Friday, September 28, 2007

31 Down at the Prelude Festival in NYC

Hello dear friends and fans of the Village Green. I'm away from my humble village in the big big city, attending the Educational Theatre Association Conference and having a wonderfully theatrical time.

Last night I went to see a piece by a young experimental company called 31 Down. It was part of a festival called Prelude 07. Upon entering the space, we were immediately offered champagne and crackers with cheese whip and olives on top by a wait staff that was continually distracted by cell phones ringing. On the floor, sitting in front of a TV was a young woman in yoga attire doing a series of poses, a cup of yogurt by her side. At an old computer terminal, sat a young man with a headset on, watching a monitor while eating from an enormous bag of popcorn.

At another place on the floor, another young man sat garbed only in his briefs. He too was watching a screen, this one a large TV. He had a gallon of Gatorade and a gallon jar of Miracle Whip, along with a loaf of Wonder Bread and two packs of bologna. His actions involved wrapping the bologna in a piece of bread then dipping it into the mayo and eating it, followed by guzzling of Gatorade and a large belch. Across the room sat a young woman dressed in a long fur coat and Russian fur hat. She was looking into a camcorder and her image was broadcast on all the other screens in the room being watched by the various characters.

Enter "Mike Sharpie" who was dressed in smarmy business attire, giving out his business cards and inviting us to call him. His card told us he was an "Event Planner and Personal Trainer." He kept offering us more champagne, while the young woman bartender got more and more surly while pouring the bottles.

Unfortunately, we could not get through on the phone to Mike -- and that necessarily changed the actions of the performance. However, the ending was strong and did involve lipstick smears on one of the screens, Mike's hand plunged into the jar of mayo and blobs of it sprayed over some audience members -- a form of unexpected audience participation! Mike drew graphics in the smears on the television sets, which was quite an interesting effect, as the video being displayed showed through in curious ways.

At the talk back afterwards (This was a serious, curated show!), we learned that the company was influenced by the old movie "I Am Curious, Yellow." This piece was also influenced by the lack of action/involvement by today's youth regarding protesting the current U$ war in Iraq. I made the comment that if there were a draft today, no doubt that young people would get more involved in protesting.

The inclusion of horrid food substances and all the TV and computer monitors made a powerful visual statement about how complacent and maybe even addicted we are to substances and forms of entertainment that are actually quite deadly to our bodies.

I'm typing this at a cyber cafe. My favorite cafe on 42nd street has vanished and now I'm at one on 49th which is far more expensive, so this is all until I return!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gravel debates the rest of 'em -- Wednesday night!

Senator Mike Gravel to Appear in
National Presidential Debate


Former U.S. Senator and current Presidential Candidate Mike Gravel will participate in a national debate that will be broadcast live from New Hampshire on Wednesday, Sept. 26.

NBC News, New England Cable News (NECN), Dartmouth College and New Hampshire Public Radio are cosponsoring the Democratic presidential debate in conjunction with the Democratic National Committee. The debate will be held from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST and will be moderated by NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert, the host of NBC's "Meet the Press." NECN's Alison King will also participate. The 90-minute debate, which is the last one for New Hampshire, will also be streamed live on MSNBC.com.

If any Mike Gravel supporters would like to coordinate a "watch party" or a "Meet Mike" friendraiser/fundraiser before or after a debate, call Jose Rodriguez, our field organizer at the Mike Gravel for President Campaign at 703-652-4698 or contact us via email at jose@gravel2008.us.

Please Make a Contribution

Please make a donation to Mike Gravel for President in 2008 and help us build a strong campaign to take back America! Visit Gravel2008.us or call (703) 652-4698 to donate today.

Great News


Also, starting this week, you can now purchase Mike Gravel for President support packages, which contain buttons, bumper stickers and t-shirts, on our new web site at www.gear.gravel2008.us. Every dollar you spend on Gravel Gear goes right to the campaign. So show your support for Mike, and get your Gravel Gear today!

Learn More www.gravel2008.us

Monday, September 24, 2007

Working Man Cafe album art

Here's the album cover for Ray Davies upcoming new release -- Working Man's Cafe.

No word yet on a US tour, but I'm betting there will be one. Let's hope it comes to Northern Ohio. Has anyone else noticed that more and more acts are playing Columbus and not Cleveland?

Well, for Ray I'll drive anywhere, or better yet -- fly somewhere cooler than Columbus.

What's that you say? What about my carbon footprint? Let's see, 36 years of not eating meat must add up to a lot of greenhouse gasses not being formed from my vegetarian state, so I think I'm still all right in terms of taking less out of the air as opposed to pumping it in with my not very wasteful behavior. At least that's how I justify it!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Adieu Marcel Marceau

I awoke this morning to find that Marcel Marceau has died at age 84. While it is somewhat fashionable these days to put mimes down as annoying freaks of nature, I would beg to differ. The art of pantomime at its finest approaches the sublime, connecting artist with audiences via the use of invisible objects and circumstances. It is an art that makes great demands of both audience and performer, stimulating creative thought processes from both sides of the proscenium arch.

Artists like Marceau, Etienne Decroix, Jean-Louis Barrault, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton have left us a significant body of work that continues to inspire and entertain us.

My own involvement with the art of pantomime began as an undergraduate theatre student. At the time I knew nothing about the use of my body to express character, and admittedly began every acting role by seeking the voice rather than the walk, gesture and stance. I had never had any training that developed the mind-body connection -- until I came face to face with David Alberts who was hired to teach a one semester course on mime. (Alberts has written several books on the art of mime, the most recent one is called Talking about Mime - An Illustrated Guide).

Alberts was the first strict acting teacher I encountered. By strict, I mean there was no fooling around in his class and we were expected to master the pantomime skills he taught through endless repetitions. I had never encountered anything so demanding, and I knew that I was at the bottom of the class. It was painful to force my body into positions that had to be precise and achieved with apparent effortlessness.

