September 28, 2016 at 12:31 am (books, contemplation, creative writing, culture, ethics, fiction, issues, life, literary fiction, random, Uncategorized)
Tags: banned books, books, ethics, novels, reading, Writing
My top choice is Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. The film clip pretty much gives you the lay of the land.
List of commonly banned books in the US via wikipedia.
Sept. 25 to Oct. 1 is banned books week.
Exercise your right to read freely.
Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is also one of my favorite bad books. And Kurt Vonneguts’s Slaughterhouse-Five is another dark keeper from the usual banned books suspects. I have to admit that unlike the other two books which make you laugh and cry, Slaughterhouse-Five seriously lacks in the laughs column. But it’s a powerful book about the horror of war.
So what books would you stand up for in the age of manipulative mind control?
September 9, 2016 at 1:59 pm (books, culture, education, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, history, issues, journalism, politics, Uncategorized)
Tags: Attica, Blood in the Water, books, civil rights, Heather Ann Thompson, history, horror, human rights, NY Time Book Revies, prisons, racial issues, reading, video footage
Encountered Thompson’s work via Democracy Now! ‘s coverage of the anniversary of the uprising at Attica. I remember Attica If you don’t, you’re in for a bone chilling reality check.
I have not yet read Thompson’s work but there is an excellent review by Mark Oppenheimer:
NY Times Book Review
August 19, 2016 at 3:26 pm (books, culture, drama, education, entertainment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, films, history, life, movies, politics, quests, random, relationships, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: American Experience, books, Daniel James Brown, documentary, history, integrity, Olympics, PBS, rowing, The Boys in the Boat, The Boys of '36
It’s Friday and everyone is itching to chill out so I’ll get right to the heart of this post: Treat yourself and read The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. This is a true story of HEART–true character, “boys” who were men whom current athletes can not match on any level. Yes, I have seen the 2016 Olympics and found them sorely wanting. In a time when ego and individual effort is all the rage it’s impossible to even imagine that a group of nine “boys” could swing like none other. I knew nothing about rowing until I read this book. I knew more than I wanted about the Nazis. I knew about the Depression and the Dust Bowl. I knew about Jesse Owens. But I knew nothing about this incredible rowing crew. Swing is now more than a style of Jazz and dancing for me. It’s not often that I re-read a book but I’ve read the race scenes several times because they’re so damn exciting. Nothing I’ve seen –ever– in the Olympics can compare.
For the romantics there’s even a love story. Actually there’s a lot of love in this story.
The Boys in the Boat
Much thanks and appreciation to PBS’s American Experience episode The Boys of ’36 which turned me onto Brown’s book.
The Boys of ’36 Chapter 1
Watch, read and be uplifted.
M-I-B = Mind In Boat ~~ rowing mantra
May 14, 2016 at 8:22 pm (culture, education, entertainment, environment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, issues, life, living, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: books, city, City By City, education, food, Gessen, Kansas City, KKFI, life, Missouri, music, radio, red lining, Squibb, Writing
Hola fellow web travelers. As a follow-up to my return to the online world I thought I’d connect with my prior post by filling in a gap in the City By City Dispatches from the American Metropolis edited by Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb with a snapshot of Kansas City, Missouri–with a few side notes regarding some areas PR people like to associate it with, and some it would rather forget exist too close for their comfortably red-lined zones. Please don’t take this missive as a criticism of City By City. Editors have to work with the material they’re given and I am certainly enjoying its varied dispatches from Detroit, Washington D.C. (a brothel, how deliciously appropriate), and Chicago’s Hyde Park. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Gessen and Squibb either received no dispatches from Kansas City or if they did they couldn’t figure out what to make of them. The latter would be very understandable as Kansas City, Missouri has multiple personalities. Which one you encounter depends entirely on where you are–literally–physically.
If you were to stand on the corner of midtown Kansas City at 39th and Main Street, ground zero for KKFI, a community radio station like none other, your view of Kansas City changes drastically depending on which direction you take from there. Go south and west for money, some of it old and resting very comfortably. North offers old ethnic neighborhoods like Little Italy, and the City Market area working at staying alive north of the infamous Independence Avenue line (former hunting grounds for serial killers). Go east towards the Troost line you’ll find neighborhoods locked in life and death struggles with poverty and crime while contending with everything from a tragically failed public school district to abandoned vacant houses, gangs, and violent crime.
