Friday, May 22, 2015

Dreams

I had a dream I was at a morgue and a dead body coated in hard white plastic was being taken apart at the joints like a lobster. I looked over and saw a hand bloody at the wrist being wrapped up in newspaper pages to be mailed off. I was sorry I had looked. Knowing I am a visual person I knew I was now going to be scarred by this image. There were people at a long table having a banquet oblivious to what was happening here. The man taking apart the corpse had his face tightly wrapped in many layers of cellophane. I was reminded of thieves who wear stockings over their faces to disguise their identity.

I dreamed I saw X at an outdoor party and I forgot to mention my condolences on the death of his son.

Pictures of Lily Lyrics

"Pictures Of Lily" is track #5 on The WHO album Meaty, Beaty, Big, And Bouncy. It was written by Peter Townshend.


I used to wake up in the morning
I used to feel so bad
I got so sick of having sleepless nights
I went and told my dad

He said, "Son now here's some little something"
And stuck them on my wall
And now my nights ain't quite so lonely
In fact I, I don't feel bad at all

Pictures of Lily made my life so wonderful
Pictures of Lily helped me sleep at night
Pitcures of Lily solved my childhood problems
Pictures of Lily helped me feel alright

Pictures of Lily
Lily, oh Lily
Lily, oh Lily
Pictures of Lily

And then one day things weren't quite so fine
I fell in love with Lily
I asked my dad where Lily I could find
He said, "Son, now don't be silly"

"She's been dead since 1929"
Oh, how I cried that night
If only I'd been born in Lily's time
It would have been alright

Pictures of Lily made my life so wonderful
Pictures of Lily helped me sleep at night

For me and Lily are together in my dreams
And I ask you, "Hey mister, have you ever seen"
"Pictures of Lily?"

Songwriter
PETER TOWNSHEND

Comedy Boomlet

Outside the theater hung a poster for the show featuring a smiling Wong surrounded by word bubbles, like the world’s biggest business card: “Wise Comedian Specially Invited by the American President,” “Top Performer on the Letterman Show,” “Host of CCTV’s ‘Is It True?’ ” “Ph.D. in Biochemistry.” It was a reminder that Wong’s appeal lay not just in his jokes but also in his remarkable decision to tell jokes for a living in the first place. He had achieved the Chinese dream — grow up in a tiny village, study hard, go abroad, get a high-earning job — and discarded it for something even more rarely achieved: his own dream.

After returning to China, Wong gave a televised speech titled, “So What if It’s Not Perfect?” In it, he urged young people to do what they love, without fear of failure. It’s a cliché in the United States, but it strongly contradicts the conventional wisdom in China, where most authority figures emphasize stability and striving to be No. 1. “I now realize the meaning of life is to work hard to find your own inspiration, and letting that inspiration drive you,” he told the audience, as they nodded along. Cheesy music played in the background.

Article

Clean Water

The Obama administration is expected in the coming days to announce a major clean water regulation that would restore the federal government’s authority to limit pollution in the nation’s rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands.

Environmentalists have praised the new rule, calling it an important step that would lead to significantly cleaner natural bodies of water and healthier drinking water.

Article

Héctor Tobar

The plague of insects is my fault. So was the poor snow season in Oregon resorts, and Hurricane Sandy, and the rising tides threatening assorted Micronesian islands.

As a native of Los Angeles, I am significantly more responsible for global warming than your average resident of planet Earth. We pioneered an energy-guzzling lifestyle for the masses and taught the world to follow our lead. Now a parched, endless summer is our punishment.
[...]
Think of California as the planet in microcosm. Mankind came to this Eden, settled it and ravaged its rivers, soiled its skies and eventually transformed it into a furnace. We’ll need drought-resistant plants and lots of sunscreen to survive our purgatory. Unfortunately, there’s plenty of evidence here that we haven’t yet learned the lesson of the biblical parable in which we’re living.

Consider that most egregious of California’s anti-ecological excesses: the freeway. We brag that we built the first one, in a riverbed. Because of our dependence on driving, Californians burn more gasoline than all of Africa.

Article: The Sins of Angelenos
Héctor Tobar is the author, most recently, of “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free” and a contributing opinion writer.

Louise Erdrich: Earth Mother

Article

Their Drought is our Drought

The average American consumes more than 300 gallons of California water each week by eating food that was produced there.
Article

Peter Matthiessen

I've never been bored one day in my life. I could fill 500 years with no problem.
- Peter Matthiessen

Arthur Conan Doyle

from Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of writer Arthur Conan Doyle, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (1859). He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and there he met Joseph Bell, his favorite professor. Bell taught his students how to make a successful diagnosis through observation and deduction.

After graduating, Doyle opened his own practice and wrote fiction in his spare time. In 1887, he published A Study in Scarlet, a mystery featuring a character based on his old professor: the detective Sherlock Holmes. He ended up writing 56 short stories and four novels with the famous detective, including The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902).

Doyle said, "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

And Sherlock Holmes said to his sidekick, Dr. Watson, "You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion."

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Those Coffee Drinks

If you really liked coffee you'd drink it. Those coffee drinks are basically an ice cream sandwich crammed into a cup with a few ounces of cold coffee added.

Sebastian Trager's Life-Sized Flintstone Mobile

Motorist banned from driving Flintstones car on German roads

by Mark Molloy for Metro.co.uk

A motorist’s bid to begin driving a replica of Fred Flintstone’s footmobile has been foiled after German police ruled his Stone Age vehicle was too unsafe to take for a spin.

It was a case of ‘Yabba Dabba Don’t’ for Flintstones nut Sebastian Trager after police banned his custom built motor from German roads.

Featuring a wooden frame design and leopard print seat covers, engineer Trager built the model using the chassis of a Volkswagen Polo.

There’s no need for Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble’s pedal power however, with the modern adaptation of the Flintmobile boasting a 1.3 litre engine hidden under the front roller.

Trager’s bid to make his vehicle legally roadworthy hit the skids after German police ruled that the vehicle was too unsafe to be driven on public roads.

‘We copied every last detail. I work in car construction and love working with cars so it is perfectly safe,’ explained Trager.

‘But when we got the registration form section about the number of lights, windscreen washers and wipers, well, we don’t even have a windscreen so we gave up.

‘Instead we trailer it to shows and exhibitions for people to see and everyone seems to love it.’


see photo

Prosopometamorphopsia: Human Faces Appear Distorted

Woman had rare condition that meant she saw human faces as dragons

by Harry Readhead for Metro.co.uk Thursday 21 May 2015 9:35 am

The 52-year-old was plagued with hallucinations all her life.

It sounds like the stuff of nightmares, but for one woman, seeing dragons instead of human faces was an everyday occurrence.

According to an Anglo-Dutch research team in the Hague, the Netherlands, a 52-year-old woman presented at a psychiatric clinic in 2011 plagued with something utterly bizarre – even to the experienced doctors.

For her entirety of her life she’d seen human faces metamorphose into the faces of dragons, with this same hallucination happening multiple times each day.

‘She could perceive and recognise actual faces, but after several minutes they turned black, grew long, pointy ears and a protruding snout, and displayed a reptiloid skin and huge eyes in bright yellow, green, blue, or red,’ the research team wrote in The Lancet.

‘She saw similar dragon-like faces drifting towards her many times a day from the walls, electrical sockets, or the computer screen, in both the presence and absence of face-like patterns, and at night she saw many dragon-like faces in the dark.’

The woman suffered from prosopometamorphopsia, a psychiatric disorder that causes faces to appear distorted. Even within the context of the condition, the woman’s case was rare in the specificity of her hallucinations.

A host of brain scans and blood tests found her to be completely healthy, although researchers weren’t surprised as it still unclear what causes the disorder.

The team eventually managed to stop the woman’s hallucinations with an anti-dementia medication called rivastigmine, which synthesises acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory.

source

Needle in the Shrubs

This morning I walked Lily downtown picking up trash and I spotted an orange hypodermic needle in the shrubs at Sovereign Bank. I kept walking but then decided to go back and get it so it would be disposed of properly.

Fighting HIV Where no-one Admits it's a Problem

"Nobody believes me when I say that the Russian government is not doing any prevention work to stop the HIV epidemic," says Anya Sarang, head of the Andrey Rylkov Foundation - a small charity in Moscow which tries to promote better health for drug users.

"There is absolutely no effort to stop the epidemic among people who inject drugs and unsurprisingly Russia remains one of the few countries in the world where the HIV epidemic is still on the rise."

Article

Nerdalize: A Home-Heating Solution

Article

Removing Lead, Dropping Crime

Fourteen years ago, Prof Jessica Wolpaw-Reyes, an economist at Amherst College Massachusetts, was pregnant and doing what many expectant mothers do - learning about the risks to her unborn child's health. She started to read up on lead in the environment and, like Nevin before her, began pondering its link to crime.

"Everyone was trying to understand why crime was going down," she recalls. "So I wanted to test if there was a causal link between lead and violent crime and the way I did that was to look at the removal of leaded petrol from US states in the 1970s, to see if that could be linked to patterns of crime reduction in the 1990s."

