Thursday, September 30, 2010


Echoing Lincoln's core argument about the role of government:

"I believe the government should do for the people what they cannot do better for themselves."


"I believe in a country that rewards hard work and responsibility, a country where we look after one other, a country that says I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper, I'm going to give a hand up, join hands with folks and try to lift all of us up so we all have a better future, not just some - but all of us. That's what I believe."

The speech is streaming on C-SPAN.

Books are dangerous! Protect your kids from subversive ideas!

Nine leading national organizations have joined forces to protest the way Common Sense Media rates books.   

(National Coalition Against Censorship, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom, International Reading Association, Association of American Publishers, PEN America Center, National Council of Teachers of English, Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Authors Guild)

Why, you might ask?

Because ratings oversimplify material 
and take it out of context. 
The letters written to Common Sense Media 
by the National Coalition Against Censorship explain it so much better than I.

Follow (the link) for Common Sense Media's rating for 
Walter Dean Myers' historical fiction Fallen Angels.

I have reproduced the first letter here 
because it is a cogent and important argument against
reducing literature to a mockery of itself, barren of ideas, imagination, and life,
in a misguided attempt to "protect" children from exposure to "dangerous" ideas.

May 7, 2010
James Steyer, CEO
Liz Perle, Editor-in-Chief
Common Sense Media
1550 Bryant Street, Suite 555
San Francisco, CA 94103

Dear Mr. Steyer and Ms. Perle:

We represent national organizations that promote reading and literature. We are writing to you because our organizations share many of the same goals as—in particular, the desire to guide young people to the best sources of information and entertainment and to keep parents informed about the educational value of books, even those that some may find controversial or offensive.

While we think that Common Sense Media provides a great deal of useful information, we have serious concerns about the ways CSM rates books. Our concerns fall into three general areas: 1) the implication that certain kinds of content are inherently problematic, 2) the negative attitude towards books, and 3) the potential that the ratings will be used to remove valuable literature from schools and libraries.

1) The implication that certain kinds of content are inherently problematic.
Under “What to watch out for,” the reviews rate books for violence, sex, language, consumerism, and drinking, drugs, & smoking. By focusing on these categories, the ratings imply that young people need to be “protected” from such material, and they encourage parents and students alike to avoid literature containing this kind of content, regardless of its merit. By quantifying content using a few emoticons that focus on only a small part of the content of the book, the ratings take material out of context and deny the message, intent, and value of the book as a whole.

Instead of encouraging people to view books through such a negative and value-laden lens, we urge a focus on the positive things books bring into the lives of young people. Reading enriches, educates, and entertains readers, and challenging literature can play an important role in a child’s learning and development. People select books based on their own values, needs, and interests. Parents can make better and more informed decisions if they have information about the age appeal of a book, its literary merit, topical interest, thought-provoking potential, and entertainment value. Kids read not only to learn, but also to have fun.

2.) The negative attitude towards books.
Reading has intrinsic educational value. Children become discerning learners and thinkers by reading broadly. There are many positive aspects of reading, even in the context of complex and challenging books. However, the positive aspects of reading are rarely noted and, even when they are, they are often obscured by the site’s list of things to “watch out for.”

For example, Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson is the story of a slave girl in 1776 who is confused when she discovers that both the Loyalists and Patriots support slavery. The review features two frown faces, four bombs, and three martini glasses, but says nothing about the book’s educational value. Not until the very end of the summary, after the ratings and warnings, does the review note that the novel “brings history to life with unforgettable power.”

The review of Beloved, by Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, is likewise silent on the question of educational value, but states that “[s]ensitive readers of any age might find this material too disturbing to make the book worthwhile.” This statement is inconsistent with virtually all professional reviews of the book. Publisher’s Weekly wrote: “This novel is a milestone in the chronicling of the black experience in America. . . . [I]t should not be missed.” Other reviews called it “a masterpiece,” “brilliant,” “a triumph,” and “dazzling.”