Our final exam for that class was to create and perform a solo mime. I can't remember what I did, but I will never forget the nerves and chills involved with going in front of the class with only my body as a means of communication. Once we had all finished, Alberts (who had never displayed any emotion other than professional discipline in teaching the class), smiled at us and said that he didn't believe in grading art, so he was giving us each an A for the course! That also left a huge impression with me, and it is a policy I continue with my own students.

After college, I realized that I knew so little about the art of acting, that I needed to go elsewhere. I moved to the east coast and first took up with a method acting teacher. She did nothing for me other than make me doubt myself even more! I was then hired by a women's theatre company that was using Grotowski techniques. It was there that I began to understand the deep physical base of emotion and the connections between action and thought. When our company performed at the New Theatre Festival in Baltimore, I came face to face with Leonard Pitt, one of the earliest and greatest of the post-modern mime artists. I watched his one man show and immediately signed up for his workshop, and eventually left the east coast so I could spend a year at his school in Berkeley, CA.

Leonard had studied with Etienne Decroux in Paris, the great teacher of so many 20th century mimes, including Marcel Marceau. After years in Paris, Leonard turned to Bali and lived there for three years, studying with the great mask makers and performers. He then returned to the United States to begin a synthesis of what he had learned from the great eastern and western mime traditions.

Studying with Leonard took me back to those bottom of the class feelings once again. It was far harder than anything I'd attempted before. Leonard had a way of zooming in on each student's particular physical problems or "blocks" as he called them. These were places where internal tensions prevented the body from moving freely.

I remember one exercise that he made me do over and over in front of the class. It involved the upper torso balancing on the pelvic girdle then falling forward to hang between the legs. He wanted me to understand physically what I was doing wrong and I didn't get it. Finally, I realized I wasn't following the instructions which were that the entire spine and head must fall as one unit. I had been tilting my head back every time I launched into the movement. It sounds so simple and unimportant, but that day and that exercise taught me a powerful lesson about being centered within my body. My habit was to be disconnected from my body -- it did one thing while my head was elsewhere. You can't act with body and mind separated! It is a lesson I continue to teach every day in my acting classes.

These are the thoughts that came to mind this morning as I contemplate the loss of Marcel Marceau. I also remember the times I saw him in performance at E J Thomas, one small and extremely powerful and expressive body taking control of that enormous stage. I am glad I got to see him and even more happy that I found my way into the mime classes of David Alberts and the mime school of Leonard Pitt. Without them I would not be where I am today.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Saturday Night Kinks

Three cheers for YouTube, the people's video archive! Here's one I hadn't seen before -- of a very favorite old sing along Kinks song, Muswell Hillbillies. It's a song about the displacement of people brought about by urban planning schemes. The hillbillies referred to lived in North London. Check out the beard sprouting from the chin of Dave "Death of the Clown" Davies on lead guitar. With Mr John Gosling on organ, Mr Mick Avory on drums, Mr John Dalton on bass guitar, "and my name is Johnny Cash" Ray Davies on rhythm guitar and lead vocals.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Night Reader

Some bits and excellent pieces in my Google Reader:

No Impact Man in the news -- riding a tricycle in NYC.

Kerry Clawson writes about the upcoming seasons for The Bang and the Clatter, and I use the plural because the company is expanding to Cleveland, mounting productions in both cities of different plays. Read the details here.

PZ Meyers has given his biology class an assignment -- they must post on his blog. Here's a neat summary given by one student about the book they've all been assigned to read, Soul Made Flesh by Carl Zimmer. It is a history of neurobiology that stretches back to ancient times. Read the comments afterwards for additional insights from the regulars at Pharyngula.

Over at the Ohio Daily Blog, you can find some exciting news about Lake Erie's potential as the first fresh water wind farm on the planet.

Terra Not Terror posts about Car Free Day, which is tomorrow. I got something about it from Adbusters on Tuesday, which was way too late for me to participate. In other words, I'm booked tomorrow and it involves driving to several sites in Akron. A month's notice, at least, people who come up with these neat-o protest/demos. In NYC tomorrow, there will be people spending the day in parking spots, having turned them into miniature parks for the day. See a picture here.

Final link of the day -- one of the best dog posts I've ever read -- courtesy of the Accidental Akronite .

Thursday, September 20, 2007

All Hail the Return of Olbermann!

He's back after blowing out an appendix. And has one of his patented Comments ready for delivery at the end of the program. I'm feeling better already.

Although tonight I have had to sit through too much footage of the man pretending to be president. His snarls, sneers and catty remarks were stomach curdling. I had to leave the room for a medicinal glass of wine. Evidently the Stubborn Decider had a news conference today and gleefully smacked down "the Democrat party" for supporting MoveOn.org's Petraeus-Betray Us ad.

Which lead to the sheep in the Senate voting 72 to 25 to condemn that evil left wing organization, but only by implication. What a lot of cowards! I'm proud that Senator Brown stood firm withing the minority of 25 and I salute him!

And the biggest coward of them all remains George W Bush. He hides behind the man in uniform with all the shiny badges and impressive ribbons. How dare we question the motivation of a real life US General?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

There's no getting over you - oo - oo

Habeas corpus -- not restored, Bush wins.

Mandatory extended rest time for combat troops -- no go, Bush wins.

We the people lose again. I'd like to just tune it all out until Bush is finally gone, but I'm afraid the world will be blown to bits between now and then if I don't keep paying attention. As if there is anything I can do to stop him. If the mightiest Democrats in the land can't, what can I do? Send more money to Democrats? Hell no. I've been deleting all their requests as fast as they come in.

