Monday, July 24, 2017

The Four Agreements

Good book.
https://www.amazon.com/Four-Agreements-Practical-Personal-Freedom/dp/1878424319

In a nutshell, the four agreements are:

The Four Agreements are very simple, but very profound. To embrace and live each of the Four Agreements is to find yourself experiencing personal freedom--possibly as never before. The Four Agreements are:

- Be Impeccable With Your Words
- Don't Take Anything Personally
- Don't Make Assumptions
- Always Do Your Best

-When he says be Impeccable With Your Word, he means you should always speak,with integrity. Only say what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
-'when he tells us Don't Take Anything Personally, he means that nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.
- when he says Don't Make Assumptions, he means you must find the the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
- When he says Always Do Your Best, he means your best is going to change from moment to moment, but you must simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

This is a profound book that could help you in life.

Pool as Pain Relief

Swimming Benefits
http://blog.intheswim.com/chronic-pain-relief-with-swimming-exercises/

Benefits of physical activity and exercise besides decreased pain include reduced fatigue, tenderness, blood pressure, anxiety or depression, and an increase in heart efficiency, metabolism, energy, and improvement of sleep patterns.

What exactly constitutes active forms of exercise? Walking, swimming, riding a stationary bike, water aerobics and rowing machine are examples of active exercise. Stretching exercises help increase blood supply and nutrients to the joints.

Swimming is an example of a low impact aerobic conditioning. It is easy on the back and specifically on the spine. Unlike running, there is very little impact on the spine structures, since the water supports the body. This buoyancy relieves stress on all joints of the body. With less gravity affecting the joints, swimming or water exercise helps the spine and limbs expand, relieving painful pressure.

Antonia Okafor

Antonia Okafor is a graduate student at the University of Texas, Dallas.
Article

Therapists in Blue

There was a shouting match at the red buildings last night and it began to escalate. It turned out to be about a parking space. Someone blocked someone in to teach them a lesson. The police were called and one officer stood in the driveway And the other went upstairs to counsel the neighbor. We are very lucky in our City. These guys understand that they are therapists.

Summer Food

Hard boiled eggs peeled and then chopped with pastry cutter. Add mustard, Hellman's mayo and Cholula hot sauce and chopped pickles. Enjoy. Enjoy with Snyder's hard sourdough pretzels.

Pressure Cooked Potatoes

I buy ten pound bags of potatoes for cheap at Price Rite. I store our potatoes in the cellar so they don't sprout. I cubed five pounds and put them in the pressure cooker with leftover red wine, olive oil, wine vinegar, hot sauce, Adobo kosher salt and water. I brought them up to steam and cooked for 3 minutes. Delicious especially after cooling. Save liquid in with the potatoes. Delicious with egg salad sandwich on semolina toast.

Dopaminergic Antagonist from Urban Dictionary

The ultimate kill joy. Someone who makes others so miserable, he/she suppress the effects of dopamine on mood.
Your boss is such a dopaminergic antagonist that every time you have a meeting with him, you're depressed for the rest of the month.
by BlackSheepofScience June 11, 2016

Urban Dictionary: Wailing Wall

Top definition
wailing wall
noun. A Facebook wall with an emotional complaint, desperate cry for help, or call for attention that draws numerous sympathetic and sentimental comments from Facebook friends.

verb. Making such a post.
She was really close with her pet goldfish, and after it died, her wailing wall had fifty comments! I was impressed that so many people had so much love!

After he got fired, he wailing walled on Facebook and got so much pity that he felt OK being unemployed for a couple of months.
#wall#facebook wall#complaints. cry for help#desperation#help me
by Doctor Science November 25, 2010

When Cheese Meets Cheese

Twisted Sifter

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Real to Them

“I really try to encourage people, whether it’s a near-death experience or a hallucination, to just go with the flow,” May explained after I told him about my mom’s visitations. “Whatever they are experiencing is real to them.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/at-the-end-of-her-life-my-mother-started-seeing-ghosts-and-it-freaked-me-out/2017/07/21/af8a7c40-56b5-11e7-a204-ad706461fa4f_story.html

Andrea Giovino

Well before the sun rose, the streets around our house at 689 East Second Street in Brooklyn smelled like a combination of antifreeze, dirt, the ocean, and corn chips. If poverty smells like anything, that would be it.
-Andrea Giovino, Divorced from The Mob

"Leave the gun – take the cannoli."


http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/story-of-the-scene-the-godfather-1972-870492.html

Story of the Scene: The Godfather (1972)

Roger Clarke
Thursday 17 July 2008 23:00 BST

The Independent Culture
39016.bin

About 50 minutes into The Godfather, just after the "sleeps with the fishes" scene, Mafia henchmen Clemenza and Rocco get into a car with Paulie. They intend to kill him.

