Friday, July 08, 2005

Pit bulls banned in Rio

Rio has joined the many idiotic cities, states and countries who have banned pit bulls in a effort to...I'm not sure what they think this will do. The idiotic logic of these bans is enough to make me want to maul someone. PETA supports breed bans as the only way to keep the dogs from being abused. Let's ban children too then. Meanwhile, Rio has one of the highest murder rates in the world, and they have spent six years debating what to do about pit bulls.

Banning the dogs won't make the owners any less abusive or irresponsible--they will simply move on to another breed. Also, by banning the breed, they are creating a huge black market, which will make illegally, poorly bred dogs that much more of a money-maker.

What is really curious to me is that in New York City, with nearly 1 million dogs living in close quarters, many of them pit bills, maulings like the ones in San Francisco, Austrailia and elsewhere are unheard of. One would think, if it was such a dangerous breed, that there would be a New Yorker dead at least every five to seven days.

It seems to me that if the time, money and effort currently being directing into banning the animals was redirected to enforcing animal welfare laws, there wouldn't be a problem at all.

MJ Rose's "Good Books/Good Cause" campaign

MJ Rose is always ahead of the rest of us when it comes to reaching readers via the Net. Her latest book,The Halo Effect, has a trailer . In addition, she is donating $5.00 to Reading is Fundamental for every blog that links to the trailer. So is this a sort of blackmail? Or am I just seething with jealousy?

More pressing: what else am I willing to do for $5?

And, since I actually got an email directly from MJ's rep, does that make me an official "blogger" now?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

New Mississippi Review issue online

The first phase of my guest-edited issue of the Mississippi Review is online now. The theme is Location/Dislocation and I was completely overwhelmed with submissions. I had expected a couple of hundred, and ended up with far more than that. So many, in fact, that there will be a print edition in the Fall. In the meantime I've posted a baker's dozen or so including:

Stevan Allred, Daphne Beal, Raul Correa, Sean Ennis, Amanda Gersh, Cynthia Gralla, Emer Martin, Jan Meissner, Lincoln Michel, Joanna Pearson, Marian Pierce, Felicia Sullivan, Pragya Trivedi and Suzy Vitello.

Some of these are writers whose work I had encountered before, some I knew nothing about at all. But in each case the stories really knocked me out. Among the surprises: Emer Martin's excerpt about refugee children sent to live among plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills; Raul Correa's memoir of life as a soldier for hire in Iraq; Cynthia Gralla's meltdown in Bangkok; Felicia Sullivan's story of a birthday robbery; and Suzy Vitello's children at play in an attic. But then I'd be leaving out Amanda Gersh's South African sea monkeys, Sean Ennis's au pair, and well...everyone else.

The difficulty was in reading so many submissions that were competent but didn't really fit the theme at all. In fact, a surprising number of entries had no sense of place at all, or the place was needlessly exotic, or the exotic was represented merely by the fact that the natives don't speak English. But I think that's what inspired me to choose this theme: it seems that a sense of place--and its effects on character--are too often missing from writing today.