Sunday, August 31, 2014


Whenever, in the course of our day, we might come upon a scene that is strikingly beautiful or sublime – the black thundercloud with the rainbow’s glowing arch above the mountain; a white waterfall in the heart of a green gorge; a vast prairie tinged with the blood-red of sunset – we pause for an instant in an attitude of worship.

Jane Anne Staw

Excerpts from Unstuck

Working to step away from the role of our own harshest critics is pivotal to overcoming writing blocks. The role is one we learn from those around us; we take to heart our lines, originally provided by those in authority, and eventually we perform as if these lines were our own.

To write you have to take writing seriously. And to take writing seriously, you have to take yourself seriously.

Think small. From a single, finely rendered plant, an entire garden will spread before you.

No matter what else you do, clear away the emotional and material time and space—to write. Then no matter what else you do, show up for yourself. Even if it’s just a tiny corner or a quarter of an hour, I hope that you will meet up with yourself there and begin to listen to your voice, making it possible for your own words to find their way onto the page.

If you sit down each day and write, no matter how little, you are a real writer.

Write for eyes that approve of you. Eyes that you respect, but that also look upon you kindly, lovingly. Eyes that have not spoken to you harshly. That have not disapproved of you. Eyes that encourage you. Eyes that want for you what is best.

To write, you need to practice deep compassion for yourself.

For us to be fully fluent as writers, to access all parts of ourselves and all of ourselves, we need to make our writing world safe. To do all within our power to help us feel completely at ease, protected from interruptions, insults, distractions, demands, and unhappiness. To work with ourselves, our family and friends, our environment so that nothing comes between us and our ability to express ourselves on the page.

-Jane Anne Staw, Unstuck



What makes a King out of a slave?

What makes the flag on the mast to wave?

What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist or the dusky dusk?

What makes the muskrat guard his musk?

What makes the Sphinx the 7th Wonder?

What makes the dawn come up like THUNDER?!

What makes the Hottentot so hot?

What puts the "ape" in ape-ricot?

Whatta they got that I ain't got?


You can say that again.

-Wizard Of Oz, Cowardly Lion

Courage to Dance

Learn how to think, exercise your courage, take risks, and create. Don't learn how to be an obedient robot! Learn to communicate well and find out who you are by swimming and dancing through life.

Learning How to Learn

Do we know HOW to learn? Attending school may be less important than learning how to learn. As a person who hated school but loved my teachers and learning, I think about this a lot. When I see the big yellow school buses driving by I wave at the kids and I hope they learn to love learning and reading and writing even if they hate school.

Tonight we are Gypsies

Tonight we are performing as Gypsies for the annual children's light parade at Matunuck. This morning I made buckwheat whole wheat sourdough buttermilk pancakes after reading and writing outside. It feels like a Saturday.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Gypsy Boots

Gypsy Boots (August 19, 1914 – August 8, 2004), born Robert Bootzin (and also known as Boots Bootzin), was an American fitness pioneer, actor, and writer. He is credited with laying the foundation for the acceptance by mainstream America of "alternative" lifestyles such as yoga and health food.[1] His books Barefeet and Good Things to Eat and the memoir, The Gypsy in Me,[2] gained him a cult following.

Bootzin was born in San Francisco, California to Russian Jewish immigrants. His father, Max, was a broom salesman. His mother, Mushka, raised Bootzin and his four siblings in a vegetarian household,[1] while also leading the family on hikes in the hills, performing Russian folk dances and feeding the homeless with her homemade black bread.[1]


Bruno Bettleheim: The Uses of Enchantment

If we hope to live not just from moment to moment, but in true consciousness of our existence, then our greatest need and most difficult achievement is to find meaning in our lives.
― Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

The child intuitively comprehends that although these stories are unreal, they are not untrue ...
― Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

The unrealistic nature of these tales (which narrowminded rationalists object to) is an important device, because it makes obvious that the fairy tales’ concern is not useful information about the external world, but the inner process taking place in an individual.
― Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

Since there are thousands of fairy tales, one may safely guess that there are probably equal numbers where the courage and determination of females rescue males, and vice versa.
― Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

Italian Workingmen's Club to the Rescue!

Latest News Headlines
IWC comes to aid of shut-off church
August 29, 2014
Russ Olivo

WOONSOCKET – After hearing that The River United Methodist Church couldn’t afford to keep its lights on and appliances running, the Italian Workingmen’s Club decided there was only one thing to do: Give the church a check to pay the overdue bill.

“We voted to pay it in full,” said IWC Chairman Mike Kind.

IWC members handed over a check for $1,000 to Pastor Rebecca Lambert on the steps of the Federal Street Church on Friday afternoon.

Truth Sleuth


Quantum Weirdness

What is quantum weirdness? by Robert Lamb © 2010

Superman has his Bizarro planet, Alice tiptoes through the looking glass and countless other fictional characters inevitably encounter a world where normal rules and laws fail to explain what's happening. In other words, things get weird.

Cross over into the world of quantum physics, and you'll encounter more of the same. At the atomic and subatomic levels, scientists encounter what we call the quantum realm. Here, where events play out at distances of nanometers, many laws of classical physics appear to break down. Leading quantum physicist David Bohm even theorized that this strange microworld is the underlying reality of our universe, which he dubbed the "Implicate Order."

In the quantum realm, for instance, scientists can predict very little with 100 percent accuracy. According to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, you can't even measure the position of an object without disturbing its momentum in an unpredictable way. Classical physics fails to account for this phenomenon, and it serves as a prime example of quantum weirdness in action.

The so-called EPR paradox, named for Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen, supplies an even stranger example of quantum weirdness, in which two subatomic particles thousands of light-years apart can instantaneously respond to each other's motions. Scientists have observed this phenomenon, called entanglement, at the particle level, and in 2009, managed to produce the effect with linked superconductors [source: Sanders]. We're potentially looking at faster-than-light signaling that turns relativity on its head.

So quantum physicists continue to wrestle with the weirdness of their discipline. Bohm, who died in 1992, even proposed that quantum weirdness is the result of underlying subquantum forces and particles. So our understanding of this minute level of reality may be lacking, in part, because we understand so little about even more minuscule layers.

Think of classical physics as the Earth's crust and quantum physics as the underlying mantle. There are things about the Earth's mantle, however, that only make sense if you take into account the Earth's inner core.

Physicists continue to ponder the universe's many mysteries, but for now the quantum realm remains one weird, weird place.

Snail Slime

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A crawling individual of the small land snail Cochlicella barbara leaves a slime trail behind it.

Snail slime
is a kind of mucus, an external bodily secretion which is produced by snails, gastropod mollusks. Land snails and slugs produce mucus, but so does every other kind of gastropod, from marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats. The reproductive system of gastropods also produces mucus internally from special glands.

Externally, one kind of mucus is produced by the foot of the gastropod and is usually used for crawling on. The other kind of external mucus is designed to coat the external parts of the gastropod's body; in land species this coating helps prevent desiccation of the exposed soft tissues. The foot mucus of a gastropod has some of the qualities of a glue and some of the qualities of a lubricant, allowing land snails to crawl up vertical surfaces without falling off.[1]

The slime trail that a land gastropod leaves behind is often visible as a silvery track on surfaces such as stone or concrete.

