Monday, September 16, 2019

Shades Pulled

I woke with a headache. The venetian blinds are keeping the light out of the room. The fan is circulating air and providing white noise. Sammy cat and Romeo dog are with me. I spent the weekend searching through all of my writings over the past 14 years making piles. I did not stop to swim or bathe I have been mesmerized by the task.

Hans Augusto Reyersbach

Today is the birthday of H.A. Rey (books by this author), born Hans Augusto Reyersbach in Hamburg, Germany (1898). He grew up near the Hagenbeck Zoo, and spent many happy hours watching and drawing the animals, and learning to imitate their sounds. When he was in his 20s, he moved to Rio de Janeiro, changed his last name to “Rey” because it was easier for Brazilians to pronounce, and went to work selling bathtubs.

It was in Rio that he was reunited with Margret Waldstein, a young artist he’d met back in Hamburg, when Margret was still a girl. She convinced him to leave the bathtub trade and together they opened an advertising agency. They were married in Brazil in 1935. They went to Europe on their honeymoon and decided to move back there, but couldn’t return to Germany because they were both Jews, and by this time the Nazis were in power. The Reys settled in Paris instead, and began collaborating on children’s books, with Margret writing the copy and Hans providing the illustrations.

They were living in Paris when the Second World War broke out. “It seems ridiculous to be thinking about children’s books,” Rey wrote to a friend. “[But] life goes on, the editors edit, the artists draw, even during wartime.” One of their collaborations, Raffy and the Nine Monkeys (1939), is about a lonely giraffe who opens her home to a family of monkeys. The youngest monkey was named Fifi, and he was always getting into scrapes; the Reys liked him so much, they decided to write a book that was just about him.

The Reys were at work on their Fifi book when they found out that the Nazis were going to invade Paris. Rey hastily built two bicycles out of spare parts; he and Margret gathered up a very few belongings — including their manuscript — and left the city just two days before the Nazis invaded, funded by the advance they had received for The Adventures of Fifi. They cycled 75 miles in two days, staying in farmhouses and barns. At one point, they were stopped by an official, who thought they might be German spies. He searched their bag, found the monkey manuscript, and released them. The Reys crossed Spain and Portugal, eventually making their way to Lisbon; from there, they sailed to Brazil, where they made arrangements to move to the United States.

They finally arrived in New York City four months after they’d left Paris, and moved to Greenwich Village. Within a week, they had found a publisher for their monkey book, but the publisher thought “Fifi” was a strange name for a boy monkey, so they changed his name. Curious George was published in 1941, and the Reys wrote and illustrated six more stories about him — stories like Curious George Rides a Bike (1952) and Curious George Goes to the Hospital (1966). Each book begins the same way: “George was a good little monkey, but he was always very curious.”

Writer's Almanac

to Love: Vincent Van Gogh

“I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things.”
― Vincent Van Gogh

“It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning.”
― Vincent Van Gogh

“The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too.”
― Vincent van Gogh, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

Jorge Luis Borges

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

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

Haruki Murakami

I don’t dream. Stories are stories; a dream is a dream. And for me, writing itself is like dreaming. When I write, I can dream intentionally. I can start and I can stop and I can continue the next day, as I choose. When you’re asleep and having a good dream, with a big steak or a nice beer or a beautiful girl, and you wake up, it’s all gone. But I can continue the next day!

Haruki Murakami

Art Is...

“Art is making something out of nothing, and selling it.”
― Frank Zappa


“There is no such thing as a dirty word. Nor is there a word so powerful, that it's going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.”
― Frank Zappa

“You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons, but in the very least you need a beer.”
― Frank Zappa

“Tobacco is my favorite vegetable.”
― Frank Zappa

The Slime

“I'm vile and perverted.
I'm obsessed and deranged.
I've existed for years but very little has changed.
I'm the tool of the government and industry too.
For I'm destined to rule and regulate you.
You may think I'm pernicious, but you can't look away.
I'll make you think I'm delicious with the stuff that I say.
I'm the best you can get... have you guessed me yet?
I'm the slime oozing out of your TV set....”
― Frank Zappa


“Take the Kama Sutra. How many people died from the Kama Sutra as opposed to the Bible? Who wins?”
― Frank Zappa

“My best advice to anyone who wants to raise a happy, mentally healthy child is: Keep him or her as far away from a church as you can.”
― Frank Zappa

The Illusion

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
― Frank Zappa

Does that make you a table?

“I never set out to be weird. It was always other people who called me weird.”
― Frank Zappa

“Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.”
― Frank Zappa, Real Frank Zappa Book

“Definition of rock journalism: People who can't write, doing interviews with people who can't think, in order to prepare articles for people who can't read.”
― Frank Zappa, The Real Frank Zappa Book

“Interviewer: 'So Frank, you have long hair. Does that make you a woman?'
Frank Zappa: 'You have a wooden leg. Does that make you a table?”
― Frank Zappa


“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open.”
― Frank Zappa

If You End Up

“If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.”
― Frank Zappa


“If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library.”
― Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”

― Frank Zappa

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A Cry

My entire soul is a cry, and all my work is a commentary on that cry.

Gustave Flaubert

Be regular and ordinary in your life, like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.

Tiger Eye Up Close and Personal

Do What you Love

Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it.


As a writer one doesn’t belong anywhere. Fiction writers, I think, are even more outside the pale, necessarily on the edge of society. Because society and people are our meat, one really doesn’t belong in the midst of society. The great challenge in writing is always to find the universal in the local, the parochial. And to do that, one needs distance.


Do Things

Travel, do things, learn things, embrace experiences you have not yet had, even if they’re not always good ones. Live life. So much of fiction is about filling the tanks for fiction, and so much of that is Doing Different Stuff. I don’t mean to suggest you need to have buckets of money to travel to distant lands — like, if you’ve never driven three towns over, go do it. If you’ve never gone fishing, go fishing. Eat a bug. Climb a tree. Stick an egg-beater up your — wait, no, we decided that wasn’t a thing to do. Change your perspective. Add to the list of things you truly feel comfortable writing about. No, you don’t need to always write what you know, but the things that you know — or better stated, that you have experienced — will be things you will want to write about.


Anthony Abraham Jack

But even as I write these words, I’m aware that this is exactly the kind of story that poor, black and Latinx students are conditioned to write for college application essays. In everyday life, as the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote, we “wear the mask that grins and lies” that “hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,” but when we write these all-important essays we are pushed — by teachers, counselors and anyone who gives advice — to tug the heartstrings of upper-middle-class white admissions officers. “Make them cry,” we hear. And so we pimp out our trauma for a shot at a future we want but can’t fully imagine.

Anthony Abraham Jack is an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the author of “The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students.”

Military Men Sexually Assaulted


Cozy is my favorite feeling. Not high low excited or cranked. COZY. My best childhood memories are of feeling cozy usually after swimming across a pond or after performing hours of gymnastics. Cozy can happen watching a bonfire in autumn or watching fish swim in my fish tank. Cozy can be cuddling with dogs and cats in an environment of acceptance and love. Cozy is the smell of bread baking and soup simmering. Cozy is rarely experienced with other people unless they are also smart introverts.

The Rocks Appear

A Moment of Science
Home Podcasts Archives About Contact

How Rocks Appear In Your Garden
By Don Glass
Posted March 30, 2012

Are rocks magically appearing in your garden? Find out where they're coming from on this Moment of Science.

I wonder how many of us went out this past spring to get our gardens ready for planting, smug in the thought that last year we got rid of all the rocks. There’s that nice big mound of them in the corner of the garden where we piled them. Surely by now they are all cleaned out.

“Wait! What is this?!” we said. A big stone, and another one, and another one! Where did they come from? Did some mischievous kid bury a bunch of them for me to find this spring? Well, that could be, April Fool’s Day wasn’t that long ago. But maybe this time the kids were actually innocent.
Where The Rocks Grow

Any place that has winters cold enough to freeze the ground might experience the magical appearance of rocks welling up from beneath the surface. This is so common in the eastern U.S. that the rocks are called “New England potatoes.”