Heading west on 39th Street will take you to what remains of the city’s midtown bohemian neighborhoods. The ghost of the New York style D’Bronx pizzeria haunts the south corner of 39th and Bell while Prospero’s Books holds down the fort directly opposite it on the northern corner. Behind the 39th Street mainly food business line-up is a crowd of densely packed homes of all makes and ages. It’s a cool crazy quilt of unpredictability. Continue westward and you’ll cross State Line and then you’re in the KU Med area–which is on the Kansas side of the street, not in Missouri. Though you might never guess it. PR people like to make the most of what’s good around them.
If you travel south down Main and 39th to Westport Road you’ll wind up in the increasingly yuppified Westport area which currently caters to people who enjoy imbibing copious amounts of the legal drug known as alcohol in their free time. Long gone is the classy independent bookstore, the unique clothing stores, the movie theater and many other business venues unconnected to providing watering holes for the young and senseless. To be fair, the heroic Broadway Cafe remains steadfast on Broadway. As far as I currently know it is the ONLY independent coffeehouse to drive out the invasive species known as Starbucks. Yep, that’s right. Corporate Starbucks came, saw and invaded–and departed without conquering the superior java product. Also, the incredible Tivoli Cinemas remains–after relocating to Pennsylvania Ave. There’s also a newer food gig in the area–a new version of The Corner Restaurant complete with goat cheese, kale and alligator. No bagels and lox there–no way. The area has completely lost the feel of a friendly and engaging one-stop contained neighborhood but it is still alive, though steadily losing the remains of its inviting personality. I still mourn the closing of its independent music store, Streetside Records, which was once a great place to explore an incredibly wide range of music. It’s where I purchased Joan Osborne’s Relish after listening and discovering it offered far more than “If God Was One of Us.” Unless you’re into the drunk and disorderly scene evade the area on the weekends after dark when the partying begins in earnest as there are multiple hardcore drinking establishments all within a minute’s walk of each other from the corner of Pennsylvania and Westport Road. If you’re into drunk and disorderly then by all means go wallow whole hog all night long.
If you continue further south on Broadway you will enter the alternate universe of The Plaza where the fountains flow and so does the money dough. It’s not called the Country Club Plaza for nothing. Years and years ago this was an upscale middle class yet still affordable area with all kinds of interesting independent shops and food venues. These days it caters to those with two hundred dollars to spend on jeans without batting an eye. Dinner can easily cost a hundred dollars a person at some eateries. Most of the affordable housing in this area has vanished, but there’s plenty to be had for the urban condo set. The Plaza offers Thanksgiving lights, fountains, a very uninspiring insipid Art Fair–art which will not offend, raise issues or stretch anyone’s mind–but it’ll work well with your color scheme. So ironic considering the fact that just a few blocks away rests the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art–well, maybe not so ironic other things considered. If you desire more engaging on the fringe art then go north from 39th and Main to the Crossroads area around Broadway and 18th Streets. But visit it fast because the high and mighty are digging in big time with developments with hopes to connect the dots to the Power and Light District (Remind me: urban revitalization for who? Yuppies? Again?) and the real people character is vanishing fast. You’ll know the former Crossroads has been entirely vanquished when YJ’s Snack Bar closes and the jamming ends. Yep, that will signal the end of an era.
Okay,so venturing southwest from The Plaza and you’ll find impressive homes on lots large enough for five or six of the houses east of Troost Ave. None of them will have their garbage or household discards left sitting at curb for weeks and weeks and weeks as happens in the neighborhoods east of Troost where, if you’re not squeamish, you can have your pick of couches, mattresses, and entertainment centers. Even the huge lovely Loose Park is very well maintained. There’s cool green space galore with huge old trees, a pond, picnic areas and rose garden. I wonder if anyone east of Troost ever enters the rose garden contest held at Loose Park? I’ve never seen roses blooming in the parks east of Troost. Seeing a bench to sit on is a find. This is part of the character of extreme contrasts that Kansas City offers. This can easily be missed by staying on the highways when driving in from Independence, Missouri–a former Meth Lab Capital of the World–though who knows what’s really going on in that American drug swamp. If you drive into Kansas City from Independence on any residential street like 23rd or 31st instead of I70 you’ll get a close up view of the multiple urban landscapes of Kansas City from the bottom of the economic ladder to the top from east to west/southwest. You might even be impressed by the bus-stop at the corner of 31st and Troost–it does look like something from this decade, sort of.
Heading south from The Plaza, or from 31st and Troost, you’ll find the University of Missouri which years ago ran into very deep shit with its very diverse residential neighbors when it embarked on a buy and destroy mission to enable expansion of the parking garage ilk–among other things. The good neighbors fought back hard, going so far as to threaten UMKC’s chancellor’s residence with a bulldozer. No joke, these people were pissed off and rightly so in my opinion. Along Rockhill Road were blocks of lawn signs screaming “UMKC Kills Homes.” So much for the Ivory Tower’s idealism when it comes to money matters. This is another area in which the small independent local business flavor has all but disappeared. Perhaps they just don’t make people the same anymore? Just a question. Rockhill Road leads to Brookside and Waldo areas where the older tree-lined streets are narrow and generally quiet and the grocery store offers delights you won’t find in Wild Woody’s store east of Troost on 31 Street. Lamb chops and Green Tea ice cream anyone? Hmm?
Troost Avenue is only one block east of Rockhill Road. Once you get past being impressed by Rockhurst University’s presence on the east side of the street it’s clear straight off that the residences are not on par with those to the west of UMKC. Things are a tad rougher and tougher looking on the east side of Troost for the hard-working poor and their attendant gangs. Just a tad. I don’t think I’ve ever been in another city with such an obvious social economic division designated by a single street running north/south where you can actually stand on the street’s yellow dividing line and see two contrasting worlds just by looking in opposite directions: urban blight versus urban de-light.
I haven’t said anything about barbecue. Yeah, there’s plenty of it in all directions.
Nor have I mentioned the Historic Jazz District at 18th and Vine which is one street featuring the wonderful Gem Theater, the Blue Room and the American Jazz Museum, The Call newspaper–and historic painted storefronts.
Then there’s the Northeast area of Kansas City with its incredible influx of immigrants whose language needs the Kansas City Public library tries to address with ESL courses.
I haven’t mentioned the former mayor who refused to discuss the state of education even when it was front page news.
I haven’t mentioned the ex-school superintendent who insisted that 36 students in a classroom was a good thing.
Nor have I said anything about the decline of a newspaper that first impressed me with its coverage of a suspected serial killer hunting prostitutes and other vulnerable women on Independence Ave.
I’ve only hinted at the vibrant art scene that serves as a huge street party every first Friday.
There are thousands of homeless people in Kansas City.
There’s extreme wealth in Kansas City–and that’s not counting Johnson County which is in KANSAS not Missouri–and there’s extreme poverty with every economic class in between. I wonder if the people working at the Channel 4 news station ever drove down the street right behind their building and saw the houses with plastic sheeting for windows? Yes, there were people living in those places.
I could write a great deal more. I’m trying to stop while I’m ahead. I suspect I might already be behind the eight ball here.
Perhaps the very best thing about Kansas City is the community radio station which is still going strong after more than twenty years of Jazz, Blues, World, Folk, Classical, Latino, Reggae, and Rock music. If anything is truly alive and well in Kansas City, Missouri, it is KKFI–the beating heart of a diverse population which can’t be red lined. If you want a taste of Kansas City then tune in–they’re streaming online world-wide from the corner of 39th and Main 365 days and nights a year.
City By City
May 2, 2016 at 6:09 pm (art, creative writing, culture, education, environment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, history, journalism, life, living, publishing, random, relationships, searching, thinking, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: American, books, Chernobyl, cities, City By City, death, disaster, exploring interconnectedness, Francine Prose, history, Keith Gessen, libraries, library, life, Nobel Prize in Literature, nuclear energy, oral history, reading, Russian, searching, Stefan Bollman, Svetlana Alexievich, unplugged, urban landscapes, Virginia Woolf, Voices from Chernobyl, women, Women Who Write, Women Writers, world wide web, Writing
An interesting thing happens when you unplug from the world-wide web–time expands. Yes it does indeed. Time expands in the sense of all the things you can explore OFFline. Consider what happens when you forget your cellphone and you don’t feel the need to answer every ringtone like Pavlov’s puppies. Oh the freedom from the ring, from the keyboard connected to social media, and everything in the info universe. It can be very liberating–and you realize just how much energy, effort and time you’ve been putting into communication technology. Having been almost constantly online since BEFORE Facebook and twitter were even imagined I discovered a real big break from it all was in order. It’s been the kind of break where I’m on the verge of needing to upgrade my cellphone so that it will ‘work’. Aside from personal connections I have not missed the world-wide web much. I don’t enjoy reading books online–but I adore reading. Writing online has its pros and cons. I’ve discovered that the best way to deal with writer’s block is to actually write with a pen/pencil on paper. Yeah, it works. According the research I suspect it’s because more of your brain is stimulated by using your fine motor skills when using a pen than with using a keyboard. Oh and there’s never a problem with power outages or viruses or hitting the wrong key and sending everything into nowhere-land. Yes, being offline has been very good for my writing. It’s also been good for reading, exploring music, and cooking. Virtual cooking leads to virtual food and that’s inedible no matter what it does to your salivary glands.
When you’re exploring books offline in a library setting interesting things tend to happen–to me anyway. For example, an oversize book cover featuring Virginia Woolf’s profile draws your attention to Stefan Bollman’s Women Who Write, a book of profiles of women writers. Reading Francine Prose’s introduction raises the question of what other women have won the Nobel Prize in Literature since the book’s publication. The answer to this query leads to 2015 Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster. I currently do not know where else you can read anything like this in English. Which leads in turn to the translator, Keith Gessen who is the co-editor of City By City, Dispatches from the American Metropolis. The essays therein present diverse perspectives on the American urban landscape–and they’re anything but boring.
I heartily recommend all these books for your reading table or tablet. Warning: Voices from Chernobyl may break your heart with its love stories. What happens to people who know nothing about the downside of nuclear energy when things go terribly wrong? This is an intensely personal record of what happens. Considering the world in which we live we owe to these people to at least make ourselves aware and informed. Because Blue Skies do not mean all is hunky dory in the radioactive universe. Note: this is also a National Book Critics Circle Award winner for General Nonfiction.
~Virginia Woolf’s profile
~Women Who Write by Stefan Bollman, Francine Prose
~Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich
~Translator Keith Gessen
~City By City, Dispatches from the American Metropolis edited by Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb
Please do feel free to share wherever these dots lead you.
Thanks for engaging here. Your time, energy and virtual presence is very much appreciated–more than ever before.
About Svetlana Alexievich:
Women Who Read Are Dangerous~~(select translation):
October 19, 2014 at 7:16 pm (books, creative writing, culture, entertainment, exploring interconnectedness, fiction, humor, publishing, random, Writing)
Tags: books, Cinder, Cress, fairytales, fiction, Marissa Meyer, pleasure, reading, Scarlet, teen fiction, wriitng
🙂 Yeah, the television tubes have been flooded with retakes and remakes of fairytale galore in recent seasons. It’s been virtual Grimm’s gag-fest galore. Some results have been gleefully giddy good Grimm fun galore and others have been romantic soap operas deluxe. Have you been suitably chastised about the perils of talking to strangers, wandering off in the woods, and greedy beanstalks? Some of us are awaiting the return of the modern Grimm Reapers complete with popcorn couch parties in the works.
Just when the market seems saturated with all kinds of re-workings of cautionary and sleeping beauty tales along comes the ultimate Cinder-rella—a glorious human-cyborg teenage girl with attitude, smarts and guts like none other. She lives in New Beijing with her wicked stepmother and sisters. With a few twists of her screwdrivers she can replace an outgrown metal foot or carve her name into the heart of the sort of charming pin-up poster Prince Kai. But before there will be any hot kissy faces there’s a plague to fight, an evil auntie to dethrone, a mystery or two to unravel and friends to make along the way.
Oh the glories of teen fiction. 🙂
Marissa Meyer’s young adult spin gives the Cinderella story an overhaul like none other and I love it. The thing about writing for young adults is that you can’t miss a beat and expect your audience to stick along waiting for you to get back on board with the fun and games. Meyer’s never missteps in Cinder or in the other tomes that continue the story. Scarlet–Little Red Riding Hood has never been so full of piss and vinegar –and partial to the Big Bad-ass Wolf. Going where Grandma has gone is a tad more risky than a walk in the woods, but that doesn’t stop single-minded Scarlet from going hunting with Wolf watching her back-side. And then there’s Cress—ha, this Rapunzel is a computer genius with her fingertips on the pulse of the universe. Big Brother move over cause little sis has things to do and secrets to secret for her own escape agenda. Disney never will top this rendition of the long tressed girl in a tower. No way. Ever see a blind man rescue his lady in waiting? The brash, vain Captain Carswell Thorne doesn’t let anything keep him down –ever. So he’s been blinded by crash landing into the Sahara–who cares? Crsss is MIA and he’s going after her –cane and overly ethical escort droid in hand.
Ahhhh three books are ready for reading NOW–and Winter is coming in 2015. Snow White is clearly some kind of head case with teen angst to spare. I don’t suggest leaving out any bread crumbs or candy–this crew is too hungry for love and life to go backwards –ever.
Marissa Meyer ~ > http://www.marissameyer.com/books/
Go on, visit the cool author site.
It’s tricks and treats for everyone who craves some reading FUN.
September 27, 2014 at 6:27 am (books, culture, education, entertainment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, history, Indigenous People, Native Americans, people, politics, publishing, random, thinking, Writing)
Tags: Alaska, Aleuts, American history, An Uncommon History of 1776, Beavers, book review, books, Claudio Saunt, Creeks, Cuba, history, reading, West of the Revolution, Writing
One minute book review:
Why is it that people on one side of the globe think they have a right to the land of the people living on the other side of the earth?
Oh right–they’re all a bunch of greedy egocentric egomaniacs who are only interested in how to turn a profit. Yeah, I knew that.
Of course there’s genocide, racism and missionaries spreading misery in spades–but, there’s also the beaver trade and the Cuban connection too in West of the Revolution wherein Claudio Saunt fills history buffers in on what was going on elsewhere in North America during that war for some colonies’ economic independence from merry old England. This is an darkly entertaining and easy read with odd maps, chapter notes notes and a very strange illustration depicting beavers in action on page 129. Saunt offers some very disturbing stories about human behavior on the part of everyone and a decided lack of brotherly love. Yeah, forget all the first Thanksgiving propaganda, it’s a no go in Alaska with the Russians and Aleuts. And Jesus Christ, what is it with the damn priests and their bad habits on west coast and the southwest? Some things just never change no matter what century you’re digging around in. I suppose that’s because human behavior doesn’t seem to be evolving for the better anywhere. I could, and might do, an in-depth review of this recent new book–but right now I’m settling for two thumbs up review mind mode. Why? Because I learned a few things, like why the Creeks tried so hard to get some real trade going with Cuba. They understood their dire economic situation quite well. As for the Indians doing business with the Hudson Bay Company and others ~~ well, they could teach Wall Street a thing or two about insider trading of a certain sort.
And then there are those beavers and their dams . . . .
April 14, 2014 at 5:12 pm (art, books, culture, education, exploring interconnectedness, issues, life, living, people, publishing, random, searching, thinking, Uncategorized)
Tags: art, artist, artists, Book, book tour video, books, bookstore, business, Creative Life, creativity, culture, Dan Steinhilber, essays, Essays by 40 Working Artists, Intellect, Issues, life, Living and Sustaing a Creative LIfe, Maggie Michael, money, NYC, publisher, random, review, Sharon, Sharon Louden, State of Control Maggie Michael, The Strand Bookstore, video, working artists, Writing
In the box or out of the box?
To gallery or not to gallery — to quest or not to quest?
Shut up and pass paper and pencils. Art wants making.
For the book price of less than a dollar a piece, editor Sharon Louden, working artist herself, invites artists, and any other interested parties, to engage with 40 working artists n what has been an ongoing discussion for as long as creative people have striven to live and thrive in a world at large that far too often is less than supportive of their existence. No, Living and Sustaining a Creative Life, Essays by 40 Working Artists isn’t a book about artists who rock the status quo of mainstream society. Though there are artists within these pages who do so in one medium or another. What this very engaging tome offers is a very wide and diverse range of perspectives based on experiences had by artists who’ve found their own ways to survive, thrive and continue to create over time. There are discussions of quests for studio time, for money to provide food, shelter and art supplies, for solitude and for companionship, gallery representation and new ways of making a go of things with and without galleries. There’s a lot of insight, hindsight, information, ideas and inspiration in these essays written by a very wide range of artists including those raising children and engaged in mutually supportive relationships. Plus, there is an excellent photograph of each artist’s work prefacing their essay. Yeah, that’s a very sweet bonus track in this book–you get some views of art you might or might not have seen yet. So this libro also serves as a visual catalog of artists as essayists. Hence, you get a small visual sense of what these artists invest so much vital energy and time creating.