Mucus is a gel consisting of a polymer network that functions as a protective layer for the integument and mucosal surfaces of both simple animals and mammals [2]

The mucus of gastropods is used not only as a coating to cover the surfaces on which the snail crawls and a coating to cover the exposed soft parts of the body, but also sometimes to allow a resting snail to adhere passively to surfaces such as rock, making a temporary sealing structure called the epiphragm.[3] Mucus is produced by glands of the snail’s foot, specifically a large gland located below the mouth.[4]

The foot of gastropods is covered with a thin layer of this mucus, which is used for a variety of functions, including adherence, lubrication, repulsing predators and also during reproduction. The discharge looks like gel, and it contains approximately 91 to 98% weight of water, depending on the species, combined with a small amount of high molecular weight glycoproteins (Denny, 1984). In Helix aspersa these glycoproteins reach weights of 82, 97 and 175 kDa.
The common garden snail Helix aspersa

Many mollusks, both marine and terrestrial species, when inactive, use the secretion to stick to various surfaces. However, it is unexpected that a gel so diluted that it can commonly act as a lubricant, can also have such strong adhesive properties [5] In Helix aspersa there are two types of secretion. One type is translucent and not adhesive, the kind that the snail leaves behind as it moves (the slime trail), and a similar but thicker, condensed, more viscous and elastic kind, which is used to adhere to various surfaces. Both are clearly differentiated by the type of proteins present in them.[6]

A snail releases different kinds of mucus depending on the way it is stimulated. When the stimulation is normal the slime is viscous (sticky) but if the snail is disturbed continuously or even violently, it releases clear foamy secretions. In the case of Helix aspersa, the discharge is composed of synthesized products from various types of secretory glands. These are all single cell glands found in connective tissue and secrete their products via pores that pass between the epidermal cells. They are of various shapes and usually have a long excretory duct. There are eight different types of secreting glands. Four of these different types of mucus secreted protein, calcium, pigments, and lipids[7]

The Skeleton Crew

The Skeleton Crew [by Deborah Halber] is a carefully crafted account of an intriguing new opportunity for arm chair sleuths. Thanks to the Internet, anyone with a computer, curiosity, patience, and a passion for justice can enter the dark world of missing persons and unsolved homicides. It’s fascinating to learn how such matches are made and heartening to witness the growing cooperation between law enforcement and ordinary citizens whose persistence can sometimes crack the code in cold cases that have languished unresolved for years. I loved it.”
— Sue Grafton

An Elephant's Tale

An Unadulterated and Relatively True Story Chronicling the Life, Death and Afterlife of Jumbo, Tufts' Illustrious Mascot

Sue Coe: Graphic Witness

Painting in progress.Here.

Care for the Unemployed

Article about WAR on the POOR.

Urban by Choice

How can we put Woonsocket on the map? I want to see our City thriving again! We have history, diversity a great Mayor and fabulous team at City hall and we have what many cities lack, the cozy city adorability factor.
I think we need to make a 600 foot table that would make a huge rectangle down town Social Street and Clinton street where we can all come together and break bread. This would certainly put us on the map! We have this already, AUTUMNFEST!!

Impressive Magnitude

As Canadian astronaut, Dr. Roberta Bondar, said as she peered out of the space shuttle and looked down upon the earth, it’s important to realize that you do not see boundaries from this view, only the impressive magnitude of the earth.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Perfect One


Gregory Orr

I was on the cusp of adolescence. Just a kid participating in a popular American ritual: hunting, firing a gun. To hunt, to fire a gun is to have your imagination tangled up with fantasies of power. A fatal accident makes a mockery of these fantasies, leaving the unlucky fantasist exposed to the deeper randomness of life and the terrifying fact that so much of our experience is beyond our control.

It’s as if the world you inhabit (in my case, a rural field; in hers, a shooting range) is suddenly shown to be only a stage set with one of those old-fashioned painted backdrops, and your inadvertent, violent act has torn a gash in the scenery. “Accident” steps through it. “Accident,” which is such an innocuous and useful term in most contexts, but now for the child is suddenly a terrifying word, perhaps even the name of the grim and mocking god who rules this new reality.

With the accident that took my brother’s life, my whole world was changed, utterly and to its core. I survived, grew, and perhaps even thrived. But I never healed. And my survival had as much to do with luck as anything else. Part of my luck was to discover poetry, which has sustained me through a lifetime.

As a writer, my faith is that words can help us connect and make sense of our lives by bringing out our secrets and shames as well as our joys. And yet, when I try to think of what I might say to that girl, I think also of the danger of words used as premature consolation and explanation. I lost a (naïve and conventional) religious faith the day of my brother’s death, because a well-meaning adult assured me that my dead brother was already, at that very moment, sitting down in heaven to feast with Jesus. How could I tell her that my brother was still near me, still horribly close to me — that every time I squeezed shut my eyes to keep out the world, I saw him lying lifeless at my feet?


7 to 7

More than a century ago, blue-collar workers fought for a limited workday with an activist anthem: “Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for what we will.” It’s a heritage that, this Labor Day, we need to restore.

Alphabetical Muses or Why I Write Poetry

by Nin Andrews

Writing poetry is a strange addiction. I have never been able to explain it: this strange desire to sit alone in a room for hours with nothing but a pen and pencil to entertain me. I have friends and family members who simply do not understand it. Sometimes they resent it. Or regard me with suspicion. One friend suspected me of having an affair, or perhaps a series of affairs. As she put it, why else would I disappear for hours at a time and not answer my door, my phone, or my email. Why else would I look so exhausted at the end of a day, as if I had had a disagreement with a lover? Why else would I have no appetite, and want to sip wine and brood, my mood sour, my mind distracted.

But most who know me know the sad truth: I lead a truly boring life. Whatever affair that exists is between me and poetry. And it makes no sense. Why? my mother used to ask me every summer, would anyone spend her spare time inside when she could be hiking or swimming or having fun with friends? My father nodded. Is there any money in this hobby? he asked. My friend, a yoga teacher, chimed in, Is there some kind of glory one feels, or enlightenment one attains after writing a great poem?

No, I answered. I rarely finish a poem. Eventually, I just feel finished.

Sometimes I, too, wonder. I think of all the invitations, especially morning invitations, I have turned down. When pressed for an explanation, I say that the muse might stop in for a visit. And she usually visits in the morning. I simply can’t take the chance that I might miss her.

Muse? Really? they ask, and I nod.

I don’t explain that it’s not just one muse. Actually there is an entire alphabet of muses who visit, and they change over time, from the alpha muse, or the first muse I ever met, to the zed of muses, or the end of all muses, and the one who will be end of me. The zed keeps me stuck in my desk chair, hours at a time, with my neck burning, my head aching, my mind blurring. Just one more try, she whispers.

But the best are the 24 muses in between the alpha and the zed, from the blond muse, also known as the bitch, with her long flowing hair, red boots and fuck-you smirk, to the cartographer-muse who keeps a map of my soul in her pocket, to the deceptive muse who tells me only a lie can save me.

There is also the ethereal muse, who offers glimpses of immortality, the feline muse who purrs when she likes me but suddenly bites, sinking her teeth in my skin, and the ghostly muse who hangs out with the dead.

There is the happy muse who likes to quote Camus: One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

And the illusive muse, who appears only if she wishes, though I am never sure she is really there, and the jealous muse who looks at all the poets who have accomplished more than I. Putting her hands on her hips, she glares at me. Are you ever going to write a real poem?

There is the klepto-muse who steals others’ lines when I am not looking, and the lunar muse who wakes me at night and begins reciting my unwritten poems before I can grab a pen. And the mischievous muse who inspires me to write terrible poems, which I love only while composing them, and afterwards recoil in shame.

There is the Nike muse, with her perfectly toned body and new running shoes, calling out, Let’s go for a run. I keep a pen in hand as we jog together, and once we start moving the poems flow more naturally. (But it’s hard to run and write at the same time!) There is also the orgasmic muse who equates great poems with great sex, and the peaceful muse who is as soothing and memorable as warm milk. And the queen of all muses who dictates exactly what I must write, and I write it, word for word.

There is the red muse who is like the flag bulls charge at, though she disappears just when I arrive, and the sacred muse who prefers prayers to poems and often equates the two. And the tardy muse who arrives when I am about to give up hope.

There is the urgent muse who tells me, you must write this poem now. And the vain muse who thinks she is my raison d’etre, that without her, I am no one. And there is the weeping muse who watches the world from her window in heaven.

