Thursday, July 20, 2017

They Make a Witches Brew

In the 'hood

It Takes Longer than You Think

It Takes Longer than You Think For dead creatures to become skeletons but I didn't know that. When I was seven my favorite gerbil Silky died and a few weeks later my friends and I dug her up from the backyard hoping to see clean white bones.

Bangladeshi Air Cooler

Egg Salad

I chopped 8 hardcooked eggs using a pastry cutter I added Adobo, hellman's mayo and freshly ground black pepper. I dipped sourdough pretzels in it. Yum. Good with seltzer ice, and freshly squeezed limes.

Julie Fast Article

By Julie Fast


Depression can make us weepy, sad, and needy—but did you know it can also make us really irritated, unloving, and restless? So many of my relationship problems stemmed from the negative filters of depression. I didn’t even know that I was an incredibly positive person until my depression was brought under control.

Munroe Dairy Story

Subject: Munroe Dairy Story (re-posted from last August)

Rhode Island Adventure

Today we went to restaurant depot a place I've wanted to go to for 21 years. We bought 8 pounds of kalamata olives, a bucket of refrigerated half sour pickles, cholula hot sauce, sriracha hot sauce, a gallon of molasses, a gallon of soy sauce, a number ten can of chopped tomatoes, 3lbs of gorgeous white fish, three bundles of fresh asparagus and a small mini-log of herbed goat cheese. I almost bought the Irish cheddar wrapped in green wax.

On the way home our 21 year old Honda broke down on 146 in North Providence at 4:30 PM. We called triple A. We ate ice cold pickles to cool off while we waited for the tow truck. Todd Brown KING'S TOWING showed up. "I normally drive in Scituate and Hope Valley," he explained. " Wow, Hope Valley, I love Long pond," I said. "You might see a fat tow-truck guy skinny dipping there on Sunday mornings," he said.
"I went to a nudist summer camp, when I was a kid, so nudity doesn't bother me," I said.
"Riding in the tow truck is fun, it's like being in the milk tanker truck for Munroe Dairy," I said. I got to do that when I made a calendar for them. We're their milkman band."
"I knew I recognized you. I've seen you in the July 4 parade. My parents were longtime Munroe Dairy customers they gave their milkman a key to come in and the code to deactivate the alarm so he could load the milk in the fridge and put the newspaper on the kitchen table. They tipped him fifty bucks a week, for that. I told my parents they were nuts and my father said 'Munroe Dairy's been doing this for over 100 years, of course I trust them.' My dad was a state police captain," he said.
"Do you know State Policeman Kenny Marandola, he's our new neighbor-landlord next door." I said.
"Nice guy!"

We finally got home and my husband had a beer, and I cooked a feast.

Before and After

I know a guy that runs before and after work. "Why twice?" I ask.
"So I don't kill anyone," he said.

A Swarm of Locusts

Writer's Almanac Today:
It was on this day in 1875 that the largest recorded swarm of locusts in American history descended upon the Great Plains. It was a swarm about 1,800 miles long, 110 miles wide, from Canada down to Texas. North America was home to the most numerous species of locust on earth, the Rocky Mountain locust. At the height of their population, their total mass was equivalent to the 60 million bison that had inhabited the West. The Rocky Mountain locust is believed to have been the most common macroscopic creature of any kind ever to inhabit the planet.

Swarms would occur once every seven to 12 years, emerging from river valleys in the Rockies, sweeping east across the country. The size of the swarms tended to grow when there was less rain — and the West had been going through a drought since 1873. Farmers just east of the Rockies began to see a cloud approaching from the west. It was glinting around the edges where the locust wings caught the light of the sun.
People said the locusts descended like a driving snow in winter. They covered everything in their path. They sounded like thunder or a train and blanketed the ground, nearly a foot deep. Trees bent over with the weight of them. They ate nearly every living piece of vegetation in their path. They ate harnesses off horses and the bark of trees, curtains, clothing that was hung out on laundry lines. They chewed on the handles of farm tools and fence posts and railings. Some farmers tried to scare away the locusts by running into the swarm, and they had their clothes eaten right off their bodies.

Similar swarms occurred in the following years. The farmers became desperate. But by the mid-1880s, the rains had returned, and the swarms died down. Within a few decades, the Rocky Mountain locusts were believed to be extinct. The last two live specimens were collected in 1902, and they're now stored at the Smithsonian.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cavatappi Pasta in the Pressure Cooker

I made a batch of pasta in the pressure cooker. I saved the steaming liquid and added bullion to it for a soup tomorrow. The pasta was excellent with sauteed peppers garlic red onion red chili and Adobo and kosher salt and splashes of red wine. I also threw in chick peas I cooked yesterday. It was good.

Swim Coach Mat Hudson
I started by just removing meat (I still occasionally eat fish when I sense my body needing more protein, but not often). Maybe a year later I drastically reduced dairy products and eggs. To replace the way those fill up the tummy, I eat a lot of beans, lentils, whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat) as the base for many meals, and make sauces to go on top. I have a fruit/veggie green smoothy every morning and a bowl of oatmeal infused with other stuff. Sometimes I fry a few slices of tofu with some spices. I make a big salad for lunch most days. I’ve got raw nuts and dried fruit in my car, in my snack bag, on the kitchen counter. I kinda prefer things to be simple and routine, and so I just equipped my kitchen with all the supplies I needed and established new routines, and now I don’t have to put so much thought into what I make each day. I make big batches of beans in the pressure cooker, bake big batches of sweet potatoes, and make big batches of soups (I love soups!) and store portions in the freezer. I create my own ‘fast’ food. I am content to eat leftovers for a couple days.
- Mat Hudson

Day of Bad Smells

It started with the smell of skunk spray during the night getting blasted into the bedroom via the fan. It smelled like ten thousand radishes. At dawn the putrid stench of dryer sheets blasted in. Then as the temps increased I smelled a dead animal rotting in the bushes.

The kids just told me their 3 month old miniature dog died last night and they buried her at the fence, 8 feet from my back door, "under their Christmas tree stand. We think she choked. We called the police," The kids said.

Toni Morrisson

On the Job
June 5 & 12, 2017 Issue
The Work You Do, the Person You Are
The pleasure of being necessary to my parents was profound. I was not like the children in folktales: burdensome mouths to feed.

By Toni Morrison

Still, I had trouble summoning the courage to discuss or object to the increasing demands She made. And I knew that if I told my mother how unhappy I was she would tell me to quit. Then one day, alone in the kitchen with my father, I let drop a few whines about the job. I gave him details, examples of what troubled me, yet although he listened intently, I saw no sympathy in his eyes. No “Oh, you poor little thing.” Perhaps he understood that what I wanted was a solution to the job, not an escape from it. In any case, he put down his cup of coffee and said, “Listen. You don’t live there. You live here. With your people. Go to work. Get your money. And come on home.”

That was what he said. This was what I heard:

Whatever the work is, do it well—not for the boss but for yourself.

You make the job; it doesn’t make you.

Your real life is with us, your family.

You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.

I have worked for all sorts of people since then, geniuses and morons, quick-witted and dull, bighearted and narrow. I’ve had many kinds of jobs, but since that conversation with my father I have never considered the level of labor to be the measure of myself, and I have never placed the security of a job above the value of home.

Hose Down

I sprinkled water over my head from a plastic Gatorade jar, while walking Lily. I hosed her off before we started. When we stopped in the shade at the public library tree, I filled her bottle and dish with ice cold water. When we got home we were chilly from being soaked and I turned off the fans and air conditioner.

Summer in the City

The kids were making lanyards....

The Lanyard

by Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that's what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I , in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

"The Lanyard" by Billy Collins, Reprinted with permission of the poet.


‘Just as a monkey swinging through the trees grabs one branch and lets it go only to seize another, so too, that which is called thought, mind or consciousness arises and disappears continually both day and night.’

