The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos ~ Review of one hell of a fully justified rant rampage from Macy Cashmere, The Girl reporting directly from the Cultural Crime Scenes.

Yesterday was International Women’s Day so what could be more appropriate than advocating reading than a book which lays out the ongoing conditions under which many girls and women do not thrive in our world while fighting to survive despite the odds against them? Via chapters presented as entries of significant words and phrases in The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary writer NoNieqa Ramos takes you directly into the inner world of Macy Cashmere–named for the store and the fine wool used in luxury clothing items–who puts the survival skills of the likes of Laura Croft Tomb Raider to shame.  Suffice it to say that Macy has truly mad survival skills and an equally mad will to thrive no matter what the world throws, literally, at her.  Now there’s one thing that’s crucial for you, the reader, to keep in mind: Macy’s world IS our world, your’s and mine, no matter what your level of reality denial may be based on the specific context in which you live, this is the truth. Savage Inequalities is not only the title of Jonathan Kozol’s indictment of educational inequity in America–which still exists. Savage inequalities is one way of describing the nature of the vastly differing statuses between females and males—unequal on multiple levels and viciously savage from the home-front to the war-fronts.  Macy’s dictionary presents an indictment not of the educational system which far too often serves as an overburdened safety net for children, but of American culture which treats girls and women as sexual objects for exploitation and male gratification. If you don’t agree then quite possibly you’re living in a vacuum without a cleaner.  I’m not going to argue the point as the media lays it all out there every day with ongoing reality checks from real life—no need for reality television shows which are pure fantasy yet often reflect this sad state of affairs. Now that that fundamental piece of ugly truth has been laid out (no sexual allusion intended) let’s let Macy take the lead. This is a first person narrative which speaks to readers without pulling any punches. Actually it throws very hard punches. Consider your children very lucky, and very privileged, if they have a home, stable family life, enough food to eat –at home–, access to a quality education, and your undivided attention whenever they need it. Macy Cashmere has none of these essentials.  Macy is a designated “problem child” at school where she speaks her mind very freely–and is willing to pay the consequences for doing so. She knows the in-school behavior drills so well that at times she pushes the office buzzer herself after crossing lines.  If she didn’t have such a strong voice and immense willpower who would pay any attention? School is not perfect, but it does throw life lines to Macy via the likes of Miss Black who sees and hears far more of Macy than she lets on and does what she can to feed and support Macy mentally, emotionally and physically. Oh the power of music, never underestimate it. Jazz pulls Macy’s trigger in all the right ways upon her first hearing of  John Coltrane, A Love Supreme in Miss Black’s class.

Macy’s home world might be described as a mix of David Simon’s Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets of Baltimore and Dick Wolf’s Law & Order’s SVU–yes, it’s full of sex crimes and violence.  If you think I’m pushing this too far, well, Simon’s book and Wolf’s series kept coming to mind while I followed Macy through her world. So that’s that–the power of references for creating connections. The difference is that it’s all seen and told from the viewpoint of a young teenage girl–not from the perspective of adults.  Adult perspectives trickle in via Macy’s observations but they do NOT drive this narrative in her very personalized dictionary format. The chapter titled “I Have A Dream” has nothing to do with Martin Luther King’s speech except perhaps as its utter antithesis.  Yet, Macy’s world is one created by adults–and not just her parents–and a system devised by adults and perpetuated by adults–and fought by other adults.  Macy is a girl who knows how to effectively put to use whatever comes to hand to deal with important problems like a visit from CPS and the entrapment of her best friend by an oh so caring “uncle”: an all-purpose cleanser, a slave’s machete, a bag of cocaine. Make no mistake, nothing holds Macy back when she sets out to protect those she loves: her brother Zane, her friend George, her best friend Alma–for whom being Gifted & Talented is not enough to ensure escape from poverty, not by a long shot.

As if violence, drugs and wrecked home life aren’t enough challenges for the girls Macy represents there’s the entire SEX package to contend with. What matters to the males of our species? Breasts, bodies, and booty calls—those are what females are for–bottom line, that’s it.  Brains never come into the picture. Heart never comes into the picture. It’s all a sex end game never-ending.  At least that’s what Macy observes from her mother’s efforts to survive and the prostitutes like Velvet working the streets. Yes, Macy has issues with her mother. Issues so big they’re ethically trying.  Ironically, Velvet does more looking out for Macy than her mother seems capable of on a good day with or without her “guests” who provide the necessities of life when Macy’s father goes to prison.  Perhaps it’s because one good turn deserves another thinking–or maybe it’s just plain decency and fair play in Velvet’s books. Just because you’re stuck in the sex for hire business in order to eat doesn’t make you a bad person—far from it. But who would Velvet be with other options? What would Macy’s mother do with positive options? Think about that. Who would you be with no positive options in your life? Why do we do the things we do–and don’t? Macy’s dictionary entry:


Noun: Reasons 1 and 2

Why do I hate? Because it’s so much easier than love. Because hate is reality. Love is a fantasy.