Here’s what makes these stones mysteriously appear. Stones are better conductors of heat than soil, so the stone conducts heat away from the warmer soil beneath it. That colder soil under the rock then freezes before other dirt at the same depth.

Remember that when water freezes it expands. So, when the water in the soil under the rock freezes, it expands and pushes the rock up a little.

When the ground thaws a space is left under the stone which fills with dirt, so the stone rests a little higher. Over a period of time this repeated freezing, expanding, upward push, and filling underneath eventually shoves the rock to the surface.


disinter verb
dis·​in·​ter | \ ˌdis-in-ˈtər
disinterred; disinterring; disinters
Definition of disinter

transitive verb
1 : to take out of the grave or tomb
2 : to bring back into awareness or prominence also : to bring to light : unearth


“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden


“There is no remedy for love but to love more.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Do not Shun

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden


“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.”
― Henry David Thoreau

At a Distance

“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Michael Smith's Smashed n' Crisped Potatoes

Side Dishes
Oven-Crisped Potatoes
Chef Michael Smith By Chef Michael Smith • 9 years ago

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

Yield: For each person you'll need:

1 leftover baked or boiled skin-on potato
1 tablespoon oil for each potato
a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 °F (230 °C).

Place the cooked potatoes on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet. Push down on each potato with a small flat plate until the potato smashes and spreads out to about twice its original size. You may also use a potato masher if you have one. If a few pieces get loose just push them back into the rest of the works.

Brush or drizzle each potato with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of oil, then season with salt and pepper. Bake until the exposed potato flesh transform into a crispy golden masterpiece, about 30 to 40 minutes.

If you don’t have any leftover potatoes, simply bake a few until tender in a 400 °F (200 °C) oven. Alternatively, steam or microwave them. For any freshly cooked potato, it’s best if you cool it first. A cool potato doesn’t crumble as much when it’s smashed; it tends to stay together in one big smashed piece. Along with the salt and pepper, try sprinkling whole fennel seeds over the potatoes. You’ll love their soft chewy texture and delicate licorice-like flavour.

Sit on a Pumpkin

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Step to the Music

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.”
― Henry David Thoreau


“Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden


“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

The Animal

“The animal merely makes a bed, which he warms with his body in a sheltered place; but man, having discovered fire, boxes up some air in a spacious apartment, and warms that, instead of robbing himself, makes that his bed, in which he can move about divested of more cumbrous clothing, maintain a kind of summer in the midst of winter, and by means of windows even admit the light and with a lamp lengthen out the day.”
― Henry David Thoreau


“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

There is no other Life

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Quiet Desperation

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things..”
― Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays

Henry David Thoreau

“Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitches today to save nine tomorrow.”

― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Introvert's Holiday

It's not winter but I am squirreled away having an introvert's holiday at home reading. Summer blizzard. Silence.

The Healing

I am selecting all of my vignettes so I can show my new editor what I've got. What jumps out at me is how awful and abusive my family has been for 58 years and how much my adult life revolves around animals and reading writing and baking.

Prescription for Mood Indigo

Adopt a house plant, a goldfish, a bird, a cat or a dog and take good care of them.
Read: Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton.
Write your heart out.
Swim at the YMCA
Walk downtown and let everyone tell you their story.
Walk to a coffee shop or the library with your notebook.
Routine can be the scaffolding that holds you up during a storm.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Under the City Shrubs

A man was living in the bushes at City Dental. We saw him a few times when we were walking our dog. He was living under the overgrown shrubs hanging out drinking and sleeping. When we walked by when he wasn't around the space was strewn with diapers and plastic bags as bedding. It was creepy and sad. I called the secretary at the dental office and told her. She said Thank you so much, Honey. Today all five shrubs are gone and the grounds have been cleaned up. We do need a shelter for the homeless and we need it now!


I dreamed I was carrying a pizza in a box. I could feel the warm oily carboard on the palm of my hand as I walked through the city.


Book review

Meg Wolitzer

“But, she knew, you didn’t have to marry your soulmate, and you didn’t even have to marry an Interesting. You didn’t always need to be the dazzler, the firecracker, the one who cracked everyone up, or made everyone want to sleep with you, or be the one who wrote and starred in the play that got the standing ovation. You could cease to be obsessed with the idea of being interesting.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

“She recognized that that is how friendships begin: one person reveals a moment of strangeness, and the other person decides just to listen and not exploit it.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

“People could not get enough of what they had lost, even if they no longer wanted it.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

“You stayed around your children as long as you could, inhaling the ambient gold shavings of their childhood, and at the last minute you tried to see them off into life and hoped that the little piece of time you’d given them was enough to prevent them from one day feeling lonely and afraid and hopeless. You wouldn’t know the outcome for a long time.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Ten-Year Nap

“I always thought it was the saddest and most devastating ending. How you could have these enormous dreams that never get met. How without knowing it you could just make yourself smaller over time. I don't want that to happen to me.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

“And didn't it always go like that--body parts not lining up the way you wanted them to, all of it a little bit off, as if the world itself were an animated sequence of longing and envy and self-hatred and grandiosity and failure and success, a strange and endless cartoon loop that you couldn't stop watching, because, despite all you knew by now, it was still so interesting.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

“But clearly life took people and shook them around until finally they were unrecognizable even to those who had once known them well. Still, there was power in once having known someone.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

“Part of the beauty of love was that you didn’t need to explain it to anyone else. You could refuse to explain. With love, apparently you didn’t necessarily feel the need to explain anything at all.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

“You know, I sometimes think that the most effective people in the world are introverts who taught themselves how to be extroverts.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Female Persuasion

“We're talking about the novel, right? But maybe we're not. We're talking about ourselves. And I guess that's what can start to happen when you talk about a book.”
― Meg Wolitzer, Belzhar

“Everyone,” she continues, looking around at all of us, “has something to say. But not everyone can bear to say it. Your job is to find a way.”
― Meg Wolitzer, Belzhar

“...he’s infuriated that his e-reader allows him to only know the percentage of a book he’s read, not the number of pages. This, he thinks, is 92 percent stupid.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

“I think that’s what the people who change our lives always do. They give us permission to be the person we secretly really long to be but maybe don’t feel we’re allowed to be.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Female Persuasion

“The generation that had information, but no context. Butter, but no bread. Craving, but no longing.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Uncoupling

“Everyone needs a wife; even wives need wives. Wives tend, they hover. Their ears are twin sensitive instruments, satellites picking up the slightest scrape of dissatisfaction. Wives bring broth, we bring paper clips, we bring ourselves and our pliant, warm bodies. We know just what to say to the men who for some reason have a great deal of trouble taking consistent care of themselves or anyone else. “Listen,” we say. “Everything will be okay.” And then, as if our lives depend on it, we make sure it is.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Wife

“Ordinary father-daughter love had a charge to it that generally was both permitted and indulged. There was just something so beautiful about the big father complementing the tiny girl. Bigness and tininess together at last – yet the bigness would never hurt the tininess! It respected it. In a world in which big always crushes tiny, you wanted to cry at the beauty of big being kind of and worshipful of and being humbled by tiny. You couldn’t help but think of your own father as you saw your little girl with hers.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

“No one had told her this would happen, that her girlishness would give way to the solid force of wifehood, motherhood. The choices available were all imperfect. If you chose to be with someone, you often wanted to be alone. If you chose to be alone, you often felt the unbearable need for another body - not necessarily for sex, but just to rub your foot, to sit across the table, to drop his things around the room in a way that was maddening but still served as a reminder that he was there.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Position

“And specialness - everyone wants it. But Jesus, is it the most essential thing there is? Most people aren't talented. So what are they supposed to do - kill themselves?”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

“Apparently, something can happen inside someone you love—it can just happen somehow—and like magic she thinks that she’s had enough, and that the way the two of you have been for a really long time is no longer worth the effort. Does that sound familiar to anyone.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Uncoupling

“After a certain age, you felt a need not to be alone. It grew stronger, like a radio frequency, until finally it was so powerful that you were forced to do something about it.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