May Contain Cloud or Tree

This must be the name of something...

Night Swim, Night Beach

Last night I walked to the pool and opened the doors and swam. After a few laps I felt like I was swimming in warm jello. When I stopped I momentarily cooled off and resumed swimming. I hope to swim at night this summer at Horseneck or Matunuck or Jamestown Beavertail, or Tiverton's Fogland Point, or Little Compton's Elephant Rock.....where the glowing jellyfish light up. I don't like the sun burning me so I go at night when there's nobody around.

Matunuck webcam

Ten Million Radishes

I swam last night with the doors wide open. The main road was blocked due to a fallen telephone pole next to the Castle so the police were parked right at the door. I'll have to tell Sylvia we had a police escort at the pool. She will come swimming when she hears that. The house painters arrived at 6 AM. Cigarette smoke wafting through the fan. They are doing a fabulous job! We can only afford one side of the house per year so we chose the front first. I woke up at 4:30 AM. In transmit I wake early. I have to swim in order to sleep. We woke up twice from skunks spraying under our window and the fan blew it into the bedroom. The scent reminds me of ten million radishes. That could be the name of a rock band! I'd rather smell skunk than dryer sheets. Dryer sheets should be outlawed along with leaf blowers and Jetski's and talking buses and plastic. In a perfect world.

Anthony, Anthony,

Today is Wednesday, Prince Spaghetti Day!
Anthony! Anthony! Prince Spaghetti Commercial - YouTube
Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day in Boston! The original Prince Spaghetti commercial.


It’s the birthday of French Impressionist Edgar Degas, born in Paris (1834), best known for his paintings and pastels of ballet dancers and his bronze sculptures of ballerinas and racehorses. After he became completely blind in one eye, and nearly so in the other, he began to work in sculpture, which he called “a blind man’s art.” Degas remained a bachelor his entire life, saying, “There is love and there is work, and we only have one heart.”
Writer's Almanac


On this day in 1898, novelist Émile Zola (books by this author) fled France in the wake of what would become known as the “Dreyfus Affair.” Zola was one of France’s best-known writers and a leading intellectual. He had already completed his enormously successful 20-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart when he decided to write what would prove to be an inflammatory letter to the president of France, condemning the secret military court-martial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a French artillery officer of Jewish descent, who was accused of selling secrets to the German army and banished to Devil’s Island in South America. Evidence had surfaced of Dreyfus’ innocence, but the French military suppressed it.

Zola’s letter ran on the front page of the Parisian newspaper L’Aurore under the heading “J’Accuse!” (“I accuse!”) It read, in part: “I repeat with the most vehement conviction: truth is on the march, and nothing will stop it. Today is only the beginning, for it is only today that the positions have become clear: on one side, those who are guilty, who do not want the light to shine forth, on the other, those who seek justice and who will give their lives to attain it. I said it before and I repeat it now: when truth is buried underground, it grows and it builds up so much force that the day it explodes it blasts everything with it. We shall see whether we have been setting ourselves up for the most resounding of disasters, yet to come.”

Zola’s letter provoked national outrage on both sides of the issue, among political parties, religious organizations, and others. Accused of libel and sentenced to one year in prison, he fled to England for a year. His letter forced the military to address the Dreyfus Affair in public. Dreyfus was released and exonerated. Zola died four years later. His letter prompted the 1902 law that separated church and state in France and ushered in the political liberalization of France.
Writer's Almanac

They were digging...

On this date in 1799, French soldiers in Napoleon’s army discovered the Rosetta Stone at a port town on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast. They were digging a foundation for a fort when they came upon a slab of rock about 4 feet high and 2 and half feet wide, 11 inches thick and weighing 1,700 pounds. What caught the soldiers’ attention was the writing on the stone, in three different scripts: ancient Greek, demotic, and Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Scholars could read and understand the ancient Greek. The second script, demotic, was an Egyptian language that was spoken and written at the time that the Rosetta Stone was carved in 196 B.C., and contemporary scholars understood some bits and pieces of it. But Egyptian hieroglyphics had been a “dead” language for nearly 2,000 years. All around Egypt there abounded pyramids and temples with thousands of hieroglyphic characters carved into the walls, but no one could figure out what the inscriptions meant. When linguists realized that the three texts on the Rosetta Stone all said the same thing, they knew that they had a key to breaking the hieroglyphic “code” at last. A British scholar made good progress on figuring out the demotic text by 1814, and then the French scholar Jean-François Champollion worked out the hieroglyphics between 1822 and 1824.

The Rosetta Stone had been created in 196 B.C. on the orders of Ptolemy V, a Greek emperor who ruled Egypt during the Hellenistic period. It begins with a lofty address, where Ptolemy acknowledges by name some ancestors and gods. He goes on to praise his administration’s good deeds and himself at length, and then he announces tax breaks for the non-rebellious Egyptian temple priest class. He also gives instructions for the building of temples.

The Rosetta Stone has been exhibited at London’s British Museum since 1802 — with the exception of a two-year period near the end of World War I. The stone was moved to an underground railway station in Holborn to protect it from German bombs.
Writer's Almanac

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cobalt Blue Cooling Vest

My neighbor Sandy was wearing this. She has MS. The cobalt blue vest was filled with freezer packs.

Plantains Rollerskates and Shish Kabob

Special delivery in the 'hood!

Hermann Hesse

Not in his speech, not in his thoughts, I see his greatness, only in his actions, in his life.
Hermann Hesse

Every experience has its element of magic.
Hermann Hesse

A tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me!... Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
Hermann Hesse

When you like someone, you like them in spite of their faults. When you love someone, you love them with their faults.
Hermann Hesse

I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.
Hermann Hesse

But of all the water's secrets, he saw today only a single one-one that struck his soul. He saw that this water flowed and flowed, it was constantly flowing, and yet it was always there; it was always eternally the same and yet new at every moment! Oh, to be able to grasp this, to understand this!
Hermann Hesse

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
Hermann Hesse

I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I'm beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn't pleasant, it's not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.
Hermann Hesse

these are things we can do

To hold our tongues when everyone is gossiping, to smile without hostility at people and institutions, to compensate for the shortage of love in the world with more love in small, private matters; to be more faithful in our work, to show greater patience, to forgo the cheap revenge obtainable from mockery and criticism: all these are things we can do.
- Hermann Hesse

All Contempt

We kill at every step, not only in wars, riots and executions. We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, suffering and shame.In the same way all disrespect for life, all hard-heartedness, all indifference, all contempt is nothing else than killing.

- Hermann Hesse

Herman Hesse

If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.

One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.

People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest.

City Camp Woonsocket FREE SUMMER CAMP!!!

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Sufi Talks: Teachings of an American Sufi Sheihk

Seeker After Truth: A Handbook

Baking Molasses Granola

Monday, May 16, 2016
The Secret to My Best Granola

I have to make something a million times before I devise the simplest and best-tasting method.

The secret to my best granola is not toasting it but drying it out in the oven. This way the flavor of the vanilla and molasses are not overshadowed. Bake in a preheated oven 250 degrees for 35 minutes and let sit for an hour or overnight to absorb residual heat.

One cup of corn oil, Grandma's Molasses, teaspoon of real vanilla extract, one heaping teaspoon of kosher salt (half this amount if using fine grain salt). Maybe I should just admit it, two teaspoons of kosher salt.

Heat the oil, molasses, salt, and vanilla, in a large spaghetti pot and stir until bubbly then turn off the heat. Then add one (42 oz, or 2 lb 10 oz) large cylindrical container of old fashioned rolled oats and stir like mad. It's like tossing a salad of oats with molasses and oil dressing. When the oats are evenly coated pour them onto two baking trays or into two large cast iron frying pans and bake for 35-45 minutes at 250 F. Then after it has baked for 35-45 minutes turn the oven off and keep the oven door closed. Just let the granola dry out by itself. This is the important secret discovery. Come back a few hours later or the next day when it has dried and cooled and break it up and store the granola in an airtight container.

