Looks like just what I need to fill in the spaces between the pithy, precise wording of the rules themselves and the also-pithy explanations of the ruLooks like just what I need to fill in the spaces between the pithy, precise wording of the rules themselves and the also-pithy explanations of the rules I've come across so far. Priceless! And actually it was, in my initial read/skim through. Provided facts underneath what had to date simply been experience, and understanding to what can so easily - reading IRS materials - be only words. Exactly what I was looking for. Now if only they had books about 'general practice,' but then, that would make things way too easy, wouldn't it?...more
Labor struggles? I'm there. Sounds like lots of parallels between then and now, as well. In terms of US being between its past and its future; as wellLabor struggles? I'm there. Sounds like lots of parallels between then and now, as well. In terms of US being between its past and its future; as well as the political manipulations and fear-mongering. Fascinating!...more
Sounds very useful! I think I have a thumbnail sketch of these events, but am not even sure about that. Would be great to be so grounded in these crucSounds very useful! I think I have a thumbnail sketch of these events, but am not even sure about that. Would be great to be so grounded in these crucial goings-on.
Was especially glad to hear that it starts back in the time of Bismark - some of our relatives atleast came over to avoid his conscription..
I'll be interested to see if any US involvement is mentioned along the way as well....more
Looks like from Amazon reviews that this book is relatively terrible.. couldn't tell from looking at it in the bookstore. Drat! Well, I'll look at thrLooks like from Amazon reviews that this book is relatively terrible.. couldn't tell from looking at it in the bookstore. Drat! Well, I'll look at through it atleast, since I have it..
I was afraid it would be either content-free and instead full of innuendo and/or fashion commentary or something; or totally politically biased against them, or whatnot.
But I was very pleasantly surprised. What it does is, for each phase of Michelle's life, it gives a perspective on the racial context into which she entered in that phase. So, her high school was a new experiment in diversity, and her college - Affirmative Action was a big debate at the time, and so on. I found those parts really fascinating. Of course it's not the be-all and end-all truth about any of the situations, just one perspective; and as such, very interesting.
Then Barack comes into the picture, and it becomes more about them, and her in relation to him; which is not really surprising or anything, but different. The Barack storyline is a very fascinating one. And part of the story was about how her story is backgrounded to his, and there's commentary on that.
It all feels like, not THE truth necessarily, but an in-the-ballpark telling of mostly well-known aspects of their lives, all brought together in one volume. In a good way. Useful to me, as I didn't read so much about them at the time in order to not jinx it (or something).
If only it were authorized, I'd feel so much better. I understand there is something else coming out that is authorized, will read that for sure as well. ...more
Just came upon this and it drew me in for a re-read.. with a vague reminiscence..
Then, 20 pages in, it's clear: This is the one! This is the book withJust came upon this and it drew me in for a re-read.. with a vague reminiscence..
Then, 20 pages in, it's clear: This is the one! This is the book with the depiction of the woman who is homeless, but who copes with it for years, working as a cleaning women, keeping her homelessness secret. Never getting foodstamps even, never getting housing assistance, her kids don't care much, her ex-husband really doesn't care, no human contact; wear lipstick always, many other daily rules to 'pass' for normal (with home). Something quietly nerve-wracking about that character, has kind of haunted me ever since.
This was written in '94, with no huge big recession in sight, a time of 'prosperity' here. In this way, this work is historical, as it captures perfectly the class divide in this country during 'good' times.
Also, have to say, the pictures of marriages in this book had their effect on me as well; when the first ended, didn't ever become a goal to quick - get married again!! Hurry! Not. Rather be alone than in a bad marriage (of any kind), and the thinkings these women go through (especially Lelia, the 'happiest' of the 3) has continued to create a level of contentment in my life as it is. Until a clear situation presents itself..
Through it all, Marge's tough-to-read-at-times tones and nuances, but I like her level of detail, so it's all just fine.
Reading this again now is like purging fibrous fear-tumors from my psyche.. Seeing the words on the page that have resonated since last time, coupled with my actual situation today, burn away these accumulations.. have been watching this show that I'd seen as a young child, that I think scared me, burning that away as well. Spring cleaning!
Anyway, here's one of those sentences:
"Her life was always about to tip over like a precarious pile of crockery she must keep balanced." Can so relate.