Wolpaw-Reyes gathered lead data from each state, including figures for gasoline sales. She plotted the crime rates in each area and then used common statistical techniques to exclude other factors that could cause crime. Her results backed the lead-crime hypothesis.

Article

Mysterious Weather

Yesterday I was looking at the national weather map and I saw a color I don't normally see; yellow. I looked at the color coded key and beside this particular shade of yellow was "child abduction". What did this mean? Good weather for child abduction?

e.e. cummings

"Forward to an Exhibit: II" (1945)

[Here Cummings constructs an imaginary interview in which he connects his painting with his poetry.]

Why do you paint?
For exactly the same reason I breathe.
That’s not an answer.
There isn’t any answer.
How long hasn’t there been any answer?
As long as I can remember.
And how long have you written?
As long as I can remember.
I mean poetry.
So do I.
Tell me, doesn’t your painting interfere with your writing?
Quite the contrary: they love each other dearly.
They’re very different.
Very: one is painting and one is writing.
But your poems are rather hard to understand, whereas your paintings are so easy.
Easy?
Of course--you paint flowers and girls and sunsets; things that everybody understands.
I never met him.
Who?
Everybody.
Did you ever hear of nonrepresentational painting?
I am.
Pardon me?
I am a painter, and painting is nonrepresentational.
Not all painting.
No: housepainting is representational.
And what does a housepainter represent?
Ten dollars an hour.
In other words, you don’t want to be serious--
It takes two to be serious.
Well let me see...oh yes, one more question: where will you live after this war is over?
In China; as usual.
China?
Of course.
Wherabouts in China?
Where a painter is a poet.

from E. E. Cummings, A Miscellany Revised. Edited by George Firmage, New York: October House, 1965. 316-17.


We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.

― e.e. cummings


Damn everything but the circus!. . .The average 'painter' 'sculptor' 'poet' 'composer' 'playwright' is a person who cannot leap through a hoop from the back of a galloping horse, make people laugh with a clown's mouth, orchestrate twenty lions.

― e.e. cummings

Your poems are rather hard to understand, whereas your paintings are so easy.
Easy?
Of course — you paint flowers and girls and sunsets; things that everybody understands.
I never met him.
Who?
Everybody.
Did you ever hear of nonrepresentational painting?
I am.
Pardon me?
I am a painter, and painting is nonrepresentational.
Not all painting.
No: housepainting is representational.
And what does a housepainter represent?
Ten dollars an hour.
In other words, you don't want to be serious —
It takes two to be serious.

e.e. cummings

Henry Miller

source

COMMANDMENTS

Work on one thing at a time until finished.
Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’
Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
When you can’t create you can work.
Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

Under a part titled Daily Program, his routine also featured the following wonderful blueprint for productivity, inspiration, and mental health:

MORNINGS:
If groggy, type notes and allocate, as stimulus.

If in fine fettle, write.

AFTERNOONS:

Work of section in hand, following plan of section scrupulously. No intrusions, no diversions. Write to finish one section at a time, for good and all.

EVENINGS:

See friends. Read in cafés.

Explore unfamiliar sections — on foot if wet, on bicycle if dry.

Write, if in mood, but only on Minor program.

Paint if empty or tired.

Make Notes. Make Charts, Plans. Make corrections of MS.

Note: Allow sufficient time during daylight to make an occasional visit to museums or an occasional sketch or an occasional bike ride. Sketch in cafés and trains and streets. Cut the movies! Library for references once a week.

May Sarton: Solitude is Richness of Self

We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.
― May Sarton

Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is richness of self.
― May Sarton

Economic Pie

Workers’ share of the economic pie has been shrinking for decades, as the gains from labor productivity have flowed increasingly to profits rather than pay. A result has been an economy that is less resilient and more unequal. Low-wage workers who have been demonstrating for higher pay are leading politicians where they need to go, and the real leaders among those politicians are following the workers.

Article

Alexander Pope: Drink Deep

The way of the Creative works through change and transformation, so that each thing receives its true nature and destiny and comes into permanent accord with the Great Harmony: this is what furthers and what perseveres.
-Alexander Pope

I followed everywhere as my fancy led me, and it was like a boy gathering flowers in the woods and the fields just as they fall in his way.
-Alexander Pope

A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.
-Alexander Pope

To be angry is to revenge the faults of others on ourselves.
-Alexander Pope

Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends.
-Alexander Pope

But Satan now is wiser than of yore, and tempts by making rich, not making poor.
-Alexander Pope

To err is human; to forgive, divine.
-Alexander Pope

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
-Alexander Pope

Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.
-Alexander Pope

Never find fault with the absent.
-Alexander Pope

Cold Feet

Commitments are very hard for me. My work and my dog come first and my moods are as varied as New England weather. I went down to my second week of the Bocce league and showed up at 8 AM. Very few people had arrived and 4 elderly men were raking the courts so I tied up Lily in the shade and joined in and raked two courts. I enjoyed that. Then people started to show up and they all know each other so they were gathered in groups laughing and taking. I was itching to get back to my desk. I said hello and goodbye, and Lily and I picked up trash for a few blocks and here I am. I told the leader that will return to photograph and maybe to rake.

2 Short Dreams

I dreamed I had illustrated a children's book on Marc Chagall but in one picture I had drawn him with six fingers and nobody caught it before it went to press.

I dreamed I was at the dentist. I didn't notice right away but he had dyed my hair brown. I wondered if I would have to go back to the dentist when my roots grew in silver.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I Love this Strand Poem

The Everyday Enchantment of Music

by Mark Strand

A rough sound was polished until it became a smoother sound,
which was polished until it became music. Then the music was
polished until it became the memory of a night in Venice when
tears of the sea fell from the Bridge of Sighs, which in turn was
polished until it ceased to be and in its place stood the empty
home of a heart in trouble. Then suddenly there was sun and the
music came back and traffic was moving and off in the distance, at
the edge of the city, a long line of clouds appeared, and there was
thunder, which, however menacing, would become music, and the
memory of what happened after Venice would begin, and what
happened after the home of the troubled heart broke in two would
also begin.

- Mark Strand from Collected Poems © Knopf, 2014.

Nicholas Carr: Why Robots Need Us

“HUMAN BEINGS are ashamed to have been born instead of made,” wrote the philosopher Günther Anders in 1956. Our shame has only deepened as our machines have grown more adept.

Every day we’re reminded of the superiority of our computers. Self-driving cars don’t fall victim to distractions or road rage. Robotic trains don’t speed out of control. Algorithms don’t suffer the cognitive biases that cloud the judgments of doctors, accountants and lawyers. Computers work with a speed and precision that make us look like bumbling slackers.

It seems obvious: The best way to get rid of human error is to get rid of humans.
[...]

We should view computers as our partners, with complementary abilities, not as our replacements. What we’ll lose if we rush to curtail our involvement in difficult work are the versatility and wisdom that set us apart from machines.

The world is safer than ever, thanks to human ingenuity, technical advances and thoughtful regulations. Computers can help sustain that progress. Recent train crashes, including the Amtrak derailment this month, might have been prevented had automated speed-control systems been in operation. Algorithms that sense when drivers are tired and sound alarms can prevent wrecks.

The danger in dreaming of a perfectly automated society is that it makes such modest improvements seem less pressing — and less worthy of investment. Why bother taking small steps forward, if utopia lies just around the bend?

Article

Nicholas Carr is the author, most recently, of “The Glass Cage: Automation and Us.”

Virginia Ironside: On Alert

I could guess if she had been drinking by how long she took to reach the intercom in her flat. I knew, certainly, from the sound of her voice when she spoke through the street phone. If she'd been drinking there was a little more emphasis on the 'daahling' than usual. Once inside, I remember marking a line on the vodka bottle so I could estimate how much had been drunk by my next visit.

Her drinking was never off my mind. As I got older, I would consult booklets, doctors, try to persuade her to go to Alcoholics Anonymous, make appointments with psychiatrists, buy special non-alcoholic drinks to entice her to switch, discuss her drinking with her parents and her brother. All the while I was tightly wired, like a spring, never able to relax, always on alert, 'on duty' to try and fix my mother.

My mother may have been a brilliant teacher and designer of fashion, nurturing such talent as Ossie Clark, and when sober she could be charming, funny, girlish and beautiful. But at times her secretary had to lock her in her office to stop her attending a meeting where it would have been obvious to everyone that she was plastered.

When she'd been drinking, she changed. She simply wasn't there any more. Even when she was only slightly sozzled, she only half-heard what I was saying, only half-listened, and often didn't remember a thing. Conversation was almost normal, but never quite right. I could never quite get the attention I desperately needed. Even today, I find I react with an almost excessive anger if I feel someone is only partly paying me attention. Being laid-back is an impossible state of mind for me.