This is my favorite travel and snack food. I often carry a little bit with me just in case I get peckish when I am out on a long walk. Sometimes I add raisins.

Grilled Plantains for Breakfast

We buy 3 ripe plantains a week at Price Rite. I slice them thinly and place them in my cast iron grill pan and cook them. Then I sprinkle lots of Kosher salt on top. Delicious. They taste like a sweet potato and a banana combined.

Melody Moezzi: Power of Love and Support


“If I know what love is, it is because of you.”
― Hermann Hesse

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong but sometimes it is letting go.”
― Hermann Hesse

“Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.”
― Hermann Hesse

A Seeker

“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.”
― Hermann Hesse, Demian. Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend

“Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours.”
― Hermann Hesse

If You Hate

“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.”
― Hermann Hesse, Demian

Swim Across America!

Pool or open water.
Rhode Island:

Jessamyn West: Knowledge of What You Love

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.”
― Jessamyn West

“Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely essential.”
― Jessamyn West

“A taste for irony has kept more hearts from breaking than a sense of humor, for it takes irony to appreciate the joke which is on oneself. ”
― Jessamyn West

“It is very easy to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed your own.”
― Jessamyn West

“Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.”
― Jessamyn West

“A rattlesnake that doesn't bite teaches you nothing.”
― Jessamyn West

“Writing is so difficult that I often feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment hereafter.”
― Jessamyn West

“Knowledge of what you love somehow comes to you; you don’t have to read nor analyze nor study. If you love a thing enough, knowledge of it seeps into you, with particulars more real than any chart can furnish.”
― Jessamyn West

“People who keep journals have life twice.”
― Jessamyn West

“Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary.”
― Jessamyn West

“I have done more harm by the falseness of trying to please than by the honesty of trying to hurt.”
― Jessamyn West

“If you want a baby, have a new one. Don't baby the old one.”
― Jessamyn West

“Groan and forget it.”
― Jessamyn West

“Nothing ruins a face so fast as double-dealing. Your face telling one story to the world. Your heart yanking your face to pieces, trying to let the truth be known.”
― Jessamyn West

“Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.”
― Jessamyn West

“I am always jumping into the sausage grinder and deciding, even before I’m half ground, that I don’t want to be a sausage after all.”
― Jessamyn West, Double Discovery

“Some people are always thirsting for water from other people's wells.”
― Jessamyn West

“You can only write about what you don't know, and find out about it in the writing.”
― Jessamyn West, Collected Stories of Jessamyn West

Clifford Odets quotes

“If they tell you that she died of sleeping pills you must know that she died of a wasting grief, of a slow bleeding at the soul.”
― Clifford Odets

“Any idiot can face a crisis—it’s day to day living that wears you out.”
― Clifford Odets

“No, there's more to life than this. . .That was the past, but there is a future.

Now we know. We dare to understand. Truly. Truly, the past was a dream. But this, this is real. To know from this that something must be done, that is real.

We searched. We were confused, but we searched. And now the search has ended, for the truth has found us. For the first time in our lives, for the first time, our house has a real foundation . . .

Everywhere now, men are rising from their sleep. Men-- men are understanding the bitter, black total of their lives. Their whispers are growing to shouts. They become an ocean of understanding. No man fights alone.

Oh, if you could see with me the greatness of men. I tremble like a bride to see the time when they'll use it. No, my dear, we must have one regret-- that life is so short, that we must die so soon.

Yes, I-- I want to see that new world. I want to kiss all those future men and women. What's all this talk about bankruptcies, failures, hatreds? They won't know what that means.

I tell you, the whole world is for men to possess. Heartbreak and terror are not the heritage of mankind. The world is beautiful. No fruit tree wears a lock and key. Men will sing at their work, men will love. Oh, darling, the world is in its morning. And no man fights alone.

Let's have air. Open the windows.

--From Paradise Lost”
― Clifford Odets, "Waiting for Lefty" and Other Plays

“It seems to happen sudden—a fighter gets good. He gets easy and graceful. He learns how to save himself—no energy wasted... he slips and slides— he travels with the punch. . . . Oh, sure, I like the way you're shaping up.”
― Clifford Odets, Golden Boy

“You 're too sufficient by yourself...too inside yourself”
― Clifford Odets, Golden Boy

“You make me feel too human, Joe. All I want is peace and quiet, not love. I'm a tired old lady, Joe, and I don't mind being what you call "half dead." In fact it's what I like. The twice I was in love I took an awful beating and I don't want it again! I want you to stop it! Don't devil me, Joe. I beg you, don't devil me...”
― Clifford Odets, Golden Boy

“I feel like the wrath of God. You like that boy, don't you? I love him, Tom.”
― Clifford Odets, Golden Boy

“What do you want from me? Revenge? Sorry—we're all out of revenge today!”
― Clifford Odets, Golden Boy

“But I did it! That's the thing—I did it! What will my father say when he hears I murdered a man? Lorna, I see what I did. I murdered myself, too! I've been running around in circles. Now I'm smashed!”
― Clifford Odets, Golden Boy

City Beach

I love the smell of hot concrete sprayed with water and hamburgers and french fries wafting through the neighborhood Castle Restaurant. Summer in the city!
When I was a kid we'd go to Saxon Woods Pool and my mother would sunbathe while I swam my head off in the ice-cold water. Afterwards we'd squeeze our bathing suits out using the ringer. By then we were hungry and we'd beg my mother to buy us something from the concession stand. She never liked to buy food out in the world. You bought groceries once a week and made your own delicious food. One day she bought me a warm pre-made hamburger that came in a sealed cellophane bag. It was dreadful!


When I am angry like I was yesterday, the best cure is swimming and then walking, preferably to another state. And then, a good night of sleep.

City Swimming

Yesterday I wore my bathing suit all day and went over to the pool a few times as if it was an extension of my home. As it kind of is. When I turned the corner three 9 year old kids were playing in their blue and green inflated pool having a great time.

Tornado of SUCK

Social Media. The dopamine MONKEY MIND. The dope.

Clifford Odets

It's the birthday of playwright Clifford Odets (books by this author), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1906). Odets left school at the age of 15 to go into radio and found work as an announcer, actor, and writer. He joined several repertory companies, and in 1931, became one of the founding members of the Group Theater in New York. Although he originally joined as an actor, Odets was soon the Group's main playwright. In 1935, the theater produced Waiting for Lefty, a story about labor unions based on the 1934 New York taxi driver's strike. The play included flashbacks by union members and "plants" in the audience, which made it seem as if there was a real strike meeting going on. It was a great success, as was Odets' next play, Awake and Sing! (1935), a look at Jewish family life in the Bronx during the Depression. Odets went on to write several more plays — and screenplays including None But the Lonely Heart (1943), The Country Girl (1950), and Sweet Smell of Success (1957; revived on Broadway in 2001).

Nelson Mandela

Writer's Almanac 7/18/17
Today is the birthday of Rolihlahla "Nelson" Mandela (books by this author), born in Mvezo, South Africa (1918). He was the first member of his family to attend school, and that's where his British teachers gave him a new name: Nelson. Since childhood, Mandela had heard stories of his ancestors' courage. When he was 16 and participating in a ritual circumcision ceremony, the speaker lamented the life of oppression Mandela and the other boys would face under the rule of white South Africans. Mandela didn't understand everything that was said, but he later said that the experience formed his resolve to work for an end to apartheid.

He spent 27 years in prison, but refused to carry a grudge against his captors. He later said of his release from prison, "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison."

He also said: "A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special."

