Monday, December 19, 2011

projects progress...more on the 50x50

#7. Make a donation to 50 different charities (monetary or otherwise).

Item 6. Crocheted two hats for the hat and mitten tree that Max's school puts up every year. Had hoped to get more done than that--but well, when you wait until the last minute, that's what happens. Perhaps for next year, I will try to make one each month so I'll be way ahead of the game.

#11. Watch 50 documentaries.

Item 7. Gray and I watched Planet in Peril for school. And we both thought it was really good. Though I think we'll watch Strange Days on Planet Earth soon, because I think it's even better.

#16. Bake 50 different kinds of cookies.

Mmmmmm...these cookies are so incredibly yummy. (Of course non-cranberry fans likely wouldn't agree.) I used the not-freezing-dough-ahead-of-time method. (And they're scrumptious without the chocolate and nuts, too...not that I snuck any before the dipping phase or anything...)

#37. Read 50 books I never heard of before buying/borrowing from the library.

Item 4. The Red Market: On the Trail of the World's Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers, and Child Traffickers by Scott Carney. A total impulse grab off the "new non-fiction" shelves at the library a few weeks back.

My random thoughts:

*This is one of those books where I'm tempted to say "I really enjoyed it" except that "enjoy" just isn't quite the most accurate word. It was utterly fascinating. And horrifying. And eye-opening.

*I'd never even heard the term "red market" before this book. The red market refers to the market in human bodies, living and dead, and human body parts. After an introduction to the whole concept of the red market, Carney begins the book with a personal story from his life, the death of one of his students. It was her death and what happened in the immediate aftermath that led to his interest in the red market. Each subsequent chapter focuses on a different sub-market--blood, bones, eggs, children, and much more.

*He admits right from the start that he's focused on the problems that crop up in the red market.

By and large, I have not focused on the millions of red market transactions that go right every day. There is no doubt that without transplant technology, blood collection, and adoption programs there would be terrible human fallout. We don't need to follow the stories of people living happy lives because of something they bought on the red market. That is the story of tissue demand. It is far more important to understand how tissue makes it to the market than how it is used. This book is an exploration of the supply side of the economic equation...

*In some ways, it might seem unfair to only look at the problematic. But he makes what to me is a very convincing argument overall. Part of what he has to say:

If we want to live in a world where human lives are priceless and in some ways equal, then the market cannot be the best decider of which people have the right to other people's bodies. Inevitably even the best systems of donation break down at some point and let in criminal elements. Even if most of the time it works without people being exploited, the crimes, when they happen, are so extreme that they undermine the benefits of the entire system to society at large.

And extreme they are. Some of the stories are just mind-boggling. If I'd seen them in a movie, I'd have found them unbelievable...and yet these things are happening. And of course, they're happening to those most vulnerable, the world's poor.

*On the lighter side, I did want to kick the author at one point. He gave away what I can only assume is a major spoiler for Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, a book I was hoping to read very soon.


Elizabeth said...

I have been reading your blog for awhile. I find your comments on your life and life in general, very refreshing. But I do have one suggestion, which is totally beyond my business, so don't hesitate to delete if you so desire. When I saw the headline about donating I knew you were going to say you did not do enough. You are so hard on yourself. I would suggest you think about leaving just the positives in your writing and not qualify your achievements with comments about what you had not done or not achieved etc. Maybe just pointing out the positive achievements will reinforce it for yourself. I think you are very talented and generous. Sorry for butting in.

Eva said...

Those hats both look wonderful!!! And I'm off to check out that cookie recipe. I second Elizabeth: you are WAY too hard on yourself.

Oh, and if it makes you feel better, Ishiguro never intended the plot of Never Let Me Go to be secret, so according to the author you haven't been spoilered. :)

Also, I shall be sending you a package v soon. It will be a post-Christmas gift, but keep an eye for it!

Trish said...

What ISN'T good dipped in chocolate and nuts?! Yummmm!

In terms of the spoiler, maybe you'll have my luck and forget what you heard? I read the book and can't remember THE moment--know it's there but can't remember specifics. How's that for sad?

I hope you and your beautiful family have a wonderful Christmas, Debi.

Debi said...

Why would I ever want to delete such a kind, thoughtful comment?!! Your words gave me pause. I've been thinking about what you said a lot, and I just wanted to let you know that with your kind gesture you just may have made my life a happier one overall. Because I am really going to try to take that advice to heart. Thank you.

That's really interesting about Never Let Me Go! Seriously, "that" seems like it would be such a spoiler, you know. I think I may just be all the more intrigued to read the book now. :)
And Eva, my dear, don't you dare send me a package! Sweetie, I'm serious--I know money is tight, and the last thing you need to do is spend it on mailing something to me! Honestly Eva, your friendship is the very best gift you could give me--and it's a gift I'm forever grateful for. Love you!

LOL--good point about the chocolate and nuts! :D And yeah, if I just give it a few months, I'm sure I'll forget too--should have thought of that on my own. :P
And Trish, I so hope you and Scott and Elle have the most beautiful Christmas imaginable! Goodness knows you deserve it, you sweetheart you!

Eva said...

You sent me a package! :p I promise, it's a gift from the heart, not the wallet.

DesLily said...

you never cease to amaze me...never, never, never!