And the parts with Mary, the main character who's homeless, talking with Beverly who's also homeless (at only her mid-40's) and was attacked, in the hospital, also clang with an especially metallic air:
"although Mary felt their lives had been so different when they were both 'inside the fold' to use Beverly's phrase, that she was never sure what Beverly pictured. 'Sometimes,' she said to Beverly, 'when I'm talking about Cindy or Jaime or my ex-husband, suddenly I feel as if I'm telling you about some woman I work for, or as if I made it all up. It's so far away. Do you ever feel that way?" "'She hates to think about her life before. (Beverly only speaks of herself in the 3rd person) If she does, she gets mad. Then all she can do is mutter and kick the curb, and then she looks even crazier.' Beverly gave that gaunt gap-toothed grin."...more
While it dragged in parts, in fact I remember kind of thinking I'd stop soon, multiple times during it; it always picked up just enough at the last poWhile it dragged in parts, in fact I remember kind of thinking I'd stop soon, multiple times during it; it always picked up just enough at the last possible minute. And since it's true, you know that the pacing was due to it being.. real life. And in fact, the pacing to me in retrospect was among the more fascinating aspects - this danger.. or this 'situation' even, that kind of recedes; might be over entirely... then it's back! And plans are made and intentions and further learning is gained and there are actions and reactions, and then- it recedes again. I think often life is like that, to an extent that isn't recognized. People think they're going through something new, when actually it's simply another iteration of a long-standing phenomena.
I also liked the guy's humility, and his average-ness, and that he rose to the challenge, in a totally average, annoyed-more-often-than-not, one-step-at-a-time way. And eventually he won.
The reader learns as he learns which is fun also. And some still relevant I believe, the notion of honeypots is quite ongoing in various contexts, for instance.
I haven't re-read this, would be entirely different to read it now. But at the time, that's how it was for me.
By the way, it isn't cool or anything, but I like to give 5 stars. It doesn't mean my entire definition as a human being changed, or that I'm going to take up such a higher magnitude of good works that human suffering will be wiped out in mere weeks; just that I liked it a lot and it was the complete entity, fully-actualized, as much effectively itself as I feel it could be. And I like to look up at skyscrapers too. So there....more
'The Help' is one of those gently brutal books that makes it possible to sit still for the telling of a terrible reality. It is about women in the Sou'The Help' is one of those gently brutal books that makes it possible to sit still for the telling of a terrible reality. It is about women in the South in the 60's.. turning on the dynamics between the white housewifes and the black women who were their maids and nursemaids. This book rips away the veil on this set of amazinly intricate emotional interactions.
For, you see, these ‘maids’ are also entrusted with the children of the household had the option/opportunity/requirement of caring - really caring- for the children. Yet, the parents were racist. Yet the children weren’t yet. While the children grew up though, they would slowly imbibe the mindset of their parents and community.. and in their eyes, the black woman who had been often their most favorite adult would be transformed into someone ‘stupid,’ ‘dirty,’ and ‘bad,’ to the heartbreak of the women themselves.
Partly this affects me perhaps because of my teenager, who has provided a first-hand lesson on how relationships are transformed as the child ages. There is a natural separating of course. But to go through that transition when the end point is that much more brutal.. mutiple times. really hard to imagine.
And yet the central character of this book, Aibileen, has done just that. She raised 17 white children, and in nearly every case, they turned against her to some degree starting at around 10.
And she was somehow able to go ahead and begin that journey again with the next one. How? How could she do that? How could she open herself to love that new baby, love it with all her heart, focus on filling every need and healing every owie or illness.. when it isn’t even hers, and she knows more likely then not they’re going to turn from her when they become aware of things? That sort of strong tenderness is among the main flavors of this story.
But Aibileen does find that ability slipping away from her, mainly when her one child of her own - her son Treelore, died at age 24 in an accident at work. After a brutal grieving period, she comes into another household, begins to bond with another child, and that is where the story of ‘The Help’ begins.
The second of the three alternating first-person points of view in this book is that of Minny, the quintessential ‘angry black woman,’ one of the richest characterizations I’ve ever read. What she endures, what she does when she breaks, and how she keeps going and eventually makes a mind-boggling sacrifice for her community - these aspects and others coalesce the character of Minny into as full a human being as ever has been in literature.
The third character is ‘Skeeter,’ a white woman who has just returned from gaining her degree at college to find out that her beloved nursemaid, Constantine, has disappeared. It’s unclear if she quit or was fired, nobody will tell Skeeter what happened, and she’s crushed because they had written all throughout Skeeter’s college years and had corresponded last only weeks before Skeeter’s homecoming. How something so amazing and dramatic could happen in such a short period is beyong Skeeter’s comprehension.
Skeeter’s desire to write for a living is the thread that draws these three women together. Initially they obey the lines drawn by their community across their lives, and follow the rules of distrusting each other and expecting the worst. In time, as their lives intertwine, all of them progress through a series of changes. Those intimate, personal changes are set against a backdrop of the social change taking place around them - in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962. Which, according to the Governor, is ‘heaven on earth’ and he has no intention of allowing change to occur.
What I realized as I read this book was that I had no picture in my mind of the white women in the South at that period. The only films I’d seen - like ‘Mississippi Burning’ or ‘Paris, Texas’ or ‘A family Thing’ of ‘The Long Walk Home’ included female main characters who were conscientious and passively entrenched in the way things were, but not actively involved in it. In ‘The Help,’ a very different reality is illuminated.
