Monday, December 31, 2018

Takeover the Pull Over

Henry Miller

Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery. The adventure is a metaphysical one; it is a way of approaching life indirectly, of acquiring a total rather than a partial view of the universe. The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order eventually to become that path himself.


Gloria Naylor

One should be able to return to the first sentence of a novel and find the resonances of the entire work.


Reading is a consolation, if not always an inspiration. It lessens the pain of the gratuitousness of writing.


“His heritage to his children wasn’t words or possessions, but an unspoken treasure, the treasure of his example as a man and a father.”
— Will Rogers Jr.


One must avoid ambition in order to write. Otherwise something else is the goal: some kind of power beyond the power of language. And the power of language, it seems to me, is the only kind of power a writer is entitled to.





Writing is one of the few professions left where you take all the responsibility for what you do. It’s really dangerous and ultimately destroys you as a writer if you start thinking about responses to your work or what your audience needs.

Semolina Pizza

Tonight I made pizza dough with half semolina and half bread flour and kosher salt and olive oil. When I kneaded the dough and let it rest it rolled out fine. I placed it in my cast iron frying pan in 550 degree oven to bake for a bit. Then I added tomato puree, olive oil, olives, mushrooms, onions, fresh garlic, and thin pieces of pepper jack cheese. It was fabulous and crusty like a thin cracker.

The Page

Who will teach me to write? a reader wanted to know. The page, the page, the blankness of eternity which you cover slowly, affirming time’s scrawl as a right and your daring as necessity; the page, which you cover woodenly, ruining it, but asserting your freedom and power to act, acknowledging that you ruin everything you touch but touching it nevertheless, because acting is better than being here in mere opacity; the page, which you cover slowly with the crabbed thread of your gut; the page in the purity of its possibilities; the page of your death, against which you pit such flawed excellences as you can muster with all your life’s strength: that page will teach you to write.


Herschel Brickell

I never found out the moon didn’t come up in the west until I was a writer and Herschel Brickell, the literary critic, told me after I misplaced it in a story. He said valuable words to me about my new profession: “Always be sure you get your moon in the right part of the sky.”


Edit Themselves

This is what I find most encouraging about the writing trades: They allow mediocre people who are patient and industrious to revise their stupidity, to edit themselves into something like intelligence. They also allow lunatics to seem saner than sane.

The X-factor

The X-factor on every page is whether the writer loves what they’re doing.
-Brad Meltzer

Five People

If you interview five people about the same incident, and you see five different points of view, it makes you know what makes history so complicated. Something doesn't just occur. It's not like a scientific event. It's a human event.

Metropolitan Diary

Kate Tempest

Kate Tempest performs Tunnel Vision - BBC Newsnight

Anthony Russo Scratchboard Portfolio

Published on Apr 4, 2014

Pamela Painter Stories


Getting to Know the Weather


What If? Fiction Exercises for Fiction Writers


The Long and Short of It


Wouldn't You Like to Know

Pamela Painter Story

Narrated by Anthony Russo

Always Carry a Dayglow Water Pistol

When you're angry.

Swimmer Baker Trouble Maker

Job description, 2018.

Classism: The Elephant in the Room

Classcism is the Elephant in the room and lately it has hit me hard even from my own family.

Local nonprofits can apply for $94,000 in grants


Last year's recipients include the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newport County, which received $5,000 to send Black children to its after-school program; the YWCA Rhode Island in Woonsocket, which won $6,100 to support the YWCA's Girls Circle programming; and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranston, which was awarded $5,000 to support its community-based mentoring program that pairs at-risk youth age 7 to 15 with adult volunteers.

Parrot Doctor


How to Be an Artist

Jerry Saltz


Writers don’t write from experience, though many are resistant to admit that they don’t. I want to be clear about this. If you wrote from experience, you’d get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy.


Anthony Bourdain

Inner Critic

Getting to Know Your Inner Critic

by Jan Chozen Bays| May 19, 2017

Jan Chozen Bays explains how to recognize and tame the critical commentary we replay in our minds.

Image © Vivienne Flesher.

Anthony Russo

Illustrated poem

Nate Bargatze

Kathleen Madigan

0:02 / 1:18
Kathleen Madigan - Doomsday Preppers (Stand up Comedy)

Rod Man: Babies


Salt and Pepper Diner


Ram Dass

Taking Our Place in the Order of Things
by Ram Dass

Profound change is in the eye of the beholder.

To see through the veil that our senses and our thinking minds make real, to see behind the mask to true self, feels like the highest aspiration of humanity. Because, as we are able to do that, it’s as if we are able to find our rightful place in the order of things. We recognize a harmony that’s been waiting for us to feel.

We take our place in the order of things and it’s not only for the life hereafter or for some abstract thing. It’s a major impact on the way we live our lives everyday.

This awakening to our deepest self is not for later, it’s for now. To bring to our daily life a quality of awareness, open heartedness, a consciousness that understands the the interrelationship of all things, means that you can begin to hear the way in which you can live in harmony with all things. When you look around at the earth and at the way human beings live on the earth, at the way they exploit the earth and its resources, at the way they keep destroying their own future on earth, you can feel the pain of unconsciousness.

The work of quieting our minds and opening our hearts prepares us to be able to act in the world in a way that doesn’t create more suffering. When we develop a stance, a perspective arises towards life that allows us to be effective actors on the stage of life. So that you and I become instruments of healing, instruments of peace, of love and wisdom.

Most of the people in the world are living among such urgency; for enough food, for shelter, they’re living amongst violence, political repression, they do not have the opportunity to practice as we do.

That gives us a responsibility, because we are standing on the shoulders of many beings in the world to be allowed the opportunity to do this.

So it is important to understand the way in which, by doing this, we as parts of the whole, are contributing back to the whole. When this is misunderstood, it looks like just a lot of narcissism. Groups of nice middle class folks coming together to play with their minds in a pretty chateau or something. It’s lovely. But, the deeper we go, the quieter we get, the more our hearts open, the more we hear our part in the dance and the more we feel a kinship with all beings.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “When you have surrendered completely into God, you find yourself in the service of all that exists. It becomes your joy and recreation.” That’s very different from, “Oh I ought to help, I should help,” It becomes more in the quality of, “Of course!”

-Ram Dass

Pompeii News

I’d choose the guillotine

I always threaten to send away for the do it yourself home guillotine. Instead I make paintings of headless women.

Aleksander Teimouri


A Pennsylvania man has died after he was struck by a drunken driver while riding his bicycle home from work.

Aleksander Teimouri, 22, died around 5 a.m. Saturday, according to Christina Teimouri, his mother. "I don't think he knew he had even been hit," Christina Teimouri said. "He flew through the air and landed on his head." According to a criminal complaint, when officers arrived on the scene, Teimouri was bleeding from the head and was unconscious. Doctors placed him on life support after he was airlifted to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh. His family said he couldn't wait to join the U.S. Air Force as a medic after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh. The family planned to donate Aleksander Teimouri's organs so his dream of saving lives could be fulfilled. "He was just the perfect brother and perfect friend and I know he brought joy to so many people's lives," said sister Aryelle. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help establish a scholarship in Aleksander Teimouri's name. David Lohr, 51, was charged with aggravated assault with a vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. According to the complaint, Lohr's blood alcohol content was .141 percent. Lohr was taken to the Butler County Jail.

Cyclops, Pulled Over

Last night we got pulled over for a burned out headlight. It's on the list to get fixed. We like our local police and know them well but the experience was still unnerving. I think it took about an hour and a half to bring my adrenaline down. Romeo was in the back seat wearing his red sweater and he didn't make a peep.

Upcycled Kitty Bed

I am always salvaging things on my dog walks. Last year I found a kids kelley green Celtics sweatshirt and I washed it and just made it into a cat bed.
see tutorial I fill mine with old pants rather than buy batting.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Martin Espada

On the Radio

Home Made Stem Ginger

Tales From The Kitchen Shed
Sarah James

Oct 3
Homemade Stem Ginger

Homemade Stem Ginger is so easy to make & so much better than shop bought. Chop finely & add to ginger cakes, puddings or biscuits for a real ginger hit. The syrup makes a delicious ginger cordial.

Homemade Stem Ginger is so easy to make & so much better than shop bought. Chop finely & add to ginger cakes, puddings or biscuits for a real ginger hit. The syrup makes a delicious ginger cordial.

There’s a slight sense of sadness here at the Kitchen Shed as we pack things away for the winter and wind down the freezer contents. I thought I’d pretty much worked out how to use up all our frozen food until I discovered a bag of ginger which was way too much for a stir fry or curry for two. Seemed to me there was only one thing to do, make some stem ginger and take a jar with us to Guernsey to enjoy over the winter.

