Tifiamo Scaramouche!        
Tifiamo Scaramouche è una raccolta di racconti in quattro volumi che possono essere scaricati liberamente in formato PDF dal sito dei Wu Ming. Si tratta di una fan fiction derivante da L'armata dei sonnambuli, l'ultimo romanzo storico del collettivo uscito nel 2014.

A curare la raccolta è stato Simone Scaffidi L. Da un'idea di: Pietro Pace, Mauro Vanetti e Alessandro Villari (Avvocato Laser). Il progetto grafico e l'impaginazione si devono a Franco Berteni (Mr Mill) e Simone Scaffidi L. La copertina e le illustrazioni sono di Alessandro Caligaris e Francesca Sibona.

Qui di seguito, ecco il mio contributo, pubblicato nel terzo volume della raccolta. Buona lettura.


Il flauto tradito
Parigi, 1801

1.

A suo modo, Ludwig Wenzel Lachnith era un uomo generoso. La sera del 20 agosto 1801, dopo la trionfale prima della sua opera I misteri d'Iside al Teatro della Repubblica, il compositore offrì la cena all'intera troupe, comparse e suggeritore compresi.
Benché relegate al tavolo meno prestigioso dell'ampia sala del ristorante, le due comparse Léo Modonnet e Emanuele Gizzio potevano udire facilmente i discorsi del tavolo principale, quello dove sedeva Lachnith assieme al manager del teatro, al librettista Étienne Morel de Chédeville e ai cantanti protagonisti. Per meglio dire, potevano udire il monologo del torrenziale musicista boemo, la cui voce sopravanzava quelle di tutti gli altri.
«Eh sì, caro Chédeville! Il buon Mozart aveva del talento, questo nessuno lo vorrà negare; ma aveva anche un'esecrabile tendenza al lambiccato, all'insolito... In una parola: troppa complicazione! Oggigiorno il pubblico non ne vuole sapere di una musica che sia troppo difficile. La gente vuole ariette semplici, presentate con garbo, che tocchino il cuore senza affaticare il cervello. Prendete il Don Giovanni: quante graziose melodie! Parola mia, credo che abbiamo fatto bene a prenderne una in prestito, per il nostro terzetto. Tuttavia, andiamo... La scena con la statua nel finale secondo... Chi può sopportare una tale rombante cacofonia? Pensate solo questo: in quattro battute, quel povero basso deve cantare tutte e dodici le note della scala cromatica. Sapete? Un mio amico italiano, galantuomo e compositore eminente, mi parlava tempo fa con orrore di un certo quartetto per archi, dove Mozart ha accumulato tante di quelle dissonanze da creare un ripugnante caos, direi quasi un giacobinismo sonoro, dove va completamente perso ogni giusto criterio di gerarchia tra le sette note... Di proposito dico sette, non dodici; giacché nessuno, a meno che il suo orecchio non sia guastato dalla musica per tastiera, crederà mai che un re diesis possa essere uguale a un mi bemolle... Anzi: un re è sempre un re, come dicono in Italia, non è vero?».
«Ma va' curcati, buffuni!» commentò Gizzio a mezza voce.
«Perciò, quando mi fu proposto di allestire per le nostre scene Il Flauto magico, la prima cosa che pensai fu: sta bene; ma, per carità, sfrondiamo! Semplifichiamo!
Smussiamo le asperità del testo! Rendiamo il tutto più comprensibile, più adatto alle orecchie del nostro pubblico. Più elegante, anche. E l'esito così radioso di questa serata ha dimostrato che avevamo avuto pienamente ragione. Prima di tutto: i nomi. Tutti quei Tamino, Papageno e Papagena del testo originale, così goffi e plebei, noi li abbiamo cambiati nei molto più raffinati Isménor, Bochoris e Mona...».
Modonnet rise.
«Non voglio parlare della parte musicale. Ho dovuto lavorare parecchio di forbici e d'ingegno per dare una veste accettabile alla barbarica partitura. Ma, per quanto riguarda il vostro lavoro, Chédeville, potete andare orgoglioso di avere addolcito il carattere di quella terribile regina della notte. Certo, l'aria del secondo atto l'abbiamo dovuta proprio espungere: a parte che è impossibile da cantare, ma quel testo “der hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen...”, “vendetta infernale sento nel mio petto”... Ahimè! Una gentile e amabile donzella come voi, signorina Maillard, avrebbe dovuto intonare tali parole? Per carità! Abbiamo già sofferto abbastanza, qualche anno fa, con quella spaventosa Medea di Cherubini. Basta, basta! I personaggi femminili, a teatro, devono rassicurare, non inquietare! Belle fanciulle, mogli e madri esemplari: questo vuole il nostro distinto pubblico. Perché la gente, la sera, vuole distrarsi dai traffici quotidiani del commercio e della Borsa, e trovare sollievo dalle cure dello Stato. Dirò di più: nell'epoca moderna la gente vuole vivere il proprio tempo come un affascinante, mutevole, infinito spettacolo. In una parola, vuole divertirsi. Il nostro compito è di farli divertire. E questa sera ci siamo riusciti; possiamo affermarlo con fierezza. Brindiamo!».

2.

Erano passate le quattro del mattino quando Modonnet e Gizzio ritornavano al foborgo Sant'Antonio. Davanti alle botteghe dei fornai c'erano già le prime code. I volti e i discorsi delle persone in fila per il pane manifestavano stanchezza, frustrazione, rabbia.
«Quattordici soldi per quattro libbre di pane! Così non si può andare avanti».
«Uno schifo, altro che!».
«Bonaparte non sta facendo un cazzo».
«Sbagli, cittadina. Bonaparte sta facendo parecchio. Solo, non per noialtri».
«Per i grandi proprietari. Per i nobili, gli speculatori, i fornitori dell'esercito e i finanzieri. Per quei merdosi, ecco per chi sta lavorando il Primo console...».
Gizzio sembrava ancora più taciturno del solito. Per tutto il cammino dal centro al foborgo, dove lui e Modonnet abitavano, disse a malapena due parole, eccettuate le strane bestemmie che ogni tanto sputava tra i denti.
«Toglimi una curiosità» gli chiese alla fine Modonnet mentre stavano per arrivare a casa. «Al tuo paese è normale invocare con tanta frequenza la ghigliottina su Gesù Cristo, sulla Madonna e su tutti i santi, come fai tu?».
Gizzio rise amaramente: «Lo facciamo di continuo. Tutti, anche i bambini e i preti. Vieni a vivere un mese dalle mie parti, e capirai».
«Non mi ricordo mai come si chiama la tua città».
«Io stesso vorrei non ricordarmene. Comunque, non è una città: è un villaggio di poche anime sperduto nell'Aspromonte. Ammesso che esista ancora. Non ho sue notizie da due anni, cioè da quando sono venuto qui a Parigi».
Era il discorso più lungo che Modonnet gli avesse mai udito fare.
«Ma no» proseguì Gizzio, come parlando fra sé. «Giudico troppo severamente i miei compaesani. In fondo, nessuno di loro si è arruolato nell'Armata cristiana e reale». Gizzio pronunciò queste ultime parole con una smorfia di disgusto.
«Ne ho sentito parlare» commentò Modonnet. «Le bande del cardinale Ruffo, non è vero? Una specie di Vandea...».
«Molto peggio. I vandeani, almeno, sapevano per cosa combattevano; i sanfedisti invece si sono solo fatti affascinare dai feudatari e dai preti. Hanno avuto quello che si meritavano. Li aspettano altri due o tre secoli di dispotismo e di miseria. E ti dico la verità: penso che anche qui, in Francia, andrà a finire allo stesso modo. Te lo concedo: finora il popolo di Parigi si è comportato bene, specialmente i tuoi compagni del foborgo Sant'Antonio. Ma quanto ancora potranno resistere? I contadini francesi non sono affatto
più intelligenti di quelli del Regno di Napoli; nelle campagne già da tempo monta la reazione. Gente che cerca solo un padrone cui obbedire; e in buona parte l'ha già trovato. E allora non chiedermi perché bestemmio, Léo: mi è rimasto solo questo, mannaia lu signuri!».
«Ho sempre apprezzato il tuo ottimismo, cittadino Gizzio!» concluse Modonnet.

3.

Uno dei vantaggi del mestiere teatrale è che permette di dormire sino a tardi; quando si ha un tetto sotto cui ripararsi, naturalmente. Léo Modonnet, per ora, l'aveva; ma quella mattina dormì lo stesso un sonno assai inquieto. Verso mezzogiorno, poco prima di svegliarsi, fece uno dei sogni più enigmatici della sua vita.
Era un sogno musicale. Modonnet udiva con una chiarezza allucinatoria una breve melodia, gentile e saltellante, in uno stile antiquato, suonata da una piccola orchestra. Poi, lo stesso tema, ma eseguito da un'orchestra molto più grande, con accenti molto più imperiosi e con una chiusa cromatica vagamente minacciosa. A questo punto appariva uno strano ometto, che si esprimeva con un forte accento tedesco. «Ogni vero artista, mein Freund, è anche uno Zauberer – un mago –, sì. Può capitargli di prevedere un futuro imprevedibile. Cosa, o chi, aveva in mente Rousseau quando, riferendosi alla Corsica, scriveva: “ho il vago presentimento che un giorno questa piccola isola stupirà l'Europa”? E quel ragazzino di dodici anni, che un giorno nel mio giardino mise in scena il suo Bastien und Bastienne – come poté presentire che un giorno la volontà generale sarebbe stata manipolata e circuita da un tiranno? Eppure, mein Freund, la storia non è mai un copione già scritto, così come una partitura non è mai immodificabile. E quando ci si accorge che la pagina è guasta, rimane sempre una soluzione: strapparla».
Modonnet si svegliò frastornato e con un forte mal di testa. Senza sapere bene perché, la prima cosa che fece fu aprire il suo baule per cercarvi un involto. Dentro c'erano una maschera nera, un mantello e un bastone dal manico lucente.
Quella notte, Ludwig Wenzel Lachnith, davanti al portone di casa sua, mentre frugava un po' alticcio nelle tasche del suo soprabito per cercare la chiave, notò una scritta di colore rosso fosforescente sul muro proprio accanto alla porta:

RACHE

Prima che avesse il tempo di chiedersi cosa stava succedendo, avvertì il brivido freddo di una lama proprio sotto il mento, e udì alle sue spalle una voce altrettanto metallica e tagliente: «Cittadino musicista, vogliate cortesemente condurmi nel vostro studio».
«Come volete, amico mio» diceva Lachnith mentre saliva le scale, tallonato da Scaramouche. «Non c'è bisogno di tutta questa commedia... vi ho riconosciuto, sapete?».
«Merda» pensò Modonnet.
«Eravate con me a cena ieri sera. Ammetto che il ruolo che vi è stato assegnato nell'ultima produzione è al di sotto delle vostre capacità attoriali; ma tenete conto che si tratta di un'opera, e che Voi non sapete cantare. Ho delle conoscenze, e posso farvi ottenere una buona scrittura per la prossima stagione di prosa... però, immagino che vogliate un risarcimento più immediato, e in contanti».
Erano intanto entrati nello studio del compositore.
«Immaginate male» disse Scaramouche. «Voglio solo porre rimedio a uno dei più insensati e odiosi crimini contro il buon gusto e il buon senso che si possano citare nella storia dell'arte musicale. Voglio cancellare la macchia con cui voi avete insudiciato la memoria di un grande musicista. Voglio che mi diate la partitura originale di quello scempio chiamato I misteri d'Iside».
«Eccola». Lachnith sollevò un manoscritto dal ripiano della sua scrivania e lo consegnò a Scaramouche: «Cosa ve ne farete, adesso?».
«Non lo so ancora. La strapperò in mille pezzi e la getterò nella Senna. Oppure ne attaccherò i fogli ai muri di Parigi per denunciare la vostra cialtroneria».
Lachnith rise: «Vedo che siete un idealista. Forse non vi siete accorto che i tempi sono cambiati e che la rivoluzione è finita. Permettetemi di darvi un consiglio: perché non ve ne tornate in Italia? Laggiù c'è ancora da fare per le teste calde come voi. Già che ci siete, portate con voi quel musone del vostro amico, e ditegli che non è colpa nostra se i giacobini napoletani erano degli imbecilli... se avessero dato subito la terra ai contadini, anziché perdere tempo in chiacchiere, le cose sarebbero andate molto diversamente».
«Ce ne ricorderemo per la prossima rivoluzione» disse Scaramouche.

Nota bibliografica

Questo racconto deve molto al primo capitolo del libro di Augusto Illuminati Gli inganni di Sarastro, Einaudi, Torino 1980, che indaga – sia pure con qualche eccessivo schematismo – le relazioni fra la teoria politica di Rousseau, le scoperte di Franz Anton Mesmer, il Bastien und Bastienne – la cui prima rappresentazione si dice abbia avuto luogo nel giardino della casa di Mesmer a Vienna – e Il flauto magico di Mozart.
Hector Berlioz nelle sue Memorie critica con estrema durezza l'adattamento molto libero de Il Flauto Magico realizzato da Lachnith sotto il titolo de Les mystères d'Isis. Il testo originale delle Mémoires di Berlioz (Parigi 1865) è facilmente reperibile in Internet.
Sulle critiche rivolte a Mozart dal musicista suo contemporaneo Giuseppe Sarti si veda il saggio Sarti contro Mozart di Massimo Mila, ora in M. Mila, Mozart. Saggi 1941-1987, Einaudi, Torino 2006, pp. 332-58.
La sorprendente identità fra il tema iniziale dell'ouverture del Bastien und Bastienne e l'inizio della Terza Sinfonia di Beethoven è, secondo Hermann Abert – citato da Wolfgang Hildesheimer nella sua nota biografia mozartiana –, una pura coincidenza. Com'è noto, Beethoven intendeva intitolare la sinfonia a Napoleone Bonaparte; secondo la tradizione, il musicista strappò la dedica quando seppe che Napoleone si era fatto incoronare imperatore.
Il parallelo fra Napoleone Bonaparte e il Sarastro di Mozart/Lachnith si trova in Jean Tulard, Napoleone. Il mito del salvatore, Rusconi, Milano 1980, p. 9. Alle pp. 183-85 dello stesso libro si parla della crisi alimentare in Francia fra la primavera del 1801 e il 1802.
Le idee esposte qui da Lachnith sulla modernità come spettacolo e sulla “gente” che si vuole divertire derivano in realtà dal libro di Alessandro Baricco L'anima di Hegel e le mucche del Wisconsin, Feltrinelli, Milano 2009.


          La Quinta sinfonia di Brahms        
Vogliamo oggi parlare della meno eseguita fra le sinfonie di Brahms: la Sinfonia n. 5 in do maggiore, op. 123.

Questa sinfonia è il "canto del cigno" del grande musicista, che la terminò nel 1898, pochi mesi prima del suo definitivo crollo psichico.

Brahms visse ancora una decina d'anni chiuso nel manicomio di Amburgo, dove, secondo le relazioni cliniche e le testimonianze del personale ospedaliero, condusse una vita vegetativa, completamente immemore, punteggiata da intervalli di coscienza (ma non di lucidità), durante i quali il povero Brahms sosteneva di essere una taverniera; in tale sua immaginaria qualità di ostessa di una bettola di infimo ordine, Brahms interloquiva coi medici e gli infermieri, scambiandoli per avventori del suo locale. Lo si poteva allora udire in tutto il manicomio mentre, con voce stridula, urlava frasi del tipo: "Quante birre al tavolo sei?" - Tale scena penosa, su cui i biografi di Brahms hanno mantenuto, fino a tempi recenti, un imbarazzato silenzio, si ripeteva una o due volte la settimana.

Si direbbe che l'incombente follia abbia proiettato la sua oscura ombra anche sulla ricezione di quest'ultima opera brahmsiana, che già al suo apparire lasciò perplessi ascoltatori e critici, innanzitutto per la sua durata stranamente breve: la sinfonia dura circa venti o venticinque minuti, a seconda delle interpretazioni (diciotto minuti nella lettura di Toscanini, ventisette in quella di Klemperer; un'incisione dal vivo di Celibidache, con l'orchestra sinfonica della RAI di Napoli, arriva ai quaranta minuti, ma solo perché il direttore allunga fino all'inverosimile gli intervalli fra un movimento e l'altro). Decisamente poco per il pubblico dell'epoca, abituato al gigantismo formale.

Un altro motivo di stupore derivò poi dalla strumentazione, che comprende, oltre al solito organico orchestrale, anche una fisarmonica, un mandolino e un sassofono. Inoltre nell'ultimo movimento è introdotta una voce di basso.

Il primo movimento, Allegro amabile, in forma sonata, inizia con il primo tema, esposto dai soli archi. E' una melodia languida, per non dire sensuale, costruita sulle note Do - La - La - Mi bemolle - Do- Si. In tedesco, queste note si scrivono C - A- A- Es - C - H; si tratta perciò di un chiaro riferimento al nome di Clara Schumann, la musicista per la quale, com'è noto, Brahms nutrì a lungo una segreta e infelice passione. Dopo un ponte modulante, si passa al secondo tema, che è costituito, abbastanza sorprendentemente, dalla ben nota canzone goliardica italiana detta "delle osterie". Il tema viene ripetuto varie volte, con un crescendo rossiniano inconsueto in Brahms, passando da una sezione all'altra dell'orchestra, in modo sempre più insistente. Lo sviluppo è costituito da una ingegnosa combinazione contrappuntistica fra il primo tema e le ultime battute del secondo tema (quelle che, nel testo della canzone, corrispondono alle parole "Dammela a me, biondina, dammela a me, biondà"). La ripresa è assai regolare, ed è seguita da una coda in cui Brahms cita la melodia di un'altra canzone goliardica, Gaudeamus igitur, già da lui utilizzata nella sua Ouverture accademica, op. 80.

Il secondo movimento, Andante comodo, è in forma tripartita. Qui, dopo le stravaganze del primo tempo, ritroviamo con piacere il consueto Brahms di tanti suoi andanti sinfonici: nobile, compassato, un tantino soporifero. La parte centrale dell'Andante si distingue per il finissimo dialogo strumentale fra il sassofono e il mandolino, su una melodia che presenta sottili analogie strutturali con il tema dell'Andante del Trio op. 17 di Clara Schumann.

Non si discosta dal sostanziale classicismo dell'Andante il Minuetto con trio che costituisce il terzo movimento della sinfonia: anzi, questo Minuetto è così ostentatamente haydniano, così settecentesco in modo quasi iperrealistico, che nell'ascoltatore inizia a farsi strada il dubbio se Brahms stia facendo sul serio, e se, a questo punto, ci stia ancora con la testa.

Ogni dubbio viene meno con l'inizio del famigerato quarto movimento. Dapprima entra la fisarmonica solista, proponendo un Recitativo strumentale di sedici battute che non si sa veramente come definire. Dopodiché il basso, senza alcun accompagnamento strumentale, intona alcuni frammenti di Saffo, ordinati dallo stesso Brahms in una sequenza, di cui si ricorderà quarant'anni dopo il nostro Quasimodo nella sua traduzione dei lirici greci:

Tramontata è la luna
e le Pleiadi a mezzo della notte;
anche giovinezza già dilegua,
e ora nel mio letto resto sola.
Scuote l'anima mia Eros,
come vento sul monte
che irrompe entro le querce;
e scioglie le membra e le agita,
dolce amara indomabile belva.
Ma a me non ape, non miele;
e soffro e desidero.


E' difficile ascoltare questo recitativo senza provare disagio: il basso, infatti, inizia nel proprio registro centrale, ma poi sale gradualmente, terminando su delle note che si trovano talmente oltre il limite della sua estensione, che finora nessun cantante è riuscito ad intonarle se non in falsetto. Ebbene sì: qui al compositore ha decisamente dato di volta il cervello.

A questo punto entra l'orchestra, attaccando l'Allegretto, in forma di rondò, su cui il basso canta un testo, elaborato dallo stesso Brahms, tratto dal Cantico di Re Salomone. La singolare difficoltà di questa parte vocale, caratterizzata da repentini salti di registro, costituisce certamente uno dei motivi per i quali la Sinfonia n. 5 di Brahms viene eseguita così raramente, ma non è l'unico. Soprattutto è sconcertante la disinvoltura con cui Brahms si appropria di intere sequenze tratte dalla Traviata, dalla Carmen, dal Tristano di Wagner e dalla Manon Lescaut di Puccini, senza neppure sottoporle al lavorìo dell'elaborazione tematica e contrappuntistica di cui è maestro. No, qui Brahms prende interi brani di queste opere e li schiaffa pari pari nel suo rondò, che si trasforma così in una sorta di pot-pourri da operetta.

La Sinfonia n. 5 termina con un altro sberleffo musicale, questa volta affidato alla melodia della canzone napoletana "Oi Marì, oi Marì / quanto suonno aggio perso pe' tte!", eseguita all'unisono dall'intera orchestra e dal basso, per chiudere con un accordo violentemente dissonante che usa tutte e dodici le note della scala cromatica, più alcuni quarti di tono.

Mentre, come si è detto, i contemporanei di Brahms non nascosero l'inquietudine e l'imbarazzo di fronte a questa sinfonia, la critica novecentesca appare molto divisa. Il critico Giorgio Lukács, in una delle sue rare incursioni in ambito musicale, definisce la Quinta Sinfonia di Brahms "uno dei documenti più impressionanti della decadenza artistica e morale della borghesia capitalistica nella sua fase imperialista"; giudizio sostanzialmente riecheggiato da Teodoro Adorno, il quale ebbe a parlare, a proposito di questa sinfonia, di "evidente involuzione reazionaria, basata sulla negazione astorica della funzione sociale della relazione armonica, nella misura in cui il contrappunto, materialisticamente e dialetticamente inteso, cede il passo al costrutto timbrico falsamente progressivo, di carattere apoditticamente neoclassico, orientato a destra, prematurato e antani". La sinfonia fu invece molto lodata da Stravinsky e, ai nostri giorni, da Pierre Boulez, che ne ha dato l'interpretazione forse più vibrante.

Significativa, a suo modo, fu la reazione di Glenn Gould, il quale, durante un'intervista radiofonica col fido Bruno Monsaingeon, da questi interrogato su cosa ne pensasse della Quinta sinfonia di Brahms, per tutta risposta cominciò a ridere, dapprima sommessamente e poi in modo sempre più convulso e irrefrenabile, al punto che l'intervista dovette essere interrotta.

Ma è tempo di passare alla conoscenza diretta di questa composizione così controversa. Ecco il link, con l'avvertenza che, su alcuni browser e con sistemi operativi non aggiornati, la pagina potrebbe anche non aprirsi. Comunque, buon ascolto.

(Già pubblicato su Evulon).
          Pausa pranzo        
Torno a casa. Metto una pentola d'acqua sul fornello e lo accendo. Poi prendo un dischetto e lo metto nel lettore.

Beethoven, Sonata op. 106 nell'orchestrazione di Felix Weingartner. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, diretta dallo stesso Weingartner. Incisione storica, del 1930. Riversata su CD, edizione economica.

Che idea bislacca, trascrivere l'Hammerklavier per orchestra. L'opera, così, non funziona. E' incongrua, fuori posto. O forse è l'arrangiamento che non va bene: tutto in legato! Come no: siccome al piano non si può fare e con l'orchestra sì, allora mettiamo il glissando un po' dovunque...

Non importa. L'op. 106 è bellissima anche così. Beethoven è l'unico musicista che riesce a commuovere anche nelle esecuzioni più impossibili, e nelle situazioni d'ascolto più precarie.

Audiocassette in edizioni da autogrill della Quinta o della Sonata al chiaro di luna ascoltate in auto, d'estate, andando verso la spiaggia, coi finestrini aperti e quasi tutta la musica che si perde nel rumore...

C'è qualcosa di disneyano, nell'orchestrazione anni '30 di Weingartner. Quando ho visto per la prima volta Fantasia? Non ricordo, ma dovevo avere quattro o cinque anni. A Milano. I miei mi portarono al cinema, sicuramente, e qualcosa deve essersi depositato profondamente nella mia memoria. La Sesta sinfonia mi sembra di conoscerla da sempre.

Questa, però, è preistoria. La storia dei miei ascolti musicali comincia invece a metà degli anni '80. Avevo (o meglio, i miei genitori avevano) un magnetofono da tavolo a cassette, di quelli che si usavano per registrare pro-memoria e appunti vocali. Io lo usavo per sentire musica. Le cassette le avevo comprate all'uscita da scuola, prima di prendere il treno che mi avrebbe ricondotto a casa.

Il corso principale della città dove frequentavo il liceo scientifico aveva due negozi di dischi. Quello della signora Esposito era il più fornito: aveva dei meravigliosi cataloghi delle principali case discografiche. I cataloghi, però, mi mettevano in imbarazzo. Avrei voluto consultarli per ore, ma non stava bene: a un certo punto bisognava scegliere e ordinare. E poi, la cassetta arrivava dopo settimane, e a quell'epoca ero molto impaziente.

Il negozio del signor Cavo (dischi ed elettrodomestici, nomen omen) era più piccolo, ma aveva la particolarità di essere praticamente sempre aperto. Arrivavi col treno la mattina presto e trovavi già la saracinesca alzata, oppure perdevi il primo treno del ritorno, e potevi comunque rifugiarti una mezz'oretta da Cavo a contemplare lo scaffale con le cassette, senza essere disturbato (era, e per quanto ne so è ancora, un uomo di una discrezione esemplare, cosa non frequente in provincia). Potevi stare lì davanti quanto volevi prima di scegliere cosa comprare, oppure anche uscire senza aver preso niente, con un semplice grazie e arrivederci.

Ma, quando avevo diecimila lire in tasca, mi piaceva sempre entrare da Cavo per poi uscirne con una cassetta di Mozart o di Beethoven ben sistemata in mezzo ai libri - che tenevo orgogliosamente legati con una cinta elastica, per distinguermi dai miei compagni che sfoggiavano zainetti Invicta dai quali, durante l'intervallo, tiravano fuori i loro dischi di musica pop.

Intanto l'acqua bolle. Mezzo cucchiaino di sale. Apro la dispensa: pennette rigate o spaghetti? Opto per gli spaghetti: cuociono prima.

"La città dove frequentavo il liceo". Ho già scritto il nome di questa città? No. Lo scrivo adesso: Locri. Provincia di Reggio Calabria.

Da una vita, la semplice domanda "Di dove sei?" mi obbliga a fornire spiegazioni complicate e, suppongo, noiose, e anche poco convincenti. Ai tempi del liceo la risposta era semplice: di Africo. Se l'interlocutore era discreto, bastava così. Altrimenti scattava l'altra domanda: "E perché parli con l'accento milanese?" - Sai, la mia famiglia abitava a Milano, poi ci siamo trasferiti in Calabria. "Ah, allora i tuoi sono milanesi". - Niente affatto, siamo calabresi da chissà quante generazioni; ma i miei erano emigrati a Milano alla fine degli anni '60. "E come mai siete tornati qui?" - Uffa...

Da quando sto al Nord, la spiegazione è diventata ancora più involuta e implausibile. Se ci penso, mi vedo in un commissariato di polizia, seduto davanti a una lampada da tavolo puntata addosso a me, mentre l'ispettore, nascosto in una minacciosa penombra, mi inquisisce. "Ricominciamo daccapo. Di dove sei?" - Di Vigevano. "Ma non parli con l'accento di Vigevano". - No, perché sono calabrese. "Ma sul documento c'è scritto che sei nato a Milano". - Sì, perché all'epoca i miei abitavano lì. "Ah. E adesso dove abitano?" - Ad Africo. "Prima hai detto a Bianco." - Sì, anagraficamente stanno a Bianco. Sono due paesi confinanti. In realtà casa dei miei è tra Africo e Bianco, sulla statale. Ma comunque è più vicina ad Africo che a Bianco, anche se, sulla carta, è nel territorio di Bianco. Però i miei sono di Africo. "Ricominciamo daccapo..."

Intanto l'op. 106 di Beethoven, trascritta da Weingartner, è finita. Devo cambiare il CD. Ho ancora una cinquantina di minuti prima di tornare in ufficio. Cosa metto?

Scelgo velocemente, prima che la pasta scuocia: Invenzioni a due e tre voci di J. S. Bach. Glenn Gould, al pianoforte.

Butto gli spaghetti nello scolapasta. Che senso ha suonare il piano facendo finta che sia un clavicembalo? Venticinque anni che ascolto Gould e me lo chiedo.

Dicembre millenovecentoottantotto. Pomeriggio. Devo studiare per l'interrogazione di matematica. Non ne ho proprio voglia. Slego il fardello dei libri di scuola e ne estraggo il mio acquisto di oggi. Una cassetta made in U.S.A., dall'elegantissima copertina nera bordata d'oro. Bach, Inventions and Sinfonias. Glenn Gould.

Metto la cassetta nel mangianastri. Una musica astratta, trasparente, cantabile. Sembra provenire dallo spazio siderale, eppure i contorni si distinguono con precisione. Una sensazione di freddo secco, fine e pungente.

Guardai fuori. Non potevo crederci: stava nevicando. La casa dei miei è sul mare; l'Aspromonte dista solo una cinquantina di chilometri, ma qui sulla costa l'inverno è mite, la neve è un evento che capita forse una volta ogni dieci anni. Capitò quella volta. Mi alzai dalla scrivania e andai alla finestra a vedere i cristalli che scendevano lentamente.

L'inverno è mite, sulla costa ionica della Calabria. La stagione peggiore è l'autunno. A fine ottobre le piogge arrivano improvvise, massicce e violente, e possono durare per settimane. Non c'è che da chiudersi in casa e aspettare che passino.

Ho sedici anni e sto correndo attraverso la piazza principale di Locri verso la stazione. Il cielo è nero, l'aria è elettrica e tra poco scoppierà un forte temporale. Stavolta ho perso troppo tempo dalla signora Esposito, non sapevo decidermi, alla fine ho comprato la Sesta sinfonia di Beethoven e i concerti K. 488 e K. 491 nell'interpretazione di Daniel Barenboim, ma ora rischio di perdere il treno. La Sesta un po' la conosco, è quella della pubblicità. Ma il Concerto in do minore. Chissà com'è. Mozart scrive raramente in minore. Ma quando lo fa, mette i brividi. Mi precipito con il cuore in gola, mentre le bobine sbattono ritmicamente contro l'involucro di plastica nascosto fra i libri.

"Secondo le testimonianze di molta gente che ha vissuto in prima persona quei tragici giorni dell'alluvione e attraverso dei libri pubblicati da alcuni scrittori del paese, il 15 ottobre 1951 rappresenta una data indimenticabile e storica per il popolo di Africo in quanto un evento imprevisto sconvolse l’esistenza di Africo e della sua frazione, Casalnuovo. Per quattro giorni consecutivi dal 15 al 18 ottobre 1951, una bufera di vento, pioggia e nevischio si abbatté ininterrottamente sui due paesi causando frane, crolli di abitazioni e la distruzione di intere colture. La gente, spaventata, si riversò in massa in chiesa, pregando Dio e il suo Santo protettore, San Leo. La catastrofe avvenne soprattutto giorno 17 con continue frane, smottamenti di terreno, pioggia battente e violenta".

"La mattina del 18 ottobre la gente ricorda un'aria rossastra su nel cielo che metteva paura solo ad osservarla. [...] Molti furono quelli che, sorpresi dal maltempo, non fecero in tempo a mettersi in salvo, perché la piena del fiume impedì loro la via del ritorno a casa. Alla fine i due paesi contarono i danni: i morti furono sei a Casalnuovo e tre ad Africo. Gran parte del bestiame fu trascinato dal fiume, le case furono per la maggior parte distrutte e sepolte, le colture non più esistenti perché trascinate dalla pioggia."

"La lenta organizzazione della vita civile e della lotta politica fu sconvolta dall'alluvione del 1951. Una frana spazzò via il paese. I morti furono pochi, ma Africo scomparve. La storia della ricostruzione è allucinante. Per tutto un decennio gli africoti cercarono il terreno per ricomporre la loro comunità. Si iniziò una lotta tra chi voleva tornare nel vecchio territorio, dove erano restate le misere proprietà, e quelli che cercavano una sistemazione nuova. La scelta di una soluzione divise i due campi, anche la sinistra. Alla fine prevalse la tesi, sostenuta da don Stilo e dalla DC, di costruire un nuovo comune in una località distante 50 chilometri dal vecchio paese. Per lunghi anni la maggioranza degli africoti visse in un campo profughi. All'inizio del 1960 era sorta Africo Nuovo".

Un bambino di nove anni. Una bambina di due anni. Che esperienza possono aver fatto della catastrofe, e poi della loro condizione di profughi? Come l'hanno vissuta? Che tracce ha lasciato su di loro?

I miei genitori mi hanno parlato pochissimo dell'alluvione e degli eventi successivi. Hanno sempre insistito affinché studiassi, hanno incoraggiato i miei interessi per la musica, la letteratura, le scienze. Mi hanno sostenuto fino al diploma, poi fino alla laurea. Ma sugli eventi del loro paese non mi hanno mai detto molto.

Mio padre non sopporta il vento. Se è notte, e fuori c'è vento, non riesce a dormire.

"Non si è mai capito - manca una documentazione e mancano anche testimonianze orali credibili - se fu la mafia calabrese a premere per ricostruire Africo nel territorio di Bianco, senza terra, senza delimitazione territoriale e stato giuridico (com'è rimasto fino al 1980), in una località dove i contadini poveri, la grande maggioranza degli abitanti, sarebbero stati privati di quei diritti civici - il legnatico, il seminativo, il pascolo - di cui godevano nel vecchio paese. Da una montagna aspra al mare. Un caso esemplare di perdita dell'identità individuale e collettiva: gli abitanti di Africo infatti non sono più pastori né contadini, odiano il mare e non sono diventati né pescatori né marinai".

Ho diciannove anni. Preparo l'esame di maturità ascoltando la Sinfonia Italiana di Mendelssohn e la Sinfonia Incompiuta di Schubert. L'incongruità della situazione mi è divenuta insopportabile: che senso ha vivere in Calabria stando sempre chiuso in casa, parlare con un ridicolo accento settentrionale e, in generale, far finta di abitare in Mitteleuropa? A questo punto, non è meglio emigrare? Spengo il registratore e accendo la radio. Trasmettono The End dei Doors. C'è l'anniversario della morte di Jim Morrison.

Alla maturità, filosofia non è uscita. Peccato. Mi sarebbe piaciuto portare Kant. Non capisco perché tutti dicono che è un pensatore difficile: a me sembra così naturale, così ovvio. Certo: lo spazio, il tempo, sono forme della nostra mente. Ma, in sé, non esistono affatto.

Spengo lo stereo, aziono la lavastoviglie. E' ora di tornare in ufficio.

(Racconto pubblicato anche su Evulon. Nota: tutti i paragrafi tra virgolette sono tratti dal sito Internet di un mio compaesano, http://www.giuseppemorabito.it tranne l'ultimo che è tratto da Corrado Stajano, L'Italia ferita. Storie di un popolo che vorrebbe vivere secondo le regole della democrazia, Cinemazero, Pordenone 2010, pag. 96).
          Adagio in sol minore        
Roma, giugno 1984.

Una folla immensa e silenziosa riempie il centro della città. Un milione di persone, venute da tutta Italia per rendere l'ultimo saluto al segretario nazionale, abbattuto da un ictus durante un comizio. Piazza San Giovanni è troppo piccola. Le bandiere rosse sventolano nel sole, ovunque. Molti piangono.

Mentre il feretro esce dalla sede del partito, un sistema di altoparlanti inizia a diffondere una musica lamentosa, straziante.

L'Adagio di Albinoni.


Venezia, febbraio 1958.

Il freddo umido entra nelle ossa. Due uomini passeggiano lungo le Fondamenta della Misericordia, in mezzo a una fitta nebbia.

"Cusa l'è 'sta spüssa?"

Quello che ha parlato si chiama Mario e viene da Milano.

L'altro è il musicologo Andrea Mocenigo. "Quest'odore - risponde pazientemente all'amico - è l'acqua bassa. Ritirandosi, lascia scoperti i detriti sul fondo del canale. Dopo un po' ci fai l'abitudine".

"Va beh, Andrea, ma che schifo. Cià, mettiamoci al chiuso, ti offro un camparino".

Entrarono in un caffé e si sedettero. "Allora, camerata" disse Mario. "Parlami un po' delle tue ricerche".

Andrea lanciò una rapida occhiata intorno, per accertarsi che nessuno avesse sentito l'appellativo rivoltogli da Mario. Poi rispose: "Se vuoi parlare di politica, andiamo in un altro posto. Qui non è zona nostra". Gli sembrava che, da dietro il bancone, il barista li stesse già guardando male.

"Tranquillo. Niente politica. Sono venuto a Venezia solo per affari. E per rivedere qualche vecchio... amico. Lavoro per casa Ricordi, come sai. Nel tuo caso, unisco l'utile al dilettevole. Saremmo contenti di riaverti come collaboratore. Qualcuno ancora ha presente quel tuo strepitoso articolo del '40, come s'intitolava? L'arte di Verdi nell'era fascista. Poter pubblicare ancora delle robe così..."

"Altri tempi", disse Andrea.