There is the xenophobic muse who has no use for those who do not worship her, or those who are not writers or artists or dancers. And there is yesterday’s muse who keeps writing the poems I wrote long ago, especially poems about orgasms. And there is the zed, also known as Zeno’s muse.

Zeno’s muse knows I will never be done with her, though sometimes I imagine an end-point. A life without this kind of suffering. I look forward to that day when I will no longer be sitting at this desk, no longer spellbound by an invisible world, no longer composing words no one will read, no longer imagining a perfect poem, a little sliver of heaven that is not yet swallowed by the dark.


He thought the tree was Mad at him


Swimming Lessons

A brave man conquers his fear of water.Article
Last year, a harsh breakup with his girlfriend left him depressed. He took inventory of his life, concluding, “I had a lot of self-confidence issues.” He vowed to get out of the specific gravity that held him, start a human-improvement project. “I don’t want to just be alive” is how he phrased it. “I want to be living my life.”

He began running, and shed 40 pounds. And he determined to rinse himself of this fear that took up space in his life. On the whole, he didn’t paint himself as cowardly. True, he could not abide heights. He used to fear flying but got over it. As a precaution before every flight, his mother calls and insists they say a prayer.

Otherwise, he was good. Not claustrophobic. Fine with spiders and the dark. He didn’t fear baths or rain, as some aquaphobia sufferers do.

It was swimming he had to conquer.

Eugene O'Neill

My friend's dog died. Years ago a friend sent this to me when my dog Ruby died and I have done the same whenever I hear of a friends dog dying. Everyone loves it and is healed by it. Recently one friend after reading this decided to adopt a dog again.

Last Will and Testament of Silverdene Emblem O'Neill

I Could Play what I Heard Inside Me

It's the birthday of jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker, born in Kansas City, Kansas (1920). He is considered one of the half-dozen greatest jazz musicians, right up there with Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. Early in his career, he received the nickname of "Yardbird," and then he became known as "Bird."

Before Parker's innovations, jazz meant swing, melodies played at dance tempos by musicians in big orchestras who never got to take solos for very long. Late at night, after their big-band jobs were over, Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and other black musicians kept on playing, improvising long lines at blazing speed. Parker used a lot of flatted fifths, and jazz players used the word "bebop" to sing a flatted fifth, but Parker didn't like to use the word for the way he played. "Let's not call it bebop," he said. "Let's just call it music."

Parker said: "I realized by using the high notes of the chords as a melodic line, and by the right harmonic progression, I could play what I heard inside me. That's when I was born."

- Writers Almanac

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Police + Army in charge of the Quarantine

Putting the police and the army in charge of the quarantine was the worst thing you could do, said Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe, a Congolese doctor who helped identify the Ebola virus in the 1970s, battled many outbreaks in Central Africa and has been visiting Monrovia to advise the government. You must make the people inside the quarantine zone feel that they are being helped, not oppressed.

Sticks and Stones by Emily Bazelon

By the book’s end, Bazelon had won me over to the idea that so long as we don’t use the concept of bullying to foreclose discussion of other problems, so long as we think not just about individual bullies but about social climate change, this too might join other public revolutions in how we view formerly privatized cruelties like sexual harassment and child abuse. Bazelon closes by calling for a newfound focus on teaching character, empathy, and respect. No matter what the latest concept of cruelty, isn’t that always the lesson?
–E.J. Graff, The American Prospect

Emily Bazelon

Important Article

Fanfare Ciocărlia

Photos of the band here.

Wilder Memoir

Laura Ingalls Wilder memoir.

Tsunami of Adrenaline

Addicts Symphony

Asphalt Tango Romanian Brass Band Gypsy Music

Fanfare Ciocărlia, the legends of gypsy brass


Fanfare Ciocarlia are a 24-legged brass beast whose eastern funk groove has torn up halls and festivals across the planet. Their energy and ingenuity having won them fans from Melbourne to Memphis, Tokyo to Toulouse. Having learnt their craft at the feet of their fathers and grandfathers Fanfare's members proudly approach every concert as a challenge to both entertain audiences and keep the true spirit of Gypsy music alive.

When Fanfare Ciocarlia - the brass orchestra from the "hidden" village of Zece Prajini in north-eastern Romania - take the stage the crowd receive 100% Gypsy music. Zece Prajini's isolation - situated in a misty valley, the valley's dirt roads are occupied by flocks of geese and horse and carts; here live eighty Gypsy farming families who live a traditional rural lifestyle dictated by nature's seasons - meant that under communism the village remained hidden from the outside world. Somehow the ancient Ottoman tradition of brass bands accompanying armies, weddings and funerals continued to exist here when it had long died out in the rest of Romania. And when Henry Ernst, a young German music fan, wandered into the village in 1996 he found a living tradition that he knew the world would embrace.

Elephant Emotion

By Daphne Sheldrick D.B.E.: 1992 UNEP Global 500 Laureate.

Why is it that most people feel such empathy for Elephants, even if they have never had close contact with them?

Is it because of their size, their quaint characteristics, or the the fact that they are so incredibly endearing as babies, tripping over little wobbly trunks that seem to serve no useful purpose other than get in the way? Or is it, perhaps, because Elephants are "human" animals, encompassed by an invisible aura that reaches deep into the human soul in a mysterious and mystifying way.

Of course, Elephants share with us humans many traits - the same span of life, (three score years and ten, all being well) and they develop at a parallel pace so that at any given age a baby elephant duplicates its human counterpart, reaching adulthood at the age of twenty. Elephants also display many of the attributes of humans as well as some of the failings. They share with us a strong sense of family and death and they feel many of the same emotions. Each one is, of course, like us, a unique individual with its own unique personality. They can be happy or sad, volatile or placid. They display envy, jealousy, throw tantrums and are fiercely competitive, and they can develop hang-ups which are reflected in behaviour. They also have many additional attributes we humans lack; incredible long range infrasound, communicating in voices we never hear, such sophisticated hearing that even a footfall is heard far away, and, of course they have a memory that far surpasses ours and spans a lifetime. They grieve deeply for lost loved ones, even shedding tears and suffering depression. They have a sense of compassion that projects beyond their own kind and sometimes extends to others in distress. They help one another in adversity, miss an absent loved one, and when you know them really well, you can see that they even smile when having fun and are happy.

Love, Life and Elephants

by Dame Daphne Sheldrick
is a great book.
Read about the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust andantipoaching

Clamoring to Become

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words all being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.

– Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Literature, 1980

Drugs + Deaths


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Elephant Detectives

Smithsonian Article
NPR StoryArticle
Bloodhounds on the Beat Article in Grist.


What we are is God's gift to us; what we become is our gift to God.

Genius + Courage

Anyone intelligent can make things more complex. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
- Albert Einstein

Writes for a Living

A man who writes for a living does not have to go anywhere in particular, and he could rarely afford to if he wanted.
- C.S. Forester

Information is Currency

Information is the currency of democracy.
- Thomas Jefferson

Festival Ganesh

Mysorekar lifted the coconut above her head and dashed it against the gray granite floor of the temple, shattering it into pieces.

A riotous orchestra of ringing bells, thumping drums and the oboe-like shehnai reverberated in the cool predawn air. A piercing call emanated from a silver-tipped conch shell. And a semicircle of onlookers, draped in magenta, saffron, violet and burgundy, clapped as if in chorus.

At the Hindu Temple Society of North America, in Flushing, Queens, this week is time to worship Ganesh, the elephant-headed, many-armed deity who is believed to remove obstacles. Here, as at temples in over a dozen countries, Hindus are celebrating Ganesha Chaturthi, which marks the god’s birth (and rebirth).

“The coconut shell is like the human ego,” said Mohan Ramaswamy, who teaches at the temple on Bowne Street. “You have to crack it open before you can let in the lord.”