Article

Cacophony

There's a team of guys tearing apart the dilapidated porches on the six-family tenement across the street. The workers have spread yellow caution tape into the street below, circling the area, and two men are on the ground raking up the remnants. A buzzing skill saw, hammering, and ripping sounds are punctuated by whistles and yells from the two men below trying to prevent debris from falling into the traffic. There's Mexican vocal and accordion ballads blasting from a silver boom-box propped up on a green trash bin. I absolutely love this music, just like I love opera; heartfelt dramas unfolding in a language I don't understand.

I wonder if the porches will be replaced. The three layers of porches with Victorian details represent a bygone era when the Woonsocket French Quarter resembled the New Orleans French Quarter. Many Stanley and Stella dramas have played out on these Tennessee Williams stages.

I am sitting outside in the shade of my maple tree with my notebook after having washed Lily's dog beds and our winter pullovers. Everything is drying on the line in the windy sunshine. Today our woodpecker is drowned out by the demolition team.

We just got sad news. One of my husband's former students from the Charter School where he taught 3 years ago was shot in a gang-related incident. He was 18. We had sad news yesterday, too, about the death of our friend's son. Lately losing young men feels epidemic.

Virginia Woolf: A Room of One's Own

“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.
But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery, and the sacrifice of wealth and chastity which used to be said to be the greatest of human disasters, a mere flea-bite in comparison.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“Women have sat indoors all these millions of years, so that by this time the very walls are permeated by their creative force, which has, indeed, so overcharged the capacity of bricks and mortar that it must needs harness itself to pens and brushes and business and politics.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“It is strange how a scrap of poetry works in the mind and makes the legs move in time to it along the road.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Bronte who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift had put her to. Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“What is meant by “reality”? It would seem to be something very erratic, very undependable—now to be found in a dusty road, now in a scrap of newspaper in the street, now a daffodil in the sun. It lights up a group in a room and stamps some casual saying. It overwhelms one walking home beneath the stars and makes the silent world more real than the world of speech—and then there it is again in an omnibus in the uproar of Piccadilly. Sometimes, too, it seems to dwell in shapes too far away for us to discern what their nature is. But whatever it touches, it fixes and makes permanent. That is what remains over when the skin of the day has been cast into the hedge; that is what is left of past time and of our loves and hates.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“For masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“If woman had no existence save in the fiction written by men, one would imagine her a person of the utmost importance (...); as great as a man, some think even greater. But this is woman in fiction. In fact, as Professor Trevelyan points out [in his History of England], she was locked up, beaten and flung about the room.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“Why, if it was an illusion, not praise the catastrophe, whatever it was, that destroyed illusion and put truth in it's place?”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

Beluga Whales Spotted in RI

A trio of beluga whales that appeared in Narragansett Bay over the weekend have been spending some time in the calm waters of East Greenwich Cove Tuesday morning.
[...]
Officials from Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration were in area waters on Monday to confirm the presence of the whales and make observations.

The Providence Journal reported that a whale expert said the whales don’t seem to be in distress and are most likely feeding. They also said their presence here, which had not ever been recorded until a sighting last year, could be a sign of the changing environment.
[...]
Belugas are commonly found in cold waters, such as in the Arctic and rarely are seen south of Canada.

Article

Beluga whale
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The beluga whale or white whale (Delphinapterus leucas) is an Arctic and sub-Arctic cetacean. It is one of two members of the family Monodontidae, along with the narwhal, and the only member of the genus Delphinapterus. This marine mammal is commonly referred to simply as the melonhead, beluga or sea canary due to its high-pitched twitter.[9]

It is adapted to life in the Arctic, so has anatomical and physiological characteristics that differentiate it from other cetaceans. Amongst these are its unmistakable all-white colour and the absence of a dorsal fin. It possesses a distinctive protuberance at the front of its head which houses an echolocation organ called the melon, which in this species is large and plastic (deformable). The beluga's body size is between that of a dolphin's and a true whale’s, with males growing up to 5.5 m (18 ft) long and weighing up to 1,600 kg (3,500 lb). This whale has a stocky body; it has the greatest percentage of blubber. Its sense of hearing is highly developed and it possesses echolocation, which allows it to move about and find blowholes under sheet ice.

Belugas are gregarious and they form groups of up to 10 animals on average, although during the summer months, they can gather in the hundreds or even thousands in estuaries and shallow coastal areas. They are slow swimmers, but can dive down to 700 m (2,300 ft) below the surface. They are opportunistic feeders and their diets vary according to their locations and the season. They mainly eat fish, crustaceans and other deep-sea invertebrates.

The majority of belugas live in the Arctic and the seas and coasts around North America, Russia and Greenland; their worldwide population is thought to number around 150,000. They are migratory and the majority of groups spend the winter around the Arctic ice cap; when the sea ice melts in summer, they move to warmer river estuaries and coastal areas. Some populations are sedentary and do not migrate over great distances during the year.

The native peoples of North America and Russia have hunted belugas for many centuries. They were also hunted commercially during the 19th century and part of the 20th century. Whale hunting has been under international control since 1973. Currently, only certain Inuit groups are allowed to carry out subsistence hunting of belugas. Other threats include natural predators (polar bears and killer whales), contamination of rivers, and infectious diseases.

From a conservation perspective, the beluga was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List in 2008 as being "near threatened"; the subpopulation from the Cook Inlet in Alaska is considered Critically Endangered and is under the protection of the United States' Endangered Species Act.[2][10] Of seven Canadian beluga populations, the two inhabiting eastern Hudson Bay and Ungava Bay are listed as endangered.

Belugas are one of the cetaceans most commonly kept in captivity in aquariums and wildlife parks in North America, Europe and Asia; they are popular with the public due to their colour and expression.

Intercepted

New York Post:
Narcotics cops in the Bronx confiscated more than 70 kilograms of heroin, valued at more than $50 million in a record-breaking bust that netted $2 million in cash and a firearm.
[...]

Authorities said the mammoth stash, tucked away in the bowels of a large SUV, was just one in a series of shipments slated for delivery throughout the five boroughs, as well as Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
[...]
“New York City is the bull’s eye for drug traffickers and heroin is their weapon,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt.
[...]
A hidden compartment under the floor of the vehicle contained 70 rectangular-shaped kilogram packages . . . Article


Providence Journal:
NEW YORK (AP) — An investigation of a pair of New York City drug traffickers has resulted in a record seizure of more than 150 pounds of heroin from Mexico worth at least $50 million, authorities said Tuesday.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan called the heroin seizure the largest ever recorded by the DEA in New York state. Agents also arrested Jose Mercedes and Yenci Cruz Francisco, both of the Bronx, and recovered $2 million in cash.

Authorities believe the ring had been receiving similar-size shipments each month from suppliers in Mexico. They say it was a main source of heroin for users in New York City, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

"To put it in perspective, this load was so large it carried the potential of supplying a dose of heroin to every man, woman and child in New York City," Brennan said in a statement. "While this important seizure stopped a huge amount of heroin from flooding our city, it also highlights the critical need to intercept heroin before it ever reaches our region."
[...]

After a drug-sniffing dog detected drugs inside the parked SUV, agents stopped Mercedes for questioning as he pulled up in a car that contained a smaller amount of heroin, authorities said. The suspect told agents there was a larger amount of drugs in the SUV and gave them instructions on how to open secret compartments inside the vehicle, they said.

A search of the Suburban resulted in the recovery of 70 kilograms — about 154 pounds — inside two compartments, authorities said. Another search at a nearby apartment turned up $2 million underneath a floor, they said.

Article

Susan Sontag

A writer is someone who pays attention to the world — a writer is a professional observer.
- Susan Sontag

Dream

I dreamed I was downtown with Lily and I saw my metal thermos coffee mug near the depot. I didn't know it had been missing. It was covered in bird shit and dented. I stepped into a building that had a public ladies room. I walked in with Lily to wash the mug and examine it. I started taking it apart. There were all sorts of electrical and cooling devices inside. They don't make them like this anymore, I thought. When I looked around the ladies room Lily was gone. "Did you see a yellow Labrador?" I asked a woman in the lobby.
"Yes, I saw her leave." The woman said.
I was completely panicked. Everyone knows who she is, I told myself but she doesn't know about crossing streets with cars, and someone could take her.
I woke up.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Hardworkin' Woodpecker

I hear yelling and so I go out to see what's up. It's Xavier and Ali, eight year old boys from next door. Xavier is looking up shouting SHUT UP, SHUT UP!!!! at the woodpecker in our tree. "That's not going to help, that's just going to get people upset," I say. Ali is smiling and hanging back, twirling. He has dimples and tightly curled eyelashes.
"I want to climb up this tree and punch him out," Xavier says. I tilt my head squinting and spot the woodpecker way up high on a dead limb.
"Can you see him?" I ask Xavier, "Do you see him on that bare part of the tree?"
"Oh yeah, I do now."
"He's building an apartment. The best apartment in the city!" I say.
They seem satisfied with that and resume their playing in the parking lot.

