If it weren't for the fact that Denis and I like to watch the Game Show Network while Denis eats lunch before going to work, I don't think I'd ever see a commercial. Commercials ("adverts" for those of you living in the UK) are a look into the culture that watches them, and sometimes that look shows me things I'd rather not see.
Take, for instance, the fact that we are now a society that believes there's a pill that can fix everything that's wrong in our lives. It doesn't seem to matter that those pills can have side effects that are absolutely horrific as long as there's a chance that the pill can fix something-- no matter how minute. If there is such a pill, then some pharmaceutical company is trying with all its might to have us buy it and swallow it down like good little boys and girls.
In a second version, a frowning woman is sitting at her desk at work, looking at the clock, not wanting to be there. According to the pharmaceutical company, her lack of a smile and her lack of desire to be at work means she's depressed. For crying out loud, this means she's a normal human being who has the occasional day at work when the hands on the clock never seem to move and she just wants out of there so she can do something more interesting. She. Is. Not Depressed. She is human.
(And ever notice how all the people are always female in these commercials?)
I've been sitting here debating about whether or not to share some true symptoms of depression with you. They are not pretty. They are painful, and sometimes they can be disgusting. But they are true cries for help. When I see these commercials, I despair. Human beings are not meant to smile 24/7. The road of life is meant to have a few bumps along the way. If anyone-- especially someone trying to sell you some new kind of wonder pill-- tries to tell you differently, do not pay attention. Please. Do not become a side effect. Do not become a statistic. Save those pills for when you really need them.
As I mosey out to the corral, I can smile, knowing that Denis is happy that I had a new audience for my Pill Rant. Head 'em up! Moooove 'em out!
►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄
- Random House's Cathy Goldsmith talks about a newly discovered Dr. Seuss book.
- When the public feared that library books could spread deadly diseases. (Ever notice how someone always seems to be after libraries? Knowledge must scare the pudding out of them.)
- Secrets of the 9-1-1 dispatcher.
- The Waukegan Public Library unveiled a Ray Bradbury statue on the author's birthday.
- The crime fiction of Madrid.
- A massive plastic-cleanup device invented by a 25-year-old may finally be catching trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
- A study shows that people who read a lot of books are way nicer, kinder, and empathetic. (This is a news flash?)
- Why the Royal Mint refused to honor author Enid Blyton with a commemorative coin.
►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄
- Laser mapping is revealing bizarre new rituals of the ancient Mayans.
- A metal detectorist found a gold ring worth over $12,000 in his garage forty years after discarding it as worthless.
- Yale University discovered a Dutch water bond from 1648 that still pays interest-- and they collected!
- Ancient Mesoamericans calmed down and hooked up in steamy temazcales.
- Colossal crabs may hold a clue to Amelia Earhart's fate.
- In 897, the corpse of a pope was exhumed-- to be put on trial.
- An 8,000-year-old platform in Britain could be the oldest boat-building site ever discovered.
- Thousands of unseen photographs and documents have been digitized for Prince Albert's 200th birthday.
►Channeling My Inner Elly Mae Clampett◄
- Florida authorities are investigating a disorder affecting panthers' ability to walk.
- The U.S. will be importing baby elephants from Zimbabwe despite the uproar.
- A turquoise-tinted tarantula has been discovered in Sri Lanka.
- Scotland's golden eagles are dying in agony, all in the name of sport.
- South Africa gets the go-ahead to increase black rhino trophy hunting. Wait till you read the reasoning behind it.
►The Happy Wanderer◄
- This patch of desert in southern California is covered in rock graffiti.
- This single-track road over Applecross Pass rewards brave drivers with stunning Scottish scenery.
- A "raft" of volcanic rock the size of Manhattan is floating toward Australia.
- These Key West hotels offer waterproof books you can read in the pool.
- Nepal is banning single-use plastics on and around Mount Everest. I guess they thought tons of trash would simply disappear. Out of sight, out of mind, and all that...
- Sculptor Edmonia Lewis shattered gender and race expectations in 19th-century America.
- A documentary explores the life of Alice Guy-Blaché, a pioneering woman director written out of film history.
- Richard Booth: bookshop owner and "King of Hay-on-Wye" has died. (The first night I spent in the UK was at the Seven Stars in Hay-on-Wye.)
- Remembering Liane Russell, the geneticist who studied radiation's harmful effects on embryos.
►I ♥ Lists◄
- Eight books about idyllic vacations gone terribly wrong.
- The fifty greatest coming-of-age novels.
- Eleven of the best political thriller books.
- Thirteen thrilling books by Swedish author Henning Mankell.
- The most regrettable rejections in the history of publishing.
- Ten Dickensian character names deciphered.
- Seven techno-thrillers to read as our world crumbles.
- Five great books about Beirut.
That's all for this week! Don't forget to stop by next Friday when I'll be sharing a freshly selected batch of links for your surfing pleasure.
Have a great weekend, and read something fabulous!