This great and hallowed governmental system we are living in -- why is it so great? It seems to have become an excellent tool for the few to screw the rest of us.

And it really irks that such a moronic prating prick is the one who wins.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hillcare continued

I have really good health insurance, at least so far. But I haven't needed a lung transplant like my friend Kevin's wife Darcy had to get. Read the story here. Kevin links to my post from yesterday on Hillary's health care plan, but his blog post is the one to read, He gives us a big jolt of reality about the inequities in private health insurance vs government funded. You might be surprised who wins.

Here's a related story, quoted in DailyKos today, from the American Prospect, The author suggests that Edwards' stance on health care pushed Hillary's further than anyone expected. And speaking of DailyKos, here's another post that analyzes the Kucinich health plan.

It's going to be a tough week here at the Village Green as real life busy-ness takes over for the next few days. I will try to keep up with health care news and invite readers to post opinions, links to articles and data on this subject.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Calling Dr Hillcare

Remember when Hillary was demonized for her first health plan back during the era of Bill Clinton? The image of her as Dr Hillcare is a relic from those days. I found this doll at the Goodwill a few months ago and thought it might become a useful prop at some point. So I splurged and paid ten bucks for it. Looking it up online, I find that it is a collectible item, and was originally designed to be a draft stopper to be placed -- legs spread wide open -- at the bottom of doors. It was packaged with anti-Hillary propaganda and is now worth $70. Wow -- my first investment property!

The doll represents how the far the right wing will go to destroy someone they perceive as a threat to the status quo -- rich people getting richer at the expense of all of us regular working folks. It also says a great deal about right wing attitudes toward women, especially women with intelligence and access to power.

I don't think anybody would disagree that Hillary's first round of fighting for health care was a pivotal moment in her career. She could have given up then and there -- instead she chose to seek actual power rather than that granted through her husband. I've been waiting to hear what her new health care plan would entail. Today was the big launch day and tomorrow, Hillary will be giving a web cast on her plan. You can go here to read a summery of the plan and to register for the live web event.

At lunch I checked my Faithless (Atheist and Agnostic) Group email and found a posting from one of our members about Hillary Clinton's newly revealed health plan. He was outraged. In his words, "This isn't universal health care, this is mandatory health insurance. Health insurance is not health care. Millions of people who have insurance aren't getting the health care they require because the insurance companies decide what gets covered. And this nation values the private sanctity of the insurance companies more than health care. "

Well that got my dander up, but then I got home from work and turned on the TV. Tucker Carlson was having an apoplectic fit about Hillary's American Health Choices Plan (PDF file). He was having a hard time with the "mandatory" part of it, claiming that it was his right as an American to have a choice not to choose to have a health plan and that when he had his first child and he was young and without a lot of money, he chose not to have insurance. Good thing that his kid didn't have unexpected problems at birth. Guess Tucker weighed the odds and decided to take a risk with his kid's life.

If Tucker is that outraged at Hillary's plan, maybe it isn't so bad. Another from our Faithless group pointed out that Hillary's plan sounds very similar to Edwards' and Obama's and furthermore makes this very excellent point: "But if she really expanded Medicare and the federal employee plan so that anyone not already covered by their employer could join -- for a reasonable price -- that really would be reform."

And: "Of course, one might guess that if there were a decent federal program, most employers would stop offering health plans and pretty soon everybody except rich people would be on the government plan and we'd basically have socialized medicine like other civilized countries. But offering both is a way to move in that direction without explicitly saying so, and while allowing the rich foot-draggers to keep their private plans if they want to."

I've downloaded the new Clinton plan and will try to read it and make some notes for further comments. I hope some energetic Netizen puts out a nonpartisan comparison chart showing all the details in each Democratic candidate's health plans so we can see if there is much of a difference. And I am particularly interested in what all my readers are thinking about all this. As always, your comments are welcome!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chrissie Hynde and Friends Benefit Akron

Chrissie Hynde went back to Ohio to find her city a more vibrant place than before. The train station is still gone, but the Akron Civic Theatre stands almost completely renovated. In the grand lobby, you can see the line where grime ends and an exquisite repainting begins.

Inside under the swirling stars and milky way ceiling, Chrissie and Friends performed in a benefit for this illustrious and magnificent theatre. The friends included such notable Akron bands as the Diffi-cult, The Bizarros, Half Cleveland (formed from members of Tin Huey, The Waitresses, and Chi-Pig) as well as The Numbers Band (38 years old and still going strong).

Back in 1974, I had just graduated from Akron U, and was sharing an apartment downtown with another young woman who happened to be a Numbers Band fanatic. It wasn't long before I was hanging out with her at JBs in Kent, watching this very hot band play long sets to packed crowds. I can't remember the girl's name, but I thought about her tonight at the concert and wondered if she were there somewhere, probably like me -- unrecognizable after so many decades.

It was an evening to remember -- all the great music that came out of this town. Some that took wing and flew around the world, while other music stayed here and kept us all coming back to the bars and the clubs every weekend. Also memorable was the sight of Chrissie in her PETA tee shirt, giving the old silver wolf of a mayor a smack on the cheek. (The mayor's concept of casual concert wear was about as far from cool as one could get. At least he didn't wear a tie!)

Also spotted in the crowd and not wearing a suit and tie -- city councilman Marco Summerville. David Giffels, on stage leading The Diffi-Cult, pointed toward a seat in the front and announced "the legendary Jane Scott!" She was the Plain Dealer's rock critic who looked older than the hills way back in the 60s!

Most of the musicians on the stage made their first appearances in the Akron scene during the years I was no longer living here, during the late 70s and early 80s. I first discovered the Bizzaros in a record shop in San Francisco, where I came upon their delightful album. I immediately recognized the rubber factory on the cover and had to buy it. I was amazed that suddenly great music was coming out of my home town. Years later, I finally got that album cover autographed by the extant band members at a Bizarros reunion show at the Lime Spider.

