Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Dream 2

I dreamed I found a silver Weimaraner lying down in the spare room. How did he get in here unnoticed, I wondered. This explains the mysterious sounds, I thought.

Dream 1

I dreamed I was having a meal with my sister and step-father at a restaurant. My husband and younger brother were there too. In the dream my mother had already died. My step-father confessed that he was anxious about having me at the dinner but afterwards he said he felt we had remedied our conflicts.

Alison Luterman

“In Defense of Those Who Harbor Terrible Ideas at Tax Time”

by Alison Luterman

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time.
Like so many others. Sleeping with that guy.
Not checking the address. Letting him put it in
without a condom just the once. Who hasn’t done
all that and worse, is what I was thinking,
driving to H&R Block to get my taxes done
and listening to the radio where everyone keeps talking about
the young black gay actor who orchestrated
a fake hate crime against himself.
It must have seemed like such a good idea to him
at the time, I think, clutching to my chest
the scattered bits of our financial life—
receipts and pay stubs, the record of all I’ve spent
on poetry contests and that workshop
on musical theater—enough
to buy a hot tub, a cheap used one, anyway,
on Craigslist—and that might
or might not be a disaster, too, you never know.
I’ve booked an appointment
with the nicest CPA in the world—Dennis—
who says to me, “You’re not a cookie-cutter person.
Don’t be ashamed of your life.” Really, he should be a therapist
instead of an accountant, but I hope he stays at this job forever,
smoothing out my crumpled 1099s, recording
the five hundred dollars I made coaching
for Poetry Out Loud, the thousand
from that one contest I did win, and then all the bills
when our old home’s ancient plumbing gave up the ghost.
It’s more than I can face head-on, this evidence
of how we live and earn and spend and waste
our lives, and I heard that the young man, an actor, staged the crime
against himself because he felt he wasn’t being paid enough—
though I bet he was paid more than a poet—
well, who isn’t? And who, in the end, doesn’t feel
attention must be paid? Although few would go
to such lengths to get it. I’ve had my share
of Bad Ideas, God knows, and all of them seemed Good to me
at the time, and so have you, I bet, and so has everyone.
It’s the human condition, after all, to be assailed by a million thoughts
a day, most of them insane—I remember I once thought
of becoming a dominatrix, for example—that didn’t last long,
then I thought maybe I’d write a play
about a woman who becomes a dominatrix
in late middle age, to pay the bills—and well,
you see where all this is heading.
I have to forgive this young man his terrible
idea, I have to because, in my own way, I’ve been him.
And while we’re at it all those others
whose freakazoid fancies must have seemed brilliant
to them for a minute, the way all our eurekas do at three a.m.—
gleaming like fool’s gold … haven’t we all
chased them like magical butterflies
through the meadowlands of imagination,
only to end up empty-handed and chagrined,
and far from home?

—from Poets Respond
February 24, 2019


Alison Luterman: “Like everyone I’ve been hearing a lot about Jussie Smollett, the actor on Empire, who appears to have (badly) stage-managed a fake hate crime against himself in a misguided bid to get a higher salary. I’ve heard him mocked and condemned for this, and he’s facing criminal charges, but as a creative person myself I thought of all the misguided just plain bad ideas I’ve had over the years, and how grateful I am that no one can see inside my head which continues to hatch hare-brained schemes which will hopefully remain confined to the page.”



Yesterday as I approached YMCA I noticed a man leaning against a telephone pole near the back entrance. He had his wallet open and he seemed to be searching for something. A piece of paper fell to the ground. He appeared to be in pain. "May I get that for you," I asked. I bent down and handed it to him. "Are you okay?"
"I think I need to go to the emergency room," he said.
"Is it okay if I go inside and ask them to call you an ambulance?"
"Yes" he replied. I turned and just as I opened the door to the YMCA Ed the aquatics director came out.
"He needs an ambulance," I said.
"I was just coming to check on him. I'll call," he said holding his phone.
"Thank god," I said.
I told Angela at the front desk what had happened. "This is why I love this community. It takes a village and we are one." I walked into the locker room and sat down and as I untied my sneakers. I could hear the sirens approaching.

We are Lonesome Animals

"A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn't telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome."
-John Steinbeck

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Jon Stewart

9/11 Monologue

Story is Character

“But if you don't understand that story is character and not just idea, you will not be able to breathe life into even the most intriguing flash of inspiration.”
― Elizabeth George

Will Goodness

“He had never thought of himself as much of a praying man, but as he sat in the car in the growing darkness and the minutes passed, he knew what it was to pray. It was to will goodness out of evil, hope out of despair, life out of death. It was to will dreams into existence and specters into reality. It was to will an end to anguish and a beginning to joy.”
― Elizabeth George, A Great Deliverance

What we Learn

“Of all my children, you were always the hardest on yourself. You were always looking for the right way to behave, so concerned you might make a mistake. But, darling, there are no mistakes. There are only our wishes, our actions, and the consequences that follow both. There are only events, how we cope with them, and what we learn from the coping."

"That's too easy," he said.

"On the contrary. It's monumentally difficult.”
― Elizabeth George, With No One as Witness


"Everything in our lives," she said quietly, "leads to everything else in our lives. So a moment in the present has a reference point, both in the past and in the future. I want you to know that you--as you are right now and as you ever will be--are fully enough for this moment . . . "
― Elizabeth George, With No One as Witness

Easy to Love

“She thought about how it was so simple with animals. They gave their hearts without question or fear. They had no expectations. They were so easy to love. If people could only be like that, no one would ever be hurt, she thought. No one would ever need to learn how to forgive.”
― Elizabeth George, A Suitable Vengeance

The Questions

“There are no easy answers, there's only living through the questions.”
― Elizabeth George, Missing Joseph

Nick Cave

...we are spiritual and transcendent beings, that our lives have meaning, and that our individual actions have vast implications on the well-being of the universe.

... we must all look inside ourselves and acknowledge that we each have a capacity for malevolence. It requires little self-examination to envisage a situation where 'good' people could - under certain circumstances - perform acts that are wicked. This acknowledgement of our own capacity for evil, difficult as it may be, can ultimately become our redemption. If we don't acknowledge our potential for malevolence, we disconnect ourselves from the unlimited ability for good that is contained within us. It is important to understand that as individual human beings we hold, in our own hands, the ability to both destroy and save the world.

The transcendent spirit for good can be accessed with profound effect through the imagination - the creative force can act as a counter-agent to evil. We cannot eradicate evil, yet it need not paralyse us - rather we should take what steps we can, however small, toward the betterment of the world, and our place in it. This is the essence of creativity.

Sometimes, the world appears to lean deeper into its evilness and feels reductive and devoid of light, but Katja, your letter of concern is a small and subversive act of goodwill that can help tilt the world the other way. You are never helpless in the face of evil (unless you sit in perpetual condemnation of the world, as some sadly do). Your simple act of solicitude is the spark of kindness that can illuminate the entire universe. The world already feels brighter.

Nick Cave, The Red Hand Files


I dreamed of a tiny horse made of dust and lint. It was three inches tall. It morphed into an octopus-spider-like creature and was alive. Normally I am afraid of spiders but I was not afraid. It was moving around the room making a thread for a web. In the dream my friend Steve C said these creatures come hidden inside of exotic house plants.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Ellie Schoenfeld

The Other Poet

by Ellie Schoenfeld

The poet explains exactly
what her poems are doing on a variety of levels.
I am jealously impressed.
My poems go places
but send no postcards --I have no idea
what they are doing. They do
whatever they want to.
I give them curfews
but they wake me in the middle
of the night, they interrupt meetings
and other situations where I have no time
for them. They hang on me
when I am on the phone.
They do not keep my secrets
and sometimes they lie.
They can be sullen and withdrawn
or explosively obscene.
I think my poems have problems with authority,
conduct disorders, attention deficit.
The other poet is like the parent
with the bumper sticker about their honor student
while I am speeding along
to get to the correctional facility
before visiting hours are over.
I try to give my poems direction.
They tell me they have cleaned their rooms
but we both know it's not true.
After all these years of therapy
we still don't understand each other.
I write a poem and think
"What the hell is that?!"

- Ellie Schoenfeld from The Dark Honey: New and Used Poems. © Clover Valley Press, 2009.
(on Writer's Almanac today

Anthony Burgess

"Every grain of experience is food for the greedy growing soul of the artist."
- Anthony Burgess

Geneen Roth

I’ve been reminded recently …

of what someone once told me. I wish I could remember who it was, but anyway, what she said was: Everything counts.

So often in my life, I’ve thought: “Well, just this once, I’ll do it. And it won’t matter because I’ll do it another way later or tomorrow or next week." So often, I’ve chosen to make one small thing not count, and yet, one by one, small decisions add up and create a particular outcome. And not only one outcome, but a habitual way of doing and acting. I love this quote from Ernest Dimnet: "The happiness of most people we know is not ruined by great catastrophes or fatal errors, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things."