Homemade Stem Ginger is so easy to make & so much better than shop bought. Chop finely & add to ginger cakes, puddings or biscuits for a real ginger hit. The syrup makes a delicious ginger cordial.

Stem ginger is much easier to make than you might think – it’s a case of peeling and slicing the ginger into chunks, covering with water and cooking until tender.

Homemade Stem Ginger is so easy to make & so much better than shop bought. Chop finely & add to ginger cakes, puddings or biscuits for a real ginger hit. The syrup makes a delicious ginger cordial.

Although some recipes use an “all in one” approach, I prefer to drain the cooking water from the ginger and use it to make a syrup – this way you have greater control over the quality of your syrup because of the more accurate water to sugar ratio.

Homemade Stem Ginger is so easy to make & so much better than shop bought. Chop finely & add to ginger cakes, puddings or biscuits for a real ginger hit. The syrup makes a delicious ginger cordial.

The ginger is added back to the pan with your syrup and simmered for twenty minutes before transferring ginger and syrup into a sterilised jar.
The tenderness of ginger stems cannot be guaranteed and some recipes recommend blanching three or four times to tenderise the stems. I’ve omitted blanching as freezing the ginger breaks down the cell structure and tenderises the stems, so I’d recommend freezing your ginger before cooking. Also, frozen ginger is easier to peel so it’s a win win situation.

Homemade Stem Ginger is so easy to make & so much better than shop bought. Chop finely & add to ginger cakes, puddings or biscuits for a real ginger hit. The syrup makes a delicious ginger cordial.

If you’d like to try this recipe for yourself, here it is below.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Homemade Stem Ginger

Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
2 hours
Total time
2 hours 10 mins

Homemade Stem Ginger is so easy to make & so much better than shop bought. Chop finely & add to ginger cakes, puddings or biscuits for a real ginger hit. The syrup makes a delicious ginger cordial.
Author: Sarah James @ Tales From The Kitchen Shed
Recipe type: Preserving
Serves: 1 x 500 g jar

325 g (12 oz) fresh ginger root
300 g (1½ cups) sugar
Water to cover the ginger
150 ml (3/4 cup) ginger cooking water


Optional: Freeze the ginger overnight (freezing tenderises the ginger)

Peel the ginger and cut into 2 cm thick slices.
Add the ginger to a pan and cover (by a couple of centimetres) with water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about an hour until nice and tender.
Lift out the tender ginger pieces and set to one side while you make a sryup.
Measure the cooking liquid and add 150ml back to your pan along with the sugar.
Return to a gentle heat and stir to dissolve the sugar - once the sugar has dissolved stop stirring.
Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 15 to 20 minutes until you have a nice thick syrup.
Add the cooked ginger back to the pan and simmer gently for 20 minutes before transferring ginger and syrup into a sterilised jar and sealing.
Store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.

Does not include optional overnight freezing.
Recipe can easily be doubled.
Use the syrup in cocktails or like a cordial with a sparkling water.

Why Foster Care Students In Seattle Are Beating The Odds

NPR logo
Take A Number
Why Foster Care Students In Seattle Are Beating The Odds



December 27, 20176:00 AM ET
Heard on All Things Considered
Anya Kamanetz 2017 square

Anya Kamenetz

Foster students beating the odds
Isabel Seliger for NPR

The NPR series, "Take A Number," is exploring problems around the world — and the people who are trying to solve them — each through the lens of a single number.

Thirty-six percent.

That was the high school graduation rate for youth in foster care in Seattle and King County, Washington, in 2010.

"We were shocked. I mean, tears flowed," says Janis Avery. For more than two decades, she has led a nonprofit called Treehouse, dedicated to improving the lives of foster youth. In fact, Treehouse had been pushing for the state to break out educational data about kids in foster care. And the data, when it came for the first time, was a wake-up call.

"We thought we were doing a good job," Avery recalls. "We realized it wasn't making a difference at a population level."

Foster youth struggle in school for many reasons. Being removed from your family is a trauma in itself, no matter why. Most children in foster care have mental health needs; many struggle with addiction and brushes with the law.

And then there are the systemic problems. In Seattle's King County, 1,500 foster kids are scattered among many different schools. The average youth shifts placements three times, sometimes moving out of the school district.

Avery says that meant that no one school was focused on these students' educations, and the district wasn't either.

Foster parents often have their hands full with the basics. The state's child welfare system, meanwhile, prioritizes safety and health, with school farther down the list. And the state's care ends at an age when most middle-class kids are still dependent on their parents. (Half of states, including Washington State, have extended some foster care benefits until age 21; in other states kids "age out" at 18).

Until 2010, Treehouse had been providing foster youth with extras, like backpacks, school clothes, music lessons and summer camp. But when the news came about the terrible graduation rate, the organization decided it had to step up for these kids as students, too.

"We have to negotiate and advocate for those kids in school," says Avery.

They set an ambitious goal: Raise the high school graduation rate for foster youth to be on par with the rest of the city's kids. Starting in 2012, they gave themselves five years to do it.

It wasn't easy. Treehouse had to raise a lot more money, and convince their board of directors to take a chance. They did research to figure out the best practices from other organizations around the country. This included a strategy similar to the "graduation coaches" that we've reported on.

They recruited a team of "education specialists." These folks work on-site in high schools around the city. Each works with around 20 students. Any student who has interacted with the foster care system while in middle or high school is eligible for the program. The jobs have good benefits and are comparatively well paid, because Treehouse wants its ed specialists to stay in the positions long enough to be a consistent presence in kids' lives.

Tajiana Ellis is a Treehouse education specialist. She has a ready smile and, the day we meet, a leopard-print scarf. Her office is full of pictures of kids at the prom, in caps and gowns and at college. "We wear a lot of hats," she says. "We're a little bit of a teacher, a little bit of a mentor, a little bit of a parent, a little bit of a friend."

Ellis does everything from cheer at basketball games, to setting up job-shadowing and internships, to convincing teachers to accept makeup assignments. She'll even take students to get their hair done as an incentive for good behavior.

But the heart of her work happens here on the school's campus, as she sits and checks in with students, generally once a week, focusing on the ABCs of graduation: Attendance, Behavior and Course Performance. She is able to log into the schools' online grade book to see each assignment and grade.

Part of Treehouse's philosophy is something called "student-centered planning." That means the student sets her own goals and takes ownership of them.

Mechelle, a junior in a varsity jacket with matching red Jordans, is one of Ellis' standouts. (We're using her middle name, and not naming her school, to protect her privacy).

On the day we sit in, Ellis logs into her gradebook and asks why she's been struggling in math, her favorite subject, for the past month. Ellis asks what her plan is to get her grades up. Mechelle says she's heading in to take a makeup test after school.

Mechelle, 16, is an A and B student generally, and the co-captain of the basketball team this year. Her best shot is a three-pointer. Most of her friends don't know that she was adopted from foster care. "My mom is just my mom," she says. "It's like, none of your business."

Mechelle's parents took in her and her two older sisters after raising four of their own kids. Her father has since passed away. Mechelle calls her mom, Pearlie, now 67, "my best friend."

One of Michelle's older sisters is a mother at 19. The other one, 18, doesn't see the family much anymore. Pearlie says the older girls had more "bad memories" of their birth mother than Mechelle did.

"Mechelle has had a really strong positive attitude for herself. And she's always been driven," says Pearlie. "And plus ... she sees what happened to her sisters, and she doesn't want to follow in the same pattern."

Mechelle agrees. "I want to be better. It's not just my mom telling me that I should. It's my choice too."

One of Treehouse's organizational values is "fierce optimism." That comes from Avery's personal experience. She and her wife adopted their own two children, now young adults, from foster care. "It takes a lot of persistence," she says, and maintaining hope when few others do.

Treehouse fights for every student's success. That doesn't mean sugarcoating the obstacles in their way. If you ask Avery why kids end up in the child welfare system, she is blunt.

"It really is racism and poverty," she says. "Occasionally kids get abused, but well over 80 percent is neglect. And that's an artifact of poverty, which could be solved with resources."

Rather than automatically assume there's something wrong with these kids or their families, she says, "the real question is, why don't we as an American culture support these families to succeed?"

Julia Robertson is the foster mom of two of Tajiana Ellis's other current students. She was a foster kid herself, and has fostered about 20 young people over the last decade.

The most rewarding part, she says, is "seeing them grow and heal from whatever they've had going on in their life." She says she's no longer shocked by what these kids have gone through. "I always think I've heard the worst thing, and then another one comes along and I hear their experiences and I'm like, 'oh, that was so wrong.' "

Robertson says she couldn't do what she does without Treehouse.

"Treehouse actually does a lot of things. But from an educational perspective, they are me at school," she says. "Their graduation program is incredible. I think every kid should have a Treehouse advocate, whether a foster child or not."

