203rd Anniversary of Pride & Prejudice's First Publication


If inanimate objects can be considered best friends, I'd like to wish a happy 203rd birthday to mine. Thanks for always being there throughout the years. I remember when we first met, in 2004. You were then and are now a balm for the sting of life, and have taught me much along the way.

Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice!

https://books.google.com/books/about/Pride_and_Prejudice.html?id=s1gVAAAAYAAJ

"Join Us in a Revolt" - Michael Moore on Flint's Water Crisis

This is a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. There is not a terrorist organization on Earth that has yet to figure out how to poison 100,000 people every day for two years – and get away with it. That took a Governor who subscribes to an American political ideology hell-bent on widening the income inequality gap and conducting various versions of voter and electoral suppression against people of color and the poor.

Read the full lettter at: http://michaelmoore.com/DontSendBottledWater/

"The Fat Sonnets" by Samantha Zighelboim at TheFanZine.com



Read these. They're amazing: http://thefanzine.com/the-fat-sonnets/

Hillary 2016 - with all my heart


I'm ready for the first woman President and I want it to be Hillary, with all my heart -- not just my head.

Joan Walsh wrote a resounding endorsement for Hillary Clinton in an op-ed piece at the Nation. It was invigorating for me. I am a super hippie lefty liberal. I even dabbled with the Green Party in my college days. I've admired Bernie's socialist speeches, advocating for radically progressive views, throughout his tenure in the Senate. But I want Hillary to be President.

I contemplate why often, with so many of my friends, family and peers supporting Bernie. I cannot point to just one reason for my support for her over the rest. First and foremost is that she's the most qualified person to have ever run for the job. Credential like hers are unparalled. She wasn't just a First Lady. She was a highly active and politically involved FLOTUS. This is what made me first love her, but what I know prompts critics to discuss her likabilty factor (more on that later).

Secondly, she isn't a socialist but she's damn lefty, as reported on FiveThiryEight (my imaginary gay husband, Nate Silver's, website).

Thirdly, though this isn't the most important factor, she is more electable. Much as it would be nice, we are not a majority socialist country. We're pretty much left leaning in the middle. Once this primary is over, converting and convincing undecideds and independents to join Bernie's socialist agenda isn't feasible. Consensus building, compromise, collegiality -- we need those in the next President. It won't come from our fiery friend Bernie, not that I don't love him for his ornery passion.

But finally, and most important, I have always loved and admired Hillary. I suspect I'm not the only liberal female who straddles the cusp of Gen X and Millennials who feels this affinity for Hillary. As we were coming of age, just beginning to have an age with two digits and a conciousness about things like social justice, equality, and feminism, who was our beacon? Who was on the daily TV coverage and magazine covers as the most prominent female? Who was attacked relentlessly for not being as docile and domestic as her Republican predecessors? Our Hillary, of course. She was the face of the Intelligent Woman Who Fought for What She Believed In and Thus Was Labelled a Bitch. Something I was starting to experience myself while coming of age and being like her: a female with opinions and, worse yet, a drive to voice them and do something about them.

How I cringe when I hear the talking heads, or sloppy smarmy young dopes at Town Halls, talk about her "likability factor." It's code for, "Too many people still hate when smart bitches crack a glass ceiling, and you've smashed a million so people really hate you." Oh, yes. How dare she get tough, do what needs to get done, and be unapologetic about it. So very unlikable.

It won't end sexism and it won't obliterate the patriarchy in one fell swoop. But how glorious is will be when the notion comes to fruition that you can be a vocal, adamant, intelligent, outspoken and a woman and *have the work to your favor* to the point where you're the most powerful human on the planet.

HuffPo Interview w/ Tori Amos from 2014

I've got all this treacherous office stuff to do and needed some intellectual stimulation to go with it, so I watched this! Loved this interview with HuffPo's Caitlyn Becker.


Feminist Street Artist in England Paints Vulva on Statue of Queen Vic

The most prusidh figure in history, indeed her name has literally become synonymous with sexual repression, is now bearing it all for the world, thanks ot street artist Vaj Graff.

It's like the sentiment behind the old 70s Coca-Cola commercial (apocryphally thanks to Don Draper), where the world shares a Coke and a smile. Only this time it's Queen Victoria sharing her lady bits and some sexual freedom.

Story at: http://www.konbini.com/en/lifestyle/feminist-street-artist-painting-vulvas/#.VqABuX7IrJY.twitter

From Mask Magazine: Johanna Hedva on "Sick Woman Theory"


johanna hedva lives with chronic illness and her sick woman theory is for those who were never meant to survive but did

Full article:

http://www.maskmagazine.com/not-again/struggle/sick-woman-theory 

VIDA: "List of Women-Run Presses"

FYI, who to support & seek support from...

http://www.vidaweb.org/list-of-women-run-presses/

"The Audre Lorde Questionaire to Oneself"

This is in place of the Proust Questionaire. Available as Printable Google Doc.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1v6ns8inyxRjLOp2wxRu1BRiRx481Lr53NhW0PljzIjE/edit?usp=sharing

Eileen Myles interview with Ana Maria Cox at NYT

Poetry always, always, always is a key piece of democracy. It’s like the un-Trump: The poet is the charismatic loser. You’re the fool in Shakespeare; you’re the loose cannon. As things get worse, poetry gets better, because it becomes more necessary.
Excellent interview.