I'd never seen Chrissie perform before, but of course I've heard lots of the Pretenders' music. (I still don't get how and why Rush Limbaugh chose her song to use as his intro music.) During her acoustic set, she seemed very happy to be at home, reminiscing about old times and commercial jingles from the 50s and 60s. I am very glad she has chosen to open a vegetarian restaurant in Akron and I expect to be dining out there quite a bit. Thanks for the restaurant and the show, Chrissie! Everything was great, all the way through the Jerry Lee Lewis finale.

"A, O, way to go Ohio!"

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Are you going to the concert at the Civic tonight?

In honor of the big concert tonight, which yours truly will be attending, here is a video clip of a band with some major NEOhio roots:

Friday, September 14, 2007

World's largest blimp

Your Friday night aerial treat, vintage footage from July 1958:


Thursday, September 13, 2007

More on Working Man's Cafe

Wow, I'd much rather think about this than the idiot president and his stranglehold on the majority:

The UK V2 site now has a notice about Ray's new album.

Ray Davies Returns With New Solo LP!
12 Sep 2007

Ray Davies Returns With New Solo LP
'Working Mans Cafe' released October 29th

Eighteen months after releasing his first ever solo album, Ray Davies is back with what promises to be one of the best albums of his incredible career. While last year's Other People's Lives was a lifetime in the making, this new album happened relatively quickly.

Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee and mixed in North London at Konk earlier this year, 'Working Mans Cafe' features 12 stellar songs written by Ray Davies and co- produced with Ray Kennedy. They assembled a crackerjack band of top musicians who breathe life into a wonderful collection of songs.

The 12 new songs are vintage Ray Davies and bears all the hallmark classic musical and lyrical insights we have come to expect from him. The album is infused with a transatlantic sound befitting Ray's close ties to the American south coupled with his well respected Englishness. From the first upbeat notes of the lead track 'Vietnam Cowboys', it is clear Ray has never sung better.

'Working Mans Cafe' is a wistful, humorous and poignant look at today, just what we have come to expect from one of Britain's greatest songwriters. Highlights are many and include the Preservation Jazz Hall sway of 'Morphine Song', the painful longing of 'Imaginary Man' and the
haunting emotion of 'One More Time'.

'You're Asking Me' and 'In A Moment' offer incredibly affecting pop while 'Working Man's Cafe' revisits familiar Davies territory - that yearning for an era gone by. Brimming with variety, 'Voodoo Walk' is a steamy stroll on the rock side.

'Where is the real world?' he asks on the album's final track after giving ample evidence throughout this impressive 12-song cycle that it lives within these grooves.

Biomimicry Event sponsored by E4S

E4S is an amazing group that puts together events to help us achieve a greener life in NEOhio. Wish I could go to this one:

E4S Knowledge Network National Speaker Event

The Future of Design:
Biomimicry with Janine Benyus

September 25. Get the details here.

Picture 5 The real power of sustainability and triple bottom-line thinking is that it inspires innovation in design of products, processes, buildings and organizations. Many of the leaders who are putting this power to work agree that Biomimicry is the leading edge of design and Janine Benyus is its inspiring force.

Janine and her colleagues ask their clients for their toughest design challenges and turn to nature for what they call the “champion adapters.” Janine is calling for a biologist at every design table.

Multi-national companies like Dupont, GE, Herman Miller, Interface and Nike have answered the call and are among a growing list of corporate clients of the Biomimicry Guild.
Picture 6

Increasing numbers of engineers, architects, product designers, business leaders and economists from around the world
are consulting nature, and each month, new bio-inspired products, processes, and policies are announced.

Attend this event to help us plant the design strategies of Biomimicry into the region's DNA.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Match The Gravel Campaign Fund in Ohio

I'm fed up with politicians and that includes all the Democratic candidates for president right now -- except for Mike Gravel and maybe Dennis Kucinich. I'm a bit peeved at Dennis because I tried to toss him a bit of campaign money but his web collection apparatus didn't work. Come on, if you want my support, take my money! Show that you have some modicum of efficiency in your operation.

Mike, however, runs a smooth and clean operation. He's got a new web site up:
Everyone who registers there will automatically get the PDF "Man for America," a full bio on Senator Gravel and more. Plus, they'll also get the opportunity to ask the Senator a question he will answer on his new LIVE weekly videoblogs.
He's seeking public funding for his campaign and is close to getting the matching funds necessary. He only needs $744 in Ohio, because I just sent him another 50 because I was feeling so damn frustrated by the War That Never Ends and the enablers of it from both sides. Nobody wants to take a principled stand any more. Nobody except Mike Gravel.

So Come on Ohio -- Let's get Mike Gravel his matching funds. Isn't it reassuring to look at a figure in the hundreds rather than all those gaudy corrupt millions sported by the other candidates?

Here's Mike on Matching Campaign Funds:
For the next month, I will be campaigning in key states across the
country, which means I will need your support now more than ever.
Because I do not have the deep-pocket support of corporate interest
groups, I am focused on securing federal matching funds for the
campaign, which will bring in as much as $200,000.

The federal matching funds program is one of the best ways to raise
money without having to sell out. But not surprisingly, those in
power have set the bar high and made it difficult to do this. There
are a host of rules limiting the dollar amount of donations, but
simply put: If I can raise $5,000 in 20 states, I can qualify.
There are a lot of details and rules, but the bottom line is, we
need your support in the states below more than ever. Please email
your friends in the following states to donate now using the links
below. As soon as we raise the money stated in these states, we
get our check from the federal government.