The evidence for that is strong.

Treehouse counts five-year graduation rates because youth in foster care typically miss out on learning time. Last year, 89 percent of their students made it across that extended finish line. That includes students who completed with the help of credit recovery, alternative schools and GED programs. It beats Washington State's overall five-year graduation rate by 7 points.

Nationwide, meanwhile, around two-thirds of all foster youth graduate high school by age 21.

Treehouse's success thus far has been with just several hundred students in high school. They expanded into two more counties this past school year, in part to keep serving some of their students who moved out of King County.

Avery says the ultimate plan is to serve every foster youth in the state, through to college or vocational training. This includes students who are eventually adopted from foster care, like Mechelle, or reunited with their birth families. Treehouse has pledged to support these students until age 26.

But there's more. Janis Avery has joined Washington State's board of education. And she's out to change the system nationwide, by showing what can be done when you back kids up with "superstars."

"When we look at the youth who have the best experiences, it has a lot to do with the quality of the people surrounding them," she says. "We'd like to take some of that randomness out of youth's experience. So the system works for them, not just spectacular individuals."

As for Mechelle, this spring she is traveling across the country to visit historically black colleges as far away as Atlanta. She is interested in attending an HBCU, she says, because "I want to learn my history, because we don't learn it in school." Tajiana Ellis, her Treehouse education specialist, will be by her side.

Alan Naiman

Social Worker Led Frugal Life To Leave Nearly $11 Million To Children's Charities

December 29, 201812:47 PM ET
Sasha Ingber 2018 square

Sasha Ingber

Washington state social worker Alan Naiman, photographed in 2013, left most of his $11 million estate to children's charities.
Shashi Karan/AP

Friends remember Washington state social worker Alan Naiman as being frugal. He wore old shoes held together with duct tape, bought his apparel at the grocery store, drove jalopies and ate at cheap restaurants. But when he died of cancer in January 2018, at age 63, the people around him learned that he had quietly saved millions for a higher cause.

Naiman left most of his $11 million estate to organizations serving abandoned, impoverished, sick and disabled children.

"He left it all to charities — mostly to kids, the section of society that couldn't really help themselves," his friend Shashi Karan told NPR.

Naiman had no spouse or biological children. But his elder brother, who was disabled and died in 2013, "kind of colored the way he looked at things," his friend Susan Madsen told The Associated Press.
Michael Bloomberg Gives $1.8 Billion To Financial Aid At Johns Hopkins University
Changing Face Of College
Michael Bloomberg Gives $1.8 Billion To Financial Aid At Johns Hopkins University

Before spending two decades at Washington's Department of Social and Health Services, where he reportedly earned about $67,200 a year, Naiman was a banker.

"He made a career change into social services probably around the time he was fostering," Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families spokeswoman Debra Johnson told NPR. A dedicated and valued employee, he shared fond memories of the children he fostered, she said.

Despite living a modest life, he amassed a great deal of wealth by saving his work wages, taking on side jobs and inheriting millions from his parents.

Before he was diagnosed with cancer, Naiman thought about taking more road trips or moving to a house with a view, Karan said. But those dreams receded after the diagnosis. Instead, he spent his time researching charities.

He would joke that he was doing "work at the foundation," alluding to Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, Karan said.

Naiman was buoyed by the knowledge that he was leaving the organizations his money. Karan recalled to CNN that Naiman said, " 'My gift is going to be bigger than their annual budget. It's going to blow them away.' "

He was right.

Naiman gave a reported $2.5 million to a Washington state charity that helps newborns who were exposed to opiates, cocaine and other drugs.

"We first became aware of Alan's generosity last fall when we received a $10,000 donation from him online," the Pediatric Interim Care Center said. "Thinking that large amount might be a mistake, we called him to make sure he had entered the right number of zeroes! Yes, he told us, the donation was right, and there would be more to come in the future."

Naiman then wrote a letter to staff that explained why: One frantic night in the early days of his career at the Department of Social and Health Services, he was trying to find a home for a fragile baby. The center's founder came to his office to take the child.

The organization announced that it would use the funds to pay off the mortgage on its building.

Naiman also surprised a foster care group called Treehouse, Chief Development Officer Jessica Ross told NPR. He made a first-time donation of $5,000 in the months before he died — a lot of money to the organization. "Then, shortly after his passing, we learned he would be donating an additional $900,000. The donation is completely unexpected," she said.

He told staff that he brought his foster children on shopping sprees at Treehouse's free clothing store.

The money will help fund a planned expansion of a graduation support program as well as career services for fostered youth, Ross said.

Other children's charities that made Naiman's cut included Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center, which provides therapeutic horseback riding for people with disabilities, and WestSide Baby, which distributes new and used items to low-income families.

Naiman also gave money to his parents' Catholic church and to Disabled American Veterans, according to Karan.

"For someone to live their life the way Alan did — and then leave a legacy like this to so many worthy organizations — is an inspiration," Ross said. "We're so thankful to be a part of this. What a generous, loving man.

Alain de Botton: Journeys are the midwives of thought

“Most of what makes a book 'good' is that we are reading it at the right moment for us.”
― Alain de Botton

“Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with someone - and finding that that's ok with them.”
― Alain de Botton

“The moment we cry in a film is not when things are sad but when they turn out to be more beautiful than we expected them to be.”
― Alain de Botton

“One rarely falls in love without being as much attracted to what is interestingly wrong with someone as what is objectively healthy.”
― Alain de Botton

“Every fall into love involves the triumph of hope over self-knowledge. We fall in love hoping we won't find in another what we know is in ourselves, all the cowardice, weakness, laziness, dishonesty, compromise, and stupidity. We throw a cordon of love around the chosen one and decide that everything within it will somehow be free of our faults. We locate inside another a perfection that eludes us within ourselves, and through our union with the beloved hope to maintain (against the evidence of all self-knowledge) a precarious faith in our species.”
― Alain de Botton, On Love

“One of the best protections against disappointment is to have a lot going on.”
― Alain de Botton

“Perhaps it is true that we do not really exist until there is someone there to see us existing, we cannot properly speak until there is someone who can understand what we are saying in essence, we are not wholly alive until we are loved.”
― Alain de Botton, On Love

“To one's enemies: "I hate myself more than you ever could.”
― Alain de Botton

“We are all more intelligent than we are capable, and awareness of the insanity of love has never saved anyone from the disease.”
― Alain De Botton, On Love

“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”
― Alain de Botton

“We fall in love because we long to escape from ourselves with someone as beautiful, intelligent, and witty as we are ugly, stupid, and dull. But what if such a perfect being should one day turn around and decide they will love us back? We can only be somewhat shocked-how can they be as wonderful as we had hoped when they have the bad taste to approve of someone like us?”
― Alain de Botton, On Love

“It is in books, poems, paintings which often give us the confidence to take seriously feelings in ourselves that we might otherwise never have thought to acknowledge.”
― Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness

“That said, deciding to avoid other people does not necessarily equate with having no desire whatsoever for company; it may simply reflect a dissatisfaction with what—or who—is available. Cynics are, in the end, only idealists with awkwardly high standards. In Chamfort's words, 'It is sometimes said of a man who lives alone that he does not like society. This is like saying of a man that he does not like going for walks because he is not fond of walking at night in the forêt de Bondy.”
― Alain De Botton, Status Anxiety

“It was no longer her absence that wounded me, but my growing indifference to it. Forgetting, however calming, was also a reminder of infidelity to what I had at one time held so dear.”
― Alain de Botton, On Love

“Anyone who isn't embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn't learning enough.”
― Alain de Botton

“Not being understood may be taken as a sign that there is much in one to understand.”
― Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety

“People only get really interesting when they start to rattle the bars of their cages.”
― Alain de Botton

“To be loved by someone is to realize how much they share the same needs that lie at the heart of our own attraction to them. Albert Camus suggested that we fall in love with people because, from the outside, they look so whole, physically whole and emotionally 'together' - when subjectively we feel dispersed and confused. We would not love if there were no lack within us, but we are offended by the discovery of a similar lack in the other. Expecting to find the answer, we find only the duplicate of our own problem.”
― Alain de Botton, On Love

“What we seek, at the deepest level, is inwardly to resemble, rather than physically to possess, the objects and places that touch us through their beauty.”
― Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness

“A good half of the art of living is resilience.”
― Alain de Botton

“You normally have to be bashed about a bit by life to see the point of daffodils, sunsets and uneventful nice days.”
― Alain de Botton

“It is in dialogue with pain that many beautiful things acquire their value. Acquaintance with grief turns out to be one of the more unusual prerequisites of architectural appreciation. We might, quite aside from all other requirements, need to be a little sad before buildings can properly touch us.”
― Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness

“Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than a moving plane, ship or train. There is an almost quaint correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts we are able to have in our heads: large thoughts at times requiring large views, new thoughts new places. Introspective reflections which are liable to stall are helped along by the flow of the landscape. The mind may be reluctant to think properly when thinking is all it is supposed to do.