Yep. That makes sense. Turn it around and another way of saying it is that what I do today, how I talk to Matt, the plumber on the phone after I realize the Insinkerator is broken, matters. The everyday words, actions matter. Not because someone up there is keeping score but because they add up to a flow, a habit, a way of looking and being in the world that then affects every moment, every breath.

The Gray

She held up a volume of Hegel. "I'm writing about dialectics."
"Dialectics," I said. "Your mean like Scientology?"
She smiled. "No James," she said "That's Dianetics Dialectics is the philosophy of opposites."
I thought about this. "How do you make a philosophy out of opposites?"
"Well, you know how people are. They like t see things in black and white? Up or down, male or female?
She had my attention now "Uh-huh."
"Well, dialectics says that's all bullshit. That life is not about opposites, but about finding balance between all those extremes."
I tried to sound less interested than I actually was. "How do you do that?" I said. "Find balance, I mean."
"By paying attention," she said. "By trying to see how everything also contains its opposite." She took a drag on her cigarette. "Because if you live at the extremes, you go nuts. If you want to make any sense out of the world, you have to live in the gray."
"That sounds hard," I said.
"The hell yes it's hard, she said."people don't like the gray. It makes people uncomfortable." It occurred to me that there was something delightfully gray about Grace Finney herself, in fact, this gorgeous woman in tough-guy leather.

-Jennifer Finney Boylan I'm Looking Through You (page 123-124)

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Digital Ditching

If I was going to repair my brain, I needed to practice doing nothing. So during my morning walk to the office, I looked up at the buildings around me, spotting architectural details I’d never noticed before. On the subway, I kept my phone in my pocket and people-watched — noticing the nattily dressed man in the yellow hat, the teens eating hot Takis and laughing, the kid with Velcro shoes. When a friend ran late for our lunch, I sat still and stared out the window instead of checking Twitter.

It’s an unnerving sensation, being alone with your thoughts in the year 2019. Catherine had warned me that I might feel existential malaise when I wasn’t distracting myself with my phone. She also said paying more attention to my surroundings would make me realize how many other people used their phones to cope with boredom and anxiety.

“I compare it to seeing a family member naked,” she said. “Once you look around the elevator and see the zombies checking their phones, you can’t unsee it.”

What We're Sorry We've Learned About Billionaires

Trapped in the Nightmare

“Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back. You’re done. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to have lunch with the person. If you keep hitting back, you stay trapped in the nightmare.”
Anne Lamott

“At family gatherings where you suddenly feel homicidal or suicidal, remember that in half of all cases, it’s a miracle that this annoying person even lived.”
Anne Lamott

The New Dinner Parties

Ask Yourself

The best teacher you will ever have is asking yourself the right questions.

Ruth Chase

“I am walking through my fears. I am innocent and beautiful again. This is what you hate and why I’ll never know you.”
Ruth Chase

Miss Manners

Miss Manners: Why do my dinner guests think it’s OK to be late?

Brad Hoefs

Everybody has pain. Everybody has tragedies and losses in their lives. Pain is pain. Whether it is the loss of a child, cancer, financial collapse, divorce or bipolar disorder: you either work through it, or you get stuck in it.
-Brad Hoefs


I dreamed I was in a restaurant President Obama and Michelle and their daughters Malia and Sasha were there celebrating Malia's birthday. They were having an inside joke concerning flour. I was weepy over the happy family scene.

There was a small bag of flour on my table and I blew my nose on the paper top part of the bag and then tore it off embarrassed. I walked home with the remaining bag of flour. I ran into a guy we know In the dream he had lost his arm at the shoulder and was out walking without his new prosthetic arm.

Ink and Honey

“There is a velvety sensuality here at the mouth of the Mississippi that you won't find anywhere else. Tell me what the air feels like at 3 A.M. on a Thursday night in August in Shaker Heights and I bet you won't be able to say because nobody stays up that late. But in New Orleans, I tell you, it's ink and honey passed through silver moonlight.”
― Andrei Codrescu, New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City

Friday, February 22, 2019

Civility is Required

Using Nature to Fight Climate Change

Honore de Balzac

“The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee”
by Honore de Balzac
translated from the French by Robert Onopa

Coffee is a great power in my life; I have observed its effects on an epic scale. Coffee roasts your insides. Many people claim coffee inspires them, but, as everybody knows, coffee only makes boring people even more boring. Think about it: although more grocery stores in Paris are staying open until midnight, few writers are actually becoming more spiritual.

But as Brillat-Savarin has correctly observed, coffee sets the blood in motion and stimulates the muscles; it accelerates the digestive processes, chases away sleep, and gives us the capacity to engage a little longer in the exercise of our intellects. It is on this last point, in particular, that I want to add my personal experience to Brillat-Savarin's observations.

Coffee affects the diaphragm and the plexus of the stomach, from which it reaches the brain by barely perceptible radiations that escape complete analysis; that aside, we may surmise that our primary nervous flux conducts an electricity emitted by coffee when we drink it. Coffee's power changes over time. [Italian composer Gioacchino] Rossini has personally experienced some of these effects as, of course, have I. "Coffee," Rossini told me, "is an affair of fifteen or twenty days; just the right amount of time, fortunately, to write an opera." This is true. But the length of time during which one can enjoy the benefits of coffee can be extended.

For a while - for a week or two at most - you can obtain the right amount of stimulation with one, then two cups of coffee brewed from beans that have been crushed with gradually increasing force and infused with hot water.

For another week, by decreasing the amount of water used, by pulverizing the coffee even more finely, and by infusing the grounds with cold water, you can continue to obtain the same cerebral power.

When you have produced the finest grind with the least water possible, you double the dose by drinking two cups at a time; particularly vigorous constitutions can tolerate three cups. In this manner one can continue working for several more days.

Finally, I have discovered a horrible, rather brutal method that I recommend only to men of excessive vigor, men with thick black hair and skin covered with liver spots, men with big square hands and legs shaped like bowling pins. It is a question of using finely pulverized, dense coffee, cold and anhydrous, consumed on an empty stomach. This coffee falls into your stomach, a sack whose velvety interior is lined with tapestries of suckers and papillae. The coffee finds nothing else in the sack, and so it attacks these delicate and voluptuous linings; it acts like a food and demands digestive juices; it wrings and twists the stomach for these juices, appealing as a pythoness appeals to her god; it brutalizes these beautiful stomach linings as a wagon master abuses ponies; the plexus becomes inflamed; sparks shoot all the way up to the brain. From that moment on, everything becomes agitated. Ideas quick-march into motion like battalions of a grand army to its legendary fighting ground, and the battle rages. Memories charge in, bright flags on high; the cavalry of metaphor deploys with a magnificent gallop; the artillery of logic rushes up with clattering wagons and cartridges; on imagination's orders, sharpshooters sight and fire; forms and shapes and characters rear up; the paper is spread with ink - for the nightly labor begins and ends with torrents of this black water, as a battle opens and concludes with black powder.

I recommended this way of drinking coffee to a friend of mine, who absolutely wanted to finish a job promised for the next day: he thoughthe'd been poisoned and took to his bed, which he guarded like a married man. He was tall, blond, slender and had thinning hair; he apparently had a stomach of papier-mache. There has been, on my part, a failure of observation.

When you have reached the point of consuming this kind of coffee, then become exhausted and decide that you really must have more, even though you make it of the finest ingredients and take it perfectly fresh, you will fall into horrible sweats, suffer feebleness of the nerves, and undergo episodes of severe drowsiness. I don't know what would happen if you kept at it then: a sensible nature counseled me to stop at this point, seeing that immediate death was not otherwise my fate. To be restored, one must begin with recipes made with milk and chicken and other white meats: finally the tension on the harp strings eases, and one returns to the relaxed, meandering, simple-minded, and cryptogamous life of the retired bourgeoisie.

The state coffee puts one in when it is drunk on an empty stomach under these magisterial conditions produces a kind of animation that looks like anger: one's voice rises, one's gestures suggest unhealthy impatience: one wants everything to proceed with the speed of ideas; one becomes brusque, ill-tempered about nothing. One actually becomes that fickle character, The Poet, condemned by grocers and their like. One assumes that everyone is equally lucid. A man of spirit must therefore avoid going out in public. I discovered this singular state through a series of accidents that made me lose, without any effort, the ecstasy I had been feeling. Some friends, with whom I had gone out to the country, witnessed me arguing about everything, haranguing with monumental bad faith. The following day I recognized my wrongdoing and we searched the cause. My friends were wise men of the first rank, and we found the problem soon enough: coffee wanted its victim.