The idea that a book might not be worthwhile reading because it contains disturbing material would disqualify a vast quantity of great literature, including Shakespeare, the Greek tragedies, and the Bible. We doubt that your intent is to discourage the reading of books of unquestionable value because they may upset some readers, but that is precisely the message conveyed.

3) The potential that the ratings will be used to remove valuable literature from schools and libraries
The age ratings in the reviews are frequently inconsistent with the ages at which the books are commonly taught in schools. For example, CSM rates Chains, discussed above, as “iffy” for 12 – 14 year olds, even though it is widely taught in 8th grade. Slaughterhouse Five, a classic work, is rated “iffy” for 14 to 18 year olds yet widely taught in high school. Judy Blume’s novel, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, is widely read by 4th and 5th graders but rated “iffy” for 11 – 13 year olds. The fact that the age ratings are inconsistent with the opinions of educators and librarians not only casts doubt on the validity of the ratings, but also creates a serious potential that they will be used to remove valuable, age-appropriate materials from schools and libraries.

Book censorship is a major problem in schools and libraries all over the country. Books are challenged because they contain something that someone - a parent, religious leader or elected official - considers “objectionable” or “age-inappropriate.” Challenges run the gamut, from objections to books that contain profanity, violence, sexual content, racial language, and religious references, to those depicting “bad” role models, non-traditional families, unhappiness, or death. It only takes one person to file a challenge and launch a battle that can last for months and disrupt an entire school system.

Unlike requests for alternative assignments, which most schools offer to parents who object to a particular reading assignment, most book challenges seek to have a book removed from the curriculum, library, or reading list, limiting access by all students. When they succeed, these challenges impose one set of views and values on everyone, including parents who don’t want to have the book removed. More importantly, the students are deprived of the opportunity to read important literature under the guidance of a teacher.

While your mission statement denounces censorship, we believe that your selection tools can easily be used by censors. This is a predictable consequence of the focus on sex, language, violence, etc., removed from their narrative and literary context, rather than on the mind-expanding and life-altering potential of challenging literature. Beloved, for example, is a classic American novel of unquestioned worth, yet it is frequently challenged for language and sexual content. It was among the American Library Association’s list of the ten most censored books in 2006, and not long ago it was removed from an advanced placement English class in a high school in Kentucky. Catcher in the Rye is on the ten most censored list for 2009 – also because of complaints about sex and violence.

CSM reviews endorse and encourage this blinkered view of literature and will ultimately undermine the very goals you purport to promote. If anything, parents need help understanding how reading widely helps prepare their kids for life, not scare tactics about exposure to books depicting sex, violence or bad role models. Children are rarely, if ever, harmed as a result of reading a book, but they can be disadvantaged for life by ignorance.
We do not believe this is what you had in mind. We assume we share important goals – providing information to parents, helping them understand the value of literature, respecting the right of children to read and their need to explore the world through books, and opposing censorship. We hope we can engage in a productive discussion about how to achieve these goals and would like to arrange a meeting to consider how we might proceed towards that end.


Joan E. Bertin, Executive Director, National Coalition Against Censorship
Christopher M. Finan, President, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
Barbara M. Jones, Director, American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom
Richard M. Long, Director of State Federal Relations, International Reading Association
Judith Platt, Director of Freedom to Read & Communications/Public Affairs, Association of American Publishers
Larry Siems, Director of Freedom to Write & International Programs, PEN America Center
Kent Williamson, Executive Director, National Council of Teachers of English
Lin Oliver, Executive Director, Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators
Paul Aiken, Executive Director, Authors Guild

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Red Poppy

close up of a deep red poppy
      by Louise Glück
The great thing
is not having
a mind. Feelings:
oh, I have those; they
govern me. I have
a lord in heaven
called the sun, and open
for him, showing him
the fire of my own heart, fire
like his presence.
What could such glory be
if not a heart? Oh my brothers and sisters,
were you like me once, long ago,
before you were human? Did you
permit yourselves
to open once, who would never
open again? Because in truth
I am speaking now
the way you do. I speak
because I am shattered.

