Friday, June 22, 2018

Good Citizen

This morning when I stepped out with Romeo at 5:30 AM there was a dead chicken on the sidewalk at the intersection in front of the variety store. I wondered what that was about. I walked downtown admiring the morning light illuminating the tops of the buildings, thinking about the chicken. When I came back I saw Sandy, the lady with the skinny silver braid carrying the dead chicken by the feet. I watched as she walked up the street and disposed it in a trash barrel. What a good citizen!

Stairway to Heaven

This morning I had to walk over and admire the new staircase in front of tenement 628. The stairs have been rebuilt and painted and a pressure treated railing installed with an inside handrail. Over the past few weeks I watched the workers working with a wheelbarrow mixing cement and carefully rebuilding the stairs. For nearly a decade the front stairs had been blocked off by two by fours. The cement had crumbled and the landlord didn't want to fix it so he blocked it off closing the front porch. The tenants no longer had proper access to their building. They had to go in on the side. It was not just an eye sore it was a story about the slum landlords ruining our neighborhood. Well now there's a new landlord and he knows what he's doing. Amen. Thank you, Anthony. And thanks to the City for finding him.

Thursday, June 21, 2018


I just finished the memoir of Richard Simmons and I LOVED IT.

King and Queen of Cruelty


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

David Wagoner Poem


by David Wagoner

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

-David Wagoner

An Elephants Nose

Elephants have a keen nose. They have more smell receptors than any mammal – including dogs – and can sniff out food that is several miles away. A new study tests their ability to distinguish between similar smelling plants.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Paul Krugman

Wise words


My neighbor Alice tears up stale bread and sprinkles it on the sidewalk in front of her apartment for the birds. "One morning I saw two young kids down on their knees picking up the bread scraps and eating them! Apparently they weren't getting enough to eat at home. I told them that's for the birds let me give you something to eat, and I gave them packages of cheese and crackers. Whenever I see them I give them food," Alice said.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Romeo Swims

We just took Romeo swimming in the river behind Harris Pond. We threw a stick and he swam out and brought it back and dropped it on the shore. We did this about six times. We enjoyed watching him swim and he loved it. Then we walked the path because it was in the shade and we forgot to bring a towel to dry him off. He is such a good dog and he learns so fast.

Abusive Narcissism

Abuse takes place when one person fails to see the humanity of another, taking what he wants in order to experience control, disordered intimacy or power. It is the symptom of an illness that is fundamentally spiritual: a kind of narcissism that allows him to focus only on sating his need, blind to the pain of the victim. This same narcissism caused the editors of our sacred stories to limit the rape of Dinah to only nine words in a book of thousands.

Refraining from troubling behaviors is not enough; abusive narcissism must be unraveled through a transformation of heart and mind. A shift in the larger culture depends on putting the stories of women front and center. We must create space for them to be heard, not only by women but also by men, who are steeped in a culture that valorizes those behaviors. Seeing women as the rightful owners of their own bodies depends, first, on encountering women as fellow humans.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Romeo's Big Bone

We call Romeo's big Nylabone bone leg of mailman. Our mailman is named Liam. So we also call this bone leg of Liam.

Editorial Cartoonist Rob Rogers

I should’ve seen it coming. When I had lunch with my new boss a few months ago, he informed me that the paper’s publisher believed that the editorial cartoonist was akin to an editorial writer, and that his views should reflect the philosophy of the newspaper.

That was a new one to me.

I was trained in a tradition in which editorial cartoonists are the live wires of a publication — as one former colleague put it, the “constant irritant.” Our job is to provoke readers in a way words alone can’t. Cartoonists are not illustrators for a publisher’s politics.



Where Female Elephants Without Tusks Roam — and Poachers Stay Away

South Africa’s Addo elephant park has few females with tusks, a trait that has died off because of hunting but also keeps poachers away.

Reported by a Prisoner-Journalist

Comedy Writers Today

On an average day, Baze says, the Late Night writers’ room comes up with 500 jokes. Eleven make it on the air. “I tell the writers, ‘Look, you’re basically writing your jokes into a shredder, and every once in a while one of them will get plucked away and it’ll get to be on TV; don’t fall in love with your material.’”

“It’s incredibly hard, I think, to be funny when you’re really angry and sad at the same time,” McNearney adds.

