Monday, February 29, 2016

Male Sexual Assault Survivors

Male sexual assault survivors really need our help—and they're not going to reach out for it themselves. In a nationally representative sample of thousands of adolescents, boys were less likely than girls to disclose sexual abuse or report it to authorities and reported higher levels of shame. Male survivor concerns, such as fear of being viewed as homosexual (if the assailant was male), can impede disclosure and help-seeking. In addition, messages boys receive from society—notions that they are supposed to be powerful and invulnerable, should never cry or experience sadness, and that they should always welcome sexual activity—these can obstruct a victim's true acknowledgement of his pain. We need institutional support so more men can come forward and receive the attention and care they need and deserve after such experiences.
http://www.psmag.com/health-and-behavior/male-survivors-deserve-better?platform=hootsuite

Brave Journalists

The city flourishes when its great institutions work together,” says the cardinal to the newspaper editor during a friendly chat in the rectory. The city in question is Boston. The cardinal is Bernard F. Law and the editor, newly arrived at The Boston Globe from The Miami Herald, is Martin Baron. He politely dissents from the cardinal’s vision of civic harmony, arguing that the paper should stand alone.

Their conversation, which takes place early in “Spotlight,” sets up the film’s central conflict. Encouraged by Baron, a small group of reporters at The Globe will spend the next eight months (and the next two hours) digging into the role of the Boston archdiocese in covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests. But the image of two prominent men talking quietly behind closed doors — Law is played with orotund charm by Len Cariou, Baron with sphinxlike self-containment by Liev Schreiber — haunts this somber, thrilling movie and crystallizes its major concern, which is the way power operates in the absence of accountability. When institutions convinced of their own greatness work together, what usually happens is that the truth is buried and the innocent suffer. Breaking that pattern of collaboration is not easy. Challenging deeply entrenched, widely respected authority can be very scary.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/06/movies/review-in-spotlight-the-boston-globe-digs-up-the-catholic-churchs-dirt.html?smid=tw-nytimesarts&smtyp=cur

The Story is Told in Vignettes

Awad, speaking by phone last week from a book tour stop in Salt Lake City, says she wanted to explore "the notion of transformation as something that always facilitates a happy ending," questioning the idea that reaching a goal will necessarily result in happiness.

"I wanted to explore the complications around transformation. Can you really leave yourself behind? How much of that fat girl ghost is really following Lizzie after she's lost the weight?"

The book explores not only how people see her, but how she imagines that they do. "So much of who Lizzie is is bound up in how she is seen."

The story is told in vignettes, in part, says Awad, "so [readers] can zoom in on these moments when body image is really rearing its head." In one, Lizzie struggles in a dressing room to fit into a Diane von Furstenberg dress; in another, we watch her as an uncomfortable participant as her mother parades Lizzie around town in a skimpy dress.

Each one is distinct but connected, and "all together form the sort of warped mirror she is looking into."

Awad says experiences in her own life drew her to the subject.

"Body image is something I have definitely struggled with myself," she says. Awad said she wanted to delve deeper, looking at the related issues that often don't get as much attention.

http://www.providencejournal.com/entertainmentlife/20160228/13-ways-of-looking-at-fat-girl-is-brown-grads-first-novel

Symptoms Outdo Diagnoses

Symptoms Outdo Diagnoses in Predicting Bipolar Disorder in At-Risk Youth

February 26, 2016 • Science Update

Three types of symptoms emerged as powerful predictors of whether a youth with one parent with bipolar disorder will go on to develop the disorder, according to a study of 391 at-risk youth. The findings offer a much more specific roadmap than previously available for assessing risk of bipolar disorder early in at-risk youth, and one that is based on symptoms, not traditional psychiatric diagnoses. The symptoms identified—related to anxiety/depression, affective lability (unstable mood, including irritability), and low-level manic symptoms—also provide insight into what may be a high-risk syndrome or “prodrome” preceding the onset of bipolar spectrum disorder.

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2016/symptoms-outdo-diagnoses-in-predicting-bipolar-disorder-in-at-risk-youth.shtml

Health is Wealth

Health is wealth. This is the season of histamine hell affecting head lungs and guts. Even with the medicine and good food I feel sick. This is why I love January and February cold it usually keeps these molds and pollens at bay. Spring is HELL.

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (24 November 1808 – 29 September 1890) was a French critic, journalist, and novelist. His brother Eugène was a talented engineer, and his niece Carme Karr was a writer, journalist and suffragist in La Roche-Mabile.

He was born in Paris, and after being educated at the Collège Bourbon, became a teacher there. Some of his novels, including his first, Sous les Tilleuls (1832), were autobiographical romances. A second novel, Une heure trop tard, followed next year, and was succeeded by many other popular works. His Vendredi soir (1835) and Le Chemin le plus court (1836) continued the vein of autobiographical romance with which he had made his first success. Geneviève (1838) is one of his best stories, and his Voyage autour de mon jardin (1845) was deservedly popular. Others were Feu Bressier (1848), and Fort en thème (1853), which had some influence in stimulating educational reform.

In 1839 Alphonse Karr became editor of Le Figaro, to which he had been a constant contributor; and he also started a monthly journal, Les Guêpes, of a keenly satirical tone, a publication which brought him the reputation of a somewhat bitter wit. His epigrams are frequently quoted, for example "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"[1]—"the more it changes, the more it's the same thing", usually translated as "the more things change, the more they stay the same," (Les Guêpes, January 1849). On the proposal to abolish capital punishment, "je veux bien que messieurs les assassins commencent"[2]—"let the gentlemen who do the murders take the first step".

In 1848 he founded Le Journal. In 1855 he went to live at Nice, where he indulged his predilections for floriculture, and gave his name to more than one new variety, notably the dahlia (New International Encyclopedia). Indeed he practically founded the trade in cut flowers on the French Riviera. He was also devoted to fishing, and in Les Soirées de Sainte-Adresse (1853) and Au bord de la mer (1860) he made use of his experiences. His reminiscences, Livre de bord, were published in 1879–1880. He died at Saint-Raphaël (Var).

His short story Les Willis was the basis of Giacomo Puccini's opera Le Villi.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Baptiste_Alphonse_Karr

Irish Potato Famine

http://www.irishhistorylinks.net/History_Links/IrishFamineGenocide.html

Isabel Allende

Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.
-Isabel Allende

Ray Bradbury

“Soon as you have an idea that changes some small part of the world you are writing science fiction.”
—Ray Bradbury, Paris Review

Carson McCullers

I live with the people I create and it has always made my essential loneliness less keen.
-Carson McCullers

Ram Dass: Learning to Grieve


It is important, as we get older, to learn how to grieve. Although this may sound self-evident, experience has taught me that it is not. In a culture that emphasizes stoicism and forward movement, in which time is deemed “of the essence,” and there is little toleration for slowness, inwardness, and melancholy, grieving – a healthy, necessary aspect of life – is too often overlooked. As we get older, of course, and losses mount, the need for conscious grieving becomes more pronounced. Only by learning how to grieve can we hope to leave the past behind and come into the present moment.

The older we get, the more we lose; this is the law of impermanence. We lose loved ones, cherished dreams, physical strength, work, and relationships. Often, it seems like loss upon loss. All these losses bring up enormous grief that we must be prepared to embrace completely, if we are to live with open hearts.

My dear friend Stephen Levine has recommended that we build temples specifically for the purpose of grieving, ritual sites where we can feel safe to pour out the sadness and loss that we feel. In the Jewish tradition of sitting shiva, and in the traditional Irish wake, we find such outlets for extended grieving, but these rituals are becoming rare in our culture and are not frequently practiced.

Over the years, in working with people who are grieving, I’ve encouraged them first of all to surrender to the experience of their pain. To counteract our natural tendency to turn away from pain, we open to it as fully as possible and allow our hearts to break. We must take enough time to remember our losses – be they friends or loved ones passed away, the death of long-held hopes or dreams, the loss of homes, careers, or countries, or health we may never get back again. Rather than close ourselves to grief, it helps to realize that we only grieve for what we love.

In allowing ourselves to grieve, we learn that the process is not cut and dried. It’s more like a spiral that brings us to a place of release, abates for a time, then continues on a deeper level. Often, when grieving, we think that it’s over, only to find ourselves swept away by another wave of intense feeling. For this reason, it’s important to be patient with the process, and not be in a hurry to put our grief behind us.

While the crisis stage of grief does pass in its own time – and each person’s grief has its own timetable – deep feelings don’t disappear completely. But ultimately you come to the truth of the adage that “love is stronger than death.” I once met with a girl whose boyfriend was killed in Central America. She was grieving and it was paralyzing her life. I characterized it for her this way. “Let’s say you’re in ‘wise-woman training.'” If she’s in wise-woman training, everything in her life must be grist for the mill. Her relationship with this man would become part of the wisdom in her. But first she had to see that her relationship with him is between Souls. They no longer have two incarnated bodies to share, so she had to find the Soul connection. Two Souls can access each other without an incarnation.