If you live in the following states or know someone who does, I am
asking for your help supporting my campaign. I need to raise at
least the following amounts:

ARIZONA: $984

COLORADO: $1,169

CONNECTICUT: $868

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA $1,034

MARYLAND: $1,109

NEW HAMPSHIRE: $730 (very close NH!)

OHIO: $794 (close Ohio!)

WISCONSIN: $1,257

Of course, you can see this hasn't been a problem for me in many
states. For example, in Alaska, California, Florida, Massachusetts,
New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Oregon, I have raised
enough funds to qualify -- thank you to those states!

We can change the way Washington works together. Really. I've been
around long enough to know the game. Get me in the game, keep me
there, donate now!

1. Credit Card: https://secure.gravel2008.us/donate.php
2. Paypal: http://www.gravel2008.us/donatepaypal
3. Check/Money Order: https://secure.gravel2008.us/donate-mail.php

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

How many moments of silence can you endure?

Someone emailed this poem to me today, and I hadn't come across it before. Therefore, I am posting it for others who haven't read it. It was written and delivered on September 11, 2002 by Emmanuel Ortiz, a third-generation Chicano/Puerto Rican/Irish-American community organizer and spoken word poet residing in Minneapolis:


A moment of silence

Before I start this poem, I'd like to ask you to join me
In a moment of silence
In honour of those who died in the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon last September 11th. I would also like to ask you To offer
up a moment of silence For all of those who have been harassed,
imprisoned, disappeared,
tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes, For the
victims in both Afghanistan and the US

And if I could just add one more thing...

A full day of silence
For the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the hands
of US-backed Israeli forces over decades of occupation. Six months of
silence for the million and-a-half Iraqi people, mostly children, who
have died of malnourishment or starvation as a result of an 11-year
US embargo against the country.

Before I begin this poem,

Two months of silence for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa,
Where homeland security made them aliens in their own country. Nine
months of silence for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Where death
rained down and peeled back every layer of concrete, steel, earth and
skin And the survivors went on as if alive. A year of silence for the
millions of dead in Vietnam - a people, not a war - for those who
know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel, their relatives'
bones buried in it, their babies born of it. A year of silence for
the dead in Cambodia and Laos, victims of a secret war ....
ssssshhhhh.... Say nothing ... we don't want them to learn that they
are dead. Two months of silence for the decades of dead in Colombia,
Whose names, like the corpses they once represented, have piled up
and slipped off our tongues.

Before I begin this poem.

An hour of silence for El Salvador ...
An afternoon of silence for Nicaragua ...
Two days of silence for the Guatemaltecos ...
None of whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living years. 45
seconds of silence for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas 25 years of
silence for the hundred million Africans who found their graves far
deeper in the ocean than any building could poke into the sky. There
will be no DNA testing or dental records to identify their remains.
And for those who were strung and swung from the heights of sycamore
trees in the south, the north, the east, and the west...

100 years of silence...

For the hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples from this half of
right here,
Whose land and lives were stolen,
In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek,
Fallen Timbers, or the Trail of Tears. Names now reduced to innocuous
magnetic poetry on the refrigerator of our consciousness ...

So you want a moment of silence?
And we are all left speechless
Our tongues snatched from our mouths
Our eyes stapled shut
A moment of silence
And the poets have all been laid to rest
The drums disintegrating into dust.

Before I begin this poem,
You want a moment of silence
You mourn now as if the world will never be the same
And the rest of us hope to hell it won't be.
Not like it always has been.

Because this is not a 9/11 poem.
This is a 9/10 poem,
It is a 9/9 poem,
A 9/8 poem,
A 9/7 poem
This is a 1492 poem.

This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be written. And
if this is a 9/11 poem, then: This is a September 11th poem for
Chile, 1971. This is a September 12th poem for Steven Biko in South
Africa, 1977. This is a September 13th poem for the brothers at
Attica Prison, New York, 1971.

This is a September 14th poem for Somalia, 1992.

This is a poem for every date that falls to the ground in ashes This
is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told The 110 stories
that history chose not to write in textbooks The 110 stories that
CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and Newsweek ignored. This is a poem
for interrupting this program.

And still you want a moment of silence for your dead?
We could give you lifetimes of empty:
The unmarked graves
The lost languages
The uprooted trees and histories
The dead stares on the faces of nameless children
Before I start this poem we could be silent forever
Or just long enough to hunger,
For the dust to bury us
And you would still ask us
For more of our silence.

If you want a moment of silence
Then stop the oil pumps
Turn off the engines and the televisions
Sink the cruise ships
Crash the stock markets
Unplug the marquee lights,
Delete the instant messages,
Derail the trains, the light rail transit.

If you want a moment of silence, put a brick through the window of
Taco Bell, And pay the workers for wages lost. Tear down the liquor
stores, The townhouses, the White Houses, the jailhouses, the
Penthouses and the Playboys.

If you want a moment of silence,
Then take it
On Super Bowl Sunday,
The Fourth of July
During Dayton's 13 hour sale
Or the next time your white guilt fills the room where my beautiful
people have gathered.

You want a moment of silence
Then take it NOW,
Before this poem begins.
Here, in the echo of my voice,
In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand,
In the space between bodies in embrace,
Here is your silence.
Take it.
But take it all... Don't cut in line.
Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime. But we, Tonight we
will keep right on singing... For our dead.

EMMANUEL ORTIZ, 11 Sep 2002

Monday, September 10, 2007

Don't forget to vote tomorrow

It's our primary in Akron tomorrow. We live in a Democratic enclave here in Rubber City, home of rubber manufacturing memories, the Soap Box Derby and an annual golf tournament that Tiger Woods invariably wins.

Democrats run things here and have since the old staid Republican days of Roy Ray and John Ballard, who will always appear in my mind as small grey photographs scrunched into the corner of an Akron Beacon Journal news story from the 60s and 70s. But in the early 80s, Tom Sawyer turned the tide and Akron has voted for Democratic mayors ever since, and Democrats represent every ward in our city. In order to break into politics in our town, you have to battle an incumbent Democrat in the primary or wait for someone to retire or move on.

