behavior  (LOLOL!!)

5. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky, for
homosexuality, sexual content and offensive language

6. "What My Mother Doesn't Know" by Sonya Sones, for sexual content and offensive language

7. "In the Night Kitchen" by Maurice Sendak, for nudity and offensive language

8. "King & King" by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland, for homosexuality

9. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou, for racism, homosexuality, sexual content, offensive language and unsuited to age group

10. "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck, for racism, offensive
language and violence

Top Ten Challenged Authors 1990 to 2004
1. Alvin Schwartz
2. Judy Blume
3. Robert Cormier
4. J.K. Rowling
5. Michael Willhoite
6. Katherine Paterson
7. Stephen King
8. Maya Angelou
9. R.L. Stine
10. John Steinbeck

2004 Most Challenged Authors
1 Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, author of the Alice series
2 Robert Cormier, author of The Chocolate War and We All Fall Down
3 Judy Blume, author of Blubber, Forever, and Deenie
4 Toni Morrison, author of The Bluest Eye, Beloved and Song of Solomon
5 Chris Lynch, author of Extreme Elvin and Iceman
6 Barbara Park, author of the Junie B. Jones series (LOL)
7 Gary Paulsen, author of Nightjohn and The Beet Fields: Memories of a Sixteenth Summer
8 Dav Pilkey, author of The Captain Underpants series
9 Maurice Sendak, author of In the Night Kitchen
10 Sonya Sones, author of What My Mother Doesn't Know

Friday, September 23, 2005

AOL J-Land Awards, AKA "The Vivis"

Here are the categories for this years Vivis - the AOL J-Land Awards.  Check out Patrick's Place for details...


The top honor:  a journal that stands out above all others in 2005.

Best U.S. Male Journal

Best U.S. Female Journal

Best U.K. Male Journal

Best U.K. Female Journal

NEW!  Best Canadian Journal

NEW!  Best Journal originating in countries other than U.S., U.K. and Canada

Journal with most effective/creative use of original non-animated graphics.

Journal with most effective/creative use of original animated graphics.

Journal with most effective/creative use of original photography.

Journal producing the most laughs among readers.

Journal producing the most distinct emotional response among readers, happy or sad.  This is the journal that gives readers a real sense that they're reading something straight from the writer's heart.

Journal written in a way to inspire dialog and/or raise awareness about issues that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Journal with powerful entries that tackle tough issues head-on.  It's not about "masked vulgarities" or anything else that might make the TOS people raise an eyebrow:  it's more about writing honestly without any fears of telling it like it is.

Journal with creative and effective use of grandiose behavior.

Best use of grammar.

Journal consisting of original fiction or poetry that stands out among the rest.

Award for a single entry or series of related entries on a particular topic.

Journal that sticks primarily to one single topic or theme, from Sports to Travel to Politics to Career to Religion, and rarely deviates from that topic while still maintaining reader interest.

Outstanding Journal written by people aged 14 or younger.

Outstanding Journal written by people aged 15-18

Most outstanding journal created since July 1, 2004.  (That gives a little more than a year of eligibility, but the official nominations of last year's awards were named around July 18th, and I wanted to make sure everyone who had begun their journals around that time had the opportunity to participate.)

NEW!  Specifically to feature journals created by AIM Users.  Since AIM journals are a relatively recent possibility, all of the AIM journals themselves would automatically be "new."

NEW!  Most outstanding journal that is older than a year, but that readers feel hasn't received the attention it deserves.

NEW!  A journal you miss the most:  one that still exists but has not been updated in any way in at least three months that readers wish would be regularly updated again.  Consider it the "Best Abandoned Journal."  Maybe this award will change that!

NEW!  Outstanding journal that creates a unique experience for readers.  It need not be necessarily the best journal in all of J-land, but it is the one journal with such a distinct voice that a reader could identify by reading a single entry.  It is different from the "Journal of the Year" category in that it may not be the biggest standout of the year overall, but it is regularly such a special place to visit that you want to come back always.