“The goal of all of these rituals is to gain the power of the vibrations,” said Dr. Mysorekar, a gynecologist and the temple’s president. “A temple is not just brick and mortar. It’s filled with energy.”

Like Easter for Christians or the High Holy Days for Jews, Ganesha Chaturthi can be as much about the community as it is about worship.

“Ganesh is my favorite god,” he said before explaining how he learned the mythology behind the deity’s elephant head, and how Ganesh saved the river goddess by tricking a dwarf.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Runaway Growth

Runaway growth in the emission of greenhouse gases is swamping all political efforts to deal with the problem, raising the risk of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” over the coming decades, according to a draft of a major new United Nations report.

Salvation Army


Help, People!


North Dakota Grain Trains



Peniaphobia is the fear of poverty. The origin of the word penia is Greek (meaning poverty) and phobia is Greek (meaning fear).

It is generally accepted that phobias arise from a combination of external events (i.e. traumatic events) and internal predispositions (i.e. heredity or genetics). Many specific phobias can be traced back to a specific triggering event, usually a traumatic experience at an early age. Social phobias and agoraphobia have more complex causes that are not entirely known at this time. It is believed that heredity, genetics, and brain chemistry combine with life-experiences to play a major role in the development of phobias. (Wikipedia - phobia).

As with any phobia, the symptoms vary by person depending on their level of fear. The symptoms typically include extreme anxiety, dread and anything associated with panic such as shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, inability to articulate words or sentences, and shaking.

Crime Decline

Did removing lead from petrol spark a decline in crime?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Choking Ocean


Robert Lustig

Article about sugar.

Numbers make me Cry

When I was seven and in second grade I had to learn addition and subtraction. Whenever I had to solve math problems I would break into sobs. My mother took me to a shrink and she hired a tutor to pay me in black and white jelly beans to learn arithmetic. At 53 I still cry over numbers and I still imagine the jelly beans.
Friday I went to deposit money after hours and the bank machine ate my cash and didn't acknowledge doing so. Today I went to the bank to straighten things out and they said I had to go home and call the Jupiter branch of the bank to ask for help. When I did the voice was having a hard time understanding me. I was having trouble understanding her.
I said "Since I was seven, numbers have made me cry,"
"Now numbers still make you cry! She laughed.
"You make me laugh, thank-you, so stress-full." She said.

I like Nonsense

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.
— Dr. Seuss

Paul Krugman

Americans are being pushed out of the Northeast (and, more recently, California) by high housing costs rather than pulled out by superior economic performance in the Sunbelt.

Human Cannon Family Reunion

Our MARCHING MILKMAN band performed at a family reunion Saturday with David Smith the human cannon.

Bill Hayes

I never lied. If someone asked, I’d say I was not working on anything, and no, had nothing on the back burner, in the oven, cooking, percolating or marinating. (What’s with all the food metaphors anyway?) I wasn’t hungry either.

Julie Metz

Olivia remarked recently, “When I care for Eden, it’s like taking care of myself.”

Dog God


Article on Depression


Sunday, August 24, 2014


The best advice I can offer to those heading into the world of film is not to wait for the system to finance your projects and for others to decide your fate. If you can’t afford to make a million-dollar film, raise $10,000 and produce it yourself. That’s all you need to make a feature film these days. Beware of useless, bottom-rung secretarial jobs in film-production companies. Instead, so long as you are able-bodied, head out to where the real world is. Roll up your sleeves and work as a bouncer in a sex club or a warden in a lunatic asylum or a machine operator in a slaughterhouse. Drive a taxi for six months and you’ll have enough money to make a film. Walk on foot, learn languages and a craft or trade that has nothing to do with cinema. Filmmaking – like great literature – must have experience of life at its foundation. Read Conrad or Hemingway and you can tell how much real life is in those books. A lot of what you see in my films isn’t invention; it’s very much life itself, my own life. If you have an image in your head, hold on to it because – as remote as it might seem – at some point you might be able to use it in a film. I have always sought to transform my own experiences and fantasies into cinema.

The problem isn’t coming up with ideas, it is how to contain the invasion. My ideas are like uninvited guests. They don’t knock on the door; they climb in through the windows like burglars who show up in the middle of the night and make a racket in the kitchen as they raid the fridge. I don’t sit and ponder which one I should deal with first. The one to be wrestled to the floor before all others is the one coming at me with the most vehemence. I have, over the years, developed methods to deal with the invaders as quickly and efficiently as possible, though the burglars never stop coming. You invite a handful of friends for dinner, but the door bursts open and a hundred people are pushing in. You might manage to get rid of them, but from around the corner another fifty appear almost immediately... Finishing a film is like having a great weight lifted from my shoulders. It’s relief, not necessarily happiness. But you relish dealing with these “burglars.” I am glad to be rid of them after making a film or writing a book. The ideas are uninvited guests, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t welcome.

My films come to me very much alive, like dreams, without explanation. I never think about what it all means. I think only about telling a story, and however illogical the images, I let them invade me. An idea comes to me, and then, over a period of time – perhaps while driving or walking – this blurred vision becomes clearer in my mind, pulling itself into focus.

When I write, I sit in front of the computer and pound the keys. I start at the beginning and write fast, leaving out anything that isn’t necessary, aiming at all times for the hard core of the narrative. I can’t write without that urgency. Something is wrong if it takes more than five days to finish a screenplay. A story created this way will always be full of life.

We need images in accordance with our civilization and innermost conditioning, which is why I appreciate any film that searches for novelty, no matter in what direction it moves or what story it tells... The struggle to find unprocessed imagery is never-ending, but it’s our duty to dig like archaeologists and search our violated landscapes. We live in an era when established values are no longer valid, when prodigious discoveries are being made every year, when catastrophes of unbelievable proportions occur weekly. In ancient Greek the word “chaos” means “gaping void” or “yawning emptiness.” The most effective response to the chaos in our lives is the creation of new forms of literature, music, poetry, art and cinema.

I don’t consciously reflect on aesthetics before making a film because, for me, the story always dictates such things. Of course, aesthetics do sometimes enter unconsciously through the back door, because whether we like it or not our preferences always somehow influence the decisions we make. If I were to think about my handwriting while writing an important letter, the words would become meaningless. When you write a passionate love letter and focus on making sure your longhand is as beautiful as possible, it isn’t going to be much of a love letter. But if you concentrate on the words and emotions, your particular style of longhand – which has nothing to do with the letter per se – will somehow seep in of its own accord. Aesthetics, if they even exist, are to be discovered only once a film has been completed.

We can never know what truth really is. The best we can do is approximate... Truth can never be definitively captured or described, though the quest to find answers is what gives meaning to our existence.

It would never occur to me... I work steadily and methodically, with great focus. There is never anything frantic about how I do my job; I’m no workaholic. A holiday is a necessity for someone whose work is an unchanged daily routine, but for me everything is constantly fresh and always new. I love what I do, and my life feels like one long vacation.

I work best under pressure, knee-deep in the mud. It helps me concentrate. The truth is I have never been guided by the kind of strict discipline I see in some people, those who get up at five in the morning and jog for an hour. My priorities are elsewhere. I will rearrange my entire day to have a solid meal with friends.

