The Artifact

I was lying in bed this morning, a dream of the angelic Isabel Lucas and I on a tropical beach still lingering in my head.  Eventually my train of thought hopped a different track and I found myself thinking about archaeology.  Priorities, you know?  Anyway, I thought to myself… I need an obsession.  Not a crazy stalker obsession, but an archaeological obsession. Every great archaeologist has that one thing they want to discover, which despite their vast knowledge of the artifact, they never acquire until the baddie decides to go dig it up.  Look at Indiana Jones, Lara Croft and Howard Carter for examples.  Okay, yes the first two are fictional characters, but stipulations aside, they’ve all had something they were determined to find.

So what was my obsession going to be?   First, I had to establish some criteria.  My obsession couldn’t be something common.  The Holy Grail is way overdone.  The Ark of the Covenant, too.  Second, it must have slight potential for being discovered.  That means items that are likely fictional in nature are completely off limits.  So long Lost City of Atlantis.  Third, my obsession must carry the romanticism associated with lost historical relics.  Iroquois pot shards just don’t get girls.  Finally, anything sought by the two above fictional characters is completely off limits.   Originality is the spice of life, or a spice in the rack of life.  Whatever.  I can’t be chasing after that thing in the second movie, too cliche.  Once I’d established my boundaries, it was time to start dropping ideas.  How about the golden plates of the Mormons?  Gold is cool.  The Spear of Destiny?  Isn’t that in a museum in Vienna?  The missing link?  Year after year in Africa would be nice.  The WMDs of Iraq?   Okay, that was a joke.  What about something local?  Northern New York has got to have its own MacGuffin.  Alas where to begin?

And thus began the search for my archaeological obsession.  Keep you posted on how that goes.

Impact on HIV and AIDS in aftermath of violence in Kenya

The UN has issued an urgent press release. UNAIDS is concerned about effects of violence in Kenya on people living with HIV and potential risk of new HIV infections. Recent violence in Kenya could pose setbacks to AIDS response. ICROSS is reaching thousands of AIDS patients and hundreds of TB patients in desperate need.

“Immediate concerns are for people following antiretroviral treatment regimens, particularly those who have been displaced by the violence or who have not been able to access treatment. There are also concerns that the displacement and violence (including sexual and gender-based violence) has made people more vulnerable to the risk of HIV infection.” ICROSS teams are reaching many people burnt out, with help from Rotary Karen, Consolata Fathers, Colleagues in Italy and India we are sending relief into crisis areas. Emergency assistance has also come from support groups in London and from Kenyans.

However, “Although concerted efforts have been made by the Kenyan authorities and partners to minimize disruption in people accessing antiretroviral treatment and other essential HIV services, we are still very concerned,” said Dr Erasmus Morah, UNAIDS Country Coordinator in Kenya.

The UNAIDS statement said, “One of the main concerns over prolonged disruption to antiretroviral treatment and anti-TB treatment is the potential development of resistance to the drugs. There is an urgent need to assess the extent of treatment disruption and adequacy of the current response” ICROSS is launching a needs analysis in all its HIV AIDS operational areas in response to this statement.

UNAIDS also said, “There are also reports of high levels of sexual and gender-based violence, and that disruption to social and family networks has forced some women and children to engage in commercial and transactional sex in exchange for shelter, food or protection.” Our teams have reported widespread abuse and injury and with thousands of homes destroyed there is urgent need of immediate response.

WGA Strike Ends!

To Our Fellow Members:

On Tuesday, members of the Writers Guilds East and West voted by a 92.5% margin to lift the restraining order that was invoked on November 5th. The strike is over.

Writing can resume immediately. If you were employed when the strike began, you should plan to report to work on Wednesday. If you’re not employed at an office or other work site, call or e-mail your employer that you are resuming work. If you have been told not to report to work or resume your services, we recommend that you still notify your employer in writing of your availability to do so. Questions concerning return-to-work issues should be directed to the WGAE’s assistant executive director Ann Toback at 212-767-7823 or the WGAW legal department at 323-782-4521.

The decision to begin this strike was not taken lightly and was only made after no other reasonable alternative was possible. We are profoundly aware of the economic loss these fourteen weeks have created not only for our members but so many other colleagues who work in the television and motion picture industries. Nonetheless, with the establishment of the WGA jurisdiction over new media and residual formulas based on distributor’s gross revenue (among other gains) we are confident that the results are a significant achievement not only for ourselves but the entire creative community, now and in the future.

We hope to build upon the extraordinary energy, ingenuity, and solidarity that were generated by your hard work during the strike.

Over the next weeks and months, we will be in touch with you to discuss and develop ways we can use our unprecedented unity to make our two guilds stronger and more effective than ever.

Now that the strike has ended, there remains the vote to ratify the new contract. Ballots and information on the new deal, both pro and con, will be mailed to you shortly. You will be able to return those ballots via mail or at a membership meeting to be held Monday, February 25th, 2008, at times and locations to be determined.

Thank you for making it possible. As ever, we are all in this together.

Michael Winship
Writers Guild of America, East

Another step in the scary world of virtual stalking…

‘Friend locator’ could become next craze for social networkers

Users of social network sites like Facebook will soon be sharing their exact whereabouts with their friends in real-time, owing to new technology that uses the mobile phone as a tracking device, experts say.

Sure it’s cool to think we have the technology to pinpoint our location to friends around the world, but is it necessary?  Is anyone considering the serious safety issues this could pose?  Especially with pedophiles, pre-teens, and psychopathic ex-lovers.


Photo of the Day – Lake Magadi

Lake Magadi, Kenya
June 2007

Deep in the heart of Southern Kenya’s Maasai land is the unearthly Lake Magadi.  Lake Magadi is a saline, alkaline lake which during its dry season can be 75-80% percent covered by soda. The lake is home to a single species of fish but also serves as a nesting area for thousands of flamingos. At one time this lake and neighboring Lake Natron (Tanzania) formed a single body of water known as Lake Oloronga.