Susan Dominus writes about Judy Blume

Growing up in Elizabeth in the 1950s, Blume was that kind of girl: observant, curious, forever noting the mysterious ways of adults. She fantasized about being a detective with a gun, a cowgirl on a horse, a famous movie star with a Latin lover. She spent hours throwing a ball against the wall and concocting private melodramas. “I loved keeping my stories secret,” Blume said. “Because everybody was keeping so many secrets from me. You just knew. Adults. You would walk into a room and they would just stop. And it was like: “What? What? What?”
Article

Protesting from a Tree

A 26-year-old Warren woman who launched a "tree-sit" Tuesday morning near a Spectra Energy facility in Burrillville to protest the company's proposed expansion of a natural gas pipeline
Article

High Cost Low Wage

Report: R.I. ranks 18th highest in U.S. for rental costs
To afford a monthly rent of $961, a minimum-wage earner would have to work 82 hours per week, 52 weeks per year.

PROVIDENCE -- Rhode Island continues to be among the states with the highest rental costs in the country, rating 18th highest in a report released Tuesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a housing advocacy group.

The report, Out of Reach 2015, found that all of the New England states were in the top 25 for rental costs. Massachusetts ranked 6th, Connecticut was 8th, Vermont was 13th, New Hampshire was 14th and Maine was 23rd. Hawaii had the highest rental costs in the country, and Puerto Rico the lowest.

"There is no state in the U.S. where a minimum-wage worker working full time can afford a one-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent," the report said. "...Overall job growth since the Great Recession has been heavily concentrated in low-wage communities, with 44 percent of new jobs in the recovery paying no more than $13.33 per hour."

In Rhode Island, the fair market rent (established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) for a two-bedroom apartment is $961, up from $928 in 2014, the report said.

"In order to afford this level of rent and utilities -- without paying more than 30 percent of income on housing -- a household must earn $3,204 monthly, or $38,452 annually." This means that Rhode Island's "housing wage" is $18.49 per hour, the amount necessary to afford the two-bedroom apartment if working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year.

But in Rhode Island, a minimum wage worker earns $9 an hour, up from $8 in 2014, the report added. In order to afford a monthly rent of $961, a minimum-wage earner would have to work 82 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. "Or, a household must include 2.1 minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week year-round," the report said.

Rhode Island has 159,244 renter households, representing 39 percent of the population, and the estimated mean (average) wage for a renter is $12.48, the report added.

Make the Call

Last night my husband heard a woman screaming. "What's the police number?" he yelled to me.
"769-1212" I shouted back, over the loud window fan. I was in bed dozing and he was up watching TV in the other room. I could hear him talking to the dispatcher."Hi I'm calling because I hear a woman screaming very loudly at 601 East School Street."
Today there's a front page story in the local paper about what unfolded. Don't hesitate, make the call, you might be saving a life!

Local Heroes Save woman from Suicide Attempt

Close call as Warwick police, firefighters credited with saving woman, 23, from overpass jump attempt

WARWICK, R.I. -- Police officers and firefighters are credited with saving the life of a woman who tried to jump from the Greenwich Avenue (Route 5) overpass onto Route 95 at about 8 p.m. Sunday, Warwick police said in a news release Monday.

Officers were sent to the overpass between the Girl Scout headquarters and Lowe's Home Improvement.

The first to arrive was Ptlm. James Michailides, a member of the department’s Mental Health Crisis Response Team, who began speaking with the woman, 23, as more officers arrived, the news release said.

The woman allowed Michailides to hold her hand through the chain-link fence, but as she began to lose consciousness and her feet gave way, he grabbed her other hand.

Sgt. Thomas Snow and patrol officers Christopher Lo and Stephen Major held onto parts of the woman's clothing through the links of the fence. The four held on until apparatus from the Warwick Fire Department pulled up below and firefighters David Andrews, Kyle Connelly and Joseph Levesque brought her to safety.

Col. Stephen M. McCartney, chief of the Warwick police, said it is "with great admiration" that he recognized the "life-saving actions performed during this extremely intense crisis," which "undoubtedly prevented this woman from almost certain death."

Fragile Beam of Light in so much Darkness

As a young doctor just starting out, Henry Marsh watched a neurosurgeon operate on a woman’s brain, going after a dangerous aneurysm that could rupture and kill her. This kind of surgery — taking place several inches inside the patient’s head — was perilous, and often compared, as he writes in his riveting new memoir, to bomb disposal work, “though the bravery required is of a different kind as it is the patient’s life that is at risk and not the surgeon’s.”

There was “the chase,” as the surgeon stalked his prey deep within the brain, then “the climax as he caught the aneurysm, trapped it, and obliterated it with a glittering, spring-loaded titanium clip, saving the patient’s life.” More than that, Dr. Marsh goes on, “the operation involved the brain, the mysterious substrate of all thought and feeling, of all that was important in human life — a mystery, it seemed to me, as great as the stars at night and the universe around us. The operation was elegant, delicate, dangerous and full of profound meaning. What could be finer, I thought, than to be a neurosurgeon?”

Article

Ad Men: The Back Story

“We had to have some material,” he said. “I wanted to keep my job.”

The next day, Mr. Backer said, he observed some of the passengers — “all types, ages, sexes,” he recalled — in the airport, talking and sharing bottles of warm Coca-Cola. Their frustration seemed to have dissipated. It was then, he said, that the now famous jingle came to him. On a napkin, he scribbled, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.”
Continue reading the main story

“That was the basic idea: to see Coke not as it was originally designed to be — a liquid refresher — but as a tiny bit of commonality between all peoples, a universally liked formula that would help to keep them company for a few minutes,” Mr. Backer wrote, according to Coca-Cola’s website.

What was initially a radio ad eventually became a television commercial with young people singing together on a hillside.
Article

Correctional Officer and Inmates Work Together to Save a Life

This was an especially emotional experience for Sgt. Dennis Laubner, because he lost his son to a heroin overdose last June.
[...]
“At that time, I was not a correctional officer and these men were not inmates,” Sgt. Laubner said in describing the teamwork among the small group. “We were just human beings trying to save another human being.”

Article

Knock Three Times

Remembering songs from 1970
"Knock Three Times" was written by Levine, Irwin / Brown, Larry Russell.


Hey girl, what ya doin' down there?
Dancin' alone every night
While I live right above you

I can hear your music playin'
I can feel your body swayin'
One floor below me
You don't even know me, I love you

Oh, my darling, knock three times
On the ceiling if you want me
Twice on the pipe
If the answer is no

Oh, my sweetness
Means you'll meet me in the hallway
Oh, twice on the pipe
Means you ain't gonna show

If you look out your window tonight
Pull in the string with the note
That's attached to my heart

Read how many times I saw you
How in my silence I adored you
And only in my dreams did
That wall between us come apart

Oh, my darling, knock three times
On the ceiling if you want me
Mmm, twice on the pipe
If the answer is no

Oh, my sweetness
Means you'll meet me in the hallway
Whoa, twice on the pipe
Means you ain't gonna show

Oh, I can hear the music playin'
I can feel your body swayin'
One floor below me
You don't even know me, I love you

Oh, my darling, knock three times
On the ceiling if you want me
Oh, twice on the pipe
If the answer is no
(I love you, I love you, I love you)

Oh, my sweetness
Means you'll meet me in the hallway
Mmm, twice on the pipe
Means you ain't gonna show

Songwriters
Irwin Levine / Larry Russell Brown

Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knock_Three_Times

1970's Song: One Less Bell to Answer

This Burt Bacharach/Hal David song was originally written for Keely Smith (Louis Prima's ex-singing partner) but she never recorded it.
Hal David on how he came up with the lyrics for this song: "I paid attention to what people said. One time I was at a dinner party when it was announced someone wasn't turning up, and the hostess said: 'that's one less bell to answer'. I went home and wrote 'One Less Bell To Answer' - 'one less spells the answer. One less egg to fry.'" (From the Independent newspaper May 9, 2008)
This song is about losing your love, and the sadness that follows the loss. The lead vocals were by Marilyn McCoo, who was the 5th Dimension's featured vocalist at the time. She sings that she should be happy that her man is gone but all she does is cry - no more laughter. (thanks, Mark - Sarnia, ON)
In November of 1970, the group were guests on the television series with Robert Wagner called It Takes A Thief and performed both "Puppet Man" and "One Less Bell to Answer" on the show. (thanks, bob - pittsburgh, PA)

One less bell to answer
One less egg to fry
One less man to pick up after
I should be happy
But all I do is cry

Verse 2:

(Cry, cry, no more laughter) I should be happy
(Oh, why did he go)I only know that
Since he left my life's so empty

Bridge:

Though I try to forget it just can't be done
Each time the doorbell rings I still run
I don't know how in the world
To stop thinking of him
'Cause I still love him so
I end each day the way I start out
Crying my heart out

Verse 3 (first two lines instrumental):

One less man to pick up after
No more laughter, no more love
Since he went away (he went away)

Coda:

(One less bell to answer) Why did he leave me
(Why, why, why did he leave)
(One less bell to answer) Now I've got one less egg to fry
One less egg to fry
(Why, why, why did he leave) And all I do is cry
(One less bell to answer) Because a man told me goodbye
(Why, why, why did he leave)
(One less bell to answer) Somebody tell me please
Where did he go, why did he go
(Why, why, why did he leave)tell me How could he leave me

Monday, May 18, 2015

Richard White: Our Trouble with Trains

Richard White is a professor of history at Stanford, and he is the author of “Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America.”
Article

Fascinating

A Way to Brew Morphine Raises Concerns Over Regulation

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. MAY 18, 2015 NYT

All over the world, the heavy heads of opium poppies are nodding gracefully in the wind — long stalks dressed in orange or white petals topped by a fright wig of stamens. They fill millions of acres in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Laos and elsewhere. Their payload — the milky opium juice carefully scraped off the seed pods — yields morphine, an excellent painkiller easily refined into heroin.