- Werner Herzog


A Sense of Loving and of Being Loved

I can’t talk about my books. I have written them and tried to forget them. I have written once, and readers have read me many times, no? I try to think of what I wrote, it’s very unhealthy to think about the past, the case of elegies is very sad, as much as the case of complaints.
― Jorge Luis Borges

At my age, one should be aware of one's limits, and this knowledge may make for happiness. When I was young, I thought of literature as a game of skillful and surprising variations; now that I have found my own voice, I feel that tinkering and tampering neither greatly improve nor greatly spoil my drafts. This, of course, is a sin against one of the main tendencies of letters in this century--the vanity of overwriting-- ... I suppose my best work is over. This gives me a certain quiet satisfaction and ease. And yet I do not feel I have written myself out. In a way, youthfulness seems closer to me today than when I was a young man. I no longer regard happiness as unattainable; once, long ago, I did. Now I know that it may occur at any moment but that it should never be sought after. As to failure or fame, they are quite irrelevant and I never bother about them. What I'm out for now is peace, the enjoyment of thinking and of friendship, and, though it may be too ambitious, a sense of loving and of being loved.
― Jorge Luis Borges, The Aleph and Other Stories

Collected Fictions

A: Absorbed in our discussion of immortality, we had let night fall without lighting the lamp, and we couldn't see each other's faces. With an offhandedness or gentleness more convincing than passion would have been, Macedonio Fernandez' voice said once more that the soul is immortal. He assured me that the death of the body is altogether insignificant, and that dying has to be the most unimportant thing that can happen to a man. I was playing with Macedonio's pocketknife, opening and closing it. A nearby accordion was infinitely dispatching La Comparsita, that dismaying trifle that so many people like because it's been misrepresented to them as being old... I suggested to Macedonio that we kill ourselves, so we might have our discussion without all that racket.
Z: (mockingly) But I suspect that at the last moment you reconsidered.
A: (now deep in mysticism) Quite frankly, I don't remember whether we committed suicide that night or not.
― Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions

Dream of Sand

One day or one night—between my days and nights, what difference can there be?—I dreamed that there was a grain of sand on the floor of my cell. Unconcerned, I went back to sleep; I dreamed that I woke up and there were two grains of sand. Again I slept; I dreamed that now there were three. Thus the grains of sand multiplied, little by little, until they filled the cell and I was dying beneath that hemisphere of sand. I realized that I was dreaming; with a vast effort I woke myself. But waking up was useless—I was suffocated by the countless sand. Someone said to me:

You have wakened not out of sleep, but into a prior dream, and that dream lies within another, and so on, to infinity, which is the number of the grains of sand. The path that you are to take is endless, and you will die before you have truly awakened.

I felt lost. The sand crushed my mouth, but I cried out: I cannot be killed by sand that I dream —nor is there any such thing as a dream within a dream.

― Jorge Luis Borges

A Single Moment

Any life, however long and complicated it may be, actually consists of a single moment — the moment when a man knows forever more who he is.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Then I reflect that all things happen, happen to one, precisely now. Century follows century, and things happen only in the present. There are countless men in the air, on land and at sea, and all that really happens happens to me.
― Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings

It also occurred to him that throughout history, humankind has told two stories: the story of a lost ship sailing the Mediterranean seas in quest of a beloved isle, and the story of a god who allows himself to be crucified on Golgotha.
― Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions

A man sets himself the task of portraying the world. Shortly before he dies he discovers that this patient labyrinth of lines is a drawing of his own face.
― Jorge Luis Borges

With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he understood that he too was a mere appearance, dreamt by another.
― Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings

Who He Is

Any life, however long and complicated it may be, actually consists of a single moment — the moment when a man knows forever more who he is.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Seven Nights

The gods weave misfortunes for men, so that the generations to come will have something to sing about. Mallarmé repeats, less beautifully, what Homer said; tout aboutit en un livre, everything ends up in a book. The Greeks speak of generations that will sing; Mallarmé speaks of an object, of a thing among things, a book. But the idea is the same; the idea that we are made for art, we are made for memory, we are made for poetry, or perhaps we are made for oblivion. But something remains, and that something is history or poetry, which are not essentially different.
― Jorge Luis Borges, Seven Nights

The Book of Sand

I do not write for a select minority, which means nothing to me, nor for that adulated platonic entity known as ‘The Masses’. Both abstractions, so dear to the demagogue, I disbelieve in. I write for myself and for my friends, and I write to ease the passing of time.
― Jorge Luis Borges, The Book of Sand

From my Weakness

It only takes two facing mirrors to build a labyrinth.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Why do you seem so annoyed at what I'm saying?
Because we're too much like each other. I loathe your face, which is a caricature of mine, I loathe your voice, which is a mockery of mine, I loathe your pathetic syntax, which is my own.
― Jorge Luis Borges

God must not engage in theology. The writer must not destroy by human reasonings the faith that art requires of us.
― Jorge Luis Borges

When I wake up, I wake to something worse. It’s the astonishment of being myself.
― Jorge Luis Borges

From my weakness, I drew strength that never left me.
― Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones

Captivating Jorge Luis Borges

Once I am dead, there will be no lack of pious hands to throw me over the railing; my grave will be the fathomless air; my body will sink endlessly and decay and dissolve in the wind generated by the fall, which is infinite.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Loneliness does not worry me; life is difficult enough, putting up with yourself and with
your own habits.
― Jorge Luis Borges

I arrive now at the ineffable core of my story. And here begins my despair as a writer. All language is a set of symbols whose use among its speakers assumes a shared past. How, then, can I translate into words the limitless Aleph, which my floundering mind can scarcely encompass? Mystics, faced with the same problem, fall back on symbols: to
signify the godhead, one Persian speaks of a bird that somehow is all birds; Alanus de Insulis, of a sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere; Ezekiel, of a four-faced angel who at one and the same time moves east and west, north and south. (Not in vain do I recall these inconceivable analogies; they bear some relation to the Aleph.) Perhaps the gods might grant me a similar metaphor, but then this account would become contaminated by literature, by fiction. Really, what I want to do is impossible, for any listing of an endless series is doomed to be infinitesimal. In that single gigantic instant I saw millions of acts both delightful and awful; not one of them occupied the same point in space, without overlapping or transparency. What my eyes beheld was simultaneous, but what I shall now write down will be successive, because language is successive. Nonetheless, I'll try to recollect what I can.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Captivated by its discipline, humanity forgets and goes on forgetting that it is the discipline of chess players, not of angels.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Chang Tzu tells us of a persevering man who after three laborious years mastered the art of dragon-slaying. For the rest of his days, he had not a single opportunity to test his skills.
― Jorge Luis Borges, The Book of Imaginary Beings

If I could live again my life,
In the next – I’ll try,
- to make more mistakes,
I won’t try to be so perfect,
I’ll be more relaxed,
I’ll be more full – than I am now,
In fact, I’ll take fewer things seriously,
I’ll be less hygienic,
I’ll take more risks,
I’ll take more trips,
I’ll watch more sunsets,
I’ll climb more mountains,
I’ll swim more rivers,
I’ll go to more places – I’ve never been,
I’ll eat more ice creams and less lima beans,
I’ll have more real problems – and less imaginary ones,
I was one of those people who live
prudent and prolific lives -
each minute of his life,
Of course that I had moments of joy – but,
if I could go back I’ll try to have only good moments,

If you don’t know – that’s what life is made of,
Don’t lose the now!

I was one of those who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer,
without a hot-water bottle,
and without an umbrella and without a parachute,

If I could live again – I will travel light,
If I could live again – I’ll try to work bare feet
at the beginning of spring till the end of autumn,
I’ll ride more carts,
I’ll watch more sunrises and play with more children,
If I have the life to live – but now I am 85,
- and I know that I am dying …”
― Jorge Luis Borges

Inexaustable Relationship

Literature is not exhaustible, for the sufficient and simple reason that a single book is not.
― Jorge Luis Borges

A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.
― Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones

The Book, The Music

Leaving behind the babble of the plaza, I enter the Library. I feel, almost physically, the gravitation of the books, the enveloping serenity of order, time magically dessicated and preserved.
― Jorge Luis Borges, Dreamtigers

A book is a physical object in a world of physical objects. It is a set of dead symbols. And then the right reader comes along, and the words—or rather the poetry behind the words, for the words themselves are mere symbols—spring to life, and we have a resurrection of the word.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Of all man’s instruments, the most wondrous, no doubt, is the book. The other instruments are extensions of his body. The microscope, the telescope, are extensions of his sight; the telephone is the extension of his voice; then we have the plow and the sword, extensions of the arm. But the book is something else altogether: the book is an extension of memory and imagination.
― Jorge Luis Borges

There is nothing in the world that is not mysterious, but the mystery is more evident in certain things than in others: in the sea, in the eyes of the elders, in the color yellow, and in music.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Amazing Treasures

We have shared out, like thieves, the amazing treasures of days and nights.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Far Away

I walk slowly, like one who comes from so far away he doesn't expect to arrive.
― Jorge Luis Borges

You Learn

by Jorge Luis Borges

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,

And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure…

That you really are strong

And you really do have worth…

And you learn and learn…

With every good-bye you learn.