Ed. note: Transcription credit to, from which I snitched the essay out of nervousness that it might disappear.

Dinnertime Drama

Last night two men blue shirts and had ID necklaces rang the bell while I was making supper. I sent my husband to talk to them. They were trying to sell us electricity. There was loud yelling and the street was filled with police State police and detectives. No thank you, my husband said to the electricity sales men. Then he went out to the street to talk to the terrified young state trooper.

Susan J. Erickson, Poet

Susan J. Erickson - "Rapunzel Brings Her Women’s Studies Class to the Tower"

not honorable in character or purpose

Dictionary result for ignoble
adjective: ignoble; comparative adjective: ignobler; superlative adjective: ignoblest

not honorable in character or purpose.
"ignoble feelings of intense jealousy"
synonyms: dishonorable, unworthy, base, shameful, contemptible, despicable, shabby, abject, low, sordid, degraded, corrupt, mean, wrong; More
improper, unprincipled, unchivalrous, uncharitable, discreditable, blameworthy, reprehensible
"the war is being fought over an ignoble cause"
antonyms: noble
of humble origin or social status.

Vatican Summit

VATICAN CITY — Speaking to a global gathering of bishops on the second day of an unprecedented Vatican meeting on sexual abuse, a cardinal from India — a close adviser to Pope Francis — described his own searing experiences meeting victims. He said those abuse victims often felt helpless and bitter. He said they “could not relate normally with others.” He said they were “distracted” and closed off. Sometimes, their psyches seemed “destroyed.”

“It shocked me,” said Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the archbishop of Mumbai.

“The sexual abuse of minors and other vulnerable people not only breaks divine and ecclesiastical law, it is also public criminal behavior,” Gracias said. He said the problem of abuse was “universal,” not just relegated to some parts of the world.

Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad: “The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.”

The Hidden Children

"the first problem with children of priests is they're not recognized."

"When you're hidden… you are characterized by secrecy," he added. That, he said, "eats away at their sense of worth."

Asked what he wants from the pope, in particular, Doyle told CBS News it would only take, "two words, three words, four words, that these children are recognized; 'we acknowledge your pain, we condemn this pain, and we want to fix this pain.'"

To help them with their pain, Doyle created the website "Coping International," offering resources and counseling. Now there's a worldwide community of people, growing.

Thomas is part of that community and is doing a PhD on it.

"What's coming out more and more is that these children are ready for some change," she told Saberi. "Change is very difficult for the Catholic Church, but change is happening."

Stop Victimizing the Victims!

"Stop victimizing the victims … let's put the blame where the blame needs to sit – with the perpetrators," June said.

Love Magritte

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Sarper Dunman Serenades

Sarper Dunman serenades his cats on the piano.

Mothers of Invention

Soul Food

I made Portuguese kale soup and brown basmati rice. RI winter.

Brazilian Coffee

How do Brazilians make their coffee so rich and velvety?

Brazilian Coffee 1 cup=5oz
5oz water+ scant Tbs sugar bring to boil in saucepan.
take off heat and add heaping tbsp coffee (Bustelo) stir and let sit for 30 seconds.
to strain use cotton sock filter or paper filter pour through and enjoy.

My Beautiful Neighbors

"Americans love to eat out," he said. "We love and eat in each others houses." I noticed two pressure cookers in the kitchen. A woman after my own heart. That's it, I've found my tribe. Hello Brazilians.

The Coffee Detective


Advocates say US still separates migrant families needlessly

by NOMAAN MERCHANT, Associated Press Thursday, February 21st 2019

FILE - In this June 17, 2018 file photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, rest in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP, File)

HOUSTON (AP) -- Months after the Trump administration announced an end to its widescale separation of migrant parents and children, the policy remains a heated issue in the courts and at the border as critics contend the government is still needlessly breaking up immigrant families.

The Texas Civil Rights Project released a report Thursday that counts 272 separations at a single Texas courthouse since June, when President Donald Trump issued an executive order ending widespread separations amid public outrage.

The bulk of those cases involve children who cross the U.S.-Mexico border with relatives other than their parents, such as grandparents, uncles and aunts, or adult siblings.

Thirty-eight cases involved a parent or legal guardian, the majority of whom had criminal convictions, the group said.

In a statement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection argued the group incorrectly categorized cases involving other relatives because the Homeland Security Act “does not make concessions for anyone other than a parent or legal guardian.” CBP includes the Border Patrol, which apprehends people entering the U.S. illegally.

The government and the American Civil Liberties Union were due back in court Thursday to discuss what might be thousands of children who were separated before a June court order requiring the speedy re-unification of families.

The government has acknowledged taking more than 2,700 children from their families and has reunited most of them, but a watchdog report last month found that thousands of other children were separated and released before the order.

“What’s happening is the government is doing separations unilaterally without any process to contest the separations and without a child welfare expert overseeing the separations,” ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt said.

One concern, Gelernt and others said, is the fate of children cared for by relatives in arrangements that were never formalized.

In one case discovered by the Texas Civil Rights Project, an 11-year-old boy from Guatemala was separated from his uncle, who was his caretaker because his father had not been involved in his life and his mother had died of cancer, said Efren Olivares, a lawyer for the project.

“Those are very difficult situations, especially because the government takes the position that it is not their responsibility to reunite them because they are not the legal guardian,” he said.

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2018, file photo, provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, mothers and their children stand in line at South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. (Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP, File)

Lawyers from the project have gone almost every day since last spring to the courthouse in McAllen to find adults charged with illegally entering the U.S. and ask them if they had brought any children. McAllen is in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal border crossings.

U.S. immigration authorities say that under anti-trafficking law, children crossing the border without a parent or legal guardian must be processed as “unaccompanied,” even if they are with an adult who isn’t their parent or legal guardian.

“Absent verification that an adult is the parent or legal guardian of a minor, CBP will continue to prioritize the safety of a minor and comply with the statutory requirements,” the agency said.

Unaccompanied children and teenagers from Central America are generally sent to government facilities, while the adults could face detention and prosecution for illegally entering the U.S. Authorities can also separate parents and children if it considers separation to be in the child’s best interest, with a parent’s criminal history often being a factor.

Gelernt said the government should work to determine if an adult relative is the child’s caretaker.

“There can’t be a presumption that you just take the child away if it’s not the biological or adoptive parent,” Gelernt said.

Members of Congress on Tuesday visited an emergency facility for migrant children in Homestead, Florida, which has expanded after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services closed a facility in Tornillo, Texas, under public pressure.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a Florida Democrat, said she had spoken to a girl who had been detained for nine months after being separated from her aunt. There were 1,575 children at the facility last week.

Another Florida Democrat, U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, said the government’s definition of an “unaccompanied minor” was too narrow and leads to unnecessary separations.

“If you don’t come with a parent, but you come with an aunt, an uncle, a cousin, or a brother, you are defined as unaccompanied,” said Shalala, a former health and human services secretary. “We need to get these children to family members much more quickly.”

The government said in December it had separated 81 migrant children at the border since the June executive order. According to the government data, 197 adults and 139 minors were separated from April 19 through Sept. 30 because they were found to not be related, though that could include grandparents or other relatives if there was no proof of relationship.

The Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general said last month that 118 children were separated from their parents from July 1 through Nov. 7.


Associated Press journalists Colleen Long in Washington and Adriana Gomez Licon and Josh Replogle in Miami contributed to this report.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Cuban Coffee!

Using our vintage espresso machine

Cafe Bustelo coffee

Daily Solitudes

Book reader, writer, walker, dog lover, swimmer. Daily solitude necessary. Community is health and Love. Sourdough bread for all.


A character is never a whole person, but just those parts of him that fit the story or the piece of writing. So the act of selection is the writer's first step in delineating character. From what does he select? From a whole mass of what Bernard DeVoto used to call, somewhat clinically, "placental material." He must know an enormous amount more about each of his characters than he will ever use directly--childhood, family background, religion, schooling, health, wealth, sexuality, reading, tastes, hobbies--an endless questionnaire for the writer to fill out. For example, the writer knows that people speak, and therefore his characters will describe themselves indirectly when they talk. Clothing is a means of characterization. In short, each character has a style of his own in everything he does. These need not all be listed, but the writer should have a sure grasp of them. If he has, his characters will, within the book, read like people.



Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person. It’s like actors, who try so pathetically not to look in mirrors. Who lean backward trying–only to see their faces in the reflecting chandeliers.


The Core

The core of literature is the idea of tragedy…you don’t really learn much from the good things that happen to you.


When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, you develop empathy. You acquire the skill that is indispensable to all artists and entrepreneurs—the ability to switch back and forth in your imagination from your own point of view as writer/painter/seller to the point of view of your reader/gallery-goer/customer. You learn to ask yourself with every sentence and every phrase: Is this interesting? Is it fun or challenging or inventive? Am I giving the reader enough? Is she bored? Is she following where I want to lead her?


Nick Cave Australian - Musician Born: September 22, 1957

A gentleman never talks about his tailor.
Nick Cave

Getting married, for me, was the best thing I ever did. I was suddenly beset with an immense sense of release, that we have something more important than our separate selves, and that is the marriage. There's immense happiness that can come from working towards that.
Nick Cave

I am not interested in anything that doesn't have a genuine heart to it. You've got to have soul in the hole. If that isn't there, I don't see the point.
Nick Cave

I don't have any authority to talk about the domestic policies of America. But as an outsider, I am mystified by the fact that you are encouraged to buy a gun, but if you use it for the purpose that it is expressly designed for, you get the death penalty. That aspect of America is kind of mystifying.
Nick Cave

My records are basically a litany of complaints against the world, and I'm quite like that in real life as well.
Nick Cave

There are methods to creating a mayhem that sounds different from your usual mayhem. Because mayhem and a heavy drum backbeat end up sounding like Green Day or something. But if you put a different beat within it to create some air and lightness, the chaos comes through better.
Nick Cave

I've always worn suits. To me they're a very practical kind of thing to wear. You put one on and don't really have to think about what you're going to wear.
Nick Cave

Songs you can dip in and out of, but a book... well, it can overpower you.
Nick Cave

If you took love out of the equation, I wouldn't know what else to write about.
Nick Cave

I have an armchair interest in gardening, but I don't like to get my knees dirty. I don't have a garden.
Nick Cave

'Inspiration' is a word used by people who aren't really doing anything.
Nick Cave

In getting older, I find myself becoming progressively more ineffectual in a lot of different ways, and part of that is down to no longer having the youthful feeling that what you're doing has any true impact.
Nick Cave

I suspect the older you get the more invisible you become.
Nick Cave

The only person who can say they're happy getting old is someone who isn't actually old yet. Every day, I get less and less happy about that idea.
Nick Cave

After a while, you just don't do things you don't wanna do - that's the great freedom you get, the older you get. You learn what to do and what not to do, and what will be a waste of time and what won't be a waste of time.
Nick Cave

There's an element to songwriting that I can't explain, that comes from somewhere else. I can't explain that dividing line between nothing and something that happens within a song, where you have absolutely nothing, and then suddenly you have something. It's like the origin of the universe.
Nick Cave

Texting is apocalyptic on some level. It's a reduction of things.
Nick Cave

I'm a big fan of teatowels and am always on the lookout for a good one.
Nick Cave

An artist's duty is rather to stay open-minded and in a state where he can receive information and inspiration. You always have to be ready for that little artistic Epiphany.
Nick Cave

Being a parent can make you a horrible person at times, because you're pushed to the limit constantly.
Nick Cave

The idea of acting is something that absolutely repulses me. I just can't do it. I'm terrible at it. I get roped into films every now and then, and it's always a disaster.
Nick Cave

I'm a believer. I don't go to church. I don't belong to any particular religion, but I do believe in God. I couldn't write what I write about and be creative without a certain form of belief.
Nick Cave

It's possible to get through life without a religious structure, but I don't think that's a very fruitful way to live.
Nick Cave

Songwriting, I have to take myself away from everybody to do. It's an unsightly act.
Nick Cave

Self-editing is the way I write. Ten verses of a song and it's finished. Then we start playing it and if I see that it's too long, I'll start cutting.
Nick Cave

I lost my innocence with Johnny Cash. I used to watch the 'Johnny Cash Show' on television in Wangaratta when I was about 9 or 10 years old. At that stage I had really no idea about rock n' roll. I watched him, and from that point I saw that music could be an evil thing - a beautiful, evil thing.
Nick Cave

The work ethic at art school is completely different than the work ethic amongst people who get into music. People who paint, it's an honorable thing to spend all day and all night in front of your canvas - that is the romantic vision of the painter.
Nick Cave

I'm not in the business of telling people what to do. I'm much more in the business of describing things, situations and stuff like that and leaving them out there, and you can make up your minds about them.
Nick Cave

The concept of God in America is very different than it is in England. Because we see the horrendous outcome of religion as being an American thing, in which the name of God has been hijacked by a gang of psychopaths and bullies and homophobes, and the name of God has been used for their own twisted agendas.
Nick Cave

If you're Australian, you feel it in your bones because you're at odds with everybody else, except other Australians, in the sense that people always seem to be behaving strangely. People always seem to be behaving the wrong way, in a different way. You say things and there are silences.
Nick Cave

If you look around, complacency is the great disease of your autumn years, and I work hard to prevent that.
Nick Cave

There's always pain around. That's one thing you can guarantee in life - there will always be a surplus of pain.
Nick Cave

I'm kind of old-school and love nothing more than sitting, opening a book, and reading it. But I also love listening to audio books.
Nick Cave

I write a lot, and very often I write a couple of lines that are particularly revealing in some kind of way. And then as a few more lines get added and a piece gets added, eventually the song pretty much takes over and you can't really find a way to change those things.
Nick Cave

People think I'm a miserable sod but it's only because I get asked such bloody miserable questions.
Nick Cave

I'm very happy to hear that my work inspires writers and painters. It's the most beautiful compliment, the greatest reward. Art should always be an exchange.
Nick Cave

At some point you start seeing the difference between what you really want, and what is your priority order. I feel that today I know what I want. That's the problem with perspective, as well as focus and concentration.
Nick Cave

I've always had an obligation to creation, above all.
Nick Cave

I love rock-n-roll. I think it's an exciting art form. It's revolutionary. Still revolutionary and it changed people. It changed their hearts. But yeah, even rock-n-roll has a lot of rubbish, really bad music.
Nick Cave

I've spent my life butting my head against other people's lack of imagination.
Nick Cave

To my undying shame, I do read reviews. I don't read them all, but I like to get some kind of idea how things are going.
Nick Cave

I don't think Hollywood makes many good films anymore. How many directors can you really trust to have an artistic vision, not a corporate vision or a watered-down communal one?
Nick Cave

If beautiful movies can influence you to go out and hug your children, then we have to be honest and say that other movies can inspire you to do bad things.
Nick Cave

A rock musician's career is short-lived. To extend it, you need to do other things to keep yourself fresh.
Nick Cave

Writing screenplays makes me a better musician because it clears my head. After writing a movie, I go running back to music as fast as I can.
Nick Cave

I've always been at war with the guitar. All vocalists are fighting a war with the electric rhythm guitar.
Nick Cave

I'm hugely self-critical in the morning.
Nick Cave

L.A. is full of screenwriters. I don't know why. On many levels, it's such a thankless occupation.
Nick Cave

I used to believe that if I could do certain things - write a book or be a successful musician - that I'd be transformed into a happy person, but it doesn't work that way.
Nick Cave

One of my big fears is drying up, and the more I create, the more I feel myself shrinking beneath the backlog of work I've done.
Nick Cave

Musicians are at the bottom of the creative pyramid and authors are at the top, and many people think it's unacceptable for someone to attempt to jump from the bottom to the top of the pyramid.
Nick Cave

People often can't separate, or can't understand, that to be funny is to be serious; it's a way of pulling people in and not scaring them off. I think a lot of the funny stuff, underneath it, there's a deep anxiety going on.
Nick Cave

I just want to leave this world with a massive catalog of songs.
Nick Cave

With writing a song, I've always felt, right from the start, like I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel. I don't ever feel there's a font of ideas to fall back on.
Nick Cave

Guns are part of the American psyche, aren't they? This is collateral damage for having a Wild West mentality. It's intrinsic to the American psyche. It's never going to change.
Nick Cave

I've always felt like an imposter, in the whole, as a musician.
Nick Cave

I always thought my records were number one; it's just the charts didn't think so.
Nick Cave

Kylie Minogue is the greatest thing that has happened to Australian music.
Nick Cave

My father was a teacher and my mother also worked in the school, so the family has a background in education.
Nick Cave

I don't really do Japanese interviews. I don't think there's much call for me in Japan.
Nick Cave

When you're on your own, you have all the self-censorship that everybody has when they try and write. All the little voices that say, 'No, you can't write that, what will they think of that?'
Nick Cave

It's always a pleasure on a personal note for me to come back to Australia.
Nick Cave

Most screen violence is tedious.
Nick Cave

Writing is a necessary thing for me, just to keep myself level. It has beneficial effects on my life.
Nick Cave

Accessible local libraries are vital to communities and to children.
Nick Cave

I won't go into the details, but I ready myself for the day. I am a high-maintenance type of guy.
Nick Cave

Most people wait for the muse to turn up. That's terribly unreliable. I have to sit down and pursue the muse by attempting to work.
Nick Cave

If I'm hanging around too much, my wife and kids say, 'Hey, why don't you go downstairs and start a new novel?'
Nick Cave

People are always surprised to see clues to my being a normal kind of guy. As if I'm somehow letting the team down.
Nick Cave

The more settled I've become, the more problematic my characters have become. There was a period when I wrote sensitive and gentle songs and these came at a time when life was at its most destructive. I think you write about what you need, on some level.
Nick Cave

I don't feel I'm thrown around by the winds of taste and fashion.
Nick Cave

I became a script writer with absolutely no idea of how to write a script whatsoever. I still feel a bit of an outsider in that regard. If I can maintain that approach to screenwriting, it can continue to be enjoyable.
Nick Cave

My muse is my wife. It's not some vague thing that flutters around the astrosphere or wherever it is. Sometimes as a songwriter you need something to hang a song on, to give it some kind of presence and form. For me, Susie is that.
Nick Cave

I consider myself to be first and foremost a comic writer. The way I entertain myself - especially in those long and grim hours in the office - is to write stuff I find funny.
Nick Cave

I don't write happy songs. Who does? I don't know anybody who writes happy songs, really.
Nick Cave

My music has to do with beauty, and it's intended to, if not lift the spirits, then be a kind of a balm to the spirits.
Nick Cave

The blues is instilled in every musical cell that floats around your body.
Nick Cave

The more information you have, the more human our heroes become and consequently the less mysterious and godlike. They need to be godlike.
Nick Cave

The rock star is dying. And it's a small tragedy. Rock stars have blogs now. I have no use for that kind of rock star.
Nick Cave

As Australians, we see the law as inherently bad. We have a real inherent distaste for authority in our makeup.
Nick Cave

I'm not saying this in a condescending kind of way, but it's quite simple: The making of America was a heroic thing. Australia has a much murkier, much more complex view of its history. It's just full of all these open wounds we don't really know what to do with.
Nick Cave

Despite what people might think, I'm not interested in being dark all the time. I'm actually searching for some kind of light, and I'm always very happy when I can achieve that.
Nick Cave

The songs that I like are the ones that you can't visualize, that are just cries from the heart - those very straight, direct songs that make rock & roll music so wonderful.
Nick Cave

The big problem with songwriting for me is starting a new song. It's the thing where all the anguish exists, not in the writing of the song, but the starting of the new song.
Nick Cave

What you're really after when you see a film or listen to a song is a singular vision, and I'm not sure how much of that you really get in Hollywood.
Nick Cave

Early on I realized when you write a song about someone, it flatters them on some level, and gives you a lot of room to move within a relationship. A song can kind of get the girl, for sure.
Nick Cave

I've always hated narrative songs. I hate those songs where, basically, it's an unfolding of a story.
Nick Cave

I think it's a part of us as human beings that we search outside of ourselves for meaning.
Nick Cave

Personally I find the story of Christ incredibly moving.
Nick Cave

The band is a living, breathing thing. It grows in the same way we do as human beings and if it doesn't, it dies. It's important to feed the organism, and one way of doing that is to set musical challenges that keep it alive.
Nick Cave

The idea of songwriting is a transformative thing, and what I do with songwriting is take situations that are quite ordinary and transform them in some way. Apart from things like the murder ballads, the songs I write, at their core, are quite ordinary human concerns, but the process of writing about them transforms them into something else.
Nick Cave

The problem with books, now that I've written one, is that the idea of adaptation is so much easier than sitting down to write something new.
Nick Cave

When you're making a film, there are so many people involved that you get opinions and notes from people and you don't even know who they are. I find that quite difficult and it wears you down.
Nick Cave

I've watched 'Oprah Winfrey.' And I'm proud. I don't care what anybody says! I don't know whether I've watched it. I've been in the room while it's been on.
Nick Cave

Certainly being proficient in an instrument does have its problems. Because the better you get, the more you just start sounding like an ordinary guitarist. There are certainly guitarists that transcend that and do really find their sound and all that sort of stuff.
Nick Cave

I'm a kind of hard-wired pessimist. I can't help but see the world in a certain kind of way.
Nick Cave

When I perform onstage, I'm actually kind of nearsighted, so I don't have any real, true understanding of what the audience is like.
Nick Cave

I was reading The Bible a lot through my 20s, mostly the Old Testament, just because I was knocked out by the language and the stories. I felt that the God being talked about there, who was this insane, vindictive patriarch - it was kind of thrilling, and titillated something in me at the time.
Nick Cave

I see it as my duty in some way is to be out in the world as an Australian putting forward what I consider to be authentic Australian music.
Nick Cave

At school I was an anti-magnet for women.
Nick Cave

I write hate lyrics really well. It's not every day you can use them, really.
Nick Cave

Everything that's said against me offends me, whether it's true or not.
Nick Cave

I love performing. I can get to be that person I always wanted to be - godlike.
Nick Cave

I'm not a misogynist, so you can dispense with that. I think I've done wonders for the feminist movement.
Nick Cave

I get criticized for a lot of what I write about, but as far as I'm concerned I'm actually standing up and having a look at what goes on in the minds of men, and I have the authority to talk about it because I'm a man.
Nick Cave

I have a very strange relationship in general with women around my music. There's some that understand it and some that think there should be a law against it.
Nick Cave

When you're talking about rock n' roll, myth-making is what it's all about.
Nick Cave

Look, when I look back, from 20 onwards, I was actually having a pretty good time, I have to say.
Nick Cave

At the end, we're kind of observers - creative people, I mean. I feel like an observer, and I'm pretty much able to step out of things and see how things are playing out.
Nick Cave

I know when I sit with my band members and we're playing back a song that we've done, I know that they're experiencing it in a completely different way and hearing stuff that they're alerted to because the way the interpret the world is through their ears. Mine is through my eyes.
Nick Cave

It's an Australian thing to be dismissive. We find that endearing. Americans don't. They believe what you say.
Nick Cave

What I'm resistant to is the 'Walk the Line' biopic, where you have this redemptive life done in two hours. It just doesn't wash with me. I've been there and things don't work out that way.
Nick Cave

I love being manipulated by what I see. I love weepies and romantic comedies where you're reaching for the Kleenex at the right moment.
Nick Cave
I have a particular dislike for children's films. I'm way past the novelty aspect.
Nick Cave

No, I wouldn't direct a movie, no. I couldn't. I don't have the patience for it, I don't have the people skills. You have to be clever. I'm not really clever in that kind of way. And you have to be able to manipulate people, but at the same time allow them to feel like they are manipulating you, to get the kind of movie that you want.
Nick Cave

I don't know, maybe Australian humour isn't supposed to be funny. It's as dry as the Sahara, and I think people miss that.
Nick Cave

Moving to the country is a very bold thing to do. You can have vague romantic notions about doing that, but in actuality, it can be a terrifying thing.
Nick Cave

The guitar is something you kind of embrace, and the piano is something you kind of - when you play it, you sort of push it away. It feels very different.
Nick Cave

Most of my ideals and stuff really come from my mother.
Nick Cave

To me, I don't write when I'm depressed. If I'm depressed, which is actually rare, I'm not doing anything, you know, and I'm not able to do anything.
Nick Cave

You can't trust an artist that just makes good records.
Nick Cave

Film seems to be a medium designed for betrayal and violence.
Nick Cave

I'm an Australian, and when I grew up much of my influences were American - blues music and country music, all that sort of thing.
Nick Cave

I'm not religious, and I'm not a Christian, but I do reserve the right to believe in the possibility of a god.
Nick Cave
I'm not someone who's particularly in touch with the way they feel. I've heard it said that you should be a 'human being' not a 'human doing', but I'm a human doing, very much so.
Nick Cave

Most of the time, feelings just seem to get in the way. They're a luxury for the idle, a bourgeois concept. Feelings are overrated.
Nick Cave

The last thing I ever wanted to get involved with is Hollywood. The way it works is that people get an idea you could possibly do something, but there's a one-in-a-hundred chance that it could get made.
Nick Cave

You write a scene, and it works or it doesn't. It's immediate.
Nick Cave

When I'm singing 'Deanna,' for example, which I sing pretty much every night, it brings forward a kind of imagined, romanticized lie about this particular person, which I find really comforting and exciting to sing about.
Nick Cave

I would hate to think my songs were giving advice to people.
Nick Cave

Some people, myself in particular, have an adversarial relationship with the camera, and it sprouts up in every photograph.
Nick Cave

The big problem with songwriting for me is starting a new song. It's the thing where all the anguish exists, not in the writing of the song, but the starting of the new song. What do I write about? I never know.
Nick Cave


I dreamed the whole nation, every single citizen played a joke and signed the president's signature as their own.

Nowhere Else

“This is how it essentially is for Bunny Junior. He loves his dad. He thinks there is no dad better, cleverer, or more capable, and he stands there beside him with a sense of pride — he's my dad — and he also, of course, stands beside him because he has nowhere else to go.”
― Nick Cave

There are those who stop so they can work.

“There are those who work so they can stop.
Stopping is the why of work.
There are those who stop so they can work.
Working is the why of work.”
― Nick Cave, The Sick Bag Song


“Memory is imagined; it is not real. Don't be ashamed of its need to create; it is the loveliest part of your heart. Myth is the true history. Don't let them tell you that there are no monsters. Don't let them make you feel stupid, just because you are happy to play down in the dark with your flashlight. The mystical world depends on you and your tolerance for the absurd. Be strong, my darling ones, and believe!”
― Nick Cave, The Sick Bag Song

The Sick Bag Song

“Wanting everything is the thing that eventually tears you apart.”
― Nick Cave, The Sick Bag Song

“The boy will grow older, and over time there will be other songs – not many – ten or maybe twenty in a lifespan, that stand apart from the rest of the music he will discover. He will realise as he grows older still, and crosses the Canadian border and drives down into Seattle, that not only are these songs holy or sacred, they are hiding songs – what the Aztec Indians call carrion songs – that deal exclusively in darkness, obfuscation, concealment and secrecy. He will realize that, for him, the purpose of these songs has been to shut off the sun, to draw a long shadow down and protect him from the corrosive glare of the world.”
― Nick Cave, The Sick Bag Song

Do you hear what I hear...

“Do you hear what I hear, babe? Does it make you feel afraid?”
― Nick Cave

Divine Element

“I'm not religious, and I'm not a Christian, but I do reserve the right to believe in the possibility of a God. It's kind of defending the indefensible, though; I'm critical of what religions are becoming, the more destructive they're becoming. But I think as an artist, particularly, it's a necessary part of what I do, that there is some divine element going on within my songs.”
― Nick Cave

The Death of Bunny Munro

“It's like this, Bunny Boy, if you walk up to an oak tree or a bloody elm or something - you know, one of those big bastards - one with a thick, heavy trunk with giant roots that grow deep in the soil and great branches that are covered in leaves, right, and you walk up to it and give the tree a shake, well, what happens?' (...)
'I really don't know, Dad,' (...)
'Well, nothing bloody happens, of course!' (...) 'You can stand there shaking it till the cows come home and all that will happen is your arms will get tired. Right?'
'Right, Dad,' he says.
'But if you go up to a skinny, dry, fucked-up little tree, with a withered trunk and a few leaves clinging on for dear life, and you put your hands around it and shake the shit out of it - as we say in the trade - those bloody leaves will come flying off! Yeah?'
'OK, Dad,' says the boy (...)
'Now, the big oak tree is the rich bastard, right, and the skinny tree is the poor cunt who hasn't got any money. Are you with me?'
Bunny Junior nods.
'Now, that sounds easier than it actually is, Bunny Boy. Do you want to know why?'
'OK, Dad.'
'Because every fucking bastard and his dog has got hold of the little tree and is shaking it for all that it's worth - the government, the bloody landlord, the lottery they don't have a chance in hell of winning, the council, their bloody exes, their hundred snotty-nosed brats running around because they are too bloody stupid to exercise a bit of self-control, all the useless shit they see on TV, fucking Tesco, parking fines, insurance on this and insurance on that, the boozer, the fruit machines, the bookies - every bastard and his three-legged, one-eyed, pox-riden dog are shaking this little tree,' says Bunny, clamping his hands together and making like he is throttling someone.
'So what do you go and do, Dad?' says Bunny Junior.
'Well, you've got to have something they think they need, you know, above all else.'
'And what's that, Dad?'
'Hope... you know... the dream. You've got to sell them the dream.”
― Nick Cave, The Death of Bunny Munro

speak ill of the dead

“Listen, ah don't wanna speak ill of the dead but have ah told you that mah mother was a great whopping whale of a cunt? Well she was precisely that - a great whopping whale of a hog's cunt with a dirty maggot for a brain.”
― Nick Cave, And the Ass Saw the Angel

“Mummy was a swine: a scum-cunted, likkered-up, brain-sick swine. She was lazy and slothful and dirty and belligerent and altogether evil. Ma was a soak - a drunk - a piss-eyed hell-bag with a taste for the homebrew.”
― Nick Cave, And the Ass Saw the Angel

Essential Fact

“I think it's an essential fact for any performer or artist to fail as poignantly as they can succeed.”
― Nick Cave

How to Write a Song

“Do you want to know how to write a song? Songwriting is about counterpoint. Counterpoint is the key. Putting two disparate images beside each other and seeing which way the sparks fly. Like letting a small child in the same room as, I don’t know, a Mongolian psychopath or something, and just sitting back and seeing what happens. Then you send in a clown, say, on a tricycle and again you wait and you watch. And if that doesn’t do it, you shoot the clown.”
― Nick Cave

My Muse

“My relationship with my muse is a delicate one at the best of times and I feel that it is my duty to protect her from influences that may offend her fragile nature.

She comes to me with the gift of song and in return I treat her with the respect I feel she deserves — in this case this means not subjecting her to the indignities of judgement and competition.”
― Nick Cave

God Has Matured

“God has matured. He is not the impulsive, bowel-less being of the Testaments - the vehement glory-monger, with His bag of cheap carny tricks and his booming voice - the fiery huckster with his burning bushes and his wonder wands. Nowadays God knows what He wants and He knows who He wants.”
― Nick Cave

hysterical technocracy

“In the hysterical technocracy of modern music, sorrow is sent to the back of the class where it sits, pissing its pants in mortal terror.”
― Nick Cave, The Secret Life of the Love Song and The Flesh Made Word: Two Lectures by Nick Cave


“Who knows their own story? Certainly it makes no sense when we are living in the midst of it. It's all just clamor and confusion. It only becomes a story when we tell it and retell it. Our small precious recollections that we speak again and again to ourselves and to others, first creating the narrative of our lives and then keeping the story from dissolving into darkness.”
― Nick Cave

I Remember Thinking...

“I was about 12 years old and I was sitting watching the television and it was some kind of talent show, you know, and on marches this monkey, this ape, in a pair of red-checked trousers with a little matching jacket holding a ukulele and it started jigging around playing it, and it was looking straight into the camera, straight at me, and I remember thinking, that's it, that'll be me, you know, that'll be me.”
― Nick Cave


“Music is storming, driving, relentless, devotional, slinky, subtle, heartbreakingly-beautiful sounds that, lyrically, switch from the cynical to the sanguine, the defeated to the defiant, dealing in love, war, beauty, children, romance, rejection, Pethedine, poetry, panties, God, Auden, Johnny Cash, cold potatoes, too-much-money, not enough money, writer’s block, flowers, animals and more flowers. But maybe I’m projecting here.”
― Nick Cave

What's a Misanthrope?

“Samuel: What's a misanthrope?
Two Bob: A misanthrope is a bugger who hates every other bugger.
Samuel: Are we misanthropes?
Arthur: Lord no! We're family.”
― Nick Cave

All of Our Days...

“All of our days are numbered; we cannot afford to be idle. To act on a bad idea is better than to not act at all because the worth of the idea never becomes apparent until you do it. Sometimes this idea can be the smallest thing in the world, a little flame that you hunch over and cup with your hand and pray will not be extinguished by all the storm that howls about it. If you can hold on to that flame great things can be constructed around it that are massive and powerful and world changing – all held up by the tinniest of ideas.”
― Nick Cave

And the Ass Saw the Angel

“...because once you've got one scar on your face or your heart, its only a matter of time before someone gives you another - and another - until a day doesn't go by when you aren't being bashed senseless, nor a town that you haven't been run out of, and you get to be such a goddamn mess that finally it doesn't feel right unless you're getting the Christ beaten out of you - amd within a year of that first damming fall, those first down borne fists, your first run out, you wind up with flies buzzing around your eyes, back at the same place, the same town, deader than when you left, bobbiong around in the swill - a dirty deadbeat whore in a roadside ditch. But a little part of you deosn't die. A little part of you lives on. And you make an orphan of that corrupt and contemtible part, dumping it right smack in the laps of the ones who first robbed you of your sweetness, for it is the wicked fruit of their crimes, it is their blood, their sin, it belongs there, this child of blood, this spawn of sin...”
― Nick Cave, And the Ass Saw the Angel

I'm very happy to hear that my work inspires writers and painters

I'm very happy to hear that my work inspires writers and painters. It's the most beautiful compliment, the greatest reward. Art should always be an exchange.
Nick Cave

I've always had an obligation to creation, above all.
Nick Cave

Nick Cave

The Red Hand Files

Have your own songs ever made you cry whilst performing them on stage?

Dear Sarah,

The truth is it is very difficult to be sad on stage. When I walk on stage, I am thrust into the immediate moment - into the acute and astonishing now. I am seized by the enormous energy of the crowd, and the power of the music itself, where all memories disappear and the future does not exist. I am simply situated in the ecstatic present. I sing the songs with the utmost attention. I attempt to carry my audience with me, into the fullness of the moment, by applying complete concentration to the words. The words deliver their meaning, speaking to me afresh, as if for the first time, because the present moment is perpetually the first time. It is a state of blamelessness 'a rapturous innocence' freed from what has gone before and what is yet to come.

However, every now and then, a sudden thought, beyond my control, pierces this state of present-ness a devastating image or a shocking recollection or an impossible wish - and that holy state of now ruptures and the world comes crashing in, and, well, sometimes you cry.

And so it was at the Bad Seeds concert at the Manchester Arena, in your hometown, Sarah. I remember that concert so vividly. It was four months after the terrorist bombing, where twenty-three people died and untold were wounded, physically and psychologically. It was one of the first gigs in the Manchester Arena since it had re-opened, and there was a feeling of real defiance in the room, of course, but a terrible sadness too, I thought, at the sheer monstrousness of it all. A sadness because we understood that evil does walk among us, and that none of us has any real control over our destinies, that we are all tossed around by the arbitrary winds of fate and who ever really knows what is going to happen next?

At that concert in Manchester Arena, with these thoughts going through my mind, I felt an intense common bond with the audience, that became in the end almost overwhelming and which I will never forget. The unrestrained release at the end of the show was a deliverance for us all.

So to answer your question, Sarah, generally my own songs don't make me cry, but sometimes I cry all the same. How can we not?

Love, Nick

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one’s head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people’s pain.
-James Baldwin


In my case, I think my exile saved my life, for it inexorably confirmed something which Americans appear to have great difficulty accepting. Which is, simply, this: a man is not a man until he is able and willing to accept his own vision of the world, no matter how radically this vision departs from others.
― James Baldwin


When you're writing you're trying to find out something which you don't know.
-James Baldwin


Hatred is always self hatred, and there is something suicidal about it.
-James Baldwin


“I think solitude chose me.”
― Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship

Old Dogs

“Old dogs can be a regal sight. Their exuberance settles over the years into a seasoned nobility, their routines become as locked into yours as the quietest and kindest of marriages.”
― Gail Caldwell

No One

The only thing that white people have that black people need, or should want, is power-and no one holds power forever.
James A. Baldwin


You know, it's not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.
James A. Baldwin


No one can possibly know what is about to happen: it is happening, each time, for the first time, for the only time.
James A. Baldwin

Submitting to Infinite Divinity

It is well known that the word Islam means submission, and the basic Islamic demand is that human beings submit themselves to God, and to no one else and nothing else. Human beings should struggle to defeat their weaknesses, control their urges, and gain mastery over themselves. Only by gaining mastery over the self can that self be meaningfully submitted to God. If the self is controlled or mastered by the ego, urges, fears, anxieties, desires, and whim, then attempting to submit this highly compromised self is not very meaningful—one cannot submit what he does not control in the first place.


So who will rebuild America? [X] and his party have had their chance, and clearly refuse to act, so it will have to be the Democrats. Their proposed Green New Deal is deliberately short on specifics, but its clear thrust is toward a revival of the American tradition of public investment in the public interest.

And my guess, which is also my hope, is that if Democrats get the opportunity — if, in 2021, they regain control of both the White House and the Senate — they won’t let funding concerns block an infrastructure push. Major health reform will need new revenue sources, but given low interest rates, debt-financed public investment would be sound policy. Build we must, build we should, and hopefully build we will.


To avoid becoming enmeshed with their children, parents must have their own sense of purpose in life, their own hobbies and passions separate from their children. A parent’s self-worth cannot rely a child’s behavior or accomplishments. When one’s self-worth is defined by the actions or choices of one’s child, the pressure on the child to perform, to fulfill expectations, becomes heavy and burdensome. A parent’s self-worth is not the child’s responsibility, and children who take on this charge, consciously or unconsciously, often fail to develop self-esteem and/or a sense of personal identity.


One of the things that really good writing does is that it’s able to get across massive amounts of information and various favorable impressions of the communicator with minimal effort on the part of the reader.


The creator of the new composition in the arts is an outlaw until he is a classic.


If you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area.


I’m a daytime writer, but since I waste the morning I’ve become an afternoon writer.

Time to write isn’t a luxury

Time to write isn’t a luxury, that goes without saying. It’s what a writer needs to write. But to have it coextensive with one’s whole youth isn’t absolutely a good thing. It’s unnatural to do anything too much. “Nothing in excess,” especially when everything else in the case must be in excess: the reading-hunger, language-hunger, all the high literary fevers and seizures. That kind of “excess” is what defines a writer. An image of the writer came to me the other day: A beast howling inside a coal-furnace, heaping the coals on itself to increase the fire. The only thing more tormenting than writing is not writing. If I could do it again, I would step out of the furnace now and then. I’d run around and find reviews to write, articles; I’d scurry and scrounge. I’d try to build a little platform from which to send out a voice. I’d do, in short, what I see so many writers of your generation doing: Chasing a bit of work here, a bit there, publishing, getting acquainted. What you do, in fact. Churning around in the New York magazine world. What I did, a child crazed by literature, was to go like an eremite into a cavern and spin; I imagined that I would emerge with a masterpiece. Instead I emerged as an unnatural writing-beast, sooty with coal dust, my fingers burned and my heart burning up. Have you read Lost Illusions?


Cynthia Ozick

“I have a truth-telling syndrome and I wish to God I didn't.”
—Cynthia Ozick

Lanford Wilson, Writer

“Nobody's safe around a writer.”
― Lanford Wilson, Burn This

Lanford Wilson

“After they had explored all the suns in the universe, and all the planets of all the suns, they realised that there was no other life in the universe, and that they were alone. And they were very happy, because then they knew it was up to them to become all the things they had imagined they would find.”
― Lanford Wilson, Fifth of July


“The experience is always different than the plans. The experience was exhausting. I am still exhausted from it.”
― Sam Shepard, Spy of the First Person


“I’ve heard writers talk about “discovering a voice,” but for me that wasn’t a problem. There were so many voices that I didn’t know where to start.”
― Sam Shepard

My own Man

“I've been my own man. Ain't nothing richer than that”
― Sam Shepard


“There's gonna be a general lack of toast in the neighborhood this morning.”
― Sam Shepard, True West

Sam Shepard, Curse of the Starving Class

“You can't believe people when they look you in the eyes. You gotta' look behind them. See what they're standing in front of. What they're hiding. Everyone's hiding, Wes. Everybody. Nobody look like what they are.”
― Sam Shepard, Curse of the Starving Class

Female Side

“Look it - you start out as an artist, I started out when I was nineteen, and you’re full of defenses. You have all of this stuff to prove. You have all of these shields in front of you. All your weapons are out. It’s like you’re going into battle. You can accomplish a certain amount that way. But then you get to a point where you say, “But there’s this whole other territory I’m leaving out.” And that territory becomes more important as you grow older. You begin to see that you leave out so much when you go to battle with the shield and all the rest of it. You have to start including that other side or die a horrible death as an artist with your shield stuck on the front of your face forever. You can’t grow that way. And I don’t think you can grow as a person that way, either. There just comes a point when you have to relinquish some of that and risk becoming more open to the vulnerable side, which I think is the female side. It’s much more courageous than the male side.”
― Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard

“I believe in my mask-- The man I made up is me
I believe in my dance-- And my destiny”
― Sam Shepard

Jack London

'You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.'
Jack London

All About

For me, music and life are all about style.
Miles Davis

Ape Eachother

You'd be surprised. Drummers ape each other. The way every rock n' roll record sounds like something else but not all together. Everything other drummers play, if you're playing drums, they all hear.
Miles Davis

If You

If you understood everything I say, you'd be me!
Miles Davis

A Gift

It's always been a gift with me, hearing music the way I do. I don't know where it comes from, it's just there and I don't question it.
Miles Davis

Don't Call Me

I know what I've done for music, but don't call me a legend. Just call me Miles Davis.
Miles Davis


When I'm playing, I'm never through. It's unfinished. I like to find a place to leave for someone else to finish it. That's where the high comes in.
Miles Davis


Don't play what's there, play what's not there.
Miles Davis

Too Long

When you do anything too long, you either wear it out or lose interest.
Miles Davis

Space Music

Space music'd be really something... but they don't have no gravity up there. You couldn't have no downbeat!
Miles Davis

Play it First

I'll play it first and tell you what it is later.
Miles Davis

Does the Man Project

The thing to judge in any jazz artist is, does the man project and does he have ideas.
Miles Davis

Still Doing It

A legend is an old man with a cane known for what he used to do. I'm still doing it.
Miles Davis

Long Time

Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.
Miles Davis

Low Sound

Prince might be bringing that low sound back, because he has that double bass.
Miles Davis

A Mixture

Prince got some Marvin Gaye and Jimi Hendrix and Sly in him, also, even Little Richard. He's a mixture of all those guys and Duke Ellington.
Miles Davis


I'm always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning... Every day I find something creative to do with my life.
Miles Davis

Miles Davis

Do not fear mistakes. There are none.

Define Myself

If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.

– Audre Lorde

Hole in my Soul

There's a hole in my soul that I can only fill with dogs, books, stray furniture, and artichoke hearts.

Anxiety and Breath

In my experience, anxiety always affects the breath; stress doesn’t always affect the breath. Thus, one of the main treatments for anxiety is breathing in a way that balances your oxygen and carbon dioxide. This can be achieved by staying calm and breathing slowly and deliberately.
Julie A. Fast

How a Man

“I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Those Who Look

“Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Get to Know Him

“I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.”
― Abraham Lincoln

No Bad Pictures

“There are no bad pictures; that's just how your face looks sometimes.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Hang On

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
― Abraham Lincoln


“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.”
― Abraham Lincoln


“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to
succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Two Faced

“If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”
― Abraham Lincoln


“I would rather be a little nobody, then to be a evil somebody.”
― Abraham Lincoln

You Can Fool

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Angel Mother

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
― Abraham Lincoln


“Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing.”
― Abraham Lincoln

On My Knees

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Slow Walker

“I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Bear in Mind

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”
― Abraham Lincoln

See it Tried

“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Those Who

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves”
― Abraham Lincoln, Complete Works - Volume XII

My Religion

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Books Serve

“Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new after all.”
― Abraham Lincoln


“I'm a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn't have the heart to let him down.”
― Abraham Lincoln

No Man

“No man is poor who has a Godly mother.”
― Abraham Lincoln


“I laugh because I must not cry, that is all, that is all.”
― Abraham Lincoln

My Greatest Concern

“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.”
― Abraham Lincoln


“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”
― Abraham Lincoln

A Book

“My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.”
― Abraham Lincoln


“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
― Abraham Lincoln


“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
― Abraham Lincoln

Whatever You are

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Create It

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
― Abraham Lincoln


“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
― Abraham Lincoln


Big Brother is watching you.
George Orwell


Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.
George Orwell

Each Generation

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.
George Orwell

The Essence

The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.
George Orwell

Power Hunger

Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.
George Orwell

The Future

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
George Orwell

Quickest Way

The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.
George Orwell Orwell


We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
George Orwell

So Much

So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don't even know that fire is hot.
George Orwell

Political Language

Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
George Orwell


All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
George Orwell

Salvage Civilization

Mankind is not likely to salvage civilization unless he can evolve a system of good and evil which is independent of heaven and hell.
George Orwell


If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
George Orwell


Myths which are believed in, tend to become true.
George Orwell

Remind Him

The aim of a joke is not to degrade the human being, but to remind him that he is already degraded.
George Orwell


Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.
George Orwell

Concept of Objective

The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.
George Orwell


The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.
George Orwell


All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.
George Orwell


Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
George Orwell


In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.
George Orwell


But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
George Orwell

On their Behalf

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
George Orwell


One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.
George Orwell


Happiness can exist only in acceptance.
George Orwell

George Orwell

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
George Orwell

Big Brother is Here

Robot with a Gentle Touch

Designing a robot with a gentle touch is among the biggest technical obstacles to automating the American farm. Reasonably priced fruits and vegetables are at risk without it, growers say, because of a dwindling pool of workers.

“The labor force keeps shrinking,” said Gary Wishnatzki, a third-generation strawberry farmer. “If we don’t solve this with automation, fresh fruits and veggies won’t be affordable or even available to the average person.”

Out West, engineers at Washington State University are working with local farmers to test an apple-picking machine with 12 mechanical arms.

It drives down orchard rows, snapping pictures of trees. A computer brain scans the images and finds the fruit. The arms grab and lower apples onto a conveyor belt.

“This is pretty much the new industrial revolution,” Staples said.

Nigella Lawson

“Like Jamie Oliver, she has simply encouraged people to cook,” Ms. Henry said. “She links good cooking with glamour.”

And, Ms. Henry added, many women embraced her.

“She definitely did make it acceptable — desirable even — for women to bake pies and cupcakes and waft around the kitchen,” Ms. Henry said. “I think for a lot of women that was very freeing. We were allowed to luxuriate in food, allowed to be greedy, allowed to be happy in the home.”

After 20 years, 12 cookbooks and hundreds of television episodes, the way forward seems as elusive to her as if she were just starting out. Asked how she comes up with book after book of recipes, she said: “Who knows? I never thought I’d be a food writer, so who knows what’s next? I always think I’ll never come up with another recipe, but something propels you forward.”

Fear is a constant companion and motivator. “I feel that people fall into two categories, goal-oriented or fear-driven,” she said. “I’m fear-driven. So it’s that terror of filling the empty page, or the director saying, ‘Action!’ But everything is frightening, isn’t it?”

She credits that fear with pushing her forward. “If I get bored, then I’d have to stop. Everything would go slack. And I suspect if I stop being frightened, that would be a bad thing, too.”

Later, though, she wished to retract that sentiment.

“I felt that I overstated the fear element,” she said. “I think I am driven by anxiety, I think that I’ve had to learn to accept that. But I also get so much pleasure in thinking about food in all its manifestations. I’d hate to make it look like it is all a bed of pain. Obviously it is something that makes me happy.”

But the ingredient that made “How To Eat” so alluring may be gone for good.

“When I wrote ‘How To Eat,’ I never really imagined it would be read,” she said. “I think there’s an innocence that you can’t go back to — a lack of self-consciousness. And it so easily could not have worked. I’m still slightly astonished that it did work.”

voraciously attentive to our changing culture

“Ideas come to you when you work,” he said backstage before a Fendi show at age 83.

Creative director of Chanel since 1983 and Fendi since 1965, and founder of his own line, Mr. Lagerfeld was the definition of a fashion polyglot, able to speak the language of many different brands at the same time (not to mention many languages themselves: he read in English, French, German and Italian).

In his 80s, when most of his peers were retiring to their yachts or country estates, he was designing an average of 14 new collections a year ranging from couture to the high street, and not counting collaborations and special projects. His signature combinations of “high fashion and high camp” attracted Rihanna; Princess Caroline of Monaco; Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund; and Julianne Moore.

“Ideas come to you when you work,” he said backstage before a Fendi show at age 83. As a result, Mr. Lagerfeld never stopped creating. He was also a photographer, whose work was exhibited at the Pinacothèque de Paris; a publisher, having founded his own imprint for Steidl, Edition 7L; and the author of a popular 2002 diet book, “The Karl Lagerfeld Diet,” about how he had lost 92 pounds.

His greatest calling, however, was as the orchestrator of his own myth.

A self-identified “caricature,” with his dark glasses, powdered ponytail, black jeans, fingerless gloves, starched collars, Chrome Hearts jewelry and obsessive Diet Coke consumption, he achieved such a level of global fame — and controversy — that a $200 Karl Barbie doll, created in collaboration with the toymaker Mattel, sold out in less than an hour in 2014.

He was variously referred to as a “genius,” the “kaiser” and “overrated.” His contribution to fashion was not in creating a new silhouette, as designers like Cristobal Balenciaga, Christian Dior and Coco Chanel herself did.

Rather, he created a new kind of designer: the shape-shifter.

That is to say, the creative force who lands at the top of a heritage brand and reinvents it by identifying its sartorial semiology and then wresting it into the present with a healthy dose of disrespect and a dollop of pop culture.

Not that he put it that way exactly. What he said was: “Chanel is an institution, and you have to treat an institution like a whore — and then you get something out of her.”

This approach has become almost quotidian in the industry, but before Mr. Lagerfeld was hired at Chanel, when the brand was fading into staid irrelevance kept aloft on a raft of perfume and cosmetics, it was a new and startling idea.

That he dared act on it, and then kept doing so with varying degrees of success for decades, transformed not only the fortunes of Chanel (now said to have revenues of over $4 billion a year) but also his own profile.

And it cleared a new path for designers who came after, from Tom Ford (who likewise transformed Gucci) to John Galliano (Dior), Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy) and Tomas Maier (Bottega Veneta).
“Please don’t say I work hard,” he said to Ms. Frankel of The Independent. “Nobody is forced to do this job, and if they don’t like it they should do another one. People buy dresses to be happy, not to hear about somebody who suffered over a piece of taffeta.”

His pretensions were not to the eternal, but to the ephemeral. In the end, however, with the personal brand that was Karl Lagerfeld, he may have achieved both.