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May 4th, 2007

Haruki Murakami: Recipe



The Haruki Murakami cook book, apparently. Available only in Korean.

Part of me wants it, but if I start down this road of strange, Murakami collectorism, I'll end up with a line of Japanese books I simply can't read. Ultimately, I imagine, I would be forced into Japanese classes that I would fail at horribly.

"Australia worst in the world for indigenous health

The health of Aborigines lags almost 100 years behind other Australians and they are the sickest indigenous people of all the wealthy nations, a report by the World Health Organisation says.

The report into indigenous health worldwide found Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders had significantly worse results than non-indigenous people on every health indicator, resulting in an average life expectancy 17 years below that of white Australians and an average age of death of just 33 for Aboriginal males in some parts of NSW.

Some Aborigines still suffer from leprosy, rheumatic heart disease and tuberculosis, which were banished from the white population decades ago, says the report, compiled by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and presented to the WHO's Commission on the Social Determinants of Indigenous Health in Adelaide yesterday.

...

The Minister for Health, Tony Abbott, said the gap was "something which no one can be happy about but if it were easy to tackle it would have been tackled a long time ago. It's all very well to talk about formal apologies but I think indigenous people and the general population are much more interested in seeing better practical outcomes than in gestures, however meaningful those gestures might be to some".

He said a funding increase was likely in the budget, but not in the area of $500 million. "You have to have the infrastructure in place to get results. We want to make sure that as far as is humanly possible, we get results from our spending.""


Oh, ain't I just proud to be part of this country.

Link.

(From sonanova)

Yesterday I had a good day working on Across the Seven Continents of the Underworld, with everything slotting into place as I worked. It's a nice feeling when that happens--some days you get it, some days you don't, y'know?

At any rate, I thought I'd put a section up here, for no other reason than I really liked the paragraph describing the mortician Ballantine.

When Brady left Port Tahurr for Airotciv three days later, he did so in narrow, paid cabin aboard The Five Hearts of Betty that Ballantine had organised for him.

From what Brady understood, after the mortician had finished marking his skin, and while the former had returned to his gazebo room to lock himself in the still warmth inside, the elderly man had walked down to the docks. He had dressed himself in his heavy blacks and sweated unnecessarily for the entire walk. That he did not change to the lighter clothing that was common in Ailartsua, Brady believed, revealed a quality about the man: one that spoke of an immovable, undeniable sense of righteousness and surety in himself. There was a part of Ballantine that spoke of stopped growth, of a man who had reached an ideal point of self awareness and then, as if that were the end in the way a painting might end, had stopped allowing any new influence upon himself. No new colours and textures needed to be added. He knew where it was that he stood in the world and, within that knowledge, he knew what took precedence in life. He was a man, Brady believed, who did not view the individual as being important at all, but rather viewed the indescribable, unimaginable celestial individual that gave him purpose as the authority from who all importance flowed. The thought—a rare piece of detailed cynicism, in fact—had occurred to Brady when the old man had walked through the sweltering, red skied afternoon heat to Brady's gazebo where, through the closed door, Ballantine told him that passage across the strait had been booked.

Once he had left, Brady wondered how long Ballantine would have waited outside if he had not pulled back the curtain to reveal the sweat stained figure? An hour? A night? As long as was required, he suspected, and he felt irritated by knowledge, as if he were nothing but a tool for the mortician. He was not wrong in thinking that, he knew, and that increased his dislike for the man, though he had not yet figured out why, exactly.


The usual things apply: early version, book not finished, what's spell check, blah blah blah. Chances are this could get scraped out entirely, and most likely it'll be rewritten, but with all that taken into account, I liked it. It felt good. It was the book's voice, coming effortlessly.

If you're curious, I'm about twenty thousand words into it.

Translated Product Placement

I've never heard of this happening before. Has anyone else?

Speaking of Swancon, sci-fi author Tim Powers was the other principlal guest that weekend. I recall him telling me that he found out that the publishers of the Spanish (or another country's) [it's the German--Ben] translations of his novels had been inserting scenes for product placement, and that this was apparently standard practice. That is, they had a local writer on hand to add scenes into all the publisher's foreign novels where a character would go to the fridge and take out a coke, or whatever drink was contractually required.


From Eddie Campbell's blog.