― Jorge Luis Borges

Borges Quotes

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
― Jorge Luis Borges

I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Let others pride themselves about how many pages they have written; I'd rather boast about the ones I've read.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time.
― Jorge Luis Borges

I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books.
― Jorge Luis Borges

You have wakened not out of sleep, but into a prior dream, and that dream lies within another, and so on, to infinity, which is the number of grains of sand. The path that you are to take is endless, and you will die before you have truly awakened.
― Jorge Luis Borges

To fall in love is to create a religion that has a fallible god.
― Jorge Luis Borges

I can give you my loneliness, my darkness, the hunger of my heart, I am trying to bribe you with uncertainty, with danger, with defeat.
― Jorge Luis Borges

A writer - and, I believe, generally all persons - must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.
― Jorge Luis Borges, Twenty-Four Conversations with Borges: Interviews by Roberto Alifano 1981-1983

The mind was dreaming. The world was its dream.
― Jorge Luis Borges

A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory. A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Reality is not always probable, or likely.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Personally, I am a hedonistic reader; I have never read a book merely because it was ancient. I read books for the aesthetic emotions they offer me, and I ignore the commentaries and criticism.
― Jorge Luis Borges, Seven Nights

Heaven and hell seem out of proportion to me: the actions of men do not deserve so much.
― Jorge Luis Borges

When writers die they become books, which is, after all, not too bad an incarnation.

[As attributed by Alastair Reid in Neruda and Borges, The New Yorker, June 24, 1996; as well as in The Talk of the Town, The New Yorker, July 7, 1986]”
― Jorge Luis Borges

Life itself is a quotation.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.
― Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings

“Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.
― Jorge Luis Borges

The original is unfaithful to the translation.
― Jorge Luis Borges

A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.
― Jorge Luis Borges, The Aleph and Other Stories

Truly fine poetry must be read aloud. A good poem does not allow itself to be read in a low voice or silently. If we can read it silently, it is not a valid poem: a poem demands pronunciation. Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song.
― Jorge Luis Borges

No one is anyone, one single immortal man is all men. Like Cornelius Agrippa, I am god, I am hero, I am philosopher, I am demon and I am world, which is a tedious way of saying that I do not exist.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Nothing is built on stone; All is built on sand, but we must build as if the sand were stone.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Music, feelings of happiness, mythology, faces worn by time, certain twilights and certain places, want to tell us something, or they told us something that we should not have missed, or they are about to tell us something; this imminence of a revelation that is not produced is, perhaps, 'the aesthetic event'.
― Jorge Luis Borges

To die for a religion is easier than to live it absolutely.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Besides, rereading, not reading, is what counts.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Writing long books is a laborious and impoverishing act of foolishness: expanding in five hundred pages an idea that could be perfectly explained in a few minutes. A better procedure is to pretend that those books already exist and to offer a summary, a commentary.
― Jorge Luis Borges

You can't measure time by days, the way you measure money by dollars and cents, because dollars are all the same while every day is different and maybe every hour as well.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges

It's the birthday of poet and short-story writer Jorge Luis Borges, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1899). He studied in Europe, moved back to Argentina, and got a job in a library. He worked his way up to be director of the National Library of Buenos Aires. He was able to do his work in just one hour every morning so he could spend the rest of his day wandering through the stacks. In a cruel twist, he also began losing his vision, and by 1955 he was completely blind. "I speak of God's splendid irony in granting me at once 800,000 books and darkness," he said.
- Writer's Almanac

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Each of us is a specific individual, that one and no other, out of billions. I think each of us knows his own mystery with a knowing that precedes the origins of all knowledge. None of us ever gives it away. No one can. We envelop it with talk and hide it with deeds.
Yet we always hope that somehow the others will know it is there, that a mystery in the other we cannot know will respond to a mystery in the self we cannot understand. The only full satisfaction life offers us is this sense of communion. We seek it constantly. Sometimes we find it. As we grow older we learn that it is never complete and sometimes it is entirely illusory.

- Kenneth Rexroth

In Defense of the Earth

The holiness of the real
Is always there, accessible
In total immanence. The nodes
Of transcendence coagulate
In you, the experiencer,
And in the other, the lover.

- Kenneth Rexroth

The Great Nebula of Andromeda

Stars cluster around our table like fireflies.
I pick up the glass
And watch the Great Nebula
Of Andromeda swim like
A phosphorescent amoeba
Slowly around the Pole.

In the star-filled dark we cook
Our macaroni and eat
By lantern light. Stars cluster
Around our table like fireflies.

- Kenneth Rexroth

Kenneth Rexroth

I write for one and only one purpose, to overcome the invincible ignorance of the traduced heart. My poems are acts of force and violence directed against the evil which murders us all. If you like, they are designed not just to overthrow the present State, economic system, and Church, but all prevailing systems of human collectivity altogether... I wish to speak to and for all those who have had enough of the Social Lie, the Economics of Mass Murder, the Sexual Hoax, and the Domestication of Conspicuous Consumption.
- Kenneth Rexroth, Preface to the second edition (1953) of The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1949)

Leo Tolstoy

No matter what the work you are doing, be always ready to drop it. And plan it, so as to be able to leave it.
― Leo Tolstoy, The Journal of Leo Tolstoy

Sun Tzu

Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge.
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The Great Hunt

A young wolfhound must meet his first wolf someday, but if the wolf sees him as a puppy, if he acts the puppy, the wolf will surely kill him. The wolfhound must be a wolfhound in the wolf's eyes even more than in his own, if he is to survive.
― Robert Jordan, The Great Hunt

Readiness is All

Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a special
providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the
readiness is all.
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet

All things are ready, if our mind be so.
― William Shakespeare, Henry V

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Emily Matchar


Robert Stone

from Writer's Almanac today:

It's the birthday of novelist Robert Stone, born in Brooklyn (1937). He was raised by his mother, who was schizophrenic, and when she was institutionalized, he spent several years in a Catholic orphanage. Sometimes he and his mother would drive across the country and end up in a Salvation Army somewhere, or a random hotel. He said: "My early life was very strange. I was a solitary; radio
fashioned my imagination. Radio narrative always has to embody a full account of both action and scene. I began to do that myself. When I was seven or eight, I'd walk through Central Park like Sam Spade, describing aloud what I was doing, becoming both the actor and the writer setting him into the scene. That was where I developed an inner ear."

Stone dropped out of high school to join the Navy, then moved back to New York City. He worked as a copy boy at the Daily News, and during his brief stint at NYU, he met Janice Burr, the woman he eventually married. They moved to New Orleans, and Stone found work as a census-taker. He walked every neighborhood of New Orleans, asking questions. He wrote:
"The closer to street level you live, the more you have lessons thrust upon

Stone served as a correspondent in Vietnam for a British magazine, which quickly folded, but he got enough material to return home and write the novel Dog Soldiers (1974). Dog Soldiers is the story of a burnt-out playwright named John Converse who leaves the fading counterculture of California to work as a correspondent in Vietnam and ends up smuggling heroin out of the country. Dog Soldiers won the National Book Award.

Stone's other books include Children of Light (1986); Prime Green: Remembering the
Sixties (2007), a memoir; and Fun With Problems (2010), a book of short stories.

He said: "Writing is lonely. [...] But most of the time you are in a room by yourself, you know. Writers spend more time in rooms, staying awake in quiet rooms, than they do hunting lions in Africa. So, it's a bad life for a person because it's so lonely and because it consists of such highs and lows, and there's not always anywhere to take these emotional states. [...] It's a life that's tough to sustain without falling prey to some kind of beguiling diversion that's not good for you."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Don't Invite them Back!


HPV Vaccine

Given current rates of immunization, somewhere around 2,000 adults every year whose parents had chosen not to give them the HPV vaccine will probably die from a preventable cancer. It’s unconscionable. And doctors will have only themselves to blame.

Charles Darwin

To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.
- Charles Darwin

Daphne Sheldrick


Nin Andrews poem

My Life after Super Woman

Each night before I go to bed, I tell myself, Do not think of Super Woman. Hardly have I rested my head on the pillow then I think of her rising hips undulating beneath me. I think of her long, long legs. I think of the wind in her hair as she flies, and oh, how she flies. Do not think of that, I tell myself again. And again I think how we climbed the air together. How every level of heaven was our own. How she gathered me to a point. I became like a musical note going higher and higher than I could ever sing
before. Do no think of her, oh please, do not think of her, oh please, please, I think again, and again I think how many others wanted her.

Me! They cried. Me, too. The longer she stayed with me, the more emphatic their words. They could hear our shouts and sobs of ecstasy, and were driven wild. This isn't safe, I told her. This isn’t safe, I told her. This cannot last. You must go. But I could never free myself from her strong, pink arms, her long black hair, her fragrance and salt and sea. Me! I can still hear them cry. Come to me. They flung themselves at our door. They filled the streets below. They brought ropes to catch her with. And chains with locks and keys. And every kind of food and drink as lures. But she remained faithful to me. Only me. She waved happily to those fans but stayed just out of touch and reach. She didn't mind that they licked their lips like hungry dogs. That they engraved her name and face, on their arms and thighs. But at a certain point their enthusiasm reached such a frightening peak. Oh, to be loved by Super Woman, to kiss her red, red cheeks. That became the global fantasy. That was when the hunting and fishing company, Gander Mountain, invented a human-sized butterfly net, especially designed, or so the ad claimed, to catch the super woman of your dreams.

We both knew what that meant. By then the search lights were regularly crossing our ceiling. Soon she would have to flee or die in a net. We huddled beneath our sheets. She had to leave mankind forever to his creepy longing and loneliness and laments. For this is the way of planet Earth. Men trap what is good and true and hold it like a hostage in their hairy hands until it breathes its last.

She was right to go then, of course and alas, because Super Woman is always right. Super Woman who fled. Super Woman who left me with all those horrible hands. Super Woman who said, just before she left, I will be back, love. I will be back for you and all that is true and good. But do not think of that. Whatever you do, do not obsess. Now all I do is yearn and ache and moan. Every wish I say and every yes is for Super Woman alone. Every page I write is written for her, my Super Woman, the love of my sleepless nights, my lost dreams, and last romantic gasp.

Published with permission from the author.

~ Nin Andrews is also the editor of a book of translations of the French poet Henri Michaux entitled Someone Wants to Steal My Name from Cleveland State University Press. She is the author of 5 chapbooks and 5 full length collections including Why They Grow Wings, Midlife Crisis with Dick and Jane, Sleeping with Houdini, The Book of Orgasms, and Southern Comfort.

Loretta LaRoche

Disconnect to Connect

My ex-husband would always berate me when I spoke to a stranger. He would wait , thank God, until the person was out of earshot, and then the lecture would begin. “Why do you talk to people you don’t know?” “How do you know they aren’t annoyed by you invading their space?”
Well, first and foremost, I am a people person. I love to meet new individuals and discover what they do and where their from. I truly, cannot think of one incident where someone treated me with anything but delight that I had engaged them. My retort to my ex was always the same. “They might have been strangers before, but they’re not anymore.”
He was never amused by my response, but that's part of the reason we’re not together anymore. His life revolved around safety and not making waves. Talking to people he didn’t know could be embarrassing. What if they ignored him or acted uninterested? I on the other hand came from a family of smoozers.
I was born into an Italian family from Brooklyn. We lived in a neighborhood where everyone knew each other, and if they didn’t they soon would. Wherever I went with a member of my family you could be sure that they would engage someone they never met and eventually bring them into the fold. Not all of them became a permanent part of the clan. But many of them did and it helped create the fabric of my life. My books have reflected the many characters I met and their stories have been woven into my work as a stress management consultant.
Over the years I have noticed that as a culture we have become more and more distanced from one another. I know that technology has something to do with it, but the wedge that has been driven between us has also been driven by the constant fear messages the media fills us with. What if I talk to someone who might stab me if they don’t like the way I look. Or, what if I inadvertently touch someone that is riddled with the latest plague? And after all, doesn’t everyone want to simply get where their going? They don’t want to take any time to simply have a pleasant chat with a stranger?
How sad, not to realize that the world is made up of many fascinating people that could enrich our lives if we simply said “hello”. Just smiling at someone helps create a connection. Unfortunately we are getting so used to looking down at a gadget in the hopes that someone is trying to reach us, that we have forgotten how to reach out to those around us. Remember when you’re looking up you see the world, when you look down all you see is the ground.

Listening is Receiving

. . . they are talking to me because I am listening.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

George Bernard Shaw

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
- GeorgeB ernard Shaw

Lev Grossman

The first time I wrote a sentence about a person casting a spell, it was like I heard distant alarms going off. I felt like there must be a control room somewhere with a bunch of people sitting wearing headsets and looking at a red dot blinking on a map, and the dot was me, and the people were saying, He’s breaking the rules! We can’t let him get away with this! I was writing against my education and my upbringing. I was writing against reality itself — I was breaking rules, and not just the literary kind but the thermodynamic kind, too. It felt forbidden. It felt good.

The story I was telling was impossible, and I believed in it more than I believed in the 10,000 entirely reasonable, plausible things I’d written before.


Screen Time

The Future

by Leonard Cohen

Give me back my broken night
my mirrored room, my secret life
it's lonely here,
there's no one left to torture
Give me absolute control
over every living soul
And lie beside me, baby,
that's an order!

Give me crack and anal sex
Take the only tree that's left
and stuff it up the hole
in your culture
Give me back the Berlin wall
give me Stalin and St Paul
I've seen the future, brother:
it is murder.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
has crossed the threshold
and it has overturned
the order of the soul
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant.

You don't know me from the wind
you never will, you never did
I'm the little jew
who wrote the Bible
I've seen the nations rise and fall
I've heard their stories, heard them all
but love's the only engine of survival
Your servant here, he has been told
to say it clear, to say it cold:
It's over, it ain't going
any further
And now the wheels of heaven stop
you feel the devil's riding crop
Get ready for the future:
it is murder.

Things are going to slide ...

There'll be the breaking of the ancient
western code
Your private life will suddenly explode
There'll be phantoms
There'll be fires on the road
and the white man dancing
You'll see a woman
hanging upside down
her features covered by her fallen gown
and all the lousy little poets
coming round
tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson
and the white man dancin'.

Give me back the Berlin wall
Give me Stalin and St Paul
Give me Christ
or give me Hiroshima
Destroy another fetus now
We don't like children anyhow
I've seen the future, baby:
it is murder.

Things are going to slide ...

When they said REPENT REPENT ...

Yoga for Wrestlers


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Kundalini Yoga

A friend of mine cured his heroin addiction doing kundalini yoga. He now teaches this in the prisons.

With the practice of Kundalini Yoga one is thought able to liberate oneself from one's Karma and to realize one's Dharma (Life Purpose).

An uplifting blend of spiritual and physical practices, this yoga style incorporates movement, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation, and the chanting of mantras, such as Sat nam ("I am truth"). The goal is to build physical vitality and increase consciousness.