Clemenza, played by the Bronx-born actor Richard S Castellano, claims that they are going to look for "mattresses" (safe houses) and directs Paulie to drive to "309 West 43rd Street". The remarks about cannoli (pastries) that begin and end the scene have become as famous as anything in The Godfather.

The scene where Paulie gets popped begins with Clemenza leaving his house and his wife shouting: "Don't forget the cannoli" – a last-minute dialogue addition from director Francis Ford Coppola. There follows a montage of stock footage of period New York, and then a shot of the car driving in the countryside beyond New York. Clemenza asks to pull over to take "a leak". In the distance pokes the Statue of Liberty.

Three shots are fired by Rocco into Paulie's head. As Rocco gets out the car, Clemenza says: "Leave the gun – take the cannoli." He takes the food as Paulie lies slumped against the steering wheel. Coppola gave all credit to the actor in later years: "Richie improvised the line," he said.

Allergies!

Today

5.1

medium
Top Allergens

Grasses
Plantain
Nettle

Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler said Americans were "a big, rough, rich, wild people, and crime is the price we pay for it."

It's the birthday of mystery writer Raymond Chandler (1888) (books by this author)

Teaching Flip Turns

video

Silicone Squeeze

Article https://sputniknews.com/society/201707041055213480-japanese-men-live-with-sex-dolls/?utm_source=farkexchange

"Human beings are so demanding," 62-year-old Senji Nakajima said, as he tenderly bathed his rubber girlfriend Saori.

"I'll never date a real woman again — they're heartless. I wouldn't be able to take a bath with Saori, or snuggle up with her and watch TV," he said, slipping the doll into some racy purple lingerie.

“It's less stress and they complain a lot less than women.”

"People might think I'm weird, but it's no different than collecting sports cars. I don't know how much I've spent but it's cheaper than a Lamborghini," Hyodo noted.

Scaramouch, is a stock clown character of the Italian commedia dell'arte

Scaramouche
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the song by Queen, see Bohemian Rhapsody.
T
Scaramuccia in 1860

Scaramuccia (literally "little skirmisher"), also known as Scaramouche or Scaramouch, is a stock clown character of the Italian commedia dell'arte. The role combined characteristics of the zanni (servant) and the Capitano (masked henchman). Usually attired in black Spanish dress and burlesquing a don, he was often beaten by Harlequin for his boasting and cowardice.

Although Tiberio Fiorillo (1608–1694) was not the first to play the role, he greatly developed and popularized it. He removed the mask, used white powder on his face, and employed grimaces. He had a small beard, long mustache, and wore a predominantly black costume with a white ruff. In France he became known as Scaramouche.[1]
Portrait of Tiberio Fiorilli as Scaramouche by Pietro Paolini

In the 19th century the English actor Joseph Grimaldi and his son J. S. Grimaldi made numerous appearances as Scaramouche.
Character

Scaramouche entertains the audience by his "grimaces and affected language". Salvator Rosa says that Coviello (like Scaramouche) is "sly, adroit, supple, and conceited". In Molière's The Bourgeois Gentleman, Coviello disguises his master as a Turk and pretends to speak Turkish. Both Scaramouche and Coviello can be clever or stupid—as the actor sees fit to portray him.
In puppetry

Scaramouche is one of the great characters in the Punch and Judy puppet shows (a performative art with roots in commedia dell'arte). In some scenarios, he is the owner of The Dog, another stock character. During performances, Punch frequently strikes Scaramouche, causing his head to come off his shoulders. Because of this, the term scaramouche has become associated with a class of puppets with extendable necks.
Scaramouche in popular culture
J. S. Grimaldi as Scaramouche, c. 1815