Why do I write? Le me break it down. Teacher Man taught us about something called haves and have-nots.


Via the words that really matter and their meanings for this very “disturbed girl”, Nonieqa Ramos deftly gives Macy Cashmere not just a voice but a ROAR impossible to ignore.  Ramos does this so effectively that her writing makes it look easy–the sign of real greatness in every art and skill. It’s not difficult to read the writing and words on the pages–but it gets downright nerve-racking to take in the content the words portray. Macy Cashmere’s dictionary is disturbing—it’s supposed to be. It’s a book meant to shake you up and rattle your brain pan. Macy Cashmere is here to wake people up not lull them into sleep at bedtime. How would you go about saving your best friend from the worst daily grind you can imagine? What are machetes for? I don’t think that qualifies as a spoiler. Hmm, naw, just a hook for Macy’s line of action in this microcosm of the world in which we live.  Have you asked your teenage girl what’s going in her life lately? If not, you need to get on that right now, because the issues faced by Macy Cashmere are everywhere.  If you don’t know what those issues are then you need to read The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary asap because it’s only a matter of degrees.



Elegy for Paradise

Sweet water ripples

falls fruit ripe

lovely breath

lush was paradise


anchors dropped

sailoirs landfall


color flows out of the world

what words for this loss

life flows out of the earth

tiniest to largest creature vanishing

words cannot serve this loss

sky closes saturated with human waste

homo sapiens self harms

collateral damage in excess

all life flows out of the earth

words fail

waters cries



In the sixties,

In a Catholic school,

Thou Shall Not Ask:

“Where are all the Indian People?”


Time out,

On your knees in the corner,

Another pink slip home.

In 2016,

“Where are all the Indigenous People?


At Standing Rock defending the Water, Earth and Sky.




Water Is Life ~ ~ ~ #NoDAPL ~

Tech N9ne ft RedCloud -“PTSD” #NODAPL

For extensive media coverage Democracy Now!

Lyrics are posted on YouTube.


Looking for a horror story? Look no further: Blood in the Water by Heather Ann Thompson

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 


Need a lift? Some heat relief? A good read? Get your mind in the boat: Read The Boys in the Boat

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


Hello Online World

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):

History ~~ Ouch–It Hurts! ~~ What’s Columbus Got To Do With Anything In 2014?





~In 1482, Columbus sailed the ocean blue~

He was Bad News for the Taino People ~

But some people don’t want to think about that reality.

~Why not?

Because then they’d  have to learn a new history.

~Ooops–but isn’t history supposed to be true and honest?

Depends on who is using which facts to support which version of what happened.

~Are you saying people manipulate facts to suit their own agendas?

Me? Why would I ever say something like that? It might be politically incorrect, and we can’t have that, can we?

~Hmm, but what’s Politically Correct for one group isn’t necessarily PC for another group. And people do have a tendency to abuse PC everywhere in order to create conflict and sometime even abuse other people who had no intentions of abusing anyone. There’s been some very rough irony involved in demands for PC over the years.

No way! Who would do something like that?

~Who doesn’t? Come on, look at the conservative media, the scared shitless media, the controlled media, the alternative media, the foreign media, the underground media, the social media–everyone spins everything to suit their vision of reality, right?

Do you think that’s what pissed off those high school kids in Colorado so much that they pretested in the streets about changes in what history would be taught?

~What do you think?

I’m not sure yet. But–I do recall what happened in Arizona with the Mexican-American Studies program being shut down because it presented a different viewpoint of history than what the TPTB wanted taught in schools.

~Hey, are you saying there’s a conspiracy to teach lies in American schools?

Look, I don’t go in for conspiracy theories.  But I don’t think this is a coincidence either.  Maybe it’s just like minds acting out in similar ways.  Or not.

~ Like minded people, right. Ah ha.


Lie. Lie. Lie.

Deny lying and lie some more.

Because if the truth is known the people might rebel.

There’s a very good chance they’ll refuse to be cannon fodder.

They might even learn other languages in order to talk to the rest of the world about issues that affect everyone.

Or not.




Howard Zinn on Honesty In History


Humor ~~ Warning! Contains Sarcasm, Irony and Questioning of Authority

If you’re still in the dark about the history curriculum issue in Colorado:

As for the Mexican-American Studies Program in Arizona, check this out from Buzzfeed’s David Noriega:



Am I spinning the facts? Me? No way.  Why would I do something like that?