When my Guru died in 1973, I assumed that because of the important part he played in my life, and the love I felt for him, I would be inundated with grief. Surprisingly, I was not. In time, I came to realize why. He and I were so well established in Soul love that, in the years since he left his body, his palpable presence in my life has continued unabated.
– Ram Dass

Rainer Maria Rilke

“The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.”
- Rainer Maria Rilke

Myth of the Hero Teacher

Maybe you have had the fantasy: Chuck your day job to teach in a public school in a blighted neighborhood. The money is lousy, of course, but that’s part of the fantasy — no one wants to turn around the lives of poor children just for a paycheck.http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/nyregion/new-york-teacher-gets-wise-at-a-hard-knocks-school.html

Dream

I woke at 2:30 AM with a killer headache from the drop in pressure. I dreamed I was taking headache medicine. I dreamed I was carrying Governor Gina, she was cradled in my arms. She was colorful and light as a feather. I dreamed Bill and I had a country house in southern RI. Big fat grapes and kiwi's were growing in our yard. We were sitting on our front porch tasting the fruits as the sun was setting.

"My Grandmother is so Italian"

MILAN — It was 9:30 p.m. on a chilly Sunday in an industrial area on the outskirts of Milan, and rain had been pounding down for 48 hours. The Missoni show had just ended, and Angela Missoni, the brand’s creative director, was welcoming around 120 guests for supper.

“We are a family business, and we have been built upon decades of family dinners,” she said as the restaurant space in a converted warehouse near the Fondazione Prada swelled with guests, all kissing one another and erupting in loud, happy chatter. “So I wouldn’t have this celebration any other way.”

Mountains of melt-in-the-mouth antipasti lined a wall of each room, with slightly heavier dishes — pasta bowls, roast lamb and artichoke soufflé — passed around by smiling young waiters. Gallons of prosecco and crisp white Italian wines sat in giant ice buckets kept discreetly in corners.

[...]

“My grandmother is so Italian; she always insists that the food has to be as good as the food we eat in her kitchen, near the factory, and she makes sure of it, too,” Mr. Missoni said. “Nothing will stop her. Sharing meals all together — with her at our center — is still the beating heart of this family.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/01/fashion/milan-fashion-week-missoni.html?_r=0

Food is Love

I am just like my dog. One my walks I walk by and remember every house that has fed me.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Surveillance Photographer

http://www.studio360.org/story/162853-surveillance/
http://www.studio360.org/story/162548-she-sees-your-every-move/

Studio 360

02.28.16
She Sees Your Every Move


While traditional street photography usually catches strangers passing by in a public space, the photographer Michele Iversen has been catching strangers passing by in their own private spaces, without their permission. At night she sits in her car and watches the warm glowing windows of strangers' homes waiting for the perfect shot.

Since 1995 Iversen has been collecting these images for her “Night Surveillance Series.” "I find my theater, you know the actual window," she explains, "and then the performance begins.” She's captured people binge eating, washing dishes, sleeping.

Iversen admits she feels uncomfortable watching her subjects — and wants her audience to be uncomfortable looking at her photographs as well. And yet she continues to make them: “They are like these beautiful tableaux to me, they tell a story — they show peoples lives.”

Produced by Studio 360's Jonathan Mitchell.

The Taliban Shuffle: I felt parts of myself slipping away.

I wrote “The Taliban Shuffle” as a comedy precisely because we witnessed so much tragedy, and the only way to bear it was with a dose of dark humor. I knew people who were killed, who were kidnapped. We all did. The longer I was there, the more times I had to wash blood and whatever else off the bottom of my shoes, the more I felt parts of myself slipping away.

I wrote the book because I was furious with all that had gone wrong in these countries that I had come to love, and because absurdity was the only frame that helped me make sense of what I saw: a military operation dubbed Operation Turtle, a Tarts-and-Talibs-themed party. My greatest wish is that the movie will remind people about Afghanistan, currently in a perilous state and almost forgotten by the world’s media. Maybe more people will start talking about a holistic approach to the region rather than the Whack-a-Terrorist game we seem to be playing. And maybe more people will read the book, which as everyone knows is “always better than the movie.”

Kim Barker, a metro reporter at The Times, is the author of “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/books/review/my-kabubble-starring-tina-fey.html

Evicted Exploited

“If incarceration had come to define the lives of men from impoverished black neighborhoods, eviction was shaping the lives of women. Poor black men were locked up. Poor black women were locked out.”

Among the items left behind at one eviction site are “a half-eaten birthday cake and a balloon still perky with helium.”

Children are scarred in the process. They are pulled from one school to another; they periodically lose whatever tiny cache of possessions they may have accumulated. Grown-ups have trouble keeping their jobs, and the lack of an address may compromise their ability to gain, or hold on to, whatever benefits they are eligible for. Of all the evictees depicted in this book, only one — Scott, the former nurse — eventually regains a job and an apartment. When she loses her apartment, Crystal, an ebullient — or perhaps just manic-depressive — young evangelical Christian, turns to prostitution. Arlene, the mother of two, is last seen making her 89th call to find a new home. Like incarceration, eviction can brand a person for life, making her an undesirable tenant and condemning her to ever more filthy, decrepit housing.

Near the end of his book, Desmond tentatively introduces the concept of “exploitation” — “a word that has been scrubbed out of the poverty debate.” The landlord who evicts Lamar, Larraine and so many others is rich enough to vacation in the Caribbean while her tenants shiver in Milwaukee. The owner of the trailer park takes in over $400,000 a year. These incomes are made possible by the extreme poverty of the tenants, who are afraid to complain and lack any form of legal representation. Desmond mentions payday loans and for-profit colleges as additional exploiters of the poor — a list to which could be added credit card companies, loan sharks, pay-to-own furniture purveyors and many others who have found a way to spin gold out of human sweat and tears. Poverty in America has become a lucrative business, with appalling results: “No moral code or ethical principle,” he writes, “no piece of scripture or holy teaching, can be summoned to defend what we have allowed our country to become.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/books/review/matthew-desmonds-evicted-poverty-and-profit-in-the-american-city.html

I was Just an Animal:Shedding Skins at the Zoo

I was just an animal like any other, rooting around for nourishment, seeking a new habitat when my old one had become depleted. Unlike these gorillas stuck behind glass, I would get to move on.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/fashion/shedding-skins-at-the-zoo.html?_r=0

Through the Eyes of a Nose

Over Thirty-five years ago I had a musician boyfriend who arrived late back at my apartment. When I greeted him I gave him a hug. I could tell by the scent of his flannel shirt collar the route of his day. I said "You went to Dom and Louie's Diner for breakfast and then you went to The Met Cafe for beers and then you went to Susan's house!" He was petrified because I was completely correct.

We still laugh about this. I'm trying to sell my skill to the Chief of Woonsocket police. He is considering it. My writing thrives on memoirish moments. I'm such a nose. I'm trying to be hired as a nose-y detective.

The title could be:
The Hired Dog: An Investigation Through the Eyes of a Nose.
or
The Nosy Detective.

Makes no Scents

People burn apple pie scented candles, or ocean mist instead of baking a pie and visiting the ocean. People purchase scented trash bags and pollute the air with scented dryer cloths. I don't get it.

I am a nose. As I write this I smell my dog's breath and farts. She is my beloved 'daughter' my 80 pound Labrador in her bed at my feet as I write. I could be a sniffer dog myself. I love the smell of leather ice skates, new shoes, fertilizer aisle of the hardware store. You name it I have tagged it in my nose-encyclopedia attached to memories and colors.

I think I am a nose more than I am an eye. Clean ceramic plates and empty coffee mugs have a scent.

Humans are a very strange group that I am continually puzzled by.

Stay Tuned for My Life as a Sniffer Dog.

Like a Biker Pippi Longstocking: Act Three. The Hostess With the Toastess.

Act Three. The Hostess With the Toastess.
Ira Glass http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/520/transcript

It's This American Life. I'm Ira Glass. Each week on our program, of course, we choose a theme, bring you different kinds of stories on that theme. Today's program, "There's No Place Like Home," stories of people doing unusual things to create or preserve or hold onto a home for themselves. We've arrived at Act Three of our program. Act Three, The Hostess with the Toast-ess.

John Gravois moved with his wife and daughters a year and a half ago across the country to San Francisco. And he has been very aware of the ways that San Francisco seems different from the rest of the country. Recently, he noticed something new happening around the Bay Area, which turned out to be not what he thought at all. Here's John.
John Gravois

A few months ago, I was standing in line at a coffee shop on my way to work. And I couldn't stop staring at this guy behind the counter. He was cutting inch-thick slices of bread, putting them in a toaster, and spreading stuff on them.

But it was the way he did it that caught my attention. He had the solemn intensity of a ping-pong player who keeps his game very close to the table, knees slightly bent, wrist flicking the butter knife back and forth, his eyes suggesting a kind of flow state. In front of him, laid out in a neat row, were a few long Pullman loaves, that boxy Wonder Bread shape, but recognizably handmade and freshly baked.

On the menu, toast stood all on its own as an option at $3 per slice. So I ordered some. It was good. It tasted like toast, only better.

A couple of weeks later, I stumbled across another place with a self-described toast bar. Then another. This third place I went to was like a temple to hot, sliced bread. It was called The Mill, a big, light-filled cafe and bakery with exposed rafters and polished concrete floors, like a rustic Apple store, with a small chalkboard listing the day's toast menu.

I asked the manager at one of these places what was going on. Why all the toast? Tip of the hipster spear, he said. And then I realized what this meant. Toast, like the cupcake and the dill pickle before it, had been elevated to the artisanal plane.

I had two reactions to this. First, of course, I rolled my eyes. How silly. How precious. How perfectly San Francisco. Artisanal toast. And second, despite myself, I felt a little thrill of discovery. As a 35-year-old guy with a wife and two kids, I'm usually the last to find out about a trend.

But here I was, apparently standing up on the artisanal toast wave, way before it crashed into Brooklyn, Chicago, and Los Angeles, before the inevitable article in Slate telling people that they're making toast all wrong, before the even more inevitable backlash by angry bloggers.