But very soon, perhaps within a year, the poppy will no longer be the only way to produce heroin’s raw ingredient. It will be possible for drug companies, or drug traffickers, to brew it in yeast genetically modified to turn sugar into morphine.

Article

Squirrels Understand ‘Bird-ese,’ and Birds Understand ‘Squirrel-ese.’

Dr. Greene, 57, developed his fascination with birds and sound early on, growing up around Montreal as a “total nature nerd,” he said. As a young boy, he listened to classical, jazz and Renaissance music, and then played them. He recalled being “a harpsichord-playing, hockey thug, bird nerd.”

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As a teenager, he met Peter and Rosemary Grant, then at McGill University in Montreal, who would gain fame for their study of Darwin’s finches in the Galápagos Islands. They offered him a yearlong job as a field assistant. He dropped out of high school and never returned.

That experience, however, helped him gain admission to Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. There he spent much time in Renaissance consorts playing obscure instruments like the crumhorn — “which sounds like a pig being slaughtered,” he said — before attending Princeton for his doctorate in ecology, evolution and behavior.

“What I’m doing now is really a natural marriage of those sorts of interests,” Dr. Greene said of his interest in animal communication. “It’s nature’s music, in a way.”

Article

Nobody can Write your Poems

To write is an entertainment I put on for myself.
- Jean Cocteau

Red and Darlene moved in four years ago. I met them when I was standing on the street with my dog Lily. I had just accidentally sliced my thumb open with the antique serrated bread knife and I had no band aids or money to buy them so I wrapped my thumb in toilet paper and taped it up and stepped out. As I held the leash Red saw the blood drops hitting the sidewalk and ran inside and got a butterfly bandage and bandaged my thumb. "I drove an ambulance, I know a serious cut when I see one," he said. I was relieved, and our friendship began.

The following week I brought them a loaf of my bread and they loved it.

One day I saw a dead orange tabby cat in my bushes and I asked Red if it was theirs. "No, but would you like me to remove it?" Red asked.
"Wow, thank you," I said.
"I used to be a driver for the humane society," he said.
"Really?" I said.
"We even once had a Great Dane that nursed a motherless kitten."
"Amazing."

At Christmas Red and Darlene bought a blue and white ceramic mini loaf pan decorated with a penguin, and left it on the porch with a card: "More bread please!" I dropped off a few more loaves.

One day last summer at 6 AM I went out and snipped away at my shrubs. Red came out and told me stories, including how he was booted out of the Marines for standing up to a drunk Colonel. He got emotional reliving it as he spoke, sweating and becoming weepy. I kept snipping the shrubs, listening. "You did the right thing," I said.
"Would you like to hear my latest poems?"
"Absolutely," I said.
He walked across the street and returned with two typed pages and began reading. I got goosebumps. They were heartfelt and powerful.
"These are excellent," I said, thinking that he should give a reading at our local public library.
"I have hundreds of these," he said.

Red has told me about being lowered into the jungle by helicopter on a wire to rescue soldiers in Vietnam, driving a city ambulance, being homeless with Darlene and living out of their car, divorcing his nasty first wife and the awful custody battles they had, his son in prison, his landlord he calls 'Alabama,' his love of getting embroiled in the dramas of the neighborhood.

Red has a quick wit and a love of words that I can appreciate. "You know you can call me if there's a problem," he reminds me, "and I'll be over faster than you can say 9-1-1."
"Thanks Red," I say, "but there's a great local police force for that job, plus I don't want to interrupt your most important job, writing poems. Nobody can write your poems."

Recently Red befriended the local drug dealer. He knew all about the early-morning surprise search warrant, from the dealer's point of view. "The police searched his wife, the toddlers were traumatized." I think he was the one traumatized. Red had an angry 'Pitbull Warning' sign in his window facing the street and 'Private Property' signs on his landlord's chain link fences and gates. When he saw me picking up trash from the sidewalk one day, he called out to me. "You'd better wear gloves. We found needles in our backyard once." I realized this tough-and-tumble Marine was actually more frightened in the neighborhood than he showed himself to be, and probably suffering from PTSD.

Out Came the Sun

Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family
by Mariel Hemingway, Ben Greenman (Goodreads Author)

A moving, compelling memoir about growing up and escaping the tragic legacy of mental illness, suicide, addiction, and depression in one of America's most famous families: the Hemingways.

She opens her eyes. The room is dark. She hears yelling, smashed plates, and wishes it was all a terrible dream. But it isn't. This is what it was like growing up as a Hemingway. In this deeply moving, searingly honest new memoir, actress and mental health icon Mariel Hemingway shares in candid detail the story of her troubled childhood in a famous family haunted by depression, alcoholism, illness, and suicide. Born just a few months after her grandfather, Ernest Hemingway, shot himself, it was Mariel's mission as a girl to escape the desperate cycles of severe mental health issues that had plagued generations of her family.

Surrounded by a family tortured by alcoholism (both parents), depression (her sister Margaux), suicide (her grandfather and four other members of her family), schizophrenia (her sister Muffet), and cancer (mother), it was all the young Mariel could do to keep her head. In a compassionate voice she reveals her painful struggle to stay sane as the youngest child in her family, and how she coped with the chaos by becoming OCD and obsessive about her food, schedule, and organization.

The twisted legacy of her family has never quite let go of Mariel, but now in this memoir she opens up about her claustrophobic marriage, her acting career, and turning to spiritual healers and charlatans for solace. Ultimately Mariel has written a story of triumph about learning to overcome her family's demons and developing love and deep compassion for them. At last, in this memoir she can finally tell the true story of the tragedies and troubles of the Hemingway family, and she delivers a book that beckons comparisons with Mary Karr and Jeanette Walls.

Mark Olmsted

After moving to a working class neighborhood in Los Angeles, my first reaction to the trash-filled streets was to say a well-known prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” As I walked my dog every day, I thought the litter was something I just had to accept. After all, what was I supposed to do? Pick it up?

The thought was like a pebble in my shoe. Try as I might I just couldn’t shake it loose.

So one day, I decided to do just that: Pick it up. In a leap of faith, I went down to Home Depot, bought myself an E-Z Reacher, and started plucking the empty cigarette packs, soda cans, fast food packaging, coffee containers, newspapers, styrofoam cups, and just about anything you can think of into plastic grocery bags. For over five years now, I have filled at least four bags every morning, one for each block of my dog-walking route. Sometimes, I do it again on different streets in the afternoon, especially if I’m having a bad day.

I believe in picking up trash because it’s taught me that you can’t assume to know the difference between the things you must accept and the things that you can change—you have to think about it. It’s taught me to question the premise of all sorts of assumptions I had previously made, from the idea that the only possible reaction to traffic is anger and frustration, to the belief that I was a hopeless addict who couldn’t possibly get clean.

Every morning, pickingEvery morning, picking up trash is my answer to the questions: How can I be of service today? What do I have the courage to change? And every night, no matter how much the day didn’t seem to go my way, I can fall asleep counting the bags of trash I’ve picked up, comforted that in this lifetime I’ve been able to find one thing to do that’s unarguably, unambiguously good.

-Mark Olmsted

Article

Dinner Guests

Every once in a while I decide I need dinner guests and I find that the result is disastrous, not because of the food but by how rudely the guests behave. When I complain about this my husband reminds me that I need to let go of MY expectations of a well behaved dinner guest. So far this is not possible. I'm happy to skip the whole idea.

A Longer Neck

There's a part of me that is always hoping I will grow a longer neck. I know it sounds silly but when I look in the mirror this is what I am hoping for. I check. Is it here yet? I recently discovered that when I braid my hair in two braids that hang down near my ears, I am given the vertical illusion of a longer neck. The braids keep me cool all day too and with my wide brimmed straw hat I look like a farm girl. I'm the farmer that picks up litter. Our City is looking so good I go crazy when I see a piece of trash, I have to pick it up. It's an addictive habit. Even my dog is stopping at trash spots so we can pick up cups and cans.