Banned Books - 585 2003 A.D.

Seattle Public Library Excerpted:

The following dangerous books - and many others - can be found at your local Public Library. The dates refer to the year in which the book was challenged, banned or burned.

Book Image
Fables (585 B.C.)
According to legend, the Greek slave and storyteller was flung from the cliffs at Delphi for sacrilege.

Book Image
The Odyssey (387 B.C.)
Plato suggested that state censors should expurgate the outlandish adventures of Odysseus, and all other poetry.

Book Image
Shakespeare,  William
King Lear (1810)
Banned from the English stage until 1820, in deference to the insanity of King George III.

Book Image
Darwin,  Charles
On the Origin of Species (1859)
Fearing the outraged response to his epoch-making theory, Darwin kept the work in a desk drawer for 15 years before publishing it, amidst a firestorm of controversy.

Book Image
Eliot,  George
Adam Bede (1859)
Condemned as the "vile outpourings of a lewd woman's mind" and withdrawn from British libraries.

Book Image
Whitman,  Walt
Leaves of Grass (1882)
When this great American poem was banned in Boston for explicit content, Whitman bought a house with proceeds from the increased sales.

Book Image
Steinbeck,  John
The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
Copies of this "ungodly" depression era epic were burned on the library steps in St. Louis, Missouri.

Book Image
Brown,  Dee
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. (1974)
This Native American history was removed from a school library in Wisconsin by an administrator, who explained: "if there's a possibility that something might be controversial, then why not eliminate it?"

Book Image
Chaucer,  Geoffery
The Miller's Tale (1987)
Denounced as "pornography and women's lib.," this bawdy 14th century story was declared off-limits for students in Columbia County, Florida.

Book Image
Rushdie,  Salman
The Satanic Verses (1989)
Ayatollah Khomeini declared a death sentence on the author of this comic exploration of Good and Evil. Many bookstores do not stock the work, fearing violence.

Book Image
The Bible (1992)
Challenged in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota as "lewd, indecent, obscene, offensive, violent and dangerous to women and children."

Book Image
Snyder,  Jane
Sappho (2000)
Several juvenile biographies of homosexuals were removed from libraries in the Anaheim California School District, who claimed they were "too difficult."

Book Image
Pilkey,  Dav
Adventures of Captain Underpants (2000)
Removed from a Connecticut elementary school for causing unruly behavior.

Book Image
Rowling,  J.K.
The Harry Potter series (2001)
Subject of 448 challenges in 2001 alone, books from this popular series, together with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, were burned outside a church in New Mexico, for being "masterpieces of satanic deception."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Which Poem Would YOU Ban from the School Syllabus?

"In these uncertain times when it’s hard for some people to distinguish between a poem and a random act of violence, it is comforting to know that we have the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) to protect us from harm. You might recall that the AQA made the decision to pulp an anthology of poems for an English Literature examination because it contained a poem, Education for Leisure by Carol Ann Duffy, in which a teenager flushes a goldfish down a toilet and then carries a bread knife onto the streets."

"One thing is certain: today’s poetry-reading adolescents become tomorrow’s deviant adults. We must make sure that poems taught in our classrooms are uniformly bland and as irrelevant to their readers as possible."



"my poem to be decisively pulped would be DylanThomas’ do not go gently into the night…and the reason:
i think, particularly with the ongoing swine flu epidemic and rising OAP population, people should be encouraged to lie down and give in. no more heroics or indoctrinating the young to take responsibility for the care of elders. Encouraging the nation to buck up, be healthy and look after ourselves is at best irresponsible, at worst dangerous."

chained hands reaching up from an open book

Monday, September 27, 2010


Belts are tightening everywhere. 