Monday, July 17, 2017

Fortunately and Unfortunately

I made brownies with Nutella for the house painters and placed it on the picnic table. When I turned my back to get the rake and shovel for the painters, Lily had her paws on the bench. Her face was in the pan. She'd eaten half the brownies. Luckily she's not allergic to chocolate.

Stunned Silence

“Sometimes stunned silence is better than applause.”
― Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Jenny Lawson

“I try to be appreciative of what I have instead of bitter about what I’ve lost.”
― Jenny Lawson, Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

Figgy Pudding

“We wish you a merry Christmas” is the most demanding song ever. It starts off all nice and a second later you have an angry mob at your door scream-singing, “Now bring us some figgy pudding and bring it RIGHT HERE. WE WON’T GO UNTIL WE GET SOME SO BRING IT RIGHT HERE.” Also, they’re rhyming “here” with “here.” That’s just sloppy. I’m not rewarding unrequested, lazy singers with their aggressive pudding demands. There should be a remix of that song that homeowners can sing that’s all “I didn’t even ask for your shitty song, you filthy beggars. I’ve called the cops. Who is this even working on? Has anyone you’ve tried this on actually given you pudding? Fig-flavored pudding? Is that even a thing?” It doesn’t rhyme but it’s not like they’re trying either. And then the carolers would be like, “SO BRING US SOME GIN AND TONIC AND LET’S HAVE A BEER,” and then I’d be like, “Well, I guess that’s more reasonable. Fine. You can come in for one drink.” Technically that would be a good way to get free booze. Like trick-or-treat but for singy alcoholics. Oh my God, I finally understand caroling.”
― Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

“I can tell you that “Just cheer up” is almost universally looked at as the most unhelpful depression cure ever. It’s pretty much the equivalent of telling someone who just had their legs amputated to “just walk it off.” Some people don’t understand that for a lot of us, mental illness is a severe chemical imbalance rather just having “a case of the Mondays.” Those same well-meaning people will tell me that I’m keeping myself from recovering because I really “just need to cheer up and smile.” That’s when I consider chopping off their arms and then blaming them for not picking up their severed arms so they can take them to the hospital to get reattached.”
― Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

It might be easier. But it wouldn’t be better.

“Without the dark there isn’t light. Without the pain there is no relief. And I remind myself that I’m lucky to be able to feel such great sorrow, and also such great happiness. I can grab on to each moment of joy and live in those moments because I have seen the bright contrast from dark to light and back again. I am privileged to be able to recognize that the sound of laughter is a blessing and a song, and to realize that the bright hours spent with my family and friends are extraordinary treasures to be saved, because those same moments are a medicine, a balm. Those moments are a promise that life is worth fighting for, and that promise is what pulls me through when depression distorts reality and tries to convince me otherwise.”
― Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

“Last month, as Victor drove me home so I could rest, I told him that sometimes I felt like his life would be easier without me. He paused a moment in thought and then said, “It might be easier. But it wouldn’t be better.”
― Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Lawson Quote

“Depression is like … when you don’t want cheese anymore. Even though it’s cheese.”
― Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

A Funny Book About Horrible Things

“Don’t make the same mistakes that everyone else makes. Make wonderful mistakes. Make the kind of mistakes that make people so shocked that they have no other choice but to be a little impressed.”
― Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

“You should just accept who you are, flaws and all, because if you try to be someone you aren't, then eventually some turkey is going to shit all over your well-crafted facade, so you might as well save yourself the effort and enjoy your zombie books.”
― Jenny Lawson, Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

“I can finally see that all the terrible parts of my life, the embarrassing parts, the incidents I wanted to pretend never happened, and the things that make me "weird" and "different," were actually the most important parts of my life. They were the parts that made me ME.”
― Jenny Lawson, Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

“There will be moments when you have to be a grown-up. Those moments are tricks. Do not fall for them.”
― Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Jenny Lawson: Don’t sabotage yourself

“Because you are defined not by life's imperfect moments, but by your reaction to them. And because there is joy in embracing - rather than running from - the utter absurdity of life.”
― Jenny Lawson, Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

“When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate. Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive. We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker … but as survivors. Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it. Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand. I hope to one day see a sea of people all wearing silver ribbons as a sign that they understand the secret battle, and as a celebration of the victories made each day as we individually pull ourselves up out of our foxholes to see our scars heal, and to remember what the sun looks like.”
― Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

“Like my grandmother always said, “Your opinions are valid and important. Unless it’s some stupid bullshit you’re being shitty about, in which case you can just go fuck yourself.”
― Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

“A friend is someone who knows where all your bodies are buried. Because they're the ones who helped you put them there."
And sometimes, if you're really lucky, they help you dig them back up.”
― Jenny Lawson, Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

“Don’t sabotage yourself. There are plenty of other people willing to do that for free.”
― Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sombrero (Spanish for "hat", means "shadower") in English refers to a type of wide-brimmed hat from Mexico, used to shield from the sun. It usually has a high pointed crown, an extra-wide brim (broad enough to cast a shadow over the head, neck and shoulders of the wearer, and slightly upturned at the edge), and a chin string to hold it in place. In Spanish, sombrero refers to any wide-brimmed hat. [1]

Joy to the World

It's the birthday of the great church composer Isaac Watts, born in Southampton, England (1674). He wrote more than 600 hymns, including "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" and "Joy to the World."
-Writer's Almanac, 7/17/17

Georges Lemaître

It's the birthday of Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaître, born in Charleroi, Belgium, on this day in 1894. He proposed the big-bang theory, maintaining that the universe originated with a gigantic explosion of what he called a small super-atom, and that the universe is constantly expanding.
Writer's Almanac 7/17/17

Who more than I knows of my impoverishment?

It's the birthday of fiction writer Shmuel Yosef Agnon (books by this author), who wrote under S.Y. Agnon, born in Galicia in what is now Ukraine (1888). He spoke Yiddish at home, and read Hebrew and German.

When he was 20 years old, he moved to what is now Israel, and he started publishing stories. He moved back to Germany for a few years, where a prosperous Jewish businessman named Salman Schocken took Agnon under his wing and gave him a monthly stipend so that he could devote himself to writing full-time. Agnon's books include Hakhnasat Kalah (The Bridal Canopy, 1922), Oreach Nata Lalun (A Guest for the Night, 1939), and Shevuat Emunim (Two Tales, 1943). He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1966.

At a big party for his 70th birthday attended by several hundred people, he gave a speech and said: "I did not recount great things and wonders about myself. Who more than I knows of my impoverishment? I say this not from false modesty, but from my own opinion — that an author who believes he has great things to tell about himself misappropriates his mission. The individual to whom God gave an author's pen must write of the acts of God and his wonders with human beings."
Writer's Almanac 7/17/17

Malden Massachusetts

It's the birthday of detective novelist Erle Stanley Gardner (books by this author), born in Malden, Massachusetts (1889). He earned money through high school by participating in illegal boxing matches. He went on to Valparaiso University to study law, but after only a month, he got kicked out for boxing. So he studied law on his own, and he passed the California bar exam when he was 21. He went to his swearing-in ceremony after a boxing match, and said that he was probably the only attorney in the state to be sworn in with two black eyes.

He liked working as a lawyer, but it wasn't enough to keep him busy, so he started writing detective fiction for pulp magazines. In 1933, he published The Case of the Velvet Claws, his first novel featuring detective and defense attorney Perry Mason, who always pulled through and won cases for the underdogs. Gardner wrote more than 80 Perry Mason novels, and his books have sold more than 300 million copies.

He said: "I still have vivid recollections of putting in day after day of trying a case in front of a jury, which is one of the most exhausting activities I know about, dashing up to the law library after court had adjourned to spend three or four hours looking up law points with which I could trap my adversary the next day, then going home, grabbing a glass of milk with an egg in it, dashing upstairs to my study, ripping the cover off my typewriter, noticing it was 11:30 p.m. and settling down with grim determination to get a plot for a story. Along about 3 in the morning I would have completed my daily stint of a 4,000-word minimum and would crawl into bed."
-Writer's Almanac 7/17/17

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Nuala O'Faolain's Memoirs

Novels are completed when they are finished, but the memoir changes its own conclusion by virtue of being written. I was not at all the same person, when I handed the manuscript over as I'd been when I began. A memoir may always be retrospective, but the past is not where its action takes place.