At the end of hours of train-dreaming, we may feel we have been returned to ourselves - that is, brought back into contact with emotions and ideas of importance to us. It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true selves. The furniture insists that we cannot change because it does not; the domestice setting keeps us tethered to the person we are in ordinary life, but who may not be who we essentially are.

If we find poetry in the service station and motel, if we are drawn to the airport or train carriage, it is perhaps because, in spite of their architectural compromises and discomforts, in spite of their garish colours and harsh lighting, we implicitly feel that these isolated places offer us a material setting for an alternative to the selfish ease, the habits and confinement of the ordinary, rooted world.”
― Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel

“The largest part of what we call 'personality' is determined by how we've opted to defend ourselves against anxiety and sadness".”
― Alain de Botton

“It seemed an advantage to be traveling alone. Our responses to the world are crucially moulded by the company we keep, for we temper our curiosity to fit in with the expectations of others...Being closely observed by a companion can also inhibit our observation of others; then, too, we may become caught up in adjusting ourselves to the companion's questions and remarks, or feel the need to make ourselves seem more normal than is good for our curiosity.”
― Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel

“The more familiar two people become, the more the language they speak together departs from that of the ordinary, dictionary-defined discourse. Familiarity creates a new language, an in-house language of intimacy that carries reference to the story the two lovers are weaving together and that cannot be readily understood by others.”
― Alain de Botton, On Love

“Booksellers are the most valuable destination for the lonely, given the numbers of books written because authors couldn't find anyone to talk to.”
― Alain de Botton, The Consolations of Philosophy

“The difference between hope and despair is a different way of telling stories from the same facts.”
― Alain de Botton

“Do you love me enough that I may be weak with you? Everyone loves strength, but do you love me for my weakness? That is the real test.”
― Alain de Botton

“The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to.”
― Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel

Howl into the New Year

Language of the Wolves...

narrated by Robert Redford

The language and music of the Wolves Some slightly technical information: The wolf howl is a long, low, mournful sound. It is continuous-from about half a second to II seconds in length. It consists of a fundamental" frequency, between 150 and 780 cycles per second, and contains up to 12 harmonically related overtones. The pitch remains constant or varies smoothly, and may change direction as many as four or five times. Total intensity does not vary greatly throughout. Yet there is much variation in the howling of different wolves. The following howls were recorded in Ontario, Michigan, and Minnesota.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Abused Wolves And Troubled Teens Find Solace

Abused Wolves And Troubled Teens Find Solace In Each Other

Kalamata Figs and Hummus on Semolina Bread


How to Make Toothpaste for Your Dog



I ordered a box of crickets from the Internet and it went about as well as you’d expect

Playing Cards to Solve Cold Cases

Police use cold case playing cards to try to solve crimes

Dec 19, 2018

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island law enforcement agencies are using special playing cards that feature victims and missing people to try to help solve cold case investigations.

The Pawtucket Police Department collaborated with the Department of Corrections to produce 5,000 cold case card decks. Each card features a photo, case details and information for reporting tips. Unsolved crimes that happened between 1947 and 2017 are featured.

Police received permission from families of victims before printing the cards. Pawtucket Police Detective Sue Cormier says the support for the project was overwhelming. Nineteen police departments submitted cases.

Pawtucket Police used federal funding for the project. Cormier says there are similar card series in 19 other states.

I didn’t suffer peer damage but I did suffer family tribal damage.


Three Things

Three things we need in Woonsocket, RI

1. an affordable pottery studio with kick wheels and kiln, for throwing pots.
2. a supermarket full of affordable fresh produce downtown.
3. a used bookstore
(4. an outdoor public pool)

Yiddish, Russian, English and Arabic

Israel, born out of a dream, a yearning, and then forced to face, for better or worse, what reality brings, found in Amos Oz a writer who combined both the country’s essential idealism and the ability to see the cracked nature of what had been wrought.

Mr. Oz, who died on Friday at the age of 79, was Israel’s most significant cultural ambassador for nearly 50 years, perennially mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. But what he most proudly championed was modern Hebrew itself, the form of the language that Zionism revived.

Mr. Oz never stopped professing an enduring love for its mongrel qualities. He thrilled at the chance to work in a tongue that had deep biblical references embedded in the root of nearly every word, but that also borrowed heavily from Yiddish, Russian, English and Arabic.

This new-old language was the perfect vehicle for the role Mr. Oz came to embody, a sort of sociologist and psychologist of the Israeli soul. “I bring up the evil spirits and record the traumas, the fantasies, the lunacies of Israeli Jews, natives and those from Central Europe,” Mr. Oz said in a 1978 interview with The Times. “I deal with their ambitions and the powderbox of self-denial and self-hatred.”

Amos Oz

“Without a wound,” he once said, “there is no author.”

As a young teenager, two and a half years after his mother’s suicide, he rebelled and moved to Kibbutz Hulda, swapping his urban home for fresh air and a communal life. It was there that he changed his surname to Oz, Hebrew for courage.

He said he “decided to become everything his father was not.”

In a 2009 interview with The New York Times, he said he marked the separation between his political and literary writing by using pens with two colors of ink, one blue and the other black, that sat on his desk.

“I never mix them up,” he said of the pens. “One is to tell the government to go to hell. The other is to tell stories.”

After returning to Israel, the family moved from lush Hulda to the southern desert town of Arad, where the dry air was considered beneficial for their son, Daniel, who suffered from asthma. They made Arad their home for decades.

There, Mr. Oz described a daily routine of rising at 5 a.m., drinking coffee and going for a walk to breathe the desert air before settling down to write in his small basement study.


Bob Colonna: RI College

Bob Colonna
Nazarian Center (NC)
(401) 456-9883

Bob Colonna has been an actor, director, narrator, announcer and performer professionally for over fifty-five years, beginning on the British Variety stage with his father, the beloved comedian Jerry Colonna. He has been seen in Boston at The Huntington Theatre, Lyric Stage and Speakeasy Stage, in Providence at Trinity Rep, at Milwaukee Rep (WI), the Old Globe (CA), the Bread Loaf School of English (VT) The Theater at Monmouth (ME) and Festival 56 (IL). He is founder and artistic director since 1971 of The Rhode Island Shakespeare Theater. He has also directed at RIC and several other Rhode Island colleges, as well as at The Theater at Monmouth, 2nd Story Theatre, New Stage, Epic Theatre, and many other venues. His voice has been heard in over 5000 radio commercials in the New England area. His recently released biography of his dad is available at Outside He was a recipient of the 2007 Claiborne Pell Award for Excellence In The Arts.​​

Vipassana Meditation Center

Vipassana Meditation Center – Dhamma Dharā
Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin
Massachusetts, USA

The Mom Videos

Best comedian ever.

Barbara Kingsolver

5 Writing Tips: Barbara Kingsolver
"The enterprise of writing a book has to feel like walking into a cathedral."
By Barbara Kingsolver |
Oct 12, 2018

Writers work successfully in so many different ways, I never assume that what works for me is best for someone else. But if a common denominator exists among us, it might be attitude: the enterprise of writing a book has to feel like walking into a cathedral. It demands humility. The body of all written words already in print is vaulted and vast. You think you have something new to add to that? If so, it can only come from a position of respect: for the form, the process, and eventually for a reader’s valuable attention.

But if you’ve got a writer’s blood in your veins, you’re going to do it anyway. So it’s a project of balancing the audacity to do this work, and the humility to keep trying until you’ve gotten it right. Here are some strategies.

1. To begin, give yourself permission to write a bad book. Writer’s block is another name for writer’s dread—the paralyzing fear that our work won’t measure up. It doesn’t matter how many books I’ve published, starting the next one always feels as daunting as the first. A day comes when I just have to make a deal with myself: write something anyway, even if it’s awful. Nobody has to know. Maybe it never leaves this room! Just go. Bang out a draft.

2. Then revise until it’s not a bad book. Revision is my favorite work, the part of the process when art really happens. Once you know where you’re going, you can back up and tilt every scene in just the right direction. You can replace every serviceable sentence with one that glows with its own original light. This of course requires an eagerness to throw away a lot of serviceable sentences. Lean on the delete key. It’s frustrating to write a hundred pages you know will not survive, but this is the dirt you have to excavate to get to the vein of gold. These are pages of your novel too, just the unseen ones—let’s call them pages negative-100 to zero—and you can’t skip them. If it helps, keep a “recycle” folder: when you’ve written a scene you love, but reluctantly concede that it’s not moving your story forward, clip and save it in a “maybe” file in case you find some good use for it later. Probably you won’t. But if that illusion helps you cut harder and deeper, this is all to the good.

3. Get cozy with your own company. It’s no coincidence that a lot of writers are introverts. At some point in the life of a manuscript you’ll want to get feedback, but not while it’s in the birth canal. Ninety-nine percent of your working life will be spent laboring in a room by yourself. I can’t overstate the value of silencing the social noise and writing with nobody looking over your shoulder. Other people may tell you what sells, what the market is hungry for, and to my mind that information is unhelpful, if not toxic. If you hope to add some original stone to the cathedral of books in print, it will have to come from your unique position in the universe. It takes a quiet acquaintance with your own mind to identify that place.

4. Study something other than writing. In school, in life, wherever you can get it, acquiring authority over interesting material will boost the confidence side of your writing equation. I feel incredibly lucky to be one of the few novelists on the planet who followed the (somewhat accidental) plan of getting undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology before starting my literary career. If I had it all to do over again, on purpose, I would follow the same course, not just because I love science but also because of the career edge it offers. I have at my disposal a well of information on, say, evolutionary theory, genetics, the mechanics of climate change and such as that, which I can work to translate into literature for readers who didn’t take those classes but are honestly eager to learn. If I had three wishes, I might spend one on giving more scientists the facility and will to write novels. We could also use more novelist-anthropologists, civil engineers, farmers, you name it. Craft is a lifelong study for writers: debut novels I read for fresh vision; classics I reread carefully for technique; the plots of movies I deconstruct while my patient husband drives us home from the theater. Craft is always on the table. But content can make the meal.

5. If you’re young, and a smoker, you should quit. Ditto for all other habits likely to shorten your life. Self-destructive behaviors are useful to a writing career only in the movies. In actual experience I’ve never known a manuscript to be moved forward by a reckless affair, drinking binge, or tangle with the law. The boring truth is we need to look after ourselves, for a good reason: getting old is our secret weapon. Readers come to books for many reasons, but ultimately they’re looking for wisdom. That’s something writers can offer only after we’ve accrued it, like scar tissue, usually by surviving things we didn’t want to deal with—a process otherwise known as aging. This is fantastically good news! Twenty, thirty, or forty years after all the athletes, dancers, models and actors of our cohort have been put out to pasture, we can look forward to doing our greatest work.

Barbara Kingsolver's latest novel is Unsheltered.


Woonsocket RI
Life here isn’t about what how much you have. It's about how much you give, it's about community, even for introverts (like me).

It’s hard to start your training in the foxhole.

The letters that I get from people in political camps are like they’re being written from foxholes in Vietnam. You know, when you’re ducking bullets and you haven’t been trained in contemplative stuff, it’s really hard to start your training at that moment.

It’s hard to start your training in the foxhole.

-Ram Dass

Reactive Puppetry

If you don’t use the part of the mind that is the intuitive heart-mind, if you don’t cultivate it and use it, you’re just left in a reactive kind of puppetry.
- Ram Dass


A Cyclothymic from Saturn

God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.

Last night I told my husband that I was ready to marry my painting. I've had a bunch of tough uphill days and a few surprising flow days that made me remember the romance of painting that I used to have as a child, days that made me want to grow up to be a painter. Sinking in to the flow is the ultimate gift because I am awake and alive and in the process. Dare I say I sometimes enjoy it? I do not use the word enjoy and painting in the same sentence very often, not since I was 11 and first fell deeply in love with it. I told my first boyfriend painting was my first marriage.

Lately I have been in 'receive mode' which is an inward and often excruciatingly painful emotional place that I live in twice a year. I drop off the radar. I get quiet. Morning is hell. I contemplate suicide. Deciding to paint feels like a matter of life or death. One of the gifts of receive mode is that I can hear what my paintings want. I know it sounds strange but let me explain. I am laid so low receiving signals from within that the only place to hide is in my art. Many of these signals are a hellish narrative of fears, panic, and doom and gloom coming from my own mind. Keeping a simple routine can be a life saver. Get up, have coffee, read the news and emails, spew letters to God in my notebook, take a shower, walk Lily, have a meal, touch the brush. Then afterwards take a long walk to the pond and swim. Each element is inward then outward, alternating, building stability to counteract the internal tumult. I try to guide this state toward what it is good for, painting. Gentle, clear, persevere, is my motto. When my painting is not flowing I find refuge in the physical, my walks and swims. Yet when my painting is flowing I still find refuge in my walks and swims.

'Transmit mode' comes twice a year also, and is the opposite of receive mode. Morning is sacred. I wake with joy bubbles in my abdomen at two or three AM and I get up and go to my desk to write. Everything is sensory and lush and my physical energy and joy is gushing. I am on the other side of Saturn. Words, thoughts and ideas are flowing and all is right with the world. Life is perfect flow. I am not in the land of painting, I am in the land of words and poetry. I am in the land of people. I am talkative. After writing I willingly houseclean. I find joy in vacuuming and washing blankets and curtains. The internal narrative is utopian and makes perfect sense to me. I read and read. Words are delicious morsels I taste in my ear. I bake and cook. I have appetite. My skin is singing, electric, and I dance. I feel happy and beautiful and I am ready to make a banquet for my friends, neighbors, the whole city.

Both states are lonely and not lonely. Both states are about my life on Saturn. I try to bargain with the gods to let me live in one home but they do not comply. This is how you were made, they remind me. Go forth and make good use of it. My challenge is to accept that I was born with two wings to fly. It's always a difficult challenge. I share my challenge as honestly as I can.

Posted by The Urban Mermaid on Friday, April 03, 2015

Mermaid's Den

Maison de Poupée

A fabric doll house!

So cute!

You can Freeze Hummus!

Yes, you can freeze hummus.

I have not tried it but it's good to know. When I make it I make two pounds....but we share it and give it away.

I Was A Dancer

Mr. d’Amboise in the title role of George Balanchine’s “Apollo” in 1962. “I want American boy!” Mr. d’Amboise said Balanchine told him. “He wanted me to be a wild, untamed youth, not just look pretty and make poses.”

[Jerome] Robbins took what you did naturally, enhanced, packaged, and presented it--he helped you become more of what you already were. [George] Balanchine took the music, developed his own ideas of movement, and challenged you to become more than you thought you could be. With Robbins, you were amplified; with Balanchine, you were transformed.

- from I Was A Dancer by Jacques d'Amboise, from Best American Poetry

Friday, December 28, 2018


In order for your consciousness to not be trapped in the stuff of life, it takes some effort, discipline and work with one’s mind.
- Ram Dass

Incarcerated Women

Shackling pregnant women during delivery has zero safety or health purposes, and serves only to demean and endanger the individual and her infant. The First Step Act moves toward permanently banning this practice by prohibiting federal correctional authorities from shackling incarcerated women during pregnancy and for a period thereafter, with some exceptions. The act also requires the federal Bureau of Prisons to provide sanitary napkins and tampons at no charge. As with the shackling of pregnant women, unnecessary restrictions on access to menstrual health products have turned a normal bodily function into a nightmare for people in prison.

The First Step Act Is a Small Step for Incarcerated Women

Eve Peyser


Sister Wendy Beckett

Sister Wendy Beckett, Nun Who Became a BBC Star, Dies at 88

“Adam’s sprawled there in his naked male glory, but he’s not alive,” she told viewers in 1996. “All he can do is lift up a flaccid finger, and out of the clouds whirls down the God of Power. In his great flying cloak there’s a world. Whether that’s Eve or not, there’s a human face there looking straight at Adam with the eyes daring him to respond to the challenge. And God’s finger touches that of Man.”

For all her success, she remained a nun with commitments to prayer, solitude (when possible) and vows of poverty. She assigned all her earnings to a Carmelite order that had sheltered her for decades, and she attended Mass daily, even when traveling.

Until she was 61, she had been a model of worldly renunciation: a hermit living in a windowless trailer on the grounds of the Carmelite Monastery in East Anglia, subsisting mainly on skim milk and rarely speaking to anyone. She prayed seven hours a day and went out only to morning Mass or to a mobile library van for books.



You’re waking up earlier in the morning and your energy is readily available – no more desire to pull the blankets over your head and return to the soothing cocoon of sleep. Your thoughts are moving faster, you’re connected to your creativity and you’re experiencing the desire to open up and blossom, just like everything else around you. You breeze through your day with a fair amount of energy and when evening comes along you don’t really want to wind down. There is so much more still to do and sleep feels like interference.

Anger Article

All the RAGE

Home Made Hummus

My favorite food made at home.

soak a pound of chick peas overnight or for 6-8 hours
pressure cook them with TBS olive oil
let them cool a bit

puree a can of tahini in processor or blender and hold back half

squeeze 3 fresh lemons and strain out the juice

add fresh lemon juice to 1/2 of the 1 pound can of tahini in the processer.
add garlic (fresh), 1 or 2 tsps cumin, kosher salt, and pinches of cayenne to taste.

add the chick peas without the cooking liquid

add the liquid as needed.