So as the Democrats wind up their campaigns, we would do well to remember that voting is a form of self-protection, even though it is not easy to find someone who represents your best interests. Perhaps we need to look for the one who realizes she or he must represent our collective best interests, and who is intelligent enough to work out equitable solutions when interests collide.

See ya at the polls!

Working Man Cafe's track list

Welcome to all the Kinks fans who have been visiting here in search of information on Ray's upcoming release, Working Man's Cafe. (I know that cafe -- working women hang out there as well.)

According to a fan on the Kinks list, the album was recorded in Nashville with American musicians and was produced by Ray Kennedy, who may be the same Ray Kennedy who produced Steve Earle's album "The Revolution Starts...Now." The album is slated to be released on October 27th of this year!

A track listing has been posted on Wikipedia. Ponder these song titles and try to imagine brand new lyrics and tunes to go with each one.

1. Vietnam Cowboys
2. You're asking me
3. Working Man's Cafe
4. Morphine Song
5. In a moment
6. Peace in our time
7. No one listens
8. Imaginary Man
9. One more time
10. The Voodoo walk
11. Hymn for a new age
12. The real world

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Answers to Akron Rocks Quiz

If you didn't take the quiz, go here first.

The sandstone from the Sharon Formation is found in the Old Stone Schoolhouse.

















The grandiorite from just south of Boston is found in the base of the Simon Perkins statue, originally erected in Grace Park and moved to the University of Akron campus next to the College of Business building.







The Berea Sandstone was used to build St. Bernards. Inside the church, can be found the Carrara marble in various statues and other marble furnishings.










Some of the oldest stone material can be found in one of our more modern looking structures-- The Ocasek Building is faced with 1 billion year old Caledonia granite.

The oldest rocks in our city can be found in the paving trim at Cascade Plaza. Rockville Granite is a pink stone quarried in Minnesota. It is 1.7 billion years old -- and still going strong.


The beautiful pink and black limestone flooring can be found in our city's Municipal Building. Sorry, no picture of the exterior -- it was way too fuzzy.



And I didn't think to take a photo of the Key Bank building from outside. It is not particularly artistic and I was too excited by the fossils in the interior limestone clad lobby. Here's a photo of a fossilized coral in the Key Bank lobby.

More limestone containing fossils can be found on the other side of Main Street in the First National Tower lobby.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Akron Rocks

I went on a geological tour of Akron this morning. It was free and began at Lock 3 as part of Homegrown Saturday Farmers Market. It was a pleasant and unique way to look at our city. I took some photos and will present them as a quiz for local residents. Can you guess where these rocks and stones are located around the city? I'll give you an image and a brief description of the rocks in question. All information here was obtained from a free guidebook handed out to us as we got on our trolley to begin the tour. The booklet was written by Joseph T Hannibal of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and is titled "Building Stones and Cultural Geology of Akron: A Short Walking Tour." Our guides for the tour were a paleontologist and geologist from the University of Akron. They had plenty of magnifying devices with them for kids and adults to examine the stones at the granular level.


This is an example of local sandstone from the Sharon Formation, a layer of sandstone and conglomerate underlying the high points of Akron on Broadway and High Streets. The old quarry was located at the site of the current Key Bank Building on Main St.








Here is an example of granodiorite, a rock with a slightly different composition from granite and it was quarried in Quincey, MA. The dark color is due to minerals such as dark gray feldspar and ferromagnesian minerals. It originated as magma and is more than 320 million years old.



This is another sandstone called Berea and it was obtained from Deep Lock Quarry in Peninsula. In it can be seen pebbles and clayey clasts.







The marble used to carve this piece is the same type used by Michelangelo to sculpt his Pieta and David. Called Carrara marble, it was quarried in the Italian Apuan Alps. According to the handy guide booklet, we find that this marble was the "result of metamorphism of a pre-existing limestone during the Jurassic Period, between 200 and 145 million years ago."








The oldest rock on our tour comes from Canada. It has a commercial name of Caledonia granite and is a billion years old. Contemplating it, I immediately felt like an insignificantly temporary collection of cells in comparison.















This beautiful floor pattern was created out of pink limestone from the Holston Formation of eastern Tennessee and the black limestone came from either New York or Vermont, Both stones originated as sea sediment in the Ordovician age and are over 400 million years old.




I really perked up my ears when I heard we would be seeing cephalopods in the next batch of rocks. Thanks to my favorite science blog, Pharyngula, I've become enamored of these beautiful creatures. Look closely and you will find fossils of large conical cephalopod shells in this gorgeous gray and pink limestone.













Come back tomorrow, and I'll post pictures of the actual sites where the above rocks and stones can be found.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday Night Kick Back -- King Missile

In honor of those nuclear warheads that somehow managed to take unauthorized flight over the USA last week, we're digging up a King Missile classic ode to one particular brand of patriarchal religion. Jesus Was Way Cool:

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Call 'em up!

Received via email recently, a message exhorting us all to call our US senators and congressperson to voice our commitment to ending the war in Iraq. I looked everywhere tonight, but couldn't find the email, so I don't know which exact lefty/progressive group to credit for promoting the tactic. I do believe that today, Thursday September 6th, was the target day for calling.

But I'm not saying "Drat, I missed it" and moving on to other things -- no, I think it is a good enough thing to do that one could take the time to call every single day until those who claim to represent us actually do just that.

So look up those phone numbers and put them on your speed dial list.

You can find your senator's contact info here. Don't forget to add Harry Reid, Democrat Majority Leader.