-Nuala O'Faolain, Almost There: The Onward Journey of a Dublin Woman (2nd memoir)

Robot Librarian

She knows just what I want to read next!

Dirt Palace

Levon Helm: Dirt Farmer

Levon Helm - Dirt Farmer (2007) & Electric Dirt (2009) [Full Albums]

Garth Husdon

Documentary Betty Page

My friend Dan told me about this film when I told him about the Betty Page look alike in the pool with her grandchildren. She was covered in tattoos.

Bettie Page Reveals All Official Trailer #1 (2013) - Documentary HD ...
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Nov 15, 2013 - Uploaded by Movieclips Trailers
In Mori's alluring documentary, the real Bettie Page emerges from the veil of myth and rumor via audio ...
Bettie Page Reveals All - YouTube
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▶ 1:41:26
Jan 24, 2014 - Uploaded by Music Box Films
In this alluring documentary, the real Bettie Page emerges from the veil of myth and speculation for the first ...

Clayton Moss

Very sad.

7 Billion Hungry Humans

Rice beans wheat I know there's plenty to eat.

Afgan Girls Robotics Team

Ironic: Can Health Care Recover from Surgery?

Swimming Lessons

Run at 101!

‘I missed my nap for this’: 101-year-old sprinter breaks 100-meter dash record


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The church of St. Nicolai, Stralsund. The clerestory is the level between the two green roofs, reinforced here by flying buttresses.

In architecture, a clerestory (/ˈklɪərstɔːri/, KLEER-staw-ree; lit. clear storey, also clearstory, clearstorey, or overstorey) is a high section of wall that contains windows above eye level. The purpose is to admit light, fresh air, or both.

Historically, clerestory denoted an upper level of a Roman basilica or of the nave of a Romanesque or Gothic church, the walls of which rise above the rooflines of the lower aisles and are pierced with windows.

Similar structures have been used in transportation vehicles to provide additional lighting, ventilation, or headroom.

Summer in the City

Today is the quintessential beach day for all of the folks who like to make the trek. Let them go! I prefer to stay home in the shade of urban trees and public spaces.



We went to an art show at the Worcester sprinkler factory last night and it was amazing.

The space had a clerestory and the light was phenomenal. I'd love to make a studio with light from above.

I woke up early even though I went to bed very late. My animals are used to being fed at dawn and I oblige.

Summer favorites:

Hanging laundry in the morning sun.

Having coffee under the tree.

Hosing my head and bare feet outside.

Baking pretzels and scones.

Sitting in the dog pool.

born 1194

Writer's Almanac Today:
Today is the birthday of St. Clare of Assisi, born 1194. As the eldest daughter of a wealthy family, she was expected by her parents to marry well, and they began trying to fix her up with eligible bachelors when she was only 12. She managed to convince them to wait until she was 18, but by that time she preferred to go and listen to the young and radical Francis of Assisi preaching the gospel. One Palm Sunday, she ran away in the middle of the night to give her vows to Francis. He cut her hair, dressed her in black, and brought her to a group of Benedictine nuns. Later, he moved her to the Church of San Damiano, where she embraced a life of extreme poverty, after the example set by Jesus. Clare's sister Agnes eventually ran away to join her, and so did other women, and the order became known as the "Poor Ladies." They spent their time in prayer and manual labor, and refused to own any property.

Clare defended her lifestyle of poverty and sacrifice by saying: "There are some who do not pray nor make sacrifices; there are many who live solely for the idolatry of their senses. There should be compensation. There should be someone who prays and makes sacrifices for those who do not do so. If this spiritual balance is not established, earth would be destroyed by the evil one."

How Poems Inspire Pictures

Poetry, to me, is what is right in front of you every day that you fail to see. Great poets have the ability to eloquently amplify the internal monologue, which is so often muted by outside distractions. Lyrical photography, in turn, is often hindered by too much thought.

I often find that when I don’t carry a camera, I see great photographs because I’m not looking for them. This is an effort to not seek photographs but rather let them find me.

The Recipe

I told her the recipe for happiness is taking a walk each day preferably with her canine friend. And to write her heart out in a ten cent notebook. This will change your brain! THIS is therapy beyond belief. I tell her. It's brain surgery without the blood. Empty out your loves and worries and wishes and fears. Only then can you have room to 'take in' your life.

Most people go around so filled up they miss their minute to minute life. I call it my spittoon notebook or "Milking the cow!" You must milk the cow morning and night, 365 days a year no matter what or it will be in agony and get sick. This is why I have always wanted a cow. I like the metaphoric ritual for a practice in my life.

The Farting Door

Yesterday Sylvia and I sat in the shade on the stone wall on North Main Street and watched guys go in and out of the barber shop. Each time the door opened it creaked a moaning farting sound. We started laughing.

Picnic on the Bridge

Gather your blankets and coolers to experience wandering musicians and a sunset. I wish this was how we could include all of the families of the city rather than expensive tickets to a formal dinner.

Devoney Looser

“Oh, I quite like the creaking door. I prefer its sound to any other. Do leave it be.”

We no longer need the myth of female self-abnegation or palatable feminine reticence to revere her as an author, a woman or a woman author. The fact that she wanted to give her stories to the public, and that they continue to resonate so profoundly, is what’s crucial. Let’s put the fanciful story of Austen’s hidden writing to rest. Let’s fix that creaking door.

Article by Devoney Looser, a professor of English at Arizona State University, is the author of “The Making of Jane Austen.”

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Osborne Inteview


If only they’d met in a transparent room.

adjective: transparent

(of a material or article) allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen.
"transparent blue water"
synonyms: clear, crystal clear, see-through, translucent, pellucid, limpid, glassy, vitreous More
"transparent blue water"
see-through, sheer, filmy, gauzy, diaphanous, translucent
"fine transparent fabrics"
antonyms: opaque, cloudy, thick
easy to perceive or detect.
"the residents will see through any transparent attempt to buy their votes"
synonyms: obvious, evident, self-evident, undisguised, unconcealed, conspicuous, patent, clear, crystal clear, plain, (as) plain as the nose on your face, apparent, unmistakable, easily discerned, manifest, palpable, indisputable, unambiguous, unequivocal
"a transparent attempt to win favor"
antonyms: ambiguous, obscure
having thoughts, feelings, or motives that are easily perceived.
"you'd be no good at poker—you're too transparent"

A culture of constant, casual brutality is toxic to the body, and we suffer for it
What’s bad for your nervous system, in contrast, are long stretches of simmering stress. If you spend a lot of time in a harsh environment worrying about your safety, that’s the kind of stress that brings on illness and remodels your brain. That’s also true of a political climate in which groups of people endlessly hurl hateful words at one another, and of rampant bullying in school or on social media. A culture of constant, casual brutality is toxic to the body, and we suffer for it.

When Is Speech Violence?

Gray Matter


Imagine that a bully threatens to punch you in the face. A week later, he walks up to you and breaks your nose with his fist. Which is more harmful: the punch or the threat?

The answer might seem obvious: Physical violence is physically damaging; verbal statements aren’t. “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

But scientifically speaking, it’s not that simple. Words can have a powerful effect on your nervous system. Certain types of adversity, even those involving no physical contact, can make you sick, alter your brain — even kill neurons — and shorten your life.

Your body’s immune system includes little proteins called proinflammatory cytokines that cause inflammation when you’re physically injured. Under certain conditions, however, these cytokines themselves can cause physical illness. What are those conditions? One of them is chronic stress.