“And I also know that pain can seem like an endless ribbon. You pull it and you pull it. You keep gathering it toward you, and as it collects, you really can’t believe that there’s something else at the end of it. Something that isn’t just more pain. But there’s always something else at the end; something at least a little different. You never know what that thing will be, but it’s there.”
― Meg Wolitzer, Belzhar

“At the podium Faith said, "Whenever I give a talk at colleges I meet young women who say, 'I'm not a feminist, but...' By which they mean, 'I don't call myself a feminist, but I want equal pay, and I want to have equal relationships with men, and of course I want to have an equal right to sexual pleasure. I want to have a fair and good life. I don't want to be held back because I'm a woman.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Female Persuasion

“Because the truth is, the world will probably whittle your daughter down. But a mother never should.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

“But this post-college world felt different from everything that had come before it; art was still central, but now everyone had to think about making a living too, and they did so with a kind of scorn for money except as it allowed them to live the way they wanted to live.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

“Self-preservation is as important as generosity. Because if you don't preserve yourself, keep enough for yourself, then of course you have nothing to give.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Female Persuasion

“People like to warn you that by the time you reach the middle of your life, passion will begin to feel like a meal eaten long ago, which you remember with great tenderness.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Uncoupling

“Books light the fire—whether it’s a book that’s already written, or an empty journal that needs to be filled in.”
― Meg Wolitzer, Belzhar

“Well," said Ash, and she got out of her own bed and came to sit beside Jules. "I've always sort of felt that you prepare yourself over the course of your whole life for the big moments, you know? But when they happen, you sometimes feel totally unready for them, or even that they're not what you thought. And that's what makes them strange. The reality is really different from the fantasy.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

“Everyone knows how women soldier on, how women dream up blueprints, recipes, ideas for a better world, and then sometimes lose them on the way to the crib in the middle of the night, on the way to the Stop & Shop, or the bath. They lose them on the way to greasing the path on which their husband and children will ride serenely through life.”
― Meg Wolitzer, The Wife

“Being a teacher at a restaurant in the town where you lived was a little like being a TV star...”
― Meg Wolitzer

A Job to Love


Disappointing Reality

Friendship should be one of the high points of existence, and yet it’s also the most routinely disappointing reality.

Too often, you’re at supper at someone’s house: there’s an impressive spread and the hosts have evidently gone to a lot of trouble. But the conversation is meandering and devoid of real interest. It flits from an over-long description of the failings of the inflight service on a particular airline to a strangely heated discussion about the tax code. The intentions of the hosts are hugely touching, but (as so often) we go home wondering what on earth the whole performance was about.

The Real Person

[W]e’d rather know the real person. [...] We keep on thinking that what people want to see is the red carpet, big achievement formal side of us. But in reality, we crave intimacy. Not in the physical sense, but in the sense of friendship. Friendship is the oatmeal sock version of who we are.

One of the greatest British portraits of all time makes the very same move. Henry Raeburn’s Skating Minister takes a man who was mostly seen looking dignified and authoritative, standing at a pulpit and lecturing the congregation – and it makes him human. It was true 200 years ago, and it’s true today: we’d rather see the real person.

How to End

A peculiar assumption at large is that good people should never wish to prune their social lives. A friend made at one point should remain a friend forever – if one has any virtue or honour. But such a degree of commitment is as implausible as it is ultimately self-defeating. Good friendships need to be sustained by vivid interest on both sides; it is a betrayal of their potential to define them as life-long contracts that cannot be exited without shame.

No Risk or Why Truly Sociable People Hate Parties

Parties as they are currently structured constitute a clever ruse by a sharp minority, perhaps only ten per cent of humanity, to persuade the rest of us that we have been provided with the social contact we crave. But, in truth, it takes a sharply insular and misanthropic person to feel that what goes on in an average party really counts as anything like the requisite encounter with one’s fellow human animal. If we have a lingering horror of parties, we should be generous towards our hunches. It doesn’t mean that we don’t like other people, rather that we have too ambitious a conception of social contact to put up with what is on offer at most parties. The mark of a truly sociable person might, in many situations, simply be a strong desire to stay at home.

Sibling Society

The sibling society is the flattening out of the previously democratic society.
Robert Bly

All of those on the left, as I am, have always vastly preferred the democratic society over the hierarchical society and still do, but the democratic culture doesn't exist without highly informed citizens capable of thinking well, and if you have schools in which 40 percent of the people coming out of them cannot make change for a dollar, you don't have a democracy. You have a sibling society.
Robert Bly

In the sibling society, both the adult and the elder get lost, and no one knows where they are.
Robert Bly

I think more and more people are recognizing how much adults and elders are actually needed. That's a gift of the sibling society.
Robert Bly

I use the phrase 'sibling society' to suggest a culture fundamentally without fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, or ancestors. The thinking is horizontal.
Robert Bly

Robert Bly

I use the phrase 'sibling society' to suggest a culture fundamentally without fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, or ancestors. The thinking is horizontal.
Robert Bly

Donald Miller

Most of us are waiting. We're waiting for something interesting to happen. And I think we're going to wait forever if we don't do something more interesting with our lives.
Donald Miller

Mary Anne Radmacher

Don't Wait! Start on your dreams, your impulses, your longings, your special occasions today. Because this is your moment.
Mary Anne Radmacher

Jerry Smith

Don't wait for your ship to come in - swim out to it.
Jerry Smith

Jacob K. Javits

There is nothing to be gained by waiting for a better situation. You see where you are and you do what you can with that.
Jacob K. Javits

Raymond Chandler

“He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food cake.”
― Raymond Chandler

Hellen Keller

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
― Helen Keller, The Open Door

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
― Helen Keller

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
― Helen Keller

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”
― Helen Keller

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart”
― Helen Keller

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
― Helen Keller, The Open Door

“Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there's a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.”
― Helen Keller

“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”
― Helen Keller, The Story of My Life

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”
― Helen Keller

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
― Helen Keller

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.”
― Helen Keller

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.”
― Helen Keller

“The most pathetic person in the world is some one who has sight but no vision.”
― Helen Keller

“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, For all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”
― Helen Keller

“The highest result of education is tolerance”
― Helen Keller

“Never bend your head. Hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.”
― Helen Keller

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”
― Helen Keller

“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings.”
― Helen Keller

“People don’t like to think, if one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant.”
― Helen Keller

“What I'm looking for is not out there, it is in me.”
― Hellen Keller

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.”
― Helen Keller

“Literature is my Utopia”
― Helen Keller

“We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world”
― Helen Keller

“Happiness does not come from without, it comes from within”
― Helen Keller

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content”
― Helen Keller

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
― Helen Keller

“Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight.”
― Helen Keller

“Relationships are like Rome -- difficult to start out, incredible during the prosperity of the 'golden age', and unbearable during the fall. Then, a new kingdom will come along and the whole process will repeat itself until you come across a kingdom like Egypt... that thrives, and continues to flourish. This kingdom will become your best friend, your soul mate, and your love.”
― Helen Keller

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.”
― Helen Keller

“When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.”
― Helen Keller

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
― Helen Keller, The Open Door

Bruce Lee Quotes

“Tao of Jeet Kune Do”

The consciousness of self is the greatest hindrance to the proper execution of all physical action.

Time means a lot to me because you see I am also a learner, and am often lost in the joy of forever developing.

I am not teaching you anything. I just help you to explore yourself.

In every passionate pursuit, the pursuit counts more than the object pursued.

Understanding requires not just a moment of perception, but a continuous awareness, a continuous state of inquiry without conclusion.

Understanding comes about through feeling, from moment to moment in the mirror of relationship.

There is no thought, only thusness””what is. Thusness does not move, but its motion and function are inexhaustible.

Knowledge is fixed in time, whereas knowing is continual. Knowledge comes from a source, from an accumulation, from a conclusion, while knowing is a movement.

There is no fixed teaching. All I can provide is an appropriate medicine for a particular ailment.

The classical man is just a bundle of routine, ideas, and tradition.

If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow you are not understanding yourself.

If there is any secret, it is missed by seeking.

Classical forms dull your creativity, condition and freeze your sense of freedom. You no longer “be,” but merely “do,” without sensitivity.

Awareness is without choice, without demand, without anxiety’ in that state of mind there is perception.

Self-expression is total, immediate, without conception of time, and you can only express that if you are free, physically and mentally, from fragmentation.

Training deals not with an object, but with the human spirit and human emotions.

Learning coordination is a matter of training the nervous system and not a question of training muscles.

Energy saved by sound mechanics of form can be utilized in the longer persistence or more forceful expression of the skill.

High levels of perceptual speed are the product of learning, not of inheritance.

Think with your whole body.

There is no fixed teaching. All I can provide is an appropriate medicine for a particular ailment.

The classical man is just a bundle of routine, ideas and tradition.

If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow you are not understanding yourself.

Classical forms dull your creativity, condition and freeze your sense of freedom. You no longer “be,” but merely “do,” without sensitivity.

Awareness is without choice, without demand, without anxiety; in that state of mind there is perception.

Self-expression is total, immediate, without conception of time, and you can only express that if you are free, physically and mentally, from fragmentation.

Training deals not with an object, but with the human spirit and human emotions.

Learning coordination is a matter of training the nervous system and not a question of training muscles.

Energy saved by sound mechanics of form can be utilized in the longer persistence or more forceful expression of the skill.

High levels of perceptual speed are the product of learning, not of inheritance.

In every passionate pursuit, the pursuit counts more than the object pursued.

All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.

If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.

Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential.

Use only that which works, and take it from any place you find it.

What man has to get over is consciousness. The consciousness of himself.

Don’t look for secret moves. Don’t look for secret movements. If you’re always hunting for secret techniques you’re going to miss it. It’s you. It’s your body that’s the key.

Truth is the daughter of inspiration; intellectual analysis and partialized debate keep the people away from the truth. It is like a finger pointing a way to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss the heavenly glory.

The I no longer feels the self to be separated from you and the whole idea of taking advantage or getting something out of something becomes absurd.

Freedom of expression occurs when one is beyond system.

Time means a lot to me because you see I am a learner and I am often lost in the joy of learning.

Man is constantly growing. And when he is bound by a set pattern of ideas or Way of doing things, that’s when he stops growing.

To be bound by traditional martial art style or styles is the way of the mindless, enslaved martial artist, but to be inspired by the traditional martial art and to achieve further heights is the way of genius.

Man is always in a learning process. Whereas “style” is a concluding, established, solidified something, you know? You cannot do that because you learn every day as you grow on, grow older.

The four idea principles: Find a human need, an unsolved problem. Master all of the essentials of the problem. Give a new twist to an old principle. Believe in your ideas and act.

Recognizing that the power of will is the supreme court over all other departments of the mind. I will exercise it daily when indeed the urge to action for any purpose; and I will form habits designed to bring the power of my will into action at least once daily.

Not conviction, not method, but perception is the way of the truth. It is a slate of effortless awareness, pliable awareness, choice less awareness.

Require not just a moment of perception, but a continuous awareness, a continuous state of inquiry in which there is no conclusion

Bruce Lee: The Pursuit

In every passionate pursuit, the pursuit counts more than the object pursued.
Bruce Lee

Lisa Acuña


The Sign is Up

The sign is up at the intersection of George Street and Social Street announcing the Christmas Bazar for All Saints Church. Summer isn't even over yet. This is just like my sister sending out Christmas notices in July. I loathe Christmas and would prefer the major holidays would just go away and leave us all alone. I fantasize about doing absolutely nothing but taking a walk and reading my book. Perhaps that's exactly what I will do.

Friday, September 13, 2019

We Read about Fire

We Read about Fire

She was staring up at the hundreds of starlings in the bare trees.
He's hungry, she said pointing to my dog Lily.
Make him eat them so they'll shut up. She grumbled.
I chuckled.
It's not funny, she shouted.
I locked eyes with her.
Her eyes black rings, like a raccoon mask. Her skin was translucent, hair disheveled and she wore next to nothing on this winter day.
She's been working the long street behind the abandoned park,
it cuts east west and is famous for drugs and prostitution.
And it's the only way home from the other side of town.

Yesterday a man waved hello from the stone house and we chatted since it has been months since we've seen each other. I heard there was a fire I said pointing to the high rise across the street. Do you know how it happened? How is he? The paper said burns over 75 percent of his body. I can't imagine how excruciating that must be.

It depends on what kind of burn it is; first degree second degree third degree. I was a fireman.
Really, around here?
No, up in Burrillville. I was a volunteer.
How did you deal with what you saw doing that kind of work? Did you get nightmares?
The worst were drowning victims when they pull a body from the water after months. Those were the hardest to see.

I dreamed of onions potatoes carrots and radishes sprouting

in my darkened room

a raised bed of dirt

my friend was going to help me plant.

I woke up thinking about Magritte whose mother committed suicide.
She was found in a pond with her nightgown over her head
Many of his paintings have this recurrence of the gown covering faces.
It all makes sense.

We read about fire and we dream of water.

-Emily Lisker
Friday, February 21, 2014

More than Meets the Eye

“Thank God for books as an alternative to conversation.”
― W.H. Auden

“A real book is not one that we read, but one that reads us. ”
― Wystan Hugh Auden

“You owe it to all of us to get on with what you're good at.”
― W.H. Auden

“In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.”
― W. H. Auden

“The image of myself which I try to create in my own mind in order that I may love myself is very different from the image which I try to create in the minds of others in order that they may love me.”
― W. H. Auden

“Behind the corpse in the reservoir, behind the ghost on the links,
Behind the lady who dances and the man who madly drinks,
Under the look of fatigue, the attack of migraine and the sigh
There is always another story, there is more than meets the eye.”
― W. H. Auden

In Love

“Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can; all of them make me laugh.”
― W. H. Auden

“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.”
― W.H. Auden, The Complete Works of W.H. Auden: Prose, Volume II: 1939-1948

And the Salmon Sing in the Street

“I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street”
― W.H. Auden

Stop All the Clocks

W. H. Auden: “Funeral Blues”

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Bring these to a party. and more

Dinner for Breakfast

Dinner was so good last night I ate it for breakfast. I sauteed basmati brown rice in my 12" skillet while I pressure cooked kale, carrots and broth and Michael's HOT Chourico. I spooned the soup over the rice and enjoyed it immensely. My recipes are the stores of my life; the neighbors I've had, the places I've lived and worked, the foods nearby.

The Ultimate Fall River Sandwich

Best Portuguese Chourico Sandwiches Ever (Family Recipe)

Central Falls RI

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. — An activist group on Thursday urged the state to quickly ban private prisons, after the Globe disclosed a document raising the prospect of a sale of the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility.

“We want Governor Raimondo and other officials to commit immediately to passing legislation that is going to keep private prisons out of Rhode Island,” said Amy Anthony, a spokeswoman for the Jewish activist group Never Again Action Rhode Island. “The document shows that bondholders are set on selling and privatizing the prison to maximize their profits.”

The board overseeing Wyatt will discuss on Friday a proposed “forbearance agreement” that would lock in a contract to continue holding Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees, while also exploring options such as selling the 770-bed prison.

Wyatt refused to release the document, but the Globe obtained a copy of the proposal, which calls for Wyatt to “evaluate strategic alternatives” and authorizes the warden to “provide confidential information about the corporation to parties considering a sale, investment, or other affiliation with the corporation.”

Wyatt, a nonprofit prison run by a quasi-public corporation, had previously approved an agreement saying confidential information could be provided to three of the nation’s biggest private prison companies: GEO Group, Management & Training Corp., and CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America).

Wyatt spokesman Christopher Hunter said the proposed forbearance agreement will be discussed during Friday’s board meeting, but “there are no negotiations going on regarding a sale of the Wyatt.”

A former state representative, Aaron Regunberg, who is a volunteer organizer for Never Again Action Rhode Island, said the Globe report underscored concerns that “they are planning to streamline the sale of this Rhode Island institution to one of these national for-profit prison chains.”

The proposed forbearance agreement also confirmed the group’s fear that Wyatt plans to “double down” on its contract to house ICE detainees, Regunberg said.

And the document “makes it completely explicit that the entire purpose of this prison is to generate profits and money for the bondholders,” he said.

“It’s clear that we need state leaders to step up,” Regunberg said. “This is the time for emergency action to pass legislation banning the operation of for-profit prisons in Rhode Island.”

State Representative Rebecca Kislak, a Providence Democrat, said she is looking into what form legislation would take to prevent private prisons in Rhode Island. “I don’t think private prisons are appropriate,” she said. “People should not be deriving profit off this core state function.”

Yet, selling the prison was one of the recommendations made in 2012 by the Special Joint Legislative Commission on the Wyatt Detention Facility.

The commission was intended to study the finances and operation of the troubled prison, in the heart of Central Falls. The 1.3-square-mile city of nearly 20,000 people had just tumbled into bankruptcy. Although the prison was established under state law as a way to help boost the beleaguered city, it failed to meet expectations.

The prison opened in 1993 with 302 beds, and the money trickled in at first. From 1994 through 2008, the City of Central Falls received a total of $5.3 million from the facility. In 2009, Wyatt paid another $134,358.

Then the spigot all but dried up.

Senator Elizabeth A. Crowley and Representative Agostinho F. Silva, Central Falls Democrats who led the 2012 commission, found the prison was burdened with debt and mismanagement. Among their recommendations: Sell Wyatt and start collecting property taxes.

That’s the reason Crowley said she’d be happy to see Wyatt sold. “It was supposed to be an economic engine for the city,” she said Thursday. “It has not been. It’s been like an anchor on the city, because it has not paid its fair share.”

Crowley said Wyatt has veered from its original purpose to hold federal detainees who couldn’t make bond. It took on debt to expand. It stopped paying the city. And now, it’s taking in detainees for ICE in the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” program.

Crowley said she sides with the activists in opposing holding these detainees for ICE. “These people are not murderers, they’re not rapists, they’re just trying to make the American opportunity,” she said.

She likened Wyatt to a Trojan horse that came into the city under the guise of helping it but has become a burden.

While protesters have been demonstrating in Central Falls, another group has been protesting against Wyatt’s ICE detentions halfway across the country in Kansas City, Mo. — home of UMB Bank, the $7 billion bank holding company that is suing the city on behalf of bondholders.

Organizers said nearly 50 people turned out Sept. 1 at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, cofounded by the late UMB Financial Corp. chairman R. Crosby Kemper Jr. and his wife. The museum board includes Kemper’s son, Mariner Kemper, UMB’s current chairman and CEO.

Carmen Moreno, who organized the protest along with other Latino artists in Kansas City, said the group protested UMB’s decision to sue Central Falls to keep ICE detainees at Wyatt. “Tell Mariner Kemper and UMB Bank to stop the exploitation of our community,” a protest sign read.

Moreno said the museum had recently hosted a block party with taco trucks, low-rider cars, and a showing of “Coco,” a movie inspired by a Mexican holiday — which she called “really hypocritical,” given UMB’s role in suing to keep ICE detainees at Wyatt.

In response, Mariner Kemper issued a statement:

“Unfortunately, there has been significant misrepresentation of our role in this situation due to well-intentioned, but inaccurate, activist activity. In this role, we do not represent the facility or their decisions — furthermore, we took on this business before the facility held any ICE detainees.”

Kemper said UMB represents the bondholders who provided money for the Rhode Island facility to be built.

“As such, we are legally required to act at the bondholders’ direction, which resulted in the lawsuit,” he said.

“This lawsuit is not politically based, but rather was filed to ensure the bondholders’ financial investment is recouped. The city has the option to pay off the bond at any time, which would eliminate the lawsuit, and by extension, the bondholders’ and UMB’s involvement.”

The Kansas City protest organizers also issued a statement:

“UMB could resign as bond trustee if it wanted to at any time. Instead, UMB made a choice to continue to provide corporate trust services for bondholders of the Wyatt detention facility, and went so far as to file a lawsuit to force the facility to contract with ICE.”

The protesters said they understand UMB assumed a legal obligation to maximize returns for Wyatt’s investors. “However, it is within UMB’s power to make a clear moral choice that it does not want to involve itself in business that negatively affects human rights,” they said. “Instead, UMB chose to elevate the interests of creditors over human rights — generating fees for doing so in the process.”

Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at Amanda Milkovits can be reached

Emotional Support Clown

Auckland adman hires professional clown for redundancy meeting

13 Sep, 2019 5:52pm

By: Damien Venuto
Business Reporter, NZ Herald

A Kiwi adman has chosen an unusual support person to accompany him to a redundancy meeting.

In lieu of the usual suspects of a friend, colleague or family member, the member of the creative team at FCB hired a professional clown to attend the meeting with him.

An image sent to the Herald overnight shows the staffer, sitting alongside his support clown while he talks to the individuals running the meeting.

In the strange world of support creatures, this adds another colourful addition to a quirky crew that already includes hedgehogs, peacocks and goats.

The Herald understands that the clown blew up balloons and folded them into a series of animals throughout the meeting.

It's further understood that the clown mimed crying when the redundancy paperwork was handed over to the staffer.
The image sent into the Herald shows the meeting taking place. The face of the staffer has been blurred to protect his identity. Photo / Supplied
The image sent into the Herald shows the meeting taking place. The face of the staffer has been blurred to protect his identity. Photo / Supplied

A spokesperson for FCB told the Herald the agency has a policy of not commenting on individual employment matters out of respect for those involved.

In an email title "Coulrophobia" (the fear of clowns), the spokesperson did, however, say it was up there among the weirdest stories she had ever been contacted about.

The latest restructure at FCB follows on from job cuts at the agency after the loss of the Vodafone ad account.

It's understood the staffer has, however, landed on his feet since his odd meeting at FCB, getting a new job at DDB along with his creative partner (not the clown). They are set to start their roles next week, upon returning from their birth country Australia.

John Edgar Wideman

“They beat me, and fucked me in every hole I had. I was their whore. Their maid. A stool they stood on when they wanted to reach a little higher. But I never sang in their cage, Bobby. Not one note.”
― John Edgar Wideman, Fever

“Do not fall asleep in your enemy's dream.”
― John Edgar Wideman

“A great artist transforms our world, removes scales from our eyes, plugs from our ears, gloves from our fingertips and teaches us to perceive reality differently.”
― John Edgar Wideman

Appreciate Trees

“I have this pipe dream that people will appreciate trees as living, growing, changing, responding organisms instead of seeing them as static,” said Kevin Griffin, a professor of earth and environmental sciences at Columbia University.

Embrace It

Writing means not just staring ugliness in the face, but finding a way to embrace it.

Power nor Time

The most regretful people on earth, are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.

Talking to Strangers

Cassie Shortsleeve

4 Ways Your Brain Suffers When You Stop Working Out

Taking just two weeks off can make you feel like a weary, angry mess
By Cassie Shortsleeve
Oct 25, 2016

A growing gut isn’t the only bad thing that happens when you skip your workouts.

“More brain cells are being activated when we exercise than when we’re doing anything else,” says John Ratey, M.D., an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.

Here are four ways your mental capabilities suffer when you don’t hit the gym.

Your mood may plummet.

Studies suggest that cardio can be just as effective at boosting your mood as prescription antidepressants.

Your body produces endorphins—hormones that make you feel good—when you exercise, along with other happiness-inducing chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, endocannabinoids (our bodies’ own marijuana-like chemicals), and more, Dr. Ratey says.

What’s more, recent research in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that working out sparks the production of proteins called myokines, which can help protect your brain from stress-induced depression.

So when you stop exercising, you miss out on the influx of these mood boosters, Dr. Ratey says. And you may end up feeling down as a result.

In fact, when 40 regular exercisers stopped working out for two weeks, they scored worse on a mood test that measured depression, tension, and anger than those who continued to work out, according to a study in Psychosomatic Medicine.
Your memory may falter.

When University of Maryland researchers scanned the brains of fit older athletes, they found that blood flow to the athletes’ brains—particularly to the hippocampus, a structure involved in learning and memory—dropped significantly after a 10-day exercise hiatus.

In this study, the reduced blood flow wasn’t linked to any declines in brain function, says study author Alfonso Alfini, Ph.D. But other research has linked less blood flow to the hippocampus to mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease, he says.

It may be that the decreased blood flow makes it more difficult to learn or develop new memories, says Devi Nampiaparampil, M.D., a pain management physician at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Your body also produces less of a protein called cathepsin B, which has been linked to improved memory, when you stop working out, a new study in Cell Metabolism suggests.

You may become less sharp.

In a study from Finland, scientists rounded up 10 pairs of identical male twins who exercised regularly.

One twin in each pair stayed active—working out twice a week—while the other exercised less.

After three years, the more active twins had more gray matter—tissue in your brain that is key to processing information—than their less-fit twins.

Exercise strengthens your all parts of your brain tissue, including gray matter, Dr. Ratley says. This makes your brain more resistant to stress and aging.

So if you stop working out, your gray matter may take a hit, potentially setting the stage for problems processing information and thinking critically.
You may have trouble concentrating.

A review of research published in the British Medical Journal concludes that even short bursts of exercise—10 to 40 minutes—lead to an immediate boost in concentration.

The boost is at least partly thanks to the increased blood flow to your brain. It may also relate to the higher levels of chemicals in your blood, like endorphins and certain hormones, that keep your brain on high alert, the researchers speculate.

So when you stop exercising, blood flow and these chemicals both drop—possibly leaving you with a poor attention span.
Cassie Shortsleeve Freelance Writer Cassie Shortsleeve is a skilled freelance writer and editor with almost a decade of experience reporting on all things health, fitness, and travel.

J.B. Priestley

“We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. Good night.”
― J.B. Priestley, An Inspector Calls

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”
― J. B. Priestley

“Like its politicians and its wars, society has the teenagers it deserves.”
― J.B. Priestley

“We must beware the revenge of the starved senses, the embittered animal in its prison.”
― J.B. Priestley

“The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.”
― J.B. Priestley

“One of the delights beyond the grasp of youth is that of Not Going. Not to have an invitation for the dance, the party, the picnic, the excursion is to be diminished. To have an invitation and then not to be able to go -- oh cursed spite! Now I do not care the rottenest fig whether I receive an invitation or not. After years of illusion, I finally decided I was missing nothing by Not Going. I no longer care whether I am missing anything or not.”
― J.B. Priestley, Delight

“To show a child what has once delighted you, to find the child's delight added to your own, so that there is now a double delight seen in the glow of trust and affection, this is happiness.”
― J. B. Priestly

“Most writers enjoy two periods of happiness—when a glorious idea comes to mind, and when a last page has been written and you haven't had time to know how much better it ought to be.”
― J. B. Priestly

“But the point is, now, at this moment, or any moment, we're only cross-sections of our real selves. What we really are is the whole stretch of ourselves, all our time, and when we come to the end of this life, all those selves, all our time, will be us - the real you, the real me. And then perhaps we'll find ourselves in another time, which is only another kind of dream.”
― J.B. Priestley, Time And The Conways

“To say that these men paid their shillings to watch twenty-two hirelings kick a ball is merely to say that a violin is wood and catgut, that Hamlet is so much paper and ink.”
― J.B. Priestley

“The way to write a book is the application of the seat of one's pants to the seat of one's chair.”
― J B Priestley

“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?”
― JB Priestley

“No matter how piercing and appalling his insights, the desolation creeping over his outer world, the lurid lights and shadows of his inner world, the writer must live with hope, work in faith.”
― J.B. Priestley

“There was no respect for youth when I was young, and now that I am old, there is no respect for age. I missed it coming and going.”
― J.B. Priestley

Clara Schumann

My imagination can picture no fairer happiness than to continue living for art.
-Clara Schumann

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Worth Writing

I continue to find this excellent advice. Today still, when I’m not working on anything, I’ll take a notebook, and for a few hours a day I’ll just write whatever comes, about my life, my wife, the elections, trying not to censor myself. That’s the real problem obviously—“without denaturalizing or hypocrisy.” Without being afraid of what is shameful or what you consider uninteresting, not worthy of being written. It’s the same principle behind psychoanalysis. It’s just as hard to do and just as worth it, in my opinion. Everything you think is worth writing. Not necessarily worth keeping, but worth writing. And fundamentally, that’s what a large part of literature attempts to do—reproduce the flow of thought. Well at least the literature I love the most—Montaigne, Sterne, Diderot . . .”


Popcorn Broccoli

Marion Cunningham and Julia Making Scones


A Yoga

“life is about making right things and going on..”
― R.K. Narayan, Malgudi Days

“You become a writer by writing. It is a yoga.”
― R. K. Narayan

“The difference between a simpleton and an intelligent man, according to the man who is convinced that he is of the latter category, is that the former wholeheartedly accepts all things that he sees and hears while the latter never admits anything except after a most searching scrutiny. He imagines his intelligence to be a sieve of closely woven mesh through which nothing but the finest can pass. ”
― R. K. Narayan

“Friendship was another illusion like love, though it did not reach the same mad heights. People pretended that they were friends, when the fact was they were brought together by force of circumstances.”
― R.K. Narayan, The Bachelor of Arts

“We always question the bonafides of the man who tells us unpleasant facts.”
― R. K. Narayan

“No one ever accepts criticism so cheerfully. Neither the man who utters it nor the man who invites it really means it.”
― R. K. Narayan


“The next thing I remember is using my fingers, the small fingers of a child, to dig the pills my mother had tried to swallow out of her mouth while my father held it open and told me what to do,” Moore recalled. “Something very deep inside me shifted then, and it never shifted back. My childhood was over.”
Demi Moore

“If you carry a well of shame and unresolved trauma inside of you, no amount of money, no measure of success or celebrity, can fill it.”
Demi Moore

Eggs and Onions

Sautee two chopped white onions in a skillet with olive oil until they begin to crisp. Add two scrambled eggs with an added bit of evaporated or regular milk. Pour over the onions and sprinkle with adobo. Scramble and enjoy.

Chirp Chirp

The sound of the slums is intermittent annoyance of chirping smoke alarms.


An artist’s only responsibility is to be true and authentically yourself.

Popcorn Dinner

There's nothing wrong with a popcorn supper especially made the old fashioned way using oil and salt.




My favorite feeling is the sensation of being cozy. I feel this way today and perhaps it's because of the rain. Yesterday I bicycled to see a friend and that was fun. My bicycle had been dormant for a year. I pumped up the tires and was back on the road. I felt like I was flying because I was zooming down the roads I normally walk with my dog.

Kurt Vonnegut

“Somebody gets into trouble, then gets out of it again. People love that story. They never get tired of it.”

―Kurt Vonnegut


“Writing is the geometry of the soul.”


Henry Miller: 10 Writing Tips

Henry Miller created something of a new literary form: semi-autobiographical novels that merged storytelling with philosophy, mysticism, and social commentary, all spiced up with explicit sexual scenes (which is why his books were banned in the US until 1961). His most famous books: Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Black Spring, and The Rosy Crucifixion.

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

From Henry Miller's book Henry Miller on Writing.

Marcus Aurelius

The best answer to anger is silence.
Marcus Aurelius

It is not events that disturb people, it is their judgements concerning them.
Marcus Aurelius

To love only what happens, what was destined. No greater harmony.
Marcus Aurelius

The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.
Marcus Aurelius

Boots on the Ground

Never stop believing that your voice, your actions, and your love can have a profound impact on another person’s life.
We believe our purpose on Planet Earth is to serve others by being a loving, passionate, and powerful example of how to live productive, meaningful, and positive lives.
We believe peace can be secured by empowering people to develop and control their own futures. We put our boots on the ground and have a direct, real, tangible impact on people’s lives. We don’t sit in cubicles, theorize, pontificate, or politicize things. There’s plenty of people out there who talk a good game, but never actually get off the couch and do anything.
As Mahatam Ghandi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Central Falls

Roger Williams University criminal justice Professor Christopher Menton said private prisons lack the accountability inherent in public prison systems. That oversight is especially important in corrections, which is “opaque enough for public institutions,” he said.

Joyce Carol Oates: 10 Writing Tips

Joyce Carol Oates is an acclaimed author of more than forty novels and countless short stories. She won the National Book Award for her novel, them and has been thrice-nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Oates is known for tackling hard subjects, such as poverty, violence, and racial tensions.

She offers these earnest, yet entertaining tips:

Write your heart out.
The first sentence can be written only after the last sentence has been written. FIRST DRAFTS ARE HELL. FINAL DRAFTS, PARADISE.
You are writing for your contemporaries not for Posterity. If you are lucky, your contemporaries will become Posterity.
Keep in mind Oscar Wilde: A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
When in doubt how to end a chapter, bring in a man with a gun. (This is Raymond Chandler's advice, not mine. I would not try this.)
Unless you are experimenting with form gnarled, snarled, & obscure be alert for possibilities of paragraphing.
Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless!
Don't try to anticipate an ideal reader or any reader. He/she might exist but is reading someone else.
Read, observe, listen intensely! as if your life depended upon it.
Write your heart out.

Originally tweeted by Joyce Carol Oates

Fall River

Fall River Mayor, No Stranger to Scandal, Is Charged With Taking Bribes From Marijuana Vendors

Jasiel F. Correia II shook down businesses for hundreds of thousands of dollars in return for his support, federal prosecutors said on Friday.

By Christopher Mele

Sept. 6, 2019

The corkscrew political career of the mayor of Fall River, Mass., took another turn on Friday as federal prosecutors announced he had been charged with bribery and extortion in what they said was a scheme to shake down marijuana vendors in return for his support.

News of the indictment, announced by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, was the latest political upheaval to rock this city, which is about 50 miles south of Boston.

In less than a year, the mayor, Jasiel F. Correia II, has already faced separate federal fraud and tax evasion charges, a recall election in which voters chose to oust him from office, but then in a peculiar twist ended up keeping his job because he was the top vote-getter for mayor in the same election.

Mr. Correia, who at 24 became the city’s youngest mayor when he took office in January 2016, agreed to issue so-called nonopposition letters, which are required to run a medical or recreational marijuana business in Massachusetts, in return for cash bribes and other payments, federal prosecutors said in a news release.

The bribes ranged from $100,000 to $250,000 in cash, campaign contributions and mortgage discharges, officials said. Marijuana was also exchanged for resale.

Because the letters were essential for vendors to operate, competition among applicants was fierce. Prosecutors said Mr. Correia, a Democrat, was solely responsible for approving the letters, issued at least 14 of them, including two to his current girlfriend’s brother.

“In so doing, Correia publicly stated that ‘Nobody’s getting a special deal, a special anything,’” the indictment said.

Court papers did not identify the girlfriend, her brother or the marijuana vendors.

The City Council passed an ordinance last month limiting the number of marijuana licenses in Fall River, but the mayor vetoed the measure, officials said.

The mayor, now 27, with an unidentified intermediary, met with vendors in a Dunkin’ Donuts and a cigar bar, among other sites, to hash out the bribes, the indictment said.

As a result of one of the deals, the mayor, in his official city vehicle, drove to the middleman’s home four or five times and collected $10,000 to $20,000 in cash each time, the indictment said.

The indictment also charged the mayor’s former chief of staff, Genoveva Andrade, 48, of Somerset, Mass., with extortion and theft and bribery, among other charges, for what prosecutors said was her role in the marijuana vendor scheme. They also claim that she turned over a portion of her salary to the mayor in exchange for getting and keeping her job.

In a meeting in June 2018 with one marijuana vendor, the mayor and Ms. Andrade agreed to a bribe of $125,000, which was later modified to $150,000, the indictment said.

As they walked out, Ms. Andrade asked the vendor if everything was all right, and when the vendor said it was, she said, “You’re family now.”

Ms. Andrade, who was the mayor’s chief of staff from November 2017 through December 2018, was hired at a salary of $78,780. The indictment said she kicked back about $22,800 of her salary to the mayor over eight months as well as portions of a separate $10,000 stipend she received.

Neither Mr. Correia nor Ms. Andrade or their lawyers could be reached for comment on Friday night.

Mr. Correia pleaded not guilty in court on Friday and was released on a $250,000 secured bond, according to court records. Information about Ms. Andrade’s status was not immediately available.

In a separate scheme, the mayor secured cash and a GMT-Master II Rolex watch made in Switzerland, known as a “Batman” because of its blue and black ceramic bezel, valued at up to $12,000, in exchange for helping an unidentified middleman with a commercial property, court records said.

In that case, he directed city employees to approve permits and do excavating work on a water line for a sprinkler system at the property, the indictment said.

Last October, the mayor was charged with wire fraud and filing false tax returns in what federal prosecutors said was part of a scheme to defraud investors in an app-development company.

In those charges, which remain pending, prosecutors said he used more than $231,000 — or about 64 percent of investors’ money — “to fund his own lavish lifestyle,” including buying a 2011 Mercedes.

He denied the charges, but the City Council called for him to resign. He refused, setting in motion a recall election in March.

In that election, residents voted to recall him, but on the same ballot voters were asked to choose from five candidates for the mayor’s job. His name was on the list and he won a plurality, with about 35 percent of residents casting ballots for him.

In his first campaign, Mr. Correia championed economic development and revitalizing the downtown of the city, which once was home to a thriving textile industry that has long since declined.

The mayor’s page on the city’s website reflects that get-it-done spirit.

“‘Make It Here’ is for the dream-chasers, entrepreneurs, business owners, hungry graduates, and all those looking for reinvention in its myriad forms,” it says. “Because they can make it here, in Fall River, whether it’s a device, a dream, a destination, or the chance at a fresh start at a new day.”

Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.

Music and the Holocaust


Like your bedroom, your writing room should be private, a place where you go to dream. Your schedule — in at about the same time every day, out when your thousand words are on paper or disk — exists in order to habituate yourself, to make yourself ready to dream just as you make yourself ready to sleep by going to bed at roughly the same time each night and following the same ritual as you go.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Women of Standing Rock

The Women of Standing Rock Are Building Sovereign Food Economies

Food security, traditional agriculture, and local self-reliance are key to regenerative societies of the future, say water protectors taking the movement’s lessons forward.

Community Compost Pedaling

Different Brains

Different Dog Breeds Have Different Brains, Scientists Find
Ed Cara

As humans have gone, so have their canine companions. But a new study shows the subtle ways our long-lasting partnership has molded the noggins of our dogs. Different breeds have slightly different brains from one another, the study found—differences that seem to be linked not just to the shape and size of the breed, but also the specific behaviors they were bred for.

Lead researcher Erin Hecht, an assistant professor in the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University, had been interested in studying dogs as a window into the evolution of brains for years, dating back to her grad school days. But it wasn’t until she collaborated with Marc Kent, a veterinary neurologist at the University of Georgia at Athens, that she got her wish.
“This might sound a little goofy, but it’s also profound—our brains have been shaping the brains of another species.”

Kent provided Hecht with a treasure trove of brain scans taken from good boys and girls who had gotten an MRI but turned out to have no neurological problems. With these scans, Hecht’s team was able to closely compare the brains of 62 purebred dogs from 33 different breeds. What they found might seem obvious at first glance, but it highlights how tethered dogs have become to humankind.

“Our basic finding is that different breeds of dogs have different brain anatomy,” Hecht told Gizmodo by phone. The team’s findings were published Monday in the Journal of Neuroscience.

To anyone who ever watched a pug valiantly trying to play in the park with dogs twice his weight and height, that shouldn’t be too surprising a result. But the differences the team found go beyond a dog’s physical dimensions.