Library Fines

Cities like New York and Los Angeles abandoned fines for children in recent years — and librarians across the country are joining the cause to do away with fines entirely, arguing that they’re discriminatory to low-income residents and a barrier to engagement. While circulation is on a downward trajectory nationwide — decreasing 3 percent across American libraries over the last five years, according to a survey from Public Libraries Online, in part because of the internet — library systems that have cut out fines entirely have in fact seen usership increase. In Salt Lake City, which ended its late fees last May, checkouts have risen by over 10 percent. Other cities, including Columbus, Ohio and Nashville, Tennessee, report similar spikes in circulation after abolishing fines.

And while it’s easy to imagine $10 in late fees being a burden for some families, doing away with fines doesn't seem to make a dent in the overall budget of library systems. In Baltimore, for instance, fines accounted for only .25 percent of its $40 million budget, according to The Baltimore Sun. That’s a small price for the city to pay in order to keep libraries open and accessible to those who need them most.

Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid is…

A health literacy program
About people helping people, one-on-one
For individuals who do not have any background as a mental health professional

A Fertile Chiaroscuro


I was in reality confining myself to a narcissistic prison, and preventing myself from loving and being loved.

I pledged, with an intensity I’d never known before, to do whatever I could to open my heart to my child, as well as my wife. I started a regimen of individual psychotherapy and medication. During the ensuing months, the war in my head occasionally calmed to where I could quietly survey the destruction and envision its cessation.

One morning, just after Una had turned three, I was reading William Blake and came across this passage: “Mutual Forgiveness of Each Vice / Such are the Gates of Paradise.” I understood that forgiveness need not be simply the letting go of anger; it can also be a way of experiencing beauty and wonder, the earth’s infinite, exquisite intricacies. In forgiving, I concluded, we no longer subject the world to our selfish judgments but instead expose ourselves to what exists regardless of our appetites: a reality now gloomy and now luminous, a fertile chiaroscuro. To trade the egocentric “ought” for the generous “is”—this is forgiveness.

Stripped of its dark powers, my bipolar has become more than an affliction. I can see it now as indispensable in the shaping of my identity—the root cause of my flaws, yes, but also the source of my productive sensibilities: my love of contemplation, my honesty about life’s troubles, my willingness to endure confusion and discover solutions.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Working Out

People thought I was a charlatan and a nut. The doctors were against me -- they said that working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive.

- Jack LaLanne, "Jack LaLanne, Founder of Modern Fitness Movement, Dies at 96", New York Times, January 23, 2011

One Thing

I have one thing in my mind. How can I get people to start taking care of themselves? That's all I think about.

Jack LaLanne, interview, Alive Magazine, March 2007

Jack LaLanne

I'd rather take a beating sometimes than get in that gym every morning. Anyone who gets up that early and says he likes it is a goddamned liar. The only good thing about it is that when I'm finished, I look at myself in the mirror and say, "Jack, you've done it again!"

-Jack LaLanne

Be Strong

"Thoughts are things. Negativity is what kills you... It's tough to do, but you've got to work at living, you know? Most people work at dying, but anybody can die; the easiest thing on this earth is to die. But to live takes guts; it takes energy, vitality, it takes thought. . . . We have so many negative influences out there that are pulling us down. . . . You've got to be strong to overcome these adversities . . . that's why I never stop."
- Jack LaLanne

My Obligation to Life

"I train like I'm training for the Olympics or for a Mr. America contest, the way I've always trained my whole life. You see, life is a battlefield. Life is survival of the fittest... How many healthy people do you know? How many happy people do you know? Think about it. People work at dying, they don't work at living. My workout is my obligation to life. It's my tranquilizer. It's part of the way I tell the truth--and telling the truth is what's kept me going all these years." - Jack LaLanne

Paul Krugman


James Baldwin

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
― James Baldwin

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
― James Baldwin

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

“Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death--ought to decide, indeed, to earn one's death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.”
― James Baldwin

“I can't believe what you say, because I see what you do.”
― James Baldwin

“People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.”
― James Baldwin

“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
― James Baldwin

“The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. ”
― James Baldwin

“People can cry much easier than they can change.”
― James Baldwin

“It is very nearly impossible to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.”
― James Baldwin

“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word "love" here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“People don't have any mercy. They tear you limb from limb, in the name of love. Then, when you're dead, when they've killed you by what they made you go through, they say you didn't have any character. They weep big, bitter tears - not for you. For themselves, because they've lost their toy.”
― James Baldwin, Another Country

“The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
― James Baldwin