Your body also contains little packets of genetic material that sit on the ends of your chromosomes. They’re called telomeres. Each time your cells divide, their telomeres get a little shorter, and when they become too short, you die. This is normal aging. But guess what else shrinks your telomeres? Chronic stress.

If words can cause stress, and if prolonged stress can cause physical harm, then it seems that speech — at least certain types of speech — can be a form of violence. But which types?

This question has taken on some urgency in the past few years, as professed defenders of social justice have clashed with professed defenders of free speech on college campuses. Student advocates have protested vigorously, even violently, against invited speakers whose views they consider not just offensive but harmful — hence the desire to silence, not debate, the speaker. “Trigger warnings” are based on a similar principle: that discussions of certain topics will trigger, or reproduce, past trauma — as opposed to merely challenging or discomfiting the student. The same goes for “microaggressions.”

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This idea — that there is often no difference between speech and violence — has stuck many as a coddling or infantilizing of students, as well as a corrosive influence on the freedom of expression necessary for intellectual progress. It’s a safe bet that the Pew survey data released on Monday, which showed that Republicans’ views of colleges and universities have taken a sharp negative turn since 2015, results in part from exasperation with the “speech equals violence” equation.

The scientific findings I described above provide empirical guidance for which kinds of controversial speech should and shouldn’t be acceptable on campus and in civil society. In short, the answer depends on whether the speech is abusive or merely offensive.

Offensiveness is not bad for your body and brain. Your nervous system evolved to withstand periodic bouts of stress, such as fleeing from a tiger, taking a punch or encountering an odious idea in a university lecture.

Entertaining someone else’s distasteful perspective can be educational. Early in my career, I taught a course that covered the eugenics movement, which advocated the selective breeding of humans. Eugenics, in its time, became a scientific justification for racism. To help my students understand this ugly part of scientific history, I assigned them to debate its pros and cons. The students refused. No one was willing to argue, even as part of a classroom exercise, that certain races were genetically superior to others.

So I enlisted an African-American faculty member in my department to argue in favor of eugenics while I argued against; halfway through the debate, we switched sides. We were modeling for the students a fundamental principle of a university education, as well as civil society: When you’re forced to engage a position you strongly disagree with, you learn something about the other perspective as well as your own. The process feels unpleasant, but it’s a good kind of stress — temporary and not harmful to your body — and you reap the longer-term benefits of learning.

What’s bad for your nervous system, in contrast, are long stretches of simmering stress. If you spend a lot of time in a harsh environment worrying about your safety, that’s the kind of stress that brings on illness and remodels your brain. That’s also true of a political climate in which groups of people endlessly hurl hateful words at one another, and of rampant bullying in school or on social media. A culture of constant, casual brutality is toxic to the body, and we suffer for it.

That’s why it’s reasonable, scientifically speaking, not to allow a provocateur and hatemonger like Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at your school. He is part of something noxious, a campaign of abuse. There is nothing to be gained from debating him, for debate is not what he is offering.

On the other hand, when the political scientist Charles Murray argues that genetic factors help account for racial disparities in I.Q. scores, you might find his view to be repugnant and misguided, but it’s only offensive. It is offered as a scholarly hypothesis to be debated, not thrown like a grenade. There is a difference between permitting a culture of casual brutality and entertaining an opinion you strongly oppose. The former is a danger to a civil society (and to our health); the latter is the lifeblood of democracy.

By all means, we should have open conversations and vigorous debate about controversial or offensive topics. But we must also halt speech that bullies and torments. From the perspective of our brain cells, the latter is literally a form of violence.

Woonsocket Trees

We need a tree surgeon in Woonsocket. All of the Autumnfest trees are dying! They have caught diseases from lawn companies choking and damaging them with wood mulch.

Do What You Love

Do what you love and the rewards will follow. Our culture is overly focused on MONEY as the unit of measurement. True payment is much more profound and subtle.

Urban Landscape is Changing

The gigantic brick building that was an acoustic wall in the Autumnfest Parade, is gone! I am curious about what will move in. Be brave! Change is inevitable.

Woonsocket Neighborhood Sunday Visits

My husband told me it was a French-Canadian tradition to walk around the neighborhood and visit after church on Sunday. I love this idea. I think we should bring it back!

Sinéad O’Connor

“If people think that you have a mental illness, they take it as a license to dismiss everything you think, do, say, or feel.”
Sinéad O’Connor, Interview with Sinéad O’Connor. (10/04/2007)

430 Books

Marilyn Monroe's Library

Literary Job Zone

Max Winter

10 Writing Rules You Can (and Should) Break
By Max Winter |
Jul 14, 2017

Block Party

Last night we stepped out to walk Lily and heard our Mayor speaking in the ball field. We walked over and there was a huge crowd. Bouley Field was being re-dedicated to the City of Woonsocket. Uncle Charlie was there and our Mayor's Mom and Linda Plays and Chief Tommy and Chief Paul and Nancy and state rep Bob Phillips and all of the neighborhood kids, the Rose family, EVERYONE we know! So we hung out and visited. It was like a block party. Christine was there giving out tickets to free food and ice cream. When we got home I said "Now I need to take a real walk with Lily so we went to Precious Blood cemetery and it was a perfect night. Cool and gray.

Jaques Derrida: There is nothing outside the text

Jacques Derrida (1930-2004), was born in Algeria, has been called the most famous philosopher of our time. He was the author of a number of books, including Writing and Difference, which came to be seen as defining texts of postmodernist thought.

from Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of French philosopher Jacques Derrida (books by this author), the founder of "deconstruction," was born on this day in El Biar, Algeria (1930). Derrida generally refused to define "deconstruction." When asked to do so once in an interview he said, "It is impossible to respond. I can only do something which will leave me unsatisfied." One time when giving a lecture he said, "Needless to say, one more time, deconstruction, if there is such a thing, takes place as the experience of the impossible."

He's the author of more than 40 notoriously dense books, including Of Grammatology (1976), Specters of Marx (1993), Of Spirit (1989), Resistances of Psychoanalysis (1998), and The Animal That Therefore I Am (2008).

Derrida's most famous words: "There is nothing outside the text."

Twyla Hansen Poem

Trying to Pray

by Twyla Hansen

With my arms raised in a vee,
I gather the heavens and bring
my hands down slow together,
press palms and bow my head.

I try to forget the suffering,
the wars, the ravage of land
that threatens songbirds,
butterflies, and pollinators.

The ghosts of their wings flutter
past my closed eyes as I breathe
the spirit of seasons, the stirrings
in soil, trees moving with sap.

With my third eye, I conjure
the red fox, its healthy tail, recount
the good of this world, the farmer
tending her tomatoes, the beans

dazzled green al dente in butter,
salt and pepper, cows munching
on grass. The orb of sun-gold
from which all bounty flows.

“Trying to Pray” by Twyla M. Hansen from Rock. Tree. Bird. © The Backwaters Press, 2017.
Writer's Almanac

Dr. Rienzi Haytasingh

Why we do this.

I became a school psychologist to work with children. I loved to be around kids, simple. Why not help kids as a medical doctor? Nope not for me, too much pain and suffering in hospitals. Too much blood. Child psychologist help kids and no blood. That was 20 years ago. Today, (yes, just now) I realized that to truly help children you must meet them when they are in pain. At Brain Learning we meet children every day who are in pain. Let me give you some examples. There is the kid who can’t read in high school and feels like she can’t tell anyone. The boy with ADHD who believes he is wrong because everyone has always told him to be different. How about the boy with Asperger syndrome who gets so angry because he knows he is different and can’t see anything good in his future? And then there is the boy who thinks he is “dumb” because he can’t spell or read in the 6th grade, he gave up trying and wants to run away. Last week there was the kid in pain over separation of his parents and where he will live tomorrow. It turns out, I’ve spent the last 20 years helping kids in pain, despite not wanting see or feel pain. I’ve been feeling the pain of children in schools daily and working with others to help them. Their pain isn’t always observable or well understood but it does exist. Thousands of parents have shared their questions and concerns over the years. Their pain is also felt. Today, when we think of God’s blessing on us and his wisdom for this journey, we feel more passionate than ever. We don’t do this because it’s our job, we do this because it’s our life.