The hero of Rafael Sabatini's historical novel Scaramouche, and its film adaptations, is a similar swashbuckling character who goes incognito in the theatrical role of Scaramouche.
Several films were named Scaramouche, including: The Scaramouches (1910), silent movie by Lewin Fitzhamon; Scaramouche (1923), silent movie by Rex Ingram; Scaramouche directed by George Sidney in 1932; Scaramouche (1952), with Stewart Granger and Janet Leigh; among other past films and TV series.
Scaramouche is the name of a suite by the French composer Darius Milhaud for saxophone and cabaret orchestra (also in an arrangement for two pianos). Milhaud first composed the piece for theatre.
Scaramouche Jones (2002) is a solo play by Justin Butcher, which was premiered in its full form by Peter Postlethwaite. In this 100-minute monologue an aging clown recounts, at the turn of the millennium, the picaresque story of his life, from his early childhood in Trinidad at the start of the 20th century, the son of a gypsy prostitute and an Englishman, through his harsh misadventures in the slave trade and in wartime Poland, where as a gravedigger he found his vocation as a clown while striving to keep children amused by parodying their imminent slaughter.[2]
In the opening chapter of the book Phule's Company by Robert Asprin, the main character Willard Phule uses Scaramouche as his alias. ("Scaramouche?" Major Joshua said with a frown. "Aside from the obvious reference to the character from the novel".)[3]
In Tom Stoppard's On the Razzle, Scaramouche is the nom de plume used by sales clerk Weinberl in his letters while answering "lonely hearts advertisements".[4]
In the 1975 recording "Bohemian Rhapsody", by the popular British rock band Queen, Scaramouche is instructed to do the fandango.
Inspired by "Bohemian Rhapsody", Scaramouche is the name of the lead female role in the jukebox musical We Will Rock You.
In Arthur Ransome's children's novel Swallowdale (1931) the mother of the Amazon Pirates, Nancy and Peggy, calls them scaramouches in the chapter "The Race".
In the 2017 revival of the animated series Samurai Jack, Jack encounters a robotic assassin named Scaramouche, who behaves flamboyantly and loses his head in a manner not dissimilar from the stock character of his namesake.

Scaramouche in Politics
Anthony Scaramucci was named White House communications director in July, 2017.

New Moon 0% Illuminated

Love it!

Pull the Tarantula off Your Face

"Writing is my tool for pulling the tarantula off my face!" I told Sylvia the other day, handing her a yellow ten cent notebook. "I buy a case of these every summer for three bucks."

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Soul Food: Swimming, Rumi, and Waffles

Lipstick on a Pig

Lipstick on a pig
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

To put "lipstick on a pig" is a rhetorical expression, used to convey the message that making superficial or cosmetic changes is a futile attempt to disguise the true nature of a product.

Pigs have long been featured in proverbial expressions: a "pig's ear", a "pig in a poke", as well as the Biblical expressions, "pearls before swine" and "ring of gold in a swine's snout." Indeed, whereas the phrase "lipstick on a pig" seems to have been coined in the 20th century, the concept of the phrase may not be particularly recent. The similar expression, "You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear" seems to have been in use by the middle of the 16th century or earlier. Thomas Fuller, the British physician, noted the use of the phrase "A hog in armour is still but a hog" in 1732, here, as the Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1796) later noted "hog in armour" alludes to "an awkward or mean looking man or woman, finely dressed." The Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892) recorded the variation "A hog in a silk waistcoat is still a hog" in his book of proverbs The Salt-Cellars (published 1887).[1]

The "lipstick" variant of the phrase is more modern (the word "lipstick" itself was only coined in 1880).[1] The rhetorical effect of linking pigs with lipstick was explored in 1926 by Charles F. Lummis, in the Los Angeles Times, when he wrote "Most of us know as much of history as a pig does of lipsticks."[1] However, the first recorded uses of "putting lipstick on a pig" are later. In Stella Gibbons' Westwood (published in 1946) Hebe visits a hair salon and has her hair "contemptuously washed by Miss Susan, who had a face like a very young pig that had managed to get hold of a lipstick"[2]

In an article in the Quad-City Herald (Brewster, Washington) from 31 January 1980, it was observed that "You can clean up a pig, put a ribbon on it's [sic] tail, spray it with perfume, but it is still a pig."[3] The phrase was also reported in 1985 when The Washington Post quoted a San Francisco radio host from KNBR-AM remarking "That would be like putting lipstick on a pig" in reference to plans to refurbish Candlestick Park (rather than constructing a new stadium for the San Francisco Giants).[1][4]

In a 1983 article, "Sugar Loaf Key: Tales Of The Swine Family", Hunter S. Thompson describes a prank in which he put lipstick on the head of a pig and put it in the toilet of a Florida resort owner.[5]

Edward Hopper: Inner Life

“If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.”
― Edward Hopper

“Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world.”
― Edward Hopper

“More of me comes out when I improvise.”
― Edward Hopper

“No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.”
― Edward Hopper

“The only real influence I've ever had is myself.”
― Edward Hopper

“Maybe I am not very human - all I ever wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house.”
― Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper

Writer's Almanac
It's the birthday of the man who said: "All I ever wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house." That's painter Edward Hopper, born in Nyack, New York (1882). By the time he was 12, he was already six feet tall. He was skinny, gangly, made fun of by his classmates, painfully shy, and spent much of his time alone drawing.

After he finished art school, he took a trip to Paris and spent almost all of his time there alone, reading or painting. In Paris, he realized that he had fallen in love with light. He said the light in Paris was unlike anything he'd ever seen before. He tried to re-create it in his paintings.

He came back to New York and was employed as an illustrator at an ad agency, which he hated. In his spare time, he drove around and painted train stations and gas stations and corner saloons.

Hopper had only sold one painting by the time he was 40 years old, but his first major exhibition — in 1933 at the Museum of Modern Art — made his reputation. His pieces in that show had titles like Houses by the Railroad, Manhattan Bridge Loop, Room in Brooklyn, Roofs of Washington Square, Cold Storage Plant, Lonely House, and Girl on Bridge.

Summer Kichen

Summer means cooking and baking at dawn to stay cool. Lately I have been hard boiling eggs and making potato and pasta and rice salads.

This Morning

This morning when we got up Lily got up and held one of her rear legs up and was hopping. I examined her foot and leg and there was no puncture wound. She lay down in her bed and I massaged her thigh.

We carried her down the stairs from the third floor, using a towel wrapped under her waist Bill held up her rear legs and I held up her chest supporting front legs. I took her out to pee and fed her and gave her one buffered aspirin in peanut butter and a biscuit.

The day before (Thursday night) we had walked to Harris pond in Blackstone (1.5 miles each way) and she swam out fetching the stick about 6 times and then we walked home. It was more swimming than usual. Maybe she is feeling the effects from that day. She also slept on the wooden floor rather than rug or her bed.

Right now she's curled up on her thick and cozy dog bed. She pooped and peed outside in our yard and ate her food but she is lame on her right rear leg. The muscles in that leg are shaking.

At the moment I plan to give her 48 hours of rest and only backyard moments to relieve herself. I will continue with one buffered aspirin at morning meal and end of the day with her snack.

I hope and pray that she will recover.


UPDATE:2PM

Bill and I looked closely and saw that Lily's ankle is swollen. Now I recall she stepped into the one foot dog made hole when the house painters emptied dirty water into it. It shocked me that they dumped paint water in my yard and surprised her. I washed off her dirty leg. After the evening walk she didn't want to jump up a foot to the raised yard.


We just took her into the yard to pee and drink water using a towel under her abdomen to support her. She is lying down on the linoleum with her weight on the leg that has the sore ankle. If that is comfortable for her perhaps that is a good sign and maybe it feels good having her own body warmth on it.

http://www.wikihow.com/Treat-a-Sprained-Ankle-on-a-Dog

Maybe we will wrap some frozen corn in a cloth and apply it when she re-positions herself.

2:30 Bill and I walked downtown and through the park without Lily so Lily could rest. Everyone asked "Where's Lily!"
"She sprained her ankle!" I said, and she needs to stay off it for 48 hours.
"Awww, I hope we see her soon," our neighbor's said.
When we got home I put frozen corn wrapped in a bandana on her ankle and set the timer for 15 minutes. She didn't resist after the initial curiosity. She isn't shaking or drooling anymore. She's in rest and recover mode. She will have another buffered aspirin with food tonight. I pray she will be okay.
This article https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/10_3/features/Treating-Dog-Injuries_15914-1.html
said let her rest 2 hours before reapplying the wrapped cold pack.


Last night I helped Lily outside to pee and read my book outside with her until Bill could help me carry her back inside. We didn't want her to climb the indoor stairs and neither did she. This morning she stood up and was wagging when I came down at 6 AM. I let her outside to pee and she climbed back inside herself. She's 50 percent better! I fed her and gave her buffered aspirin and placed frozen corn wrapped in a towel on her ankle for 15 minutes. Now she's in her bed next to us.

Yesterday we iced her ankle a few times for 10 minutes at 2 hour intervals. She was feeling good. This morning she still has a little bit of swelling but she is putting weight on it. And was ready for a short walk. We both were eager to get out and sniff even in the rain. She is 85 percent back to normal and sitting right by my side. AMEN!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Cold Soup

I pureed my German potato salad and leftover chilled pressure cooker pasta water, pickle juice, and freshly made chickpeas and made a COLD soup. It is delicious!

Angry Lady, Nice Man

I went to the pool to swim and I opened the doors to let air in. A lady wass swimming. When she got up to leave she started screaming at me from far away. Something about not opening doors. She was very angry and mean. And storms out. The elderly man swimming next to me says " Ah, don't worry about it. She'll get over it!"

Friday Blues

Painters poured leftover blue paint into a hole in my garden

My yellow dog immediately steps in it up to her elbow and becomes blue!

I hosed her off and asked them not to dump blue paint in my garden.

They left.

Zingy Salted Lime Soda

Zingy Salted Lime Soda

Prep Time: 2 mins Yield: 1 glassCategory: Drink


1 lime, juiced
1 and 1/4 cups chilled seltzer water (amount can be adjusted to taste)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Instructions

Juice 1 lime and add the chilled seltzer water and salt to the lime juice.
Stir gently to dissolve the salt.
Serve chilled.

Community Oven for Outdoor Baking

We're going to make a community oven!


Build Your Own Earth Oven: A Low-Cost Wood-Fired Mud Oven, Simple Sourdough Bread, Perfect Loaves, 3rd Edition Paperback
Kiko Denzer

Wood-Fired Oven Cookbook: 70 Recipes for Incredible Stone-Baked Pizzas and Breads, Roasts, Cakes and Desserts, All Specially Devised for the Outdoor Oven
Holly & David Jones

From the Wood-Fired Oven: New and Traditional Techniques for Cooking and Baking with Fire
Richard Miscovich

Build Your Own Wood-Fired Oven: From the Earth, Brick or New Materials
Alan Watt

Brighton Beach With Grandma Sophie

When I wear my wet bathing suit around the house I think of spending weekends with grandma in her apartment on Brighton Beach in Brooklyn. I would take a nap and hear the handball court players at the club next door. I remember reading James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in her den.

Local Thrift Store

Saint Theresa's Thrift Store and Food Pantry Blackstone Massachusetts open 2 hours a week.
Tuesday Only from 9am-11am
The Food Pantry is in the Thrift Shop.
https://sttheresablackstone.org/

Denim Nirvana

http://www.levistrauss.com/unzipped-blog/2014/09/15-ways-to-reuse-repurpose-and-reimagine-your-jeans/

Vidalia Onion + Ernest Hemingway

I always think of Vidalia onions when I read Ernest Hemingway because of one summer in the 90's when I ate vidalia onion sandwiches while reading his books.

Communicate Authentically

However we allow ourselves to be treated is a result of our own choices. If an empath chooses to stay in a relationship with a narcissist and refuses to take responsibility for the dynamic, they are choosing at some level what they believe they are worth on the inside. An empath cannot let their self-worth be determined by a narcissist. It is imperative they trust and believe in themselves enough to recognise that they are not deserving of the words and actions the narcissist delivers and to look for an escape.
https://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/06/the-toxic-attraction-between-an-empath-a-narcissist/

LoRen Burroughs

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
-LoRen Burroughs


"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"
https://www.peacecorps.gov/stories/life-begins-end-your-comfort-zone/
By LoRen Burroughs
July 5, 2017

Peace Corps

I always wanted to be in the peace corps. Trying to help my neighborhood is like serving in the peace corps.

Peace Corps: Peter K. Ter


https://www.peacecorps.gov/stories/why-i-love-serving-in-the-peace-corps/

Why I love serving in the Peace Corps
Peter Ter Azerbaijan
By Peter K. Ter
Oct. 22, 2015

I Love Clotheslines

I love hanging my damp laundry on the line in the summer, in the dark. Then the sun comes up and bakes it dry. I love clotheslines. They are silent universal stories.

Last Night

Last night Bill and I walked a mile and a half to the pond and Lily jumped in and we played fetch. Then I jumped in wearing my blue jeans, purple sneakers and sunflower vest. I convinced Bill to let me dunk his shirt and wring it out so he could cool off. He agreed. I walked home with sand in my shoes but I didn't mind. The water had healed my day.

We made toast and put leftover potato salad in the egg salad to stretch it and ate it with pickles.

"Sandwiches were invented by gamblers," I said, smiling.

I Love You Mr. Hemingway

“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

“All thinking men are atheists.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

“Courage is grace under pressure.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”
― Ernest Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway: A Literary Reference

“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
“The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.”
― Ernest Hemingway, Men Without Women

“The first draft of anything is shit.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“Maybe...you'll fall in love with me all over again."
"Hell," I said, "I love you enough now. What do you want to do? Ruin me?"
"Yes. I want to ruin you."
"Good," I said. "That's what I want too.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

“I drink to make other people more interesting.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Garden of Eden

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?”
― Ernest Hemingway

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.

John Gardner

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.
― John Gardner

True happiness involves the full use of one's power and talents.
― John Gardner

Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
― John Gardner

“Self pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”
― John Gardner

“When I was a child I truly loved:
Unthinking love as calm and deep
As the North Sea. But I have lived,
And now I do not sleep.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“I understand that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. I understood that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. all the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly - as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back. I create the whole universe, blink by blink.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“They watch on, evil, incredibly stupid, enjoying my destruction.

'Poor Grendel's had an accident,' I whisper. 'So may you all.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“We read five words on the first page of a really good novel and we begin to forget that we are reading printed words on a page; we begin to see images.”
― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist

“People will tell you that writing is too difficult, that it's impossible to get your work published, that you might as well hang yourself. Meanwhile, they'll keep writing and you'll have hanged yourself.”
― John Gardner

“As every writer knows... there is something mysterious about the writer's ability, on any given day, to write. When the juices are flowing, or the writer is 'hot', an invisible wall seems to fall away, and the writer moves easily and surely from one kind of reality to another... Every writer has experienced at least moments of this strange, magical state. Reading student fiction one can spot at once where the power turns on and where it turns off, where the writer writes from 'inspiration' or deep, flowing vision, and where he had to struggle along on mere intellect.”
― John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist

“I couldn't go on, too conscious all at once of my whispering, my eternal posturing, always transforming the world with words--changing nothing.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“As a rule of thumb I say, if Socrates, Jesus and Tolstoy wouldn't do it, don't.”
― John Gardner

“There is no limit to desire but desire's needs.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“The primary subject of fiction is and has always been human emotion, values, and beliefs.”
― John Gardner, The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers

“Talking, talking. Spinning a web of words, pale walls of dreams, between myself and all I see.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“So childhood too feels good at first, before one happens to notice the terrible sameness, age after age.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“Nothing can be more limiting to the imagination than only writing about what you know”
― John Gardner

“One must be just a little crazy to write a great novel. One must be capable of allowing the darkest, most ancient and shrewd parts of one’s being to take over the work from time to time.”
― John Gardner

“Find a pile of gold and sit on it.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“I look down past the stars to a terrifying darkness. I seem to recognize the place, but it's impossible. "Accident," I whisper. I will fall. I seem to desire the fall, and though I fight it with all my will I know in advance I can't win. Standing baffled, quaking with fear, three feet from the edge of a nightmare cliff, I find myself, incredibly, moving towards it. I look down, down, into bottomless blackness, feeling the dark power moving in me like an ocean current, some monster inside me, deep sea wonder, dread night monarch astir in his cave, moving me slowly to my voluntary tumble into death.”
― John Gardner, Grendel

“I cannot believe such monstrous energy of grief can lead to nothing!”
― John Gardner, Grendel

Hart Crane

Love: a burnt match skating in a urinal.
― Hart Crane

Drenched

One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.
- Hart Crane

Virginia Lloyd

For the Love of Bridges: Hart Crane and Me

He never finished high school, but his knowledge of poetry, driven by personal need rather than curriculum, was unparalleled for someone so young.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

They Make a Witches Brew

In the 'hood

It Takes Longer than You Think

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

Bangladeshi Air Cooler

http://inhabitat.com/this-amazing-bangladeshi-air-cooler-is-made-from-plastic-bottles-and-uses-no-electricity

Egg Salad

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

Julie Fast Article

By Julie Fast

Article

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

Munroe Dairy Story

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


Rhode Island Adventure

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

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

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

Before and After

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

A Swarm of Locusts

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cavatappi Pasta in the Pressure Cooker

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

Swim Coach Mat Hudson

http://mediterraswim.com/2017/04/01/train-hard-eat-junk/
I started by just removing meat (I still occasionally eat fish when I sense my body needing more protein, but not often). Maybe a year later I drastically reduced dairy products and eggs. To replace the way those fill up the tummy, I eat a lot of beans, lentils, whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat) as the base for many meals, and make sauces to go on top. I have a fruit/veggie green smoothy every morning and a bowl of oatmeal infused with other stuff. Sometimes I fry a few slices of tofu with some spices. I make a big salad for lunch most days. I’ve got raw nuts and dried fruit in my car, in my snack bag, on the kitchen counter. I kinda prefer things to be simple and routine, and so I just equipped my kitchen with all the supplies I needed and established new routines, and now I don’t have to put so much thought into what I make each day. I make big batches of beans in the pressure cooker, bake big batches of sweet potatoes, and make big batches of soups (I love soups!) and store portions in the freezer. I create my own ‘fast’ food. I am content to eat leftovers for a couple days.
- Mat Hudson

Day of Bad Smells

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

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

Toni Morrisson

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

By Toni Morrison

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

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

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

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

Your real life is with us, your family.

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

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

Hose Down

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

Summer in the City

The kids were making lanyards....

The Lanyard

by Billy Collins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Kapicitta.”

‘Just as a monkey swinging through the trees grabs one branch and lets it go only to seize another, so too, that which is called thought, mind or consciousness arises and disappears continually both day and night.’
https://www.pocketmindfulness.com/understanding-monkey-mind-live-harmony-mental-companion/

May Contain Cloud or Tree

This must be the name of something...

Night Swim, Night Beach

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

Matunuck webcam
http://www.matunuckbeachproperties.com/WebCam.php

Ten Million Radishes

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

Anthony, Anthony,

Today is Wednesday, Prince Spaghetti Day!
Anthony! Anthony! Prince Spaghetti Commercial - YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8ti1hnLiLw
Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day in Boston! The original Prince Spaghetti commercial.

Degas

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

“J’Accuse!”

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

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

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

They were digging...

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cobalt Blue Cooling Vest

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

Plantains Rollerskates and Shish Kabob

Special delivery in the 'hood!

Hermann Hesse

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

Every experience has its element of magic.
Hermann Hesse

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

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

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

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

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

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

these are things we can do

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

All Contempt

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

- Hermann Hesse

Herman Hesse

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

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

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

City Camp Woonsocket FREE SUMMER CAMP!!!

City Camp Woonsocket FREE SUMMER CAMP!!!
ages 6-12 years old.
every day 10-3PM
Field drips every day
free lunch!
contact heather pirolli at gmail dot com for more info.

Sufi Talks: Teachings of an American Sufi Sheihk

Seeker After Truth: A Handbook
https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0863040128

Baking Molasses Granola

Monday, May 16, 2016
The Secret to My Best Granola
http://theinsomniacskitchen.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-secret-to-my-best-granola.html

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

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

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

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

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

Grilled Plantains for Breakfast

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

Melody Moezzi: Power of Love and Support

http://www.bphope.com/the-power-of-love-support-faith/

Humanity

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

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

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

A Seeker

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

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

If You Hate

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

Swim Across America!

Pool or open water.
Rhode Island: craig@swimacrossamerica.org

Jessamyn West: Knowledge of What You Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Groan and forget it.”
― Jessamyn West

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

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

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

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

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

Clifford Odets quotes

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Let's have air. Open the windows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

City Beach

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


Anger

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

City Swimming

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

Tornado of SUCK

Social Media. The dopamine MONKEY MIND. The dope.

Clifford Odets

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

Nelson Mandela

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

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

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

Monday, July 17, 2017

Fortunately and Unfortunately

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

Stunned Silence

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

Jenny Lawson

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

Figgy Pudding

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

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

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

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

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

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

Lawson Quote

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

A Funny Book About Horrible Things

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

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

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

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

Jenny Lawson: Don’t sabotage yourself

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

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

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

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

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

Shadower

Sombrero
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

Joy to the World

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

Georges Lemaître

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

Who more than I knows of my impoverishment?

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

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

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

Malden Massachusetts

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

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

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

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Nuala O'Faolain's Memoirs

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

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

Robot Librarian

She knows just what I want to read next!

Dirt Palace

http://dirtpalace.org/library.html

http://dirtpalace.org/DP%20at%20Wedding%20cake%20house.html

Levon Helm: Dirt Farmer

Levon Helm - Dirt Farmer (2007) & Electric Dirt (2009) [Full Albums]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R76Y5gwCH1Q

Garth Husdon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garth_Hudson

Documentary Betty Page

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

Bettie Page Reveals All Official Trailer #1 (2013) - Documentary HD ...
Video for documentary of betty page
▶ 2:48
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_g82PN4eENU
Nov 15, 2013 - Uploaded by Movieclips Trailers
In Mori's alluring documentary, the real Bettie Page emerges from the veil of myth and rumor via audio ...
Bettie Page Reveals All - YouTube
Video for documentary of betty page
▶ 1:41:26
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9dVuCoPss8
Jan 24, 2014 - Uploaded by Music Box Films
In this alluring documentary, the real Bettie Page emerges from the veil of myth and speculation for the first ...

Clayton Moss

Very sad.

7 Billion Hungry Humans

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

Afgan Girls Robotics Team

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/afghan-girls-robotics-team-enters-us

Ironic: Can Health Care Recover from Surgery?

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/mcconnell-postpones-obamacare-repeal-vote-mccain-surgery

Swimming Lessons

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/italy-offers-swimming-lessons-for-refugees-traumatized-while-crossing-the-mediterranean/2017/07/15/c2b38ce0-65a5-11e7-94ab-5b1f0ff459df_story.html

Run at 101!

‘I missed my nap for this’: 101-year-old sprinter breaks 100-meter dash record
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/07/15/i-missed-my-nap-for-this-101-year-old-sprinter-breaks-100-meter-dash-record/

Clerestory

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

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

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

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

Summer in the City

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

Song

Morning

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

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

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


Summer favorites:

Hanging laundry in the morning sun.

Having coffee under the tree.

Hosing my head and bare feet outside.

Baking pretzels and scones.

Sitting in the dog pool.

born 1194

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

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

How Poems Inspire Pictures

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

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

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/us/how-poems-inspire-pictures.html

The Recipe

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

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

The Farting Door

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

Picnic on the Bridge

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

Devoney Looser

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


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

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

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Osborne Inteview

Here
http://www.npr.org/2016/05/06/476890358/after-20-years-on-the-job-nyc-police-officer-tells-his-intense-stories

If only they’d met in a transparent room.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/opinion/couldnt-we-just-trade-presidents.html

trans·par·ent
transˈperənt/
adjective
adjective: transparent

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

A culture of constant, casual brutality is toxic to the body, and we suffer for it

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/opinion/sunday/when-is-speech-violence.html
What’s bad for your nervous system, in contrast, are long stretches of simmering stress. If you spend a lot of time in a harsh environment worrying about your safety, that’s the kind of stress that brings on illness and remodels your brain. That’s also true of a political climate in which groups of people endlessly hurl hateful words at one another, and of rampant bullying in school or on social media. A culture of constant, casual brutality is toxic to the body, and we suffer for it.

When Is Speech Violence?

Gray Matter

By LISA FELDMAN BARRETT JULY 14, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.
You agree to receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times's products and services.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woonsocket Trees

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

Do What You Love

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