I decided to go looking for the origins of the fancy toast trend. How does such a thing get started? What determines how far it goes? Maybe I thought it would help me understand the rise of all of the seemingly trivial things that start in San Francisco and then go supernova across the country. And just as I began searching, the backlash arrived.

The local media started running articles with headlines like "$4 Toast-- Why the Tech Industry is Ruining San Francisco." And almost all of the blaming fingers pointed at The Mill. So I figured, bingo. That's Ground Zero.

[TRAFFIC NOISE]
John Gravois

Wow. It's really crowded.

[DOOR OPENS]

But one of the owners there, Josey Baker-- yes, he's a baker, and yes, that's his name-- told me he was not the originator of this craze.
Josey Baker

Yeah, I mean, there was one other place here in the city, and they mostly do cinnamon sugar toast.
John Gravois

No, Josey wasn't the Chuck Berry of fancy toast. He was more like the Elvis of fancy toast, a guy who caught the trend when it was already on an upswing. The place he first saw it, four or five years ago, is out in one of San Francisco's windiest, foggiest, farthest-flung areas, the Outer Sunset. Other toast professionals sent me to the same cafe.

It's completely different from any of the other places serving toast. For one thing, it's about 10 times smaller. In fact, it's nothing like what I expected. And the story behind it-- the story of the person who started this trend-- made the trend itself feel like an embarrassingly tiny thing to focus on.

So I'm going to tell you that story. But first I should tell you the name of the place. It's called The Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club, otherwise known simply as Trouble.

Trouble's really popular. It always seems to have a line going out the door. And because the shop is the size of a single car garage, it's cramped and crowded with artifacts and wall hangings, like a very personal museum.
Waiter

I got two toasts on the bar.
John Gravois

On the menu are four main items. Coffee, cinnamon toast, coconuts, and shots of grapefruit juice named after Yoko Ono.
Waiter

One toast for David.
John Gravois

The founder of Trouble is Giulietta Carrelli. And every one of those menu items has a defined significance to her, as does her never changing wardrobe. She's always in a sleeveless crop top, ripped jeans, and a head scarf. She's covered in tattoos, including her cheeks, which are tattooed with freckles and always flushed, like a biker Pippi Longstocking.
Giulietta Carrelli

We're going to have to move the drum kit today.
John Gravois

And yes, she confirms it. She says it took a long time for the rest of San Francisco to copy her toast idea. Trouble is the kind of place where you might walk in and feel excluded, like I guess I'm not hipster enough for all this. That's kind of the way I felt at first.

But then Giulietta told me something that made Trouble and the purpose of it snap into focus. Trouble isn't just the name of Giulietta's coffee shop. Trouble is her word for a psychotic episode, the kind she's had since she was 16, growing up in Cleveland. Her official diagnosis is schizoaffective disorder, but she only learned that recently. And back when the episodes first started, in high school, she had no idea what was wrong with her.
Giulietta Carrelli

I started having these things where I thought people were putting LSD in my beer. I was hallucinating. And so when things would get weird, I just thought that's what was happening, that people put acid or that I drank mushroom tea. And I was hanging out with people who partied pretty hard, so I thought that's what was happening.

I would try to be in class-- let's say it's an English class or something-- but I was outside of my body watching myself be in the class. And that's what happens to me a lot. And all the voices were very, very, very loud. And like if you could hear people crumbling the paper, and it was just so uncomfortable. This is where I was just yesterday, sitting outside, not being able to even go to Trouble. I was in that state of mind yesterday.
John Gravois

During an episode, sometimes she hears voices or gets the sense that she doesn't actually exist. Also, eating is difficult. She can't stand the sound of her own chewing. After ruling out her LSD theory, she thought maybe she was just having lots of nervous breakdowns. Then came the theory that she was bipolar. She was even medicated for bipolar disorder.
Giulietta Carrelli

Then I just thought this is me. And everything's my fault. I just destroy relationships. I can't hold an apartment. I can't hold a job. I'm nice enough. I try my best. This is just who I am. So that's how I went about.
John Gravois

She somehow managed to put herself through college, three different colleges, in different corners of the country, by booking shows for underground bands and working at record stores and coffee shops. But Giulietta's illness was a kind of time bomb that eventually leveled any structure in her life. Roommates kicked her out. Romances fell apart. Her bosses either fired her or quietly stopped scheduling her for shifts.

A lot of the time, she was pretty much homeless. She slept in her car, on lots of couches. For a little while, she slept in a tree. By the time she hit 30, she had lived in nine different cities.

She first came here, to the Bay Area, as a student at Berkeley. And she remembers this one episode, a long, delusional walk through San Francisco, during which she called the police to let them know a tree had fallen on top of her, which it hadn't. And finally Giulietta found herself at China Beach, in the northwest part of town. On the sun deck was an elderly man sitting on a towel, wearing a Speedo, sunbathing on a cloudy day that suggested anything but. This would be the beginning of the beginning for Giulietta and for Trouble Coffee-- the moment she met Glen.
Giulietta Carrelli

Little, little man. Really petite. White hair. His socks always matched his sweater, no matter what. I was always amazed by that. But he was mostly in a Speedo, tanning. No tanning lotion, like no SPF for Glen.
John Gravois

Glen, whose real name is Gunther Neustadt, was a Holocaust survivor who escaped Germany as a boy. Anybody who went to China Beach regularly back then will tell you he was a fixture there. But more than Glen that first day, Giulietta was struck by a pair of Russian men, climbing out of the ocean after a swim. I should mention here that almost year round, the water at China Beach is cold enough to make you hypothermic after a few minutes.
Giulietta Carrelli

These strong men, just coming out of the ocean. And I was so weak. I was the walking dead. I wanted to be that strong. And they came up onto that sun deck, and they were so alive.

So I started asking Glen about these men. And he told me that people swam there regularly, all these people. And I was like, this is what I want to do. But anyways, I didn't last in San Francisco. I went on to all my little stints.
John Gravois

First to South Carolina, then Georgia, where she hit upon the first in a series of coping mechanisms that she still uses-- coconuts. For some reason, coconuts are the one food that doesn't feel like poison when Giulietta is in an episode. And the chewing sound isn't as bad. And not to sound like an infomercial for coconuts, they're really nutritious. Giulietta says you can survive on them, provided you have a source of Vitamin C, hence the grapefruit juice on Trouble's menu.

Another great thing about coconuts, people talk to you when you're holding one. Giulietta has studies to prove it, studies she performed herself, standing on a sidewalk, noting down how many strangers engage with her when she's holding a sandwich versus when she was holding a coconut. It wasn't even close.
Giulietta Carrelli

All of a sudden, I found something that would keep me alive. It didn't bother me chewing. I felt great. And people talked to me. I was like, this is working.
John Gravois

Still, she was barely sleeping and self-medicating a lot with pills, mostly Vicodin and whiskey. She was away from San Francisco for four or five years.
Giulietta Carrelli

Then one day, I was at a party, and I thought about that old man and those old Russian men at China Beach. And the next day, because my roommate was pretty much done with me, I rented a car and went straight to China Beach.
John Gravois

And then when you got there?
Giulietta Carrelli

Glen was there. And he told me that it took me a long time to come back. He was like, where have you been? So actually, this is Glen's corner.
John Gravois

Giulietta took me to China Beach, to the spot on the sun deck where she started hanging out with Glen after she came back. Talking with him every day, the routine of it, was the next thing she found that really helped her. At the end of every visit, he'd say the same thing. See you tomorrow.

Soon she started joining the other swimmers at China Beach. She swims every day now at about the same time. When she's having an episode, the cold water can shock her out of hallucinating.
Giulietta Carrelli

It's fu-- oh man, I'm cold. [SHIVERING]
John Gravois

Giulietta got the idea for Trouble in 2005. But it wasn't so much an idea as a whirlwind of coconuts and strangers meeting each other and cinnamon toast, all swirling around in her mind. She was working in a coffee shop at the time, always button-holing customers and coworkers about her plans.

She did the same with Glen, who brought the idea down to earth, telling her point blank to open a checking account, go to City Hall, and ask them about starting a small business. And her boss at the coffee shop found her sleeping there once or twice, and rather than say you're fired, he said, I think it's time for you to open your own place.
Giulietta Carrelli

Then he told me, he was like, just get some cups, brew some coffee. When you run out of cups, close the door and go get more cups.
John Gravois

[LAUGHS]
Guilietta Carrelli

And that was my business advice.
John Gravois

With barely any money, she landed a five-year lease in the Outer Sunset, in a former doggy day spa that seemed to have been a front for some kind of crystal meth operation. So here was a shop that sells coconuts and toast in a crummy part of town that nobody went to, run by a person with a significant mental illness.
Giulietta Carrelli

But I never, ever, ever thought that it was going to fail. Everything that works for me, I put in one little spot. And I thought, well, if it works for me, it'll work for other people.
John Gravois

She put coconuts on the menu because of the times she'd relied on them for easy sustenance. And because they did help her strike up conversations.
John Gravois

What about toast?
Giulietta Carrelli

My mom used to make me toast. And so when I was first opening up Trouble, I wanted to feel safe. Toast was that for me. And I also knew it was going to be that for a lot of people. Nobody can be mad at toast. I mean, it's toast. It's cinnamon toast. Everybody's stoked.
John Gravois

In 2012, so just two years ago, Giulietta finally got the definitive diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and medication that genuinely helps keep the episodes at bay. She stopped drinking and taking drugs a long time ago. But the major way she's managed to cope with her episodes when they happen is by creating a network of people and turning herself into a local institution, which is what she's been doing, bit by bit, ever since she came back to San Francisco from New York. At first, it was just the people she saw in her daily bike route to and from China Beach.
Giulietta Carrelli

And I would talk to the city workers who were building things. So just in case I wasn't doing well, they would remember me. They saw me every day. And sometimes I would ask them if they could help me get somewhere.
John Gravois

Huh. What do you say?
Giulietta Carrelli

I tell them that I can't see very well right now. My mind is racing. I'm supposed to make it to work. I'm late. Can you help me? I've knocked on people's doors.
John Gravois

You just knock on their door and say--
Giulietta Carrelli

Excuse me. I don't know where I'm going. Can you help me?
John Gravois

This is why she wears the same outfit every day-- the crop tops and the head scarves. It's why she's covered herself with tattoos-- so people will recognize her. And it's why she takes the same routes, day in and day out, around San Francisco-- so she can be recognized. When people interact with her, say hello on the street or call her name, it can do the same thing that cold water does when she swims-- knock her back into herself. It can mean the difference between her getting home or wandering lost around the city. And it's one of the reasons why she created Trouble.
Giulietta Carrelli

There's just so many people connected through this network of Trouble Coffee. I may just be a little tiny place, but it's pretty well-known, because I need to be well-known. I mean, I was just walking to my house before you guys got here. And it was this man with his son, and he goes, hey, you're Trouble, right? And I just went, I sure am.
John Gravois

Fancy toast isn't what Trouble's about. It's just the weird chunk of the spaceship that broke off and landed in the rest of the world's front lawn. But in a way, it makes perfect sense that the trend started with Giulietta. Most of us dedicate the bulk of our attention to a handful of relationships-- with a significant other, children, parents, a few close friends. Social scientists call these strong ties.

But for Giulietta, those kinds of strong ties have a way of buckling under the weight of her illness. So she's adapted by forming as many relationships, as many weak ties, as she possibly can. And webs of weak ties are how ideas spread, ideas like, in this case, toast.
Ira Glass

John Gravois. He wrote a version of this story, a great version, for Pacific Standard Magazine, where he's an editor. By the way, you can't really live on coconuts and grapefruit juice. Not for long. Don't try it.

a church for starving artists


achurchforstarvingartists
Where the passionate are fed. Where the spiritually starving are nourished. “Artists,” she said, “are simply people who are passionate enough to imagine things that do not yet exist.” Seona Reid, Principal of Glasgow School of Art, graduation 2003
https://achurchforstarvingartists.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/artisanal-church/
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/520/no-place-like-home?act=3 Hostess with the Tostess!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Allergies Histamines and Days Expanding!

Smashing Potatoes again ala Chef Michael's Invention

If you like golden brown crispy crusty potatoes, then this dish is for you. It was originally created as a way to use up leftover boiled or baked potatoes, but it’s so good that you’ll soon be cooking potatoes just so you can smash and crisp ’em.
http://chefmichaelsmith.com/recipe/oven-crisped-potatoes/

My husband loves these as much as I do. We just polished off a 5 pound bag of potatoes making our third batch! They are like latkes without labor. I think they are like my childhood favorite potato knishes that my grandma Sophie bought for me on Brighton Beach in 1965. Those were flat too and big like the size of a slice of pizza. There was a knish man with a steel box he carried like a shoulder bag slung over his shoulder.
"Hot knishes! Get your hot knishes here" he would yell in the August noonday sun. It was a funny thing to eat on a hot day but it was perfect and delicious and it was even better than french fries.

Woonsocket Needs a FOOD COOP

I wish we had a food co-op downtown. One we could WALK to.

More Mystery

The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.
-Anais Nin

Enjoy Favorite Foods

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2016-02-26/moving-toward-saner-more-sensible-diets?int=a3d208

Be someone new. To reach your goals, you can't be your old self trying to engage in new behaviors. You have to become someone new. That means ditching everything you know about how you did things before and being willing to experiment with a new definition of yourself, according to Blatner.

Develop visual wisdom. Decide what you want to eat and then get ratios right on your plate: half vegetables, one-fourth whole grains and one-fourth protein for around 400 calories total. Her plan isn't about strict calorie counting, but teaching you how to visually achieve a better balance. The general guide: 2 cups vegetables, 1/2 cup cooked grain, 1/2 cup protein, and 1 to 2 tablespoons oil or dressing or 2 to 3 tablespoons nuts, seeds or guacamole.

Focus on your food. Every time you eat, you need three things: a table, a plate and a chair. That means no eating while standing with the refrigerator door open, driving in the car or lounging on the couch. When you eat from a plate while seated at a table, you naturally eat less and enjoy it more.


Schedule your activity. Find workouts you enjoy, and plot them out each day on a monthly calendar. Blatner says that while about 80 percent of weight loss happens in the kitchen, the right exercise program is an important way to keep weight off and will help you feel youthful, strong and confident.

"If you're not having fun, you're doing something wrong," Blatner says. So true.

Orthorexia Bigorexia: Harmful Behavior is Evolving

Eating disorders have evolved beyond traditional illnesses like anorexia, which involves inadequate food intake, and bulimia – excessive intake followed by purposeful purging. For example, orthorexia, a newer diagnosis, is defined as an unhealthy fixation with consuming only healthy or “pure" foods paired with an extreme belief that other foods are “bad.” Similarly, bigorexia is an obsession with building muscle through exercise and nutrition that is associated with a body dysmorphic mentality, where a person views him or herself as being too small or too skinny despite being very muscular.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2016-02-25/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-eating-disorders

Somerset Maugham

There is not much kick in the milk of human kindness.
-Somerset Maugham

Thank God

“I’m an atheist and I thank God for it.”
― George Bernard Shaw

If you have an apple and I have an apple . . .

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”
― George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw: Somewhere

“After all, the wrong road always leads somewhere.”
― George Bernard Shaw

He Knows Nothing

“He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.”
― George Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara

George Bernard Shaw: Truth

“My way of joking is to tell the truth. It's the funniest joke in the world.”
― George Bernard Shaw, John Bull's Other Island

“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.”
― George Bernard Shaw, Back to Methuselah

“Patriotism is, fundamentally, a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world because you were born in it....”
― George Bernard Shaw

A Pessimist

“A pessimist is a man who thinks everybody is as nasty as himself, and hates them for it.”
― George Bernard Shaw

A Second Time

“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”
― George Bernard Shaw

The One I Feed the Most

“A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.”
― George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw

“Why should we take advice on sex from the pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn't!”
― George Bernard Shaw

Communication Illusion

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
― George Bernard Shaw, Leadership Skills for Managers

Blaming Circumstances

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them.”
― George Bernard Shaw, Mrs. Warren's Profession

George Bernard Shaw: Getting Married

“When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.”
― George Bernard Shaw, Getting Married

Make it Dance!

“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”
― George Bernard Shaw, Immaturity

Love of Food

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”
― George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

A Book Rule

“Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.”
― George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw: Life is about creating yourself

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.


- George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw: Progress and The Unreasonable Man

"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."
-George Bernard Shaw

Female Coders in Kosovo

A group of female coders is releasing an app in Kosovo to report street harassment.
http://s.pri.org/OBZx0TS

Coalition report: 54 domestic violence killings in R.I. in 10 years

Among its recommendations, the Coalition Against Domestic Violence report states that Rhode Island should screen all domestic violence cases for "lethality risk factors" before decisions are made about bail.
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By Donita Naylor
Journal Staff Writer


PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- In releasing its report on the 54 people killed by domestic violence in the last 10 years, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence on Thursday offered five ways to prevent such deaths in the future.

The victims, mostly women killed by men -- who also include men killed by women, bystanders killed along with the intended victim, and parents killed by sons -- were remembered in a State House ceremony Thursday morning.

The coalition's executive director, Deborah DeBare, addressed about 75 people, including judges, a police chief, community leaders, advocates and friends and relatives of people killed by domestic violence.

As 54 candles flickered on a table between two lists of the victims' names, DeBare urged everyone "to take a report, read it and do everything you can to reach out to anyone who may be at risk."

The report, which studied 48 fatal incidents in the state from 2006 through 2015, recommended that Rhode Island:

-- Screen all domestic violence criminal cases for "lethality risk factors" before decisions are made about bail and level of supervision.

-- Invest in the coordination between law enforcement, courts, victim advocates and victim services, and increase funding for those programs.

-- Make it illegal to possess a firearm for anyone convicted of domestic violence or under a domestic violence restraining order.

-- Strengthen laws against stalking and enforce protective orders more consistently.

-- Fund programs that prevent domestic violence.

In 41 of the 48 incidents, a current or former intimate partner was the suspect. The largest category of victim was someone in a dating relationship with the killer, accounting for 20 of the dead. Nine victims were married to their killer, 8 were unmarried but shared at least one child, and 2 were divorced from the suspected killer.

There were 5 family murder incidents that claimed 7 lives. All were parents killed by sons. In 2 cases, both parents were killed. In 3 cases, the mother was the victim.

Six people died because they were present when the killer attacked the intended victim. In one case, the bystander died and the intended victim escaped. Two victims were neither related nor in an intimate relationship but lived with the perpetrator.

In Rhode Island, domestic violence is defined as occurring between current or former spouses, people with a child in common, people who dated each other substantively within the past year, adults related by blood or marriage, or adults who have lived together within the last three years.

The report did not count cases determined to be self-defense, cases in which the perpetrator was found not guilty by reason of insanity or cases in which the perpetrator's suicide was the only loss of life.

Two kinds of deaths may not have been counted as domestic homicides, the report states. A murder categorized as child abuse could have been used to exert power over the child's parent, and a same-sex intimate-partner homicide might have been misconstrued as violence between acquaintances or roommates.

Thirteen of the incidents during the 10 years occurred in Providence, followed by Pawtucket, 6, and East Providence, 5. Cumberland, North Providence, Warwick and Woonsocket each had 3; Central Falls, Cranston, Johnston, Narragansett and Portsmouth each had 2, and one each occurred in Warren and Middletown.

Violence escalates when a victim ends or tries to leave the relationship, the report stated, citing other studies' findings. Women are more likely to die if the abuser has tried to strangle her before, has faced domestic violence charges, has access to a firearm or abuses drugs or alcohol.

Stalking behaviors, such as showing up at a victim's workplace, tracking the victim with electronic devices, sending unwanted gifts or filing unwarranted motions for a chance to be in the same courtroom with the victim, add to a victim's feelings of hopelessness and are often not taken seriously by police.

The single best predictor of a future assault, multiple studies show, is if the victim perceives future danger. "When a victim does say that they think the perpetrator is going to try to kill them or their children, it is essential to listen to them and take action to protect them."

To see the report, which includes descriptions of each incident, visit ricadv.org.

The victims:

2006

Maria Sample, 44, Warwick

Elizabeth Orellana, 37, boyfriend Octavio Calcagno, 23, and daughter Kristal Duarte, 20, Central Falls

2007

Miledis Hilario, 40, Providence

Albert Dubois, 76, Warwick

Zulmira Medeiros, 79, Providence.

2008

Richard Gibson, 22, Pawtucket

Beatrice Langelier, 60, Cumberland

Mayra Cruz, 26, Pawtucket

Marian, 53, and James Soares, 60, Warren

John Capuano, 46, Narragansett

2009

Betsy Rodriguez, 22, Providence

Elio Olivero, 34, Providence

Melissa Perry, 32, Woonsocket

Rita Paiva, 57, Cumberland

Linda Encarnacao, 26, Providence

Ingrid Gonzalez, 34, Providence

George Holland, 29, Providence

Dayvelliz Cotto, 18, Providence

Jeannine Garcia, 32, Providence

2010

Annmarie Nardolillo, 44, Providence

Mindy Tartiff, 21, North Providence

Brooke Verdoia, 30, Pawtucket

Lisbeth Catalan, 22, Providence

Tracey Ann Pytka, 38, Cumberland

Staria Silva, 35, East Providence,

2011

Maria Almeida Turmel, 32, Pawtucket

Shirley Donnelly, 38, Cranston

Amber Arruda, 28, East Providence

2012

Stacie Dorego, 39, Johnston

Lucy Ponte, 54, East Providence

Michelle Busby, 50, East Providence

Natasha Marshall, 23, Pawtucket

2013

Terry Chiodo, 46, Portsmouth

Carla Bowen, 47, and boyfriend Christopher Butler, 52, Warwick

Allison Taylor, 65, Narragansett

Yeon, 61, and Young Yu, 60, North Providence

Evelyn Burgos, 40, and daughter Vanessa Perez, 25, Johnston

Catherine Salvi, 24, Narragansett

2014

Shelina Moreino, 41, Central Falls

Timothy Robillard, 45, Pawtucket

Pamela Donahue, 50, Providence

2015

Robin Dube, 48, North Providence

Christine Santurri, 42, East Providence

Yanira Flores, 28, Woonsocket

Arien Daly, 32, Providence

Rachael Kilroy, 34, Middletown

Yolanda McArdle, 42, Portsmouth


providencejournal.com | 75 Fountain St., Providence, RI 02902

Chef Michael Smith's Crisped Potatoes are Lazy Latkes, I Love 'Em!

http://chefmichaelsmith.com/recipe/oven-crisped-potatoes/

Oliver Sacks: GRATITUDE

"My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure."
Oliver Sacks, GRATITUDE

Histamine Hell

February is the month of allergies for me. It always happens ahead of the 'real' obvious spring weather. If I don't take antihistamines I am destroyed.

It helps to have people around who can keep you grounded.

http://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/noah-syndergaard-and-the-very-confident-new-york-mets?mbid=social_twitter

It's for YOU


The world is luscious to me. Why am I not luscious to the world?

"You are," my husband said. "Some people are intimidated by you, and others are drawn to you but try to steal it from you."
"And others have tried to slam me for my joie de vivre. For years I was defenseless because I had learned well from my mother. She had complete access to me to satisfy her ravenous narcissistic hungers. I was her jewelry box. She could pick and choose, manipulate and control."
"You were her little puppet, and she was the puppeteer with her hand up your ass."
"Exactly!" I laughed."Enmeshment defined! She had no idea she was not me and I had no idea I was not her."
"This joyous energy, love-of-life exuberance; it's meant for you," my husband reminded me. "You were taught to give it all away - isn't that awful?"
"Yes it is but not if I let it teach me something," I replied.
"Right. Let it be your guru."

The Drexel's 21-Room Bellevue Avenue Mansion

"a sad loss to the architectural history of Newport."

Tragedy for a Father and Mother and Community

Peggie Ritzer said her daughter's death had left her "so very broken."

"Now I isolate myself from people I love because pretending being to be happy is so difficult," she said. "He is pure evil, and evil can never be rehabilitated."

Tom Ritzer said he felt like he had failed his daughter.

"I didn't protect Colleen. A dad's job is to fix things," he said. "I would do anything I could if could fix this for Colleen."
Tragedy

The LEAD Program

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/lead-program-for-low-level-drug-criminals-sees-success/

LEAD program for low-level drug criminals sees success

The plan’s architects hoped a new approach to dealing with low-level drug crimes would slow the number of people who repeatedly cycle through the criminal-justice system. They have new stats to back up their early suppositions.

A real-world experiment that’s played out on the streets of Belltown over the past three years is producing significant results by interrupting the cycle of arrest, prosecution and incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders.

The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program is working even better than its creators had hoped, reducing criminal-recidivism rates by up to 60 percent for the poor, chronically homeless, low-level drug dealers, users and prostituted people it was designed to help.

When LEAD was launched as a four-year pilot project in October 2011, no one knew if it would work, said Lisa Daugaard, policy director for the King County Public Defender Association, who worked with police and prosecutors to develop the innovative program that was unlike anything ever tried in the country.

Based on a harm-reduction model that drew from decades of public-health research, LEAD’s architects were hopeful a new approach to dealing with low-level drug crimes would slow the number of frequent fliers who repeatedly cycle through the criminal-justice system.

Now having stats to back up their early suppositions isn’t a total surprise, “but I think the degree of difference in outcomes exceeded even our expectations,” Daugaard said.

The results of a non-random, statistically controlled evaluation by the University of Washington, released Wednesday, show that LEAD is having a statistically significant impact in reducing the likelihood of new arrests for program participants.

Granted, the sample size was small: 203 participants in the LEAD program were compared with a control group of 115 people, who met the same criteria but weren’t hand-selected by a group of Seattle police officers to receive social services instead of a ride to jail.

The evaluation’s findings were announced at a news conference at Belltown Community Center, where city and county officials, including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole and Sheriff John Urquhart, extolled the unique collaboration that created LEAD and has fostered a more-humane approach to combating chronic drug abuse and mental-health issues.

Two additional studies will be released later this year, the first comparing LEAD’s costs to costs associated with utilizing the traditional criminal-justice system. The other study will analyze the psychosocial, housing and quality-of-life outcomes for LEAD participants over time.
Voluntary participants

As a pilot, LEAD was funded with $4 million over four years from private foundations.

The way it worked: On random “green-light nights,” select squads of officers assigned to the Seattle Police Department’s West Precinct offered the program to people they arrested in Belltown.

Participants qualified for the program as long as they weren’t carrying more than 3 grams of drugs, had no felony convictions for serious violent crimes or certain other offenses, and weren’t suspected of promoting prostitution or exploiting minors in a drug-dealing enterprise.

While men are more likely to be arrested for using or selling drugs, women involved with drugs are most often arrested for prostitution, which made the misdemeanor offense also a qualifying crime for participation in LEAD.

The program cuts out the criminal-justice system and assigns voluntary participants to case workers, who can provide immediate help — a hot meal, a warm coat, a safe place to sleep — as well as longer-term services for drug treatment, stable housing and job training. Services are individually tailored and relapses are expected.

Those private funds will run out this year, said Daugaard, noting the city of Seattle committed money to LEAD in 2014 and 2015, with the King County government being asked to help fill the funding gap in 2016.

“It’s no longer considered a pilot. We’re now more in the standard implementation phase,” Daugaard said. The King County Sheriff’s Office has diverted four people in Skyway to LEAD and is expected to soon offer the program in White Center.

While a group of about 40 Seattle officers assigned to five West Precinct squads have been slowly offering the program to people in downtown neighborhoods outside of Belltown, it’s going to take time to expand LEAD to other neighborhoods and “bring it to scale,” she said.
Arrest numbers improve

Susan Collins, a clinical psychologist and UW associate professor, co-authored the LEAD evaluation with two colleagues, UW assistant professor Seema Clifasefi and research scientist Heather Lonczak. They work out of the university’s Harm Reduction and Research Treatment Lab at Harborview Medical Center.