And through the course of the book, the choking fear that Minny and Aibileen and the others like them is described and substantiated and fully realized. Which showed me (more than I’d known before) again just how deep the pot of pain is between the races here in the US. How much there is to move through and heal. I believe that this book plays a vital role in that process, by saying out loud that which is more powerful when silent.
One of the main cornerstones of this story is the tenacious drive of Hilly (best friend of Skeeter and daughter of the woman who Minny takes care of) to pass the ‘Home Help Sanitation Initiative’ - a bill that would require every white home in Mississipp to have a separate bathroom for the colored help. Her reasoning? That Colored folks carry diseases different from white people, and white people don’t have immunity to those diseases. Miss Hilly is the personal face of batshit crazy hating people, and this story kinds of arches off from her in various directions. She forms the nucleus of personality that explains much of the South, in particular the Jim Crow laws and other manifestations of bigotry and tyranny.
Skeeter at one point discovers a pamphlet of those laws at the library, and reads:
It shall be unlawful for a white person to marry anyone except a white person. Any marriage in violation of this section shall be void. No colored barber shall serve as a barber to white women or girls. Books shall not be interchangeable between the white and colored schools, but shall continue to be used by the race first using them. The Board shall maintain a separate building on separate grounds for the instruction of all blind persons of the colored race.
Skeeter, reading these laws in a pamphlet she found at a library, thinks, ‘Negroes and whites are not allowed to share water fountains, movie houses, public restrooms, ballparks, phone booths, circus shoes. Negroes cannot use the same pharmacy or buy postage stamps at the same window as me. … We all know about these laws, we live here, but we don’t talk about them.’
And as Skeeter, returned from college, sees her community with eyes that are more and more open, she sees the wider pattern of oppression extending into the actions of those who had been close to her. She becomes more and more separate from all she had known and all of the identities she had created for herself. Aibileen continues to deal with the death of her son, while loving the little girl she cares for who’s mother, Elizabth Leefoldt, is best friends with Skeeter and Miss Hilly. Minny, who Miss Hilly has fired when she puts her mother away, finds a new situation thankfully - but one with many challenges. To her gratitude, since her husband’s salary is not enough to support them and their five children, ages 17 to 5.
The ending of this book disappointed me, but it may be an instance where there’s no way it could have ended that I’d be comfortable with. I very very much want to continue reading these three first-person accounts, I want to know what happens next in all three of their lives.
Also though I had expected the author to tie in what the characters were going through with the bigger picture, right there at the end. She did do that earlier in the book - the assassination of Medger Evans is set right smack in the middle of this story, and Minny and Aibileen are both very much affected by it. More than any of the white characters of course. But I was waiting to see if the author would tie the bigger picture to the sorts of personal changes in the book or not - and she didn’t. Not in the way I wanted. Which was some complete sociological inventory of how much each component of the community changed over a 5-year timegraph, numerically.. I guess that’s a bit unrealistic? Sigh.. That topic, of the interplay between personal change and community change completely fascinates me.
Anyway, this book is a superb mixture of intense content and gentle, sweet delivery. Highly recommend! ...more
Initially: I liked the way the protaganist was with women for the most part, a lot.
The ideas discussed in this novel are fascinaWill mull my review..
Initially: I liked the way the protaganist was with women for the most part, a lot.
The ideas discussed in this novel are fascinating and extremely timely. The merging of that discussion into the format of a spy novel caused me a bit of a stumble. Parts of it felt forced to me, or formulaic, or almost tv-movie-ish. There was something tv-movie-ish in general, I think the simple characterizations mainly. It so happens that a lot of what I've read lately is written from multiple characters' point-of-view, and/or has rich characterization and a lot of the internal workings of them all during the story. Coming from those experiences, I missed that in this one.
There were discontinuities that I couldn't bridge. Like the initial relationship between Jack and Toby; vs. the relationship between them during the 1953 events; vs. the way it apparently went between them after that (the book ends with Toby suggesting to Jack that they put aside their differences and work together, and apparently that's what happened?).
Also info about what Jack had done prior to the book starting, vs. what he was doing when it opened (tending bar); I don't know what was served by having that be so secret. Given that he had this great record, why was he not still involved in some way? Him being in the bar gives the impression that he had a problem with his past military involvement to a degree, but then that doesn't seem to be true. etc..
When toward the end Yari says that he was the realist and Jack the idealist, that threw me for a loop.
But most important, it's hard to grasp what the conclusion was intended to be regarding the US and the CIA: it is presented that such coups prevent war and provide stability and therefore are good; if that's not the intended message, I'm not seeing where it was countered in the book. There's some content around the role of the Muslim leaders, but it's pretty vague. And given that it was written today, with all that's gone on, more content about that would have been of interest.