A Vain Attempt

“The whole of reality was just a vain attempt to imitate the world of words.”
― Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness

Teaspoon: Amos Oz

“I believe that if one person is watching a huge calamity, let’s say a conflagration, a fire, there are always three principle options.

1. Run away, as far away and as fast as you can and let those who cannot run burn.

2. Write a very angry letter to the editor of your paper demanding that the responsible people be removed from office with disgrace. Or, for that matter, launch a demonstration.

3. Bring a bucket of water and throw it on the fire, and if you don’t have a bucket, bring a glass, and if you don’t have a glass, use a teaspoon, everyone has a teaspoon. And yes, I know a teaspoon is little and the fire is huge but there are millions of us and each one of us has a teaspoon. Now I would like to establish the Order of the Teaspoon. People who share my attitude, not the run away attitude, or the letter attitude, but the teaspoon attitude – I would like them to walk around wearing a little teaspoon on the lapel of their jackets, so that we know that we are in the same movement, in the same brotherhood, in the same order, The Order of the Teaspoon.”
― Amos Oz

A book would never let you down

“While it was true that books could change with the years just as much as people could, the difference was that whereas people would always drop you when they could no longer get any advantage or pleasure or interest or at least a good feeling from you, a book would never abandon you. Naturally you sometimes dropped them, maybe for several years, or even forever. But they, even if you betrayed them, would never turn their backs on you: they would go on waiting for you silently and humbly on their shelf. They would wait for ten years. They wouldn't complain. One night, when you suddenly needed a book, even at three in the morning, even if it was a book you had abandoned and erased from your heart for years and years, it would never disappoint you, it would come down from its shelf and keep you company in your moment of need. It would not try to get its own back or make excuses or ask itself if it was worth its while or if you deserved it or if you still suited each other, it would come at once as soon as you asked. A book would never let you down.”
― Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness

Scenes from Village Life

“He had the feeling that he must make a decision, and though he was used to making many decisions every day, this time he was beset with uncertainty; in fact he had no idea what was being asked of him”
― Amos Oz, Scenes from Village Life


“Facts have a tendency to obscure the truth.”
― Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness

A Conflict

“A conflict begins and ends in the hearts and minds of people, not in the hilltops.”
― Amos Oz

Love is a Disease

“Love is a curious mixture of opposites, a blend of extreme selfishness and total devotion. A paradox! Besides which, love, everybody is always talking about love, love, but love isn't something you choose, you catch it like a disease, you get trapped in it, like a disaster.”
― Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness

Soul of a Country

“The best way to know the soul of another country is to read its literature.”
― Amos Oz

To Be a Book

“When I was little, my ambition was to grow up to be a book. Not a writer. People can be killed like ants. Writers are not hard to kill either. But not books: however systematically you try to destroy them, there is always a chance that a copy will survive and continue to enjoy a shelf-life in some corner on an out-of-the-way library somewhere in Reykjavik, Valladolid or Vancouver.”
― Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness

Steer clear of the tryant lovers

“There are lots of women who are attracted to tyrannical men. Like moths to a flame. And there are some women who do not need a hero or even a stormy lover but a friend. Just remember that when you grow up. Steer clear of the tryant lovers, and try to locate the ones who are looking for a man as a friend, not because they are feeling empty themselves but because they enjoy making you full too. And remember that friendship between a woman and a man is something much more precious and rare than love: love is actually something quite gross and even clumsy compared to friendship. Friendship includes a measure of sensitivity, attentiveness, generosity, and a finely tuned sense of moderation.”
― Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness

Small Sips

“Every single pleasure I can imagine or have experienced is more delightful, more of a pleasure, if you take it in small sips, if you take your time. Reading is not an exception.”
― Amos Oz

RIP Amos Oz

I find the family the most mysterious and fascinating institution in the world.

A conflict begins and ends in the hearts and minds of people, not in the hilltops.

All of my novels are democracies.


The Committee of Sleep

The Committee of Sleep: How Artists, Scientists, and Athletes Use ... Their Dreams for Creative Problem Solving-And How You Can Too [Deirdre Barrett]

The Ziti and the Committee of Sleep

"It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it."
--John Steinbeck

The ziti is flow, keep your ziti open.


My advice is not to wait to be struck by an idea. If you’re a writer, you sit down and damn well decide to have an idea. That’s the way to get an idea.

Detectives and Writers

A writer has to have some kind of compulsive drive to do his work. If you don’t have it, you’d better find another kind of work, because it’s the only compulsion that will drive you through the psychological nightmares of writing.


Amanda Palmer

When you’re an artist, nobody ever tells you or hits you with the magic wand of legitimacy. You have to hit your own head with your own handmade wand.

Poking and Prodding

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prodding with a purpose.

Arthur Miller

The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.

Allison Steele the Night Bird

I always wanted to grow up and become Allison Steele the NIGHT BIRD.
September 28, 1995, The New York Times Archives

Alison Steele, whose sultry voice and iron will helped her become one of the first women in the country to be hired as a disk jockey, died yesterday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. She was 58.

Ms. Steele, who lived in Manhattan, died of cancer, her family said.

She was widely known to late-night radio listeners as "the Nightbird." Her most recent perch was WXRK, a classic rock-and-roll station at 92.3 FM. She was on Monday through Friday from 2 to 6 A.M.

Ms. Steele loved to work hours that most other people find good for sleeping. "I'm a night person," she said in 1971, when she was with WNEW, where she worked on AM and FM for about 14 years. "I think it has a mysterious quality. I never get lonely up here."

Blue Light in Gotham City

New York Today
N.Y. Today: What We Know About the Explosion and the Blue Light

By Azi Paybarah

Dec. 28, 2018

It’s Friday.

Weather: Something for everyone: buckets of warmish rain today with a high of 57, sunny on Saturday, cold on Sunday, raw and rainy New Year’s Eve.

Alternate-side parking: in effect till New Year’s Day.
The Queens explosion as seen from a Brooklyn rooftop about 10 miles away.CreditIlana Storace

For a few minutes last night, it seemed as if the world was ending.

Around 9:12 p.m., the sky over New York City turned several shades of bright fluorescent blue. There was smoke and a loud hum. People freaked out on social media, wondering if aliens had invaded. La Guardia Airport went dark.

The culprit turned out to be an explosion at a Con Edison plant in Queens. Miraculously, there were no injuries, except perhaps to the feelings of those who truly wanted to meet some aliens.

[Read the full story on the explosion.]

Times reporters will be following the story all day, so check back for updates.

For now, here’s what we know:

• The cause: Mayor Bill de Blasio said the light was caused by an “electrical surge” at a Con Ed substation in Astoria, at the northern tip of Queens.

A Con Edison spokesman, Bob McGee, said early this morning: “What people were seeing was an electric arc flash. The electrical arc of that magnitude is similar to a thunder and lightning event.” The sound people heard was “the arc striking the ground.”

The Police Department described it, bluntly, as a “transformer explosion.” The reason for the explosion remained unclear this morning. The authorities have not mentioned any possible contamination from the blast.

• The impact: Power was shut down at La Guardia Airport, near the plant, for about 45 minutes and flights were grounded. A few dozen homes briefly lost power.

The No. 7 subway line was partly, and briefly, shut down.

• How the city responded: With confusion, fear and lots of humor on social media.

Besides those inevitable jokes about an alien invasion, there were also comparisons to the movie “Ghostbusters,” and someone guessed this was part of the third season of “Stranger Things.”

One reporter raised the possibility of it being linked to President Trump, tweeting, “Space Force!”

One person called this whole strange episode the Astoria Borealis.

Even the police got caught up in the night’s strange mood: “No injuries, no fire, no evidence of extraterrestrial activity.”

Ian Hendrickson

Amy Winehouse
Her bari sax player is AMAZING
“She was really just one of the fellas,” he says. “I miss her to this day, man. She was a real sweetheart. She wrote all those songs. If she would’ve hung on, who knows what she could’ve done or would’ve been capable of. It’s a real loss.”

collective hysterical disorder

Dance Mania
Dancing mania
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Dancing mania" is derived from the term "choreomania", from the Greek choros (dance) and mania (madness),[2]:133–4 and is also known as "dancing plague."[3]:125 The term was coined by Paracelsus,[3]:126 and the condition was initially considered a curse sent by a saint,[4] usually St. John the Baptist[5]:32 or St. Vitus, and was therefore known as "St. Vitus's Dance" or "St. John's Dance". Victims of dancing mania often ended their processions at places dedicated to that saint,[2]:136 who was prayed to in an effort to end the dancing;[3]:126 incidents often broke out around the time of the feast of St. Vitus.[6]:201

St. Vitus's Dance was diagnosed, in the 17th century, as Sydenham chorea.[7] Dancing mania has also been known as epidemic chorea[3]:125 and epidemic dancing.[4] A disease of the nervous system, chorea is characterized by symptoms resembling those of dancing mania,[2]:134 which has also rather unconvincingly been considered a form of epilepsy.[5]:32 Scientists have described dancing mania as a "collective mental disorder," "collective hysterical disorder," and "mass madness."[2]:136

Annual Tune Up

We're in the kitchen getting ready for our beloved boiler man to arrive and tune up the water heater and boiler...