And for House of Representatives' information, go here. Remember to include Nancy Pelosi in those daily calls.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Special Comment for Keith Olbermann

Dear Keith,

You rock! You were in top form with your "special comment" last night that focused on the current ruling Bush's unabashed hypocrisy. In case you missed it, W's handlers got him into and out of Iraq safely over the weekend, which all goes to prove that the surge is working and all candidates for president from both parties will feel compelled to keep US forces in the Middle East and Iraq indefinitely.

It isn't at all easy to capture the viewer, when you sit framed in a head and shoulder shot, teleprompter rolling in front of you and the minutes are ticking by. There's no action here -- or is there? The eyes are piercing and the voice pounces upon the words, which are masterfully put together, a perfect match for Mr Olbermann's delivery.

Listen to it again as Keith's vocal cords resonate truth to power:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Breaking Kinks News!

Wonderful news for Kinks fans! No, not a reunion tour announcement, but in my book just about as good -- a new Ray Davies album is supposedly due out next month! The title of the album is Working Man's Cafe. The announcement was posted on the Swedish version of the V2 Music web site, and if you can read Swedish click here to access it. If you don't have a command of Swedish, a member of the fan club approximates a translation:

Kinkslegenden Ray Davies slapper ett nytt album "Working Man's
Cafe" i slutet av oktober. Forsta sparet heter "Vietnam Cowboys"
och ar bland de starkare sparen han skrivit. Vi ser skarpt fram
emot att aterse honom pa svensk mark tidigt 2008.

Kinks legend Ray Davies comes with a new album "Working Man's Cafe"
at the end of october. The first track is called "Vietnam Cowboys"
and it's one of the stronger tracks he wrote. We look forward to (??
aterse honom??) on Swedish ground early 2008.
The latest reports from the German V2 web site confirms the release of the new Ray Davies record for 26th October 2007 (in Germany). That means that the album will be released
29th October in the UK and 30th October in the USA.

Fans only recently found out that a new album was in the works. After waiting decades for the first ever Ray solo album, we finally got the brilliant "Other People's Lives" in 2006, and may have not had it at all had the gunman in New Orleans raised his weapon higher. In July of this year, we learned that the Ray did not show up at the trail in New Orleans and the case was consequently dismissed. It was reported on the Kinks Preservation Society listserv that Ray was in the studio working on his next solo album and was given too little notice to cross the Atlantic for the trial. Ray also said the guy in custody was not the shooter, but rather the driver of the getaway car.

Some fans were not happy with Ray's choice. Personally, I don't blame him for not wanting to go to New Orleans for the trial of a hapless criminal associate, especially while in the middle of a recording session. Regardless, all fans are thrilled to hear that the album is ready for release sooner, rather than later.

In celebration of this Major Breaking News and Reason To Go On Living, here's a bootleg clip from Ray's appearance at the Supper Club, NYC in November of 2005. Yours truly was in attendance! Am I still obsessed after all these years -- uh, yeah!

Monday, September 03, 2007

A day in Hartville

Labor Day! A day to celebrate one's employment by taking the day off and going shopping!

But why encourage the manufacture of more toxic stuff from China? So my friend and I chose to head to Hartville for one of the biggest flea market days of the year in our area. My friend is a collector and I just like to look around and reflect on the detritus of society as revealed in booth after booth of ... stuff!

And I admit, I collect books and always manage to find one or two that make their way into my reusable cloth shopping bag.

We headed out at sunrise and arrived to find that traffic into the flea market was already backed up. We headed for the old flea market first. This is the one that spreads out over a grassy field with a number of county fair type long buildings that house the permanent flea marketers. The dealers were still pouring because there was no more set up room across the street. by 9:30 AM we had gone the rounds twice and decided to make our way to the recently constructed more modern flea market, with a huge indoor market as well as acres of paved vending areas as well as patron parking.

I love the sparkle and vivid colors of glassware on display. I never buy any of it, but enjoy the sight.

Here's a "one of a kind" item, as you can read on the display sign. Who is going to buy a sauerkraut cutter made in 1949 for $350.00?





Name something that people collect and you'll find them at the flea market. Buttons not only appeal to people who collect buttons but also to people who have theme collections such as Elvis or Rin Tin Tin.



Three very different lamp bases in a row. The third one looks like an alien.




These pewter spoons feature story book characters carved on the top of each handle.



All is not cheerfulness and bright colors at the flea market. This table was covered with animal traps.

I was somewhat appalled by the amount of guns on display.

One man had a pickup truck bed full of pit bull puppies, while another had an already very large Mastiff puppy for sale.



Bobble-heads! And look, it's Barry Bonds in his San Francisco Giants (my favorite team) uniform. I didn't dare pick him up. I had a Barry Bonds bobble-head but his head fell off. Stay away from steroids boys and girls!



And finally, perfect for your outdoor deck or downstairs basement gentleman's den, this "perky" native doll stands proud on a table full of stuff -- waiting for the perfect buyer who will put her on display and keep her from the depths of landfill hell.

After the flea market, we stopped to visit a friend who lives right outside the town of Hartville in a beautiful old recycled stone and brick cottage. Living so close to the flea market, this friend had built up a number of collections including old movie projectors, percussion instruments, and toy trucks.

His grandmother had recently died and had requested her ashes be poured on her compost heap! The family had complied and planted some flowers there as well, and also did some readings from a giant book of composting. The whole family had gathered this weekend for gram's birthday. They stood around the compost heap and sang Happy Birthday to her. Our friend took us to the heap and shared some amazing adventures from his Gram's 95 years of life.

I was very impressed with the stories of Gram. I had been thinking of doing the exact same thing, having my ashes added to the compost -- the final act of recycling any of us can do. I also liked the idea of this family creating their own unique rituals to deal with death and honoring of family.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Go vegetarian and save the planet

PETA is going after carnivores like Al Gore who are perhaps avoiding another inconvenient truth -- that one of the major causes of global warming is the raising and slaughtering of animals for human consumption. A recent NYT article examines the work of a number of environmental groups that are banding together to promote the idea of going vegetarian to save the planet.