This sounds like a ton of fun!  In the meantime, copy the category information, visit as many journals as you can, and submit your entries AFTER OCTOBER 1st.

I'm thinking Aileen qualifies for the "Most Missed Journal" award, but I'm thinking SloMo'll take it hands down.  Anyway, the more people participating the better, so let's do it!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I know its been forever...

So, my topic.  Yeah, I really do have one.  Face transplants.

I watched a show on Discovery Health back when I had the free time to do so about this controversial procedure, and I found it quite interesting.  People horrifically burned in devastating accidents, debating about whether or not it was something they could do.  Basically, it involves transplanting the entire face from a deceased individual onto your head.  The idea is to find a donor with similar skin tone and facial structure.  Admittedly, it is a little creepy, but...what if you were faced with a horrendous disfiguring accident like these people were?  Would you be willing to risk everything in order to have a functioning face? 

An even bigger question:  would you be willing to give up your visual identity in order to improve your quality of life?  You wouldn't look like "you" anymore.  How would that feel?  I think it might be quite traumatic to wake up, look in the mirror, and see someone else.

Many of these people no longer have noses or eyelids or ears.  They're scarred so terribly they have trouble talking and eating.  One individual in particular had to put special drops and creams in her eyes to keep them from drying out.  Her tear ducts had been destroyed along with her eyelids.  People stare and gasp at this woman, who was once strikingly beautiful.  She has little hair, no nose except two small holes, and enlarged lips.  Her skin is so scarred it looks painful.  She's had numerous surgeries and she's lucky to be alive.

This begs the question...would you be able to recognize the facial features of the deceased individual on the recipient?  How creepy would that be, to be walking down the street and see your deceased loved one's face on someone else?

This particular documentary involved medical students who were the subject of an experiment designed to test that particular theory.  They were shown pictures of cadavers (donors) before and after the experimental surgery, where the recipients were also cadavers.  The results were mixed - some students readily identified/matched donor to recipient, where others had more difficulty.

Apparently, the risks are huge and involve infection and rejection. Recipients have to be placed on anti-rejection medication that can harm your body.  If the transplanted face is rejected, recipients could be worse off than they were to begin with - no face whatsoever and no tissue to work with.

I'm not sure what I'd do in this situation.  I always think of my kids first, and if I was lucky enough to be alive to be here for them, I wouldn't want to push my luck.  On the other hand, it depends on quality of life issues.  I know its a superficial thing, but I understand completely what its like to be discriminated against and treated horribly for how you look (ie being overweight), and I can't imagine what it would be like to go through life horribly scarred beyond recognition.  People can be so mean.  BUT...do I really want to look like someone else?  Do I want to lose the visual representation of what is ME in order to fit in?  Would it be worth it to avoid the pain and improve my quality of life?  Do I want to risk my life?

Its crazy how well I get treated now, even though I still have 30 or more pounds to lose.  Everyone's nicer to me, people open doors for me and I get respect much more now than I did 50-60 pounds ago.  Like I said, people can be so mean.

So...what would you do?  Would you continue with your scars and pain or would you go ahead with a very risky surgery that'll have you looking like someone else?

Check out the article HERE.


Crazy what a little stress can do to you.  Suddenly the things that used to be so important, the things that brought you a little joy each day are just not that imperative anymore.  Like journaling, for instance.  Seems the classes I took on this semester are just a little more daunting than I thought they were going to be, and my workload has increased exponentially.  So much so that I've turned into a whining, sleep-deprived weirdo who laughs hysterically at things that are just a little funny and does stupid things like rush out of the house without essential items.  (and I do mean ESSENTIAL items)

My application for graduation was approved, however, so I'm going to finally (FINALLY) graduate in May.  That's my mantra these days...

Almost done.  Almost done.  Almost done.  Almost done.

Things are going along swimmingly, however.  Hubby found a job and started Monday, the girls are wonderful, the job is awesome.  I've just sort of put my own needs aside for the short term.  That's all.