Scent of Ammonia

Years ago I joined a group of runners to see what that was like. After the first run I was overcome by the scent of ammonia.
Article

Remebering Dreams

Dreams are by their nature, uncontrollable. But there are things you can do to increase your dream retention:

Get enough sleep. Those who sleep for longer periods of time enjoy more REM sleep, resulting in more dreams and possibly greater memory of them.
Employ the power of suggestion. Experts recommend that before you go to sleep, remind yourself that you want to remember your dreams.
Keep a journal. Have a pen and paper or a recorder at your bedside so you can log your dreams when you awaken before hopping out of bed. If not immediately recorded, dreams become elusive and difficult to retrieve.
Get curious. When you first wake up, lie still, stay quiet, and see if you can recall a dream. It may flood over you. Mull it over. Having an open mind, reading about dreams, and discussing them actively with friends and family may encourage future dreaming.
Limit drug and alcohol intake. Sleep and, by extension, dreams are affected by alcohol. And medications, including antidepressants, can induce crazy dreams or even nightmares. Talk to your doctor about the effects of drugs on your dreams.

Article

Pollen Dreams not Palendromes

The past three nights have been a strange sleep from the pollen creating very short pollen-dreams.

Will Lippincott

Dr. Linehan also recognized that people who struggled with the urge to commit suicide were often people who might be biologically vulnerable to being emotionally overwhelmed.
[...]

[...] I scrambled to apply the skills from the first D.B.T. module I’d learned, distress tolerance.

I followed the strategy of distracting myself with highly specific tasks just long enough — usually for two or three minutes — to lower the intensity of the fear before it overwhelmed me. Depending on where I was — at home, at work or on the street or train — I’d reach for a situationally appropriate activity. And because I can’t rely on my memory when anxiety swells, I’d carry lists on an index card or on my phone: pull out a piece of paper and write down all 50 states and their capitals — in my non-dominant hand; grab ice cubes from the fridge and hold them on the back of my neck; snap the rubber band on my wrist. At the office or in a meeting, I learned to make subtle changes to my posture like bunching my toes, half-smiling to activate facial muscles, even slowing my breathing.

And as imperfect as my D.B.T. practice was early on, I found that just taking anxiety down a degree or two gave me a measure of control over my decision making in the presence of intense emotion. The lesson was profound. I couldn’t eliminate anxiety from my life, but I could learn how to tolerate it, and cope without making the situation worse.

As I made slow, sometimes unsteady progress, I became curious about Dr. Linehan’s other D.B.T. modules. Mindfulness challenges me to accept emotions and situations as they are, not as I want them to be. I’ve learned how to “observe and describe”: to state the nature of a problem with facts, not judgments, so I can determine how best to solve it.

The interpersonal effectiveness training helps me ask for what I need in relationships and to manage conflict positively, and to do both while preserving my self-respect.
[...]

Emotion regulation teaches me how to identify and understand the functions of my emotions, and how to decrease my historic vulnerability to extreme moods. If I’m aware of how I feel physically when I’m sad, or how my speech pattern changes when I’m angry, I can recognize where I am and change course before the intensity of the emotion gets too high.

The time needed to learn D.B.T. can feel impossibly huge, especially for those of us who despair that change can’t come fast enough to save our lives. Yet, by empowering me to make the next minute or hour better than the one before it, in even the slightest, most incremental way, this therapy kindles hope. Better hours become better days, and several years on I’ve discovered my own resilience.

Article

Thank You Krugman; My Hero for Telling the Truth

America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.
[...]

. . . our news media in general have a hard time coping with policy dishonesty. Reporters are reluctant to call politicians on their lies, even when these involve mundane issues like budget numbers, for fear of seeming partisan. In fact, the bigger the lie, the clearer it is that major political figures are engaged in outright fraud, the more hesitant the reporting. And it doesn’t get much bigger — indeed, more or less criminal — than lying America into war.

But truth matters, and not just because those who refuse to learn from history are doomed in some general sense to repeat it. The campaign of lies that took us into Iraq was recent enough that it’s still important to hold the guilty individuals accountable. Never mind Jeb Bush’s verbal stumbles. Think, instead, about his foreign-policy team, led by people who were directly involved in concocting a false case for war.

So let’s get the Iraq story right. Yes, from a national point of view the invasion was a mistake. But (with apologies to Talleyrand) it was worse than a mistake, it was a crime.

Article

What Decade is This?

Article

Robin Reiser

We sit quietly at the restaurant, reminded that no matter how well ordered our lives, havoc can break loose. No matter how much we think we are embracing the natural world (munching on organic kale, suffering under unflattering environmentally friendly light bulbs), that world can turn against us. No matter how good the school, how well read the parents, things can get primal.
Article

On the Inside

I really want to go to an audition and for them not to even know until I’m hired that I’m transgender,” she said. “Yes, I want trans rights, but do I want a trans stamp on my face? No. My goal is for people to see us how we want to be seen — how we are inside.
- Ms. Santana
Article

Frank Capra

I wanted to glorify the average man, not the guy at the top, not the politician, not the banker, just the ordinary guy whose strength I admire, whose survivability I admire.
-Frank Capra

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Al Giordano: Authentic Journalism


How Authentic Journalism Is Retooling Away from the Internet Middlemen

By Al Giordano

Buddhism Sliced up and Commodified

Article

A Glittering, Moneyed, Backwater

Article
by Wednesday Martin A writer and social researcher in New York and the author of the forthcoming memoir “Primates of Park Avenue.”

The Secrets behind the Suicides

Article

Sunday Buckwheat Pancakes

It's funny but one year I asked for buckwheat flour for Christmas. I still have some in my freezer because everyone gave me a bag of it. I am someone who always wants to know I will be able to have another meal but that's another story. I'm still in a pancake making phase. Today being Sunday I was able to make them and have my husband here with me to enjoy them. There's a huge amount leftover which he will bring to work for breakfast and lunch tomorrow. We are grain people, we live on my sourdough bread as toast, pancakes, popcorn and lots of stir fried vegetables and fruit. We have meat and chicken and fish occasionally, mostly as a spice. This is growing season but I am no farmer! I might grow a pot of basil and maybe a pot of tomatoes but you will find me indoors baking bread and swimming laps all summer.

3 Tbs corn oil
2 cups of flour -a blend of buckwheat flour and cornmeal
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs

I added 1/4 cup of orange juice to thin the batter. The maple syrup brought out the orange flavor!
note:
At tea time we ate the leftovers cold from the fridge and the orange juice flavor was very pronounced. They were fantastic, like a soft cookie.

Old MacDonald Had an Apartment House

Old MacDonald had an Apartment House by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett was my favorite book when I was a kid.
I also loved Dorrie and the Blue Witch by Patricia Coombs
Both books are part of my daily psyche today.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Vera Te Velde: Broken Windows Tests

Article

Measuring Personality

Article

Saturday Morning

This morning I set up the coffee and decided to wash last night's dishes while I was waiting. I turned on the kitchen radio. It was too loud and when I turned the knob, it wouldn't go lower. I unplugged it angrily but that wasn't right either. I plugged it back in and dumped my sweatshirt over the radio and that seemed to quiet it.
Bill came downstairs, he laughed at my sweatshirt on top of the radio. "It wouldn't get quiet" I said.
He took the radio apart and fixed the volume knob in three minutes.
"Thank you so much. Two things make me crazy faster than anything; loud noises and bad smells."
"I know" he said.
I can't wear that sweatshirt until I wash it because there's strong cologne on it from being hugged by our friend at the block party. When I wear it it's like he's sitting on my right shoulder. It's too distracting.
I put my risen sour dough boules in the oven and within minutes the house filled up with a good smells. I went outside with scissors and started cutting the grass.
"We have better tools for that," Bill said coming out to see me.
"I know, it's crazy but it's just a tiny patch. I didn't want to make any noise."
I roamed on my knees grabbing and cutting clumps of grass like I was the hairdresser for a big green monster. It was silly and satisfying. I listened to my neighbors on the other side of the parking lot greet each other. They were talking about this beautiful Saturday. "We're just going to hang out," Joe said standing there with his wife and son.
"I say family is most important," my neighbor Malik said in his beautiful Ghanian accent.
A beautiful morning in the neighborhood.

1,000 Songs

Article

In the summer of 1948, an amateur folklorist named Ben Stonehill recorded more than 1,000 songs from Holocaust survivors in the lobby of New York City's Hotel Marseilles. This week, 66 of those songs become available online through the Center for Traditional Music and Dance, complete with translations; another 300 songs will go up over the next few months — all free for anyone to hear.

Some sing in Russian; some sing in Polish, Czech, Lithuanian, Hebrew. But the majority sing in Yiddish, a language whose speaking population was dramatically reduced during WWII. That loss is a big part of what brought Stonehill to that lobby. He was looking to capture the sound of something he'd feared might disappear.

Miriam Isaacs, a sociolinguist who has been studying the collection, says there's all kinds of stuff in the music. "There's babies crying, there's women giggling, there's people helping each other out, sometimes joining in song."

