From the Stacks: August 25, 2006

Utne receives some 1,200 magazines, newsletters, journals,
weeklies, and zines. Add in hundreds of books, CDs, and DVDs, and
it’s a flood of media that lines the walls of our library and piles
high on our desks. All the ideas, people, and stories inspire
lively daily chatter, but they can’t all fit into our bimonthly
magazine. So we share the gems here in our weekly editions of ‘From
the Stacks.’ Check in every Friday for the freshest highlights of
the independent and alternative media.

Cranky, a triannual literary journal out
of Seattle, fills its pages mostly with poetry, but also contains
short prose, paintings, photographs, and the occasional interview.
The latest issue (#7) is replete with refreshing verbal imagery and
thoughtful purpose. A standout is Paul Maliszewski’s pair of
letters to President Bush. Separated by pages of others’ work, each
letter addresses the president in a meandering narrative that
doesn’t necessarily bear any overt point, but might offer the
sheltered leader a frank and detailed notion of daily life for an
average American, should he care to read them. — Suzanne

July/August issue of
FilmPrint — ‘the magazine of the liaison
of independent filmmakers of Toronto’ — is thin at 24 pages, but
was clearly made with a passion for the medium it covers. David W.
Scott’s feature, ‘Alive 8!’, explains how the quaint appeal of
Super 8 film has outlasted generations of image-recording methods,
from video to digital, and evolved along the way. Also in this
edition, a brief tale by William Scott Eldridge entitled ‘Dumbluck’
conveys the critical role serendipity plays in the film production
business. — Suzanne Lindgren

The September/October issue of
Preservation, the magazine of the National
Trust for Historic Preservation, is so rife with images and tales
of crumbling old buildings, threatened natural spaces, and happy
success stories that it could inspire a frantic look around your
own town for ‘endangered’ places to save.?One piece tells of a La
Jolla, California, couple who saved three of the town’s treasured
turn-of-the-century cottages (most are being razed for
million-dollar condos and mansions).?Another section,
‘Transitions,’ runs a list of lost, saved, threatened, and restored
hotspots around the United States. The subjects are diverse and
educational: a photo essay on Kentucky, a ‘how to’ on additions to
historic structures, and a look at Eudora Welty’s Mississippi
house.?In the back of the magazine, take a peek at the listings of
historic properties for sale (houses, theaters, and more) and long
to preserve your own little bit of history. — Elizabeth

Madison is
well-known for being progressive, so it was a bit surprising to
learn that at the city’s lone Waldorf school, the only class
currently on offer is kindergarten. In the August 18 edition of
Isthmus, Madison’s alt-weekly, Jason
Shepard takes a look at the school’s plans to expand. Also in this
issue, a ‘Watchdog’ article wonders why inflation isn’t factored
into disability aid, an opinion piece questions whether Republicans
are scaring people for votes, and a feature shows Madison’s kinky
side. — Rachel Anderson

How can you have
a barbecue without meat? Ice cream without dairy? Muscles without
animal protein? The August issue of
Satya, a publication dedicated to animal
rights and social justice, removes these common roadblocks to
veganism and animal rights activism. What is essentially a
collection of interviews with experts and industry types, the
edition shows that vegans can be funny, sexy, political, and, well,
not terrorists. Satya also sticks up for those who cannot
speak for themselves — the animals — letting readers know the
kindness of pit bulls, the charm of farm animals, and that chimps
aren’t the Hollywood players we enjoy them to be. — Rachel

In the 30th
anniversary issue of Calyx (Summer), co-founding editor
Margarita Donnelly writes that ‘a female aesthetic [exists] in
literature and art… and could be better seen and nurtured by
publishing women’s work in the context of other women’s work.’ The
art of Linda Stein and a story by Jane Sandor prove this to be
true. Stein uses metal, wood, and stone to fashion women’s torsos
as knight’s armor, evoking strength and bravery. And Jane Sandor
writes poignantly about a young woman studying the Vietnam War
under a professor whose experiences as a soldier during that
conflict inform his teaching. — Miriam Skurnick

September’s Nutrition Action Health Letter, published
by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, fills its 16
pages with useful information. The issue features an interview with
Michael Jacobson, the organization’s executive director, who
advocates a vegetarian or low-meat diet by outlining the myriad
problems with raising and eating meat: pesticides consumed by cows
and passed to people, foodborne illness, manure and other
pollutants, fat, cholesterol, cruel treatment of animals, and using
resources to raise meat instead of feeding people directly. Though
that’s hardly breaking news, it is alarming and urgent. The issue
also has a breakdown of drinks at Starbucks that will have you
skipping the Venti Caf? Mocha — a ‘Quarter Pounder with Cheese in
a cup’ — for good old black coffee. — Rachel Jenkins

UU World, published by and for Unitarian
Universalists, explores topics of global concern. The cover article
posits 9/11 as a call to rethink Americans’ worldviews and offers
up freedom, community, and individuality as parts of a new
theology. Also in this issue, two women make fun of hulking road
hogs with a country song called ’90 Pound Suburban Housewife
Drivin’ in her SUV,’ and the president of the Unitarian
Universalist Association of Congregations argues for ‘sexuality
education in liberal religious terms.’ — Rachel

In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.