I'm just exhausted, overworked, stressed and treading water.  And whining!!!


There's your  monthly (monthly?) purge with a side of whine.  I really would like to see how people feel about the face thing though, so chime in!

More when  I can....

Saturday, September 17, 2005

AIDS Walk 2005 - Albuquerque, NM

I know people are busy donating to Katrina, but I'm still doing the AIDS walk next weekend.  If anyone's got even $1 to spare and you feel like donating to yet another good cause...

Team Romero 2005

I know we won't get very much this year, but I wanted to be sure my family and friends could contribute if they wanted to.  (Plus everyone's been bugging me about it!!)

The walk takes place next Saturday, September 24!!

Thursday, September 1, 2005

For Miss Aileen

That's right, our notorious Aileen, of Waste of Space fame, is having a birthday today.

I miss you tons, darlin.  I hope you have the best birthday ever!



Even from beautiful downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico, I'm slowly grasping the devastation that has hit our gulf states.  I'm particularly partial to New Orleans because I spent a week there last year...such a beautiful city, with so many wonderful people.  I hope they know we're all doing everything we can to help them. 

The pictures are upsetting, the stories are gut-wrenching...and much like 9/11, I'm left trying to explain this catastrophe to my children, and helping them understand how important it is for everyone to chip in and help.  Its always a fine line, explaining something as hugely terrible as this without frightening or upsetting them.  Of course they discuss this stuff at school, but its up to mom to explain it and answer any questions they have.

The gas prices are ticking me off.  I still don't think we're being told the entire story, and I still think the American people are being taken advantage of.  The states that were hit the hardest have the highest gas prices.  It just bugs the heck outta me.  Not only that, but it looks like every industry is using the hurricane excuse to jack up prices.  (Lumber is the first thing that comes to mind.)  I just can't stand it when corporations try to profit from tragedy.  (Like Haliburton)

And looting.  These people have no food or water - what do you expect?  Its survival at this point.  I'd do it too if it meant feeding my children, and its going to continue until these people get what they need.

I read a story about a poverty-level mother in New Orleans, stranded, now homeless, with a premature infant who needed oxygen and other durable medical equipment to survive.  The machines were operating on battery power, and the hospital turned her down because she had no insurance.  They can barely keep their life support equipment powered and they're worried about revenue.  Stuff like that makes me sick.

Another thing that's bugging me is my weak understanding that the Army Corps of Engineers was warning people about this, and our leaders (yeah I'll blame Bush) chose to CUT funding instead of increasing it to address the problem of the weakened levees.  Now the entire city of New Orleans is under as much as 20 feet of water...was it really wise to divert funds from this effort?  Didn't this weaken us further?  Didn't they warn everyone that this would occur, especially during hurricane season?  Ugh!  Now the Corps is grasping at straws, hoping that dumping tons of sandbags will temporarily solve the problem. 

Oh and Bush cut his vacation short.  By three days.  (eyeroll)  He had time to go to a rally before he went out to fly over New Orleans.  Priorities, Mr. President.  He handled things very well immediately after 9/11.  I'm hoping he'll pull it together for this.

Hundred year old beautiful buildings - gone.  Hundreds dead.

I hope our leaders feel incredibly guilty about this.  I hope they understand what they've done, as they see all these tens of thousands of people suffering.  I also hope that we still have some international allies that like us enough to help us out.  I hope we haven't alienated them all.

I know everyone's blogging about this, and I'm so far away I'll probably never understand what those people are going through, but its still worth noting that even in New Mexico, people are stepping up and donating and volunteering.  We'll keep praying, keep giving, and keep going until we help fix it.

Let's get it done.

I hope I'm wrong about the funding issue.  I also hope I'm wrong with my impression that our leader doesn't care enough.  I further hope that you'll see our true American spirit in these coming months as we help rebuild.

I wanted to blog about something silly and upbeat, but it just doesn't feel like the time.   I'll send some b-day wishes out shortly though...=)