Stonehill described the scene in the lobby of the Hotel Marseilles in a recording he made while practicing for a lecture in 1964.

Boys, girls and mothers would gather about the recorder and beg permission to sing into the microphone in order to hear their own voices played back. The thrill and glow that spread over their faces, and the tears that came to their eyes, was patently an admixture of witnessing an electronic miracle and having the satisfaction of knowing that their intimate, closely guarded songs from home, camp and ghetto were being preserved for academic study.

Stonehill was born in Poland, but moved to Rochester, N.Y., as a young child. He was never a professionally trained folklorist. Instead, he spent his days working at the flooring company he owned in Sunnyside, Queens. He loved Yiddish and Jewish culture, and he nursed a quiet dream of doing something like Alan Lomax had done for American folk music — collecting songs and making sure they were preserved for future generations.

Then, in 1948, an opportunity presented itself. He'd heard that Jewish refugees were being temporarily housed at the Hotel Marseilles on the Upper West Side.

Stonehill's eldest son, Lennox Lee Stonehill, says his father went to an electronic-equipment store in their neighborhood with a business proposition.

"If they would give him a sample of their machinery, he would use it to drum up sales," Lennox says. "And they evidently went for it."

The machine he borrowed was a device called a wire recorder. Instead of tape, it captured sound on spools of thin stainless steel. It was not a small machine.

"My recollection is that he went on weeknights on the subway, lugging this heavy recording equipment night after night," Lennox says. "It took a lot of dedication."

Bret Werb is the sound collection curator at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. He acquired Ben Stonehill's recordings for the museum in 2006. Up until then, copies had sat on the shelves of various institutions, including the Library of Congress, overlooked by all but a small group of researchers.

"What you don't get from the more dedicated collectors that you get in Stonehill is this spectrum of music," Werb says. "You can see that there are song titles or first lines listed from numbers 1 to 1,078. Just under 40 hours of recorded sound."

It was Werb who enlisted Miriam Isaacs to help sort through those many hours of sound. Isaacs has spent more than three years poring over the collection: transcribing, translating and categorizing the songs by theme and subject matter.

"Humorous songs, bawdy songs, religious songs, Zionist songs, homelessness, home — and homelessness is a big category," Isaacs says.

Initially, she was more interested in the Yiddish dialects featured on the recordings than in the songs themselves. But the more she listened, the closer she felt to those strangers sitting in a dim lobby decades in the past, each of them revealing a bit of themselves through the songs they chose to sing.

"There's this one guy Arumche, and he sings all the Bundist socialist communist songs. I know Gita Friedman, she likes love songs, and also some things that seem to be derived from theater," Isaacs says. "There's two little boys, Yakov and Moshe, they do the kind of things they would have learned in Hebrew School."

Among Isaacs' favorites is a Yiddish take on the Lambeth Walk — a dance tune popularized in England in the late 1930s.

Boisterous, funny and even off-color lyrics are not uncommon. But there are also moments of deep solemnity, both in the songs and the stories people tell about them. For example, just before launching into a upbeat German marching tune, one man explains how he was forced to sing it while laboring in Buchenwald.

In some ways, this collection, while rare, isn't singular. There are at least two other archives of Yiddish songs that are comparable in scale. What is unique, however, are those critical words, "Sing anything you like."

Masha Leon is a longtime columnist for The Jewish Daily Forward. She lives in New York. She was a teenager in 1948, a refugee who had fled Warsaw before the Warsaw Ghetto walls went up, ultimately making her way to New York. She didn't live at the Hotel Marseilles, but a group of people she wanted to know did.

"Why I picked this song, I have no idea. I suspect I may have sung more than one, and this may have been the one he recorded," Leon says. "There were a lot of young guys there."

Almost every evening after work in the summer of 1948, Leon and her friend would go to the Hotel Marseilles to socialize in the lobby. She says she doesn't remember Stonehill, or singing for him, but that she can still recall all the words of the song she thinks he collected from her.

Leon learned the song "Tuk Tuk Tuk" as a child back in Poland. And when she hears it now, she says she has flashbacks. "The kindergarten I went to, the street I lived on, the life I lived at the time," she says.

Leon says that for her, listening to the collection revives a whole generation of people. The world they lived in now gone.

"These are songs that they grew up with as children," she says. "That were part of the landscape. The wallpaper of their lives."

When Feeling Blue . . .

When feeling blue a few things nearly always help me.

1. Take a shower or bath or swim. Water is a cure.
2. Put on clean colorful clothes and sunglasses and a hat and walk around downtown with my dog. Walking in the city brings me out of my head.
(a few more...)
3. Have a cup of tea or coffee.
4. Write a letter to my friend or write in my notebook.
5. Read a book and if you are sleepy, take a nap.
6. Bake a loaf of bread.
7. Go grocery shopping at Price Rite and watch the people who also love to cook.

Christiane Lauterbach-the-Woman-who-ate-Atlanta

Read

Mary Poppins Sidewalk Chalk Festival for Kids of the 'Hood

Most of the kids in my neighborhood don't know Mary Poppins but they will have a great time drawing.

Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs Gravity

Elizabeth Streb and the STREB Extreme Action Company form a motley troupe of flyers and crashers. Propelled by Streb’s edict that “anything too safe is not action,” these daredevils challenge the assumptions of art, aging, injury, gender, and human possibility. BORN TO FLY: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity traces the evolution of Elizabeth Streb’s movement philosophy as she pushes herself and her performers from the ground to the sky. Revealing the passions behind the dancers’ bruises and broken noses, BORN TO FLY offers a breathtaking tale about the necessity of art, inspiring audiences hungry for a more tactile and fierce existence.http://www.borntoflymovie.com/

Astronomer Shrinivas Kulkarni: Always Approach it with a Certain Sense of Openness

To stand here with Kulkarni is to bring together the past and the future. For as much as Kulkarni delights in this place, as inspiring as it is to be here, he says actually visiting a telescope is soon to be a thing of the past.

"The best way to do astronomy is to get the astronomers out of the dome," he says. "And the human in the loop becomes monotonous. If a machine can do it, honestly, I think everyone is happy."

Machines are good for studying the sky because they have no preconceived notions about what they'll find. Astronomers, Kulkarni says, just don't have the imagination to know what to look for.

"The sky is so much richer and so much more imaginative than the imagination that you should always approach it with a certain sense of openness," he says.

Kulkarni says you look at the information the machines collect and try to figure out what it's telling you. That's the way you make discoveries.

source

Friday, May 15, 2015

RIP B.B. King

BB King, the King of Blues, dies at 89


From the BBC

The "King of the Blues", guitarist and singer BB King, has died aged 89.

King, known for his hits My Lucille, Sweet Little Angel and Rock Me Baby, died in his sleep in Las Vegas.

Born in Mississippi, King began performing in the 1940s, going on to influence a generation of musicians and work with Eric Clapton and U2.

Once ranked as the third greatest guitarist of all time, he had been suffering ill health in recent months.

He was recently taken to hospital with a diabetes-related illness.

Media caption Eric Clapton: "BB King was beacon for blues music"

Fellow musicians paid tribute to King including blues guitarist Buddy Guy, who often played with him.

"BB King was the greatest guy I ever met," he wrote on Instagram.

"The tone he got out of that guitar, the way he shook his left wrist, the way he squeezed the strings… man, he came out with that and it was all new to whole guitar playin' world.

"He could play so smooth, he didn't have to put on a show. The way BB did it is the way we all do it now. He was my best friend and father to us all."

Clapton posted a video tribute on Facebook to express his sadness at the death of his "dear friend".

"I want to thank him for all the inspiration and encouragement he gave me as a player over the years, and for the friendship that we enjoyed," he said.

"There's not a lot left to say because this music is almost a thing of the past now, and there are not many left who play it in the pure way that BB did. He was a beacon for all of us who love this kind of music."

Lenny Kravitz tweeted: "BB, anyone could play a thousand notes and never say what you said in one."

Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora added: "My friend and legend BB King passed. I'm so so sad, he was so great to me. We've lost the King. My love and prayers to his family."

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Woonsocket Bocce League

Today was the first official start of bocce league season at Bouley field. It was a blast.

Karen Edelstein, Author

About Karen Edelstein

Eastern Program Coordinator at FrackTracker Alliance

Karen Edelstein melds a strong background in environmental sciences with a commitment to information communication and interpretation. She holds a BA degree in natural resources and an MPS degree in environmental management, both from Cornell University. Since the late 1980s, Karen has worked as a science educator, and has authored several curriculum guides on natural history and water quality. For the past 12 years, she’s also been using geographic information systems (GIS) as a tool for land conservation. Karen joined the FracTracker team in 2010, and provides technical assistance and training to community groups and organizations around NY State as they prepare for the possibility of unconventional oil and gas drilling. In her spare time, she grows a dozen varieties of garlic in her garden, and is a fermented foods enthusiast.

