A new tag?

I’ve noticed I’m sliding into the habit of posting personal opinion. Do I need a new category for posts, one titled “Rant”? or just some self-control?

Dandelion Love

Tiny breaths of love
drift and dream and cling,
send roots deep,
open tender bitter leaves,
flower bright and brave
and sigh away,
tiny breaths of love.

Whose food? Not Monsanto’s

Lots of people believe genetically modified food is a necessary technological development if everyone is to be fed now and into the future. But even such believers should be wary of how Monsanto is sabotaging the business of seed development and production. Competition, economists tell us, is good in itself and spurs innovation. Monsanto believes competition is bad, all seed production profits are theirs by bully boy right.

Some might argue that Monsanto is only doing right by its major stakeholders-shareholders and employees. Huh. Of course, I am biased. Monsanto is the company that made Agent Orange, which then devastated Vietnam. My dad’s a Vietnam Vet. He has the Agent Orange scars to prove it.

And I also prefer my food unmodified, particularly when the modification is to enable the farmer to drench the field in pesticide without killing the crop. The pesticide in question, Round-up, is a major earner for Monsanto.

What can we do about it? At a minimum, if you grow your own vegetables, consider joining a group like Seed Savers Exchange. Purchase seeds that when you grow them will in turn produce their own seeds, not sterile hybrids.

Maybe the most important thing is to stop and think what’s important to you. Me, I don’t think food should be copyright.

Edit. I forgot to say what prompted this rant. Boing Boing mentioned Monsanto and provided the link to the original AP story published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which is what I’ve linked Monsanto to in this post. A couple of weeks ago, The Economist also wrote up Monsanto (I’d link, but it’s a subscriber only story).

Life and Society in the Hittite World

I bought Life and Society in the Hittite World by Trevor Bryce after watching a television documentary which mentioned this mysterious, powerful and vanished people with their ruined city Hattusa (now a world heritage site, such are the ironies of time) in Anatolia.

If you prefer social history to military or even economic, then you’ll like this book. It opens the window into how the Hittites lived, their laws, social hierarchy and daily life. It is accessible, but not simplistic.

My reason for buying the book, in addition to natural curiosity, was to see the organising principles for a vanished civilisation. When you write fantasy, you have to create a coherent, alternative world. This social history of the Hittites tackles a similar challenge, and succeeds. A world alien, yet similar to ours, is opened to the reader. We see the Hittites interact with other, better known civilisations like the Egyptians, and how the Hittites’ ideas and military expansion affected the Near Middle East.

Murder Sunny Side Up

This is the book that proves to me that while I’m an insane read-aholic, there are some things even I can’t do–and one of them is pay $135 for a secondhand mystery novel. Even though I really, really like R B Dominic/Emma Lathen as an author. Unless her books come out as ebooks one day, I think this will be “the one that got away”. Spending $135 would take all my joy away from reading it.

Does everyone have an upper limit to their book spending?