Salt publishes award-winning poetry, fiction and literary criticism from around the world. But because the imminent closing of their local Post Office will make shipping far too uneconomical,
 Salt Publishing is being forced to close their online book shop next week.
The good news is they are having a 70% off sale.
Check them out and maybe find a deal or two, I know I did.

letters s-a-l-t embossed on a pile of white grains of salt

* Angela Readman Strip 
* Sascha Aurora Akhtar The Grimoire of Grimalkin
* Sandra Tappenden Speed 
* Janet Fisher Brittle Bones
* Katy Evans-Bush Me and the Dead  
* Pam Brown True Thoughts
* Katia Kapovich Cossacks and Bandits
* Jill McDonough Habeas Corpus
* Jasmine Donahaye Self-Portrait as Ruth
* Andrea Porter A Season of Small Insanities
* Diana Pooley Like This


Ellen Hopkins

To you zealots and bigots and false
patriots who live in fear of discourse.
You screamers and banners and burners
who would force books
off shelves in your brand name
of greater good.

You say you’re afraid for children,
innocents ripe for corruption
by perversion or sorcery on the page.
But sticks and stones do break
bones, and ignorance is no armor.
You do not speak for me,
and will not deny my kids magic
in favor of miracles.

You say you’re afraid for America,
the red, white and blue corroded
by terrorists, socialists, the sexually
confused. But we are a vast quilt
of patchwork cultures and multi-gendered
identities. You cannot speak for those
whose ancestors braved
different seas.

You say you’re afraid for God,
the living word eroded by Muhammed
and Darwin and Magdalene.
But the omnipotent sculptor of heaven
and earth designed intelligence.
Surely you dare not speak
for the father, who opens
his arms to all.

A word to the unwise.
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear. 
Good Reads.
bestselling author of Crank and, Tricks.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN! Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

If you are at all interested, 
links from last year are here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

One A.M. [excerpt]

    by David Young

Repetition's magic. I knew it in my bones.
Let me repeat my dream for you,
let me repeat it for myself.

Let me talk on in this starlight,
these meteor streakings of nonsense,
this chaos, these fractals and freckles.

Don't take my words away from me yet.
I'm doing my midnight weeding,
grasping the thistles close to the root,

I'm losing the dream farm, I'm
probably failing, repeating
what others have said--

but that farm, like an old brown photograph
suddenly filling the senses--
and this night, like a silver gelatin print--

and a string that runs from me to the past:
the view from the farmhouse window
across the silent fields of snow.

from: Night Thoughts and Henry Vaughan. Copyright © 1994.



cen·sor·ship (sen′sər ship′)


1. the act, system, or practice of censoring
2. the office or term of a Roman censor
3. the agency by which unpleasant ideas, memories, etc. are kept from entering consciousness


If you'd like to double check:



book wrapped in chains with padlockNJ Library Removes LGBT Book After Complaint From Member Of Glenn Beck's 9/12 Movement

A public library in Burlington County, New Jersey has ordered all of the copies of "Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology" removed from circulation, after a member of Glenn Beck's 9/12 Project complained about the book's content.

Friday, September 24, 2010


six women with head scarves stand ready for prayer
 ( A row of ladies get ready for the sunset prayers, Maghrib.)

Bassam Tariq: During Ramadan last year, Aman Ali and I visited 30 mosques in 30 days around New York City. This year, while I was in Pakistan, we decided on a whim to revisit that adventure, but this time, take on the rest of America.

I believe
knowledge and education can combat fear and hatred. 
We don't fear what we know;
we fear the unfamiliar.

As someone who lives in an area
with great diversity of culture, religion, and food,
I believe this photo-journey is definately 
a worthwhile trip. 
Please click on the title to
take this trip with the bloggers.


It had been a few days since I last checked my account, 
and I didn't even realize Facebook was down. 
I only have it as a convenient way to communicate 
with relatives on the other coast so I forget about it for long periods of time.

I think it was hilarious though,
that the drama that was the Facebook outage, played out on Twitter
I confess, I only found out about it from a blog, though. 
How's that for the interdependence of platforms?!