So, as I said, I'll mull on an actual review.....more
Pretty good, quick intro (yet with a level of substance at many useful points) to the new 990, approved in the last few days of 2008, applicable to 20Pretty good, quick intro (yet with a level of substance at many useful points) to the new 990, approved in the last few days of 2008, applicable to 2008 (brutal).. will be very helpful as I create our chart of accounts to provide data for the 990 as easily as possible. Extensive info on the other schedules as well. Index.. One area of concern - almost nothing on in-kind. Very disconcerting. Usually 'exploring/skimming' means I'm reading less than all. In this case, I've skimmed all of it already, and now will be re-reading, making copies of certain pages for reference, etc.. for a while yet. Will need other sources too, but this is definitely a good one, as I prepare the 2009 with our consultants, and then as of 2010 on my own theoretically, despite my longstanding loathing of all things tax. --- Am using it now regarding the support test, and it does have a pretty useful level of detail and related ideas. And mentions other sources for further info. A good resource!...more
Ok, I didn't *read* this, but plays are meant to be seen, not read. And I saw it - well, not the play, but the uber-excellent film made my Mike NicholOk, I didn't *read* this, but plays are meant to be seen, not read. And I saw it - well, not the play, but the uber-excellent film made my Mike Nichols with Meryl Streep and everyone. Very luscious. I saw it again last week, while home sick. I'd been wanting to see it, as Tony Kushner is here opening a new work and having stagings of multiple prior works. It's all Kushner, all the time. It's wonderful. So, in case I get to fit in any of the performances, I wanted to see this of his again. And this time, I knew what to expect more. It didn't overwhelm me nearly as much. In fact, I was prepared to be overwhelmed, and I wasn't. It was almost like a micro-experience. Scenes I'd remembered as going on forever seemed very short. Speaks to the effect of surprise on one's viewing experience, I guess. But back to the words of it and all - in a review of one of his plays here, a reviewer used the word 'Proclamatory' to describe it. I was so relieved. That's how I'd felt about it, but hadn't known how to describe it. But that's exactly it. Not that there isn't a plot, and characters, and forward motion (on so many levels), but much of the action and dialogue and monologues do, in fact, proclaim. And, more in keeping with my prior reaction, much of it felt beyond my grasp. I mean, I just couldn't gain traction with parts of it. Much about America, and Freedom, and Love, and whatnot. Tony said things, and I couldn't disagree or agree, or even nod my head. There were collections of words I just couldn't add up the meanings to. One small example: A death, a request to forgive, a refusal to forgive, a suggestion that: perhaps forgiveness is where justice and love meet. Ok, I know what all those words mean, but, the sum of them in that organization, I can't get there. 'Where love and justice meet' - they meet? They're normally separate? Like parallel lines? Only, in forgiveness, these parallel lines cross? Or, the personal (love) separate from the public (justice).....?? Or love between people, justice for those who've done wrong...love prevents justice (lack of forgiveness) or love and justice as two different effects, meeting in the choice of forgiveness perhaps. A big part of my experience was that I wasn't all there, recovering from a sleepless night due to episodic illness. So, thinking powers were reduced. Clearly, causing me to miss whole impacts of this rich, essential work. Much of it still delighted me and was very wonderful. The part about how God does change - perfect. Lou's reaction to Joe's professional work, Mother Pitt about disappointment, Ethel Rosenberg's reaction with her eyes to one thing Roy Cohn says, the Rabbi's initial speech. That initial speech at the funeral alone is priceless, about immigrants and what they brought with them to the US. I tear up just thinking about it. Harper's piece towards the end about how nothing is lost, nothing is in vain; that too. How Belize gets the first few bottles of AZT from Roy fascinates. Mother Pitt is so awesome. Joe's perfect... what.. insanity? And such a great look at conservatism, and race in the US, and how the gay community dealt with the AIDS crisis as it hit, and the price paid by women married to closeted gay men almost most of it; except so much of the rest is also very fully related. But all of Lou's ramblings go past me - and I think some of them are supposed to, but that I'm also missing some. Next time I see it, with my faculties all in place, hopefully will gain entire additional meanings. My advice to you: see it when you're at your best, to gain the most from it....more
This is really more a set of annotated lists, a resource guide. It also has some very intense personal content, that is part a bit of see-how-cool-I-aThis is really more a set of annotated lists, a resource guide. It also has some very intense personal content, that is part a bit of see-how-cool-I-am, but mostly purports to be a how-to guide to move from paralyzing grief at the state of our Earth into action. And in that, it has some interesting content, if you can mold yourself into the whole being-a-fire-dog posture.
The resource lists, around energy alternatives, global-healing strategies, and global activist groups, are alone worth getting a copy....more