"Always" a teary goodbye to Alan Rickman, the brilliant actor who brought some of the best characters to life

This is a repost from my style site but it applies to both site, so here you are:


That's a snapshot of my own copy of Book 7 in the Harry Potter series. I took it this morning after bursting into tears upon learning of the loss of Alan Rickman. The complex tragic heroes of literature are the most compelling, because they're the most human -- they remind us of the people in our lives who embody both the best and worst of being a person. Snape was that character -- flawed, brave sad, compelling, complicated and Alan Rickman played him so well he simply *was* Snape, to so many minds. 



He also played the tempted boss who we begrudgingly forgive along with Emma Thompson in Love Actually. And, in their first movie together, he was also my second most marry-able Jane Austen character, Colonel Brandon in Emma Thompson's screen adapatation of "Sense and Sensibility."

I also think of yet another piece he did with Emma Thompson as his portrayal in a Masterpiece Contemporary Classic, The Song of Lunch, of an utter buffoon. Nothing likable about the character, Rickman's portrayal of the irredeemable ninny was brilliant. 


This is a difficult week for loss of talented celebrities who mean a lot to the public because of the heart and artistry and skill in their work. David Bowie was the biggest name. The poet C D Wright is another. It's a rough start to 2016.



Poet CD Wright Has Died

She made a strong impact on my teachers and friend, and therefore by extension to me though I haven't read as much of her work as I have others. The New Yorker has this tribute:

"Postscript: C. D. Wright, 1949-2016"
http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/postscript-c-d-wright-1949-2016


You Don't Always Have to Eat Meat, Tiger in Captivity Demonstrates


Amur the tiger and Timur the goat (who was initially meant to be Amur's live food) became fast friends in late November and—despite what many predicted—the two are still amicably living together.
A fascinating relationship that defies may assumptions.

More info at: http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/amur-and-timur-friendship-update

Article: "Can Polyamory Make You a Better Parent?"


As polyamory – the idea that humans are capable of loving more than one person at a time – makes its way out of the closet and into American consciousness, poly parents are becoming targets of a new wave of prejudice and ignorance.
http://polyamorydiaries.com/can-polyamory-make-you-a-better-parent-3/

Site of Hanging Victim's in the Salem Witch Hunt Identified as "Proctor's Ledge"


The mayor of Salem plans to have a small memorial for the site, to recognize this dark time in our nation's history when "people turned on each other" and how we can learn from this historical event. The persecution of others for what they believe, or the persecution of others for their other-ness, is always a looming spectre. Just look at the Republican candidates. We must never forget. 



From the New York Daily News: Upper West Side Teacher Fired for Teaching about the Central Park 5

It's always dangerous to empower teenagers with the truth in the realm of education. Heck, it's dangerous to be anything but rote and dull. We can't have students engaged and passionate. How will they adjust to the real world, where they have to stifle all sense of self-worth in favor of being corporate automatons?

Of course I'm being utterly sarcastic. One teacher who wanted to be an engaging and empowering teacher was fired for it and is fighting back. New York Daily News has the story:

http://nydn.us/22Ovw4v

French contemporary classical composer Pierre Boulez

Yesterday NPR did a story on the French contemporary classical composer Pierre Boulez because he recently passed away.

http://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2016/01/06/462176284/french-composer-pierre-boulez-dies-at-90

One of my favorite (& many many other's) groups in poetry was the French Symbolists. Boulez composed a piece titled "Pli selon pli" based on the poems of Stephane Mallarme.

 

From Wikipedia:
The composition is in five movements, each based on a poem by Mallarmé:
  1. "Don" - based on "Don du poème"
  2. "Improvisation I on Mallarmé" - based on the sonnet "Le vierge, le vivace et le bel aujourd'hui"
  3. "Improvisation II on Mallarmé" - based on the sonnet "Une dentelle s'abolit"
  4. "Improvisation III on Mallarmé" - based on the sonnet "A la nue accablante tu"
  5. "Tombeau" - based on the poem of the same name
Contemporary classical music isn't for everyone. It is as avant garde as it gets, I think. I am a fan though, but I'm a fan of all the avant garde arts. We don't have to experience each piece of art the same way. I like how music like this challenges the comfort of patterns in our brains and has us go elsewhere.

Too Much Too Soon: Why Preschoolers Should Stay Preschoolers

We shouldn't teach pre-schoolers like we teach other grades. In my opinion, we should keep more of the important elements of pre-school (movement, play, socializing) in the other grades, all the way up to post grads!

More at Slate.
http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2011/03/why_preschool_shouldnt_be_like_school.html

Reading from a Physical Book - the benefits


"Science Has Great News for People Who Read Actual Books" article from Sep 2014. 


Benefits include helping with remembering what you read and garner deeper meaning from what you've read.

Simple tips for parents, and adaptable for caregivers of all kinds!


New Books For Me: "Spring Wildflowers of New England" by Marilyn J Dwelley


I borrowed this beautiful book - "Spring Wildflowers of New England" by Marilyn J Dwelley, published by Down East Books - from the Concord Public Library ages ago and kept looking to see if my favorite website to buy books from Better World Books carried it for a good price. It finally came available just before Christmas, while I was doing my Christmas gift shopping, so I snapped it up for myself. 

This is great for amateur nature lovers who like to take walks and do plant identification. That's one of my favorite little hobbies, in fact. This book is grouped by color and is hand illustrated. The pictures are better than photos because the plants are isolated and the author was able to show the different identification markers in her simple yet gorgeous illustrations. I also was able to get a slightly more used and older copy of the counter part to this book, "Summer and Fall Wildflowers of New England."