It’s not what we do, it’s why we do it. What will Brain Learning do for your child’s pain?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Napping is Cool: Double Mornings

I LOVE morning. When I nap I get two mornings and a two chances for morning coffee. I have a fan and a blackout curtain in my bedroom so I can screen out the neighborhood noise and light. Try it.

Improvisational Pressure Cooker Mac and Cheese

I used tricolor rotini and chopped frozen spinach, Adobo, Cholula hot sauce, garlic powder, red wine, mustard, bean stock, greens stock....pepper jack cheese, olive oil, and a dash of milk. So good!

Inspired by gabe mentioning this...

Miss August: New Book by Nin Andrews

Miss August (Notable Voices) Paperback – May 2, 2017
by Nin Andrews (Author)
In the voice of three characters, Miss August tells the story of two friends growing up in Virginia during a time when Massive Resistance to integration causes public schools to close and private white-only academies to open. It’s a portrait of family and cultural dysfunction, and racism in a specific time and place in American history.

Cutting my Hair

I have been cutting my hair using scissors since December and now my hair is shorter than my dogs hair. I love it. I do it by feel.

Short Story by Sarah Martin
The Undertaker
by Sarah Martin
Sarah Martin is an English teacher living in Melbourne, Australia.

Bhavna's Kitchen

Pressure Cooker Video!

Interested in getting All-in-one power Cooker, check out the link below:
The beauty of the one-pot pasta is that it is literally all cooked in one pot. I mean, how can you not love a recipe which produce only ONE dirty pan? ... Neither one of us likes dealing with the hand wash items, which really sucks ...
½ lb. pasta of your choice
1 cup Boiled Chickpeas - optional
2½ cups Stock or water
1 cup Tomatoes
1 small red onion - sliced thin
4 - 6 sweet mini peppers - sliced thinly
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
4 big leaves fresh basil
1 - 2 garlic cloves - minced
Spinach or other favorite
Lemon Slices - 2
Vegetables of your choice can be added.

More recipes at
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½ lb. pasta of your choice
1 cup Boiled Chickpeas - optional
2½ cups Stock or water
1 cup Tomatoes
1 small red onion - sliced thin
4 - 6 sweet mini peppers - sliced thinly
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
4 big leaves fresh basil
1 - 2 garlic cloves - minced
Spinach or other favorite
Lemon Slices - 2
vegetable of your choice can be added.

This is Wonderful!

It's the birthday of playwright Arthur Laurents (books by this author), born in Brooklyn (1917). He said: "I always wanted to write musicals. When I was a kid, really a kid — seven or eight — I lived in Brooklyn and there was a stock company and my cousin and I would go Saturday afternoons. I remember two productions. One was No, No, Nanette. I still remember them twirling the parasols, thinking, 'Oh, this is wonderful!' The other one was Rain by Somerset Maugham and they had real rain!"

He went on to write West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), and many more musicals and films, as well as three memoirs: Original Story By (2000), Mainly on Directing (2009), and The Rest of the Story (2012).

Other Chances

“I want to live other lives. I’ve never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.”
— Anne Tyler

Joyce Sutphen

Carrying Water to the Field

by Joyce Sutphen

And on those hot afternoons in July,
when my father was out on the tractor
cultivating rows of corn, my mother
would send us out with a Mason jar
filled with ice and water, a dish towel
wrapped around it for insulation.

Like a rocket launched to an orbiting
planet, we would cut across the fields
in a trajectory calculated to intercept—
or, perhaps, even—surprise him
in his absorption with the row and the
turning always over earth beneath the blade.

He would look up and see us, throttle
down, stop, and step from the tractor
with the grace of a cowboy dismounting
his horse, and receive gratefully the jar
of water, ice cubes now melted into tiny
shards, drinking it down in a single gulp,
while we watched, mission accomplished.

- Joyce Sutphen.


Today is the birthday of Woodrow Wilson — aka "Woody" — Guthrie (books by this author) born in Okemah, Oklahoma (1912). Woody Guthrie never finished high school, but he spent his spare time reading books at the local public library. He took occasional jobs as a sign painter and started playing music on a guitar he found in the street. During the Dust Bowl in the mid-1930s, Guthrie followed workers who were moving to California. They taught him traditional folk and blues songs, and Guthrie went on to write thousands of his own, including "This Train Is Bound for Glory." In 1940, he wrote the folk classic "This Land Is Your Land" because he was growing sick of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America."

Woody Guthrie once said: "I hate a song that makes you think that you're not any good. [...] Songs that run you down or songs that poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or your hard traveling. I am out to fight those kinds of songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood.
-Writer's Almanac

Marion's Buttermilk Scones

I got to meet Marion and have lunch with her in the 90's when we did COOKING with CHILDREN.
Buttermilk Scones from Baking with Julia

Recipe by: Marion Cunningham


3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter -- cold (6 ounces), cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk --
1 tablespoon grated orange zest -- or lemon zest

1/2 stick unsalted butter -- (2 ounces), melted, for brushing
1/4 cup sugar -- for dusting

4 tablespoons jam -- or jelly,
4 tablespoons dried fruit -- diced
or small, plump, such as currants, raisins,
apricots, or figs, for filling (optional)


Position the oven racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 425°F.

Mixing and Kneading: In a medium bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together with a fork. Add the cold butter pieces and, using your fingertips (the first choice), a pastry
blender, or two knives, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.It's OK if some largish pieces of butter remain--they'll add to the scones' flakiness.

Pour in 1 cup buttermilk, toss in the zest, and mix with the fork only until the ingredients are just moistened--you'll havea soft dough with a rough look. (If the dough looks dry, add another tablespoon of
buttermilk.) Gather the dough into a ball, pressing it gently so that it holds
together, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead it very briefly--a dozen turns should do it. Cut the dough in half.

TO MAKE TRIANGULAR-SHAPED SCONES, roll one piece of dough into a 1/2-inch-thick circle that is about 7 inches across. Brush the dough with half of the melted butter,
sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and cut the circle into 6 triangles. Place the scones on an ungreased baking sheet and set aside while you roll out the rest of the dough.

TO MAKE ROLLED SCONES, roll one piece of dough into a strip that is 12 inches long and 1/2 inch thick (the piece will not be very wide). Spread the strip with half of the melted butter and dust with half of the sugar. If you want to spread the roll with jam and/or sprinkle it with dried fruits, now's the time to do so; leave a narrow border on a long edge bare. Roll the strip up from a long side like a jelly roll; pinch the seam closed and turn the roll seam side down. Cut the roll in half and cut each piece into six 1-inch-wide roll-ups. Place the rolled scones cut side down on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving a little space between each one. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Baking the Scones: Bake the scones for 10 to 12 minutes, until both the tops and bottoms are golden. Transfer the scones to a rack to cool slightly. These are best served warm but are just fine at room temperature.

If you're not going to eat the scones the day they are made, wrap them airtight and freeze; they'll stay fresh for a month. To serve, defrost the scones at room temperature in their wrappers, then
unwrap and reheat on a baking sheet for 5 minutes in a 350°F oven.

Makes 12 triangular or 24 rolled scones.

This is What Takes Down a City

Chirping smoke alarms of absentee tenement landlords. Drug dealing in the streets and needles in the bushes. Tenants complain, if they dare but still, they are POWERLESS and perpetually ignored. The city does not have funding to micromanage the plethora of slumlords. This is what takes down a city.

Live Well Nebraska


Summer: Segmented Sleep or Insomnia

Insomnia: How do I stay asleep?

Mayo Clinic

I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. What can I do?
Answers from Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D.

Waking up in the middle of the night is called sleep maintenance insomnia, and it's a common problem. Midsleep awakenings often occur during periods of stress. Over-the-counter sleep aids rarely offer significant help for this problem.

To help stay asleep through the night, try some of these strategies to relieve insomnia:

Establish a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine. For example, drink a cup of noncaffeinated tea, take a warm shower or listen to soft music.
Relax your body. Gentle yoga or progressive muscle relaxation can ease tension and help tight muscles to relax.
Make your bedroom conducive to sleep. Keep light, noise and temperature at levels that are comfortable and won't disturb your rest. Don't engage in activities other than sleeping or sex in your bedroom. This will help your body know this room is for sleeping.
Put clocks in your bedroom out of sight. Clock-watching causes stress and makes it harder to go back to sleep if you wake up during the night.
Avoid caffeine after noon, and limit alcohol to 1 drink several hours before bedtime. Both caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep.
Get regular exercise. But keep in mind, exercising too close to bedtime may interfere with sleep.
Go to bed only when you're sleepy. If you aren't sleepy at bedtime, do something relaxing that will help you wind down.
Wake up at the same time every day. If you go to sleep later than usual, resist the urge to sleep in.
Avoid daytime napping. Napping can throw off your sleep cycle.
If you wake up and can't fall back to sleep within 20 minutes or so, get out of bed. Go to another room and read or do other quiet activities until you feel sleepy.

In some cases, insomnia is caused by a medical condition such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome or chronic pain or by a mental health disorder such as depression. Treatment for one of these underlying conditions may be necessary for insomnia to get better. Also, treating insomnia may help depression symptoms improve faster.

If you keep having sleep problems, talk to your doctor. To determine the cause and best treatment for insomnia, you may need to see a sleep specialist. Your doctor may prescribe medication and have you try other strategies to get your sleep pattern back on track.

Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D.

Swimming Pool Scarecrow

All swimming pools have scarecrows! I said, (talking in my sleep).

I fell asleep at 7PM and slept soundly until 11:11 and then 1AM.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Art by Bert Crenca July 15th, Sprinkler factory, Worcester MA

Umberto Crenca

At the Sprinkler factory in Worcester.
Opening Party July 15th Saturday 6 to 9PM

Sprinkler Factory
The Sprinkler​ Factory​. Galleries, Performance Space & Artist Studios​. 38 Harlow St. Worcester, MA 01605​. Regular Gallery Hours: Saturdays and Sundays 1-4 pm.
‎Special Events · ‎East Gallery · ‎Studio Rental · ‎West Gallery


I ran into Gabe on my walk and we discussed PRESSURE COOKING. He makes spaghetti and mac and cheese. He watches the infomercials and uses frozen meat in the cooker. I had to run home and look this up.

Kiss of Death Ipswich

“Kiss of Death” at New England textile mills – Stories From Ipswich
Feb 19, 2017 - EBSCO Publishing is at the location of the former Ipswich Hosiery Mill. ... The following article is from The Kiss of Death Story by Horatio Rogers ...

Jane Goodall

0:59 / 5:54
Jane Goodall: A Retrospective | National Geographic
National Geographic

Jane Goodall has taught the world more about chimpanzees than anyone else in the world. Her dream to study our closest relatives began in 1960 in Gombe Park, Tanzania, and she continues her work to save them today.
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National Geographic is the world's premium destination for science, exploration, and adventure. Through their world-class scientists, photographers, journalists, and filmmakers, Nat Geo gets you closer to the stories that matter and past the edge of what's possible.

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Official Site:

Jane Goodall: A Retrospective | National Geographic

National Geographic

Siberia’s Indigenous People


New Frontier: Harvest and Pass on the Wisdom

Choices that can Change your Life | Caroline Myss | TEDxFindhornSalon

TEDx Talks
In Caroline's unique style, she talks about 3 key choices people can make to change their life.
Caroline Myss is a five-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally renowned speaker in the fields of human consciousness, spirituality and mysticism, health, energy medicine, and the science of medical intuition.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Peggy Oki

Ted X
Published on Apr 28, 2016

With an appreciation of flow and motion Peggy's life has been always been driven by passion. From surfing and skateboarding to the intimate appreciation what she calls the 'Cetacean Nation'. Discovering the transformative force of participation artwork through her Origami Whales project was the first step to realising that passion could be harnessed, amplified and ultimately inspire for a deeper purpose.

Surfer, Skateboarder, Artist and Activist.
Once the only female member of the famous Zephyr Skateboard team from documentary 'Dogtown and Z-Boys': Peggy’s love of the outdoors inspires her to travel worldwide in search of good surf. In 2004, she founded the Origami Whales Project to raise awareness about commercial whaling. She has also developed the Whales and Dolphins Ambassador Program and led campaigns such as ‘Let’s Face It’, which petitions to save New Zealand’s critically endangered Maui’s dolphins and Hector’s dolphins.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Nonprofits & Activism

Dark Green Inspiration


Wealth Care

Where are the philanthropists?

Stories from the Neighborhood

He told me when he was a kid in the Bronx, he tagged a subway car with his friends. It wasn't supposed to go anywhere. We were in the tunnel workin' away and then a train came. It wasn't supposed to. "We had cans of paint on the tracks and I had to hide fast! BOOM BOOM We got covered in paint! I went home after that. I was sick to my stomach. I'll never do that again.

I was in prison and the guard didn't believe I was 40 at the time. Now I am 60 today's my birthday and STILL nobody believes me.

I walk into my living room and there's a kid watching cartoons, but it's not my kid! It's a little boy from the building. "Hi honey you can't stay here," I said.

I followed my sister to Douglas Massachusetts but I was talking to the trees I was so bored so I came back here. One thing I can admit, it's never dull around here. Not at this intersection. We've got ladies of the night, guys throwing lit shit into the windows next door, and up at the 4 way stop a guy hit a guy with his van and then backed up and drove over him twice, in broad daylight at ten am! But they got him. It was a lover's quarrel! I was told.

The Four Agreements En Francais!

The Four Tribes Agreements include:

1 - Mutual Respect
2 - Attentive Listening
3 - Right-to-Pass
4 - Appreciation

The four Tribes Agreements include:

1 - Mutual Respect (Le respect mutuel)
2 - Attentive Listening (J'écoute attentivement)
3 - Right-to-Pass (Le droit de passer)
4 - Appreciation (L'appréciation)

Disclosure in the Workplace

Featured Article

Scraping the House

Two guys are on the roof scraping the house. It sounds like Godzilla's pet rat chewing on the clapboards. But I am glad to be able to finally begin the long slow process of maintenance and repairs.

Summer Sewing Room

My back room is only usable in the warm weather. The enamel table top is nice and cool and perfect for pinning fabric when sewing or making pie crust. My cat loves it too.

Sew a reversible tunic!

I need to repair my 1960's umbrella. I found fabric... but the hard part is the repair...
I love stripes!

Dweck: Growth vs Fixed Mind Sets

Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.
Carol Dweck PHD

Joe Kennedy

Rep. Joe Kennedy III‏Verified account @RepJoeKennedy 12h12 hours ago

They aren't just threatening the laws that protect us. They're threatening the very idea that we are all worthy of protection.


Willingness to defend the integrity of our democracy is not a D or R principle – it’s an American one and it’s being tested today.

Betty Page

The other night I saw Betty page at the pool with her two grandchildren. She was covered in tattoos.

Concealed Depression


Sooooo Cool Bus!


“A poem … is when you are in love and have the sky in your mouth.”


I woke up at 3:01 AM and I could hear shouting. "But you're the one who left me..." the woman screamed.