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:

Why

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.

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The Queen of Katwe ~ The Most Powerful Piece On The Board

Update: This is now a film. Yes!!!!!

 

 

The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers was a reading find on a recent expedition to my public library.  It’s one of those books that I’ve opened for some down time reading pleasure then spent the rest of the day reading until reaching the back cover. Tim Crothers traces the roots of several dots that come together to create Phiona Mutesi’s Ugandan world in Katwe. One very important “dot” is the life story of Robert Katende who brought chess to Katwe as part of a sports outreach program. Katende noticed that not every child wants to play soccer and decided to offer an alternative game, chess, for them. It is through Katende’s outreach efforts that Phiona discovers the inner mental and outter physical world of chess.  Tim Crothers presents Katende’s personal history of survival, endurance and talent in a manner that show the incredible impact of one person on the lives of others. One young man’s life decisions reverberate throughout his world in remarkable and unexpected ways. Without Robert Katende there would be no chess for Phiona Mutesi and the other children of Katwe.  In turn Phiona herself is having a positive impact on her personal world and the world of women in Uganda. Her story breaks out of the cycle of poverty and desperate struggle to survive for women and their children in places where living is far from easy. What’s at stake is creating a life based on choices rather than the need to eat and literally keep from drowning when it rains.  When a slum is built on/in a swamp things get dicey for everyone when water falls from the sky.

Crothers’ writing style is quick and engaging as he works with words to bring to life the physical landscape of the Katwe slum and Uganda. He creates a context that the people who can afford to buy his book–and read it with ease–may have some trouble relating to. This is a world of harsh poverty where women do what they must to stay alive and education is a luxury requiring payment.  Via Robert Katende’s story it’s clear that it’s not an easy world for boys and men either.  At first one wonders where Crothers is going –how far back in time–and how will we ever get to the story of the girl who dreams of being a Chess Grandmaster. Well, I assure you that by the time you are learning more about Phiona it will be very clear why Crothers pulls the narrative strings he does. In order to fully appreciate Phiona’s ongoing life story the daily context of her world is required.

Another dot Crothers connects is that of the importance of education–like the Sport’s Outreach program–Tim Crothers’ takes a holistic approach to presenting Phiona’s and Robert Katende’s stories. Education plays a vital role in dealing with people in poverty. Hence, Crothers pulls in the story line dot of Andrew Popp all the way from Santa Barbara, California. How does the suicide of a talented young man have anything to with the life of girl living in the slums of Uganda? The scholarship memorial fund created by Andrew’s parents is what enables Phiona to attend school.  Personally I think that’s a wonderful thing and an incredible part of Phiona’s story because education is essential to breaking the poverty cycle and the people in the slums know this fact.

Andrew Popp Scholarship Fund    http://sportsoutreach.net/projects/teaching/andrew-popp-scholarship-fund/

So if you’re looking for a great human interest story, one which is far from finished, then get a hold of The Queen of Katwe. Consider the power of one piece on a chess board and the powerful impact one person can have on the life of another. Get some inspirartion. some ideas about teaching from Robert Katende,  and perhaps some motivation. Perhaps most importantly get some HOPE.

~

Author Tim Crothers’ site >>  http://www.timcrothers.net/

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espnW

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Phiona Mutesi–so far– >>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phiona_Mutesi

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theKeithFurr

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Uploaded on Nov 9, 2011

This is a brief documentary on Fiona, a 15 year old Chess Prodigy from the slums of Kampala, Uganda who discovered Chess as a homeless child in search of food. I traveled to Uganda to cover this story through a non-profit organization called Silent Images. We were serving another non-profit called Sports Outreach, in which the chess coach discovered a special gift in Phiona for the game of Chess. I was accompanied by Tim Crothers of ESPN and David Johnson of Silent Images on the trip. Tim has now written a book on Phiona called “The Queen of Katwe” and Phiona has had recent top news stories on ESPN as well as CNN. Disney is currently planning to produce a movie on Phiona as well and I can’t wait to see Phiona’s dreams come true. She is a true underdog in every sense of the word and no person is more worthy of success in life than this special young woman.

Silent Images – http://www.silentimages.org
Sports Outreach Institute – http://www.sportsoutreach.net
Buy the Book – http://www.sportsoutreach.net/secure/…

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Indie film site >> http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/disney-developing-feature-based-on-ugandan-chess-prodigy-phiona-mutesi-w-mira-nair-directing

America’s Unjust Justice System ~ Bryan Stevenson’s Ted talk ~ Please Lend Your Ears

Facebook does indeed have merit as an information source when such insightful pieces comes through the news feed. Bill Moyers’ site shared this online via What Matters Today  http://billmoyers.com/2013/03/28/wealth-not-culpability-shapes-outcomes-in-court/    If you’re not sure why you should take the time to listen to Bryan Stevenson, please take a chance and listen for a few minutes before moving on. Give this a chance because Stevenson is good, really good, and well worth twenty-four minutes of your time.

Can’t we create a better world for everyone?

There’s much more on important issues from poverty, prisons, to Keystone XL on Moyers and Comapny http://billmoyers.com/

Explore and engage at will.

 

 

NYTs Video Report on Impact of Sequestration at Pine Ridge

Discover ALL Turtle Talk has to offer. It’s got variety for sure! Finally some high profile news on the CUTS that are impacting the poor on the reservations–housing, police, education. Can you imagine having only ONE police officer on duty per shift in your city? How about living in trailers FEMA has thrown away? How about NO summer school education for your children? How about the school year being cut short because the BIA has no funds for it? So much for the richest country on the planet taking care of its legal treaty obligations. OOps but if you’ve been peaking at the dark side lately, well, then we’re not surprised, are we? Another element of tragedy for our current so called leaders. Leaders of what? Oh yeah, the industrial-military complex business of world domination. Hey Pinky, how’s The Brain today?

Turtle Talk

Here.

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Mammoth Sunflower Power! from the Urban Farming Guys–Just for fun.

 

 

Urban Farming Guys Links

On YouTube  http://www.youtube.com/user/TheUrbanFarmingGuys

Urban Farming Guys Blog http://theurbanfarmingguys.com/

Urban Farming Guys on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/UrbanFarmingGuys?sk=wall

Please do not hesitate to donate,  tweet, Facebook, email –ie, SHARE the Urban Farming Guys far and wide around the globe. Sunflower Power!

 

Idle No More’s Peaceful Women Warriors –and the Issues aka Genocide via Legislation

The founders of Idle No More  @Sylvia McAdam  photo via twitter.

https://twitter.com/SylviaMcAdam/status/283819711257538560

Sheelah McLean (left), Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon

If you’re still wondering what has Canada’s First Nations “Idle No More” then brew some tea, get your seat all comfy and let the ladies do their thing–teach. Here’s a very accessible introduction to the issues.  Canada’s Omnibus Bill C-45 has been passed by the senate. Guess what that means after Dr. Pamela Palmater lays it all out.

Sylvia McAdam, Jan. 6 Teach In, Calgary via placesintheforest

Sylvia McAdam presents Peaceful Women Warriors ~ Alberta

Nina Wilson interview with Trevor Grey Eyes News regarding C-45

In depth presentation about Canada’s First Nations issues. This is very clearly presented information and explanations.

Dr. Pamela Palmater ~ Alberta (part 1/4)– On the legislation/Harper/Indian Act/environment and more.

(part 2/4) Water issues, discrimination via the Canadian legal system, pipeline, treaty partners, reserve land,  First Nations elections, protests, chiefs and more.

(part 3/4) Omnibus Bill C-45, treaty rights, jurisdiction,  “unlocking our lands,” education, who benefits from First Nations poverty and more.

(part 4/4) Resource Development by force, right wing media spin issues, social media, White Paper 2012, et al.

Anyone else get the sense that just meeting with Harper is not going to silence the drums of “Idle No More” while genocide is committed via legislation?

“Honor the Treaties” featuring Aaron Huey’s photojournalism.

Today’s post offers a highlighting short film of Aaron Huey’s ongoing photographic journey on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Honor the Treaties link –>>  http://vimeo.com/47043218

and http://weareshouting.com/ for Director Ed Becker’s bio and contact information.

Aaron Huey —>> http://www.aaronhuey.com/

Please share widely and often.

 

Much thanks to Charles aka slpmartin.

Billionaires = “Budget” Busting Buds with Benefits: Beast Bait Banter Beams: Walker Is Koch Cozy

For those of us following developments in Mad-city the Beast Prank is “old” news.  But if you’re trying to catch up on all the fuss, I’m doing my tiny part to help out.  I think we’ve all got Dictator Scott Walker under our belts by now. Walker’s  Koch connection might need a little of that transparency which is the current media byword that seems to have replaced truth, honesty and integrity.  Every time I hear the word all I can think of are see-through dresses–huh? Yeah, go figure how my brainpan spills regarding word associations. Enough of my egocentric language allusions. 

Let’s start with getting some visuals on the Koch Bros courtesy of Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! headline:

If you’re wandering around capitol square in Mad-city, be sure to pay a visit to the Kochs’ lobbyists’ office there. I’m sure it’s clearly marked for tea party tourists and progressives liberals alike.  Shh! Don’t let on if you support Greenpeace environmental actions.

Still scratching your scalp and thinking hard to  place these fellows? Koch who? Wanting more info? No problem, Greenpeace has the goods on the environmental blues billionaire brothers.

Desiring something less esoteric than Greenpeace satire? Perhaps the Turks are more to your brainpan’s liking. The Young Turks clarify the Koch agenda via the Kochs’ own letters:

Oh my, where are the teabaggers when Kochs need them? These folks sure are NOT buying what the Kochs are selling. Some coverage of a recent rally to protest secret meeting of Kochs with other big wig movers and shakers, including Clarence Thomas and Antoine Scalia. Yes, those supreme court justices are Koch cozies.  OMG–is this what corporate personhood is all about???  

Audio Beast: 

 In case the Beast link FAILS, you can read a transcript of WI Rep. Gov. Scott Walker’s  fun and games with faux Koch at –>

http://host.madison.com/wsj/article_531276b6-3f6a-11e0-b288-001cc4c002e0.html

Ian Murphy of Buffalo Beast poses as David Koch and gets more ear respect  from Gov. Walker than he gives to the people camped in the capital building. Being a Billionaire has benefits, right? The Beast site is back up and running. You can read and hear yourself  Ian Murphy’s prank foreplay and Walker’s shamelessness:

http://www.buffalobeast.com/?p=5045

Craving some floor sight human interest news? Views of the occupying force camping at the capital charm:

http://host.madison.com/video/#vmix_media_id=65834391

Another quick kick at the Kochs and their billionaire cronies:

So, now is everyone “good” on the elusive Koch Bros? If you’re not a conservative billionaire Republican or a Supreme Court Justice willing to play corporate personhood ball, they could be a tough click capture for your camera safari on the mean streets of Wichita, Kansas. 

BIG picture parting shot.  Does your child have a dark side? Mine sure do. I don’t wonder why. I think they’re in cahoots with this kid. –>

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