“That was kinda my first reaction too—they have different bodies, of course they have different brains. But really, nobody has looked at this before. Which is kind of astounding,” Hecht said. “And so what we found was that the differences in brain anatomy go over and above differences in body size, brain size, and just general head shape. And we think these differences are accounted for by the selective breeding of behaviors.”

One example, Hecht said, involved dogs bred to be good at flushing out and visually tracking animals like birds through an environment, such as golden retrievers. When the team compared these dogs to other breeds, they appeared to have key differences in brain regions linked to coordination, eye movement, and spatial navigation—everything you’d need to be a good tracker.

According to Hecht, these findings illustrate the complex ways that brains, including our own, evolve over time. They also suggest that we could use neuroscience someday to continue refining the specialized tasks we breed and train dogs for, such as rescue work or therapy work. More philosophically though, they show just how unique our relationship with dogs really is.

“This might sound a little goofy, but it’s also profound—our brains have been shaping the brains of another species,” Hecht said.

Hecht and her team next plan to focus on the brains of dogs that aren’t just bred to be good at something but are still working hard at it, such as border collies competing at herding championships.

The Death of Communal Eating

The dining experience is becoming less sociable and more atomized, even as old conceptions of public life wear away.

The Importance of Eating Together

Family dinners build relationships, and help kids do better in school.
Cody C. Delistraty
Jul 18, 2014

After my mother passed away and my brother went to study in New Zealand, the first thing that really felt different was the dinner table. My father and I began eating separately. We went out to dinners with our friends, ate sandwiches in front of our computers, delivery pizzas while watching movies. Some days we rarely saw each other at all. Then, a few weeks before I was set to leave for university, my father walked downstairs. “You know, I think we should start eating together even if it’s just you and me,” he said. “Your mother would have wanted that.” It wasn’t ideal, of course—the meals we made weren’t particularly amazing and we missed the presence of Mom and my brother—but there was something special about setting aside time to be with my father. It was therapeutic: an excuse to talk, to reflect on the day, and on recent events. Our chats about the banal—of baseball and television—often led to discussions of the serious—of politics and death, of memories and loss. Eating together was a small act, and it required very little of us—45 minutes away from our usual, quotidian distractions—and yet it was invariably one of the happiest parts of my day.

Sadly, Americans rarely eat together anymore. In fact, the average American eats one in every five meals in her car, one in four Americans eats at least one fast food meal every single day, and the majority of American families report eating a single meal together less than five days a week. It’s a pity that so many Americans are missing out on what could be meaningful time with their loved ones, but it’s even more than that. Not eating together also has quantifiably negative effects both physically and psychologically.

Using data from nearly three-quarters of the world’s countries, a new analysis from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that students who do not regularly eat with their parents are significantly more likely to be truant at school. The average truancy rate in the two weeks before the International Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a test administered to 15-year-olds by the OECD and used in the analysis as a measure for absenteeism, was about 15 percent throughout the world on average, but it was nearly 30 percent when pupils reported they didn’t often share meals with their families.

Children who do not eat dinner with their parents at least twice a week also were 40 percent more likely to be overweight compared to those who do, as outlined in a research presentation given at the European Congress on Obesity in Bulgaria this May. On the contrary, children who do eat dinner with their parents five or more days a week have less trouble with drugs and alcohol, eat healthier, show better academic performance, and report being closer with their parents than children who eat dinner with their parents less often, according to a study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

There are two big reasons for these negative effects associated with not eating meals together: the first is simply that when we eat out—especially at the inexpensive fast food and take-out places that most children go to when not eating with their family—we tend not to eat very healthy things. As Michael Pollan wrote in his most recent book, Cooked, meals eaten outside of the home are almost uniformly less healthy than homemade foods, generally having higher fat, salt, and caloric content.

The other reason is that eating alone can be alienating. The dinner table can act as a unifier, a place of community. Sharing a meal is an excuse to catch up and talk, one of the few times where people are happy to put aside their work and take time out of their day. After all, it is rare that we Americans grant ourselves pleasure over productivity (just look at the fact that the average American works nearly 220 hours more per year than the average Frenchman).

In many countries, mealtime is treated as sacred. In France, for instance, while it is acceptable to eat by oneself, one should never rush a meal. A frenzied salad muncher on the métro invites dirty glares, and employees are given at least an hour for lunch. In many Mexican cities, townspeople will eat together with friends and family in central areas like parks or town squares. In Cambodia, villagers spread out colorful mats and bring food to share with loved ones like a potluck.

In her book Eating Together, Alice Julier argues that dining together can radically shift people’s perspectives: It reduces people’s perceptions of inequality, and diners tend to view those of different races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds as more equal than they would in other social scenarios.

It hasn’t always been the case that Americans don’t prioritize eating together and eating slowly. In 1950, Elizabeth David, who was recognized as the sort of soul-stirring American culinary evangelist du moment, as perhaps Alice Waters or David Lebovitz is today, published A Book of Mediterranean Food. She wrote that great food is simple. She proposed that meals didn’t have to come from fancy or trendy restaurants, and that enjoying basic meals with loved ones makes for the best eating. In one particularly salient passage, she writes:

“In the shade of the lemon grove I break off a hunch of bread, sprinkle it with the delicious fruity olive oil, empty my glass of sour white Capri wine; and remember that Norman Douglas once wrote that whoever has helped us to a larger understanding is entitled to our gratitude for all time.”

Her equation for physical and psychological well-being is easy: Eat simply and eat together.

For the average American family, who now spends nearly as much money on fast food as they do on groceries, this simplicity is not so easily achieved. Perhaps the root of this problem is cultural misperception.

In America, it seems snobbish to take time to eat good food with one’s family. The Norman Rockwell portrait of the family around the dinner table now seems less middle-class and more haute bourgeois, as many families can’t afford to have one parent stay home from work, spending his or her day cleaning and cooking a roast and side of potatoes for the spouse and kids. Most parents don’t have time to cook, many don’t even know how, and the idea that one should spend extra money and time picking up produce at the supermarket rather than grabbing a bucket of Chinese take-out can seem unfeasible, unnecessary, and slightly pretentious. It’s understandable to want to save time and money. It’s the same reason that small shops go out of business once Walmart moves into town; but in this case it is not the shop owner who suffers, it is the consumer of unhealthy and rushed meals.

How then do we eat better, not just from a nutritional perspective, but from a psychological one as well?

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art,” said the 17th-century writer François de La Rochefoucauld. What “intelligence” means in the context of eating is debatable. There are those who obsess over their food—where it is sourced, if it is organic, the nebulous desire for culinary “originality”—who are known in the U.S. as “foodies” and in France as generation Le Fooding, both of which are the hipsters of cuisine, moneyed and sometimes picky. But this doesn’t seem quite like “intelligence” as de La Rochefoucauld meant it.

Perhaps to “eat intelligently,” one needs only to eat together. Although it would be nice to eat healthily as well, even take-out makes for a decent enough meal, psychologically speaking, so long as your family, roommates, or friends are present.

It’s incredible what we’re willing to make time for if we’re motivated. (Although we often end up just a bit too squeezed to make it to the gym in the morning, we can still find time to go to the movies after work.) Perhaps seeing eating together not as another appointment on a busy schedule, but rather as an opportunity to de-stress, a chance to catch up with those whom we love then, could help our children do better in school, get in better shape, and be less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Eating together also led children to report better relationships with their parents and surely relationships between adults can similarly benefit.

On our last night before I left home to return to school, my father and I went out to our favorite hometown restaurant, a Sichuan place where we always order the same thing: Yu Xiang Qiezi for me, Black Date Chicken for him. But even after 60 years of life on this planet and countless dinners here, he still could not properly hold a pair of chopsticks. “Let me help,” I said, and after a little resistance, he obliged me. “See you have to hold this one perfectly still,” I said, motioning to the chopstick in my left hand, “while you move this one to pick up your food.” The waiter came with another bowl of rice on which he would try. He nodded. “I think I’ve got it,” he said, delicately holding the chopsticks between his fingers. “The chopsticks each have an individual role, but in order not to drop your food, they have to work together. Right?” I smiled. “Exactly.”

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to