BASIC PRINCIPLES: Using sound, breath, and posture, Kundalini Yoga aims to develop spiritual awareness by freeing the serpent power (kundalini) that is coiled in the base of the spine and drawing it upward through the seven chakras.

WHO FOUNDED IT: Kundalini Yoga has its roots in the Tantric Yoga tradition, which dates back to the eighth century. In 1969, Sikh leader Yogi Bhajan (born in 1929) brought the practice to North America.

WHERE TO DO IT: Kundalini's spiritual center is the 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy) Foundation in Espanola, New Mexico; the foundation oversees 300 centers worldwide.

SIDE BUSINESS: The Yogi Tea Company sells a complete line of medicinal and healing teas.

TEACHERS TO KNOW: Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Shanti Kaur Khalsa, Shakta Kaur Khalsa.

Reinhold Niebuhr

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.
-Reinhold Niebuhr

Audience and Performer

Stage Performance by Livingston Taylor
I spent the past few days reading a fabulous book that I feel applies to teaching and painting and living in the world. I must buy a copy to refer to again.

Quotes from Stage Performance by Livingston Taylor

On your career:

Don't get lost in the fantasy of how your career should be. It's good to have heroes and inspiration, but not good to compare yourself to others, and the career progressions of others. Each person's path will be different.

On nervousness:

Remember that your audience means a lot more to you than you mean to them. Your performance is more than likely one small part of their whole time out. They may have been out to dinner, may be celebrating a birthday, may be talking closely with friends. If you don't perform at your all-time best, it will not matter to the audience, especially not nearly as much as it matters to you.

Sometimes the worst does happen, and in spite of your best efforts and wishes, you wind up being absolutely awful. This is normal. Don't be so hard on yourself.

On the audience:

They want attention, and they want to feel that their presence is special to you, that it makes a difference in the course of events that make up your show. They want to believe you are glad to be with them. If you're focused on yourself and caught up in nervousness, you're taking attention away from your audience- the attention they want and deserve...Their attention is a gift. Don't throw it away. Even if you think you don't deserve it, receive it graciously.

Look at, and pay attention to, your audience.

If you are tense, your audience will be tense too, and will become exhausted.

Expect that the unexpected will often happen. Work with material that is basic enough to your skill level that, if an unexpected event occurs, you will be able to respond to the event, while still maintaining your composure.

The performer has the absolute right to be on stage. The audience also has the right to not like what the performer is doing. Sometimes people will love what you do, other times not like it at all. Just do your best at the time, and be patient, and enjoy performing to the end of your show.

Ask yourself where you can add to the audience's enjoyment. If you do something once and the audience likes it, do it again. If they don't like it, don't do it again.

Be patient.

Let your audience know when it's time to respond.

Periodically you need to be still, or at least slow down, as with dancers, or your audience will become tired out.

It's okay to be human on stage...They love you to be normal, to make a mistake, acknowledge it, smile, shake your head slightly, forgive yourself, and move on.

The key to your success lies in making your audience comfortable.

Do not beat yourself up for not being 100 percent. Do the best you can with what you have at the time.

Do not rush the music. This tells the audience you are nervous.

Accept compliments graciously.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Regional Accents

I love the variations on regional accents. Keep your ears open and enjoy.

William Rivers Pitt


Friday, August 15, 2014

Amy Yee


Start here.

Tibetan Painter

story number 8

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Mysteries

Beauty pulls him into a brand new place. Beauty doesn’t require you to remember; it doesn’t even require you to be you.

Invisible Beds

The park benches have been moved against the wall, and under the trees behind the bocce courts. They are painted black so the homeless can have invisible beds.

Dance Mania

I once spent a week dancing in my living room.

Rage Stage


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Surreal Picnic


Twin Alien Planets


Vacation Spot


Puddle Stamping

Today is a perfect day for puddle stamping!


Mental illness isn’t a marketable disease. I’m sure there are many celebrities who suffer from it, but we don’t have a celebrity spokesperson. There are no ice bucket challenges for depression. Cancer survivors can proudly show off their scars, but no one wants to see ours. We don’t have a ribbon or color. Anyone want to buy a gray Kitchen-Aid mixer for mental health research? And depression is one of the more acceptable mental illnesses to have. Imagine a 5k run for bipolar and borderline personality disorders.

Repairing Humans

Science Fiction Becomes Science-Fact: Two Strategies for Repairing Humans
New breakthroughs in the field of regenerative medicine are allowing us to live longer, healthier lives.

Let there be Light!

Mayor’s streetlight restoration program hits milestone
August 12, 2014

WOONSOCKET – Never mind the Supermoon: If nighttime seems brighter than usual in your neighborhood lately, chances are it’s because all your street lights are on for the first time in nearly four years.

Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt says more than half the street lights that were dimmed by the previous administration in a money-saving move have been reactivated since late February.

“This is something I’ve really enjoyed doing because it makes people so happy,” said Baldelli-Hunt. “People want to feel safe in their neighborhoods. They want to go out at night. They want to take walks.”


Memoir: Little Failure

I am reading Gary Shteyngart's memoir and loving it.
Read more here.

Robert Bly

“Each of us deserves to be forgiven. If only for ‘our persistence in keeping our small boat afloat when so many have gone down in this world.’”

Robert Bly, American Poetry Review, September/October 2011


When Haunted

You have little choice about whether you can listen to those voices. It’s your actions that hang in the balance.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Watermelons by Charles Simic

Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.

Mood + Muse

When Joseph Schildkraut, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, studied a group of 15 abstract-expressionist painters in the mid-20th century, he found that half of them had some form of mental illness, mostly depression or bipolar disorder; nearly half of these artists failed to live past age 60.

When you work at the cutting edge, you are likely to bleed.


Poetry in Police Blotter


Swimming in a Cool Pool


Risky + Humiliating

My “real life” mostly consists of sitting in my pajamas daydreaming about gangsters and sexy spies while staring out the window at a cat.

Improv Genius


Monday, August 11, 2014

2 Ruth Stone Poems

Compulsive Organizer

When you. as they say, pass on,
all of your files and categories
will go blind. For who reads
method that figures the invisible
structures of the dead and gone?
Even your cabinets, your hungers,
your decisions to take a bath
or a shower, or use perfume,
will crash into chaos. Order -
exquisitely tuned to your gastric juices,
to your tactile cravings, to the mad
lurches of your infancy, to your need
to consume it all and be forgiven.


I started out in the Virginia mountains
with my grandma’s pansy bed
and my Aunt Maud’s dandelion wine.
We lived on greens and backfat and biscuits.
My Aunt Maud scrubbed right through the linoleum.
My daddy was a northerner who played drums
and chewed tobacco and gambled.
He married my mama on the rebound.
Who would want an ignorant hill girl with red hair?
They took a Pullman up to Indianapolis
and someone stole my daddy’s wallet.
My whole life has been stained with pokeberries.
No man seemed right for me. I was awkward
until I found a good wood burning stove.
There is no use asking what it means.
With my first piece of ready cash I bought my own
place in Vermont; kerosene lamps, dirt road.
I’m sticking here like a porcupine up a tree.
Like the one our neighbor shot. Its bone and skin
hung there for three years in the orchard.
No amount of knowledge can shake my grandma out of me;
or my Aunt Maud; or my mama, who didn’t just bite an apple
with her big white teeth. She split it in two.

Ruth Stone

I’ve been writing poetry or whatever it is since I was five or six years old, and I couldn’t stop, I never could stop. I don’t know why I did it.… It was like a stream that went along beside me, you know, my life went along here, and I got married and had three kids and did all the things you have to do, and all along the time this stream was going along. And I really didn’t know what it was saying. It just talked to me, and I wrote it down. So I can’t even take much credit for it.
- Ruth Stone

Ruth Stone Foundation