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison

Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist; Robert F. Goheen Professor of Humanities, Emeritus, Princeton University

The New Progressive Agenda: A Return to Citizenship
Posted: 05/12/2015 3:07 pm EDT Updated: 05/13/2015 3:59 pm EDT
Editors' note: On Tuesday, May 12, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his "Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality," a 13-point plan framed as the political left's answer to Republicans' 1994 "Contract With America," in a speech outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Below, Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist Toni Morrison reacts.

excerpt:

The Progressive Agenda seeks to return us to citizenship, the happily adult responsibility of being citizens to each other. It's concerned with how to ensure a livable wage for all of us; how to improve schools in all our neighborhoods; how to protect working-class jobs and pensions from predators who rely on exploitation and selfish behavior; how to welcome the immigrant, the "huddled masses" we all (except for Native Americans and slaves) once were.

This new Progressive Agenda reimagines citizenship and is far, far more than worthy; it is crucial.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

“May your life be filled with Beautiful Words"

Article

Mimi O'Donnell

Theater is therapeutic, Ms. O’Donnell said, in part because “it makes you remember there are other emotions.”

“I go in feeling whatever I’m feeling about grief, and all of a sudden there’s something onstage that’s happening — it cracks something open,” she said. “When they really, truly open up in front of you emotionally, there’s something about it that I find humbling as a human being.

Article

Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not

“I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.”
― Florence Nightingale

“If I could give you information of my life it would be to show how a woman of very ordinary ability has been led by God in strange and unaccustomed paths to do in His service what He has done in her. And if I could tell you all, you would see how God has done all, and I nothing. I have worked hard, very hard, that is all; and I have never refused God anything.”
― Florence Nightingale

“Rather, ten times, die in the surf, heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore.”
― Florence Nightingale

“You ask me why I do not write something.... I think one's feelings waste themselves in words, they ought all to be distilled into actions and into actions which bring results.”
― Florence Nightingale

“The very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm.”
― Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not
“Women never have a half-hour in all their lives (excepting before or after anybody is up in the house) that they can call their own, without fear of offending or of hurting someone. Why do people sit up so late, or, more rarely, get up so early? Not because the day is not long enough, but because they have 'no time in the day to themselves.' 1852”
― Florence Nightingale

“Let whoever is in charge keep this simple question in her head (not, how can I always do this right thing myself, but) how can I provide for this right thing to be always done?”
― Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not

“A woman cannot live in the light of intellect. Society forbids it. Those conventional frivolities, which are called her 'duties', forbid it. Her 'domestic duties', high-sounding words, which, for the most part, are but bad habits (which she has not the courage to enfranchise herself from, the strength to break through), forbid it.”
― Florence Nightingale

“I attribute my success to this - I never gave or took any excuse.”
― Florence Nightingale

“Live life when you have it. Life is a splendid gift-there is nothing small about it.”
― Florence Nightingale

“To understand God's thoughts we must study statistics, for these are the measure of his purpose.”
― Florence Nightingale

“Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.”
― Florence Nightingale

“So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.”
― Florence Nightingale

“It is often thought that medicine is the curative process. It is no such thing; medicine is the surgery of functions, as surgery proper is that of limbs and organs. Neither can do anything but remove obstructions; neither can cure; nature alone cures. Surgery removes the bullet out of the limb, which is an obstruction to cure, but nature heals the wound. So it is with medicine; the function of an organ becomes obstructed; medicine so far as we know, assists nature to remove the obstruction, but does nothing more. And what nursing has to do in either case, is to put the patient in the best condition for nature to act upon him.”
― Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not

“Woman has nothing but her affections,--and this makes her at once more loving and less loved.”
― Florence Nightingale, Cassandra

“To be "in charge" is certainly not only to carry out the proper measures yourself but to see that every one else does so too; to see that no one either willfully or ignorantly thwarts or prevents such measures. It is neither to do everything yourself nor to appoint a number of people to each duty, but to ensure that each does that duty to which he is appointed.”
― Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not

“What cruel mistakes are sometimes made by benevolent men and women in matters of business about which they can know nothing and think they know a great deal.”
― Florence Nightingale, Notes On Nursing

“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.”
― Florence Nightingale

“You do not want the effect of your good things to be, "How wonderful for a woman!" nor would you be deterred from good things, by hearing it said, "Yes, but she ought not to have done this, because it is not suitable for a woman." But you want to do the thing that is good, whether it is "suitable for a woman" or not.

It does not make a thing good, that it is remarkable that a woman should have been able to do it. Neither does it make a thing bad, which would have been good had a man done it, that it has been done by a woman.

Oh, leave these jargons, and go your way straight to God's work, in simplicity and singleness of heart.”
― Florence Nightingale, Notes On Nursing

“It seems a commonly received idea among men and even among women themselves that it requires nothing but a disappointment in love, the want of an object, a general disgust, or incapacity for other things, to turn a woman into a good nurse.

This reminds one of the parish where a stupid old man was set to be schoolmaster because he was "past keeping the pigs.”
― Florence Nightingale, Notes On Nursing

“I would earnestly ask my sisters to keep clear of both the jargons now current everywhere (for they are equally jargons); of the jargon, namely, about the "rights" of women, which urges women to do all that men do, including the medical and other professions, merely because men do it, and without regard to whether this is the best that women can do; and of the jargon which urges women to do nothing that men do, merely because they are women, and should be "recalled to a sense of their duty as women," and because "this is women's work," and "that is men's," and "these are things which women should not do," which is all assertion and nothing more. Surely woman should bring the best she has, whatever that is, to the work of God's world, without attending to either of these cries.”
― Florence Nightingale, Notes On Nursing

Woonsocket: Why Live Anywhere Else?

Woonsocket's 'Rotary Days' coming in May
By SANDY SEOANE, Valley Breeze Staff Writer
[...]

On Thursday, May 14 Ciro's co-owner Matt Moylan will put on "Thursday Night Live!" at Depot Square, a celebration of city night life including everything from live music and street performers to choir acts. The free event will be the first of three for which Moylan is serving as chairperson, with two additional sections of Main Street, Woonsocket to be highlighted during Rotary Days culminating weekend.

Two Rotary Day events will take place in the city's downtown on Friday, May 15. From 4:30 to 9 p.m., the Woonsocket Prevention Coalition will sponsor a multicultural, multigenerational event at River Island, featuring belly dancers, break dancers, salsa dancers along with many different types of acts and entertainment.

Up the road in Market Square "Thundermist Lights" will take place from 6 to 11 p.m. Woonsocket Falls will be illuminated and a series of high-powered multicolored spotlights will be aimed toward the sky. The surrounding area will be filled with artistry, foods, cocktail stations and light music.

"What we wanted to do was create a night of relaxation," Moylan said.

Five events will take place on Saturday, May 16, at varying times and locations throughout the day.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the city's new Armed Forces Park will be home to "Salute to Veterans," an USO-type show featuring great bands, dancers and singers; restored military vehicles; uniforms and artifacts. Entertainment will be provided by the New Providence Big Band, and 19 piece act headed up by General Reginold Centracchio, former adjutant general of the state; and Company B, a tribute to the Andrews Sisters, among others.

Richard Schatz, president of the United Veterans Council of Woonsocket, is chairperson of the event.

At the nearby Rivers Edge Recreational Complex, Mike Reynolds of R.I. Athletic Club will run the Rotary Days "Wicked Woonsocket Challenge" from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., an obstacle course including walls, rope swings a bear crawl and other obstacles. Advance registration is required and a $15 entry fee includes participation in group classes throughout the day.

From 1 to 2 p.m., Harris Public Library, in coordination with Books are Wings, will offer free books for children, snacks, story-telling and more.

Just next door at the Grow Up Community Garden from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m, an event dubbed "Rotary Day in the Garden" will include demonstrations and displays on planting with participation by local environmental groups.

On the same day at River Island Park, the Blackstone Valley Independent Business Alliance will hold a "Makers Fair and Festival" with booths by small home-based companies, crafts and food vendors. engaging small businesses.

On May 17, closing day of the celebration will commence on Main Street with "Cars, Bikes, Blues and Bar-B-Q from 12 to 6 p.m. in the municipal lot by the Woonsocket Call building. The event will kick off with a charity bike run starting around 10 p.m. and from noon to 6 p.m., guests will be treated to a display of classic cars, motorcycles and live music.

It's all part of the Woonsocket Rotary's plan to "light up" the city as part of the larger club's mission to engage the community.

Dubois and his small army of volunteers say the event will be annual, far better than what international club organizers had asked for when they suggested he host a "Rotary Day."

Who Wants to be the Same as Everyone Else?

Our true friends are those who are with us when the good things happen. They cheer us on and are pleased by our triumphs. False friends only appear at difficult times, with their sad, supportive faces, when, in fact, our suffering is serving to console them for their miserable lives.
-Paulo Coelho, The Zahir

Haters are confused admirers who can’t understand why everybody else likes you.
-Paulo Coelho

You are someone who is different, but who wants to be the same as everyone else. And that in my view is a serious illness. God chose you to be different. Why are you disappointing God with this kind of attitude?
-Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die