The researchers compared LEAD participants to the control group, first looking at the short term — the likelihood someone was arrested in the six months before becoming a part of the study versus the likelihood of arrest six months after researchers started tracking them.

They found members of the LEAD group had a 60 percent lower likelihood of arrest compared to the control group in those subsequent six months.

Collins and her co-authors also took a longer view, comparing arrest data for the two groups between October 2009 — two years before LEAD started — and the end of the pilot project in late July.

LEAD participants had 58 percent lower odds of at least one subsequent arrest compared with the control group, a number that dropped to a 34 percent lower likelihood when warrant arrests, mostly related to older crimes,were removed from the analysis. LEAD participants were also 39 percent less likely to be charged with a felony compared with the control group.

“The analysis always showed that, compared to the control group, the LEAD program seemed to have a positive effect on arrests,” Collins said. “It’s a lot harder to do an evaluation like this under real-world conditions, so they’re pretty impressive findings, given the constraints.”
“Big wins” cited

The overall trends for the LEAD program “look very promising,” she said. “They’re very robust initial findings.”

King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Mary Barbosa, who is her office’s liaison to the LEAD program, said participants are among the hardest to serve and most vulnerable in the city. Eighty percent of LEAD participants were homeless when they entered the program, and many have addiction and mental-health issues that are too severe for the court system to adequately address.

If LEAD participants backslide or commit new felony drug crimes, they are held accountable. But because police and prosecutors are familiar with their life situations, they are able to use their discretion so as not to interrupt the progress being made.

For instance, Barbosa may not write an arrest warrant for someone if she knows that person has an upcoming appointment to get into stable housing.

The goal of LEAD is “to reduce the harm people are doing to themselves and the community,” she said. “Maybe they’re going to the ER (emergency room) once a month instead of four times a month — that’s still progress.”

Results vary but there are “big wins,” she said, citing the person who completed an apprenticeship program and is employable for the first time in years; the person living in an apartment after decades on the streets; and the addict who marked six months of sobriety, the longest period of time anyone can remember.

“The moments of celebration are big and more fulfilling than seeing someone go off to prison for five years,” Barbosa said.

How LEAD gets applied “doesn’t look the same for everybody” in the program, she said. “We’ll work with them if they’re interested in getting treatment — or just getting lunch. The relationship develops over time.”
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or sgreen@seattletimes.com

The Animals That Sniff Out Tuberculosis, Cancer

And Landmines Rats can smell tuberculosis. Dogs can smell cancer. And now they're being trained to save your life.http://www.psmag.com/health-and-behavior/the-animals-that-sniff-out-tuberculosis-cancer-and-landmines?platform=hootsuite

Mental Health: nothing happens until something happens

by Anthony Hernandez
For families struggling to prevent a crisis the mental health care system can be incredibly difficult to navigate. Each state and county has different guidelines and laws. We meet a Southern California family who tried everything they could think of to get care for their schizophrenic son. They learned that nothing happens until something happens. After what they consider a preventable tragedy, they’ve taken matters into their own hands. The father is pushing for the passing of a bill that many people believe could be the answer they have been waiting for.

http://latinousa.org/2016/02/26/as-he-was-stabbing-me-he-told-me-im-sorry-dad/

Diabetes, Dialysis and Dirty Water in Central Valley

By Vanessa Rancaño
Obesity and diabetes rank as the top health troubles affecting Latinos in this country. Three out of four Latino adults are overweight, and the rate of diabetes is almost twice the rate of non-Hispanic whites. These two health problems are difficult to overcome in any community, but it’s especially tough in California’s Central Valley, where they lack one basic necessity—clean water. And it’s hard to stay on a healthy path when bottled water is more expensive than soda.
http://latinousa.org/2016/02/26/diabetes-dialysis-and-dirty-water-in-central-valley/

Celebrate Diversity

When I was a floating teacher at the art school the most exciting thing was seeing how this generation of kids is made up of a blend of many ethnic backgrounds.

Being Blaxican in L.A. http://latinousa.org/2016/02/26/being-blaxican-in-l-a/
By Janice Llamoca Feb 26, 2016

Walter Thompson-Hernández was born and raised in Los Angeles. He’s Blaxican, meaning one parent is Black and one parent is Mexican. He navigated his personal biracial, bicultural experience alone as an only child. When Thompson-Hernández was a graduate student at Stanford, he began to research what being Blaxican in Los Angeles meant and proceeded to do in-depth interviews with other Angelenos who also identified as both Black and Mexican.

“I felt like in this growing age of ‘diversity,’ we need to have broader conversations of what multiracial means and that doesn’t only mean Black and White. It can mean Black and Brown,” says Thompson-Hernández.

Soon, he created Blaxicans of LA on Instagram.

The pages features stories of discrimination, second-generation immigrant experiences and acceptance, all of which redefines what the future of being an American is. The stories are shared through original images taken by Thompson-Hernández, mainly portraits of those interviewed and pictures of the subjects’ hands holding pictures of their parents.

“Blacks and Latinos are two of the largest racial and ethnic groups,” says Thompson-Hernández. “Those are two experiences that have historically been tend to be thought of as two distinct ways, as two separate entities. I think we are better served if we think about in an inclusive way. Where black and brown can be thought of as one.”

Happy Saturday

My new thing is making veggie pizzas baking the wholesome crust first as a flat bread in pie pans, and then at supper time throwing on olives and sun dried tomatoes etc. and heating it in the oven. Simple fast healthy

I caught Maria Hinojosa's show on the radio this morning and I thought about Woonsocket's up and coming commercial kitchen! Hinojosa was discussing how California's low income primarily Hispanic schools tackle obesity with a JUNK FOOD ban. Perhaps Woonsocket can tackle these issues with fun educational after school cooking classes and dance marathons.

Last night at 7PM we watched Chasing Heroin on Frontline an amazing documentary. This is a new more compassionate approach to the drug epidemic.

Happy Saturday.

In Oakland, California, an elementary school with mostly low-income Latino students is taking the notion of healthy eating pretty seriously. It has banned all junk food from the school campus. Sticking to the ban has been a challenge not just for the kids, but for parents and teachers, too. But over time, the attitudes are changing. Now the school has its own garden, a cooking class for students, and kids are teaching their parents about the new fruits and veggies they’re trying.
http://latinousa.org/2016/02/26/no-jell-o-allowed/

Teaching Math with Music in Maryland

Article about arts integration.

Penalizing Post Partum Women

Any woman who has never given birth but hopes to get pregnant soon should buy as much life and disability insurance as she thinks she will need before she conceives.
~
“It is scary to think that I am less insurable when I am likely someone who needs life insurance more than those without mental health issues,” she said.
~
“I often tell people that my life insurance policy helped save my life,” she said, describing the moment she scoured it to see if there was a suicide exclusion during the initial period of the policy. There was. “I knew I couldn’t leave my husband and baby in financial disaster, so instead, I dug up the courage to get the help I needed.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/27/your-money/an-insurance-penalty-from-postpartum-depression.html

Wake up Wagging

I woke up at 4:30 to a fwap fwap sound and I realized it was Lily in the other room, having a dream of wagging her tail!

Friday, February 26, 2016

TRUE Confessions of a work at home cook or how one thing leads to another

While the bread was rising I made pizza dough while the bread was baking I baked pizza crusts too while the oven was hot I baked acorn squash, then I baked the seeds, then I baked potatoes, and six baked apples, I baked three pounds of string beans, and now I'm baking SMASHED potatoes ala my kind of genius, Chef Michael Smith:
http://chefmichaelsmith.com/recipe/oven-crisped-potatoes/

Happy Friday!

Dangerous Leadership Obsession

Elizabeth Samet writes, in the introduction to “Leadership: Essential Writings by Our Greatest Thinkers” (Norton). “If we live in a world of crisis,” she continues, “we also live in a world that romanticizes crisis—that finds in it fodder for an addiction to the twenty-four-hour news cycle, multiple information streams, and constant stimulation.” Samet believes that our growing addiction to the narrative of crisis has gone hand in hand with an increasing veneration of leadership—a veneration that leaves us vulnerable to “the false prophets, the smooth operators, the gangsters, and the demagogues” who say they can save us. She quotes John Adams, who suggested, in a letter to a friend, that there was something both undemocratic and unwise in the lionization of leadership. The country won’t improve, Adams wrote, until the people begin to “consider themselves as the fountain of power.” He went on, “They must be taught to reverence themselves, instead of adoring their servants, their generals, admirals, bishops, and statesmen.” It can be dangerous to decide that you need to be led.
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/02/29/our-dangerous-leadership-obsession?mbid=social_twitter

Pencil and Paper: From one Friend to Another

"We had 12 shows a week at Universal that had to be recorded, which meant there were 12 three-hour sessions with an orchestra of some kind on the stage every week," Williams says. "So I filled one or two of those as a composer and conducted my own work also for seven years. So that was, I suppose, a graduate program in, if nothing else, how to get things done."

Williams says he learned much of his craft on soundstages from his colleagues.

"The instrumentalists at that time, as now, were outstanding world-class players," he says. "My advantage was that I'd been playing with them for three or four or five years, as a colleague in the orchestra. I would go over to a horn player and say, 'Have I got this too high?' or 'Is this trill a little awkward? Would you rather play it here or there?' Just from one friend to another, without any particular professional pressure. And they'd all say, 'No, put it here, put it there, do this.' "

*

Williams says his process has always been the same: He writes music the old-fashioned way, with pencil and paper, and doesn't begin composing until he's actually seen a rough cut of the film.

"I, over the years, have always felt more comfortable if I could go into a projection room and look at a film and not really know what to expect," Williams says. "If you read the script first, you form all kinds of preconceptions about how things look, what the location's like, what the actors are like. And then you may look at what the director's chosen — it doesn't comport with your conceptions at all. On the other hand, if I have the luxury of going into the dark projection room and being surprised when the audience is surprised and being bored when they're bored, I think that gives me a sense of what my job is: where I can press the accelerator button if I need to, or support an emotion or don't."

*

In fact, Williams spent his 80th birthday working on the score for Spielberg's latest. Williams says it takes two to three months on average to compose a film score, going back and forth from his studio to his screening room to make sure everything syncs up properly.

"These days, I probably will get as much as a minute done or a minute and a half done in a day," he says. "It's a good day."

At 80, Williams is having a lot of good days. His energy seems boundless: He's laureate director of the Boston Pops, he's composing new classical work, and his score is filling theaters screening Spielberg's latest, Lincoln.

"I'm happy to be busy," Williams says. "I'm happy to have a wonderful family. And I think also, especially for practicing musicians, age is not so much of a concern because a lifetime is just simply not long enough for the study of music anyway. You're never anywhere near finished. So the idea of retiring or putting it aside is unthinkable. There's too much to learn."

http://tpr.org/post/john-williams-inevitable-themes

Memorial

“There aren’t a lot of drugs that come through here anymore,” Mr. Williams said. “It’s safe.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/27/nyregion/in-queens-police-officers-remember-the-25th-anniversary-of-an-officers-killing.html?ref=topics

Microscope: Explore the World Up Close

My friend Phoebe told me that when she was a kid she and her gal pals were preening themselves in the mirror saying what things they wanted. "I want a microscope!" she said. "Why do you want that?" one of them asked. "I want to explore the world up close."

I loved science and I loved looking at pond water and the gunk scraped onto a toothpick, from inside my cheek.
I WANT A MICROSCOPE TOO!

Letter to Young Friend

It takes a village! We are thinking of you. On my walk yesterday I was contemplating what might be helpful for you. I chatted with Bill. What advice can I offer you? God knows I wished that I someone had good advice for me when I was in my 20's.

Everything will get better especially if you write a journal and take a walk each day.

I know it sounds so simple and a bit doofy but TRUST ME! These activities are MAGIC. and they form a routine which is COMFORTING. This is what we all need! You your baby, your husband your mothers, your tarantula. COMFORT and LOVE and KINDNESS makes the world go round.

Kindness to yourself spills over to the world. WOMEN ROCK the WORLD. (laugh) MOTHER EARTH. Your self love baby love husband love is a circle.

Do you have favorite spiritual writer. Quotes to google yourself into a googly groovy day? Dali Lama? Buddha? Ram Dass? Thich Nhat Hahn? Those are mine.

Diary of your baby is a great idea!!! Do it for YOU.

Remember it takes a VILLAGE. Don't isolate yourself for the whole day get out for at least ten minutes but more is better. A local park or just a regular walk down the street will build routine and community. I walk downtown each day to the post office police station library and now I know everyone. Sidewalk friends are the best. They never judge you and you never judge them. They are the best antidepressant I know!

I try to write first because morning thoughts are THE BEST, half the time. I grab my journal and scribble dreams wishes angers. The spittoon is my BEST FRIEND. When I am blue I cannot face words. My head is NOISY and so I FORCE myself into the shower and get walking first and it helps. I write later in the day at those times. But I don't abandon the notebook. It is MY BEST FRIEND. Routine is freeing but allow flexibility. No need to be cruel to yourself. Habit is the muse!

Try this too. Every morning after Bill leaves at 5:30 AM, IÂ have a sip of coffee and play the radio WCRB FM classical music, or public radio WBUR WGBH talk. It helps me feel connected to the bigger universe and the intelligent discussions are like ViTAMINS. (laugh) Sometimes I play the French radio classical station. RADIO CLASSIQUE! Or the POLICE RADIO.

I take a shower before I set out to walk (noonish in winter earlier if necessary) because facing the world with clean hair and clean clothes and LIPSTICK makes me feel BEAUTIFUL (laugh) and helps conquer depression. I understand that the "public self" is a stage performance. Not that I am inauthentic but I am ready for the world. Just like one gets ready for school or job. THIS is your "job" this is your life at the moment, so TRY to get COZY and learn to enjoy the benefits. Does any of this make any sense. (laugh) If not I apologize.

My GODFATHER said this to me and I finally understand it:
The way we look out at the world is the way the world looks out at us.

And EVERY TRAUMA has an inner GIFT: DEMAND YOUR GIFT! (laugh)

Keep writing darling even if it is long letters via email. Writing is healing!!

Sending Love, and healing. You are a smart cookie! I have TOTAL FAITH in YOU!!!

Hugs,

Emily

Penquins and Robots

My husband and I have a crazy early to bed early to rise schedule but one thing we do is flick on the 'telly' for 10-20 minutes before bed. The other night we saw a baby penguin weaned by its mother get set free to become an adult. Last night we saw a robot contest! This ritual is our little bedtime story.

Orchid Delirium

View

Plants depend on Pollination

The birds and the bees need help. Also, the butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles and bats. Without an international effort, a new report warns, increasing numbers of species that promote the growth of hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of food each year face extinction.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/27/science/decline-of-species-that-pollinate-poses-a-threat-to-global-food-supply-report-warns.html

This is NOT ABOUT TOAST

Amazing story of the World's Bravest Woman:
http://www.psmag.com/health-and-behavior/toast-story-latest-artisanal-food-craze-72676

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Loretta Lynn: Heartaches and High Notes

“Doo had told me he was going to take me somewhere on Saturday night,” Ms. Lynn said. “I had my hair all pin-curled up, and he came in, and he was drinking. And I knew he wasn’t going to take me nowhere. I set Ernest Ray down on the floor. And I started walking away from Doo, and he got me by one of my pin curls. I still had Cissy in my arms ’cause she was just a little tiny thing.

“And I came around with my fist to hit him on the shoulder, but I hit him in the mouth and knocked three teeth out. There was a hardwood floor, and, I’m telling you, the teeth broke into tiny little pieces and it seemed like they just kept falling. Click-clack-clack-clack. I thought: ‘I’m dead. I am dead. I am completely dead.’ But you know, he never said a word.”

“I wrote about my heartaches, I wrote about everything,” she said. “But when you get to hear the song, you just grin.”

“I wrote songs about how I was feeling at the time,” she said. “If I was in a fighting mood about some old gal trying to take my husband, I wrote about it. And she knew about it. The whole world knew about it then.”

Ms. Lynn added: “The more you hurt, the better the song is. You put your whole heart into a song when you’re hurting. You can’t be protected. I didn’t try to be protected. I didn’t want to be protected. When I wrote a song like that, I was mad, and somebody else needed protection, not me.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/arts/music/loretta-lynn-mines-a-legacy-of-heartaches-and-high-notes.html

Mr. Anderson wants his robot to do battle against other robots. That sounds like a superhero to me.

Often the robot just has a little fun. Using recorded lines spoken by Mr. Anderson, it may say the following to the telemarketer: “I just woke up from a nap, I took some medicine and I’m really groggy. Can you go a little slower?” Sometimes it interrupts the telemarketer to ask questions. “Do you drink coffee?” or “You sound like someone I went to high school with.”

The idea is to keep the telemarketer on the call for as long as possible. The longer the conversation goes on, the more eccentric the robot becomes. In one sequence, the robot tells the telemarketer that a bee landed on his arm, and asks the telemarketer to keep talking as he focuses on the bee.

After seeing that the service worked, Mr. Anderson made it freely available to anyone; it works with landlines (with conference call or three-way calling service) and cellphones. To send telemarketing calls to the robot, add the phone number 214-666-4321 to your address book. Then, the next time you get a call from a telemarketer, patch the number in, merge the calls and put your phone on mute while the robot does the talking.

For Mr. Anderson, this service isn’t just about wasting the time of people who want to waste our time. He sees his service as a way to help ordinary people, especially older Americans, from being defrauded.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/25/fashion/a-robot-that-has-fun-at-telemarketers-expense.html

Guitar String Theory

I learned how to play the guitar about thirteen years ago, towards the end of high school, because I hypothesized that it would attract the ladies. Fortunately for me, it attracted one lady in particular, and I ended up marrying her. Although this case study was limited to one specimen, I think further investigation would lead to a strong correlation between guitars and ladies.

Over time, the guitar has become much more for me than a tool for garnering attention around a campfire. The six-stringed instrument has sat on my lap for countless hours, as I figure out songs that I enjoy, perform them live, or just sit alone strumming nothing in particular. It’s amazing what a wonderful diversion those twelve notes can provide.

More...
http://theengineerspulse.blogspot.com/2011/05/guitar-string-theory.html

Dream

I dreamed my studio adjoined a firehouse and we shared an interior window. In order to leave my studio I had to crawl through this window and go through the firehouse. In the dream I was dangling halfway into the firehouse when two helpful firemen I recognized as John Gage and Roy DeSoto* wearing blue shirts grabbed my arms and pulled me through the window. I woke up from the dream and noticed flashing blue lights against the building next door. I got out of bed and went to see what was happening. It was around 2:30 AM. There were no firetrucks or police cars instead I saw blue flashes of lightning illuminating the neighborhood like a gigantic camera flash. I must've registered the light in my dream. It made my eyes hurt and I got a severe headache. Then we heard rumbling that sounded like God was bowling in the heavens. In the morning my husband looked on the Wunderground weather charts graphs and he said the pressure had dropped an inordinate amount. Severe pressure drops cause severe headaches if you are a barometer head like me.


Why Does Lightning Appear Blue and Cause a Rumble?

Fans of the film Rocky are very familiar with the character played by Burgess Meredith. While Mickey, Rocky's lovable, old, grumbling boxing trainer has a lot of memorable lines, I particularly enjoy the one he uses to motivate Rocky during his training: "Kid...You're gonna eat lightning and you're gonna crap thunder!" This hilarious line, delivered ferociously by Meredith, is not without educational merit: the sound of thunder always follows a lightning event.

*Emergency! an American television series in the 70's The dedicated members of Squad 51 of the Los Angeles County Fire Department's newly created Paramedical Rescue Service take on a series of life-or-death challenges in this drama filmed in semi-documentary style. Partners John Gage and Roy DeSoto put their lives on the line to save people from all sorts of mishaps.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Zika Virus: Flying Syringes

CORPORATIONS are Greedy Robots Running the Country

Dorrie and the Blue Witch by Patricia Coombs

My favorite children's book turned out to be a predictor of my life. Dorrie a young witch and her pet Gink are home alone. Dorrie captures big bad witch, then shrinks her and puts her in a little bottle and places it inside the piano and stacks it with books. Big celebration.

Tell the Martians

As a child I always thought I would end up on another planet and I would be responsible for telling the Martians how everything worked here on earth. This meant I needed to know everything like how airplanes worked and explain the weather and what made cars go and all of the things I didn't know. Luckily I know a guy who can do this. My husband. I'll bring him!

Coffee Machine, Washing Machine, Police Radio

I'm not sure why but my coffee machine, washing machine and police radio make me feel comforted and cozy. Maybe it is because I can do other things while these things are happening.

Elias Telles: Be Kind to Your Mind

Fifteen years ago, Elias Telles woke up from a dream in which an angel holding a lit candle was descending a staircase. The next morning he tore some wood from a dilapidated fence and started painting angels on it.

Like many self-taught artists, Elias had already led an adventurous and colorful existence before embracing his calling as an artist. Born into a family of fourteen siblings in East Los Angeles, he joined the Marine Corps straight out of high school and served two years in Vietnam as a rifleman. Upon returning home, he experienced undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder and could only subdue the demons by producing drawings that he would quickly destroy.

It wasn’t until he was in his late forties that he started painting. At a local flea market one of his early works caught the attention of a set designer who placed it in a Steve Martin movie; his paintings have subsequently appeared in a number of other productions and made him a sought-after artist in Hollywood, where his collectors include film directors Michael Mann and Chantal Ackerman. His work is part of the permanent collection at the House of Blues and he was one of the featured artists on the PBS series ‘Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations’.

http://brutforce.com/gallery-view/elias-telles/

Run Redhead, Run (There's No Ocean In Indiana)

Run Redhead, Run (There's No Ocean In Indiana) Collage,
byARTIST Lou Beach

A self described ‘sophisticated primitive’, Lou Beach (nee Andrzej Lubicz-Ledóchowski) was born in Göttingen, Germany in 1947, the son of Polish parents displaced by the Second World War. The family emigrated to Rochester, NY in 1951 where Lou attended public schools and junior college. He travelled to California in 1968 where he began his artistic career by making assemblage art and studying the Surrealists, visiting galleries and museums, and creating collages from pictures cut from old Life magazines. He worked during this time in bookstores, as a delivery man, moved furniture, and ran a punch press and forklift. A road trip across country, ostensibly to travel on to Europe from the East Coast, brought him to Boston where he lived from 1972 until 1979, much of the time as the sexton at the famous Arlington St. Church. There he created collages in earnest and had his first one man show at the newly established Boston Center For The Arts, as well as being hired for several illustration assignments.

Returning to L.A. he reacquainted himself with old friends, one of whom was prominent in the music business, and was asked to illustrate a record album cover. This was the beginning of a long and fruitful career as a record cover illustrator as well as an editorial illustrator, making pictures for magazines and newspapers. He continued making art, if not showing in galleries, by creating collages as gifts and for his personal enjoyment. Not until his grown children (Alpha and Sam), both fine artists, encouraged him to seriously concentrate on making art again did he embark on reestablishing himself in that realm. An nearly sold-out show at Billy Shire Fine Arts in 2009 saw the reemergence of Lou in the world of fine art along with subsequent showings at Nickelodeon, La Luz de Jesus, OffRamp Gallery (all in Los Angeles), Adventureland (Chicago), and Firecat Projects (Chicago) and a large representation of work at the Metro Show in NYC. A show is scheduled for 2016 at Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco.

http://brutforce.com/gallery-view/lou-beach/

Holly Wood, Artist

Artist from Santa Fe view art here
I love The Last Text and Goddess Lunch

Doing art woke up different parts of my brain.

http://brutforce.com/surreal-recovery-through-art-a-conversation-with-jon-and-melissa-meadows/

Wooden Ships in Chelsea

http://brutforce.com/wooden-ships-in-chelsea/

Esoteric Art of Secret Societies in Early America

http://brutforce.com/masonic-and-odd-fellow-exhibition-shows-the-esoteric-history-of-secret-societies-in-early-america/

Embroidery Felon

Ray Materson was in prison for an armed robbery he committed with a toy gun to support his cocaine habit. He spent the first year of his seven and a half-year prison sentence being mad at the world and angry with himself for what he had done. And then he found a kind of redemption...in a pair of socks. Includes interviews with the artist Ray Materson, and Sanford Smith, the producer of the Outsider Art Show in New York. PLEASE NOTE: I've posted two versions of this piece, one version that runs 3:42, and a longer version that runs 5:28. The short version originally aired on Studio 360 in March, 2003. It has also appeared on the Third Coast Festival website. The long version has not aired. https://beta.prx.org/stories/3268/details

Embroidery on a Tightrope

Article by http://brutforce.com/embroidering-on-a-tightrope/
Kaitlyn Wittig Menguc

Ray Materson has had, by many metrics, a successful career in the art world. Materson has received national and international press coverage, his embroidery work has been purchased by notable collectors and has been on display in prominent museums, he has had steady gallery representation, and he has received numerous commissions.

Radio is my Roomate

Love to Write Letters

My friend Anita Long is turning 100 next month. We regularly write letters although recently her letters have been hard to read. She needs glasses and her script is running all over the page. We visited her in Norwich one June Saturday a few years ago when she first moved to Sheltering Arms. I made pizzelles and she loved them. We hung out in her room and looked at the big green-leafed maple tree and we told stories and laughed.

I sat on her bed and spotted an empty glass vintage milk bottle under her dresser and climbed under to get it for her. We laughed. I met Anita years ago when we swam together at the Y. I just loved her as everyone did. We became friends and occasionally we'd have coffee together and she'd tell me stories about her childhood growing up in my neighborhood during the Great Depression. She told me that as a young girl she'd pull rags out of the trash and sew them into dresses. She had a mean mother who kept her home and two sisters, just like Cinderella. Her father was a drunk and so was her husband. "He was drunk on my wedding day," she said. Anita wanted to be a teacher at a normal school* but her mother said "no, you must stay home and take care of me!" She would've been an amazing teacher. She ended up getting a job at a car dealership driving a red Volvo. "I loved that car! Freedom!" She told me she had half of her stomach removed from ulcers. So we ate very slowly when we had lunch together. The more we talked the more we realized we shared a lot in common. She even knew Dora Fleurant the woman who owned my house.
"There was a bar on every corner and lots of gambling back then," she told me.
"The day I saw George I knew I was in big trouble," she said. "He was tall dark and a handsome devil, biiiiig trouble," she said laughing. It sounded like love at first sight at the car dealership.

Anita you are so amazing, I say. "I work at it," she says. And she does. "I have my morning time, and I have my crossword puzzles." Everyone loves her. All of those years of swimming served her well. She took up swimming at age 40 and swam for 45 years. She loved to drive but had to give that up after a few fender benders. She used to drive to the prison every Sunday to see her grand niece Paulette at the ACI. "If you knew how she was raised," she said.


"How did you escape your family in New York" she asked me. "I just got up and left," I said.
"Oh I wish I could've done that," she said.
"Why did you pick the Social District of Woonsocket of all places?" she asked.
"I could afford it and I love Wonsocket's gritty urban personality."

One day Anita came over for lunch. "We used to pull the curtains and drink," she said admiring the pink drapes.
"I think this was a speakeasy in the cellar," I said. "There's a bar and bar stools and two ovens"
"They'd have secret parties down there in the 20's," she said. "Everyone did back then."



*
According to the 1988 edition of the Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins:

Normal Schools derive their name from the French phrase ecole normale. These teacher-training institutions, the first of which was established in France by the Brothers of the Christian Schools in 1685, were intended to set a pattern, establish a “norm” after which all other schools would be modeled. The first normal school in America was established in Vermont in 1823. The name fell out of favor toward the end of the 1920s, when the influence of Columbia University’s Teachers College became paramount in the field of public education. Most such institutions changed their names to “teachers colleges” during the 1930s. Now that the “progressive education” teachings of the Columbia group have been discredited, the Progressive Education Association itself has disbanded and most colleges have dropped “teachers” from their names. Thus we find that the normal school of grandfather’s day became a “state teachers college” during father’s youth, but today’s sprouts are attending “state colleges.”