A few of my visual treat picks:
Michael Waugh’s The American Jobs Act, part 1 (detail)
Peter Drake’s Day for Night
Thomas Kilpper’s State of Control
Maggie Michael’s Swans of Other Worlds ~ (photography by Dan Steinhilber)
Julie Hefferman’s Self Portrait as Big World
Jay Davis’ Please, no more birds
Living and Sustaining a Creative Life Panel ~ Book tour video. Yes, this is an interesting and engaging serious discussion among artists, about artists, art and the art world. Enjoy.
Published on Apr 3, 2014
Join us for a special panel examining the challenges that artists face in the ever more commercially minded and competitive contemporary art world. In Living and Sustaining A Creative Life, Sharon Louden, an artist living and working in Brooklyn, brings together 40 contemporary artists to reflect on their own personal processes for living life and creating art. Sharon will moderate a panel examining the questions of how artists choose to live their lives and stay true to their creative impulses, featuring some of the contributors.
Here’s a link to Amazon’s Look Inside page for the book – http://www.amazon.com/Living-Sustaining-Creative-Life-Working/dp/178320012X#reader_B00F4AT02K
Here are just a few of my favorite quotes from the essays:
Annette Lawrence ~ “I am generally led by curiosity, and nothing is off-limits.”
George Stoll ~ “I LIke to work but don’t always like to start, so I make it as easy to begin as possible. At a restaurant near my house that has good coffee, friendly waiters and an owner who tolerates my long visits, I start most days. . . . I’ve learned that I am especially productive when feeling a bit delinquent.”
Tony Ingrisano ~ “I sleep and eat and breathe drawing, so it’s only logical that I’d do anything necessary to keep drawing.”
Sean Mellyn ~ “Rauschenberg’s Bed made an early and lasting impression on me – that art can not only be made from anything, but material extrapolated from a life lived is a powerful statement.”
Brian Tolle ~ “There are no bad opportunities if you have only one.”
Austin Thomas ~ “There are as many ways to be an artist as there are artists; Lucas Reiner told me that one and it is true.”
Amy Pleasant ~ “And it wakes me up each day. And I follow it. And at the risk of sounding melodramatic, it is the greatest thing I know.”
Maggie Michael ~ “Falling n love was easy. What became labored was managing our bank account after college (when our student loans came due). Artists often pair with someone who has a reliable career and income, but we could not change partners now or in hindsight.”
Dan Steinhilber (Maggie Michael’s partner) ~ “Many people seem to give us extra credit because we involve our child in our life as artists. Clay has excellent conversational skills, yet he does not make a great deal of artworks. Nevertheless, he is imaginative and creative and amazing to us.”
Dan Steinhilber ~ “Over time we learned how to help, support, and appreciate each other rather than be competitive. For example, on days when Maggie is teaching, I often go to her studio and do practical things for her – build stretchers, prime canvases, and keep her supplies organized so that her time in the studio can be focused on painting.”
Link for Intellect, Publishers of Original Thinking page –>> http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/books/view-Book,id=5042/
How do you measure success?
What did you create today?
Okay, now that I’ve done my good book information sharing deed for the day, it’s time to take advantage of the lull in the rain to get the box of sheet music out of the back seat and see what suits my agenda.
March 23, 2014 at 4:49 pm (books, contemplation, culture, education, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, films, history, issues, journalism, life, living, people, politics, publishing, random, relationships, searching, thinking, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: 1971, activists, anti-war, Betty Medsger, Book, Book TV, books, civil disobedience, civil liberties, culture, dissent, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, FBI, government, Heist, history, inspriration, interview, Issues, J. Edgar Hoover, journalism, law, legal, living, media, New York Times, news, non violence, NSA, people, politics, Politics and Prose, protest, random, Retro Report, review, rights, secrets, subversives, survelliance, The Burglary, The Discover of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI, truth, video, Vietnam, war, William Davidon, Writing
The New York Times
“There are certain points in history where a society goes so wrong, and there are certain people who will say, ‘I won’t stand for that . . . I will risk career, life, limb, family freedom . . . And I will take this risk, and I will go and do it.”