One of the many things I LOVE about Woonsocket is having a community. We love the boiler man and the electrician and plumber and mailman and everyone!

I'm blasting Edith Piaf....

In 1935, Piaf was discovered by Louis Leplée, who owned the successful club Le Gerny off the Champs-Élysées. Her nervous energy and small stature inspired the nickname that would stay with her for the rest of her life: La Môme Piaf ("The Little Sparrow").

Marni Rice

Marni Rice is a performer and author of performance works combining music, song and text. Her musical repertoire includes vintage French Chansons, Euro Cabaret Songs and original music.
In June 2008, her Bi-Lingual English-French solo performance piece: 'Contes de Paris/Tales from Paris' was presented at The St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, Canada and in 2009 at The Tokyo & Kyoto International Fringe Festival, Japan. After receiving an Artist in Residence with MABOU MINES/SUITE with support from the Jerome Foundation and New York Cultural Council, the full French production premiered in 2009 at The Festival Avignon, France and RETIC (International Theatre Encounters of Cameroon). In 2010 at CICACK (Carrefour International Ancient and Contemporary Cultures in Kribi, Cameroon) and in 2011at FITHEGA (International Theater Festival of Gabon).

In the United States she has performed in Regional and Off Broadway Theater productions at Trinity Repertory Company, R.I, and The Miranda Theater, N.Y directed by Tom Fontana, Ann Bogart and Oskar Eustis, at The Bleeker Street Theater, NY in 'Songs of Misery and Love' directed by Vera Beren and as an understudy in the production of 'King Lear' featuring F. Murray Abraham and directed by Robert Brustein at The American Repertory Theater, M.A.

Since 2004, she has participated in the development of Musical Dance Theater works with MUD/BONE; a New York based non-profit theater company with whom she performed in '365 Plays in 365 Days' at The Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York. In 2008 she received an award for 'Original Cabaret Performance' with The Kabarett Kollectif at The Cabaret Awards in New York's Town Hall.
In 2010 she performed in Tamar Kali's "Cabaret Chocolat" at Harlem Stage Company. In Europe, she has performed songs Edith Piaf at the Hungarian National Radio and provided vocal and accordion music for Dance and Theater companies at the Festival D'Avignon (France), Tribuhne Festival in Stuttgart (Germany), The Cultural Festival of Tuscany (Italy), and most recently with Labyrinth Dance Theater at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011.

While studying voice and languages at The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, she started accompanying herself on the accordion in community kitchens, hospitals, and The Department of Immigration and Naturalization in support of political asylum detainees playing traditional folk ballads she learned from her mother, an amateur folk singer and song collector.
Relocating to Paris, she performed on the streets and in cabarets, singing French songs of the first part of the century and began writing a solo show with monologues and stories about living overseas as a stranger in a strange land. Early versions of 'Contes de Paris / Tales from Paris' were performed in Germany at Rudolph Steiner cultural centers, an Immigrant Residence in Cologne and as the show evolved it received development support in New York at Dixon Place, Chashama, MUD/BONE, and Studio 303 in Montreal, Canada.

As a Chanteuse-Accordionist in New York she has appeared at The Lincoln Center Chamber Music series, Symphony Space, Joe’s Pub, The Bowery Ballroom, The Bottom Line, The Bowery Electric, in private events, restaurants, cafes and community gardens. Her diverse musical projects include; 'Marni Rice & Le Garage Cabaret' featuring original songs in French & English, and 'Marni Rice & The Chanson Chamber Salon' featuring European popular and cabaret songs. Since 2006 she has served as back round vocalist and accordionist for 'Mad Juana' in the US and Europe.

I Wish I Was Edith


Patrick Adams: Victims of Wartime Rape

In 1972, Mr. Rahman’s government temporarily waived its ban on abortion for victims of wartime rape and brought in teams of foreign doctors with the International Planned Parenthood Federation to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

Dr. Malcolm Potts of International Planned Parenthood, one of the world’s foremost experts on abortion, led the mission. For weeks, Dr. Potts and colleagues traversed the country treating patients in district hospitals. “We had a tiny numerical impact,” Dr. Potts recalled. “But it was highly visible, and I think it had a lasting impact.”

Suddenly, in places with little or no electricity, clinical infrastructure or skilled care, a midlevel health worker could quickly, safely and with minimal discomfort terminate an early pregnancy.


As police struggle to solve homicides, Baltimore residents see an ‘open season for killing’
By Wesley Lowery
Steven Rich and
Salwan Georges
December 27 at 8:00 AM

“This boils down to the relationship between communities and police,” said Tara Huffman, director of criminal and juvenile justice programs at Open Society Institute-Baltimore. “They need people to come forward, they need people to answer the door when they knock, and they need people to talk to them on the scene.”

“You cannot coerce that,” she said. “You can beg and plead all you want to. If the relationship is screwed up, you’re simply not going to get the help that you need to solve these crimes.”

Laughing for Three Days


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Beatles Birthday Song

Phoebe sent it.

Michael Jordan

"You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them."
- Michael Jordan

Winston Churchill

Churchill: "If you're going through hell, keep going."

Chögyam Trungpa

“Enlightenment is ego's ultimate disappointment.”
― Chögyam Trungpa

“We do not have to be ashamed of what we are. As sentient beings we have wonderful backgrounds. These backgrounds may not be particularly enlightened or peaceful or intelligent. Nevertheless, we have soil good enough to cultivate; we can plant anything in it.”
― Chögyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

“The essence of warriorship, or the essence of human bravery, is refusing to give up on anyone or anything.”
― Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

“If you are a warrior, decency means that you are not cheating anybody at all. You are not even about to cheat anybody. There is a sense of straightforwardness and simplicity. With setting-sun vision, or vision based on cowardice, straightforwardness is always a problem. If people have some story or news to tell somebody else, first of all they are either excited or disappointed. Then they begin to figure out how to tell their news. They develop a plan, which leads them completely away from simply telling it. By the time a person hears the news, it is not news at all, but opinion. It becomes a message of some kind, rather than fresh, straightforward news. Decency is the absence of strategy. It is of utmost importance to realize that the warrior’s approach should be simple-minded sometimes, very simple and straightforward. That makes it very beautiful: you having nothing up your sleeve; therefore a sense of genuineness comes through. That is decency.”
― Chögyam Trungpa

Neuroscientist Discovered...

The Neuroscientist Who Discovered He Was a Psychopath
While studying brain scans to search for patterns that correlated with psychopathic behavior, James Fallon found that his own brain fit the profile

Read more:

O Brother, Where Art Thou


Strange Sloth

Smithsonian Illustration

Trauma Bonds

When I come out of receive mode into transmit mode after 12 weeks, it feels as if the sun has come out from behind a cloud. I fixate on random things and people I come across simply because I feel good. It's like a trauma bond. I struggle to be wise about what I attach to and obsess over. I choose playing my sax and accordion, writing, swimming, rather than eating chocolate, talking on the phone, emailing, or vacuuming. The burst of energy says "give yourself away to anything and everything," when in fact the energy is meant for me, for my work.

Winter White Vegetables


Chogyam Trungpa

The attainment of enlightenment from ego’s point of view is extreme death, the death of self, the death of me and mine, the death of the watcher. It is the ultimate and final disappointment.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Rolling in Dough

Library Labrador

New service dog for the young front desk librarian GORGEOUS yellow lab.

I met her this morning.

Swim Your Age

I am 58 today but in Mermaid Years it's 23.


When Christmas was despised and banned for 22 years in Massachusetts

Whether you like it or not, Christmas is a holiday that is nearly impossible to hide from. It's an in-your-face holiday for at least three months out of the year, with Christmas marketing, sales and decorations appearing in malls and other public spaces as early as October. But this wasn't always the case.

Here's a fascinating short video explaining the 22-year ban on Christmas enacted by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1659. Back then the Puritans despised Christmas, which was associated with debauchery, according to the video. Christmas encouraged people to drink "copious amounts of alcohol," riot in the streets, gorge on food (gasp!), and was the catalyst of rowdiness and sinful behavior.