Facebook posted their updates, explanations, and apologies on twitter. And of course, the Facebook community took full advantage of the opportunity to stream jokes which were 
re-tweeted by the hundreds.

@MetsMerized:"Facebook is down! Employee productivity skyrockets, rioting reported in major cities, USA climbs out of 6-year recession"

@alqaeda:#facebook is down. Not sure if we did that, but we should claim credit anyway. Hitting the infidels where it hurts, etc

A Nation's Strength

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

What makes a nation's pillars high
And it's foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor's sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly...
They build a nation's pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Life Sack 
Solves Drinking Water Issues 
for the Third World

In many areas of the world the water crisis is not an issue of scarcity — it’s an issue of providing access to a clean supply. The lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills thousands of people every year, while countless others struggle to meet their basic needs. To assist the third world in confronting this issue, three industrial designers — Jung Uk Park, Myeong Hoon Lee, and Dae Youl Lee — have come up with the Life Sack, an ingenious water purification device that does double duty as a container for shipping grains and other food staples. Once the food has been received, the sack can be used as a solar water purification kit.


filters embedded in the sacks can filter deadly impurities to 5mm size

Does anyone else see a natural application to disaster relief
in areas such as Haiti and Pakistan, among others?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Uhmmmm . . .

IRL large paperclip in front of a pile of windows with a paper dialogue bubble saying I see you're installing windows

Monday, September 20, 2010


Francois Robert, Photography

When Francois Robert unexpectedly acquired a human skeleton in the 1990s, he knew he had to do something wonderful with it. Several years later when the economy collapsed and he found himself with time on his hands, Robert finally settled on a project: powerful anti-war images spelled out in human bones.

war spelled out in human bones on black background

The series of photographs is entitled “Stop the Violence,” and it uses human bones as a reminder of the consequences of violence. Each sculpture is five to six feet wide and took Robert a full day to assemble. The images are all grippingly powerful: weapons, religious symbols and words that bring to mind the destruction that is left behind after war. - Existing Visual.

jolly Rodger and dollar sign in human bones on black background

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Democracy is not something that you believe in, or something that you hang your hat on. It's something that you do, you participate. Without participation, democracy crumbles and fails. If you participate, you win, and the future is yours.
- Abbie Hoffman


Abbie Hoffman: 

Steal (download free) This Book

Abbie Hoffman was the stand-up comedian of the Anti-War Movement, beloved by everyone who appreciated high jinks in their dogma, freedom of thought in their self-evident truths. He had the misfortune of being entirely correct about racism, sexism, homophobia, the war machine, environmental catastrophe and economic injustice. His wit made him prominent, and his prominence made him a target.


You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists.
- Abbie Hoffman

Saturday, September 18, 2010


but it's still pretty cool.

* *   YTTM   * *

Just pick a year, click refresh, and and take a video trip through time.

Friday, September 17, 2010


 Art Liestman

brown vase inscribed with shapes of puzzle pieces with several pieces missing

Thursday, September 16, 2010


                    SAID TO THE PSALMIST

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
        Life is but an empty dream ! —
    For the soul is dead that slumbers,
        And things are not what they seem.

    Life is real !   Life is earnest!
        And the grave is not its goal ;
    Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
        Was not spoken of the soul.

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
        Is our destined end or way ;
    But to act, that each to-morrow
        Find us farther than to-day.

    Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
        And our hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
        Funeral marches to the grave.

    In the world's broad field of battle,
        In the bivouac of Life,
    Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
        Be a hero in the strife !

    Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
        Let the dead Past bury its dead !
    Act,— act in the living Present !
        Heart within, and God o'erhead !

    Lives of great men all remind us
        We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
        Footprints on the sands of time ;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
        Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
        Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
        With a heart for any fate ;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
        Learn to labor and to wait.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


It has always seemed strange to me that in our endless discussions about education so little stress is laid on the pleasure of becoming an educated person, the enormous interest it adds to life. To be able to be caught up into the world of thought -- that is to be educated.
 - Edith Hamilton,
educator and writer (1867-1963)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


(digital frame, DVD, Blue Ray, PS3)

Monday, September 13, 2010


by Roald Dahl

I guess you think you know this story.
You don't. The real one's much more gory.
The phoney one, the one you know,
Was cooked up years and years ago,
And made to sound all soft and sappy
just to keep the children happy.
Mind you, they got the first bit right,
The bit where, in the dead of night,
The Ugly Sisters, jewels and all,
Departed for the Palace Ball,
While darling little Cinderella
Was locked up in a slimy cellar,
Where rats who wanted things to eat,
Began to nibble at her feet.

She bellowed 'Help!' and 'Let me out!
The Magic Fairy heard her shout.
Appearing in a blaze of light,
She said: 'My dear, are you all right?'
'All right?' cried Cindy .'Can't you see
'I feel as rotten as can be!'
She beat her fist against the wall,
And shouted, 'Get me to the Ball!
'There is a Disco at the Palace!
'The rest have gone and 1 am jalous!
'I want a dress! I want a coach!
'And earrings and a diamond brooch!
'And silver slippers, two of those!
'And lovely nylon panty hose!
'Done up like that I'll guarantee
'The handsome Prince will fall for me!'
The Fairy said, 'Hang on a tick.'
She gave her wand a mighty flick
And quickly, in no time at all,
Cindy was at the Palace Ball!

It made the Ugly Sisters wince
To see her dancing with the Prince.
She held him very tight and pressed
herself against his manly chest.
The Prince himself was turned to pulp,
All he could do was gasp and gulp.
Then midnight struck. She shouted,'Heck!
Ive got to run to save my neck!'
The Prince cried, 'No! Alas! Alack!'
He grabbed her dress to hold her back.
As Cindy shouted, 'Let me go!'
The dress was ripped from head to toe.

She ran out in her underwear,
And lost one slipper on the stair.
The Prince was on it like a dart,
He pressed it to his pounding heart,
'The girl this slipper fits,' he cried,
'Tomorrow morn shall be my bride!
I'll visit every house in town
'Until I've tracked the maiden down!'
Then rather carelessly, I fear,
He placed it on a crate of beer.

At once, one of the Ugly Sisters,
(The one whose face was blotched with blisters)
Sneaked up and grabbed the dainty shoe,
And quickly flushed it down the loo.
Then in its place she calmly put
The slipper from her own left foot.
Ah ha, you see, the plot grows thicker,
And Cindy's luck starts looking sicker.

Next day, the Prince went charging down
To knock on all the doors in town.
In every house, the tension grew.
Who was the owner of the shoe?
The shoe was long and very wide.
(A normal foot got lost inside.)
Also it smelled a wee bit icky.
(The owner's feet were hot and sticky.)
Thousands of eager people came
To try it on, but all in vain.
Now came the Ugly Sisters' go.
One tried it on. The Prince screamed, 'No!'
But she screamed, 'Yes! It fits! Whoopee!
'So now you've got to marry me!'
The Prince went white from ear to ear.
He muttered, 'Let me out of here.'
'Oh no you don't! You made a vow!
'There's no way you can back out now!'
'Off with her head!'The Prince roared back.
They chopped it off with one big whack.
This pleased the Prince. He smiled and said,
'She's prettier without her head.'
Then up came Sister Number Two,
Who yelled, 'Now I will try the shoe!'
'Try this instead!' the Prince yelled back.
He swung his trusty sword and smack
Her head went crashing to the ground.
It bounced a bit and rolled around.
In the kitchen, peeling spuds,
Cinderella heard the thuds
Of bouncing heads upon the floor,
And poked her own head round the door.
'What's all the racket? 'Cindy cried.
'Mind your own bizz,' the Prince replied.
Poor Cindy's heart was torn to shreds.
My Prince! she thought. He chops off heads!
How could I marry anyone
Who does that sort of thing for fun?

The Prince cried, 'Who's this dirty slut?
'Off with her nut! Off with her nut!'
Just then, all in a blaze of light,
The Magic Fairy hove in sight,
Her Magic Wand went swoosh and swish!
'Cindy! 'she cried, 'come make a wish!
'Wish anything and have no doubt
'That I will make it come about!'
Cindy answered, 'Oh kind Fairy,
'This time I shall be more wary.
'No more Princes, no more money.
'I have had my taste of honey.
I'm wishing for a decent man.
'They're hard to find. D'you think you can?'
Within a minute, Cinderella
Was married to a lovely feller,
A simple jam maker by trade,
Who sold good home-made marmalade.
Their house was filled with smiles and laughter
And they were happy ever after.

Welcome to Roald Dahl Day.
The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre.


Sunday, September 12, 2010


On his site he recounts how he became a writer. He tells the story much better than I could, so please stop by and read it in its entirety.

When he reached me, he pointed his sword at my head and touched my brow. The electricity rushed down the sword, inside my skull, made my hair stand up and sparks fly out of my ears. He then shouted at me, "Live forever!"

Saturday, September 11, 2010



A memorable event in the life of the World Trade Center came in the summer of 1974, while the still-unfinished (and largely unrented) towers were courting financial disaster and facing a barrage of architectural and social criticism. In the course of a single morning, the unexpected -- and illegal -- actions of a daring young Frenchman (Philippe Petit) and a few of his confederates would do more to change public opinion about the troubled billion-dollar project than anything else in its first years of existence. -

Events of FEBRUARY 26, 1993.
WTC Facts.
Mega WTC picture thread @ Skyscraper City.
WTC Dossier.

(pic from The McNewspaper)

Friday, September 10, 2010


from President Obama's words 
at a press conference this morning

"One of the things that I most admired about President Bush was after 9/11, him being crystal-clear about the fact that we were not at war with Islam.  We were at war with terrorists and murderers who had perverted Islam, had stolen its banner to carry out their outrageous acts.  And I was so proud of the country rallying around that idea, that notion that we are not going to be divided by religion; we’re not going to be divided by ethnicity.  We are all Americans.  We stand together against those who would try to do us harm.

And that’s what we’ve done over the last nine years.  And we should take great pride in that.  And I think it is absolutely important now for the overwhelming majority of the American people to hang on to that thing that is best in us, a belief in religious tolerance, clarity about who our enemies are -- our enemies are al Qaeda and their allies who are trying to kill us, but have killed more Muslims than just about anybody on Earth.  We have to make sure that we don't start turning on each other.

And I will do everything that I can as long as I am President of the United States to remind the American people that we are one nation under God, and we may call that God different names but we remain one nation.  And as somebody who relies heavily on my Christian faith in my job, I understand the passions that religious faith can raise.  But I’m also respectful that people of different faiths can practice their religion, even if they don't subscribe to the exact same notions that I do, and that they are still good people, and they are my neighbors and they are my friends, and they are fighting alongside us in our battles.

And I want to make sure that this country retains that sense of purpose.  And I think tomorrow is a wonderful day for us to remind ourselves of that."



Just something to think about
in this competitive, fast paced world.

from Slow blog manifesto: 

1). Slow Blogging is a rejection of immediacy ...
2). Slow Blogging is speaking like it matters, ...
3). Slow Blogging is a reversal of the disintegration into the one-liners and cutting turns of phrase that are often the early lives of our best ideas. ...
4). Slow Blogging is a willingness to remain silent amid the daily outrages and ecstasies that fill nothing more than single moments in time, ...
5). Slow Blogging is a response to and a rejection of Pagerank. ...
6). Slow Blogging is the re-establishment of the machine as the agent of human expression, rather than its whip and container. ...  

a few additions:

7). Slow blogs are well written ...
8). Slow blogs are focused on content over format
9). Slow blogs posts are sometimes long
10). Slow blogs are original
11). Slow blogs are not unfairly critical of bloggers with different agendas.
12). Slow blogs encourage community building
13). Slow blogs are worth the time


Todd Sieling:
Barbara Ganley
Russell Davies’ Dawdlr blog:
SlowBlogs @ Blogspot
This is a Slow Blog

Thursday, September 9, 2010


This is Ed Casey’s Bukowski tattoo:
I’ve been a Bukowski fan ever since my pop got me started on his writing (at what was probably too early an age for such booze filled tales of debauchery). I used to have this poem printed out and stuck to my fridge to remind me that, all things considered, things are pretty ok. I thought and thought and thought about getting my first (and so far only) tattoo for years and when the time came there was really only one option.

there’s no other way:
8 or ten poems a
in the sink
behind me are dishes
that haven’t been
washed in 2
the sheets need
and the bed is
half the lights are
burned-out here.
it gets darker
and darker
(I have replacement
bulbs but can’t get them
out of their cardboard
wrapper.) Despite my
dirty shorts in the
and the rest of my dirty
laundry on the
bedroom floor,
they haven’t
come for me yet
with their badges and their rules and their
numb ears. oh, them
and their caprice!
like the fox
I run with the hunted and
if I’m not the happiest
man on earth I’m surely the
luckiest man

my doom smiles at me” by Charles Bukowski,
from the book: The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain.

From a website called CONTRARIWISE literary tattoos.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization

*   * *   *

“We know that literate, educated women are more engaged members of society; their impact is far reaching from their homes, through their communities, and in their countries. When mothers learn to read, they teach their children and they are more likely to be advocates for their children’s education. Mothers who know how to read know how to follow instructions on a medicine bottle, and they are more likely to know the risks associated with AIDs and malaria.” In short, she said, “When you educate women, you improve nearly every aspect of society.”  - Laura Bush
*   * *   *

Some Literacy Resources (PDF format)




George Carlin, America's last great philosopher

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010


“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
from: the preface to first printing of Leaves of Grass,
by Walt Whitman.

YES, WE ACTUALLY DO USE ALL THOSE THINGS WE LEARN IN SCHOOL. (Just not the way our teachers envisioned)


Saturday, September 4, 2010


My garden is overflowing with tomatoes. Every day I bring in a load of beautiful and delicious (if I do say so myself) tomatoes to eat, and give away. I'm freezing my Romas for sauce making later.

I only have three, that's 3, squash on the vine! I must be the only person in the history of agriculture who hasn't feed an entire neighborhood on one plant. 

Oh, well. 
You live. You learn. 
(I hope)

In the spirit of my garden, I thought I'd share this with you:

The Old Man and the Garden

An old Italian man lived alone in New Jersey. He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden; but it was very difficult work as the ground was hard.

His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent,

I am feeling pretty sad, because it looks like I won't be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.

                                               Love, Papa

A few days later he received this letter from his son:

Dear Pop,

Don't dig up that garden. That's where the bodies are buried.

                                               Love, Vinnie

At 6 am the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Pop,

Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.

                                               Love, Vinnie

Friday, September 3, 2010


THATS A DAILY READ OF 3.611111111 . . . 

Star readers Brittany Lopez, Gartim Li, Brendan Sanchez, Aliah Gilkes and Christian Rosario join Yanks star Curtis Granderson to receive New York Public Library honors at Yankee Stadium.

Read more: readers Brittany Lopez, Gartim Li, Brendan Sanchez, Aliah Gilkes and Christian Rosario join Yanks star Curtis Granderson to receive New York Public Library honors at Yankee Stadium.
 *  *  *
Fourteen-year-old Brittany Lopez has been named New York's bookworm of the year for plowing through a staggering 325 novels and comics in just three months, from June to August.


The most improved reader was Christian Rosario, 7, who lives in Jackson Heights, Queens.

His family had to read books to him before the summer, but by the end of the three-month challenge, he had ticked 60 books off his reading list by himself.
BY Christina Boyle, DAILY NEWS