A few of the many Italian things I really like:

Friendly Italian people


Florence, Italy


Sandro Botticelli, artist ~

~~No, I’m not going to talk about the Pope or the Vatican. One should never discuss religion. It’s very Un-PC. Or it used to be. I’m not sure anymore.




Conclusion: There is NO pleasant history of humankind. So just get on with it and read Claudio Saunt’s West of the Revolution, An Uncommon History of 1776.

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 . . . .  

May Day ~~ Say Fair Wage Pay Day. Wait~~ The Prices Might Go UP. Downsides are such a bummer.

Bear selected May Day as a subject for this round of music. Admittedly I’ve fudged on some of the music here. I reserve the right to revise at will.  Until then Labor is the issue. Unless Bear had another kind of May Day in mind–as in the Maypole kind of May Day. Hmm. Anyway back to Union ordeals. Workers just don’t get much respect when it comes down to the bottom lines.

A few income figures of interest to a few Americans–well, to everyone who is not one of the 894 people who have more income than 99.99% of the rest of the people.

There are reasons people gather in unions in order to get a living wage–a main one is that many employers don’t like sharing the profits. The operative word here is greed. Or am I missing something?


McDonald’s Cheats Employees

LowPay NotOk


May Day In Chicago


Walmart Gives Food Stamps Applications to Employees ~~  OOOO so that’s how low the Waltons go.


Which Side Are You On?

LEPOCO Peace Center


The Most Dangerous Woman In America

Ani Difranco and Utah Phillips from the album Fellow Workers.



And another kind of May Day~~~~ Mediaeval Babes Summerisle , The Maypole Song



Let’s see what Bear has lined up…..

LISA: Lisa



City Music

City Music ~~

There are all kinds of tunes about urban landscapes.  A multitude of activities takes place within city landscapes. Everything is reflected in music in all genres.  


Redlight King ~ City Life



Where would we be without some serious city angst?

Raining in Baltimore ~ The Counting Crows, August and Everything After  <<– A most excellent album with nary a ‘miss’ among any of its songs. Well worth listening to en toto.



Anyone in the market for some higher education history? Universities and colleges are small cities within cities and towns. Hence, the inclusion of Ohio.

In Kent, Ohio, Non-violent students encountered the National Guard’s fully loaded guns.

Ohio [Kent, Ohio location of Kent State University] ~ written by Neil Young, performed Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Mark Daniels

Kent State Shootings historical information including list of the dead and wounded:

The shootings led to protests on college campuses throughout the United States, and a student strike, causing more than 450 campuses across the country to close with both violent and non-violent demonstrations.[9] A common sentiment was expressed by students at New York University with a banner hung out of a window which read, “They Can’t Kill Us All.”[37] On May 8, eleven people were bayonetted at the University of New Mexico by the New Mexico National Guard in a confrontation with student protesters.[38] Also on May 8, an antiwar protest at New York’s Federal Hall held at least partly in reaction to the Kent State killings was met with a counter-rally of pro-Nixon construction workers (organized by Peter J. Brennan, later appointed U.S. Labor Secretary by President Nixon), resulting in the “Hard Hat Riot“.


Samba de Janeiro ~ Bellini —-Dancing in the streets aka it’s time for a flash mobbing to work out some stress. Yes, you too can dance at your pc. How can you resist?


Warsaw Concerto by Richard Addinsell ~ Dangerous Moonlight.  Ah, a little history, a little romance, a little movie making….


A lot of people in cities dream of being elsewhere. Sometimes survival forces people to strange places.

City of Chicago ~ Christy Moore


It’s about time for some cello joy. Right? Definitely.

Berlin, Germany ~ Original song for 12 cellos and a kick drum  by The Piano Guys.

If you click-through to listen at YouTube you’ll find a great deal of  information about the creation of the song and the locations in the video.

“Berlin” written by Al van der Beek & Steven Sharp Nelson (A PianoGuys Original Composition)


For some reason this song wandered into my brain-maze and loitered long enough to act as a prompt for this musical ‘theme’ round.

Red Hot Chili Peppers ~ Under the Bridge ~City of Angels



Okay, I confess, the video images convinced me to include this made for a film song by The Boss.

Bruce Springsteen ~ The Streets of Philadelphia


In the mood for romance in Paris? Or just ready to rest your feet?

Paris Nocturne ~ Dan Fogelberg & Tim Wiseberg


from their 1978 collaboration album
“Twin Sons of Different Mothers”


The lyrics, the images and the tone just wouldn’t go away, so this tune is here.

Mattafix ~ Big City Life



You’re invited to share your city songs at will.


I wonder what cities Bear has been exploring : Careful, it’s intense,


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