My meat-eating friends don't want to hear about it, and I'm guessing Al doesn't either. There seems to be something almost sacred about meat-eating to those who will not or cannot give up animal products. I stopped so long ago that I can't remember what it was like to load up the plate with slices of cow, pig, lamb, chicken, turkey or fish. I've forgotten what it is like to pick up bones from a plate and gnaw on them, and I don't ever have to bite into a burger or hot dog and crunch down on bits of gristle any more.

But aesthetics aside, the facts remain: the production of meat is not good for the soil, the water or the atmosphere. A UN report issued within the past year states that meat production produces "more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined."

Which is going to be easier, getting Americans to give up their SUVs or their steaks and burgers? I'm betting they'll switch to hybrid cars faster than switching to a soy-based diet.

But for those who are interested, there are plenty of great resources online and off. One of my personal favorite cookbooks is called Soy Not Oi. Created in the early 90s by an anarchist collective of punk rockers knowns as Hippycore, this little cook booklet has practical and fun recipes for going vegan. The writing of these recipes makes you want to run to your kitchen and to your stereo and start cooking. Here's an example to give you an idea of the style:

"The Best Goddamn Fried Potatoes You've Ever Eaten by joel.
Cookin' Tunes: Last Option "Burning" (It's a great LP plus Jeff is a total potatohead)
"Exclusion" compilation LP

This is a fucking great thing to cook, it's so goddamned delicious. It's best eaten after you win a tough hockey game 7-4 in the playoffs against the best team in the league and you're a bit buzzed cos you drank too much post-game beer and you have the total munchies, but uh, I make it for dinner a lot, too.

potatoes, 9-12
onion, 1-2
green onions (scallions), 1-2 bunches
tofu, 1 pound
corn on the cob, 1-2 cobs
kidney beans, 1 can or 1 cup cooked yourself
green bell peppers, 2-4
mushrooms, handful or two
zucchini, 1 if you feel like it
tomatoes, 2-3
spices: garlic powder, garlic salt, lemon pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander, curry powder, ground basil leaves, black pepper, chili pepper, etc.
Any other veggies you may fancy (like chile peppers)

Take the potatoes, wash them well, and dice the fuckers up, The smaller you dice 'em the faster they cook' do 'em about thumbnail size, You just do that, then put a good bit oil in a wok or BIG frying pan, Heat the oil, then put the potatoes in. Put in a healthy dose of all the spices and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are 2/3 cooked (guess at this). Stir constantly so the potatoes don't burn, Quick, you're losing your buzz, so grab a homebrew. Whew, okay. While this stuff is frying, chop up the onions, scallions, mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, corn and chiles (if you got 'em).

Grab another beer. Like I said, when the potatoes are 1/2 - 2/3 cooked (kinda soft but still crunchy on the inside) sloppily dice up a 1 pound block of tofu and dumpot it in the wok with the potaotes and spices. Be amazed at the loud popping noises as water meets burning oil. You may need to add more oil once while cooking, as potatoes soak up a lot. Okay, fry this up until the tofu is mostly done (ditto for the potatoes) and dump in your diced veggies and the can of kidney beans. Add a fuckload more spices at this point, too. Keep stirring constantly. Cook 'til it's edible to you, tossing in some tomato wedges at the very last second (this keeps them crunchy and adds a lot to the texture).

Turn the stove off and dallop yourself up a huge portion (I like to place a huge chunk of vegan margarine on top and sometimes a little soy sauce, when I'm feeling a little crazy) with another beer and some saltines and pig out. Now, you're tipsy, you're full, you're tired, the record's over, and you're stoked. Go to bed, and save the rest for lunch tomorrow."

Rather than bashing our meat-eating friends over the heads with dire warnings about global warming, I'm thinking buying them a copy of this cookbook might be a lot more effective. It is available (along with other fine vegan zines) from Vegan Action and you can order it here. It even includes instructions for making Hippycore Homebrew to go with your fried potatoes!

Here's a photo of my well-used copy, covered with various food stains and the grime from the fire that destroyed our veggie commune back in the early 90s. No, it wasn't a cooking fire!

By the way, Soi Not Oi is a vegan cookbook. Your meat-eating pals might not be quite ready to give up the eggs, the dairy products, and the honey, but nevertheless, this cook book is so entertaining with so many great recipes, it may inspire folks to at least try vegan, if only once a week.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Get Ready for the Fall Solar Energy Tour

September arrived today, along with a post card from Green Energy Ohio announcing their annual Ohio Solar Tour, to be held October 5 - 7. The tour will include hundreds of sites featuring solar, wind, biomass, green design and energy-saving technologies, organized into guided and open house tours that are free and open to the public.

There will be an Akron-area tour on Sunday, October 7th. You can take a virtual tour of green energy sites throughout Ohio via the GEO web site, but you must register to enter the site. Once in, I took a look at the three sites listed for Summit County and was shown a private residence in Akron that has solar panels on both the roof as well as additional panels placed in the yard. From there, I was steered toward Cuyahoga Falls which has installed solar panels to light bus stops around the city as well as on three of its schools. The third Summit site is the Crown Point Ecology Center in Bath with a passive solar designed building that on the coldest day in winter has maintained 83 degrees inside.

Looking around the state, I see that Cuyahoga and Franklin counties have 30 sites to visit each. The Toledo area has 11 sites and Lorain has 8, and then a smattering of sites here and there, while most of Ohio's counties are still waiting for green energy to appear in buildings either private or public. Meanwhile all that untapped energy keeps falling to the earth: