Archives for February 2017

Her shadow

Because my hands can’t feel the image I see, I know
it’s only a shadow of her that has killed the spark and
carried the dark and dreary nights into my life.

I’m alone again and don’t like darkness that envelops
me when no one else is here. I see moon and stars
shining above and wish their light

would wash her shadow from my eyes and cleanse
my thoughts so I don’t keep wondering if she’ll
ever get here to dissolve the night that’s

covering my thoughts and soul in darkness. They sink
bit by bit into quicksand so thick they’ll soon be buried
and deprived of any light to show they exist.

Maybe I should believe I don’t see shadows surrounding me and
imagine another in my head instead of her, then sunlight, starlight,
and moonlight can penetrate the night and show me that,

she’s not needed to light up my life.

Is this a rip-off??

I send money to an inmate in Pontiac Prison in Illinois and Jpay apparently charges 25%!
Pay Pal would make the transaction free or for much less. Some politicians must be making money off this. How can anyone justify a 25% for a simple transaction?

There are thousands of prisons in the U.S. so imagine how much Jpay is making.

I’m retired and can only afford to send $20 a month. For them to take $5. from it burns!

Illinois Department of Corrections
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Jpay Prisons

If the disputed Standing Rock pipeline leaks, will the powers that be act as they did for Flint, Michigan?

HEALTH
Flint: a day by the bottle
In the wake of the city’s water crisis, residents have turned to bottled H2O.
By Rachel Feltman February 21, 2017
Empty water bottle
The Voorhes
IN 2014, THE GOVERNMENT of Flint, Michigan, switched the city’s water source to the Flint River, and you’ve probably heard what happened next: Officials failed to add important corrosion inhibitors to prevent water from leaching metal out of the city’s aging pipes. Soon, dangerous levels of lead infiltrated the water system. To protect themselves and their children from lead’s side effects—weakness, developmental delays, and seizures—concerned residents have turned to bottled water. Lots of it. Here’s a glimpse of what it’s like to live life in the midst of a water crisis, bottle by bottle.
4
The number of standard-size (16.9-ounce) bottles of water an average adult needs to drink daily to prevent dehydration.
757
The number of bottles it would take to substitute all of a standard American’s daily water usage, including showering and tooth brushing.
14
The number of bottles the state should give a Flint resident daily; the result of a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, and others.

100
The number of bottles it reportedly took some Flint families to make Thanksgiving dinner in 2016. One needed 24 bottles just to thaw the turkey.
60
The number of bottles needed to cook—and clean—per day for one Flint family of three, who tracked how much water they used, and for what.
750
The number of water bottles that Flint’s Durant-Tuuri-Mott Elementary School uses daily—that’s a little more than one bottle per student.
This article was originally published in the March/April 2017 issue of Popular Science.
Scintific America

If you read Infinite Jest all the way through, I don’t know how you did it! Obviously I’m no intellectual!

It’s the birthday of David Foster Wallace (books by this author), born in Ithaca, New York (1962). He wrote Infinite Jest (1996), which was 1,079 pages long with 388 footnotes. It was dense and intellectual, a futurist novel about addiction, tennis, and separatist groups, among many other subjects. But it was a best-seller, and it propelled Wallace into the literary spotlight.

He said: “Postmodern irony and cynicism’s become an end in itself, a measure of hip sophistication and literary savvy. Few artists dare to try to talk about ways of working toward redeeming what’s wrong, because they’ll look sentimental and naive to all the weary ironists. Irony’s gone from liberating to enslaving.The postmodern founders’ patricidal work was great, but patricide produces orphans, and no amount of revelry can make up for the fact that writers my age have been literary orphans throughout our formative years.”

Reposted from Writer’s Almanac.

Paybacks??????????

I had just gotten three dollars in quarters as change from a copy machine. I usually don’t give money to beggars as I figure they probably have more money than me, but in this instance, I felt the kid was telling the truth and stopped to give him the change. The window on the passenger side of my car hadn’t worked for months. I tried everything I knew to fix it but was unsuccessful. I thought I pressed the button for my rear right side window but pressed the one for the passenger window instead. When it rolled down and I handed the change to the kid I wondered if I was being repaid for doing a good deed. Where did the power come from to open my window?

Every woman in the U.S. should read this!

It’s the birthday of Susan B. Anthony, a pioneer in the women’s suffrage movement. It’s because of her actions, along with other women in the suffragist movement, that women have the right to speak in public, serve on committees, keep their wages and guardianship of their children, and vote. She was also an ardent advocate for equal pay for equal work. She said: “I do not demand equal pay for any women save those who do equal work in value. Scorn to be coddled by your employers; make them understand that you are in their service as workers, not as women.” She was the longtime president of the National Women’s Suffrage Association and campaigned throughout her life for a woman’s right to vote.

Susan Brownell Anthony was born in Adams, Massachusetts (1820). Her father was a liberal Quaker and cotton manufacturer. The Anthony farm often served as a meeting place for the abolitionist movement, and later in her life, Anthony became great friends with abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Anthony taught at a Quaker boarding school in Philadelphia for a time, where she earned $1.52 per week and began thinking about the great wrongs women were suffering in life because they were not afforded the same treatment as men. She began speaking in public about equal rights for women. And when she was denied the right to speak at a temperance conference because she was female, she and her good friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the New York Women’s State Temperance Society (1852).

Anthony and Stanton were inseparable until the day Stanton died. Wherever Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her husband lived, they always set aside a room for Susan B. Anthony. Anthony never married, and while Stanton worked on Anthony’s speeches, Anthony watched her children.

Stanton’s husband once said, “Susan stirred the pudding, Elizabeth stirred up Susan, and then Susan stirs up the world.” Anthony, Stanton, Parker Pillsbury, and George Francis Train started a women’s newspaper in New York City called The Revolutionist. The paper’s motto was, “Men, their rights and nothing more; Women, their rights and nothing less.”

Susan B. Anthony gave hundreds of lectures every year. Many times, her speeches were shut down by mobs throwing rotten eggs. Benches were broken, knives and pistols displayed. She once gave a speech from the top of a billiard table. And when her train was snowbound, she survived on crackers and dried fish for several days. She was arrested for attempting to vote In Rochester, New York, and during her trial, the New York Times noted dryly, “It was conceded that the defendant was, on the 5th of November, 1872, a woman.” The jury, which held no women because women weren’t allowed to serve on juries, was instructed by the judge to find Anthony guilty without discussion, which they did. The judge set a fine, but Anthony vowed to never pay it, and she never did.

Susan B. Anthony was asked so often why she never married that she always had three answers at the ready. One was, “It always happened that the men I wanted were those I could not get, and those who wanted me I wouldn’t have.” Another was, “I never found the man who was necessary to my happiness. I was very well as I was.” And the third was, “I never felt I could give up my life of freedom to become a man’s housekeeper. When I was young, if a girl married poor, she became a housekeeper and a drudge. If she married wealth she became a pet and a doll. Just think, had I married at twenty, I would have been a drudge or a doll for fifty-nine years. Think of it!”

The Nineteenth Amendment (Amendment XIX) to the United States Constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920, 14 years after Susan B. Anthony’s death. It prohibits any United States citizen from being denied the right to vote on the basis of sex. Susan B. Anthony once lamented, “To think I have had more than 60 years of hard struggle for a little liberty, and then to die without it seems so cruel.”

On November 2, of that same year, more than 8 million women across the U.S. voted in elections for the first time. It took more than 60 years for the remaining 12 states to ratify the 19th Amendment; Mississippi dragged its feet until 1984.
Reposted from Writer’s Almanac.

It’s the birthday of Belgian mystery writer Georges Simenon

Born in Liège (1903). He wrote over 500 novels and short stories, many of them featuring a compassionate detective named Jules Maigret, who enjoyed fine wine, his wife, and solving cases by pondering human nature, rather than using violence. Simenon said he got the idea for his detective while on a boating trip in The Netherland Canals. He said he imagined “a large, powerfully built gentleman I thought would make a passable inspector. As the day wore on, I added other features: a pipe, a bowler hat, a thick overcoat with a velvet collar, and, as it was cold and damp, I put a cast-iron stove in his office.”

Before Simenon hit it big with the Maigret novels, he wrote pulp fiction under 17 pen names and worked as a police reporter and rubbed elbows with prostitutes, murderers, and thieves, which helped make his novels more exciting. He once said, “We are all potentially characters in a novel – with the difference that characters in a novel really get to live their lives to the full.”

Simenon could write 80 pages a day and sometimes finish the draft of a novel in 10 days, a rigid schedule that required him to have doctor’s checkups before the start of each new work. He found characters names by thumbing through telephone directories from around the world and often wrote out detailed maps of the towns and cities in his books. William Faulkner was a big fan of Simenon, saying, “He makes me think of Chekhov.”

Georges Simenon’s Maigret books include Maigret and the Yellow Dog (1931), Maigret’s Dead Man (1948), Maigret’s Memoirs (1951), and Maigret Takes the Waters (1968).

On writing, he said: “Writing is considered a profession, and I don’t think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don’t think an artist can ever be happy.”
From The Writer’s Almanac.

Testosterone Restored

In my empty and quiet house, hot sun crosses my face.
No reason to open my eyes or rise has entered my mind because
though another day has arrived, I’m wondering why I’m alive.

I still survive and feeling good has moved beyond my reach. I retain the desire to love, to live, and know it’s not your fault that I’m over forty. My testosterone has gone and I’ve shifted into low and am ready to stall. I believe with you gone, I’ll never ball, and a smile will never break the discontent covering my face.

I paid the price for committing a crime by loving you more than all the rest, and wondered why when you left it was like a hornet’s nest, until my thoughts came through my unconscious mind, and I knew, my testosterone was low and the best part of me was gone.

If I changed and gained by smoking reefer and making young girls sniff cocaine. Then drank whiskey and smoked cigarettes without regrets. Music and my life wouldn’t have ended my friend, or stopped like a sudden drop when you wouldn’t let me fuck you all night long.

With an empty tank, I wondered why, why did I still exist? Was I here to fill a void or to satisfy a whim of someone or something far more perverted than me? Smoking reefer, making young girls sniff cocaine and drinking whiskey is still a lot of fun, and now I know, I don’t want to die.

So when I heard the radio say, Testosterone restored for $40 a month, I let the gas bill go and bought pills that made my heart run cold. My veins, ready or not, got refilled with testosterone, and any love I ever had was ready for a rerun.

I went back to the mountains where it all began and though I became a young man again, I knew it was the last I’d ever see. I lay back on a rock to watch the darkening sky that would soon be filled with sparkling stars, and moonbeams streaming through the sky lighting the night. What a beautiful sight

Happiness came because I’d been alive and allowed to enjoy so many natural things. But past years have turned on me. Now I know how wrong I was when testosterone ruled and I saw my babies born, flowers grown, girls transformed into women and I even loved a few.

To live, to enjoy, to be worry free while appreciating the show going on around me. The sun or moon with stars sprinkling light throughout the sky are only a few of the wonders I’d seen in between. I imagined I existed for eternity and had only heard, but never seen the marvels filling my world, a river, a waterfall, or people who gave love, kindness and hope to those less fortunate than them and shared affection with dogs and cats and horses.

So you see my friend, I lay under the sky to watch the sun go down, and say, “I’m sorry it had to be you that emptied my testosterone sack and wouldn’t give it back.”

I’m happy now as I watched the moonrise amongst the stars, and stopped to think of the opportunities freely given me by you. This is the perfect time and place to die, and though I may never live again, I’m thinking of you on my 99th birthday. There’s a smile on my face and a woody in my hand as I go out with thoughts of you in my heart.