Betty Medsger’s book about the 1971 burglary of the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania isn’t about a cheap thrill ride of robbery for adrenaline kicks and profit, though it was a crime with a huge payout–the truth. The burglary committed by a crew of non-violent peace activists assembled by a physics professor, William Davidon, confirmed the suspicions of anti-war activists that they were being unlawfully spied upon by their own government because they were exercising their right to dissent — and that thousands of other people were being illegally spied upon because they were considered subversives according to one man, J. Edgar Hoover. People didn’t have to commit any crime or even speak about committing treason to get their names put on a list of folks to be rounded up and jailed in the event of some national emergency. If they were liberal, if they were black, if they espoused anti-war sentiments, if they were writers, artists, then they were candidates for warrantless, indefinite detention without due process under the law–as far as Hoover was concerned. The Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI’s theft of FBI records brought into the light of day the term COINTELPRO–and a lot of very very illegal activity by the FBI as it committed crimes against the American people with impunity. Such crimes included destroying the lives of innocent people by deliberately framing them for crimes they didn’t commit, celebrating such wrongdoing and refusing to turn over evidence that proved their innocence in any wrongdoing. Hoover’s secret FBI didn’t give a damn about truth, integrity, civil liberties, or the law. It existed to create paranoia and fear in the population at large in order to control everyone. It refused to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States and the law. It was a criminal entity from the top on down with a few exceptions.
If this is striking a contemporary current events cord with you, that’s not an accident.
If you’re expecting an anti-war tale rife with hippies, drugs, sex and rock and roll music, look elsewhere. The people who broke into the FBI office in Media were not a bunch of hooligans. They weren’t looking for money. They were searching for evidence. These were people who raided draft offices in order to destroy the effort to conscript young men for the war machine then stayed to be arrested by the police in order to take responsibility for their actions. These were people deeply invested in ethical behavior and education who wanted the death and destruction in Vietnam to stop. They were people committed to the civil rights movement. Betty Medsger’s book provides varied personal portraits of the burglars, each dependent upon how much personal information they were willing to share, of the Media burglars. There’s a range of backgrounds and experience among them which provides some sense of the breadth of the range of people involved in the anti-war movement and what inspired them to become activists.
If you have no clue about the short and long-term importance of this burglary and the context in which it occurred, don’t fret, Medsger will fill you in. She provides notes and a very useful bibliography for further reading. While this is a very serious book about very serious issues which are very relevant to the here and now, it’s also very very accessible and readable. It gives life and breath to events by creating connections with real humans thinking hard about the world we live in–and how we live in it. What are the responsibilities of those who are free? What does it mean to have the right to dissent without fear of retaliation in a society that claims to be free? What are you willing to do to protect your civil liberties? Who wants to live their lives in fear of being arrested because of their ideas?
Betty Medsger’s book raises all sorts of interesting issues for serious conversation while stressing the important role ‘ordinary’ people play in creating the world in which we live our daily lives. If you think one person doesn’t have a lot of influence in the power plays then consider J. Edgar Hoover the Head of the FBI versus William Davidon, a physics professor with an idea.
Who is reading everyone’s mail? Who is collecting phone conversations? Who is creating files on everyone? Why?
Who has the Hoover virus? What is to be done about it?
The Burglary site –>> http://www.theburglary.com/
Betty Medsger ~ The Burglary (note, her part does not run the full hour of the video)
Published on Mar 21, 2014
http://www.politics-prose.com/book/97… Betty Medsger talks about her book about the previously unsolved burglary of an FBI building in Media, Pennsylvania. Recorded on March 16, 2014.
Founded by Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade in 1984, Politics & Prose Bookstore is Washington, D.C.’s premier independent bookstore and cultural hub, a gathering place for people interested in reading and discussing books. Politics & Prose offers superior service, unusual book choices, and a haven for book lovers in the store and online. Visit them on the web at http://www.politics-prose.com/
March 18, 2014 at 10:41 pm (art, books, creative writing, culture, exploring interconnectedness, life, poetry, quests, random, relationships, thinking, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: art, books, brain, creating, creative writing, culture, dots, dreaming, energyscape, eva's energyscapes, haiku, links, Michio Kaku, mind, new book, people, poem, poetry, random, Science, She Creates, solar flares, stippling, The Future of the Mind, thinking
She Creates @eva
slate white or black blank
dots everywhere solar flares
midnight she creates
It’s all about the DOTS, of course. Since much of my art is composed of tiny dots–a technique called stippling--Michio Kaku’s little chat about his new book caught my attention. Once I lay eyes and hands on The Future of the Mind hopefully I’ll have more to say about it than the fact that my curiosity is highly aroused by Kaku’s notions. What’s brewing in your mind?
The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku
Michio Kaku’s official site –>> http://mkaku.org/home/publications/about-the-future-of-the-mind/
An excerpt from the book: http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/excerpt-the-future-the-mind
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