In other words, Christmas, back then, was not considered to be family friendly. "But in the end," the narrator states, "we can partially thank commercialization for sustaining the domestic brand of Christmas we have today." Yippee?

58 Years Ago today...

My parents fought in the Flower Fifth Avenue NYC hospital over how to spell my middle name. The divorce followed.

Bunny Sized Snail


Newton's Third Law

... think about Newton’s third law of motion — for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction — and translate it to “for every thought, there is an equal and opposite thought,” advises Robert London, MD.

To Fall

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

Jorge Luis Borges

The fact is that all writers create their precursors. Their work modifies our conception of the past, just as it is bound to modify the future.

Jorge Luis Borges

To Die For

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

Pleases Us

I cannot walk through the suburbs in the solitude of the night without thinking that the night pleases us because it suppresses idle details, just as our memory does.
Jorge Luis Borges

The Infinite

There is a concept that is the corrupter and destroyer of all others. I speak not of Evil, whose limited empire is that of ethics; I speak of the infinite.
Jorges Luis Borges

Poetry Remembers

Poetry remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art.
-Jorge Luis Borges


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

a tiger that devours me

Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.
-Jorge Luis Borges


Any life is made up of a single moment, the moment in which a man finds out, once and for all, who he is.
-Jorge Luis Borges

Single Moment

Any life is made up of a single moment, the moment in which a man finds out, once and for all, who he is.
-Jorge Luis Borges

Bandits and Soldiers

I foresee that man will resign himself each day to new abominations, and soon that only bandits and soldiers will be left.
-Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges

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

Jorge Luis Borges

In general, every country has the language it deserves.
Jorge Luis Borges


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

Cry Laughing

comedian Alyssa Limperis

Bowie and Turner

Tina Turner & David Bowie -Tonight (Private Dancer Tour 1985)

David Bowie


Aretha Franklin: Think

Etta James & B. B. King

There's Something on Your Mind

Etta James 1:23 / 8:20
Etta James - I'd Rather Be Blind (Live at Montreux 1975)

Accordion Dreams

My go to album for accordion practice...
1:24 / 1:36:44
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Soundtrack) (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) [Full Album]

Brussells Sprouts and Green Beans and Broccoli

Holiday greenery! With carrots for color! And garlic and ginger and soy sauce olive oil and Sriracha sauce added...ROASTED and STIR FRIED...
but today I need a rest.


They have it figured out in Canada. They say Half your plate.


Two beautiful numbers; five and eight can now be added to 1960.

The best gift this year has been switching into TRANSMIT MODE since December 24th. I've waited three months!

Yesterday, in my happiness I read all day and washed my dog and baked vegetables.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Mary Widdicks

On Parenting Perspective
The ancient behavioral theory I’m hoping will help me connect with my frustrated 4-year-old
By Mary Widdicks
December 26 at 9:00 AM

Have you ever contemplated the word “but” and why it exists in the English language? It’s a contradiction, a counterargument, and syntactically discounts everything preceding it. In a debate, it is a shorthand way of saying, “Everything you just said is wrong. Now listen to me.” Now try saying that to a toddler, and see what happens. Chances are, you just got pinched, shouted at or bitten. Children spend most of their days feeling powerless. When they don’t feel heard or validated, they get angry. They fight back.



“Meditation is the highest form of prayer. In it you are so close to god that you don’t need to say a thing. It is just great to be together.”
- Ram Dass

Alyssa Limperis: A Note on Grief

He can feel so close. Both my dad and my life with my dad. They are so close when the grief is so strong. They are right there, right out of reach. And it’s what makes the pain so bad. I am forced to look at it right in the eye. Me and a tiger looking at each other knowing the only way out of the ring is to be eaten alive by it. There’s no going around it or putting it aside. The only option is to let it take control of my body. All the other days, it is the other way around. It is my body fighting it off and pushing it as far away and shoving things in my life and in my day so that I can just avoid eye contact with it.

As if someone had just told me the news. There are no stages. There is no number of years that make it better. There is no better. There is just days where the grief is hiding, days where grief is building and days where grief is driving.

Alyssa Limperis A Note on Grief August 03, 2018

Cup of Tea

"Our study suggests that drinking black tea may speed up our recovery from the daily stresses in life. Although it does not appear to reduce the actual levels of stress we experience, tea does seem to have a greater effect in bringing stress hormone levels back to normal," says researcher Andrew Steptoe, of the University College London, in a news release. "This has important health implications, because slow recovery following acute stress has been associated with a greater risk of chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease."

free-range parenting law

There has been a growing movement against the relentlessness of modern-day parenting. Utah passed a free-range parenting law, exempting parents from accusations of neglect if they let their children play or commute unattended.


Barry Meier

Opioid Makers Are the Big Winners in Lawsuit Settlements

State and local governments are giving up opportunities to hold the drug industry accountable for Americans’ overdose deaths.

By Barry Meier

Mr. Meier is the author of “Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic.”

Dec. 26, 2018

Henry Brothers

Bill Henry on Fiddle with his brothers. (yellow sunglasses) Middlesex Music Festival 2014


The video, shows Anu, a seven-year-old from Birmingham, walking into school wearing her brand new prosthetic leg.

Richard Maguire

I was once given the advice to always “go weirder.”

I love that advice! When I’m a little scared with new work, I know it’s usually the right direction. I like challenging myself.


Food Charity Rescue

How the Son of Immigrants Quit Wall Street to Feed the Hungry

A small non-profit is saving high-quality leftover food before it gets thrown away and diverting it to needy New Yorkers.


December 20, 2018

Celeste's Spiced Pecans

1 lb pecan halves, shelled
½ cup maple syrup
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt


1. Preheat oven to 350° F. (we baked at 225°) Line sheet pan with parchment. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Arrange mixture in a single layer on pan. Bake 15 minutes, then stir. 2. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Allow pecans to cool 5 minutes, then stir to loosen individual pieces. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container. Yield 8 servings

Pigs and Papa

Toshiteru Yamaji - Pigs and Papa (Japanese Edition) (Japanese) Paperback
by I have a mountain (Author)

Japanese Mask


Michelle Novello

Michelle Novello Coaching

Do you have a vision for your future that seems out of reach? Are you concerned that you're not reaching your full potential? Are you stuck about how to ...

Moving things Around

We set up the table in the attic to count pizzelle and now I want to keep the table up...

Maybe I will clear a space and put my sewing machine in my I have threatened to do for 23 years!!

Whenever my mood lifts I want to vacuum It's my built in Suzy Homemaker gene.

Whenever my mood lifts I want to play my accordion!

Whenever my mood lifts I want to feed people!

Whenever my mood lifts I want to write and talk....

Become the Environment

When you are no longer laying trips on anyone, not discriminating individual differences, you become the environment in which the optimum growth is available to all human beings you come into contact with.
- Ram Dass

Ram Dass, Optimum Growth

Claire Cock-Starkey Cups of Tea

I like to write best in my little study in my house. It is full of useful reference books and is nice and close to the kettle, allowing me to fuel my work with numerous cups of tea.

What’s your advice to new writers?

Read, read, read! Read everything from books to leaflets to magazines to blogs. The more widely you read the greater your vocabulary will become, your ability to understand style and form will improve and you will collect ideas and inspiration. Writing non-fiction might not appear as creative as writing fiction, but curating words to form beautiful sentences to convey a great idea or communicate a complicated explanation in a easy-to-read fashion is, I believe, very creative.

Claire Cock-Starkey lives and works in Cambridge, England. Claire has published 10 books on history, libraries, books and words including Penguins, Pineapples and Pangolins, The Book Lovers' Miscellany and The Real McCoy and 149 Other Eponyms.


Jennifer Finney Boylan

When I was a student in London, my professor, a Briton, explained that it was called Boxing Day because it’s the day disappointed children punch one another out.

For years I trusted this story, which only proves that there are some people who will believe anything, and I am one of them.

Suffering as Grace

As my guru said, God comes to the hungry person in the form of food. You give them food and then when they’ve had their belly filled then they may be interested in questions about God.
Ram Dass, Richard Alpert


The Relentlessness of Modern Parenting

Raising children has become significantly more time-consuming and expensive, amid a sense that opportunity has grown more elusive.
Claire Cain Miller

By Claire Cain Miller

Dec. 25, 2018

It starts in utero, when mothers are told to avoid cold cuts and coffee, lest they harm the baby. Then: video baby monitors. Homemade baby food. Sugar-free birthday cake. Toddler music classes. Breast-feeding exclusively. Spraying children’s hands with sanitizer and covering them in “natural” sunscreen. Throwing Pinterest-perfect birthday parties. Eating lunch in their children’s school cafeterias. Calling employers after their adult children interview for jobs.