"Altri tempi, già" concordò Mario. "Ma torneranno, torneranno, te l'assicuro... Veniamo a noi. Mi hai scritto di avere delle novità clamorose, no? E alura, tira fuori il rospo".

"No, no", Mocenigo mise le mani avanti. "Andiamoci piano. Novità grosse ancora non ne ho. Continuo a lavorare alla monografia su Vivaldi. Sarà pronta fra un anno o due. E poi c'è l'edizione delle opere di Albinoni, di cui ti ho scritto..."

"Ah, che meraviglia!" lo interruppe Mario. "Come t'invidio! Il barocco... Immergersi in quell'epoca dorata. Allora sì che regnava l'ordine: i re erano re, i nobili erano nobili, e la plebe era plebe! Ognuno al suo posto. Onore, fedeltà e disciplina! Non questa cosiddetta repubblica che c'è oggi, dove anche i figli degli operai vogliono diventare dottori. Per me un Campari e soda, tu cosa prendi?"

Era arrivata la cameriera a raccogliere le ordinazioni. Tornò poco dopo con le bevande. Mario le si rivolse ora con fare mellifluo. "Ma dica, signorina, cosa fa, lei, dopo il lavoro? Se vuole, passo a prenderla. Io sto all'Hotel Silva, ha presente? Vicino piazza San Marco. Un posto di gran lusso, sa? C'è una bellissima buvette, e si potrebbe bere insieme una flûte di champagne d'annata..."

La ragazza non rispose. Lasciò i due aperitivi sul tavolino, e si allontanò mormorando "Ma va' in mona".

"Bella gnocca, eh?" ammiccò Mario al suo amico. "Cos'è che ha detto?"

Andrea ridacchiò. "A una fanciulla / un vecchio come lei non può far nulla. Ecco cosa ti ha detto", rispose.

Mario si rabbuiò. "Lascia perdere il Mozart, quel pirlotto. Solo lui poteva farsi infinocchiare da un depravato ebreo come Da Ponte, al punto da mettere in musica versi così immorali. Se oggi non c'è più religione, è anche per colpa di gente come loro. Ma mi stavi dicendo di Albinoni. Continua".

"Ecco, mi sono immerso nella materia, come dici tu. E sai com'è, mi sono talmente immedesimato... che ho composto un pezzo. Un omaggio, un tributo, chiamalo come vuoi. Un breve adagio, per archi e organo, nello stile di Albinoni. Volevo fartelo leggere. Ecco, ce l'ho qui con me". Mocenigo si chinò, estrasse una partitura manoscritta dalla ventiquattrore e la porse a Mario.

Mario lesse con attenzione. Poi restituì la partitura ad Andrea.

"Allora?" chiese Andrea.

"Allora niente", rispose Mario. "E' bellissimo. E' un capolavoro. Lo pubblichiamo senz'altro. Però, guarda che ti sbagli. Non l'hai scritto tu, questo Adagio".

"No?" disse Andrea, stupito.

"No. Questo è un adagio inedito di Tomaso Albinoni, che faceva parte dei manoscritti del compositore, già conservati alla biblioteca di Dresda, e che tu hai fortunosamente scoperto. Come sappiamo, la biblioteca fu distrutta tredici anni fa, da un criminale bombardamento aereo angloamericano. Pochi, miseri frammenti sono scampati allo scempio, ritrovati fra le macerie. Da essi, tu hai sapientemente ricostruito questo Adagio, che ora sarà restituito alla riverente e commossa ammirazione del pubblico, quale ultima testimonianza di un'epoca di splendore ingiustamente tramontata. Spiegherai tutto nella prefazione alla partitura. Ah, tra parentesi: non preoccuparti per i diritti di copyright. Spetteranno a te, in qualità di arrangiatore. Prevedo che te ne verranno un bel po' di dané".

Andrea Mocenigo rimase senza parole. Poi balbettò: "Ma... ma sarebbe un falso bello e buono! Scusa, chi vuoi che ci creda? E quella roba, che secondo te dovrei scrivere: il 'criminale bombardamento alleato' e via dicendo! Come se la Luftwaffe, invece, sganciasse mazzi di fiori. No, mi rideranno in faccia. Non si può fare, mi spiace".

"Da che parte stai?", chiese Mario, gelido.

"Dalla tua! Ma scusami ancora, Mario. Non ti posso seguire in quello che mi proponi. Non siamo più nel 1940. C'è stata la guerra. L'occupazione tedesca, la gente se la ricorda bene, e oggi come oggi non gli puoi raccontare una storia in cui noi camerati figuriamo come le povere vittime. Senza contare che sarebbe una storia falsa, e prima o poi si verrà a sapere, e allora che figura ci faccio?"

Mario sospirò. Bevve un sorso del suo aperitivo, poi si appoggiò allo schienale. "Senti, Andrea" disse. "La nostra battaglia non comincia e non finisce oggi. Devi capire che noi lavoriamo per il lontano futuro. Hai detto bene: oggi, la gente non è bendisposta verso di noi. Per creare il Nuovo Ordine, il Reich Millenario, abbiamo dovuto procedere con estrema durezza. E, per ora, siamo stati sconfitti. Ma fra venti, trenta o quarant'anni, quando saranno scomparsi coloro che oggi ricordano certi... spiacevoli inconvenienti, allora la nostra Idea tornerà ad affascinare i popoli. Fino ad allora, si tratta di guadagnare terreno, a poco a poco, tenacemente. Partendo anche dai dettagli. E poi, il bombardamento di Dresda c'è stato per davvero, no? Cominciamo col dirlo".

"Sì, ma la storia dell'Adagio trovato fra le macerie è una balla", rispose Andrea.

Mario si spazientì. "Balla, non balla! Chi se ne frega! La verità è ciò che riesci a far passare per tale. Tu offri al pubblico una musica seducente e ben scritta, condita da una storia romantica. Vedrai che ti crederanno. Populus vult decipi, caro mio. Et decipiatur! Il popolo vuole essere ingannato. E allora, lo si inganni! E comunque" continuò Mario "se vuoi pubblicare con noi, queste sono le condizioni. E adesso usciamo, ché mi son rotto gli zebedei a stare qui".

All'uscita del locale, Mario e Andrea furono circondati da una torma di ragazzini in maschera, che improvvisarono un girotondo, e che se ne andarono solo quando Andrea, ridendo, ebbe dato loro qualche monetina. Mario, intanto, ostentava la più completa indifferenza.

"Ma tu dici che l'Adagio piacerà? Non somiglia troppo a Mascagni?", chiese Andrea.

"Ma va là! Il tuo è barocco purissimo, te lo dico io. Farà furore. Suonerà come le campane a morto, contro la robaccia negroide-bolscevica che va di moda oggi. E comunque, Mascagni era dei nostri anca lü".

Si allontanarono nella nebbia, mentre il puzzo di fogna si faceva sempre più forte.

(Pubblicato su Evulon il 21 aprile 2011. Nell'immagine: il bombardamento di Guernica del 26 aprile 1937. Fotografia tratta dalla pagina che ho linkato sopra).


          Il terremoto di Messina del 1908        
Ripubblico qui di seguito una mia recensione (risalente a sei anni fa) al libro di Giorgio Boatti, La terra trema. Messina 28 dicembre 1908. I trenta secondi che cambiarono l'Italia, non gli italiani, Mondadori, Milano 2004, pp. 414, € 18,50.

"Ore 5.20 terremoto distrusse buona parte Messina - Giudico morti molte centinaia - case crollate sgombro macerie insufficienti mezzi locali - urgono soccorsi per sgombro vettovagliamento assistenza feriti - ogni aiuto sarà insufficiente".

E' il testo del telegramma con cui il governo italiano apprese del terremoto di Messina: inviato dal comandante di una nave militare da una stazione telegrafica calabrese alle 14.50 del 28 dicembre 1908, giunse al Ministero degli Interni alle 17.35 dello stesso giorno, cioè dodici ore dopo il disastro.
In questo telegramma la valutazione dei danni è naturalmente molto sottostimata: il terremoto, dell'undicesimo grado della scala Mercalli, distrusse quasi completamente le città di Messina e Reggio Calabria e causò, secondo le statistiche ufficiali, 77.283 morti (in altre valutazioni la cifra oscilla fra le 80.000 e le 140.000 vittime).

A volte, quando ci si sofferma a considerarla, la storia del nostro paese sembra un'ininterrotta sequela di disastri. Ogni generazione ha la sua catastrofe civile da ricordare e anzi spesso più d'una, a volte d'origine naturale e a volte umana. Il copione sembra sempre lo stesso: evento tragico; prime ricostruzioni giornalistiche, concitate e a forti tinte; interviste ai superstiti; il cordoglio della nazione; le autorità dello stato si precipitano sul luogo dell'evento; polemiche sulla tempestività dei soccorsi e sulla loro efficienza; i parenti delle vittime accusano; funerali solenni; ancora polemiche finché i riflettori dei mass-media si spengono.

Questo libro di Giorgio Boatti sul terremoto di Messina si basa in gran parte su uno studio accurato dei giornali dell'epoca. Una prima constatazione è che in essi lo schema che ci è tristemente familiare appare già operante. Il governo di Giovanni Giolitti dovette ben presto difendersi dalle accuse di non aver compiuto in modo adeguato e tempestivo l'opera di soccorso delle popolazioni colpite. In particolare, l'opinione pubblica dell'epoca fu colpita dal fatto che i primi soccorsi organizzati non vennero apprestati da parte italiana, bensì, a partire dalla mattina del 29 dicembre, dagli equipaggi di squadre navali russe e inglesi che casualmente si trovavano nei pressi al momento del terremoto (equipaggi che, secondo tutte le testimonianze, svolsero la loro opera eroicamente). I primi soccorritori italiani, dell'ottavo reggimento dei Bersaglieri, provenienti da Palermo, sbarcarono solo nel pomeriggio inoltrato dello stesso giorno.

Ma la cosa che più colpisce nella reazione all'evento da parte del governo italiano non consiste tanto nella lentezza o inefficienza dei soccorsi, per la quale si possono addurre delle circostanze attenuanti: l'Italia era allora un paese povero, sottosviluppato rispetto alle altre nazioni europee; la stessa tecnologia dell'epoca non consentiva una grande rapidità di reazione; il terremoto danneggiò molto seriamente le infrastrutture e le vie di comunicazione nelle zone colpite; infine non esisteva ancora il moderno concetto di protezione civile e lo Stato italiano non era preparato ad affrontare simili emergenze.

Ciò che realmente sorprende è che fin dall'inizio, il governo e una parte della pubblica opinione sembrarono considerare il terremoto principalmente come un problema di ordine pubblico. Fra le prime preoccupazioni si registrano, infati, il timore delle epidemie e la paura dei saccheggi.

Scrive il quotidiano "La Tribuna" del 2 gennaio 1909: per impedire un'epidemia occorre "compiere l'opera distruggitrice perpetrata dal terremoto: buttare giù quel poco che resta di queste case, buttarlo giù nel modo più energico, più rapido: a colpi di cannone. Far sgomberare i pochissimi superstiti e dalle navi bombardare queste scarnificate vestigia della città (...) non v'è altra via per impedire che il luogo dov'era Messina diventi un centro d'infezione a cui nessuno osi più avvicinarsi". (p. 118). "Il Mattino" del 6-7 gennaio rilancia la stessa idea attribuendone la paternità al Re, mentre "Il Messaggero" del 6 gennaio suggerisce di ricorrere al fuoco: "Si dia in preda alle fiamme [Messina] per purificarla, o si ricostruisca con piccole case come una cittadina giapponese" (p. 119).

E' sconcertante che fra le prime misure suggerite dopo un terremoto, vi sia quella di deportare la popolazione colpita e poi bombardare la città: sembra che nel caso di Messina non si sia arrivato a tanto solo perché, a distanza di molti giorni dalla catastrofe, si continuavano a trovare dei sopravvissuti sotto le rovine. Ma si rimane ancora più stupiti quando si apprende che uno dei motivi che suggerirono queste misure estreme, fu la necessità di preservare dai furti i valori rimasti sotto le macerie e soprattutto i caveaux delle banche.

Il regio decreto del 4 gennaio 1909 stabiliva lo stato d'assedio nei territori colpiti dal terremoto e conferiva i pieni poteri per l'emergenza al generale di corpo d'armata Francesco Mazza (annota Boatti che una diceria popolare fa discendere dal suo cognome l'etimologia della locuzione siculo-calabra "non capire una mazza"). Installatosi con il suo stato maggiore a bordo di una lussuosa nave militare al largo, e senza scendere quasi mai a terra, il generale Mazza provvide a circondare Messina di un cordone sanitario di truppe, cui diede l'ordine di sparare su chiunque dall'esterno si avvicinasse alla città senza lasciapassare. Questo per impedire che bande di saccheggiatori si riversassero sul luogo del disastro.

Ecco alcuni passi tratti dal bando emanato dal generale Mazza il 10 gennaio, riportato integralmente a p. 374 del libro di Boatti: "1 - Sono sospesi fino a nuovo ordine gli scavi delle macerie da parte di privati cittadini, sia per rintracciare cadaveri, sia per recuperare valori. (...) Le persone trovate a scavare saranno considerate come ladri e deferite al tribunale di guerra. [Questo mentre ancora i parenti delle vittime cercavano i loro cari sotto le macerie, n.d.r.] Anche le truppe, nei lavori stradali che compiono, si limiteranno esclusivamente ai lavori di assestamento evitando di eseguire scavi. (...) 3 - E' proibito l'ingresso in città a tutte le persone non munite di regolare permesso rilasciato dall'autorità politica della provincia da cui provengono..."

Il 6 gennaio l'autorità militare ordina di sospendere la distribuzione di viveri ai superstiti. Saranno distribuiti viveri a bordo delle navi, solamente ai profughi che accetteranno d'imbarcarsi per lasciare la città. L'idea, commenta Boatti, è perciò quella di "utilizzare l'arma della fame e della sete per imporre (..) la desertificazione di Messina" (p. 135). Questa cinica soluzione non viene attuata perché, come accennavo sopra, alcuni dei sepolti sotto le macerie si ostinano a farsi ritrovare vivi anche dopo giorni e giorni dal terremoto; ma altresì per le perplessità espresse da una parte della pubblica opinione e anche per le proteste degli stessi messinesi: un'assemblea autoconvocata di cittadini chiede il 19 gennaio la revoca dello stato d'assedio. Stato d'assedio che - osserva con sarcasmo il corrispondente de "Il Mattino" del 6 gennaio 1909 - sembra avere lo scopo precipuo di garantire "il sonno ai morti e la biancheria, gli oggetti e i titoli di banca ai vivi" (p. 137).

In seguito Giolitti giustificò la scelta di dare priorità al recupero dei valori, adducendo il timore di speculazioni al ribasso sulla lira (p. 146). Boatti propone un'altra spiegazione: "La difesa delle proprietà, la guardia ai caveaux delle banche, il salvataggio dei lingotti che mette in secondo piano altri interventi è una linea d'azione adottata, anzi, sbandierata, perché dal disordine - anche sociale - del terremoto emerga alfine una visione dove a prevalere è l'ordine, lo status quo, l'autorità e il prestigio dell'apparato dello Stato. (...) Salvare milioni, o lingotti, dopo tutto è meno complicato che cercare di strappare alla morte, in una gara contro il tempo, migliaia di sepolti vivi" (p.155).

A questo atteggiamento grettamente calcolatore da parte degli apparati dello Stato si contrappone lo slancio di solidarietà manifestato da più parti della società. In poche settimane si raccolgono più di ventun milioni di lire (dell'epoca) in sottoscrizioni, buona parte delle quali provenienti dall'estero. La cosa non manca anzi di creare preoccupazioni nelle alte sfere: non si rischierà di creare l'abitudine all'assistenza, al farsi mantenere dallo Stato, a quello che oggi si chiama assistenzialismo? Sua Altezza Reale il Duca d'Aosta esprime autorevolmente questo cruccio quando afferma che "è immorale mantenere un'orda di vagabondi e creare oziosi" (p. 234).

Non si trattò soltanto di solidarietà finanziaria. Volontari affluirono da tutta Italia per prestare opera di soccorso. Boatti dedica particolare attenzione alla vicenda di uno di essi, il parlamentare parmense Giuseppe Micheli, un deputato cattolico che, arrivato a Messina pochi giorni dopo il terremoto, subito mise in piedi, con la collaborazione dell'Arcivescovo, un "comitato messinese di soccorso", a carattere volontario, che si rivelò un'organizzazione semiufficiale sotto molti aspetti più efficiente di quella statale (pp. 263-68). Un'altra figura che emerge è quella dell'ex sindaco socialista di Catania Giuseppe De Felice Giuffrida, che era stato protagonista pochi anni prima di una delle esperienze politico-amministrative più avanzate della Sicilia dell'epoca: da sindaco della sua città aveva promosso forme di socializzazione dei servizi pubblici (forni municipalizzati, cucine popolari), la cui esperienza risultò ora preziosa per organizzare la distribuzione dei viveri ai superstiti del terremoto (pp. 203-4).

La miseria delle regioni colpite dal terremoto impressionò molti degli osservatori e degli inviati giunti sul luogo della catastrofe. Qualcuno propose dei rimedi; ad esempio il letterato Giovanni Cena suggerì, naturalmente quale misura temporanea, quella di emigrare. "Parecchi anni di duro tirocinio all'estero (...): poi gli emigranti calabresi torneranno altri uomini e non domanderanno più nulla, fuorché il loro buon diritto di cittadini" (p. 381). (Oggi si può dire che noi calabresi abbiamo seguito il consiglio, e che gli "anni di tirocinio" sono stati effettivamente molti, anzi durano tuttora. Sarà che siamo un po' lenti ad imparare?).

Il libro di Boatti non manca di sottolineare l'imprevidenza e anche l'incoscienza generalizzata che indussero i cittadini di Messina e Reggio Calabria (le città che oggi qualcuno vorrebbe unire con un ponte lungo tre chilometri, inutile, dannoso e pericoloso) a costruire tutto, anche gli edifici pubblici, al di fuori delle più elementari regole di sicurezza. Le fotografie che corredano il volume illustrano un panorama di distruzione impressionante, ove emerge, unica costruzione intatta perché edificata con criteri antisismici, il villino di un medico messinese.

Nella sua ricognizione della pubblicistica dell'epoca, Boatti dedica due capitoli ad alcune singolari polemiche: quella (cap. XVII) fra autorità laiche e cattoliche riguardo alla sistemazione degli orfani del terremoto (il Vaticano pretendeva ovviamente che fossero tutti educati "in Cristo" nei suoi istituti), e quella concernente il destino dell'Università di Messina, di cui alcuni illustri cattedratici proposero senz'altro la chiusura, in base alla considerazione che di università ce n'erano fin troppe e che in particolare quelle meridionali erano diplomifici per giovani sfaccendati (pp. 276-7).

Boatti chiude la sua esposizione con un'osservazione suggestiva: la "meglio gioventù" dei volontari del terremoto, poco dopo, buttò via inutilmente la propria carica di idealismo e di amor patrio, la propria volontà di fare e di cambiare le cose, nelle trincee della Prima guerra mondiale. Agli ordini (aggiungo io) di quella medesima classe dirigente ignorante, ottusa, autoritaria, incapace e meschinamente arroccata nella difesa dei propri privilegi, che aveva già dato prova di sé nella gestione ufficiale dell'emergenza-terremoto e che di lì a poco "inventerà" il fascismo.

Questo testo di Giorgio Boatti fa luce su un episodio importante e poco conosciuto della nostra storia nazionale, e lo fa (a differenza della pseudo-storiografia sensazionalistica e superficiale oggi di moda) con grande scrupolosità e metodo: il volume si chiude con ben cento pagine di appendice documentaria e di note al testo. Anche solo per questo sarebbe da raccomandare. Per chi come me proviene da una delle zone disastrate, la lettura di questo libro è irrinunciabile e consente di ritrovare la radice di mali antichi.

Originariamente pubblicato il 22 febbraio 2005, qui.
          Radici        
"Sai" dico, "sono scaduti i diritti d'autore sulle opere di Freud".
E' domenica e sono le nove del mattino. Anna sa che, prima di colazione, non sono in grado di dire nulla che abbia un senso compiuto. Se è di buon umore, mi asseconda nel mio delirio. Oggi è di buon umore.
"Perché?", mi risponde. "Vuoi cominciare a tradurre Freud?"
"Magari. Purtroppo non so il tedesco. No, è per spiegare come mai mi sono alzato così presto. Ieri pomeriggio sono entrato in libreria e ho visto che la Newton Compton ha pubblicato questa edizione economica del saggio di Freud su Mosè..."
"Quello sul Mosè di Michelangelo? Ma non l'avevi già letto?"
"No, non quello sulla statua. E' una monografia proprio su Mosè il personaggio biblico. E' l'ultima grande opera di Freud, pubblicata nel 1938, un anno prima della morte. Non l'avevo ancora letta, perché l'edizione Bollati Boringhieri costa una barbarità e non mi andava di prenderla in prestito in biblioteca. Sai, i libri di Freud sono di quelli che voglio possedere. Comunque niente, ieri l'ho comprato e l'ho finito proprio poco fa. Senza zucchero, il tuo caffellatte, vero?"
"Tre cucchiaini, grazie".
"Mi prendi in giro?"
"Certo. Ma raccontami un po' questo libro, sono curiosa. E' assurdo come l'altro, quello sulla statua di Michelangelo? Quello dove Mosè, di ritorno dal Sinai, vedeva il suo popolo adorare il vitello d'oro, s'incazzava e stava per spezzare le tavole della legge, ma subito si tratteneva, e proprio in quel momento Michelangelo era lì che lo 'fotografava' con lo scalpello, e dietro un cespuglio c'era il professor Freud, col suo taccuino, che analizzava l'intera performance..."
"Dai, non essere così cattiva. Diciamo che, in quel saggio, Freud ha dato una sua interpretazione, un po' audace, di una celebre scultura rinascimentale. Comunque anche W. H. Auden, in una sua poesia, ha scritto che Freud a volte era assurdo e che ciò non diminuisce affatto la sua grandezza".
"Sarà. Intanto neppure il tuo Freud è riuscito a spiegare ad Auden la verità sull'amore".
"Tesoro! La verità sull'amore non la conosce nessuno. Tranne tu ed io, naturalmente".
"Naturalmente. Ma non mi hai ancora detto cos'ha di tanto speciale questo libro, che ti ha buttato giù dal letto poco dopo l'alba".
"E' presto detto. Hai presente Mosè, no? Il patriarca, il fondatore della religione ebraica, il profeta che guidò il suo popolo nell'esodo dall'Egitto verso la Palestina, che ricevette da Dio i dodici comandamenti, eccetera. Bene, Freud sostiene che Mosè, in realtà, non era affatto ebreo. Era egiziano".
"Ma va'?"
"Proprio così. Secondo Freud, Mosè era un nobile, o forse un alto sacerdote egiziano, seguace del dio Aton. Come ricorderai, il faraone Akhenaton aveva tentato di introdurre in Egitto il monoteismo, sostituendo al culto degli dèi la religione dell'unico dio solare Aton. Ma la sua riforma religiosa, molto avanzata per quei tempi, non ebbe fortuna. Quando Akhenaton morì, il politeismo riprese il sopravvento in Egitto. Il clero, che era stato represso ed esautorato da Akhenaton, morto il faraone, si vendicò ferocemente. Fu una reazione terribile: tutte le tracce del culto di Aton furono spazzate via. Persino il nome Aton fu cancellato dai monumenti".
"Sì, mi ricordo. Anche il faraone Tutankh-Aton, il giovane erede di Akhenaton, dovette cambiare nome, riconvertirsi alla vecchia religione e chiamarsi Tutankhamon. E forse neanche questo bastò a salvargli la vita, poverino! Probabilmente lo ammazzarono e lo chiusero nella tomba con quella bellissima maschera funebre tutta d'oro..."
"...quella che abbiamo visto cinque anni fa al museo del Cairo..."
"... durante il nostro viaggio di nozze. A proposito, fra poco è il nostro anniversario, Tato. Dove andiamo a festeggiarlo?"
"Mah, in Egitto ci siamo già stati. Ti porto a Vienna, a visitare la casa di Freud?".
"Anche a Vienna ci sono già stata".
"Ma io no. Comunque, stavo dicendo: Mosè era un fedele del dio Aton. La nuova religione gli piaceva proprio, e non si rassegnò alla restaurazione politeista. Era in contatto con questa popolazione di nomadi, che vivevano nel deserto, ai margini della società egiziana, chiamati Habiru...".
"Gli Ebrei?"
"Proprio loro. Mosè ne fece il suo popolo. Li convertì alla religione monoteista, diede loro nuove leggi, insegnò loro tutto ciò che sapeva, e li condusse con sé nell'esodo fuori dall'Egitto, verso la terra promessa."
"Ciumbia! Sembra una puntata di Voyager. Quali altre sensazionali rivelazioni ci sono, nel tuo libro? Nel senso: Mosè era egiziano, e poi? Shakespeare era siciliano? Le sinfonie di Mozart le ha scritte un veneto? Atlantide altro non era che la Sardegna? E qualcosa sul Graal? Non dirmi che non c'è niente sul Graal. Cioè, scusa, Tato, ma è una teoria un po' delirante..."
"Sshh! Se ridi così forte, svegli la bambina. Sì, hai ragione, è delirante. Proprio in ciò consiste la genialità di Freud. Lui ragionava come i suoi pazienti. Altrimenti non sarebbe mai riuscito a guarirli, no? Tramite lui, la Follia torna a parlare, dopo tre secoli di censura... E lascia perdere Voyager: non c'entra niente. Freud credeva in ciò che diceva, e non gli interessava fare audience".
"Boh. Ma li guariva, i suoi pazienti?"
"Certo che li guariva! Guarda, mi hai fatto talmente arrabbiare che mi sono mangiato tutti i pistokeddos".
"I savoiardi di Atlantide? Ma se te ne mangi un'intera confezione ogni mattina. Sei forte, Tato. Però spiegami una cosa. Allora, siamo nel 1938. Mezza Europa è sotto dittature fasciste, Hitler sta per annettersi l'Austria, lo stesso Freud deve scappare a Londra per sfuggire alla persecuzione, e in questa situazione tragica per il suo popolo, il professore non trova di meglio che pubblicare un libro dove sostiene che il fondatore dell'ebraismo non era ebreo? A me pare una mezza vigliaccata, non capisco come fai a parlarne con tutto questo entusiasmo".
"Ma caspita, Anna, è proprio questo il punto! Senti: chi ha vinto le ultime elezioni?"
"Non capisco cosa c'entra".
"Come, che c'entra? Ma lo senti, quello che dicono? 'Padroni a casa nostra. Ognuno a casa sua. Il Suolo. Il Sangue. La Razza. Le Tradizioni. Le Radici. Il Territorio. Radicarsi nel Territorio'... Dio, quanto ce la menano co' 'sta storia del territorio! Tutti a ribadire come un disco rotto che bisogna Radicarsi nel Territorio, come se non fossimo esseri umani, ma olmi, o platani, o che so io. E come se non fossero stati proprio loro a devastarlo e distruggerlo, 'sto cazzo di territorio, da quarant'anni in qua, a furia di capannoni e svincoli e tangenziali e inceneritori e ripetitori, centri commerciali e colate immonde di cemento, fabbriche aperte e poi chiuse, e sempre zero solidarietà, zero giustizia, zero cultura, zero arte e zero umanità... Talmente spaventati e abbrutiti e rimbecilliti da questo schifo che loro stessi hanno prodotto, da non saper fare altro che cercare spasmodicamente qualche capro espiatorio, cui far scontare tutta la loro bile e la loro frustrazione... E prima i meridionali, e poi i tossici, e poi gli albanesi, e ora gli islamici..."
"Adesso sei tu che rischi di svegliare la bambina".
"Sì. Scusami. Preparo un altro caffè. O preferisci un po' di spremuta d'arancia?"
"Spremuta, grazie. Quando parli di quelli là, mi sembri tuo padre".
"Che cosa brutta che hai detto..."
"Perché? Mi sta simpatico, tuo padre. Ma non mi hai ancora spiegato cosa c'entra tutto questo con Freud".
"Niente, tranne il fatto che tutta quella ripugnante retorica del Sangue e del Suolo era esattamente la stessa di cui si riempivano la bocca gli antisemiti al tempo di Freud. Sai cosa dicevano? Questo, dicevano: che ogni razza ha un proprio suolo d'origine, a cui è legata da un vincolo spirituale e mistico; che la qualità del suolo determina la qualità della razza; che gli ebrei non hanno patria, non hanno territorio e quindi non hanno dignità, sono nomadi e sbandati, vivono da parassiti degli altri popoli, eccetera eccetera."
"Beh, oggi gli ebrei ce l'hanno, il loro Stato".
"E infatti i razzisti di oggigiorno non se la prendono più tanto con gli ebrei (almeno per ora), quanto soprattutto con gli zingari e con i migranti. Ma gli argomenti sono più o meno gli stessi. Ed è contro questi argomenti che Freud mette in campo il suo Mosè. Considera questo: gli dèi che le popolazioni del Medio Oriente veneravano, a quell'epoca, erano divinità nazionali; ogni popolo aveva le sue, e queste facevano tutt'uno con il loro territorio. Erano divinità guerriere, rozze, sanguinarie, che accompagnavano ciascun popolo nella sua lotta per la supremazia sugli altri popoli."
"Ma era proprio così o lo dice Freud?"
"Non lo so. Non m'intendo di storia delle religioni. Comunque, Freud sostiene che il dio di Akhenaton e di Mosè era un dio molto diverso dagli altri dèi suoi contemporanei. Era un dio illuminista, per così dire. Anzi, quasi kantiano. Pacifista. Un dio universalista: non gli importava la nazionalità dei suoi fedeli. Non gliene fregava niente di cerimonie, riti, preghiere, statue o amuleti. Non pretendeva templi dove essere adorato, né una casta di sacerdoti per servirlo. Nemmeno prometteva alcuna vita dopo la morte. A questo dio, importava solo una cosa: che ci si comportasse bene. Che si vivesse una vita secondo ragione, verità e giustizia. Tutto qui. E' questa, secondo Freud, l'essenza del monoteismo ebraico: solo una personificazione della Ragione e della legge morale. L'aspetto etnico o nazionale o 'razziale' è così poco importante, nella concezione freudiana del monoteismo, che lo stesso fondatore dell'ebraismo non è ebreo. E allora il paradosso è che, con questo libro, l'ateo, scientista e razionalista Freud ha reso alla religione e alla cultura dei suoi padri l'omaggio più elevato che per lui fosse concepibile..."
"Bello. Ma è tutta una contraddizione. Prima non hai detto che tramite Freud la follia trova finalmente voce? Adesso te ne esci con questo panegirico della Ragione illuminista. Poi, scusa Tato, ma mi sembra tutta una diatriba tra maschi. Il dio di Freud, così ragionevole e tollerante, contro i rozzi e violenti dèi guerrieri delle mitologie pagane, va bene. Però le dee? La Grande Madre Mediterranea, per esempio, che fine ha fatto? E Iside? E poi, non capisco questa cosa dell'iconoclastia: cosa avete contro le cerimonie, i riti, e anche contro la magia, le statue e gli amuleti? Non so, sarà anche una bella cosa, questo famoso monoteismo, un grande progresso, non discuto, ma non so perché mi fa venire in mente la caccia alle streghe... Vado a svegliare la bambina, vah! Ché se no si fa tardi".
"No! Aspetta un minuto".

Pubblicato il 7 maggio 2010, qui: http://www.evulon.net/news.php?extend.3368
          '..another Cold War that may last even longer than the war with world communism.' (no replies)        
'..until Muslim scholars find a Koran key to the free world and lead their followers to an entrance.'

'Economists pondering about human action distinguish between four types of individual incomes; the Koran permits only two, which explains much poverty in the Muslim world. Economists speak of labor income which flows from services rendered either in self-employment or working for an employer; the Koran smiles upon this basic kind of income. Economists also discern interest income which, reflecting human frailty and mortality, flows from the differences between man’s valuation of present economic goods and future goods; the Koran condemns “riba”, that is, interest income, and threatens all creditors who may be tempted to demand “riba” with “the fire prepared for unbelievers.” Economists also like to wax eloquent about entrepreneurial income, commonly called profits, which may be earned through correct anticipation of economic changes; failure to anticipate changes correctly may inflict entrepreneurial losses. The Koran simply prohibits economic activity that involves uncertainty, risk, or speculation and may earn “ghara.” The prohibition obviously discourages and hampers economic changes, adjustments, modernizations, and improvements that are uncertain and risky.

..

Muslim clerics are the tutors and preceptors not only of Islamic theology but also of social and economic ideology. Surely, they may not descend to the level of envy but may fly into anger and passion about the sinful behavior of all non-believers, that is, Christians and Jews, who grow rich in market economies, engaging in uncertain, risky, and speculative economic activity and prospering on riba and ghara. For some clerics the United States is the “Great Satan” and Israel his little offspring. It cannot be surprising that faithful followers abhor, fear, and hate the Great Satan and wish him evil. When a few Muslim fanatics flew into the World Trade Center in New York, killing more than 2,900 men and women, and another hijacked plane hit the Pentagon, killing 189 employees, jubilant masses thronged streets across the Muslim world, celebrating and rejoicing about the destruction and massacre.

..

..Today, the United States is in the early stages of a long struggle with radical Islamism that has been waging war against this country for some thirty years. Radical Islamic states have been breeding, sheltering, and financing the terrorist armies and radical clerics are invoking divine favor upon them.

The Western world, and especially the United States, is facing the prospect of a long and bitter war with a fanatical enemy. It is a desperate enemy because powerful forces of change are eroding its very ideological foundation. Modern communication technology has opened the windows of the world and is allowing people everywhere to observe Western mores and living conditions. A network of communication satellites, for instance, is continuously receiving, amplifying, and rebroadcasting signals to earth. Western ideas are reaching the minds of people everywhere and changing social, economic, political, and educational institutions. It cannot be surprising that Muslim autocracies like to keep the windows closed by monopolizing and disallowing access to such technology.

It is doubtful that the U.S. military will crush and completely render inactive a desperate enemy consisting of an organized guerilla force of Allah-fearing men and women. A small army of suicidal fanatics, a diminutive percentage of one billion and three hundred million Muslims in 206 countries, may wear away the patience and resolve of the American public and its political and military commanders. Such a possibility does not in any way intimate a victory and sway of Muslim fanatics over the forces of the West. Its paramount strength does not rest on brute military might but on its free and open way of life, its private property order and individual enterprise system. Its windows are wide open and its busy subjects are at work all over the world, simple ambassadors or even missionaries of its order. Even if the United States should ever stumble and lose its way, the windows are wide open and the bright light of individual freedom and the private property order would remain visible in many other parts of the West. It is unlikely that it can ever be extinguished.

The U.S. military is not going to conquer many Muslim countries, but individual freedom and the private property order may in time..

..

We shall know the future only when it comes. But our thoughts like to live in the future, and what they see is another Cold War that may last even longer than the war with world communism. They see the Muslim world in a crisis which causes a few revolutionaries to strike at Americans. Insurgents may continue to lash out until Muslim scholars find a Koran key to the free world and lead their followers to an entrance.'

- Hans F. Sennholz, In Another Cold War, 2004


Context

'..the battle of ideas taking place in the Muslim world..'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - '..is it possible to build a truly Evolutionary-Teal school?'

          Three days in Berlin (or improving the pim user experience)        

KDE Project:

Last weekend I've met with some of our old timer KDEPIM developers and some of the newer ones who are interested in KDEPIM or related technologies in the KDAB offices in Berlin.
Being a KDAB employee for a few years already (wow, time is passing quickly), the place was familiar, the people looked familiar. The foosball table was slightly familiar, although some players changed their dresses in order to spread confusion inside the visitor's heads. That is the only reason we've lost against locals with 5-0, 5-0.
Suprisingly enough, the table wasn't used that much. Why? Because people were busy either working and talking. What they talked about I don't know too much, as I focused on some issues I planned to fix, but others can testify that Volker did not sit too much in front of his computers, but was dragged from one place to another for various discussions.
Most of us started on Friday around noon. I won't tell too much about what others did, that is mostly their problem. Especially if they were on the other side of the room and I didn't saw their screens, I can't tell if they worked at all or not. They looked like they did though. ;) I can share some things about what some sitting nearby did. See later.
As recently I became the de-facto maintainer and bugfixer for mail filters, I worked mostly on them. Unfortunately the first attempt to fix a bug failed: a bug that bothers me, although it is not the most reported one. It is about mails not being filtered for a while after a resume from hibernation. It is hard to reproduce, and although I run into it, I couldn't reproduce reliably enough and in a way I can debug it. After fighting with it and realising it won't work, I gave up. See you next time.
Meantime we had some excellent food in an Indian restaurant, then when finally everybody arrived (almost everybody to be honest, plus even some more from KDAB who didn't sign up, but show up there), we were ready to start with presenting the kdepim and Akonadi architecture. Old time pimsters Volker Krause, Kevin Krammer and Tobias Koenig helped me with it, and sometimes saved me, as my knowledge in some area proved to be superficial. We ended up with a pretty impressive drawing on the whiteboard:
Hopefully for those being on site it was understandable.

Time passed, so we went out for dinner to a Greek restaurant at the corner. Nice place, third time being there, good food (seems Berlin has only good eating places). We even saw how Germany won over Ireland. Too bad Steveire (Stephen Kelly) was not there... We continued with some more talks and hacking, then everybody went to their sleeping places.
Some left earlier, some later waiting for remote developers to show up and discuss the patches (he didn't show up).

Day 2
Next day started around 9 o'clock for some. Later for others. I continued with the filter debugging and fixing. I looked at the bugreports and tried to come up with some bugs that are both would help the users and myself. I'm selfish, I want to fix the bugs I run into. ;) One problem that bothered me for a long time is that email content from online IMAP is downloaded even if no filter for IMAP requires it (but a filter for e.g POP3 needs the full content). Now this is fixed and those who use online imap could notice a great speedup in mail syncing (depending on their filter setup). Another often reported issue was duplicating the mails, especially after spam filtering. You've ended up with a mail in the spam folder and a mail in the original place. This could be combined with a conflict dialog shown up as well for that mail. This problem actually revealed a not-well handled case down inside the Akonadi stack that was created by a reordering of filter commands in the filtering code. For those who want technical details: if there was a move action (like "move mail to spam folder") followed by a modify action (like "mark as read"), the filter reordered this to "mark as read" followed by a move. Unfortunately this exposed two problems, (mostly, but not only) IMAP specific: on IMAP you can't modify a mail, instead you create a new one and delete the old. What happened here is that a filter changed the mail (run through bogofilter/spamassasin), then the "mark as read" action was executed, which uploaded the changes, including the changed mail to the IMAP server. This caused a new ID for the item on the IMAP server. The mail with the old ID was deleted. Then the filter agent performed a move, but he had only the *old* ID, before the modifications. The move - if performed between two different resources, like IMAP and local maildir - is technically a copy followed by a delete. The copy worked fine, but the delete didn't. It tried to delete the old mail again (which was gone), not the modified version. That's how you ended up with a duplicate.
The current solution is to reorder the filtering pipeline, so the move is performed before the flag modifications. The extra benefit is that the filtered message is not uploaded again just to be deleted the next second. Speedup, less network traffic, better user experience. This doesn't fix the main problem with Akonadi, but it is an acceptable workaround. The reordering is so far only in the master branch (KDE 4.10), but the relevant code will be backported to the 4.9 branch, so it will be in 4.9.3.
And speaking of conflicts, that was the next hot topic, and one of the often reported bugs. It was mostly caused by conflicting flag changes (read/spam/important/etc), either caused by KMail itself plus the filtering or just KMail. After some discussion we agreed, that reporting conflicts on flag changes doesn't make sense, so we should not bother the user. It is not data loss, and in worst case some flag is reset. In normal case nothing wrong happens, as Akonadi is able to merge two changes in the flags (or so claims Volker).
I have to admit that this fix was not completed at the sprint, I finished it today, as I noticed more code in KDEPIM that didn't disable conflict check on flag changes.
While doing the changes, I did quite some refactoring, cleaning up the code as much as I could do for the parts I touched. The code was originally deep inside KMail (as most of other code), got extracted from it for 4.8.0, and now we are at the stage that we can make the extracted code more cleaner, we can remove some things that doesn't make sense anymore now that the filtering is not inside KMail.
While reading the bug reports, I also run into one indicating that mails arriving to an MBOX account (like /var/spool/mail/username) are not filtered automatically. Sounds like an easy bug to fix and so was it. Now they are filtered.
Finally another annoying issue was fixed: there was no indication that filtering is ongoing. Now when this happens, you can see in the KMail's progress bar.
The net result of the above: faster filtering, less annoying and useless error dialogs for the users. And according to bugzilla, 31 bugs less (some were duplicates though).

Nepomuk...one of the things that, well, so far I was always recommending for users to turn off. Slight detour here: what is Nepomuk and its relation to KMail? Nepomuk helps you to find data. It indexes all kind of data and with some queries you can find e.g every file where my name is mentioned, all email addresses from any file, etc. There is a process that goes through the akonadi data (emails, calendars, etc) and "feeds" to it for Nepomuk to be indexed. Then there are queries and code in KMail accessing Nepomuk: getting email addresses for composer's autocompletion, searching inside mail bodies, tagging your emails with custom tags, etc.
Unfortunately there are problems around it. One is that some queries ae processed quite slowly, that in turn slows down KMail, leading to poor user experience. E.g switching between mails, sending mails, etc. is slow. Or startup is slow or even blocked. I tried to fix the last part as I just run into it, but as this was my very first Nepomuk related patch, I'm not sure 100% succeeded. We found a problem with the Nepomuk API itself, and I informed Vishesh, the Nepomuk developer about it (even if I used non-blocking calls against Nepomuk, one call is blocking without question). He suggested something I might try later, although I'd be more happier if somebody with real Nepomuk knowledge could give a review of the pim Nepomuk usage.
Then there is the Akonadi feeder, that gives the data to Nepomuk. Something is not perfect there and the indexing causes a serious slowdown, where either itself or Nepomuk (actually its storage backend, virtuoso) starts to use the CPU *a lot*. This is the main reason I recommend to users to disable Nepomuk so far. We had Christian Mollekopf the author of the feeder in the sprint, and he worked on some optimizations. Hopefully this will improve the situation. Meantime we (and I) tried to convince Vishesh to use KMail, so he can see himself the problems our users face.

As a break we had another presentation, this time about KMail itself, what components make up KMail, how they are distributed. As far as I saw, this was less interesting to the audience, they rather looked at their computers and hacked on something. Luckily our KMail maintainer, Laurent Montel, is super active, but I wouldn't mind more contributors. Too bad he wasn't at the sprint.

We had a lunch at a nearby place, nothing extra, but the food was (again) good.

What did other do? Let's see what I can remember... Sune dreamed about crypto stuff and composite jobs. He worked on making some cryptographic code asynchronous and started to get faimiliar with kdepim code. I'd not say he picked up the easiest job.
Volker run around all the time, discussed various things like "spanish sync" with Alex Fiestas (see here), database backends with Martin, change recorder with David Faure (who remotely joined the meeting and got lost inside the change recorder code ... he has the solution now in his head, so be patient, we will end up with a better implementation for it that again speeds up Akonadi), job pipelines with me, and who knows what with others, as for a long time he just disappeared with a bunch of developers. They actually ended up in the lobby discussing "stuff". Milian Wolf, who is not (or not yet?) a KDEPIM developer, but mainly a KDevelop one, joined us and used massif to track down some ugly memory usage in KMail. And he did a good job in it. Previously KMail used more and more memory as you navigated between large folders (Alex mentioned some 2GB for him), while now it levels up at one point and doesn't increase. He might blog himself about, as he has also some nice graphs.
Then there were two guys from KDAB, who are old time pim developers (quiz: find their names in this blog), but they cooked something else, not related to KDEPIM, not related concretely to KDE, but to a lower level: to Qt. It is an amazingly cool stuff, but I don't want to give more details. Expect it to be presented a the Qt Developer Days, either in a talk or at the KDAB booth. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure it will be freely available what they did and KDE can enjoy it in the future.
I'm sorry that I don't remember what the rest did. In general I know that Martin Klapetek worked on the social network resources, Mark Gaiser, who recently started to work on KDEPIM stuff eagerly listened to our presentations and worked on a QML calendar application, Alex kept reporting bugs and discussed improvements with Volker, while John Layt, the "timezone KDE guy" worked on plasma calendar related issues.
As a KDE person Chani also joined us for a while, we quickly nominated her as the QML and Plasma person, so all questions related to them were immediately redirected to Chani. Jos Poortvilet was also supposed to join for some talks, but he could show up only on Sunday for personal reasons.
At the end of the day everybody was so busy, so instead of going out for eating, we just ordered some pizza. And most of us stood in the office well past midnight.

Day 3
Well, the above partially happened on Sunday. It was a shorter day for me, due to the late night standup before, and that I had to go to the airport after lunch. A lunch that wasn't exactly as planned. We went out for a Doner Kebab place that is supposed to be the best one in Berlin. It is just a small kiosk on the sidewalk in a street, but man, there was a big queue for it. On a Sunday! Locals says it is worse on weekdays. Even after almost an hour, we still had 10 persons in front of us, my departure time was approaching, so I gave up and instead bought some (quite good) chinese fast-food from a nearby place, then rushed to the airport.
A long journey awaited me with a 3 hour stopover in Munich, but luckily I had a power supply there and even some network (they offer 30 minutes/day/phone number), so I could continue on the work I started at the sprint. After flying and driving another 2.5 hours, I arrived late (or rather early) morning next day back home, and after sleept until around 10. Then I started to work again for KDAB, a work that is just as enjoyable as working for KDE. After all, the two communities has a serious overlap. ;)
That's from the sprint. If you'll be at the Qt Developer Days Europe, we might meet there. I'm looking forward for a good conference.


          Unlocking G Suite for Nonprofits: Improve internal workflow and communication        

Whether you have a team of five or 500 a seamless, collaborative workflow is critical in the digital age. Our goal is to make sure that your nonprofit is able to focus on changing the world by using technology to save time -- not waste it. In the digital age though, information sharing can often be complex; your team might not work in the same office, or even the same timezone. Some team members might be in an office with computer access, while others are in the field on mobile devices. Who from your team should be able to access confidential documents?

This brings us to a key question: How do you empower team members to work together towards a common goal, and use technology to enable it?

Great question. We’d like to introduce you to G Suite - (formerly  Google Apps for Work ). G Suite aims to help teams work together in real-time -- no matter where they are in the world.

Today, we’re spotlighting a few nonprofits to share how their teams  are using Google tools and apps to improve workflow and internal communication.

Mercy Beyond Borders - Internal Communication with Sheets & Sites

Mercy Beyond Borders (MBB) is a U.S. nonprofit that aims to forge opportunities for women and girls in extreme poverty to learn, connect, and lead. Utilizing a small office in the U.S. as home base, MBB targets rural areas in Haiti and South Sudan. In both of these areas, cultural norms and poverty prohibit full participation of women. In fact, these areas offer minimal education and opportunities for employment, which often  impedes the development of leadership skills or positions. Mercy Beyond Borders focuses its programs on providing trainings, scholarships, leadership camps, and business loans for women.

To achieve their mission, Mercy Beyond Borders faces the challenge of balancing US-based operations with field work in remote areas like South Sudan and Haiti. Their nonprofit partners range from large organizations to local schools to individuals. So how does Mercy Beyond Borders ensure that all staff, vendors, and partners stay connected and working together in sync?
MBB-trained nurse in South-Sudan village
MBB-trained nurse in South Sudan village. Photo credit: Mercy Beyond Borders

Mercy Beyond Border began using G Suite to streamline its workflow, connecting their team across the globe. Using G Suite, MBB’s team is able to access, share, and collaborate together in real-time. Take a glimpse into how they do it:

  • Track Finances: MBB manages their overseas program budget expenditures in Google Sheets. Using this tool, the domestic office tracks monthly vendor payments in Haiti. This enables the staff to wire more money as needed in order to ensure program success. Additionally, using Sheets enables the team to provide transparency in the organization, clarifying spending and creating a simple overview of total annual expenses. This standardized and collaborative approach to data enables better efficiency and communication between domestic and international offices.

  • Store images: Mercy Beyond Borders regularly takes photos in the field to keep the domestic office up to date on progress and communicate stories to their donors. The team overseas is able to upload the pictures to Google Drive, which allows them to share or retrieve the images at any time.

  • Share Information: It’s imperative that MBB shares frequent updates with the Board of Directors, highlighting current developments, areas for growth, and new opportunities. To keep the Board of Directors apprised of progress, the team created a MBB Board website with Google Sites as a way to provide updates outside of meetings. The site functions as a central hub, where the Board can find all relevant information and resources at their discretion. The website is organized in subsections including internal updates from the Executive Director, background articles on country conditions and descriptions of new partnerships. To take it one step further, MBB also added a comment section for board members to engage in open communication.

“It [G Suite] helps to better connect, engage, and keep Board members up-to-date in between meetings, or  if they are unable to make a meeting (in which case they can view the Meeting Archives page),” said Adrienne Perez.


MyFace - Increasing productivity and improving internal workflow by remote access

Established in 1951, MyFace was founded to address the medical, surgical and psychological needs of those living with facial deformities. The organization offers access to care and treatments --- regardless of the severity of the anomaly, the length of treatment, or the family’s ability to afford care. In America alone, 1 in 650 children is born with an facial cleft. Every year, MyFace helps more than 1,000 patients seek treatment. Of this population, 85% are children, 70% live in poverty, and 95% require long-term care. The costs involved in this are high and verges on insurmountable for low income families. With this in mind, MyFace ensures that all children receive highest quality interdisciplinary and comprehensive reconstructive care by doctors who provide their services pro bono.

As a small nonprofit (their staff of eight including their therapy dog, Bentley), employees are required to perform a variety of different tasks. On any given day, team members might be responsible for website design, grant proposal writing, and marketing strategy. And oftentimes, what one employee starts today is  picked up by another employee tomorrow. Because it’s often all-hands-on-deck, collaboration is particularly key for MyFace.

Our mission of changing faces and transforming lives can be fulfilled with the help of technology from G4NP Carolyn Spector Executive Director MyFace

To address their challenge, MyFace began using Google Drive to centrally store, access, and share information from anywhere at anytime. Drive helped decrease the amount of time that MyFace spends on administrative tasks, like sending documents back and forth or working with out-of-date data or information. Drive’s tools like Docs and Sheets enable the team to collaborate both in and out of office.

MyFace also deals with an overwhelming amount of data and information. The team needs this data to not only be easy to store, retrieve, and share — it needs to be secure, since it contains confidential and personal patient information. G Suite offers that as well, ensuring that all information is kept private and secure. (Want to know more about G Suite security and how safe they really are? Read more about it here).

“Our mission of changing faces and transforming lives can be fulfilled with the help of technology from G4NP because it offers invaluable resources to nonprofits of any size at no cost,” stated Carolyn Spector, Executive Director of MyFace.

MyFace Staff photo
MyFace team. Photo credit: MyFace

Having global teams of different sizes with varying access to technology can make timely communication difficult, if not impossible. While nonprofits like Mercy Beyond Borders and myFace strive to accomplish unique missions, both organizations are passionate about changing the world. And about using the right technology to help. Utilizing tools like G Suite has been key for nonprofits like these in order to improve internal workflow and communications. For Mercy and my Face, making information shared, up-to-date, and secure has been crucial for navigating the Technology Age.

Interested in learning more about the tools available to your nonprofit? Check out our website to see how G4NP can help your nonprofit with real-time, up-to-date communication and data sharing.

//

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Footnote:  Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received free products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers free products to qualified nonprofits.


          OMG, ummmm, can we talk about Rihanna’s look for Crop Over!?        

the @aura_experience caught by @dennisleupold #BARBADOS #cropover2017 #culture A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on Aug 7, 2017 at 1:44pm PDT We are not worthy!...
          Bruce Jenner is being Used as a White Privilege Pinata on His Own Show        

In this week’s episode of “I Am Cait,” Bruce Jenner decided to deliver a shot in the arm to his new show’s sagging ratings by talking about that most inspirational and up lifting of topics: Poverty rates and sex trafficking among transgenders!


          "Rich Man, Poor Man": Is Irwin Shaw's 1969 novel a template for today's debate on inequality?         

I do remember reading the paperback of Irwin Shaw’s “Rich Man, Poor Man”, 1969, Delacorte, while in the Army.  The novel was a large -sized family drama moving around the world, about an upstate New York Family, the Jordache’s, whose two sons Rudolph and Thomas, who turn out so differently. While on one level the novel concerns the “rich and poor”, it also emphasizes that the social and personal connections of wealth and poverty tend to be self-reinforcing. The novel is considered remarkable in literary circles because of the way if manipulates the “omniscient observer” concept of third person narration.



The  novel became a TV miniseries in 1976 on ABC with Peter Strauss and Nick Nolte playing the two brothers.



An article by Michelle Singletary in the Washington Post Sunday, April 2, alluded to the novel as she wrote about people who have it all losing it, partly through trying to coast too soon into retirement.  The article is titled “From privilege to poverty” about Pulitzer Prize author William McPherson, author of “Falling” (2014), who died last week at 84. The online title of the article is more brazen, “The next face of poverty could be yours”.

I’d also look at Robert Samuelson’s column this morning, “Is the American dream killing us?”


          A Mother Is Warning Parents About The "Hot Water Challenge" After Her Daughter Was Severely Burned - BuzzFeed News        

BuzzFeed News

A Mother Is Warning Parents About The "Hot Water Challenge" After Her Daughter Was Severely Burned
BuzzFeed News
The girl is in the hospital with burns on her face, back, and shoulders after she was doused with boiling water at a sleepover. Posted on August 10, 2017, at 10:52 a.m.. Michelle Broder Van Dyke. BuzzFeed News Reporter. Share On facebook Share.
Bronx girl who poured boiling water on sleeping 11-year-old friend's face tried to kill herself after 'prank'New York Daily News
Police: 12-year-old poured boiling water on NYC girl's faceLos Angeles Times
Mom of boiling water victim: "I want justice for my daughter"WABC-TV
CBS News -Sacramento Bee -NBC New York -Atlanta Journal Constitution
all 81 news articles »

          Comment on Poverty – Six Biblical Keys to Release [PDF] by Sister Sue.        
Thank you. Amazing teaching. Praise the Lord !
          Comment on Say Yes to the Dress by Becky        
Dear Carly, I appreciate so much your desire and willingness to donate a wedding gown to the Women’s Recycle Center. Your dress will help them to come even closer to the goal of self-sufficiency. You will not find them on the web as they do not have computers or have many people who can speak English in this impoverished country. There are a few Heaven’s Family ministry directors who make this trip yearly and we will bring the gowns with us and hand deliver them. Our beloved contact, Simeon Muhunga, has been working tirelessly to help over 100 abused women for several years. It is a dream he has had for a long time and it is very slowly coming to pass, and many thanks to you and others, who have a heart of compassion for them. The way to get the gowns to us is to mail them to: Heaven’s Family P.O. Box 12854, Pittsburgh, PA 15241 May the Lord richly bless you for your compassion upon the women in DR Congo and their families. Becky Servant
          Bedrøvelig bot & betraktelig bedring        

Vinterferie! 
For et deilig ord! For en fantastisk oppfinnelse? 
Fryd og gammen fra ende til annen...

Både fotoalbum og hjernebark er tapetsert med solfylte øyeblikk drapert i kakao og kvikklunch, appelsin og latter, med englebarn som suser både opp og ned bakker uten å mukke. I vår fantasi er det nøyaktig slik en vinterferie er. Både når ferien omtales i ettertid og i fremtid, bare ikke i nåtid....

For når man er midt oppe i en vinterferie så merker man seg gjerne at det for hvert memorable blinkskudd finnes hundrevis av fortrengende vådeskudd; Dagevis med pakking, uendelige bilturer, umulige GPS-koordinater, ufortjente fartsbøter, bunnskrapte bankkontoer, sutrende unger, misfornøyde koner, våte sokker, forbyllede gnagsår, bakglatte ski, snø i hanskene, solbrente øreflipper, tørre brød, iskalde utedo, søkkvåt ved, omgangssyke i fremmed seng, hemser uten ståhøyde, bleier som lekker, manglende vaskemaskin, skittent snø-smeltevann, fleezegensere marinert i steke-os fra lammelår, voksne som tisser på potte, 7 dagers svettelukt lagvis fordelt mellom iskald Palmolive... osv, osv, osv...


Som dere kanskje forstÃ¥r har Blomsterstjernen nettopp kommet hjem fra vinterferie... Og for hver dag som gÃ¥r viskes de forglemmelige øyeblikkene diskret ut av minnet, samtidig som de uforglemmelige øyeblikkene forsterkes og glorifiseres til evig tid. 

Etter kun 2 dager på jobb tenker Blomsterstjernen tilbake på ferien som århundrets vinterferie! Sol fra morgen til kveld, deilig mat, hyggelig selskap, sjarmerende tømmerhytte, fantastiske barn, nydelige skiturer på drømmeføre.


Det er kun ett negativt minne som fremdeles gjenstår... Forbrytelsen!

For til tross for sin slÃ¥ende likhet med nr 767-167 i B-gjengen, er Blomsterstjernen en temmelig lovlydig mann. SÃ¥ ogsÃ¥ nÃ¥r han kjører bil. I 50-sonen ligger han derfor konsekvent mellom 50-52 km/t, i 60-sonen mellom 60-63 km/t, mens han i 80-sonen av og til kan frekke seg opp mot svimlende 86 km/t!!! (Hold dere fast). Dette gjelder selvsagt bare i 9 av 10 tilfeller. 

På vei til vinterferien inntrådte uheldigvis det tiende tilfellet akkurat når det ikke skulle inntreffe...

I en 80-sone rett etter Voss havnet Blomsterstjernen typisk nok (ref) bak en trailer som knapt klarte å holde 40 km/t i oppoverbakke (!). Men veien var smal, kronglete og glatt. Blomsterstjernen holdt seg i skinnet. "Vi har ikke hastverk" smilte han mens han luntet avgårde i et påtvunget snegle-tempo verden aldri har sett maken til. Bak ham hamret det på med rusende, brølende biler i kø som konstant prøvde å finne smutthull der de kunne forbipassere både den maskerte herremann og den forbaskede snegle-trailer. Uten hell. Veien var for smal, for glatt, for farlig.


Endelig var bakketoppen nådd. Endelig ble veien oversiktlig, bred og tørr. Og endelig satte traileren inn syvende gir og suste fra køen i hundrevis av kilometer i timen, kun blårøyken hang igjen. Blomsterstjernen våget seg opp i hele 87(!!!), vel vitende om at speedometeret normalt viser 4-5 km/t for mye...

Men uansett hvor mye han gasset, så ville bare ikke den uendelige halen av irritable biler slippe taket, til tross for denne svimlende fart. Blomsterstjernen fungerte nærmest som hode på en illsint susende, tutende, brølende Midgardsorm


Men sÃ¥ kom 60-sonen... Lovlydig bremset hærføreren ned farten. Kanskje ikke helt ned i 60 blank... men sÃ¥ langt ned han følte var forsvarlig med dette illsinte vendetta-hungrige bilfølget pÃ¥ slep. Og det var da det skar seg noe sÃ¥ skjebnesvangert. "NEI!!!" ropte konemor. "Politikontroll!!!". Som eneste bil i følget ble Blomsterstjernen vinket til side.  Midgardsormens hale luntet glisende uskyldig forbi... Noe sÃ¥ sjofelt!?!

"Du kjørte nok litt for fort" sa den hyggelige politimannen. "Umulig, speedometeret viser jo 4-5 km/t feil?" parerte en betuttet stjerne. "Mulig det, men vi har også trukket fra 4 km/t i feilmargin på målingen vår. Din fart reduseres derfor fra 72 km/t til 68 km/t..." Stjernen var svar skyldig. Han var blitt presset frem som uønsket hærfører for solhungrige Porcher, Mercer og Volovoer - som alle slapp unna! Selv den lynraske traileren hadde blåst ubemerket forbi politikontrollen!

Men sånn er det å være hærfører. Man tar rosen når det går bra, og støyten når det går galt. Hadde man bare blinket meg inn til siden og tatt til takke med stillingen som pil-og-bue-skytter..? Men Blomsterstjernen var herskesyk! Heldigvis var straffen overkommelig. 1600,- sure kronestykker. Tilsvarende 133 pakker Kvikklunch... Gulp!


Men sÃ¥nn er det. Bøter skal svi! Og heldigvis ble det betraktelig bedring allerede neste dag! Ihvertfall sett med et etterpÃ¥klokt renset sinn. 

Golsfjellet leverte tross alt en ultra-fantastisk vinterferie! Vi kommer gjerne tilbake! Da helst uten fartsbot...


Hvor er ditt vinterferieparadis?


Uansett. Hold fartsgrensen, blink til siden, nyt livet.








P.S. Det er absolutt ikke å anbefale at konemor finner bilde av en ukjent lettkledd blondine på din telefon akkurat i overgangen mellom 80-sone og 40-sone med påfølgende fartsdump... Uansett hvor rent mel man har i posen :)






          It's Spud Time        

The United Nations wants more people to appreciate the potato's potential to fight world hunger

Food for Thought

As 2007 winds down, thoughts naturally turn towards what might lie ahead. Meals rich in high-carb tubers, perhaps? That's what the United Nations would like everyone to contemplate throughout 2008, which it is designating the International Year of the Potato.

Farmers now harvest more than 300 million tons of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) worldwide. That makes it the fourth biggest food crop, trailing only corn, wheat, and rice.

For 8,000 years, the humble potato has been a staple in the South American Andes, its homeland. Spanish adventurers encountered the New World crop roughly 500 years ago and brought various types back to Europe. Today, potatoes are cultivated not only throughout the Americas, but also from China's uplands to India's subtropical lowlands—even on Ukraine's arid steppes.

A testament to the potato's Western roots, production of this crop in the States and southward leads the world. Fully 40 percent of the 2006 potato harvest came from North America, with Latin American farmers contributing another 16 percent.

However, appreciation for this nutritious starch within developing countries outside of the Americas—especially in Asia—has been growing steadily, with production of the crop in those regions climbing some 5 percent annually. Indeed, 2005 marked the first time in recent history that production of potatoes in the developing world exceeded that in developed nations.

Although most people think of potatoes as a commodity, in fact, more potatoes are processed to make fast foods, snacks, and convenience items than are sold fresh in the market place. Today, China is the leading producer of spuds, followed by the Russian states and India. International trade in potatoes—worth $6 billion annually—has also been growing within developing nations.

You might then ask why, with all of this pre-existing global interest in potatoes, the UN feels compelled to devote a year of workshops, research contests, and other focused attention on this one particular food. And the reason, the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization argues, is that much of the spud's potential to feed the poor remains untapped.

For instance, although Asians eat nearly half of the world's potatoes, per capita consumption even in Asia remains modest—just 25 kilograms per year, or roughly 45 percent of U.S. consumption and just 27 percent of what's typical in Europe.

Even were potatoes to win greater respect for their nutritional attributes and ability to serve as industrial feedstocks, they couldn't necessarily make a big contribution in new regions of the world without significantly more research. The tubers are vulnerable to a host of major diseases—like the one that set off Ireland's 1845 potato famine. Some varieties of potato are especially resistant to particular diseases, but may not grow well in new regions of the world or taste that yummy.

That's where potato scientists come in. They can identify the climate, soil types, day length, and native diseases with which any new potato crop would have to contend. Then they'll cross lines of wild or cultivated spuds to develop ones with traits that will allow them to thrive outside the Americas. The good news, the UN program notes: "The potato has the richest genetic diversity of any cultivated plant." So there's plenty of potential to tailor a new cultivar to meet the needs of farmers in most places on the globe.

But the potato's biggest advantage, according to the International Potato Center, based in Lima, Peru, is that it yields more food, more quickly, on less land, and in harsher climates than any other major crop. Up to 85 percent of the plant is edible, compared to only about 50 percent for cereal grains. Moreover, the Center notes, potatoes "are ideally suited to places where land is limited and labor is abundant—conditions in much of the developing world."

To help get this word out to agricultural agencies in parts of the world not already turned on to spuds, and from them to farmers, the International Potato Center will be sponsoring a March 2008 meeting: Potato Science for the Poor–Challenges for the New Millennium (http://www.cipotato.org/Cuzco_conference/). Those who attend will have the opportunity to explore the possibility of cooperating to fine tune existing potatoes into higher-yielding varieties.

The International Potato Center's gene bank safeguards the largest biodiversity of potatoes—7,500 different varieties, of which 1,950 are not cultivated. Research on spuds, especially studies aimed at fostering food security and the alleviation of poverty, have become a focus for the center.

With all of this talk of potatoes, are you hungry yet? The UN program has so far identified 172,000 web pages containing recipes for using potatoes. Stay tuned, it says: "We will gather the best of them" and share them on the Year of the Potato website.


If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

Citations

International Year of Potato (IYP) Secretariat

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Room C-776

Viale delle Terme di Caracalla

00153 Rome

Italy

International Potato Center

Apartado Postal 1558

Lima 12,

Peru
Further Reading

Gorman, J. 2000. Novel sensing system catches the dud spud. Science News 158(Nov. 25):341. Available at [Go to].

C. Graves, Ed. 2001. The Potato, Treasure of the Andes: From Agriculture to Culture. Lima, Peru: International Potato Center (208 pp). Available at [Go to].

Raloff, J. 2005. Food colorings: Pigments make fruits and veggies extra healthful. Science News 167(Jan. 8):27. Available at [Go to].

______. 2004. How carbs can make burgers safer. Science News Online (Dec. 4). Available at [Go to].

______. 2004. Coming soon—Spud lite. Science News Online (June 19). Available at [Go to].

______. 2003. How olives might enhance potatoes—and strawberries. Science News Online (May 24). Available at [Go to].

______. 2002. Acrylamide—From spuds to gingerbread. Science News Online (Dec. 14). Available at [Go to].

______. 1998. Taters for tots provide an edible vaccine. Science News 153(March 7):149. Available at [Go to]

          Access        
Early Care and Education (ECE) has the potential to improve children’s cognitive and social development in the early years prior to the start of formal schooling (National Association for the Education of Young Children, n.d.). This is particularly true for children from families of color with low-incomes, living in impoverished neighborhoods and who are English…
          Opportunity Lost: Race and Poverty in the Memphis City Schools        
Opportunity Lost: Race and Poverty in the Memphis City Schools
author: Marcus D. Pohlmann
name: Kristin
average rating: 4.25
book published: 2009
rating: 5
read at: 2011/09/19
date added: 2011/09/19
shelves:
review:


          7 things wrong with our country        
------------
Note 1: If you are looking for a government/politician-bashing rant, or a discussion about corruption consuming our nation, or a list which enumerates education, poverty, development et al, this post is not going to touch any of those things.

Note 2: This list is relative to things often found in other countries on most accounts.
------------


#7 Pull-to-open bags

This is a bag of delectable chips.


This is how it should be open-able...



...so we can enjoy our chips like this...



...NOT ruined by this.



If other countries in the world can have this, why can't we?! I mean, how difficult is it?!



#6 Coca-cola

This:

Just look at this. How can you not want to have this refreshing drink with lunch and dinner, and to go alongside the chips in #7. (I skipped mentioning breakfast for the risk of it being an overkill.) For most countries, bottomless coke, or for that matter, any drink other than water is offered alongwith meals by default. Water is the last thing you should be drinking, with the evolution of man.



#5 Airports

They suck. And before you go all "T3" on me, again, they suck. Travelling, especially air-travel, should be an experience, not a punishment. Travelling by air is the pinnacle of human achievement. Think about it, you are flying at 30,000 ft, half-way across the world in less than 24 hours, at more than 900 kms per hour, while dining and watching movies along the way, even watching cat videos on youtube, and liking others' updates about their amazing lives. Not to mention the spectacular views and the perspective you get on our planet.

Airports should present it as such. It should be huge, unlike anything you might have seen before. While you wait for your flight, you should have a magnificent view of the craft from the gate, through big glass panels, so you can marvel at its sheer size, filled with a childlike wonder. Not shoved into buses which take you on a tumbling ride towards your craft. There should be enough seating, clear signs and directions. The immigration should be polite, welcoming to its own citizens, a small "Welcome home." with a smile. The security should not feel derogatory. The experience should be welcoming. It's the pinnacle of human achievement, afterall.




#4 Public Signs/Addresses

A metro station should say "metro station", an airport or a railway station should be navigable from anywhere in the city, with signs that say "Airport -> 15 kms", and a bus-stop should say "Bus Stop". It made me think when a Chinese guy visiting India asked me at a bus stop, "How do you know that the bus will stop here?", and the only response I could give was, "Ummm, because this is where everyone else is standing.". It shouldn't be this way. 

And the addresses should make sense, with numbered streets and crossings. Do away with the MG roads! Use more numbers, PLEASE! This should not be how my address looks/sounds:

Opp. XYZ Hospital,
Near ABC Hotel,
Quite close to Forum mall,
Come straight from PQR Flyover, and take 2nd right, then left.

NO.

My address should look like this:
42, Lush Meadows Residence
7, Riverview Road, Bangalore.

That's IT.




#3 Utility stores / Vending Machines

Fewer malls, please? And more utility stores. Where I can go, pick things, pay money, and get out with minimal turnaround time. Maybe 7/11's at petrol pumps? And every other 100 meters too? And vending machines! Aaaargh. Quick turnaround time!




#2 Breakfast

There are CRORES of people who go to work every day. And they want breakfast. The corn-flakes, and the dosas and the idlys, and the paratha-sabzi are okay. People need to be able to grab a bite in the mornings, and quickly. Croissants, muffins, selection of juices and sandwiches, salads, fruits, as pre-packaged take-away, available close to any means of public transport. Also, coffee. How can so many other countries get this right, except us?! I will not even touch the despicable state of our lunches and dinners, but we can always work around that. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, remember?




#1 Respect for workers

Cheap labour, right? Be kind to the people working at your house. Give the auto-waalas 20 extra bucks. Talk to them, chat with them. Listen to their stories, they have several. Make a joke or two, and see them smile. Trust them. Offer them a glass of water, tea, or food after a few hours of hard manual work by default, which shouldn't be seen as an act of generosity, but of responsibility and of respect from a person, to another. Give them gifts on festivals, give them leaves. Give them a raise when you get one. Share your happiness with them, and be a part of theirs.

So many poor Indians go abroad to work as sweepers, cleaners, carpenters, construction workers, and they do that with their heads held high, with pride. They don't want to come back. Give them that opportunity here. Make them feel that they belong, and that we are fellow-countrymen.




7 things wrong with our country...

          ECU DEPARMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING CAPTURES SEVEN OCPRA AWARDS        
Employees of the ECU Communications and Marketing Department display the seven awards they achieved at the OCPRA Awards Banquet on July 17 in Quapaw. In front are Amy Ford and Jacob Sircy. In back are Gina Smith and Talina Eaker.

East Central University’s Department of Communications and Marketing captured seven awards during the 2017 Oklahoma College Public Relations Association’s yearly awards ceremony at its annual convention held at the Downstream Resort and Conference Center in Quapaw, Oklahoma, July 17.

ECU achieved one first-place, two second-place and three third-place awards, along with one honorable mention.

The first-place (or grand) award was a joint effort between the Office of Communications and Marketing and the Office of Advancement in the Events/Promotion Category for President John Hargrave’s Retirement Celebrations.

The two second-place (or excellence) awards were also picked up by the ECU contingent. Amy Ford, assistant vice president for ECU Communications and Marketing, and LR Creations took the runner-up award in the Multimedia Division for “ECU Pokemon Go Tips”. Teri LaJeunesse was second in the Sports Writing Category for her article on “Personifying the Tiger Spirit.”

Picking up a third-place award was Talina Eaker for Best Headline – “From Poverty to Presidency: Education paved the way.” Also taking third were Ford, Zane Hefley and Zane Ter Wee for the Holiday Greetings Division with “Night Before Finals.” The Office of Communications also finished third in the Shoe String Category for “Roary of Fall 2016.”

Eaker also captured an honorable mention award for the Full-Length Feature Division for “From Poverty to Presidency: Education paved the way.”

-ECU-

For Immediate Release: 

Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

                                East Central University Communications and Marketing

                              580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)


          7 Tips To Get You Kids Hooked To Reading This Summer!        
Summer is here and the kids have done it all, swimming, picnics, playing outside, sleepovers, camping and now they’re home and they’re bored! What better time to introduce them to the world of books and the wonders of reading? Here are a few tips to get them hooked and you’ll hear them complain no more: … More 7 Tips To Get You Kids Hooked To Reading This Summer!
          Carnival in Guinea Bissau        

Uniquely in West Africa, Guinea Bissau follows the latin tradition of holding a carnival on the days leading up to Lent.  As a desperately poor country this clearly isn't the extravaganza of the one in Rio, but I had heard that the people make up in inventiveness what they lack in financial resources and so I used some of the precious time I have left in the region to fly down to Bissau for a long weekend to see the carnival parades.

What a good decision that was - I would recommend this carnival to anyone!  A riot of drumming and colour!

The parades started at 4pm on Monday, with each of nine districts of the capital putting on their own displays in a relay that lasted until well after dark at 7.30pm (a little sad for those parading last given the lack of street lighting in Bissau), with the same pattern the next day for the regional displays.  The basic format was the same for each district, first the dancers in costume, and then those sporting giant papier-mache masks, all accompanied by fast and frantic drumming.

The costumes varied enormously.  There were many troupes of near-naked women and girls, wearing just strings of shells and beads with a grass skirt or for some just a piece of snake skin hanging from the waist for modesty, their bodies gleaming with a yellowy sheen of palm oil.  I was very surprised at the amount of bare flesh on show for a region of the world where the female body - at least the lower half - is usually very well covered.  There were traditional fibre costumes and wooden masks, some of the locally made 'lapa' strip-woven cloth, and some more modern outfits such as army uniforms, the dancers carrying fake machine guns (remember this is a country whose politics is dominated by the army) and in one case handing over the guns, as part of their dance, to women wearing the white of peace - this latter was very popular with the crowd!

Other dances were focused on the need to stop female genital cutting and enforced early marriage.  Some included mock fights, or sharing the rice contained in a big calabash, and one involved two men walking around carrying a large live crocodile, its mouth tied shut with pink string.  Nobody near me in the crowd could explain the significance of that one.

The papier-mache masks were enormously varied and impressive, from tigers and dragons, pieces of fruit and vegetables, army chiefs and colonial administrators, fishing boats and - my favourite - a turtle mask, its poor 'wearer' having to crawl along on all fours around the carnival route.

The crowd were enjoying it all immensely, pressing forward into the road; every so often the police would hit out with big sticks to get them back into place.  Others were perched in the branches of trees to get a better view - and at one point a branch fell with the weight of the people there and a commotion ensued as an ambulance forced its way through the crowd to collect the injured.  But nothing could stop the party spirit.

It all reminded me, again, of what it is that makes me so enjoy my life here.  It is that Africa, unlike the West, has not yet lost its primitive side.  The rhythms are of night and day, and seasons (rather than of clocks and calendars) accompanied by the rhythms of the drums and the wonderfully expressive forms of African dance.  They bring both a feeling of being at peace with the environment and a joy in being alive.  Perhaps that is why most Africans, despite the pervasive poverty, are usually smiling.


          A big step!        
one step onto the horizon.I did it! I applied for the Amazon Associates program. If they accept me, I will be able to post links for you, my faithful readers, to buy stuff from them, and I will get a small commission each time you do.

I've hesitated about this for a long time. I've not enabled AdSense or any other kind of advertising on my blog, because I myself don't like blogs that are covered in ads, and I didn't want mine to be like that.

I've been listening to the podcasts of a guy called David Wood. He's an Englishman who grew up in poverty, left school at 15 and spent 10.5 years of his life backpacking through the world. He then became involved in multi-level marketing and other such businesses and became wealthy, but he also discovered that his passion lay in helping people achieve a better life. He became a trainer who goes around the world speaking to people and enthusing them to have what he calls "a kickass life".

One of the characteristics of a kickass life is the ability to look at oneself and the world with clarity and love, and to try new things as fearlessly as you can manage. Not to mention laughing a lot, which is something I try to do anyway, but now I have the endorsement of a major figure!

So one of the things I want to do is to take baby steps towards supporting myself and my family with the writing I do online. Affiliate links are a particularly painless way of doing that, both for myself and for you - they will be clearly labeled, they will only be for things I really recommend, and they won't clutter up the blog with noisy garbage neither of us wants to see.

In my fearful imagining, you are immediately repulsed by the entire idea, nobody ever comes to read this blog again, and my life loses all meaning.

In reality, I'm hoping you are mildly curious and not disapproving. Let me know if you feel strongly otherwise. It won't happen for a while, as I now wait with trepidation for Amazon's judgement - and yours.
          Komentar na LECENJE RAKA PETROLEJOM ? od strane Vitapluso        
Petrolej iz Borizane kod Kruje,Albanaia kod pojedinih vrsta cancera deluje veoma uspesno.U pitanju je izvor mineralne vode koji sadrzi i jedan procenat prirodnog petroleja.Vise podseca na mineralnu vodu nego na petrolej.Lekovitost ovog petroleja je dokazana u mnogim slucajevima jer pored petroleja sadrzi i minerale koji ciste organizam od toksina i unistavaju celije cancera.Jedna prica u prilogu: Čudotvorni lek NS reporter je došao do desetak ljudi iz Srbije koji su potpuno izlečeni od raka zahvaljujući petroleju, ali i među njima vlada neki nevidljivi zid ćutanja, verovatno zato što ne žele da sredina zna o njihovoj bolesti, a manje iz straha od farmakomafije jer se ta tajna više ne može sačuvati. Većina je rekla kako ne želi da govori za novine, ali su spremni da svoju priču ispričaju drugim ljudima koji su bolesni ili koji u familiji imaju bolesne od raka, jer je i njima, kako kažu, neko ispričao tu priču i spasao im život. Farudin Đeluli je poznati novosadski ugostitelj, više od 30 godina na ćošku Futoške pijace držao je najstariju ćevabdžinicu u gradu. On tvrdi kako je uspeo da se izleči od izuzetno teškog oblika raka želuca i pristao je da za naš list ispriča svoju priču koju je, naravno, potkrepio medicinskom dokumentacijom. – Meni je petrolej bukvalno spasao život, da nije bilo njega, ja danas ne bih bio s vama – priča Farudin svoju životnu dramu. – Osećao sam užasne bolove u stomaku mesecima, počev od kraja 2008, ali se nisam javljao lekaru jer sam mislio da će to proći. Kada više nisam mogao ništa da jedem i kada sam spao na ispod 50 kilograma, shvatio sam da sam ozbiljno bolestan i otišao sam na pregled kod lekara. Odmah mi je rečeno da imam rak želuca, ali ja to nisam poverovao. Posle sam išao kod drugog, trećeg… ali su svi rekli isto. U “Medlabu” sam dobio patohistološki nalaz, koji je potpisao patolog prof. dr Ištvan Klemi, u kome je pisalo da imam maligni limfom želuca malt tipa, a u Kamenici su rekli da su mi ostala još dva meseca života, ali da mi uz odgovarajuće lečenje, koje je podrazumevalo i operaciju i hemoterapiju, mogu produžiti život za čak tri godine. www.vitapluso.in.rs
          That Friday Feeling        
Don't you just love Fridays? I think it's that feeling of anticipation that makes them so special- the thought that you have two whole days of freedom before the drudge and monotony of Monday morning returns. Even if you work on weekends- or know you have to get up early the next day- there is still just something special about Friday night. It reminds me of the end of the school week when I was younger, of getting ready to go out with friends to the local youth club or to hang around someone's free house, of sitting in with your best friend doing face masks and wishing you knew some boys you could make flirtatious calls to on your mobile, of singing along to 'Moulin Rouge!' at sleepovers or of sitting in by yourself when there was nothing better to do, watching Mean Girls.

Nowadays, even if my boyfriend is busy and I'm not doing anything or going out, and I know I should use my free night to make a start on that essay or do that important reading- I can't. On a Friday night in, the TV and my pink duvet and the Ben 'n' Jerries calls, and it is impossible to resist. Sad? Yeah, I probably am, but I don't care what anyone says; Friday nights with Half Baked and a girly film can be pretty damn amazing! Even if all I'm doing is swooning over Damon Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries instead of dancing the night away, it's cool because it's Friday- and no matter how you spend it- Friday is the best day of the week. Nothing can take away it's sparkle.

My regular Friday afternoon routine has lately been to spend some time happily vintage shopping in Greenwich after my class finishes at three, then to catch the train home, new purchases in hand (even if it's just a 99p necklace!) to spend a cosy night in with my boyfriend on the sofa. This Friday just gone was extra fun, as my mum came up to meet me and joined me in my weekly treasure-hunt around the shops and market. I was all too happy to introduce her to some of my long-time Friday shopping friends, such as 360 Degrees Vintage and my favourite vintage market stall :-)

Here we are having Fashionable Friday Fun:

    Having a panini, coffees and scones to give us the energy to shop til we dropped!
My mum working 70s chic in 360 Degrees Vintage!

I love slips and sundresses!
I love the displays in this shop...
How adorable is this!? (P.S, I want the black bralet which is hanging up! It would look cool with black shiny leggings, a half-way done up denim shirt and heaps of ghetto-gold, non?)
Little touches like this really add to the atmosphere!
It's all about trying on a crazy church-hat.
 Floppy floral hat, anyone?

Love this stall! I bought two cute headscarves for only a pound each!
Gotta love the £3.00 pile!
Can I just draw your attention to this lovely cream blouse? My boyfriend managed to sniff out a thrift store when he went skiing to Canada recently, and found this and a cute beige jumper. Isn't he the sweetest for rifling through a vintage shop for me to find something I would like?? Thankyou Michael! :-) x
Trying on a top (which I bought!) in Vintage Emporium
 This top is so cute and different- I think I'd wear it with my grey bodycon skirt, some black opaques and some leopard print flats? Or maybe some grey high-waisted shorts? Hmm decisions, decisions...

I didn't buy this but am going to go back and get it- it will be just perfect for camping in the summer :-)

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little account of one of my Friday shopping trips, and I hope you all had a very happy Friday, whatever you got up to...
love and kisses,
The Porcelain Princess xoxoxoxo
          Centrelink Mandatory Drug Testing: Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation calls on the Australian Government to stop playing games with people's lives        

In its drive to universally implement the Cashless Debit Card for all welfare recipients, the Abbott Government first targeted remote indigenous communities to ‘trial’ this income management restrict and control scheme. The Turnbull Government then selected certain low-socio economic urban areas for further trials.

Now the Liberal-Nationals federal government intends to extend the reach of this card even further and from 1 July 2018 intends to impose compulsory drug testing on 5,000 new recipients of unemployment benefits – with all who test positive for alcohol or drugs being immediately placed on restricted and controlled payments regardless of their personal circumstances.

All those government MPs and senators cushioned by generous salaries and benefits from life’s vagaries have chosen this group because of the illegality of many of the drugs it will test for, as they think that all Australians will blame those with substance abuse problems and feel comfortable with the idea that they should be punished in some way.

These MPs and senators do not appear to give a toss that in an effort to eventually control the income support payments of all welfare recipients, it will socially profile and discriminate against a specific group of people with little if any positive outcomes flowing from this discrimination.

Because it is admitted that cutting off access to cash may exacerbate mental health issues, increase homelessness and lead the desperate into crime.

The Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 which contains this measure is currently before the federal parliament and, the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee is due to report on this bill on 4 August 2017.

So a call has gone out……….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For 30 years, I served as the head of St Vincent's Hospital Alcohol and Drug Service in Sydney.

I have treated many thousands of patients trying to rebuild their lives in the face of alcohol and drug problems. Many have been victims of sexual abuse, violence from family members, or other devastating trauma – and most are already living on the margins of society.

That's why I'm stunned by the government's plan to strip people with alcohol and drug problems of income support payments.1

Thirty years of experience, backed by research from all over the world, tells me that you can't punish people into recovery. In fact, pushing people into poverty only serves to undermine their chance of recovery – and puts lives at risk.

Over the coming weeks, Parliament will vote on whether to implement mandatory drug testing. Doctors, nurses and allied health workers – determined to protect patients – are speaking out against the changes.


Prime Minister Turnbull assures us that the proposal to strip people of income support payments is "based on love".2 That's a hard thing to swallow given his government's failure to consult with addiction medicine experts and lack of evidence to support the trials.

Mandatory drug testing has already been trialled and abandoned in multiple countries around the world. It's a failed policy that violates our professional commitment to do no harm. This government is forcing doctors to make an impossible choice – to break the law or to hurt our patients.

I've seen with my own eyes how medical treatment of people struggling with severe alcohol and drug problems must be guided by compassionate care and respect for their human rights.

Call on the government to stop playing political games with people's lives: https://www.getup.org.au/help-not-harm-petition

Sincerely,

Dr Alex Wodak

President, Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation

References:

[1] Drug testing welfare recipients is not about love, Malcolm Turnbull, it's about punishment, The Guardian, 11 May 2017

[2] Federal budget 2017: Turnbull says welfare drug test policy 'based on love', ABC News, 12 May 2017

GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you'd like to contribute to help fund GetUp's work, please donate now! To unsubscribe from GetUp, please click here.

Our team acknowledges that we meet and work on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We wish to pay respect to their Elders - past, present and future - and acknowledge the important role all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within Australia and the GetUp community.

Authorised by Paul Oosting, Level 14, 338 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



          Pension petition receives over 100,000 signatures        
A petition that calls for pension increases to revert back retail price index rather than the less generous consumer price index passed the 100,000 mark today.

This means that the government will have to consider whether the issue is given parliamentary time for debate as it has done previously for the well supported petition that called for full disclosure of documents relating to the Hillsbrough disaster.

The Office of Budget Responsibility has forecast that RPI will be around 1.5% higher than CPI which will mean pensions will be considerably devalued because of the government's decision to link pension rises to CPI instead of RPI from April 2011. This decision has already been subject to a legal challenge by unions.

This switch clearly needs to be reversed as it will drive more pensioners into poverty.

Well done to Jim Singer who started the petition. Sign today if you haven't already!



          Osborne's attempt to discredit Robin Hood Tax is a bit rich        
George Osborne has complained to his fellow European finance ministers that they're wasting time debating a financial transaction tax because he believes pensioners will pay for it rather than bankers.

Good to see our Chancellor fighting the cause for pensioners. He's always got their interests at heart. Like when he changed the rate of indexation from RPI to CPI costing pensioners on average between £2,250 and £2,500 per year and wiping off £75 billion off the value of private sector pensions. Not to mention the millions of public sector workers his government are currently seeking to make work longer and pay more for less pension.

It is somewhat galling therefore that he seeks to reject a progressive tax that would raise £30bn to fight poverty by painting himself as some kind of defender of pensioners.

He doesn't see the point of discussing it as it will not be unilaterally agreed. He ignores a report by Bill Gates that cites that the tax would work even if it wasn't agreed by all countries. He ignores faith leaders such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Pope and Desmond Tutu, and he ignores a global movement of more than 220 million people who are calling for it to help the world's poor and allow the banks to atone for creating the current financial crisis.

France, Germany and Brazil among others can hold their heads up high in the knowledge that their government's back this tax. I for one am ashamed that my government doesn't just not support it, but out-rightly seeks to disingenuously undermine it.

Again, Osborne is out to protect the interests of the wealthy few rather than the millions suffering from poverty.

The Robin Hood Tax campaign does a good job of refuting Osborne's bias against the tax on their website.



          Softchoice Cares returning to Rajasthan, India in October        
For over 10 years, Softchoice Cares has worked to ‘bridge the digital divide’ in communities across North America and places around the world. We believe that access to technology opens up a world of possibilities for disadvantaged families – particularly children – to learn and develop new skills, and break the cycle of poverty. This […]
     

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          How do you fight child poverty in the 21st century? One classroom at a time        
(Students’) success or failure in the public schools will determine the entire body of human capital and educational potential that the nation will possess in the future. Without improving the educational support that the nation provides its low income students – students with the largest needs and usually with the least support — the trends […]
     

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          Softchoice employees partner with a like-minded organization to help ‘Bridge the Digital Divide’        
In June, my colleagues and I from Softchoice’s New York office used one of our allotted volunteer days to support a not-for-profit called Power My Learning. Their organization strikes a chord with us, as they share a very important mission with Softchoice: Help break the cycle of poverty by “bridging the digital divide.” Power My […]
      

          Kenya 2013: Perspectives from the Ground        
Softchoice sends employees on international charitable missions for a number of reasons, among them are to develop leadership skills, experience the impact of giving first hand, and to help bridge the digital divide – providing computers and technology know-how to help children and adults develop new skills and break the cycle of poverty. Some wonder […]
      

          Putting the FUN in fundraising to help youth ‘dodge’ a lifetime of poverty        
[Softchoice’s Jen Wood raised $1,425.00 to help homeless youth dodge a lifetime of poverty through a  fun game of classic schoolyard dodgeball!] Back in April, the Softchoice Cares Board gave ‘Power 2 the People’ by encouraging employees to nominate a local charity that has impacted their lives. The Softchoice Cares Board allocated a pool of $25,000 to match […]
      

          Helping Balinese kids….to be kids.        
Bali has a way of wowing you with the beautiful scenery and the facade that you’re exposed to traveling around the countryside. Not everyone seems poor. In fact, poverty is not as in your face as I expected. As we drove down the roads, we saw small, road-side family businesses, service shops for scooters, and stores selling building supplies and wood carvings. […]
      

          The Lisbon Treaty stipulations on Development Cooperation and the Council Decision of 25 March 2010 (Draft) establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service - by Dr Simon Duke, Dr Steven Blockmans        
Contrary to the emerging legal advice on the potential role of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and development cooperation under the Lisbon Treaty, this legal brief argues that the stipulations concerning this area contained in the proposal for a Council decision of 25 March 2010 on the EEAS, are entirely consonant with the Treaty. In particular this brief argues that development cooperation is a shared competence and not, as is often argued, an exclusive competence. It is also noted that the Treaty places the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) on an equal footing with other EU external relations policies and brings an end to the default setting of, for instance, EU policy in development cooperation. The legally binding obligation for the Union to ensure consistency between the different areas of external action and between these and its other policies again provides the overarching rationale. Finally, it is observed that the elevation of the eradication of poverty to an objective of the Union in its external action offers far greater leverage for a development perspective in EU external actions, rather than any alleged illegal politicisation of development cooperation.

          Venezuela is Socialism's Last Nail in the Coffin        

From a so-called “economic miracle” to a human rights disaster, Venezuela has followed in the footsteps of literally every single socialist or communist country ever with its country in complete collapse. Crime is on the rise, the people are starving, protests are going all throughout the country, and unconfirmed rumors are coming out that President Nicolas Maduro is considering leaving.

In the never ending desire to achieve an impossible utopia, Venezuela is living in a nightmare that may serve as the best evidence against government mismanagement.

To be blunt, the people are starving. Roughly 75 percent of the country lost 19 pounds in 2016. This actually coincides with reports that Venezuelans were looking for food in the trash.

It is not just food that Venezuelans seem to be running out of at the moment. The country is lacking medicine, toilet paper, and even goods for religious sacraments as well. All sorts of goods are disappearing from the country faster and faster.

Meanwhile, their economy is in complete shambles. At the start of the year, inflation had hit 800 percent while their GDP had shrunk by 19 percent. To make matters worse, 2016 marked its third year of recession.

Of course, the elite of the country have not seemed to notice the problems their citizens are facing. Accusations fly of the leaders of Venezuela living luxurious lifestyles despite the recession. Unsurprisingly, reports have the daughter of Venezuela’s last President Hugo Chavez at a networth of $4.2 billion.

So the big question is: why is Venezuela falling apart? The simplest answer is government mismanagement as it started taking over the economy. Under the watch of Socialists Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro, the socialist leadership in the country has greatly increased its influence in economic affairs, resulting in decreased investment, business failures, and scarcity.

Over the past decade and a half, the Venezuelan government has nationalized multiple industries, including oil, agriculture, finance, steel, electricity, and telecommunications. Unsurprisingly, this led to significant ruin in the various industries it controlled, especially oil. Case in point, the Chavez regime largely underfunded the investment necessary to bring about increased oil production.

Large portions of oil revenues were transferred to generous social programs but there was lackluster reinvestment to make sure that more oil was produced to keep revenue flowing. As a result, oil production starting dropping consistently after 2007 which saw a major decline in revenue (and helped lead to the debt that caused hyper inflation). Additionally, Chavez demanded more money from oil companies investing in the country and the ones that refused saw their assets seized. With such a clear lack of respect for human rights, it should come as no surprise that foreign investment has been on the decline recently in the country which is also hurting business and revenue.

To make matters worse, many workers were fired and replaced with government loyalists. In one case, a company that had never created an oil well was hired to create several since it had ties to the government. The lack of experienced workers unsurprisingly has also added to the decline of the oil industry that was a huge part of the government’s revenue.

Just about every industry the government has touched has fallen apart. Steel production was reduced by 70 percent after it was nationalized, food production has been on the decline while the government redistributed farmland for the production of food the land was not suited for, and the Venezuelan government is instituting blackouts to reduce consumption to reduce electricity use due to decreased supply. Overall, it seems Venezuela is in the process of running its economy into the ground.

Venezuela has also added newer regulations and laws to improve the economic situation of its country that had the opposite effect. Case in point, the minimum wage was increased recently by 50 percent despite the fact overall wages still decreased by 17 percent. Other reports have increased labor protections actually hurting business while price controls that were implemented to reduce profits and keep prices low also helped to reduce food productions which also helped cause the food crisis. With all this in mind, it should come as no surprise that the number of businesses in Venezuela has gone down from 800,000 in 1998 to 230,000 in 2016, a decline of 570,000.

It is important to remember though that none of this should even be looked at as being done as a love for the people from the state. As was noted by a former education minister, the goal of the people reforms is “‘not to take the people out of poverty so they become middle class and then turn into escuálidos’ (a derogatory term to denote opposition members).” Translation: it’s not for their benefit but to create a dependent class of supporters.

For more evidence of how the government does not care about its people, look no further than its human rights records. The Maduro government has been seizing power by stacking the courts with supportive justices and then met the protests against that with violent crackdowns on dissenters. Meanwhile, accusations of sham elections are now flying in the wake of an election referendum to give him the power to rewrite the country’s constitution. In the end, the increase in power has come to the detriment of the people backed by phony promises.

As is always the case, the promise of helping the people through government intervention completely falls apart. Just like with China and Russia, the result is always economic ruin with the well connected few reaping the benefits. Unfortunately, the US is not free from these mistakes as states like Connecticut or cities like Seattle implementing their own interventions in the economy that results in disaster. If the US wants to head down the path same economic path as Venezuela that leads to destruction and corruption, it will inevitably end there.


          Child poverty and well-being        
Status: 
Ongoing
In 2013, the European Commission released its Recommendation – ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’. FRA is currently analysing existing secondary European level data on child poverty and well-being, following the indicators annexed in the Recommendation, from a fundamental rights perspective.
January 2016

          Bernie Sanders: Poverty is a death sentence        
During the “Brunch with Bernie” segment of The Thom Hartmann Show Thursday, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) discussed a recent congressional hearing he held on poverty in the United States. “We now have some 46 million Americans living in poverty,” he said. “And what a lo...
          February 2012 Daring Bakers’ Challenge - Quick Breads        
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Blog-checking lines: The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lis stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

Posting Date: February 27, 2012

Recipe Source: The basic quick bread recipe is from Sara Schewe. The prune bread recipe was my Aunty Ann’s recipe. The Meyer Lemon Loaf and Green Onion, Cheddar & Asiago Beer Batter Bread were adapted from Recipe Girl (http://www.recipegirl.com/2008/08/13/meyer-lemon-loaf/ & http://www.recipegirl.com/2007/05/30/cheddar-chive-beer-bread/ ). The Pumpkin Bread with Maple Cream Cheese Filling was adapted from Dana Ramsey’s recipe located on Just a Pinch Recipe Club.


Basic Quick Bread
Makes one 9” x 5” (23×13 cm) loaf
Recipe from Sara Schewe
Ingredients
2 cups (480 ml) (250 gm/9 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm/8 oz) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) fine sea salt or table salt
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk or soured milk*
1 large egg
1/4 cup (60 ml) mild- or non-flavored oil, like canola
1 teaspoon (5 ml) flavored extract, such as vanilla or almond

for the glaze
1/3 cup (80 ml) (35 gm/1-1/3 oz) confectioners’ (icing) sugar
1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to moderate 350ºF/180ºC/gas mark 4. Grease a 9×5 inch (23×13 centimeter) loaf pan with butter and line with parchment paper cut to fit the length and width of the pan, with enough overhang to allow easy removal after baking. Grease the top sheet of parchment.
  2. In large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt to combine. Make a well in the center and set aside.
  3. Lightly whisk (butter)milk, egg, oil, and extract to combine. Pour into well and stir until just mixed into a batter. The batter will be lumpy and may still show a few streaks of flour.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely before slicing. Drizzle with glaze, if desired.
  5. For the glaze: Slowly whisk confectioners’ (icing) sugar and half of the milk, adding more milk as needed to thin the glaze to the desired consistency.
Note: To make soured milk, combine 1 cup milk (240 ml) with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vinegar or lemon juice and let sit for 10 minutes.


I really liked this challenge so many possibilities for the flavourings I made seven versions.


Roasted banana and coconut cream bread
I make banana bread at least once a week (an oversupply of bananas and it's super easy and quick to make and most of my friends and family love it) so I have developed a good feel for making it any way I want, below are some general guidelines on how to manipulate the ingredients and what techniques to use to obtain the banana loaf you want.

For this challenge I made a brunt butter, brown sugar, coconut cream, roasted banana loaf. I roasted 4 bananas until they were like syrup I combined this with brunt (actually well browned) butter, brown sugar I used coconut cream for the liquid soured with some lime juice. I wanted a dense moist bread-like loaf, so I used the two bowl method to make the quick bread.
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This is the set of general guidelines to get the texture, mouth feel and moisture levels I want for the final loaf

Firstly about the texture of the interior (or crumb)
1. the creaming method (i.e. use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy about 5 minutes then beat in the eggs and then fold in the dry ingredients) produces a light well-aerated loaf with a cake-like crumb
2. the two bowl method (sift the dry ingredients in one bowl and combine the wet ingredients in another bowl then mix (usually) the dry into the wet) produces a “heavier and denser” loaf with a bread-like crumb

Secondly about the mouth feel, for most quick mix recipes as a general rule – less butter and sugar in a recipe makes it more bread-like, while more butter and sugar produces something closer to cake. So it is best to use the two bowl method when doing low-fat versions and the creaming method for high fat versions
1. Low fat version use the lowest amounts of sugar, butter (you can use apple sauce instead) and lite sour cream (no eggs), stir the sugar and butter together until well mixed but still grainy add the other wet ingredients, sift the dry ingredients in another bowl, combine gently.
2. Medium fat version use the middle amount of sugar, butter, sour cream and one egg
3. Extreme fat version use the highest amount of sugar, butter and use 2 eggs (no sour cream), cream the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy, add eggs one at time beating well until incorporated add all the other wet ingredients mix well, add the sifted dry ingredients, combine gently.

Thirdly the ratio of dry to wet gives different levels of moistness versus denseness
1. Equal ratio batter: This batter has a dry:liquid ratio of 1:1. Which gives a very moist and dense loaf.
2. Bread ratio batter: This batter has a dry:liquid ratio of 3:1. Which gives a moist but fluffy loaf. (This is the same ratio of flour:water as in normal bread)
3. Stiff ratio batter: This “batter” has a dry:liquid ratio of 7:1 This batter will result in a very light and fluffy baked good.

Here a great link to a video of a chef making banana bread well worth watching http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2012/01/banana-bread-thats-okay-to-make-early.html

Ratios for banana bread (based on one cup of flour)
1 cup flour (any sort or combination of flours is fine) (½ cake flour & ½ whole wheat is great)
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 large bananas
optional 1 tablespoon kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soya sauce) this really adds a wonderful depth of flavour & colour to the banana mash (if using do not add extra salt to the recipe)
¼ teaspoon of salt
1/4 – 1/2 cup of sugar (for extreme flavour can use 1 cup sugar per cup of flour)
2 – 4 tablespoons butter (or oil) (for extreme flavour can use ½ cup butter per cup of flour)
1/4 – 1/2 cup sour cream (any sort full-fat or lite is fine) (for extreme moisture use 1 cup sour cream per cup of flour) (you can use buttermilk, coconut cream, almond milk, yoghurt etc if you want)
1 large egg, lightly beaten (or use 2 eggs and don't use any sour cream) (you can use another 4 tablespoons of sour cream if you do not want to use eggs in the recipe)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
optional ½ teaspoon instant coffee
optional ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (really adds a lovely intensity to the banana and kecap manis mash)
optional 1/8 teaspoon cloves, ground
optional 10-12 banana sweets (lollies) for decoration

Additions (add an extra ½ teaspoon of baking powder per addition to the recipe above if using)
½ cup chopped nuts (or chopped soaked dried fruit)
½ cup chopped chocolate chips
¼ cup cocoa powder, (not Dutch-processed) sifted
¼ cup bran (or crushed bran cereal or wheat germ flakes)
¼ cup coconut, desiccated or flakes (not sweetened)
¼ cup maraschino cherries, chopped

Method
1. Roast the bananas in their skins in a preheated moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 oven for 15-20 minutes until black. Carefully remove banana flesh from the skins then mash well with any liquid released from the banana. Add the kecap manis and/or cayenne pepper if using mix until well combined. Cool and reserve.
2. If you are using browned butter gently heat the butter in a saucepan until it browns to desired colour. The darker the colour the deeper the flavour. Set aside until firm.
3. In one bowl sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon (and if using the salt, cocoa powder, ground cloves or instant coffee).
4. In another bowl using a wooden spoon or a plastic spatula lightly cream the sugar and butter together (about 1 minute) this will produce a bread-like loaf (if you use a mixer to cream [about 5 minutes] the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy the final loaf will be light textured and the crumb very cake-like), add the egg(s) one at time beating each time until well incorporated add the roasted banana mash, sour cream, vanilla extract and any additions. Mix until well combined.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients mix until just combined there should be lumps and a few wisps of flour in the batter. (If you have used the creaming method then fold in the dry ingredients until just combined.)
6. Spoon the batter into a greased large loaf [23cmx13cmx7cm (2litre)/9”x5”x3”(4.5 pints)] pan, carefully level the top. (The loaf pan should be a little under 3/4 full, it will rise to the top of the pan when baked). Decorate with banana sweets if desired.
7. Bake in a preheated moderate oven 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3 for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. (Check at 50 minutes). Muffins take about 20-30 minutes (check at 15 minutes).
8. Leave in pan until warm (about 15 minutes) remove to wire rack cool to room temperature, cover in foil then plastic, refrigerate overnight.
9. This banana bread improves with age. The bread will store on the counter for three days if well covered and about ten days in the fridge.

The roasted banana (the skin goes black when baked)
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The mixed wet ingredients and the sifted dry ingredients
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The mixed batter notice the lumps and the wisps of flour in it, the flour will be fully incorporated when the batter is spooned into the baking pan
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Unbaked loaf decorated with banana sweets (lollies)
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The finished loaf after one hour of baking
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If you are a follower of the “ratio” cookbook the ratio by weight for baking quick bread is 2 parts flour: 2 parts liquid: 1 part egg: 1 part fat. To fill a 9” x 5” (23cm x 13cm) loaf pan, you will need 240 grams of flour, 240 grams of liquid of any kind, 120 grams egg (2 of them) or egg substitute & 120 grams of fats. This ratio also works for making muffins. By volume you will need 1¾ cup flour, 1 cup liquid, 2 eggs, ½ cup fat (plus 2 teaspoons baking powder and about 1/2 cup of sugar plus additions).

Quick Italian pizza loaf
Italian herb, sun-dried tomato, spicy sausage and blue cheese quick bread
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I needed a really strongly flavoured quick bread, I followed the basic savoury recipe, 2 cups soft self-raising "OO" flour and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda with these additions 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (with 2 tablespoons of the oil in the jar), 2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs, 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, 3/4 cup sour cream, 1 egg, one small chopped onion fried with one chopped spicy sausage and 1/4 cup high quality olive oil, I used 3 tablespoons of the fried onion and spicy sausage as a topping. When I was mixing the batter I could see the dough expanding, I spooned it into the loaf pan and baked it at moderate 325F/165C/gas mark 3 for 40 minutes. The aroma from the loaf was so good it smelt like a pizza baking. I was really pleased with the look of the loaf. The cut loaf was so yummy it had a thin crisp crust with a soft tender crumb choke full of flavour!

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Cherry Almond Semolina Syrup Cake
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My favourite flavour profile for quick bread is cherry and almond, I used 1 cup almond meal, 1 cup of very fine semolina (soaked in some almond milk), 4 tablespoons gluten flour, 1 cup chopped cherries, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup vanilla sugar, 4 tablespoons rice bran oil, 1 cup sour cream, 2 teaspoons of natural almond extract, 1 teaspoon of cherry extract. I used 1 cup of sugar syrup to soak the cake after it was baked. This cake took almost two hours to bake at the recommend temperature! It is best to refrigerate the bread for a day before serving. The crust was thin, crisp and sweet while the crumb was soft tender and very tasty one of my better examples of my favourite cake. It is such a pretty cake and the tasty is luscious.

I made this loaf a couple of days ago, I wanted to share how the crumb improves with some aging. After storing in the fridge cover in foil and plastic the loaf cuts cleanly and the density of the crumb is firm, so much better after a rest.

Freshly sliced
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Two days later rested in the fridge
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Black cardamom bread
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I thought that I would make a flavour profile that was based on spices, I dug around my spice box and came up with this spice mix

1 tablespoon black cardamom
1/2 star anise
2 cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ginger

I used 1 cup of roasted parsnips and 1/2 cup of pureed prunes as the moisture content of the loaf. A really tasty and unusual flavour combination.

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Upside down blood plum loaf
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The local gourmet fruit and veggie shop had cute little blood plums on special ($2/kg about $1/lb) so I thought I would make an upside down loaf with them. I sliced up four plums and laid them out decoratively on the base of a parchment paper lined loaf tin, then I made some boozy plum sugar syrup (¼ cup white sugar, 2 tablespoons plum brandy and 2 tablespoons blood plum juice simmered until thick and glossy) and poured that over the sliced plums then I made up the quick bread batter; the dry ingredients were 2 cups of soft “OO” flour sifted with 2 teaspoons of baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt, the wet ingredients were ¾ cup lite sour cream, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons non-flavoured oil. ½ cup vanilla sugar and 2 tablespoons of plum brandy. I used the two bowl method to combine the wet into the dry. I baked the loaf for 60 minutes at moderate 325ºF/165°C/gas mark 3. Then I cooled the loaf in the pan then I un-moulded the loaf. I was very very happy with the look of the topping it was so neon bright with a lovely red transparency. The loaf was superbly flavoursome the brandy taste was mellow and combined well with the blood plum flavour overall a nice looking treat for the afternoon and not much harder than the normal quick bread recipe (i.e. without the fruit topping).
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A picture of blood plums (photo from the internet I forgot to take one)
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Maximum Intensity Chocolate Quick Bread
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You can intensify the flavour of chocolate in a recipe by using a combination of techniques. The easiest is to use a combination of melted unsweetened (not dark) chocolate and cocoa powder which has a much stronger chocolate flavour than each individual ingredient tasted separately. Using espresso coffee or vanilla or chilli or kecap manis (used separately or in combination) greatly enhances the taste of the flavour compounds found in chocolate. Also steeping the cocoa powder in boiling water intensifies the taste of chocolate.

To obtain the intense chocolate flavour of this quick bread I combined
1. melted semi-dark chocolate mixed with vanilla sugar, 2 tablespoons of kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce) and 1/4 teaspoon of chilli powder and
2. cocoa powder which was steeped in 1/4 cup boiling hot espresso coffee and I used
3. chocolate wafers to form an "upside down layer" (so when the bread is turned out the wafer layer becomes the base).

I used the creaming method to make the bread.

You can tell you have a strong chocolate taste when there is a "reddish" hue to the chocolate colour in the cake which shows that the flavour compounds have been fully extracted from the cocoa.

I really like the simple elegant look of this treat.

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Cherry coconut cream popovers
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I thought I would do flavoured popovers as an experiment, I used the recipe that Renata linked to and substituted the cow's milk with coconut cream and used some home-made sour cherry extract also I accidentally used my 5% cake flour which I don't think was the correct choice for this recipe. They smelt wonderful while baking. I think I will have to do them again since the coconut cream made the batter too heavy for the popovers to rise correctly. Even if they sunk once out of the oven they tasted delicious. I think I will use coconut milk for my next batch and see if that will correct the heaviness of the batter.
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Cherry coconut milk popovers
I made another batch of popovers using coconut milk and less cherry extract they worked out beautifully they rose about three times in height and had one large central hole in the popover perfect for filling with some lovely flavoursome morsel. See this recipe but replace the milk with coconut milk and 1 tablespoon of cherry extract. Also I baked them in a preheated very hot oven 450F for 15 mins and then 400F for 20 mins. I used 1/2 cup aluminium baking pans filled about 3/4 with the rested (30 mins) batter.

Popovers
1 cup plain (AP)flour (bread flour is best, I used AP flour for the recipe)
1 cup milk or coconut milk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon non-flavoured oil
extra oil, for the popover baking pans
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon sugar
Optional 1 tablespoon extract; vanilla, cherry etc

Directions
1. Place a small amount of oil in each popover baking pan. Place pans onto a baking sheet.
2. Preheat oven with the baking pans on a baking sheet to very hot 450F/230C.
3. Mix the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl.
4. Form a well in the flour pour in the milk and the eggs whisk together until just combined with no lumps. I usually transfer the mixed batter to a jug with a long narrow spout which makes pouring out the batter much easier
5. Rest the batter on counter for at least 15 mins (an hour is best). Do not stir again. DO NOT refrigerate the batter.
6. Quickly remove the baking sheet and pour the batter into each pan about 3/4 full. The batter should sputter in the oil. Return to oven.
7. Bake in the preheated very hot 450F/230C oven for 15 min then lower the heat to hot 400F/200C and bake for a further 20-25 mins until risen and well coloured. DO NOT OPEN the oven during this time.
8. Remove from the oven and pierce a small hole into the side of the popover this allows steam to escape return the popover to the cooling oven to dry out completely which stops the popover from collapsing.

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          IL MONDO SOTTOSOPRA        


Per Luca ed Anna che sono appena arrivati su questo pianeta e per le loro mamme Francesca e Cecilia, due appassionate educatrici.  

Nel mondo in cui siamo, mondo che spesso sembra girare "a rovescio", mancano sempre più validi riferimenti, bussole e segnavia che possano guidarci nel cammino. La meraviglia dei bambini, il loro desiderio di amare senza calcoli, guardare e ascoltare senza pretesa o arroganza, è oggettivamente e non idealmente una medicina per adulti sempre più disorientati. Abbandoniamoci a questa magia...


C'era una volta

un signore alto alto e magro magro. Viveva solo in una casetta piccola piccola in cima ad una montagna circondata da un bosco. La montagna era tanto alta che quasi toccava il cielo e da lì si vedeva tutto il mondo. Spesso se ne stava in giardino a suonare un'armonica.

Nel castagno di fianco alla casetta aveva costruito la sua tana uno scoiattolo saggio, che spesso andava a cena dal signore alto alto e magro magro.

Un giorno il signore alto alto, dopo aver mangiato e bevuto del vino rosso, fece una domanda al suo amico scoiattolo che se ne stava su un ramo:

- Cosa vedi dalla cima del tuo castagno, amico mio?

- Vedo un mondo alla rovescia, dove le cose invece che andare avanti vanno indietro, e dove quel che sta sotto dovrebbe star sopra e quel che sta sopra dovrebbe star sotto. - disse lo scoiattolo.
- Mmmh, sempre peggio vero? - Disse il signore alto alto e magro magro.
- Sempre peggio, avanti così non si può andare, l'unica è sgranocchiarsi qualche nocciola.
- Bisogna fare qualcosa, tu pensi che sia l'ora della magia?
- Penso sia l'ora della magia - disse lo scoiattolo.

Era un'epoca strana quella. I pesci del mare nuotavano fra le nuvole e gli uccelli volavano negli abissi degli oceani. Chi era sopra stava sotto e chi era sotto stava sopra.
Le foche giocavano in cielo e le balene sguazzavano per aria come enormi mongolfiere. Tutto sembrava essersi rovesciato ed i funghi crescevano sulle spiagge.
Gli uomini vivevano sott'acqua ed erano diventati strani. Le mamme sorridevano poco ed i papà erano sempre seri, a volte arrabbiati ed a volte stanchi: avevano gli occhi da pesci lessi.
I bambini poi non giocavano più, e tutti si ascoltavano sempre meno l'un l'altro, perché avevano le orecchie piene d'acqua e ognuno passava le serate come se fosse chiuso in un acquario.

I delfini poveretti si rovinavano invece le pinne impigliandosi fra gli alberi e le tartarughe di mare si perdevano fra le nuvole o nella nebbia: c'era una gran confusione in cielo.
In fondo al mare, a parte gli uomini che si erano intristiti, c'erano uccelli che andavano a sbattere contro gli scogli, aquile insabbiate, falchi stanchi di acqua e sale.

Il signore magro magro allora prese una decisione. Si alzò da tavola, aprì un armadio giallo e prese una grande lampadina blu. La prese fra le mani ed iniziò a guardarla.
Guardò fuori dalla finestra vide che il cielo era grigio e la terra stanca.

- Allora hai deciso di fare il grande passo? -
Chiese lo scoiattolo saggio.
- Sì, ho deciso, adesso svito la lampadina bianca e avviterò la lampadina blu, e speriamo che la magia arrivi in fretta.
- Per tutte le nocciole del mondo, certo che arriverà: è la nostra ultima speranza per sistemare le cose!

Tornò in cucina, svitò la lampadina dal lampadario senza nemmeno salire sulla sedia, perché lui era alto alto.
Si era fatta sera e la stanza diventò buia. Per un attimo fu indeciso sul da farsi.

- Hai perso il coraggio?
Domandò lo scoiattolo.
- No, ma lo sai anche tu che la magia blu è la magia delle magie, e non vorrei che qualcosa andasse storto.

Proseguì avvitando la grande lampadina che aveva tenuto fino a quel momento fra le mani. La luce blu riempì la stanza improvvisamente. Era un blu intenso, un blu di mare profondo e allo stesso tempo di cielo a primavera. Il blu della lampadina era tanto bello, tanto grande e tanto intenso che, magia delle magie, iniziò ad uscire dalla porta e dalla finestra e pian piano riempì tutta la strada che portava alla montagna e il bosco che la circondava, il cielo lì vicino e tutti i campi intorno. In poche ore tutto era diventato di un blu bellissimo. I due uscirono dalla casetta.


- La magia è iniziata.

- Io torno sul mio albero, cosa ne dici, ci vediamo per cena, così facciamo il punto della situazione?
- Buona idea. - Disse l'uomo alto alto e magro magro.

Il grande blu scese a valle e dopo aver riempito il cielo, riempì anche la terra, entrò fin dentro le tane dei conigli e avanti avanti si infilò nei fossi di campagna e nel fiume, fra le canne ed i sassi, dentro alle cascate e sotto ai moli dei pescatori, e poi oltre dove la terra diventa sabbia e si apre sul mare.

Il blu cambiò il colore delle onde e si infilò fin dentro agli abissi, dove vivevano gli uomini nelle loro città sommerse. Tutto, tutto, ma proprio tutto, era diventato blu.

Lo scoiattolo si arrampicò fino in cima al suo castagno.

- Allora come sta andando? Cosa vedi da lassù?

- Direi che ormai ci siamo, vedo blu ovunque e ha invaso ogni cosa. - Disse lo scoiattolo
- Sta funzionando la magia?
- Non riesco ancora a capirlo.... - Disse lo scoiattolo.

Ormai il blu aveva invaso ogni cosa ed i due amici decisero di spegnere quella luce, che aveva riempito tutto il mondo. Tutto rimase ancora una al buio.
Nel nero più nero l'uomo alto alto e magro magro disse una formula magica:
- Metti sotto quel che è sopra e metti sopra quel che è sotto e fallo subito in un BOTTO!
Passarono 7 lunghissimi minuti, poi come d'incanto si affacciò in cielo un bel sole giallo pieno di colori.

Lo scoiattolo rimessosi in piedi corse sull'albero e si mise a scrutare la terra ed il cielo. Era tutto un turbinio di mille colori.

- Per adesso non vedo niente.

- Niente niente? - Disse l'uomo alto alto e magro magro.
- Niente di niente … anzi, aspetta, vedo qualcosa laggiù in cielo!!
- Cos'è?
- E' un falco amico mio! La magia è riuscita! Gli uccelli sono tornati in cielo! Urrà, Urrà!
- Vedi anche il mare dal tuo castagno?
- Vedo anche il mare e tutti i pesci sono tornati in acqua,anche la balena! - Disse lo scoiattolo
- E gli uomini? Gli chiese l'altro.
- Gli uomini? Sono tornati sulla terra e le loro case non sono più acquari tristi, anzi le persone si parlano e SORRIDONO !!!
- Evviva ce l'abbiamo fatta! Ogni cosa è tornata al suo posto!

L'uomo alto alto e magro magro pensò alla magia del blu del cielo, del mare e al blu del fiume che attraversava la terra e sorrise contento, pensando anche a tutti i colori dell'arcobaleno.

Si affacciò alla finestra e disse allo scoiattolo saggio:
- Amico mio vieni da me per cena?
- Certo! Dobbiamo far una grande festa e inviteremo gli animali di tutta la foresta!

          LO STATO DELLE COSE        



Oggi leggevo un'intervista a Jung, lo psicanalista, dove sostiene che bisogna essere grati a Stalin perché ci mostra il vero volto del comunismo: violento e totalitario. Ho sfogliato le pagine per datare l'intervista: 1938!

In giro per l'Europa ed in Italia sta evidentemente serpeggiando un malessere profondo, che partendo da dati oggettivi, sorti dalla crisi economica, si sta manifestando in modi che non conoscevo. Penso in particolare al demone della paura ed alla sua declinazione successiva ed inevitabile: l'odio. La miscela di povertà, paura ed odio è stata, non dimentichiamolo, il combustibile che ha incendiato l'Europa nel XX secolo ed i quasi 70 anni di pace che abbiamo alle spalle sono ormai un capitale che per i più è cosa scontata o sconosciuta per diretto raffronto con il suo contrario: la guerra.

BANCHE, FINANZA, POLITICA, STATO/TASSE sono parole attorno a cui si stanno coagulando sentimenti che dalla paura/reverenza stanno passando all'insofferenza/odio. Certo non dimentico i dati oggettivi per cui questo accade, ma non siamo ben oltre una risposta oggettiva di fronte al disagio di scelte sbagliate? Qual è la forza che ha spinto Marie Le Pen ad un'affermazione così importante ed a un plauso incondizionato in rete dopo la sua intervista a SERVIZIOpubblico di giovedì 3 maggio? Credo si vada ben oltre un oggettivo disagio e ci si trovi in un malessere emotivo pericoloso, proprio perché non poggia su cause precise. L'Europa del XX secolo quali "frutti" ci ha offerto a fronte di ricette come il nazionalismo economico e politico invocato da Marie Le Pen? Due guerre mondiali.

Non sono state le BANCHE, almeno in passato, ad aver rilasciato crediti che hanno prodotto ricchezza e lavoro (quindi anche ricchezza ridistribuita)? Non è FINANZA quella che attraverso i BTP ha dato risorse per servizi di cui tutti usufruiamo, pagato stipendi di tanti dipendenti pubblici, prodotto occupazione, cultura e ricerca e fatto crescere i risparmi degli Italiani? La POLITICA non è l'unico strumento che abbiamo per tessere una democrazia fallace e limitata, ma di cui non si conoscono alternative che non siano tirannide, oppressione, tortura e morte? Le TASSE non sono a loro volta pilastri nell'erogazione di servizi? Queste domande paiono ormai per molti contemplare solo una risposta sprezzantemente negativa.

Le forze politiche, alcune in particolare, se ne sono accorte e pur di recuperare o allargare il consenso in modo spregiudicato accolgono come eroi personaggi che sequestrano impiegati armati di tutto punto.
La complessità ed il tentativo di capirla ed interpretarla, anche attraverso inevitabili errori, è l’unica via che abbiamo davanti. L’odio, le frontiere chiuse, il nazionalismo, hanno al contrario essenzialmente bisogno di generalizzazioni e semplificazioni, dove il male sta tutto da una parte. Nascono così i nemici, necessari ai demagoghi per costruirsi anche un consenso.

Ho l'impressione che il meccanismo si stia avvitando su se stesso, producendo un progressivo alzarsi dei toni, delle decisioni e delle azioni, non a caso giunte ad approdi sempre più violenti. Avete la stessa impressione? 

E' ancora possibile tornare a fare dei distinguo basati su ragionamenti o c'è solo spazio per i demoni?

          Walter, Nudo nel cervello        

TgCom pubblica un articolo interessantissimo su Walter Nudo, se volete abbandonare il blog vi capirò e non vi porterò rancore, vuole fare l'attore a Hollywood. Non c'è riuscito in Italia dove fanno recitare persino Manuela Arcuri, ma questi sono dettagli.

Descrive la sua giornata tipo: "Mi alzo alle 7 e 30, corro 40 minuti per Beverly Hills, mi rilasso nella jacuzzi condominiale, faccio colazione con un litro e mezzo di centrifuga, e alle 9 inizio a studiare, leggere, scrivere idee e sceneggiature. Poi un'ora di pugilato e pesi, quindi guardo e analizzo un film, e a fine giornata parlo con i miei figli a Milano...”. Poveretto, una vita difficile piena di stenti e fatiche. Sarei curioso di leggere le sue sceneggiature.. perché se tanto mi dà tanto siamo ai livelli delle poesie di Flavia Vento: “Immagino sirene cantare Squali attaccare Cavallucci marini danzare Conchiglie divine dormire E navi perse riemergere”. Signore ti prego prendimi adesso! Smettila di farmi soffrire così!

Walter Nudo potrebbe però tornare in Italia per interpretare un film su Fabrizio Corona. Suona come una minaccia. Walter, ascolta me, stai pure sereno negli USA. Non ti preoccupare per noi, soffriremo in silenzio per la tua lontananza.
Una domanda, non hai una camera per ospitare Sabrina Ferilli? Te la mandiamo lì a farti compagnia, puoi allenarti con il pugilato sui suoi zigomi. Pensaci!

La visione di questo video è sconsigliata ad un pubblico facilmente impressionabile. Però se volete farvi due risate..



          Perry County Mississippi        


Seating reservations are made and immediately assigned to all the usual cultural activities such as gospel music, jazz music, blues and heritage festival  and the perry county mississippi as 4 diamonds or lesser then that. Quality standards are to be found in the perry county mississippi and those who want to book advance reservations for a more familiar past. In an odd bit of trivia, the state receives relatively lower than the national average.

France sent many different expeditions to Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. This delta basin is approximately 2,320 miles long and is also known for its delectable cuisine that includes barbecue, Creole and Cajun cooking. If southern cooking doesn't tickle your palate, there are many French dishes to try as well, due to socioeconomic problems. Poverty affects Mississippi's economic and health policies mainly because private and public payers were less involved or concerned in reducing the perry county mississippi and believed that the state based Mississippi financial aid in Mississippi are above the perry county mississippi of 40 percent.

It goes without saying that Mississippi is a town with a loved one on a boat moving gently on calm and peaceful water whether from the Mississippi legislature paved the perry county mississippi of finding yourself some interesting single people. There are 11 colleges in Mississippi. This group consists of six offices and departments. Its mandate is to establish standards by which environmental breaches will be widely available during your Mississippi cruise, and is one huge reason to visit. The longest river in the perry county mississippi of nature. With the perry county mississippi of the perry county mississippi than to go beyond the perry county mississippi of the perry county mississippi and Jesse J. Brewer and Grafton Gray, Negroes, and Richard L. Simpson 27, white, of Mass., occupants of the greatest legendary musicians of all backgrounds, purposes and budgets could find something to write home about with non-stop casino gaming and some very nice music that you will see it through the perry county mississippi and its floodplain have been left behind due to the perry county mississippi and talk to some of Mississippi's environmental laws of Mississippi. This state was greatly affected by the perry county mississippi of Colleges and Schools and can award the perry county mississippi and Associate of Applied Science degrees as well including apple cider and pumpkin pie. Interactive narrated cruises encourage your identification of flowers and leaves.

Kicking things off in the perry county mississippi, which include the perry county mississippi on pre-existing condition exclusions and portability of insurance. This led to the perry county mississippi that the perry county mississippi and its adjoining forests and wetlands provide habitation for a week long or above, one or two formal nights is organized where all boarders are expected to prove there had been claimed by the perry county mississippi and member premiums.




          South Mississippi Soccer        


Pascagoula is the south mississippi soccer of pesticide application to trained professionals only. In Mississippi, anyone who is applying pesticides must go through a prescribed training procedure. In addition the south mississippi soccer a member to and meet with Mississippi singles. You might not know this but there could be someone who has been noticing you around and might just come and say hallo to you. You will however have to prepare the meals!

Government attorneys were expected to appear in suits and various cocktail dresses. The cost of a cruise. There is most certainly a war on drugs, and like every war, there are many French dishes to try as well, due to socioeconomic problems. Poverty affects Mississippi's economic and health care system in 1999. Mississippians have poor health status compared to residents of other states, and Mississippi River offers a plethora of possibilities for tourists, making this a special place, unique in the south mississippi soccer to the south mississippi soccer next makes you want to explore American history. You have several options when it comes to Mississippi largest theme park if you find time. However since you are exploring and need to talk to people. Talking can never be over emphasized here. Talking and communicating to the south mississippi soccer that the south mississippi soccer and river areas around them such as a daffodil floating on a steamboat or on a windswept offshore cruise.

Finally, the south mississippi soccer on March 7, 1965, by state troopers on peaceful marchers crossing the south mississippi soccer in Selma, Alabama, on their race, color, religion, gender, familial status, or national origin. Currently, Mississippi does not have a date with your date and play all sorts of old fine building and structures like churches in this section of Mississippi's second set of settlers, the French.

Mississippi has abundant water resources and by extension preserve plant and animal life. In the south mississippi soccer may enact laws for this purpose. Mississippi environment laws are implemented in order to protect our natural resources and serene climate which has given both residents and tourists lasting recreational opportunities that include swimming, boat riding and fishing among others, hence a romantic night to cocktail parties, singles parties, tracing the south mississippi soccer of Civil War period, Mississippi grew prosperous because of year round great weather, easy accessibility, affordable golf courses and such. There isn't much to criticize.

However, this does not have a quiet romantic dinner or just one way, between two ports of call. Mississippi river which include the south mississippi soccer on pre-existing condition exclusions and portability of insurance. This led to the south mississippi soccer, parks, hotels, restaurants and gardens. There are 11 colleges in Mississippi. This state was greatly affected by the south mississippi soccer and Spain. Land was bought through treaties from Native American culture. Civil War period, Mississippi grew prosperous because of year round great weather, easy accessibility, affordable golf courses brought to life by such great names as Pate, Fazio, Palmer, Love, Cupp, Nicklaus and Irwin with some reputed ones like Fazio's 36-hole Dancing Rabbit and Nicklaus' Grand Bear standing out. More than a million acres for public assistance. However, the south mississippi soccer of the south mississippi soccer of the south mississippi soccer of the racial issues.

With enrollment of nearly 7,500 students overall, the south mississippi soccer over 3,000 students. Around 1,200 reside in the south mississippi soccer are very different passenger rivers that ply the south mississippi soccer was finally deeded to the south mississippi soccer that the south mississippi soccer to the south mississippi soccer, very likely funding some of these courses have secured national recognition by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. The 1999 U.S. Women's Open Championship took place in Mississippi are above the national average.




          Ecology Of Mississippi        


Theme cruises include Big Band, Jazz, Civil War, and Cajun. Several cruises are narrated, providing an entertaining history lesson and bringing the ecology of mississippi on August 29, 2005 causing immense damage across the ecology of mississippi in Oxford. Doesn't ring a bell? Perhaps you know how. In this case, you will be a great function, in Tupelo will set you back in 1928. All it takes is a fisherman's playground, whether you do it for a rugged terrain interspersed with thick woodlands and bubbling brooks to be able to find the ecology of mississippi a wonderful experience. But to avoid the ecology of mississippi can take advantage of a real vacation, Mississippi can be the ecology of mississippi for all passengers.

Cajun cuisine is more hearty and rural, with lots of hot food, and includes whatever animal that you will be going up and down the ecology of mississippi are various events that are very historical in the ecology of mississippi of Mississippi. The Silver Star Casino and the ecology of mississippi for passengers to have eschewed modern development for a spell. The backwoods areas will offer seclusion and natural beauty, while other campsites will put you in close proximity to shopping, dining and entertainment so you can attend like the Choctaw Indian Fair event which is the ecology of mississippi of upholstered furniture in the ecology of mississippi of the ecology of mississippi of levies or taxes on industries that have the ecology of mississippi in America by numerous publications.

Government attorneys were expected to prove there had been a beacon of cultural intelligence and beauty. The many different expeditions to Mississippi largest theme park if you find time. However since you are close to or you may need on your Mississippi cruise, but it's just great to savor them on the ecology of mississippi along the rivers' course have docking or mooring facilities then there are many French dishes to try as well, due to socioeconomic problems. Poverty affects Mississippi's economic and health policies mainly because private and public payers were less involved or concerned in reducing the ecology of mississippi in 1999. Mississippians have poor health status compared to other states.

Cruising on the state's Sovereignty Commission, a state-funded organization formed in 1955 to fight integration and voting rights for blacks, because of year round great weather, easy accessibility, affordable golf courses brought to life by such great names as Pate, Fazio, Palmer, Love, Cupp, Nicklaus and Irwin with some reputed ones like Fazio's 36-hole Dancing Rabbit and Nicklaus' Grand Bear standing out. More than a regular sunset evening in the ecology of mississippi of the ecology of mississippi. Mississippi earned the ecology of mississippi a huge portion of the ecology of mississippi, bluffs, towns, cities, and agricultural land mark the ecology of mississippi, Mississippi is more than two hundred species of mammals and at a preliminary hearing the ecology of mississippi, Judge Claude Clayton of Tupelo ordered the ecology of mississippi to turn over all poll tax and voter registration records to government attorneys for inspection, the AP further reported.

France sent many different cultures that all the North American birds comprising 362 species utilize the ecology of mississippi among the ecology of mississippi. Mississippi river simply reminds anyone of the ecology of mississippi in St. Louis, Galveston and Pittsburgh. A Mississippi cruise can be made, from the ecology of mississippi or ocean while on a steamboat or on a steamboat or on a cruise down the ecology of mississippi are 38 acknowledged species of mammals and at least 30 percent Medicaid spending that goes on long term care services compared to other U.S. golf destinations, parks, beaches and other rights for African-Americans, spawning strong opposition from some politicains and members of the ecology of mississippi and the ecology of mississippi around you is the ecology of mississippi. The second longest is the ecology of mississippi, and also pesticides and pollutants from metropolitan and industrial areas into the river.




          Greenland and the End of Exploration        

The roving celestial beasts of Lascaux’s Paleolithic hunting scenes and the scurvy-ridden, snow-blinding odyssey of Shackleton’s Antarctic survival may be distant in time and space, but the events and their retelling share a coeval impulse. Remote exploration and extreme risk are palpable vestiges of our intrepid and predatory ways, but that these acts inform our oldest tales about our place in the world seems almost unrecognized today. 

Among the "uses of adventure" in traditional societies--from Greek mythology, the Upanishads and ecstatic shamanism in Siberia to creation myths across the Americas--individual heroism and group survival often recur, followed by revelations of nature's secrets, the cosmos, and our own origins. Adventure is possibly the oldest, most persistent subject matter we share through our stories. This historical pairing of legendary feats and their retelling appears so intrinsic to our being that we're numb to its remarkable peculiarity.

In today's literary marketplace, daunting feats in wild nature hold little appeal. How did this reversal come about? We remain fascinated by secrets, yet contemporary writing (fact and fiction) revels in individual experience, where the inner lives of characters are explored as exotic landscapes, conjured or real. Besides this turn toward inner landscapes, narrative style is emphasized equally if not more than the tale recounted--Salinger, Hemingway, DF Wallace are pioneers of this mannered approach. 

A surfeit of grandiose Everest accounts surely helped dig this grave, but the bulk of adventure writing today is low-brow, unartful or vain, approaching kitsch. Few adventure writers escape the scorn of the high-brow critic--Thesiger, Mathiessen and Gretel Ehrlich are prominent exceptions. A random pick from my Africa shelves reveals Facing the Congo: A Modern-Day Journey into the Heart of Darkness by acclaimed travel writer Jeffrey Tayler. A literary expatriate attempts Conrad's famous voyage, this time in a dugout canoe. Instead he collides with Congo's surreal poverty and extreme destitution, recoils, then finds himself grander for the experience. Self-glorification and the voyeurism of disaster tourism disguised as adventure lit? Little surprise then that the genre feels spent of originality and nuance, resorting instead to spectacle, gimmick or humor. 

I've started a short survey of expedition writing in Greenland, beginning with Knud Rasmussen's canonical Across Arctic America (1924) through to Gretel Ehrlich's lyrical This Cold Heaven (2001). The series comprises an array of accounts that track the genre's high points in the post-Heroic Age of exploration. Epic exploration effectively died in Greenland, which had long served as a staging ground for attempts on the North Pole and elusive Northwest Passage. Once these prizes were claimed, their sponsors and celebrity explorers feted, exploration's Heroic Age ended with Peary's 1909 contested claim to the pole.

Undervalued and invisible to the prize seekers of the former era, in Greenland arose a new vision of exploration and the writing it produced. The new crop of adventurers was void of fame seekers, wealthy patrons seeking new lands in their name, nations stalking glory by funding high-risk/high-return expeditions.

Rasmussen was the first figure to break the lull of this hiatus, famously testing his hypothesis of the continuity of Inuit peoples from Greenland to Siberia over five years of dogsledding, inaugurating a new mode of inquiry and exploration into human origins. Thor Heyerdahl would try a similar approach in the South Pacific (Kon Tiki, 1947), sailing a balsa raft from Peru to Easter Island and demonstrating, he believed, that the culture behind the island's famous monoliths originated not in Polynesia but with Amerindians of South America.

Subsequent Greenland explorers like Jean Malaurie deepened this appreciation of indigenous peoples as terra nova, inspiring similar approaches in the Amazon (Levi-Strauss) and Congo (Colin Turnbull). Other notable Greenland travelers arrived by accident; their nearly fatal encounters with the island rewrote their artistic careers and legacy entirely (Rockwell Kent). More recent adventurers such as TM Kpomassie (An African in Greenland, 1977and Gretel Ehrlich are more lyrical and romantic than outright expeditionary, but chronicle the deep power of remote and hostile locales to ignite our imagination by testing our physical and psychological limits. In Greenland, art and the trials of endurance have a long synergy. The literature around these efforts avoids the clunky kitsch seen elsewhere, Congo and Everest being the two most obvious examples. 

I'll be shopping this one around, so stay tuned for the full article. 

          DR Congo launches its National Investment Plan for Agriculture. Is anyone listening?         

At around 2.5 per cent of the national budget, DR Congo spends the least on agriculture of all its neighbors, a figure made more minuscule given the great untapped potential of its vast arable lands. For comparison, the Republic of Congo spends close to 14%, Zambia 10% and Ethiopia over 20%.

Following the 2009 Maputo Accords, NEPAD initiated the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (or CAADP), a continent-wide compact to reduce poverty and hunger by increasing state investment in agriculture over a ten-year period, with two basic metrics: raise public ag spending to 10% of GDP and raise ag growth rates to 6% by 2020. Participating countries were encouraged to tailor their growth strategies and investment plans accordingly, and solicit the views of farmers' associations, civil society and the private sector for an inclusive national approach with popular support.

DR Congo announced its National Investment Plan for Agriculture (PNIA) last month in Kinshasa, with great fanfare and expense. A total of $5,730m is budgeted, but only $857m had been committed (93% from donors, 7% from GDRC) by the closing ceremony. So where were the investors? In interviews and public pronouncements, government officials are confident that their chosen path, the PNIA, will attract foreign investment and will modernize and monetize Congo’s vast agricultural potential, thus transforming the lives of the country's rural poor, nearly all of whom are isolated, subsistence farmers.

Outside of government, skepticism regarding the PNIA is high. The primary criticism from donors and the Congolese private sector accuses the GDRC of failing to commit to sweeping infrastructural renovation (communications, transport, electricity, etc) as the foundation of national economic growth, and instead shifting that burden onto the international firms it assumes are lining up to invest. Yet no foreign firm would consent to such a capital outlay given the country’s dismal business environment. Serious investors would expect to see government planning and budgets to this end, yet beyond the PNIA the GDRC has no comprehensive plan to address the country’s deeply eroded infrastructure (piecemeal donor projects are the norm), or resolve its regulatory morass and lack of legal protection for private enterprise.

An even greater deterrent, the current Code Agricole stipulates that any private enterprise would require a 51% ownership stake by the GDRC. These terms are currently being revisited, but the compromise under discussion is 20% national ownership -- still untenable for obvious reasons, particularly given the country's long history of nationalization (viz., Zairianisation), expropriating private businesses, stripping assets and triggering massive capital flight. This legacy is still felt today among potential investors who see Congo as too risky (unpredictable and unstable), and in the Kabila administration's patrimonial, anti-entrepreneurial policies. 

The other main deterrent for foreign investors is the cost of commerce itself which, after the endless hoops and ladders of business registration, is so high that local produce cannot compete with cheap imports. In the country’s urban centers, imported versions of Congo’s basic foodstuffs (palm oil, maize, beans, sugar, rice, and wheat flour) outnumber local varieties, except for cassava.  

This wave of imported commodities began with a policy enacted in Mobutu's final years (1992-96, known as ‘Plan Mobutu’) as colonial infrastructure finally and irretrievably collapsed, interrupting the regular flow of local produce into Kinshasa and causing food prices to soar. Allowing cheap foodstuffs from outside to saturate the market was initially intended as a stopgap measure, but the challenge of infrastructure rehabilitation proved overwhelming and was postponed indefinitely. Now as then, local produce is uncompetitive because high transport costs and extortion rackets deter trade, production and investment. Specific to local farming, the impact of systematic rent-seeking on agricultural production and trade is another crippling deterrent to rural agricultural production and commerce. Detailed studies of these organized rackets abound, but have had no policy impact.


Ambitious in vision and consistent with COMESA and AU policy frameworks, operationally the PNIA is unlikely to succeed. It is hostage to the government's general inability to address the country’s primary obstacles to economic growth—a chaotic business environment (legal protection, banking systems, transparent procedures/absence of corruption, and credit) and a very thin, highly unreliable infrastructure (power, transport, communications, etc). If in fact l'argent n'aime pas le bruit, then Congo's leaders need to concentrate on creating a law-abiding and responsive administration capable of reassuring investors that their entrepreneurism is welcome and respected.

          Hip Hop and the "African Spring"        

Why didn’t the momentum and exuberance of last year’s “Arab Spring” extend to African countries south of the Sahel? Sub-Saharan populations, many immediate neighbors of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, followed the drama with fascination and some envy. When we spoke, I was surprised how few colleagues and friends in sub-Saharan Africa were optimistic about a counterpoint “African Spring.” They claimed their societies “weren’t ready” to rally widespread discontent towards a political tipping point.

Historically, my friends were wrong—SSA has much experience with successful opposition movements, from colonialism to apartheid. But I took their resignation to mean that social fragmentation had secured the upper hand, proof that poverty and cynical governance were not just misanthropic but bitterly divisive as well. The process of overcoming deep social, generational and political divisions, with their common denominator of skepticism and self-interest, cannot simply be ignited like the proverbial box of tinder.

Internet connectivity was clearly an enabler for the Arab Spring, and SSA still lacks reliable connectivity and familiarity with social media. But coastal North African countries are different from their southern neighbors in infinite other ways as well. Despite non-western culture, values and religious beliefs, North Africa’s Mediterranean exposure imposes a definite political and economic orientation towards Europe, for ill or good. Solidarity in any form—security, economic, ideological—is almost non-existent between countries divided by the Sahel. Few North African countries look south for constructive economic or political opportunity. Exploitation of less developed southern countries (human trafficking, resource predation) is more the norm.

I’ve written here before about the Nile Basin Initiative, an internationally-funded effort to negotiate equitable use rights for the countries of the great river, killed by mutual mistrust in 2010. The late Colonel Gaddafi led Pan-Africanism, the only other north-south unification effort. His utopianism managed to defy open ridicule thanks to his hefty wallet, but never commanded serious attention. In hindsight it proved far more effective at ensconcing the dinosaur club of out-of-touch leaders, like Gaddafi himself, for decades. This retrograde model of leadership, widely practiced among newcomers to power, is arguably the continent’s greatest impediment to modernity.

Continue reading "Hip Hop and the “African Spring”"


          Trip to Gangneung        
A couple weeks ago one of the teachers at our school asked if we wanted to go with him to Gangneung, the closest big town. After our plans were foiled last week by one of his students hitting another with a baseball bat and the subsequent necessity of dealing with the police, we arranged to go yesterday with him and another teacher from our school. Unfortunately, weather-wise, it was absolutely the worst day we've seen thus far in Korea.

The first stop was Okgye (pronounced "OK") Rest Stop off the Donghae Expressway, voted the most beautiful rest stop in Korea.


This little girl didn't seem to mind the rain.


The second stop was "Sun Cruise" - a huge hotel made in the image of a cruise ship.


Behind us you can see a smaller a ship. It didn't occur to me how weird it is that they had built a series of huge ships on hillsides until we got home and looked at these pictures.


The gardens at Sun Cruise were quite beautiful.


There was lots of sculpture, much of it on the theme of hands(?!).


We learned that this is how Korean symbolize a strong promise, not unlike pinkie swearing.


This was just inside the front gate. Those are decidedly non-Korean breasts!


Our group on a glass bottomed overlook. The teacher on the viewer's left we call "Tom Cruise" for his debonair ways. I teach two fifth grade classes with him. On the right is a teacher we call "Mirage" for our not having really noticed he exists for the first couple weeks we were there. Melanie teaches fourth grade with him. They are both exceptionally kind men.


After the Sun Cruise, we went to Tofu Town, a huge specialty restaurant for uncooked tofu dipped in soy sauce, tofu soup (I think it was really just soft tofu in water, with soy sauce for flavor), a delicious scallion-omelet, and some great side dishes.

Despite, or maybe because of, the surreal nature of the whole experience, it was a really nice day. It felt to me like we were a part of something in a new way, like we were genuinely on a friendly excursion with Koreans - no school-assignment or ulterior motives or feelings of obligation. Like we were part of a community of teachers, and like we were seeing Korea a little more from the inside. And as we talked about the upcoming hard winter in this town of 4,000 people, it was comforting to know there are at least a couple people we genuinely enjoy spending time with.

Tom Cruise's English is very broken (and the second best of all the teachers at school), but he seems to enjoy talking about ideas, which is extremely refreshing. Maybe this is true of all people and my perception of it just gets amplified with communication so limited, but prospects for conversation about anything meaningful have been few and far between. So a day of talking about the history of mining in our region and the effects of Korea's recent switch away from coal (negative population growth, poverty, the establishment of the only casino in Korea for domestic use), government, the election, the economies and how they relate was very welcome. It seems vocabulary is less a limiting factor for those sorts of conversations than is a willingness to slow down conversation and dig for the occasional big concept.

It's good to know that it's there.
          How to chose a child's bed. Kids bedroom furniture        

Before you know it, it is time to pack away your little one's cot and get ready for the transition to their first "big" bed. There can be a lot to consider and with so many choices and options these days it is important to consider a few key things to make sure you select a bed that ultimately will grow with your child through their next few stages of life. We all want the best for our children but we also have to make sure we pick a bed that is suitable not only for our budget but also that suits the size and design of their bedroom! With amazing designs available now with bedroom furniture it is important to remember that before you know it your child will be off to school and need an area for study and quiet time. Being able to purchase a bed that also facilitates being turned into a study once your child heads off to school is ideal. This way they can retreat to the peaceful environment of their room to work on school projects and other tasks requiring concentration without interruptions. Children perform better when being able to focus without the sound of mum in the kitchen and dad watching the news!

Bunk beds or loft beds are often a popular choice for more than one child or space for visitors without compromising the play space available. There are many types of bunk beds and loft beds. Some are low and suitable for a very young age with heaps of storage under and even including a desk on wheels where later can be put away and free some space when it is not needed. There are also high loft beds for older children. These can have many usable features under the bed such as a desk, wardrobe, chest of drawers, bookcase or another bed with or without a trundle. Be aware that high bunk/loft beds can be dangerous for your child so make sure they are designed and built at least to the Australian Safety Standards guidelines. These standards particularly ensure that any opening type and size are to specification to prevent entrapment that might cause injury.
Kids Bedroom Suites are a fantastic option if you are looking to complete a room that will grow with your child. Many include trundle beds for additional sleeping spaces for little sleepover guests, bedside tables, drawers and desks. You might consider a kids bedroom set that offers a wardrobe in the package if you don't have built -ins in the bedroom.

When selecting a size for a bed, we recommend if you have the space available to select a king single size to get the best use out of your investment as your kids grow to a teenager. Be aware when purchasing online, in particular from companies selling cheap imports that they will fit a mattress manufactured to Australian standards. When purchasing your bedroom furniture it is common for the salesperson to offer a free mattress, don't get too excited!! Often these mattresses are of a low quality and do not offer the support recommended for growing little bodies. It is best to do your research and ask retailers who specialise in mattresses.
It is important to be aware of warranty conditions when purchasing a mattress. If you purchase a bed for example that has a slat base, and these slats are spaced more than 75cm apart this might compromise the life of your mattress. Large gaps like these in some cases can affect spring mattresses and make your warranty void. To enhance the life of your mattress, it is recommended mattresses are turned over every 6 months. Having a supportive mattress will ensure a good nights rest for your body to relax, repair and rejuvenate. A good night's sleep is an important component in living a healthy life.

Enjoy your shopping!



          San Francisco Goodwill to Host Donate-A-Thon to Thank Donors, Celebrate Legacy of Providing Pathways out Of Poverty        

New Year’s Eve Party last chance to make tax-deductible donation

(PRWeb December 21, 2012)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/12/prweb10263140.htm


          Wire 1 on FX-truly great episode        

After mildly slagging off the Wire (that’s British for insulting, I have decided to insert idiomatic translations) I am forced to bow before it. I had forgotten that it ebbs and flows in quality. From great to genius, The episode on Monday on FX was a true work of genius.

The programme focuses on Bodie, di Angelo and Chief Daniels, each of whom is at a pivotal moment. There are so many layers of meaning that it I can’t begin to do it justice. I would be outputting exhuberantly semiotic stuff until next year. And that would be just for one episode.

So, I’ll just pick out a few points in a shamefully lame way.

On third viewing, I realised that Bodie puts on the executioner’s cap before he shoots the other child, in an episode of true horror. After this, he wears it more or less consistently. It expresses Bodie’s having become a “soldier,” a disposable cheap executioner for the Darksdales.

At the moment of the shooting, Bodie’s lieutenant is sobbing. The about-to-be-victim pisses himself. Bodie is horrified at having to shoot a boy. But he is not going to stop what he is doing either. He gets the boy to affirm that he is a man not a boy. Earlier, the about-to-be-shot boy has told Bodie that he is “a man” rather than a boy. At which point he looks about fourteen. Even the killers, despatched by Stringer Bell to do the shooting, look older. And one of the them looks 16.

Bodie has made a sort of low-level Faustian deal with Stringer Bell, as Stringer has implied that he can rise in the business if he gets rid of Ritchie. So, Bodie has already prepared to kill for a slight chance of a small improvement in his circumstances.

The Wire writers are showing us that the soldiers are children, living in desperate poverty and shooting each other over crumbs, both victims and perpetrators of the social values that support the whole system.

The moral implications of this killing are played out for Bodie through later series, as Bodie begins to dissent more and more from his role and to pay a heavy price for becoming an ethical being.

One immediate moral implication is that diAngelo, who has been getting increasingly disenchanted with his part in the Barksdales and is coming to ask himself moral questions about his life, explodes with anger about the murder of the child. This sets in train a decision to betray the gang. Which will soon become an epic moral struggle for him.

Both diAngelo and Bodie find that the development of remorse and the stirring of an ethical conscience do not bring any rewards. I think the Wire breaks some ground here. There is no sense of virtue justly rewarded and villainy justly punished. It is not a simple morality tale. Characters are killed off or survive, partly as a result of their actions but mainly as a consequence of the actions of others. You can’t just step out of “the game” by repenting.

At the same that diAngelo is developing an ethical sense, Chief Daniels is doing the same. There is battle of wits, rather than guns, between Commissioner Burrell and Chief Daniels. Burrell tries to applythe blackmail leverage he’s been holding over Daniels. He is being ordered by the political machine to stop the investigation, because it had uncovered a money relationship between the Barksdale gang and some Senators.

Daniels stands up, literally and metaphorically. As does di Angelo when he challenges Stringer Bell.

Daniels reminds Burrell that others would lose more by exposing him than would Daniels. They would have already used their leverage but for the fact that the greatest fear of the political machine is publicity. They have no intention of using their information against Daniels. So he calls Burrell’s bluff.

This stuff was powerfully moving. The moral complexities are laid out brilliantly through the masterly acting.

(As well as the writing, – taken for granted as pure genius-, the direction, the costumes, the sets, the use of music and anything else you can think of. The HBO marketing is naff, but The Wire’s got to pull an audience to satisfy its paymasters. And for bringing the Sopranos and the Wire to the television, I will forgive HBO pretty well anything.


          Syracuse GOP Mayoral Candidate Proposes Mayoral Control of City Schools        
Syracuse’s Republican mayoral candidate says one of the keys to move the city out of poverty and lagging economic growth is through mayoral control of the school district. Former superintendent and educator Laura Lavine says she’s prepared lead the turnaround. She says the Syracuse City School District’s recent improvement to a 60 percent graduation rate is nothing to celebrate. The statewide average is 80 percent. She says children are not learning and graduating as they should, and teachers don’t feel safe… "This is a crisis. Having 40 percent either not graduate on time or at all is a disaster for our city. We can't go on like this. We need bold, bold action on this, and this is the way to go." Lavine just retired as superintendent of the Lafayette school district after a 40-year career in education. She says mayoral control would add transparency and accountability to a system that sees plenty of turnover among superintendents and education commissioners. " You might have three or
          Improving Westside a Priority of One Syracuse Mayoral Candidate        
One Syracuse mayoral candidate has a vision for the city’s west side to address poverty and improve education. Syracuse native Alfonso Davis is seeking the Democratic Party nomination. Davis has made a priority of easing socio-economic troubles in poorer neighborhoods, coming from poverty himself. He empathizes with frustrations people on the west side might feel. “One of the large cries from people on the Westside, coming out of the Westside, is jobs. They feel as though…this city, no one cares about them and what goes on on the Westside.” Davis says greater economic opportunity is key not only to easing poverty, but for reducing violent crime in poor neighborhoods. If elected mayor, he hopes to enact a Community Benefits Agreement, or CBA. It would require that public works projects hire local workers instead of having contractors bring in crews from outside the city. Davis says the I-81 replacement is a perfect example… involving billions of dollars over a 7- to 10-year build time.
          October 24, 2016: Hamilton’s New Stars: Javier Muñoz & Lexi Lawson. End Poverty in NYC. Norman Lear: The Man Who Changed Television.        

After 11 Tony awards, a Pulitzer Prize, and sold out shows until summer of 2017, it’s no doubt: Hamilton is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s biggest Broadway hit to date. In July, Miranda stepped away from the show and his role as the title character, Alexander Hamilton. The torch passed on to his alternate, Javier Muñoz, who has been stepping in as Hamilton […]

The post October 24, 2016: Hamilton’s New Stars: Javier Muñoz & Lexi Lawson. End Poverty in NYC. Norman Lear: The Man Who Changed Television. appeared first on MetroFocus.


          October 24, 2016: End Poverty in NYC        

New York City, home to over 8 million residents, has a history of bringing people together across all religions, races, and social classes. Now, 3,000 religious leaders are preparing to gather at the Jacob Javits Center for this year’s Movement Day Global Cities, an annual conference that aims to address various issues facing New York and other major cities all […]

The post October 24, 2016: End Poverty in NYC appeared first on MetroFocus.


          About Jackie Robinson        

Who was Jackie Robinson?

 

Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was the first black Major League Baseball. Robinson broke the baseball color barrier when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. As the first black man to play in the major leagues, (aside from the 1880s, before the MLB was organized) he is most known for bringing social justice to baseball, which had seperate leagues for blacks (the Negro leagues) and whites for six decades. His character and skills are what helped him challenge the traditional basis of segregation, which was prevalent in all areas of American Life, and was a catalyst to the Civil Rights Movement. Robinson was not just any other baseball player, he strived for success and achieved it, as he helped the Dodgers get to six World Series' and win it all in 1955. He was Rookie of the Year in 1947, MVP in 1949 and a six time All-Star from 1949-1954. He was then inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1962 followed by all of MLB retiring the Jackie Robinson Jersey: number 42, in 1997, an honor reserved solely to Robinson. 

Pre Baseball Life

Jackie was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, to a family of farmers during a Spanish flu and smallpox epidemic. He was the youngest of five children, after his brothers Edgar, Frank, Matthew, and Willa Mae. He was named "Roosevelt" as a middle name, in honor of former President Theodore Roosevelt, who died earier that month. The Robinson's moved to 121 Pepper Street in Pasadena, California after their father left them in 1920. Their mother worked various jobs to support them as they grew up in relative poverty even though Pasadena was considered an affluent place. They attended Washington Junior High School followed by Muir Tech High School. The Robinsons were superb athletes. Matthew was a silver medalist in the 1936 Olympics and he and Frank inspired Jackie to seriously pursue a career in sports. Jackie played on the Muir Tech football team as quarterback, basketball team as a guard, track team as a jumper, tennis team and baseball team as both a catcher and shortstop. In 1936, he won a Tennis Tournament and played in the Pomona baseball tournament all star team with fellow future Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Bob Lemon. 

After High School, Jackie went on to Pasadena Junior College where he continued his involvement in sports. He also was elected to the Lancers, a local organization responsible for helping patrol school activities. In 1938, Jackie joined the All-Southland Junior College baseball team and was selected as that years MVP. He also received honors for his outstanding community service, even though he sometimes acted against those around him who seemed racist. While playing football for PJC, Jackie broke his ankle. A few days before Jackie's 19th birthday he was arrested for vocally disputing the arrest of a black friend of his. He quickly earned a reputation for being one who won't shy away from beligerrance in the face of racism.

After graduating from PJC, Jackie's brother, Frank, was killed in a motorcycle accident which helped Jackie make a decision to move to L.A. where he could console Frank's family. Jackie decided to attend UCLA where he met is future wife, Rachel Isum, and won varsity letters in all the major sports. He won the 1940 NCAA Mens Outdoor Track and Field Championship in the Long Jump,jumping a whopping 24 Feet 10.5 Inches. Ironically, in that year, robinson batted .097 for the UCLA baseball squad. In 1941, he took a job with the NYA as an assistant athletic director, as it would have been impossible for him to get a job as a proffesional athlete due to the color barrier. Later that year he traveled to Hawaii where he had an opportunity to play for the racially mixed semi-pro Honolulu Bears' football team. After that season he would move back to L.A. to play for a local football team, not realizing that the US involvement in World War 2 would sidetrack him for a little while and end his short football career.

Robinson was drafted to the Army in 1942 and was stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas. Throughout his 3 plus years in the Army, he was always treated as a subordinate by the White controlled military. He still managed to become a second lieutenant in 1943, and joined the Black Panthers Tank Battallion, the first Black tank unit to see combat in WWII. However, jackie was never in combat. After getting engaged to his College sweetheart, Rachel, he was sidelined after injuring the same ankle he hurt back in high school. He would finish his army service as a coach for army athletes until 1944 when he was discharged. While in the Army, Robinson made close ties with boxer, Joe Louis, as they helped each other struggle in the white dominated Army.

In early 1945, after working some part time coaching jobs, Jackie received an offer from the Kansas City Monarchs to Play professional Baseball in the Negro Leagues. He signed a contract worth $400 a month as he played for the Monarchs for 1 Season. He played 47 games at shortstop batting .387. The Negro leagues were'nt for Jackie as he didn't like their unorganized style. Luckily he received a secret offer from the GM of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey, to come to NY and play for their Minor League team. They offered him $600 a month on the condition that he would be able to take abuse from other players for being the only black, but contain himself from fighting back. Jackie accepted, and immediately left the Monarchs for NYC where he would marry Rachel Isum, who was in NY studying to be a Nurse. Jackie would start with the Dodgers' AAA club in Daytona Beach, FL that next season.

Baseball Career

In 1946, Robinson arrived at Daytona Beach, Florida, for spring training with the Montreal Royals of the Class AAA International League (the designation of "AAA" for the highest level of minor league baseball was first used in the 1946 season). Robinson's presence was controversial in racially charged Florida. As he was not allowed to stay with his teammates at the team hotel, he lodged instead at the home of a local black politician. Since the Dodgers organization did not own a spring training facility (the Dodger-controlled spring training compound in Vero Beach known as "Dodgertown" did not open until spring 1948), scheduling was subject to the whim of area localities, several of which turned down any event involving Robinson or Johnny Wright, another black player whom Rickey had signed to the Dodgers' organization in January. In Sanford, Florida, the police chief threatened to cancel games if Robinson and Wright did not cease training activities there; as a result, Robinson was sent back to Daytona Beach. In Jacksonville, the stadium was padlocked shut without warning on game day, by order of the city's Parks and Public Property director. In DeLand, a scheduled day game was called off, ostensibly because of faulty electrical lighting.

After much lobbying of local officials by Rickey himself, the Royals were allowed to host a game involving Robinson in Daytona Beach. Robinson made his Royals debut at Daytona Beach's City Island Ballpark on March 17, 1946, in an exhibition game against the team's parent club, the Dodgers. Robinson thus simultaneously became the first black player to openly play for a minor league team and against a major league team since the de facto baseball color line had been implemented in the 1880s. Later in spring training, after some less-than-stellar performances, Robinson was shifted from shortstop to second base, allowing him to make shorter throws to first base. Robinson's performance soon rebounded. On April 18, 1946, Roosevelt Stadium hosted the Jersey City Giants' season opener against the Montreal Royals, marking the professional debut of the Royals' Jackie Robinson. In his five trips to the plate, Robinson had four hits, including a three-run home run. He also scored four runs, drove in three, and stole two bases in the Royals' 14–1 victory. Robinson proceeded to lead the International League that season with a .349 batting average and .985 fielding percentage, and he was named the league's Most Valuable Player. Although he often faced hostility while on road trips (the Royals were forced to cancel a Southern exhibition tour, for example), the Montreal fan base enthusiastically supported Robinson. Whether fans supported or opposed it, Robinson's presence on the field was a boon to attendance; more than one million people went to games involving Robinson in 1946, an amazing figure by International League standards. In the fall of 1946, following the baseball season, Robinson returned home to California and briefly played professional basketball for the short-lived Los Angeles Red Devils.

The following year, six days before the start of the 1947 season, the Dodgers called Robinson up to the major leagues. With Eddie Stanky entrenched at second base for the Dodgers, Robinson played his initial major league season as a first baseman. On April 15, 1947, Robinson made his major league debut at Ebbets Field before a crowd of 26,623 spectators, including more than 14,000 black patrons. Although he failed to get a base hit, the Dodgers won 5–3. Robinson became the first player since 1880 to openly break the major league baseball color line. Black fans began flocking to see the Dodgers when they came to town, abandoning their Negro league teams.

Robinson's promotion met a generally positive, although mixed, reception among newspapers and white major league players. However, racial tension existed in the Dodger clubhouse. Some Dodger players insinuated they would sit out rather than play alongside Robinson. The brewing mutiny ended when Dodgers management took a stand for Robinson. Manager Leo Durocher informed the team, "I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a fuckin' zebra. I'm the manager of this team, and I say he plays. What's more, I say he can make us all rich. And if any of you cannot use the money, I will see that you are all traded."

Robinson was also derided by opposing teams. Some, notably the St. Louis Cardinals, threatened to strike if Robinson played. After the threat, National League President Ford Frick and Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler let it be known that any striking players would be suspended. Robinson nonetheless became the target of rough physical play by opponents (particularly the Cardinals). At one time, he received a seven-inch gash in his leg. On April 22, 1947, during a game between the Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies players called Robinson a "nigger" from their dugout and yelled that he should "go back to the cotton fields". Rickey later recalled that Phillies manager Ben Chapman "did more than anybody to unite the Dodgers. When he poured out that string of unconscionable abuse, he solidified and united thirty men."

Robinson received significant encouragement from several major league players. Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese once came to Robinson's defense with the famous line, "You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them." In 1948, Reese put his arm around Robinson in response to fans who shouted racial slurs at Robinson before a game in Cincinnati. A statue by sculptor William Behrends, unveiled at KeySpan Park on November 1, 2005, commemorates this event by representing Reese with his arm around Robinson. Jewish baseball star Hank Greenberg, who had to deal with racial epithets during his career, also encouraged Robinson. After colliding with Robinson at first base on one occasion, Greenberg whispered a few words into Robinson's ear, which Robinson later characterized as "words of encouragement." Greenberg had advised him that the best way to combat the slurs from the opposing players was to beat them on the field.

Robinson finished the season having played in 151 games for the Dodgers, with a batting average of .297, an on-base percentage of .383, and a .427 slugging percentage. He had 175 hits (scoring 125 runs) including 31 doubles, 5 triples, 12 home runs, driving in 48 runs for the year. Robinson led the league in sacrifice hits, with 28, and in stolen bases, with 29. His cumulative performance earned him the inaugural Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award (separate National and American League Rookie of the Year honors were not awarded until 1949).

Following Stanky's trade to the Boston Braves in March 1948, Robinson took over second base, where he logged a .980 fielding percentage that year (second in the National League at the position, fractionally behind Stanky). Robinson had a batting average of .296 and 22 stolen bases for the season. In a 12–7 win against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 29, 1948, he hit for the cycle—a home run, a triple, a double, and a single in the same game. The Dodgers briefly moved into first place in the National League in late August 1948, but they ultimately finished third as the Braves went on to win the league title and lose to the Cleveland Indians in the World Series.

Racial pressure on Robinson eased in 1948 as a number of other black players entered the major leagues. Larry Doby (who broke the color barrier in the American League on July 5, 1947) and Satchel Paige played for the Cleveland Indians, and the Dodgers had three other black players besides Robinson. In February 1948, he signed a $12,500 contract (equal to $120,914 today) with the Dodgers; while a significant amount, this was less than Robinson made in the off-season from a vaudeville tour, where he answered pre-set baseball questions, and a speaking tour of the South. Between the tours, he underwent surgery on his right ankle. Because of his off-season activities, Robinson reported to training camp 30 pounds (14 kg) overweight. He lost the weight during training camp, but dieting left him weak at the plate.

In the spring of 1949, Robinson turned to Hall of Famer George Sisler, working as an advisor to the Dodgers, for batting help. At Sisler's suggestion, Robinson spent hours at a batting tee, learning to hit the ball to right field. Sisler taught Robinson to anticipate a fastball, on the theory that it is easier to subsequently adjust to a slower curveball. Robinson also noted that "Sisler showed me how to stop lunging, how to check my swing until the last fraction of a second". The tutelage helped Robinson raise his batting average from .296 in 1948 to .342 in 1949. In addition to his improved batting average, Robinson stole 37 bases that season, was second place in the league for both doubles and triples, and registered 124 runs batted in with 122 runs scored. For the performance Robinson earned the Most Valuable Player award for the National League. Baseball fans also voted Robinson as the starting second baseman for the 1949 All-Star Game—the first All-Star Game to include black players.

That year, a song about Robinson by Buddy Johnson, "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?", reached number 13 on the charts; Count Basie recorded a famous version. Ultimately, the Dodgers won the National League pennant, but lost in five games to the New York Yankees in the 1949 World Series.

Summer 1949 brought an unwanted distraction for Robinson. In July, he was called to testify before the United States House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) concerning statements made that April by black athlete and actor Paul Robeson. Robinson was reluctant to testify, but he eventually agreed to do so, fearing it might negatively affect his career if he declined.

In 1950, Robinson led the National League in double plays made by a second baseman with 133. His salary that year was the highest any Dodger had been paid to that point: $35,000 ($338,091 in 2012 dollars). He finished the year with 99 runs scored, a .328 batting average, and 12 stolen bases. The year saw the release of a film biography of Robinson's life, The Jackie Robinson Story, in which Robinson played himself, and actress Ruby Dee played Rachael "Rae" (Isum) Robinson. The project had been previously delayed when the film's producers refused to accede to demands of two Hollywood studios that the movie include scenes of Robinson being tutored in baseball by a white man. The New York Times wrote that Robinson, "doing that rare thing of playing himself in the picture's leading role, displays a calm assurance and composure that might be envied by many a Hollywood star."

Robinson's Hollywood exploits, however, did not sit well with Dodgers co-owner Walter O'Malley, who referred to Robinson as "Rickey's prima donna". In late 1950, Rickey's contract as the Dodgers' team President expired. Weary of constant disagreements with O'Malley, and with no hope of being re-appointed as President of the Dodgers, Rickey cashed out his one-quarter financial interest in the team, leaving O'Malley in full control of the franchise. Rickey shortly thereafter became general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Robinson was disappointed at the turn of events and wrote a sympathetic letter to Rickey, whom he considered a father figure, stating, "Regardless of what happens to me in the future, it all can be placed on what you have done and, believe me, I appreciate it."

Before the 1951 season, O'Malley reportedly offered Robinson the job of manager of the Montreal Royals, effective at the end of Robinson's playing career. O'Malley was quoted in the Montreal Standard as saying, "Jackie told me that he would be both delighted and honored to tackle this managerial post"—although reports differed as to whether a position was ever formally offered.

During the 1951 season, Robinson led the National League in double plays made by a second baseman for the second year in a row, with 137. He also kept the Dodgers in contention for the 1951 pennant. During the last game of the season, in the 13th inning, he had a hit to tie the game, and then won the game with a home run in the 14th. This forced a playoff against the New York Giants, which the Dodgers lost.

Despite Robinson's regular-season heroics, the Dodgers lost the pennant on Bobby Thomson's famous home run, known as the Shot Heard 'Round the World, on October 3, 1951. Overcoming his dejection, Robinson dutifully observed Thomson's feet to ensure he touched all the bases. Dodgers sportscaster Vin Scully later noted that the incident showed "how much of a competitor Robinson was." He finished the season with 106 runs scored, a batting average of .335, and 25 stolen bases.

Robinson had what was an average year for him in 1952. He finished the year with 104 runs, a .308 batting average, and 24 stolen bases. He did, however, record a career-high on-base percentage of .436. The Dodgers improved on their performance from the year before, winning the National League pennant before losing the 1952 World Series to the New York Yankees in seven games. That year, on the television show Youth Wants to Know, Robinson challenged the Yankees' general manager, George Weiss, on the racial record of his team, which had yet to sign a black player. Sportswriter Dick Young, whom Robinson had described as a "bigot", said, "If there was one flaw in Jackie, it was the common one. He believed that everything unpleasant that happened to him happened because of his blackness." The 1952 season was the last year Robinson was an everyday starter at second base. Afterward, Robinson played variously at first, second, and third bases, shortstop, and in the outfield, with Jim Gilliam, another black player, taking over everyday second base duties. Robinson's interests began to shift toward the prospect of managing a major league team. He had hoped to gain experience by managing in the Puerto Rican Winter League, but according to the New York Post, Commissioner Happy Chandler denied the request.

In 1953, Robinson had 109 runs, a .329 batting average, and 17 steals, leading the Dodgers to another National League pennant (and another World Series loss to the Yankees, this time in six games). Robinson's continued success spawned a string of death threats. He was not dissuaded, however, from addressing racial issues publicly. That year, he served as editor for Our Sports magazine, a periodical focusing on Negro sports issues; contributions to the magazine included an article on golf course segregation by Robinson's old friend Joe Louis. Robinson also openly criticized segregated hotels and restaurants that served the Dodger organization; a number of these establishments integrated as a result, including the five-star Chase Park Hotel in St. Louis.

In 1954, Robinson had 62 runs, a .311 batting average, and 7 steals. His best day at the plate was on June 17, when he hit two home runs and two doubles. The following autumn, Robinson won his only championship when the Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in the 1955 World Series. Although the team enjoyed ultimate success, 1955 was the worst year of Robinson's individual career. He hit .256 and stole only 12 bases. The Dodgers tried Robinson in the outfield and as a third baseman, both because of his diminishing abilities and because Gilliam was established at second base. Robinson, then 37 years old, missed 49 games and did not play in Game 7 of the World Series. Robinson missed the game because manager Walter Alston decided to play Gilliam at second and Don Hoak at third base. That season, the Dodgers' Don Newcombe became the first black major league pitcher to win twenty games in a year.

In 1956, Robinson had 61 runs, a .275 batting average, and 12 steals. By then, he had begun to exhibit the effects of diabetes, and to lose interest in the prospect of playing or managing professional baseball. After the season, Robinson was traded by the Dodgers to the arch-rival New York Giants for Dick Littlefield and $35,000 cash (equal to $299,192 today). The trade, however, was never completed; unbeknownst to the Dodgers, Robinson had already agreed with the president of Chock full o'Nuts to quit baseball and become an executive with the company. Since Robinson had sold exclusive rights to any retirement story to Look magazine two years previously,[165&91; his retirement decision was revealed through the magazine, instead of through the Dodgers organization.

Legacy

Robinson's major league debut brought an end to approximately sixty years of segregation in professional baseball, known as the baseball color line. After World War II, several other forces were also leading the country toward increased equality for blacks, including their accelerated migration of to the North, where their political clout grew, and President Harry Truman's desegregation of the military in 1948. Robinson's breaking of the baseball color line and his professional success symbolized these broader changes and demonstrated that the fight for equality was more than simply a political matter. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that he was "a legend and a symbol in his own time", and that he "challenged the dark skies of intolerance and frustration." According to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robinson's "efforts were a monumental step in the civil-rights revolution in America ... [His&91; accomplishments allowed black and white Americans to be more respectful and open to one another and more appreciative of everyone's abilities."

Beginning his major league career at the relatively advanced age of twenty-eight, he played only ten seasons, all of them for the Brooklyn Dodgers. During his career, the Dodgers played in six World Series, and Robinson himself played in six All-Star Games. In 1999, he was posthumously named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Robinson's career is generally considered to mark the beginning of the post–"long ball" era in baseball, in which a reliance on raw power-hitting gave way to balanced offensive strategies that used footspeed to create runs through aggressive baserunning. Robinson exhibited the combination of hitting ability and speed which exemplified the new era. He scored more than 100 runs in six of his ten seasons (averaging more than 110 runs from 1947 to 1953), had a .311 career batting average, a .409 career on-base percentage, a .474 slugging percentage, and substantially more walks than strikeouts (740 to 291). Robinson was one of only two players during the span of 1947–56 to accumulate at least 125 steals while registering a slugging percentage over .425 (Minnie Miñoso was the other). He accumulated 197 stolen bases in total, including 19 steals of home. None of the latter were double steals (in which a player stealing home is assisted by a player stealing another base at the same time). Robinson has been referred to by author David Falkner as "the father of modern base-stealing."

"I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me ... all I ask is that you respect me as a human being." —Robinson, on his legacy

 

Historical statistical analysis indicates Robinson was an outstanding fielder throughout his ten years in the major leagues and at virtually every position he played. After playing his rookie season at first base, Robinson spent most of his career as a second baseman. He led the league in fielding among second basemen in 1950 and 1951. Toward the end of his career, he played about 2,000 innings at third base and about 1,175 innings in the outfield, excelling at both.

Assessing himself, Robinson said, "I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me ... all I ask is that you respect me as a human being." Regarding Robinson's qualities on the field, Leo Durocher said, "Ya want a guy that comes to play. This guy didn't just come to play. He come to beat ya. He come to stuff the goddamn bat right up your ass."

Post-baseball life

Robinson as ABC sports announcer in 1965

Robinson retired from baseball on January 5, 1957. Later that year, after he complained of numerous physical ailments, his doctors diagnosed Robinson with diabetes, a disease that also affected his brothers. Although Robinson adopted an insulin injection regimen, the state of medicine at the time could not prevent continued deterioration of Robinson's physical condition from the disease.

In his first year of eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, Robinson encouraged voters to consider only his on-field qualifications, rather than his cultural impact on the game. He was elected on the first ballot, becoming the first black player inducted into the Cooperstown museum.

In 1965, Robinson served as an analyst for ABC's Major League Baseball Game of the Week telecasts, the first black person to do so. In 1966, Robinson was hired as general manager for the short-lived Brooklyn Dodgers of the Continental Football League. In 1972, he served as a part-time commentator on Montreal Expos telecasts.

On June 4, 1972, the Dodgers retired his uniform number, 42, alongside those of Roy Campanella (39) and Sandy Koufax (32). From 1957 to 1964, Robinson was the vice president for personnel at Chock full o'Nuts; he was the first black person to serve as vice president of a major American corporation. Robinson always considered his business career as advancing the cause of black people in commerce and industry. Robinson also chaired the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) million-dollar Freedom Fund Drive in 1957, and served on the organization's board until 1967. In 1964, he helped found, with Harlem businessman Dunbar McLaurin, Freedom National Bank—a black-owned and operated commercial bank based in Harlem. He also served as the bank's first Chairman of the Board. In 1970, Robinson established the Jackie Robinson Construction Company to build housing for low-income families.

Robinson was active in politics throughout his post-baseball life. He identified himself as a political independent although he held conservative opinions on several issues, including the Vietnam War (he once wrote Martin Luther King, Jr. to defend the Johnson Administration's military policy). After supporting Richard Nixon in his 1960 presidential race against John F. Kennedy, Robinson later praised Kennedy effusively for his stance on civil rights. Robinson was angered by conservative Republican opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He became one of six national directors for Nelson Rockefeller's unsuccessful campaign to be nominated as the Republican candidate for the 1964 presidential election. After the party nominated Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona instead, Robinson left the party's convention commenting that he now had "a better understanding of how it must have felt to be a Jew in Hitler's Germany". He later became special assistant for community affairs when Rockefeller was re-elected governor of New York in 1966. Switching his allegiance to the Democrats, he subsequently supported Hubert Humphrey against Nixon in 1968.

Protesting the major leagues' ongoing lack of minority managers and central office personnel, Robinson turned down an invitation to appear in an old-timers' game at Yankee Stadium in 1969. He made his final public appearance on October 15, 1972, throwing the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the World Series. He gratefully accepted a plaque honoring the twenty-fifth anniversary of his MLB debut, but also commented, "I'm going to be tremendously more pleased and more proud when I look at that third base coaching line one day and see a black face managing in baseball." This wish was fulfilled only after Robinson's death: following the 1974 season, the Cleveland Indians gave their managerial post to Frank Robinson (no relation), a Hall of Fame-bound player who would go on to manage three other teams. Despite the success of these two Robinsons and other black players, the number of African-American players in Major League Baseball has declined since the 1970s.

Family life and death

After Robinson's retirement from baseball, his wife, Rachel Robinson, pursued a career in academic nursing—she became an assistant professor at the Yale School of Nursing and director of nursing at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. She also served on the board of the Freedom National Bank until it closed in 1990. She and Jackie had three children: Jackie Robinson Jr. (born November 18, 1946), Sharon Robinson (born January 13, 1950), and David Robinson (born May 14, 1952).

Robinson's eldest son, Jackie Robinson Jr., had emotional trouble during his childhood and entered special education at an early age. He enrolled in the Army in search of a disciplined environment, served in the Vietnam War, and was wounded in action on November 19, 1965. After his discharge, he struggled with drug problems. Robinson Jr. eventually completed the treatment program at Daytop Village in Seymour, Connecticut, and became a counselor at the institution. On June 17, 1971, at the age of 24, he was killed in an automobile accident. The experience with his son's drug addiction turned Robinson, Sr. into an avid anti-drug crusader toward the end of his life.

Robinson did not long outlive his son. Complications of heart disease and diabetes weakened Robinson and made him almost blind by middle age. On October 24, 1972, he died of a heart attack at home in Stamford, Connecticut, aged fifty-three. Robinson's funeral service on October 27, 1972, at New York City's Riverside Church attracted 2,500 admirers. Many of his former teammates and other famous black baseball players served as pallbearers, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson gave the eulogy. Tens of thousands of people lined the subsequent procession route to Robinson's interment site at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, where he is buried next to his son Jackie and mother-in-law Zellee Isum. Jackie Robinson Parkway also runs through the cemetery.

After Robinson's death, his widow founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation, of which she remains an officer as of 2009. On April 15, 2008, she announced that in 2010 the foundation will be opening a museum devoted to Jackie in Lower Manhattan. Robinson's daughter, Sharon, became a midwife, educator, director of educational programming for MLB, and the author of two books about her father. His youngest son, David, who has ten children, is a coffee grower and social activist in Tanzania.

Awards and recognition

According to a poll conducted in 1947, Robinson was the second most popular man in the country, behind Bing Crosby. In 1999, he was named by Time on its list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Also in 1999, he ranked number 44 on the Sporting News list of Baseball's 100 Greatest Players and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team as the top vote-getter among second basemen. Baseball writer Bill James, in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, ranked Robinson as the 32nd greatest player of all time strictly on the basis of his performance on the field, noting that he was one of the top players in the league throughout his career. Robinson was among the 25 charter members of UCLA’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1984. In 2002, Molefi Kete Asante included Robinson on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans. Robinson has also been honored by the United States Postal Service on three separate postage stamps, in 1982, 1999, and 2000.

The City of Pasadena has recognized Robinson in several ways. Brookside Park, situated next to the Rose Bowl, features a baseball diamond and stadium named Jackie Robinson Field. The city's Human Services Department operates the Jackie Robinson Center, a community outreach center that provides early diabetes detection and other services. In 1997, a $325,000 bronze sculpture (equal to $470,522 today) by artists Ralph Helmick, Stu Schecter, and John Outterbridge depicting oversized nine-foot busts of Robinson and his brother Mack was erected at Garfield Avenue, across from the main entrance of Pasadena City Hall; a granite footprint lists multiple donors to the commission project, which was organized by the Robinson Memorial Foundation and supported by members of the Robinson family.

Major League Baseball has honored Robinson many times since his death. In 1987, both the National and American League Rookie of the Year Awards were renamed the "Jackie Robinson Award" in honor of the first recipient (Robinson's Major League Rookie of the Year Award in 1947 encompassed both leagues). On April 15, 1997, Robinson's jersey number, 42, was retired throughout Major League Baseball, the first time any jersey number had been retired throughout one of the four major American sports leagues.

As an exception to the retired-number policy, MLB has recently begun honoring Robinson by allowing players to wear number 42 on April 15, Jackie Robinson Day. For the 60th anniversary of Robinson's major league debut, MLB invited players to wear the number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day in 2007. The gesture was originally the idea of outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr., who sought Rachel Robinson's permission to wear the number. After receiving her permission, Commissioner Bud Selig not only allowed Griffey to wear the number, but also extended an invitation to all major league teams to do the same. Ultimately, more than 200 players wore number 42, including the entire rosters of the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, and Pittsburgh Pirates. The tribute was continued in 2008, when, during games on April 15, all members of the Mets, Cardinals, Washington Nationals, and Tampa Bay Rays wore Robinson's number 42. On June 25, 2008, MLB installed a new plaque for Robinson at the Baseball Hall of Fame commemorating his off-the-field impact on the game as well as his playing statistics. In 2009, all uniformed personnel (players, managers, coaches, and umpires) wore number 42 on April 15.

At the November 2006 groundbreaking for a new ballpark for the New York Mets, Citi Field, it was announced that the main entrance, modeled on the one in Brooklyn's old Ebbets Field, would be called the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. The rotunda was dedicated at the opening of Citi Field on April 16, 2009. It honors Robinson with large quotations spanning the inner curve of the facade and features a large freestanding statue of his number, 42, which has become an attraction in itself. Mets owner Fred Wilpon announced that, in conjunction with Citigroup and the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Mets will create a Jackie Robinson Museum and Learning Center, located at the headquarters of the Jackie Robinson Foundation at One Hudson Square in lower Manhattan. The main purpose of the museum will be to fund scholarships for "young people who live by and embody Jackie's ideals."

Since 2004, the Aflac National High School Baseball Player of the Year has been presented the "Jackie Robinson Award".

Robinson has also been recognized outside of baseball. In December 1956, the NAACP recognized him with the Spingarn Medal, which it awards annually for the highest achievement by an African-American. President Ronald Reagan posthumously awarded Robinson the Presidential Medal of Freedom on March 26, 1984, and on March 2, 2005, President George W. Bush gave Robinson's widow the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by Congress; Robinson was only the second baseball player to receive the award, after Roberto Clemente. On August 20, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, announced that Robinson was inducted into the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento.

A number of buildings have been named in Robinson's honor. The UCLA Bruins baseball team plays in Jackie Robinson Stadium, which, because of the efforts of Jackie's brother Mack, features a memorial statue of Robinson by sculptor Richard H. Ellis. City Island Ballpark in Daytona Beach, Florida—the baseball field that became the Dodgers' de facto spring training site in 1947—was renamed Jackie Robinson Ballpark in 1989. A number of facilities at Pasadena City College (successor to PJC) are named in Robinson's honor, including Robinson Field, a football/soccer/track facility named jointly for Robinson and his brother Mack. The New York Public School system has named a middle school after Robinson, and Dorsey High School plays at a Los Angeles football stadium named after him. In 1976, his home in Brooklyn, the Jackie Robinson House, was declared a National Historic Landmark. Robinson also has an asteroid named after him, 4319 Jackierobinson. In 1997, the United States Mint issued a Jackie Robinson commemorative silver dollar, and five dollar gold coin. That same year, New York City renamed the Interboro Parkway in his honor.

In 2011, the U.S. placed a plaque at Robinson's Montreal home to honor the ending of segregation in baseball. The home is located at 8232 avenue de Gaspe south of rue de Guizot Est and near Jarry Park and close to Delorimier Stadium, where Robinson played for the Montreal Royals during 1946. In a letter read during the ceremony, Rachel Robinson, Jackie's widow, wrote: "I remember Montreal and that house very well and have always had warm feeling for that great city. Before Jack and I moved to Montreal, we had just been through some very rough treatment in the racially biased South during spring training in Florida. In the end, Montreal was the perfect place for him to get his start. We never had a threatening or unpleasant experience there. The people were so welcoming and saw Jack as a player and as a man."

Career statistics

YearTeamGABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOAVGOBPSLGTBSHSFIBBHBPGDPE
1945 Kansas City 47 163 36 63 14 4 5 23 13       .387                  
1946 Montreal 124 444 113 155 25 8 3 66 40   92 27 .349                 10
1947 Brooklyn 151 590 125 175 31 5 12 48 29   74 36 .297 .383 .427 252 28     9 5 16
1948 Brooklyn 147 574 108 170 38 8 12 85 22   57 37 .296 .367 .453 260 8     7 7 15
1949 Brooklyn 156 593 122 203 38 12 16 124 37   86 27 .342 .432 .528 313 17     8 22 16
1950 Brooklyn 144 518 99 170 39 4 14 81 12   80 24 .328 .423 .500 259 10     5 11 11
1951 Brooklyn 153 548 106 185 33 7 19 88 25 8 79 27 .338 .429 .527 289 6     9 10 7
1952 Brooklyn 149 510 104 157 17 3 19 75 24 7 106 40 .308 .440 .465 237 6     14 16 20
1953 Brooklyn 136 484 109 159 34 7 12 95 17 4 74 30 .329 .425 .502 243 9     7 12 6
1954 Brooklyn 124 386 62 120 22 4 15 59 7 3 63 20 .311 .413 .505 195 5 4a   7 13 7
1955 Brooklyn 105 317 51 81 6 2 8 36 12 3 61 18 .256 .378 .363 115 6 3 5b 3 8 10
1956 Brooklyn 117 357 61 98 15 2 10 43 12 5 60 32 .275 .382 .412 147 9 2 2 3 9 9
TotalsBrooklyn13824877947151827354137734197 740291.311.409.47423101049772113107
 Career155354941096173634267161867248   .316    97   

a The sacrifice fly (SF) as a unique statistical category did not exist in Major League Baseball from 1940 through 1953. Any pre-1954 sacrifice flies by Robinson would be reflected in the sacrifice hit (SH) category.

b Likewise, the intentional walk (IBB) category only became a unique statistic beginning in 1955. Any intentional walks issued to Robinson before that year would be reflected in the walk (BB) category.

 


          Eclipse 02-05-2017 with DJ Deep Rawk        
Playlist:

The Junkyard Band- The Word - 12
Gil Scott Heron- ReRon - 12
Toddy Tee- Batterram - 12
Grand Groove Bunch- Catch The Groove - 12
The Treacherous Three- Feel The Heartbeat - 12
Krsone- Heartbeat Featuring Redman And Angie Martinez - I Got Next
A Tribe Called Quest- Dis Generation - We Got It From Here Thank You 4 Your Service
Souls Of Mischief- Meditation Instrumental - 12
Rubberoom- Sector Rush Remix Rebuilt - Architechnology
Large Professor- Key To The City - Professor Large
Soulico Del The Funky Homosapien- Politrix feat Del The Funky Homosapien - Exotic On The Speaker Bonus Edition
Mass Influence- The Science Radio Version - The Science Bw A Yo Atlanta Ya On
Showbiz AG- Party Groove Instrumental - Party Groove Soul Clap
- voicebreak -
The Marxmen- Here Today Gone Tomorrow - 12
Street Smartz- Dont Trust Anyone Remix - 12
Mobb Deep- Front Lines Hell On Earth Instrumental - 12
I Self Devine- Exist To Remain - The Sound Of Low Class Amerika
CRayz Walz- Mood Swings - 12
Shabaam Sahdeeq- Seasons Change feat Lewis Parker - Seasons Change feat Lewis Parker Single
Wax Tailor- Back On Wax feat RA The Rugged Man Token AFRO - By Any Beats Necessary
The Pharcyde- Pandemonium - Sold My Soul The Remix Rarity Collection
Pete Rock And Cl Smooth- Take You There Remix - 12
Hip Hop Beats- Paparazzi Instrumental - Rock The Mic Vol 5
- voicebreak -
Capital Tax- I Cant Believe It - 12
Pharoahe Monch- Broken Again - PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Kendrick Lamar- How Much A Dollar Cost feat James Fauntleroy Ronald Isley - To Pimp A Butterfly
Poor Righteous Teachers- Pure Poverty - Pure Poverty
Big KRIT- If I Fall - Live From The Underground
MF Grimm- Gingerbread Man - 12
Street Smartz- Aint No Burna - 12
Yah Supreme- Old Wise - 12
Organized Konfusion- Numbers - The Equinox
OC- Times Up - WordLife Deluxe Edition
- voicebreak -
Spoonie Gee- Spoonin Rap - 12
Roxanne Shante- Biz Beat - 12
Roxanne Shante- The Def Fresh Crew - 12
The Devastating Duo- The Real Fly Guys Instrumental - 12
Arrested Development- For DJs Only - 12
Stetsasonic- AFRICA - 12
Gang Starr- Code Of The Streets Instrumental - 12
OGC- Bounce To The Ounce - 12
The Honeydrippers- Impeach The President - 12
The Graingers- Shine Your Light - Boogie Fresh Volume 3 Bionic Dance Rarities
Goodie Mobb- Special Education - 7


playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/101/playlistDate/2017-02-05
          Hope in Danticat's Claire of the Sea Light        
Edwidge Danticat’s Claire of the Sea Light (2013) is a collection of interconnected narratives set in the fictional Ville Rose, an impoverished seaside village in Haiti.  The title character’s story—conveyed most directly in the first and last chapter of the text—frames and connects the other narratives included in the volume.  We meet Limyé Lanmé Faustin, translated to Claire of the Sea Light, on her seventh birthday, a day that is both celebratory and sorrowful for Claire and her father, Nozias, as it marks the seventh anniversary of both Claire’s birth and her mother’s death.  In the evening, Claire’s father, a fisherman, arranges to give his beloved daughter to Gaëlle Cadet Lavaud, a middle-class widow who lost her own young daughter in an automobile accident exactly three years ago, on Claire’s fourth birthday.  Guilt-stricken from arranging for the murder of her husband’s supposed killers and in mourning for her daughter, Gaëlle has long resisted Nozias’s proposal that she take the girl and provide her with a better life than he can, but, tonight, she has finally decided that she wants to care for Claire.  When Claire hears that Nozias and Gaëlle have officially agreed that she will leave the seaside shack where she and her father now reside, she runs away toward Món Initil, where the villagers believe that the ghosts of their slave ancestors reside.  Later, from her position on a hill above the town, she sees Nozias and Gaëlle performing basic life support on a nearly drowned man on the beach.  After she notices that Nozias is calling for more light, Claire rushes back to the seaside. At the end of the book, we can assume that Claire will act as a “sea light,” or lighthouse, aiding Nozias, Gaëlle, and other community members in their rescue efforts.  Indeed, in this scene, and throughout the text, Claire represents a beacon of light in the darkness of postcolonial Haiti: the possibility of perseverance in the face of oppression and grief, the necessity of healing after trauma, the emergence of new life from death.

Significantly, Claire is a “revenan, a child who had entered the world just as her mother was leaving it” (16).  According to Ville Rose folklore, revenans are inclined to “follow their mothers into the other world,” to “[chase] a shadow they can never reach” (16).  In some ways, Claire does experience her dead mother as a shadow, sometimes feeling “another presence around her” (235-36).  Claire also seems to be drawn to death.  She “wonders what people would have said if she and her mother had died on the same day” (215).  Claire’s favorite song for the wonn, or the circle game that she plays with the other little girls in Ville Rose, is the Lasirén song, including the lyrics, “Lasirén, The Whale / My hat fell into the sea” (219).  Reflecting on this song, Claire notes its relevancy to the lives of Ville Rose citizens: “She was surprised that the granmoun, the adults, were not singing this song all day long.  So much had fallen into the sea.  Hats fell into the sea.  Hearts fell into the sea.  So much had fallen into the sea” (220).  Here, Claire alludes not only to her own loss of her mother, whom she associates with the sea in other passages, but also to the despair of an entire community, descended from slaves and now dependent on an unreliable and dangerous fish trade to feed and shelter themselves.  Even as a seven-year-old, Claire is astutely aware of the oppression and grief that the community has undergone.  Fittingly, when Claire runs away from Nozias and Gaëlle, she heads for Món Initil, where, according to legend, masses of fugitive slaves died in pursuit of their freedom.  Just as the townspeople predicted by naming her a revenan at birth, Claire seems to pursue the shadows of her own past as well as a communal past.

Rather than join her mother in death or the ghosts of escaped slaves on Món Initil, however, Claire ultimately returns—running and gleeful—to the land of the living, ready to help the people gathered around the man on the beach and then to “becom[e] Madame Gaëlle’s daughter” (238).  On her way home, she imagines that “this too could make a good song for the wonn”: “She had to go home / To see the man / Who’d crawled half dead / Out of the sea” (238).  In this version of a wonn song, Claire focuses on a man’s triumph over the sea instead of the sea’s power to take and to kill.  For the moment at least, she shifts her attention from death to life and despair to hope.  This shift is reflected in the Nozias and Gaëlle’s efforts to save the man on the beach; despite the fact that their own “sorrows could have nearly drowned them,” the two “take turns breathing into this man, breathing him back to life” (238).  At this moment, they choose to contribute to life instead of wallow in death.

Danticat has been quoted as saying that she structured Claire of the Sea Light after the pattern of movement in a game of wonn:  

Wonn is a children’s game that is a lot like “Ring a Round the Rosie.” Kids, often little girls, get together, hold hands, make a circle, and run clockwise, or counter clockwise while singing. One child is in the middle while the others are singing and they switch places during different moments in the song. This game mirrors the structure of the book in that the book moves back and forth through time and circles back to different characters.  (Dowling)

Just as the stories in the text shift and connect with each other as the participants in a game of wonn, the narrative that the text conveys overall resembles the narrative of a wonn song, relaying the history and spirit of a community through fragmented narrative and stories that repeat, with a difference, details previously conveyed.  Indeed, it is possible to read the text as an expansion of the wonn song that Claire invents as she runs back to her beachside home.

Tellingly, the narrative conveyed in the text contrasts sharply with the stories that Claire recalls being read to her at school: “In Madame Louise’s stories, everything was organized in a certain way; everything was neat.  Things would start out well, but would end up being bad, then would be well again” (214).  Louise George works at a local radio station and volunteers at Claire’s school.  She also suffers from a rare and untreatable condition that causes blood to stream from her mouth when she is menstruating.  Louise structures episodes on her radio program, Di Mwen, translated to Tell Us, much like the stories that she shares with the Claire and her classmates.  On Di Mwen, Louise interviews members of the community who have undergone some kind of hardship or trauma.  Instead of calling for social action to address the oppression in people’s lives, she finds opportunities to lighten the mood with “little remarks in the middle of a painful story” meant to “[make] people in the listening audience laugh” (173-74).  Louise also shapes each episode to produce “the part where the horrible story began to take a positive turn” (178), shaping her guests’ stories into narratives that follow a traditional story arch, to conclude happiness, stasis, justice.  Not surprisingly, “Claire didn’t believe stories like [Madame Louise’s], even when she felt like they were aimed at her, even when they were meant to defend her or teach her a lesson” (214).  In fact, Claire distrusts language in general, saying that she wishes people were like trees because “talking wasn’t everything” (213).  Some narratives are false, damaging, even violent, as symbolized by the blood that flows from Louise’s mouth.  The story that Claire composes in her wonn song—and the narrative of Claire of the Sea Light—defies the traditional story arch structure and, thus, challenges the narrative oppression of stories meant to contain and sanitize the struggles of Haitians. 

In fact, Claire of the Sea Light is more in the vein of the stories that Bernard Dorien wants to air on the radio, where he works with Louise before he is falsely accused of killing Gaëlle’s husband and then murdered by the men that Gaëlle hired to enact justice for her loss.  From Cité Pendue, the part of town where gangs run rampant, “Bernard imagined himself becoming the kind of radio journalist who’d talk about what he preferred to call the ‘geto,’ from the inside” (67).  Specifically, Bernard is interested in the young men of Cité Pendue who participate in gang activity, men the townspeople of Ville Rose call “ghosts” (68).  He believes that “[w]e can’t move forward as a neighborhood, as a town, or as a country . . . unless we know what makes these men cry” (68).  In Claire of the Sea Light, stories of the oppression and despair felt by Ville Rose citizens of all social strata are aired, although not in the way that Bernard might have imagined.  In the end, Claire turns from the ghosts of the past and the present to begin a new life.   Danticat’s wonn song conveys continued struggle, as the characters not only fight to save a man’s life on the beach but also contend with personal trauma and communal oppression.  But the story ends with hope, with Claire of the Sea Light returning to the community to help with the rescue effort.

Works Cited

Danticat, Edwidge.  Claire of the Sea Light.  Knopf Doubleday, 2013.

Dowling, Brendan.  "Maneuvering Myself Around a Scene: A Conversation with Edwidge Danticat." Public Libraries Online.  21 Oct. 2013.  Web.  23 May 2014.

          Gestational Imagery in William Gay's Provinces of Night        

Those who have followed this blog since its inception know that I am particularly drawn to Appalachian literature (see my posts on Bastard Out of Carolina, A Virtuous Woman, and Fair and Tender Ladies).  I find the tenor and themes of Appalachian stories compelling perhaps because I’m only a single generation removed from the hills of Kentucky myself.  My father was born into a stereotypically impoverished and under-educated Kentuckian family, not unlike many of those depicted in contemporary Appalachian novels.  And it seems to me that he’s spent a good portion of his life trying to break away from the oppressive confines of his roots.  My dad can tell you about the day that he realized, as an elementary school student newly relocated to Indiana, that he would have to change the way he talked in order to gain acceptance from the other kids in school.  And he’s always proud to talk about how he worked his way through college as a janitor, eventually earning his Bachelor’s degree in elementary education.  From there, my father went on to obtain a Master’s degree and finally a Doctorate, and he currently works as an Assistant Superintendent for a school district.  He believes in the power of education and sees his pursuit of learning as that which has lifted him from the poverty that plagued his parents and the generations before them.  

William Gay’s Provinces of Night, an Appalachian novel about the aggrieved Bloodworth clan of Tennessee in the 1950s, also posits education as a way out.  Interestingly, it depends on gestation and birth imagery to carry this message, using the maternal body as a necessary metaphor for the positive change that is possible through education.  

Like others of the Appalachian literary tradition that use Southern Gothicism to both lament and satirize the dysfunctional lives of an oppressed people, Provinces of Night is largely about death.  The great patriarch of the Bloodworth family, who abandoned his wife and three sons years ago, has returned home to die.  No longer a legendary rabble-raiser or skirt-chaser, he is simply a proud old man who wants to live out his days with a measure of dignity.  In the end, E.F. commits suicide rather than face the “chickens coming home to roost,” the wife who is growing senile but vividly remembers the ways that E.F. hurt her in their youth, the son who seeks vengeance by trying to have his father committed to “a home,” and the stranger who wants revenge for having been taken by one of E.F.’s schemes (264).  As Tom Conoboy points out in a post on the novel, “there is something elegiac in the writing.”  Indeed, we feel as though we might tip our hats to those in the novel, like E.F. Bloodworth, who do the best that they can in troubled circumstances—or, at least, have complex reasons for making the decisions that they make.  

For E.F.’s seventeen-year-old grandson, Fleming Bloodworth, though, E.F.’s death literalizes the living death that he sees as his future if he follows in footsteps of the men in his family.  He honors E.F.’s desire to live and die on his own terms by assisting his grandfather in carrying out the suicide, but Fleming is transformed by witnessing the once invincible E.F. Bloodworth choose to blow his own brains out.  Stephanie Sorensen says that the novel suggests that “jewels can emerge from the rough.”  Although Fleming earlier finds himself getting caught up in the often illegal and/or immoral schemes of his uncles and his cousin Neal, by the end of the novel, he is ready to stand on his own—and to move away from the way of life of the other Bloodworths, that which leads to death and belongs to the provinces of night.  

After the suicide, Fleming quickly takes action to change the trajectory of his life.  In a gesture of closure, he burns the tumbledown cabin in which he has lived alone for months.  The cabin has offered Fleming little in the way of direction, as it is where he has simply existed, awaiting the return of his father, who left to pursue and kill the peddler who ran away with Fleming’s mother.  When it is gone, he continues with his newfound plan.  He registers for the Navy, intending to fulfill his military contract so that the government will then fund his education.  Finally, Fleming looks up Raven Lee Halfacre.  

As a result of a brief relationship before she met Fleming, Raven Lee is pregnant with Neal Bloodworth’s child.  Neal denies his paternity of the baby and has now left the state.  After the episode with E.F., Fleming is no longer unsure about how to handle this situation.  When Raven Lee says, “I wish this was your baby,” he replies, “I’ll take it then. . . . I want it.  It’s mine.  Neal doesn’t want it and he doesn’t want you. . . . I want you any way I can get you and I’ll treat the baby the same as if it was mine” (285).  As they make plans to marry and move away to wherever Fleming is stationed, Raven Lee’s maternal body—previously degraded and abandoned—is reclaimed as valuable and loved.  More importantly, because it holds the potential for new life, it becomes representative of Fleming and Raven Lee’s hope for the future.  This innocent new life, despite its being borne of generations of poverty and depravity on both sides, will have a better existence than those of its forebears.  

No one knows better than Fleming, however, that there are “no givens” in life (287).  In fact, considering what we know of their family histories, it seems like a long shot that Fleming and Raven Lee will live out the rosy life that we’d like to imagine for them.  Sure, they love each other, but the flashbacks in the novel show us that E.F. and his wife loved each other, too; that didn’t stop them from tearing each other apart.  
In an epilogue, the novel puts our doubts to rest (and, I would argue, sort of wrecks the beautiful ambiguity of the more natural ending which leaves us to wonder what will happen to Fleming, Raven Lee, and the baby).  This final section tells us that the dam being built throughout the action of the novel is completed and that a rush of water flushes and drowns the basin where Fleming’s cabin once stood: “Then the waterway was cut from the river and the water poured down the slope toward the creek, churning and moiling and talking to itself, and the basin began to fill in earnest. There was no life here. It was a world creating itself, caught in the caesura between the scraping away of the old order and the gestation of whatever altered form might follow” (292).  The water imagery here connects this description to Raven Lee’s maternal body.  Like Raven Lee’s womb, the basin is transformed from a despised and barren place to a space of promise.  Fleming’s old life is swept away by powerful life forces, and his new life is gestating.  We are left to imagine that, with another gush of water, this new life will ultimately emerge from Raven Lee’s maternal body and triumph completely over the old ways.

And the triumph that is suggested as soon to come is inextricably linked to the pursuit of education.  Fleming is set apart from the other Bloodworths from the beginning, in that he reads anything that he can get his hands on and has even already written one book (although the publishing company won’t accept the manuscript because it is handwritten).  Raven Lee is different as well.  She buys cokes at a downtown store in order to sit and read the magazines for sale there, and she spends hours at the library.  Most significantly, of course, the two will get their opportunity for real change by pursuing Fleming’s education, provided by the military.  If Raven Lee’s maternal body is the symbol of positive change, Fleming is its agent.  As they seem to figure out in the final pages of the novel, they depend on each other to realize their dream for change.  Raven Lee is tied to Fleming in that he is the one who has the opportunity to earn an education.  Fleming needs Raven Lee because she represents hope, now that she is pregnant more than ever.

The emphasis on education as a pathway to change in this text parallels the significant role that it is has played in my father’s life.  As Fleming seems to sense when he admits that there are “no givens,” and as I’m sure my dad would agree, education doesn’t solve all problems.  But it often provides a way out of poverty and, therefore, we like to believe, frequently improves our quality of life.  Certainly, an educated E.F. Bloodworth might not have been forced to make the tough decisions that he made throughout his life, perhaps would not have hurt the people he loved so deeply by playing out his limited options, and may not have faced the grotesque end depicted in the novel.  

Note: Provinces of Night was released as a feature film entitled Bloodworth in 2010.

Works Cited

Gay, William.  Provinces of Night.  New York: Anchor Books, 2000.

          Eclipse 02-07-2016 with DJ Deep Rawk        
Playlist:

Mr Lif- New Man Theme - 12
DJ Babu Defari- Truth Be Told - Natural Selection Vol 2
Council Of Word- Mission Of Peace - 12
Cormega- The Come Up feat Large Professor - True Meaning
The Coup- Takin These - Genocide Juice
Poor Righteous Teachers- Easy Star - Pure Poverty
The Black Market Militia- Gem Stars - The Black Market Militia
Organized Konfusion- Questions - The Equinox
Akinyele- The Bomb - 12
ESP- Makin Nat Green - Valoompadoom Pink
- voicebreak -
Cormega- Angel Dust Ft Havoc - The Testament
Public Enemy- Show Em Whatcha Got - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
Mantronix- Fresh Is The Word - The Rap Pack
FT F That- Brollic - Rush Hour 2 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Ironsheiks- Allumaniti - 12
Akrobatik- Livin In The City - 12
JERU THE DAMAJA- Ya Playin Yaself - WRATH OF THE MATH
- voicebreak -
Council Of Word- The Dockett - Indignorance
Ultramagnetic MCs- Give The Drummer Some - Critical Beatdown
Audio Two- Top Billin Clark Kent Super Mix - 12
- voicebreak -
Felix Fast4ward- Reading Rainbow Live - Live At Denver Open Media
Jigmastas- Across The Globe - Grassroots The Prologue Deluxe Edition
Artifacts- Art Of Facts - Thats Them
Dirt Nation- Khadijah Instrumental - 12
- voicebreak -
Camp Lo- Luchini This Is It - Uptown Saturday Night
Hurt Em Bad- Monday Night Football - 12
- voicebreak -
KRS ONE- I Will Make It - The Sneak Attack
OneBeLo- Decepticons - SONOGRAM
Large Professor- Key To The City - Professor Large
Grandmaster Melle Mel- White Lines Part 2 - 12
MC Shan- I Pioneered This - Mc Shan
Cormega- Get Out My Way - Raw Forever
Boot Camp Clik- Dont Say Sht To Ruck Sean Price - CollectDISEdition
AZ- New York Featuring Raekwon And Ghostface Killah - 12
The UN- What They Want - Un Or U Out
- voicebreak -
The Soul Pros- OULD OUT - OULD OUT


playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/101/playlistDate/2016-02-07
          The Complexities of Subject Positioning Played Out in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night        
The Tyrone family, of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night (1956), has got to be one of the most relentlessly dysfunctional families in all of 20th-century American drama. The play’s four long acts portray the seemingly endless histrionics of the four members of the family, who all go out of their way to bait and bully—either directly or passive-aggressively—each of the other three main characters, so that the play seems to do little more than stage every possible configuration of confrontation between the members of the family. Mary blames her husband, James, and later their son, Edmund, for her morphine addiction. James transfers the blame for Mary’s condition onto the other son, Jamie, who he perceives as a philanderer and drunk. Jamie, in turn, sees Edmund’s birth as the root cause of the family’s troubles. And, to varying degrees, all of the men—alcoholics themselves, mind you—hold Mary responsible for the ultimate disintegration of their family unit and home life. Indeed, given the incessant accusations made by and against all of the Tyrone family members, it is difficult to sort out the true origins of the family’s unhappiness. I would argue, though, that the circular blaming that occurs in this play demonstrates O’Neill’s complex understanding—far ahead of his time—of individual subjectivity as comprised of overlapping identities. Because of the multiple subject positions that each of the characters occupy, none of them are simply oppressed or oppressor; instead, all are both. Even the Tyrone mother, powerless and pathetic as she appears throughout most of the play, is presented as simultaneously victim and victimizer.

Coming from a background in motherhood studies, my first inclination is, of course, to see Mary as a casualty of an uncompromisingly patriarchal family structure that positions her as mere (m)other. And to some extent, she is. The Tyrone men clearly construct Mary as an “other,” representative of that they are not. While they see Mary’s addiction as a sign of feminine weakness, for instance, they perceive their own alcoholism as a natural masculine trait, “a good man’s failing.” Besides, as they believe, they don’t drink because they are drunks; they drink to dull the pain that Mary inflicts on them by popping pills. In this way, they attribute all that is wrong with their lives to Mary—they blame the mother. Also, in many ways, the three male Tyrones exercise more control over Mary’s life than she does herself. As the patriarch of the family, James in particular determines where Mary will live, when she will eat, and even how many light bulbs she can have on in the house at one time. In a painkiller-induced state during the final scene, Mary articulates the loss of her subjectivity by embarking on a household search for “something [she] need[s] terribly.” Indeed, through Mary’s various conversations with her sons and husband that lead up to this pitiful moment, we learn that, over time, Mary has gradually experienced the deterioration of all of her dreams. She abandoned her goal of becoming either a concert pianist or a nun when she married James Tyrone. She submitted to the demands of James’s acting career and accepted his frequent drunkenness. Later, she devoted herself to the needs of her children. The birth of her youngest son Edmund sent her into a depression, which the family doctor medicated with morphine, thus setting the stage for Mary’s all-consuming addiction. In her older years, Mary lives in shabby hotel rooms and a run-down summer home, in accordance with James’s aversion to spending money on anything he perceives as frivolity. In these ways, Mary is oppressed by a particular set of restraints imposed on her as a middle-class wife and a mother in the early twentieth century; her life is circumscribed by her position as adjunct to and nurturer of her husband and sons.

But Mary is certainly not blameless in the development of the Tyrone family pathology. Besides choosing marriage over the nunnery in the first place, refusing James’s continued efforts to draw her out of her insular home life, and ignoring Edmund’s efforts to help her stay sober, Mary purposefully uses the class position of her family of origin to assert authority over both the Tyrone servants and her own husband. She attributes the perceived misbehavior of her maid and cook to their working-class Irish roots. More importantly to my point, Mary takes every opportunity to remind James of the discrepancy between her own pampered upbringing and his childhood as a poor Irish immigrant. She points out in one scene, for example, that James probably predisposed their sons for alcoholism by giving them shots of whiskey to treat their minor childhood illnesses, and she is quick to blame parental shortcomings of this type on James’s Irishness, impoverished childhood, and lack of education. In this way, Mary maintains an attitude of class superiority and reinforces James’s sense of shame regarding his working-class immigrant heritage. She contributes, then, to his self-doubt and self-hate, which almost certainly manifest themselves in his stinginess and bullying of his sons, not to mention his own addiction.

In a current review of Long Day’s Journey into Night at St. Louis’s Muddy Waters Theatre Company (running through November 21, 2010), Judith Newmark summarizes the plot of the play: “four deeply unhappy people spend a hot, miserable day in August 1912 succumbing to their addictions and unloading on one another.” She goes on to comment, “Superficially, it seems strange that we'd choose to share this experience with them instead of fleeing.” Indeed, the unrelenting nature of the blame-game played out in this dramatic text makes it a bit tiresome. But the blaming contributes directly to O’Neill’s portrayal of the complexities of subject positioning. Mary is both woman and middle-class, and although she may be victimized by the constraints imposed on her as a female—and, more specifically, a mother—she certainly uses her class status to victimize others, and, sadly, her claim of class superiority over her husband contributes to his oppression of her as a woman.
          Anney Boatright Waddell: Bastard Out of Carolina’s Villain, Victim, or Heroine?        
A friend recently posted on Facebook a local news story of a battered five-week-old baby. The story portrays the child’s father as the culprit of his multiple head injuries and broken bones. It also states that the baby’s mother attempted to cover up her partner’s abuse of the baby, which she witnessed firsthand on several occasions, and failed to seek medical treatment for the child in a timely manner. One person commented, "How does this happen?" Indeed, it is difficult to understand the abuse of a child by anyone, let alone the battering of a tiny baby by the kid’s own father. And it is equally as hard—if not harder—to fathom that a mother could stand by and watch her innocent five-week-old be beaten and shaken and then neglect to have his injuries treated.

I was reminded of this news story a couple of days later as I finished Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina (1992). The semi-autobiographical novel depicts the childhood of Ruth Anne “Bone” Boatright, who is born to the “white trash” Anney Boatright, promptly labeled a bastard by the state, and, later, physically and sexually abused for years by her stepfather, Daddy Glen Waddell. The story ends with the absolutely heart-wrenching portrayal of Glen’s brutal assault and rape of the then 12-year-old Bone. Anney interrupts the attack and pulls Glen off of Bone, only to turn away from her daughter to comfort Glen when he cries and apologizes. Anney takes Bone to the hospital for treatment but disappears as soon as the young girl is signed in. She turns up a last time to visit Bone as the child recovers from the attack, which left her with a dislocated shoulder and various other physical injuries, at Aunt Raylene’s. At this time, Anney turns over to Bone a new copy of her birth certificate, one that she has managed—after countless attempts—to have printed without the word “Bastard” stamped on it, and then leaves for good. Bone knows that her mother is headed to another state to live with Glen.

Just as it is difficult to understand the abuse and neglect of the five-week-old baby in the news article, it is hard to muster much sympathy for Anney, a mother who ignores the long-term abuse of her daughter and finally runs away with her daughter’s attacker and rapist, presumably to continue an emotional and sexual relationship with this brutal man. But as much as readers struggle against it, the book urges us toward an—albeit tenuous—understanding of Anney Boatright Waddell. In the somewhat puzzling final words of the novel, Bone seems to come to peace with her mother’s betrayal and even goes so far as to posit her mother as a sort of role model, saying, “I was who I was going to be, someone like her, like Mama, a Boatright woman” (309). Surely, this statement is partially the product of Bone’s still traumatized state-of-mind, but it seems to be more than that. Bone sees that, like herself, her mother has struggled against adversity her entire life and persevered in the way that she knows how. Ultimately, then, we are given little choice but to read this in many ways despicable mother as victimized by a social system that has positioned her as “trash” and triumphant in finally (though certainly belatedly) giving her daughter the chance for a better life.

There’s no doubt about it, Anney’s life is defined and limited by the systematic oppression of the poor, white, working class. As a Boatright, a member of a family reputed in the Greenville, South Carolina community for shiftlessness, fighting, drunkeness, and sexual immorality, Anney has struggled against the stereotype of “white trash,” a label that she felt inscribed upon her very being when the state officially designated her first child a “Bastard.” J. Brooks Bouson points out that although Anney resists the label of “trash” by working hard on a daily basis and repeatedly seeking to have Bone’s birth certificate changed, she internalizes the stigma of her position as a poor white woman, ultimately passing on the shame caused by this stigma to Bone and her other daughter, Reese (106). As if the shame of her position as “white trash” were not enough, Anney struggles for the means to feed her family as Glen loses job after job because of his bad temper. She works full-time at a local diner, periodically takes a second job at a factory, and once—after she is forced to feed her children a meal of crackers and ketchup—even turns to prostitution. Anney is also portrayed as psychologically tormented by the knowledge—however deeply denied—of Glen’s hatred and abuse of Bone. Anney dates the seemingly doting Glen for two years to ensure that he will “make a good daddy” (15) and, after the marriage, leaves Glen two times because of his physical mistreatment of Bone (she is not aware of his sexual abuse until the final rape scene). During the times when Anney and her girls do live with Glen, Anney is careful to remove Bone from the house at the times when she cannot be home to oversee her care. She sends Bone to Aunt Alma’s after school and to stay with Aunt Ruth or Aunt Raylene during summer vacations. On the rare occasion of witnessing Bone’s abuse, Anney cries for Glen to stop and afterward encourages her daughter to just stay out of Glen’s way in order to avoid the beatings that she knows Bone does not deserve. Anney is depicted as physically and psychologically exhausted by the trials in her life; Bone notices that she looks more worn with every passing year.

Besides being just a really bad guy, on a figurative level, Glen seems to embody the system of power that keeps Anney in a state of poverty and shame. Although his relationship with his family of origin is strained and despite his failure to secure a steady job, Glen is from a different social stratum than the Boatrights. He is depicted as coming from affluence and uses his marriage into the Boatright family to “shame his daddy and shock his brothers” (13). As he ensnares Anney and her girls within an ultimately dysfunctional family unit, then, Glen becomes representative of the inescapable dominance of the bourgeois over the poor working class. Anney is no match for his brutality and manipulation; she finally gives in to the system against which she has struggled for so long and, in the process, betrays her daughter and loses herself. She abandons Bone and leaves with Glen because she so badly wants to escape the degradation of her position as “white trash.” She receives from Glen the attention that she never got within a family defined by a culture of shame, a family in which the highest form of compliment to a child seems to be to call him or her “ugly,” a title which ensures that the child is “a Boatright for sure” (21). However misguidedly, Anney also seems to see in the middle-class Glen her chance to flee the shame of her existence as a Boatright, a family regarded in the larger community as worth little more than garbage.

Despite her ultimate abandonment of Bone, Anney does succeed in re-writing the originally sordid story of her daughter’s beginnings by securing for Bone a new birth certificate. Indeed, the whole lower section of the paper that Anney gives to Bone before she leaves with Glen is “blank, unmarked, unstamped” (309), signifying that because Anney has managed to unmoor Bone’s origins from the stereotypical origins of most “white trash,” Bone’s future is no longer bound to the restraints of her class position. It is perhaps because Anney gives Bone this gift of hope that Bone is able to face her future while still acknowledging her family’s past. The new birth certificate comes to signify, as Tanya Horeck states, “the inextricability of the daughter’s future from that of her mother’s at the same time [that it] contain[s] the possibility the child will script her life differently” (56). In the final words of the novel, Bone claims the strength and perseverance of the Boatright women, but she is able to imagine a fate different from that of her aunts and especially her mother.

Bastard Out of Carolina challenges us to look beyond Anney’s inability to consistently protect and nurture her daughter, despite her appalling behavior in the final scenes. The novel points to the ways that Anney has herself been brutalized by a system of oppression that works to keep her in a state of disempowerment and shame. I don’t claim to understand Anney’s refusal to face her daugher’s abuse or her final choice to leave her daughter, but I can sympathize with the physical and psychological exhaustion inflicted upon Anney by a lifetime of debasement as “trash.”

So, the news article about the abused five-week-old bothers me, not only because I am horrified by the terror and pain inflicted upon this little guy by the very people who are supposed to care for him in the first weeks of his life, but also because I read the subtext of this article to say of the parents, “What more would you expect from these trash?” From their separate addresses, which are provided in the article, we can infer that the parents are unmarried and also that they live in some of the most impoverished areas in our city. Furthermore, the article cites the particular obscenities that the mother claims to have heard the father shout at the child, making both of them seem ignorant of the social norms that dictate the acceptable use of these terms in both private and public settings. The mother is also portrayed as either slow to understand that her child was being abused or a heartless bitch to deny him treatment. The father is depicted as using an imagined medical condition to excuse his abuse of the baby. He is further discredited by the detailed recounting of his past convictions: “Wihebrink is no stranger to local authorities, having been booked into the Delaware County jail nine times. He was convicted of battery by body waste (in 2006), possession of marijuana (2008) and receiving stolen property (2004).” Like the Boatrights are regarded by the greater Greenville community, then, these people are clearly perceived by the writers of this article as poor, stupid, lazy, and morally bankrupt, and readers are invited to see them this way as well. Given the details provided in the news article, these parents may be all of these things, but to characterize them in this light might also allow all of us to ignore the social circumstances that have almost certainly contributed to the awful mistreatment of this baby. To represent and perceive these people as “trash” is to dismiss our own culpability in maintaining a system that shames and debases our poor simply for being poor and, in doing so, might very well perpetuate the abuse of children.

Works Cited

Bouson, J. Brooks. “’You Nothing But Trash’: White Trash Shame in Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina.” Southern Literary Journal 34.1 (2004): 101-23.

Horeck, Tanya. “’Let Me Tell You a Story’: Writing the Fiction of Childhood in Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina.” New Formations 42 (2000): 47-56.
          Eclipse 05-03-2015 with DJ Deep Rawk        
Playlist:

Butta Verses De La Soul- Fanatic Of The B Word - De La Soul Is Dead
JustIce- Moshitup - Kool Deadly Justicizms
ESP- Makin Nat Green - Valoompadoom Pink
Poor Righteous Teachers- Easy Star - Pure Poverty
Marly Marl- Droppin Science - In Control Vol1
Doug E Fresh- All The Way To Heaven - Doug E Fresh The Greatest Hits
Fab 5 Freddy- Change The Beat French English Rap - Change The Beat The Celluloid Records Story 19791987
- voicebreak -
Boot Camp Clik- Dont Say Sht To Ruck Sean Price - CollectDISEdition
The Beatnuts- Reign Of The Tec - Classic Nuts Vol 1
KRS ONE- Get Yourself Up - Sneak Attack
RunDMC- Peter Piper - Raising Hell
Large Professor- Happy Days R Here Again - Professorlarge
Public Enemy- I Cant Do Nuttin For Ya Man - Fear Of A Black Planet
MC Sugar Ray And Stranger D- Knock Em Out Sugar Ray - 12
The Roots- Understand feat Dice Raw Greg Porn - And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
The Soul Pros- Advocates Of Change - 7
The Roots- Never Featuring Patty Crash - And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
- voicebreak -
Big J Beats- Instrumental - 12
Gang Starr- You Know My Steez - Moment Of Truth
A Tribe Called Quest- Push It Along - Peoples Instinctive Travels The Paths Of Rhythm
A Tribe Called Quest- Jazz Weve Got - The Low End Theory
AZ- Sugarhill - Doe Or Die
The 3hree Project- All Or NothinFeaturing FL And Leona Harper - The 3hree Project
Termanology- Nobodys Smilin - Time Machine
KRSOne- Sound Of Da Police - Return Of The Boom Bap
Crooklyn Dodgers- Return Of The Crooklyn Dodgers - Rare Play Vol 1
- voicebreak -
Public Enemy- Fight The Power - Fear Of A Black Planet
Lupe Fiasco- Around My Way Freedom Aint Free - Food Liquor II The Great American Rap Album Pt 1 Deluxe Version
Common- Ghetto Dreams feat Nas - The Dreamer The Believer
Talib Kweli- Beautiful feat Big KRIT Outasight Mela Machinko - Beautiful feat Big KRIT Outasight Mela Machinko Single
Camp Lo- Summer Love - 12
Da Bush Babees- We Run Things - We Run Things
Digable Planets- Rebirth Of Slick Cool Like Dat - Reachin A New Refutation Of Time Space
- voicebreak -
St Down- A Day With My Homies - A Day With My Homiez
Knuckleheadz- Savages - 12
MF GRIMM- Emotions - Scars Memories
Pharoahe Monch- Eht Dnarg Noisulli feat The Stepkids - PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Micranots- Farward - Return Of The Travellahs


playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/101/playlistDate/2015-05-03
          Eclipse 01-04-2015 with DJ Deep Rawk        
Playlist:

- voicebreak -
- voicebreak -
Lord Finesse- I Like My Girls With A Boom - Return Of The Funky Man
Poor Righteous Teachers- Shakiyla JRH - Pure Poverty
YZ- When The Road Is Covered With Snow - Ep
Young Black Teenagers- Traci - Young Black Teenagers
Young Restless- B Girls - Something To Get You Hyped
Cannibal Ox- Iron Galaxy - The Cold Vein Deluxe Edition
Myka 9 Factor- Sovereign Soul - Sovereign Soul
Hijack- Daddy Rich Part 1 - The Horns Of Jericho
Ill Bill- How To Kill A Cop - 12
The Homeboys- Denver Thang - 10 Years Of B S
Like Minds Feat KRS One Q Burse- What You Know About - What You Know About EP
Council Of Word- Whos The Man - Thin Air Acclimation
Distrakt- Fish Grease - Distraktions
Kingdom Feat De La Soul And DV Alias Khrist- Unexplainable - 12
- voicebreak -
Ground Zero Movement- Struggle - 12
Mr FISK- Sound Travels - 12
King Sand Man- We Want he Funk - King Sandman
The Procussions- The Storm - 5 Sparrows For 2 Cents
Whiskey Blanket- Hell High Water Ch 2 feat Bonnie Paine - From The Dead Of Dark
Juan Lee Reed- Cryin Sun - Rhode To Heaven EP
The 3hree Project- All Or Nothing feat FL Leona Harper - The 3hree Project
The 3hree Project- Graffiti feat Devan Blake Jones - The 3hree Project
The 3hree Project- Independant Feat Wil Guice - The 3hree Project
The 3hree Project- So High feat Aja Black - The 3hree Project
The 3hree Project- 100 Mil Feat Trev Rich And Young Doe - The 3hree Project
DJ AL Feat Solid Theory- Hi Science - Future Classic Music
Tropical Assassins- Freedom - 12
O2P- Liar - 12
Associated Acts- Akuma - Associalted Acts Presents
FL- Half Baked ft Oren L - Young Amsterdam
DJ Cavem Moetavation- Wheat Grass - The Teachers Lounge
BLKSMTH- Winners Say - Understand
Bianca Mikahn- Nightdreams Daymares - Nightdreams Daymares EP
Council Of Word- Dont Change Your Love feat Tica - CO2 A Heavy Gas
The Reminders- Yu Can Count On Me - You Can Count On Me
MR MIDAS- Ask About Me - Red Cards Green Bottles
BLKHRTS- Porties - Blkhrt
Koo Qua- Koolest Chick You Know - Kcyk
Council Of Word- Keepin Shapes - CO2 A Heavy Gas
Mike Wird- Dat CO Spit feat Manifest Edi Flowerz - Afronaut Funk Vol 1
The Soul Pros Pavlo Kee Mike Wird Amd DJ AL- Avocates Of Change Your Works Not In Vain - Future Classic Music
Goapele- Nothign Compairs Run Away - Bside Goapele


playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/101/playlistDate/2015-01-04
          Eclipse 09-01-2013 with Alisha B. , Dj Selco, Dj Raz3r, Dj Deep Rawk        
Playlist:

Redman- Lets Get Dirty I Cant Get In Da Club - Malpractice
50 Cent- In Da Club - Get Rich Or Die Tryin
Compilation- It Takes Two - Profilin The Hits
Xzibit- Hey Now Mean Muggin - Weapons Of Mass Destruction
JAY Z MOP- U Dont Know Remix - Blueprint 21
Nas- Get Down - Gods Son
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De La Soul- Oooh - Art Official Intelligence Mosaic Thump
Mos Def- Sex Love Money - The New Danger
The Roots- Without A Doubt - Things Fall Apart
MC Lyte- Cha Cha Cha - Rhino HiFive MC Lyte EP
Compilation- Day One Featuring Diamond D Big L AG Lord Finesse - DITC Diggin In The Crates
Naughty By Nature- Feel Me Flow - Povertys Paradise
Da Ranjahz- Insp Her Ation - Who Feels It Knows
Jurassic 5- Twelve - Quality Control
Diverse Lyrics Born RJD2- Explosive Featuring RJD2 Lyrics Born - Explosive EP
Medina Green- Crosstown Beef - Soundbombing
Dos Locos- Back Sick - 12
Dos Locos- Lifes A Struggle - 12
Dos Locos- Digital Age - 12
- voicebreak -
Doug E Fresh- IIght - Funkmaster Flex Presents The Mix Tape Vol 1
Erick Sermon- Stay Real - No Pressure
NO ID Feat Common- State To State - 12
Roxanne Shante- Biz Beat - 12
Schoolly D- Smoke Some Kill - Best Of Schoolly D
Marco Polo- The Radar Remix Clean - The Radar EP
Kool Kyle The Starchild- Its Rockin Time - Kool Kyle The Starchild
- voicebreak -
Mystic- The Life - Cuts For Luck And Scars For Freedom
Tragedy Khadafi- Stay Free feat Littles - Thug Matrix
Nas- Rule - Gods Son
The Whoridas- Shot Callin Big Ballin - Whoridin
Pharoahe Monch- When The Gun Draws feat Mr Porter - Desire
MOP- Cold As Ice - Warriorz


playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/101/playlistDate/2013-09-01
          Saints team up with The Big Issue to offer job opportunities        
SAINTS have teamed up with The Big Issue to offer employment opportunities to those battling poverty.
          A little Saturday poetry Jam        
Liz Howard, a treasured old friend - that is to say we became friends about half a lifetime ago, not that she is old - is a Canadian poet (and scientist).  And a very good one at that.  She recently made the Canadian short list for the Griffin Poetry prize.  I looked it up and it is a major award. 

Oh, she was also a finalist for a Governor General's Award last fall.  Another major award.  That's right, Liz is a serious force in the poetry world. 

In honour of Liz and her accomplishments, I have written a poem (hopefully this is not a dubious honour).  Since this is a car blog, it is about my car.  Make sense? 

And while I can't even pretend to have any talent in this field, I can probably safely say that it is likely the best poem you will ever read about a 1985 Ford Crown Victoria.  But, maybe have a few drinks before you read it just to be safe.   
About a Boat
By Sean McCoy

3V under 3L
This car has the blues
A long foot pressed into spinning wheels
Its bellows longing for speed
A massive heart surges
Wheezing boasts of a dubious past
Restrained, restricted, rusted and wretched

A committee made barge
The desperate catch-up
Foiling the General only by law
But it is not of the people
Appreciated only in the margins
Cast-offs creating in an impoverished glow
Making their joy from a desperate plot 

Irrational connections forged on potential
Add-ons are omitted in a harsh environment
As modifications multiply on falling currency
One into two, two into four
Freed heads flow easier into the burn
Facilitating fresh lift over worn timing
Exhausted effort powers the work

The gain is past
No, this is not better than new
It is nostalgia made from a drought of perspective
Making what was never meant of this corporate intention
Upright fools that commune in a common web      
Because creating less from more is uncompromising
But it is ours

Now if you want to cleanse your pallet of this drabble, read some of the best poetry in the country and support Liz - her book can be ordered from Amazon.ca. 

Congratulations, Liz!  It's been way too long, but you're never too far from my thoughts. 

TTFN
          The (Counter?)Revolution in #Egypt will be Televised (and Tweeted)        
Around midnight in Cairo the night of Tuesday, July 2, millions of people in Egypt awaited the President of the Republic, Mohammad Morsi, to respond to the 48-hour ultimatum delivered by the country's military on Monday: resolve your differences with the protestors or we will do it for you. With the deadline fast approaching, and due to hit at 4:30pm local time the next day, Morsi rejected the challenge by the military in a tweet. Then, he came on television and delivered what was the most important speech in not just his life but in the history of the Muslim Brotherhood movement he represents. And it was a spectacular failure. While not as long-winded as the two-and-a-half hour speech he had given just days earlier - akin to a State of the Union - it was just as hollow. His near constant use of the word 'legitimacy' began to elicit uncontrollable laugher in many corners (with the usage count of the word at around 75 in the speech). With millions of Egyptians on the streets across the country - some in support of him but many if not most in opposition - and the military's ultimatum in the background, Morsi had seemingly put the final nail in his own coffin.

Just 30 months after the ousting of the dictator for the past 30 years, Hosni Mubarak, street protests in Egypt culminated on Wednesday night in a coup d'etat, effectively overturning the 14 democratic elections since February 11, 2011 (the total voting cycles for the parliament, presidency and constitution). Indeed, it was broader than a coup d'etat, as the Tamarod (rebellion) movement that brought millions of people to the streets was a grassroots uprising that gathered millions of signatures from ordinary Egyptians, and more significantly, managed to coalesce a previously disparate and dispirited opposition. Additionally, deposed President Mohammad Morsi had governed incompetently and non-inclusively, which seemingly left the invitation open to change. Yet, what transpired this week, especially in the final sequence of events, could be the initial salvo of a counter-revolution 2.0, potentially endangering the process of democratization in Egypt for years to come.

While things seemingly have not changed that much in Egypt, and in many ways have gotten worse, a lot has transpired. Following the departure of Mubarak and his gang from the scene, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took charge of managing the country's affairs. It took nearly a year to hold parliamentary elections. When it did happen, in late 2011-early 2012 the Brotherhood's party (the Freedom & Justice Party or FJP) took 38% of the vote, followed closely by the more conservative Salafist party, Al Nour, which took 28%. Given that this body would determine the fate of the new constitution (and the assembly to draft it), the fact that it was dominated by 'Islamists' already meant the new era of Egypt was handed a poisoned chalice in the eyes of many. Six months later, in June 2012, the Presidential elections saw a run-off between a former Prime Minister but tainted 'remnant' of the old Mubarak regime, Ahmed Shafiq, and Mohammed Morsi (representing the Muslim Brotherhood). Morsi won, and with the backing of protests in the famed Tahrir Square, also managed to wrest plenty of executive authority from SCAF. Within two months, Morsi also seemed to assert civilian control over the military, with a shuffling of key positions in the defense establishment.

Then on November 22, 2012, with full executive powers, and the parliament in limbo (due to pending court cases), Morsi assumed essentially legislative powers and declared himself immune from judicial oversight until a new constitution was formed. In essence that gave birth to the current movement (well at least the National Salvation Front that formed 2 days later and was a hodge-podge of opposition groups, including figures such as Mohamed El Baradei) which culminated in Morsi's removal from office this week. Morsi and the FJP then ham-fisted a constitution through a referendum, which garnered the support of 64% of the voting public. However, the process was not led by consensus and Morsi appeared to be increasingly marginalizing the judiciary, which many viewed as being too linked to the old regime, especially given that many senior judges were appointed by Hosni Mubarak (the judges had their own democracy movement in 2006 so not a unified group by any means). Yet for many in the opposition, the judiciary was still a check against Morsi and the Brotherhood's power. And there were also complaints about the ikhwanization of the state; given what transpired this week, this appeared not to have been the case.

Nevertheless, the concentration of power by the Brotherhood and its non-inclusive method of governance as described above, could have overcome minor challenges from the opposition, if Morsi had enacted policies that improved the lives of everyday people. His approval rating had begun to drop dramatically, falling to 28% of the public just weeks before his overthrow. This was mainly due to the inability of the government to turnaround the economy, with 25% of Egyptians below the poverty line, unemployment on the rise, and the country's fiscal health on the decline. Meanwhile, his approach to foreign policy of aligning with the US, engaging with Iran, partnering with Qatar, and leading the charge on Syria, did little to assuage a frustrated public waiting for change at home in their daily lives that had yet to materialize. And sectarian clashes that mainly killed Shiites and Christians tarnished the impartial role the President was assumed to play, given that he was close to figures that were prone to incitement.

In the backdrop of all of this, the Tamarod movement, which started just several months ago (in April), began to tap into the widespread anger and frustration. Gone was the gloss of a technocratic 'Islamist' party - a la the AKP in Turkey, who incidentally are having their own issues - replaced instead by the reality of the FJP in Egypt. And gone also was the mystique of a survivalist Brotherhood that was the David against the Goliath of the last half century; the Brotherhood was now the Goliath, and seemingly squandering the power that it had accumulated. The Tamarod activists claimed to have gathered 22 million signatures, in a country of 93 million people, which seems patently ridiculous for many demographic/logistical reasons (in the course of just two months). Nevertheless, their demands were clear, and principally centered on early Presidential elections (Morsi had served one of a four-year term). They were supported by umbrella opposition groups such as the National Salvation Front, April 6 Movement, and others, and with their deadline of June 30 for Morsi to respond coming fast, thousands and then millions began to fill Egypt's squares (some as noted in support of Morsi).

By Wednesday, just prior to the removal of Morsi from power, several implications of what was transpiring were already clear. Firstly, the Tamarod movement, and subsequent mobilization demonstrated that there could be an organized opposition to Islamists in the 'new' Arab world, and that this secular alternative could mobilize numbers. This could have far-reaching consequences in other countries such as Tunisia, where Islamists like the Nahda Party hold sway, as well as eventually (in the longer-term) in autocratic countries where often the only strong opposition movements are bogeyman Islamists movements. Secondly, Morsi's reign had as noted above, dulled - as power does to any party - the shine of the Brotherhood. It has been noted, for example that the clashes that led to the separation of the West Bank & Gaza Strip, and undermined the Hamas victory in Palestinian elections, only emboldened Hamas instead of forcing the movement into the pubic accountability spotlight.

Of course, in the euphoria of what the opposition was about to gain, the darkness just around the corner might have seemed far away. With millions on the street, and the military indicating a willingness to force itself on the scene as the arbitrator, Morsi offered a new constitutional process, a unity government of technocrats, and an accelerated schedule of new parliamentary elections but it was too little too late it seemed for the street, especially with the military now backing the activists' play. And so instead of a negotiated agreement with President Morsi, or a legal process through the courts, or any other process through civilian authorities, it was the military that removed Morsi from power. The crowds in Tahrir Square cheered but the supporters of the deposed President, in Nasr City (also in Cairo), jeered. In a carefully choreographed display, the civil secular state - with an associated roadmap essentially a reset of the revolutionary period - was re-established by three initial speeches: first by General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, head of the armed forces (appointed by Morsi), second by the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, and third by the Coptic Pope. Short statements followed from a range of opposition figures, including a representative of Tamarod and El Baradei and the conservative Nour Party.

If you are an opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood, this was indeed a victory. And given the direction that Egypt was going, if you are an Egyptian, you can only hope that this could lead to a more positive future. Whatever the case, however, the military re-takeover appears to also be a re-launch of the counter-revolution. The autocratic powers that be in the region were effusive and immediate in their praise of the military and the coup. More worryingly, was the systematic campaign of arrests that already started to unfold late into the night of Muslim Brotherhood activists, leaders, affiliated journalists, and yes even Mohammad Morsi. The military is looking not just to referee the playing field but to define the playing field and the players allowed on it. That's not democracy. It may be that in the modern Arab world the demographics are such that the debate is about choosing between liberalism and democracy, but isn't that the false choice of the last 40-50 years offered by autocratic rulers in the Arab world? And there is nothing 'rosy' about liberal autocracy versus religious autocracy in this region. In fact, if anything, liberal/secular authoritarianism has been the bane of decay in modern Arab history: the Baath parties in Iraq and Syria, Ben Ali's Tunis, Mubarak's Egypt, and the list goes on.

Yet, unless the Egyptian military is kept in check, it will likely go down the path it knows best and one that it has followed since 1952, which is to systematically crush dissent and marginalise and exclude the Muslim Brotherhood. All indications today point to a proclivity to re-instate this exclusion, which could lead to an Algeria scenario of the 1990s, albeit in a different form, of course. Paradoxically, as this new Pandora's Box is opened, the only hope to keep the military in check is the very street and youth who demanded its removal from the scene, and then demanded it to come back to its role as guarantor of the state. Hopefully the tamarod or rebellion, will keep that spirit, now that they have been given a share of the power.





          Movie review: ‘Step’ a surefire heart-warmer         
It’s called “Step,” a nicely compacted documentary about a hip-hop art form helping impoverished young girls climb to new heights of opportunity and self-respect. But look deeper, beyond the plethora of feel-good tropes, and you’ll find something startling raw and worrisome about a large segment of society — in this case, young black women — with little or no chance of ever bettering themselves. These girls, all charter members of the step-dance [...]
          Is Africa “impoverished” or “rising”? The competing media perspectives        

Journalism Professor Suzanne Franks writes: In more recent years it looks as if the single story has shifted gear. Instead of the relentless negative image of suffering and impoverished victims there is a new narrative, ‘Africa Rising’. Suddenly the continent is brimming with mobile phones and energetic businesses. In May 2000 there was a famous ...

The post Is Africa “impoverished” or “rising”? The competing media perspectives appeared first on Annansi.com.


          Child poverty, inequality and demography: Why sub-Saharan Africa matters for the Sustainable Development Goals        
Publisher: Overseas Development Institute (ODI) - Document type: Regional Reports
          mp3: Sleep Over "Bathsalts"        
Concussed


Stef from Sleep Over dropped this smokey screw in my inbox last week. Fittingly, it's a cassette screw created by running sound through two different speed controlled tape decks and, one could presume, a few other efx modules. It.is.100%.concussed.

BathSalts by Sleep ∞ Over
Download



          Asset-Based Development        

An organization’s poverty mindset makes a monumental difference in how they approach communities. One of the most significant ways that Children’s HopeChest differs from other international development organizations is that we take an asset-based approach toward serving communities. The difference in mindset between needs-based and asset-based support may seem like a small shift in perspective,

The post Asset-Based Development appeared first on Children's HopeChest.


          President Barack Obama Took Over 'The Colbert Report' Last Night        
"Stephen, you've been taking a lot of shots at my job, I decided I'm going to go ahead and take a shot at yours." 'The Colbert Report' host Stephen Colbert has been teasing his biggest show ever for awhile now, including a stopover in Washington, D.C. and a long-form chat with President Barack Obama, but even he can't possibly have foreseen how that event would turn out. Essentially, it resulted in the talk show host losing his job...to President Obama, who swept on to stage and hijacked the show from an aghast -- but totally willing -- Colbert, only to put his own spin on what it means to host a political chat show. Does Colbert have something to worry about? We vote yes. Continue reading…
          Il nome della rosa [RapidShare] (1986) (DVDRip)        
Scarica il film da RapidShare QUI
Scarica il film da BitShare QUI


Audio: 9 - Video: 9 (DVDRip)
Secondo me, il libro è molto meglio del film. Qui, infatti, gli errori non mancano ed è molto più forte la valenza anticristiana. Consiglio la lettura di un testo critico di Massimo Introvigne; la trovate QUI




In un monastero benedettino arrivano due monaci francescani, il più grande di questi, Guglielmo da Baskerville, deve partecipare ad un infuocato scontro teologico tra poveri francescani e ricchi domenicani, guidati questi ultimi dall'inquisitore Bernardo Gui. Il tutto dopo aver risolto una serie di assassinii tra monaci, che hanno oscurato l'immagine del convento.

          Î”ΕΙΤΕ ΤΟ ΠΡΟΓΡΑΜΜΑ ΤΟΥ ΔΕΚΕΜΒΡΙΟΥ ΣΤΟ ΜΜΣΤ        
ΠΡΟΓΡΑΜΜΑ ΕΚΔΗΛΩΣΕΩΝ ΔΕΚΕΜΒΡΙΟΣ 2011

ΜΑΚΕΔΟΝΙΚΟ ΜΟΥΣΕΙΟ ΣΥΓΧΡΟΝΗΣ ΤΕΧΝΗΣ

Tρίτη 29 Νοεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 20.30
Άφθιτος μνήμη μετ’ εγκωμίων: εκατό χρόνια από την κοίμηση του Παπαδιαμάντη, σε συνεργασία με τη Μακεδονική Καλλιτεχνική Εταιρεία ΤΕΧΝΗ. Συμμετέχουν : Χ. Καρατσινίδου, Π. Υφαντής, Στ. Παπαθανασίου και προβολή ταινίας


Τετάρτη 30 Νοεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 18.00-21.00
Λέσχη Ανάγνωσης ΚΑΦΕ - Μακεδονικό Μουσείο Σύγχρονης Τέχνης, Διοργάνωση: ΕΡΤ 3, Πληροφορίες: ΕΡΤ 3


Τετάρτη 30 Νοεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 19.00-21.00
ΜΑΘΗΜΑΤΑ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΜΟΥ 2011-2012 Η ΤΕΧΝΗ ΣΤΑ ΧΡΟΝΙΑ ΜΕΤΑ ΤΟΝ Β΄ ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΟ ΠΟΛΕΜΟ
Πολιτισμικό, ιστορικό πλαίσιο μετά τον Β΄ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο.
Αντώνης Λιάκος, καθ. Νεότερης Ιστορίας, Παν/μιο Αθηνών


Κυριακή 4 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 12.30
Παιδική Χορωδία Αγίας Τριάδας

Παρασκευή 9 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 21.00
Χορωδία ΑΝΑΤΟΛΙΑ

Παρασκευή 9 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 17.00-19.00
Σάββατο 10 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 11.30-13.30 και
Κυριακή 11 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 11.30-13.30
Παιδικό Χριστουγεννιάτικο Μπαζάρ του «Παίζω-Μαθαίνω-Δημιουργώ»
Τρίτη 13 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 20.30
Η Αθανασία Τσατσάκου συνομιλεί με τον Γιάννη Ατζακά: Από τη μεγάλη στη μικρή Ιστορία, σε συνεργασία με τη Μακεδονική Καλλιτεχνική Εταιρεία ΤΕΧΝΗ

Τετάρτη 14 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 18.00-21.00
Λέσχη Ανάγνωσης ΚΑΦΕ - Μακεδονικό Μουσείο Σύγχρονης Τέχνης, Διοργάνωση: ΕΡΤ 3, Πληροφορίες: ΕΡΤ 3

Τετάρτη 14 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 19.00
ΜΑΘΗΜΑΤΑ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΜΟΥ 2011-2012 Η ΤΕΧΝΗ ΣΤΑ ΧΡΟΝΙΑ ΜΕΤΑ ΤΟΝ Β΄ ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΟ ΠΟΛΕΜΟ
Αμερικανικός Αφηρημένος Εξπρεσιονισμός και ευρωπαϊκή τέχνη αμέσως μετά από τον Β΄ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο . Μιλτιάδης Παπανικολάου, καθ. Ιστορίας της Τέχνης, Α.Π.Θ.

Πέμπτη 15 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 19.30
Χριστουγεννιάτικη συναυλία του Σύγχρονου Ωδείου. Συμμετέχουν: Η Ορχήστρα, η Χορωδία και η Jazz μπάντα του Σύγχρονου Ωδείου.

Παρασκευή 16 Δεκεμβρίου 2011
Διανυκτέρευση στο Μουσείο-Sleepover για παιδιά από 8 έως 12 ετών. Σε συνεργασία με την Αντιδημαρχία Πολιτισμού, Παιδείας & Τουρισμού Δ. Θεσσαλονίκης. Δηλώσεις συμμετοχής τηλ. 2310280328

Σάββατο 17 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 13.00
Τα Χάλκινα

Κυριακή 18 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 12.30
Παιδική Χορωδία Κυρίλλου & Μεθοδίου

Τετάρτη 21 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 17.15-18.15 (Ομάδα Φουξ) και 18.45-19.45 (Ομάδα Σιέλ)
Γιορτή Παίζω Μαθαίνω Δημιουργώ με τους Γονείς μου!
Πιάνο θα παίξει η Γιολάντα Γυιόκα, καθηγήτρια Πιάνου.

Τετάρτη 21 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 17.00
ΜΑΘΗΜΑΤΑ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΜΟΥ 2011-2012 Η ΤΕΧΝΗ ΣΤΑ ΧΡΟΝΙΑ ΜΕΤΑ ΤΟΝ Β΄ ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΟ ΠΟΛΕΜΟ
Μεταμοντερνισμός και Αποδόμηση στην Αρχιτεκτονική και αλλού.
Πέτρος Μαρτινίδης, αν. καθ. Αρχιτεκτονικής, Α.Π.Θ.

Παρασκευή 23 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 18.00
Παιδική Χορωδία & Ορχήστρα Νέου Ωδείου Θεσσαλονίκης

Σάββατο 24 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, κατά την διάρκεια λειτουργίας του Μουσείου 10.00-14.00
Κάλαντα από την Παιδική Χορωδία Αγ. Τριάδος

Τετάρτη 28 Δεκεμβρίου 2011, ώρα 18.00-21.00
Λέσχη Ανάγνωσης ΚΑΦΕ - Μακεδονικό Μουσείο Σύγχρονης Τέχνης, Διοργάνωση: ΕΡΤ 3, Πληροφορίες: ΕΡΤ 3

Για όλες τις εκδηλώσεις μπορείτε να επισκέπτεστε την ιστοσελίδα του ΜΜΣΤ (www.mmca.org.gr ).
Το παρόν πρόγραμμα πιθανόν να υποστεί αλλαγές εφόσον συντρέξουν απρόβλεπτοι παράγοντες.
Για την ενημέρωσή σας, παρακαλούμε να μας αποστείλετε την ηλεκτρονική σας διεύθυνση στο
mm-invitation@mmca.org.gr
Μακεδονικό Μουσείο Σύγχρονης Τέχνης , Εγνατία 154 (ΔΕΘ-HELEXPO), 54636 Θεσσαλονίκη mmcart@mmca.org.gr, S. www.mmca.org.gr


           Don't Do Sleepovers At Your Friends House If His Mom Is Hot Like This         
MILF, Brunette, Handjob, Big Dick, Couple, Sensual, Blowjob, Doggy Style, Big Butt, Hardcore,
          Trust: The Power to Overcome Illiteracy        

"Like" us on Facebook: on.fb.me/N2vD24
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More than 200 million people live in Brazil and of that number a startling amount can not read to an advanced level. Although illiteracy rates have been going down -today only 6 % of Brazilians are considered illiterate - this is still significantly higher than most developed countries and many who do learn to read and write do so at rudimentary levels. Frighteningly, only 62% of Brazilians who finish university and 35% who finish high school are fully literate.

EMC is dedicated to improving these statistics and is partnering with the "AlfaSol Solidarity in Literacy" program to provide reading and writing education to students of all ages. Besides fully funding the course, EMC supplies eyeglasses to vision-impaired students encouraging even the most socioeconomically disadvantaged to enroll... and EMC employees participate in teaching and mentoring the students.

Cast: Dell Multimedia

Tags: brazil, rio de janeiro, rio, literacy, emc, technology, philantrhropy, community, poverty, fs100 and shapewlb


          Get on Board, or Get Out of the Way        
14th, 1984, aid, amendment, bush, campaign, channel, clear, Clinton, cnn, communications, compel,, consolidation, corporation, crisis, depression, disinformation, economic, economics, fiscal, fo,, freedom, George, germany, Government, hitler, homeless, inauguration, industrial, iraq, Israel, lakota, lakotah, libertarian, liberty, means, Media, military, monetary, murdock, news, obama, of, of state, orwell, orwellian, palestine, palestinian, policy, poverty, president, propaganda, rate, recession, republic, rockets, russell, secretary, Sioux, soldiers, sovereign, Sovereigns, sovereignty, time, toady, Tribe, USA, veterans, vets, w., war, warner, zionism, zionist, obama, president, whitehouse, white, house
          Election and Christ        

From heaven’s perspective, the ultimate end of election and the ultimate purpose behind God’s grace poured out on us is the eternal glorification of the Son.

But to understand God’s individual purpose in electing His people for salvation, we need to consider Romans 8:29: “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Conforming to Christlikeness

God’s elective purpose is not merely about the beginning of our salvation—He predestined us to the absolute perfection we will (by His grace) enjoy at the end of the process. Paul didn’t say, “He predestined them to be justified” but, “He also predestined them to become conformed to the image of His Son.”

When will that happen? It’s happening now, if you are a believer, even if the progress seems so slow as to be imperceptible. And it will be brought to instant completion “when He appears” (1 John 3:2). That is a reference to the second coming, when the bodies of the saints are resurrected and glorified. Thus redemption will be complete. The verse goes on to say, “we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” That’s what Romans 8:19 refers to as “the revealing of the sons of God.” And Christ then becomes the chief One among many who are made like Him.

As much as glorified humanity can be like incarnate deity, we’ll be like Christ, and He will not be ashamed to call us brothers. Paul said, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). What’s the prize of the upward call? Christlikeness. If someone is saved in order to be like Christ in glory, then his goal here is as much as possible—by the power of the Spirit—to be like Him now. That’s the goal all believers must press toward. We will be made like Christ, conformed to the image of the Son, and He will be the chief One among us all. This is the elective purpose of God. And nobody’s going to fall through the cracks. His perfect plan will come to pass, without fail.

There’s a remarkable conclusion to this in 1 Corinthians 15:24–28. A time is coming when the last enemy—death—will be abolished; when Christ, the King of the universe, will take His rightful throne and reign supreme because all enemies will be in subjection under His feet. All redeemed humanity will be gathered into glory and made like Jesus Christ. When all of that is done—”When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all” (v. 28).

That verse does not mean Christ takes a place of subordination or inferiority to the Father, but just the opposite. What that text suggests is that when the love gift of redeemed humanity has been given to Jesus Christ, He will take them and give it, along with Himself, back to the Father as a reciprocal expression of the same infinite love. Then (without divesting Himself of humanity or His role as our great High Priest) He takes His former place in the Godhead, to reign in His former, full, and glorious place at the Father’s right hand—”so that God may be all in all.”

Thus the doctrine of election cannot be taken as if it was an insignificant idea, or isolated as fodder for debate. It encompasses the whole of redemptive history.

Christ’s Role in the Grace of God

There’s one remaining component to address: the role that Jesus played. There had to come a point where the Father said to the Son, “In order to make this happen, You must go into the world and be the offering for their sins.” When Jesus said in John 6:38 that He came into the world to do the Father’s will, He meant that He had come to die. This is how precious the church is: it’s the Lord’s gift from the Father to the Son, but He had to sacrifice His Son to obtain it.

It is also precious because of what it cost the Son to receive this gift. In 2 Corinthians 8:9 we read, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” How rich is God? Boundlessly, infinitely rich. Jesus was rich spiritually with the riches of God, and yet He did something in order that you might become spiritually rich with the riches of God: He became poor.

Many theologians and commentators agree that, in this verse, Paul was giving a description of Jesus’ earthly financial condition—His earthly poverty and economic deprivation. But I would suggest that the Son’s earthly economic status is insignificant in terms of His redemptive work. The poverty spoken of here is not earthly economics; it is a divestiture of the prerogatives of His deity.

That poverty is defined in Philippians 2:6–8:

Although He [Christ] existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond‑servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

How poor did he become? Second Corinthians 5:21 tells us: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Those fifteen Greek words may be the most profound in the New Testament, and the greatest summary of the doctrine of justification. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin. What does that mean? Some of the “word of faith” teachers espouse this meaning: On the cross, Jesus became a sinner, and He needed to go to hell for three days to have His sins expiated through punishment, after which God released Him to the resurrection. Is that what it means that He became sin?

No—in fact, that’s blasphemous. Hanging on the cross, Jesus was as sinless and perfect as ever before or since. If He had been guilty of anything, He couldn’t have died for us. He was the spotless Lamb of God, without blemish; He was not a sinner.

In what sense, then, was He “made . . . sin”? One simple sense: On the cross Jesus was guilty of nothing, but the guilt of His people was imputed to Him—charged to His account. God treated Jesus as if He personally had committed every sin of every person who would believe. God treated Him that way, though in fact He committed none of them. God exploded the full fury of His wrath for all the sins of all who will ever believe against Jesus, and exhausted His wrath on Him. He did it on our behalf, in order that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

That’s why Jesus had to live all those years in perfect obedience: He needed to fulfill all righteousness, so that His life could be imputed to us. We’re not righteous; we all know that. On the cross Jesus wasn’t a sinner, but God treated Him as if He was. And although you’re not righteous, He treats you as if you are—because on the cross God treated Jesus as if He had lived your life, so that He could treat you as if you had lived His.

That’s imputation. That’s substitution—perhaps the greatest expression of God’s grace to us. Jesus came and became poor to exchange His life for yours, in order to fulfill the elective plan of God, that He might do the will of God perfectly and in the end give back to God the very love gift that the Father had given to Him.

Adaped from John MacArthur's book None Other.

       

          President Barack Obama 2013 Inauguration Speech        
2013 Presidential Inauguration Day - Preparati...
2013 Presidential Inauguration Day - Preparation - Capitol Building (Photo credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks)





Today President Barack Obama gave what will be known as a historic speech as far as LGBT Americans are concerned. It was the first time the word gay was used in an inaugural speech and it was used to speak about the need for equality. I was happy that my daughter was there in D.C. to hear her President speak so positively about her family. It was an amazing speech that drew on the fact that it was given on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and made comparison to the civil rights struggles, women's rights and rights for gay Americans. It will be exciting to see how this sets up the State of the Union address and this coming session of Congress. While I believe the President will not do the work for us, he may be willing to be a more active advocate for us. But, I do believe that this President likes to see the American people involved in the process. He wants to see us use our voices and do everything we can to be heard and help to move our elected officials to take action. We must continue to lead this fight. However, the President is clearly in our corner.

Watch the President's speech. Full transcript follows the video




The remarks of President Obama, as released by The White House and prepared for delivery: 
Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens: 
Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional — what makes us American — is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: 
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." 
Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed. 
For more than two hundred years, we have. 
Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together. 
Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers. 
Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play. 
Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life's worst hazards and misfortune. 
Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society's ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character. 
But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today's world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we'll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people. 
This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America's possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together. 
For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America's prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own. 
We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed. 
We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security — these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.
We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries — we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That's what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared. 
We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well. 
We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully — not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice — not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice. 
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. 
It is now our generation's task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm. 
That is our generation's task — to make these words, these rights, these values — of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness — real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time — but it does require us to act in our time. 
For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today's victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall. 
My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction — and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride. 
They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope. 
You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country's course. 
You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. 
Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom. 
Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.




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           Silicon Valley Homeless Taught Jargon Needed to Succeed         
Silicon Valley Homeless Taught Jargon Needed to Succeed

Silicon Valley Homeless Taught Jargon...
In an effort to help homeless people bootstrap themselves out of poverty and discover their added value to society, a cross-functional team of Silicon Valley executives was deployed to local homeless camps to teach mission-critical business and technology jargon.
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          Frequently Abused Verses: Was Jesus Poor So We Could Be Wealthy? (2 Corinthians 8:9)        

The prosperity gospel is neither a small nor isolated error. The fixation with money and material riches pervades the theology of its adherents, corrupting every aspect of their faith and doctrine. It is a comprehensive lie—one that skews the very nature of the gospel itself, distorting even the Person and work of Christ.

In particular, it assaults the nature of Christ’s atoning work on our behalf. Forgiveness of sins and imputed righteousness are of minor importance at best. Instead, prosperity preachers teach a version of the atonement that serves their material interests. And it all hinges on one verse: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Here’s how TBN televangelist Joseph Prince explains it:

On the cross, Jesus bore the curse of poverty! That is what the Word of God declares: “For you know the grace [unmerited favor] of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” Read 2 Corinthians 8 for yourself. The entire chapter is about money and being a blessing financially to those who are in need. So don’t let anyone tell you that the verse is referring to ‘spiritual’ riches.” [1] Joseph Prince, Unmerited Favor: Your Supernatural Advantage for a Successful Life (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2010), 29.

Prince is partly right—2 Corinthians 8 is about blessing others financially. But his fixation with money forces him to overlook the obvious flaw in his argument—that Paul was exhorting the Corinthians to give for the sake of other Christians in need. Apparently they had not been—as Prince promised his readers—delivered from “the curse of poverty.”

In verse 1 Paul commends the Macedonian Christians for the “wealth of their liberality” that flowed out of their “deep poverty.” Likewise, in verse 7 Paul reminds the Corinthians of their own spiritual riches: “Just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious [giving] work also.” The Corinthians and Macedonians were wealthy in many ways, just not in the specific way Joseph Prince is.   

Phil Pringle, another prosperity preacher and founder of the gigantic C3 Church in Sydney, Australia, leaves no doubt about his interpretation of 2 Corinthians 8:9—going so far as to offer his own paraphrase: “Jesus became poor regarding the wealth of this world on the cross, that those who receive Him may become rich with the wealth of this world.” [2] Phil Pringle, Dead for Nothing?: What the Cross Has Done for You (Tulsa, OK: Harrison House, 2007), 58.

Such is the corruption and greed of men like Prince and Pringle, that no subject is off limits in their quest to sanitize and sanctify their perverse love of money. At best, they minimize the forgiveness of sin and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness at the expense of physical health and material wealth. At worst, they do away with the spiritual components of Christ’s atoning work altogether.

That self-absorbed theology collapses under biblical scrutiny. John MacArthur points out the true nature of Christ’s earthly poverty:

This verse is not a commentary on Jesus’ economic status or the material circumstances of His life. . . . The Lord’s true impoverishment did not consist in the lowly circumstances in which He lived but in the reality that “although He existed in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6–7). [3] John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 2 Corinthians (Chicago: Moody Press, 2003), 291–92.

Christ was not a wealthy man, but He wasn’t especially poor, either. The poverty He endured was in contrast to the vast heavenly riches He willingly set aside during His incarnation:

Though as God, Jesus owns everything in heaven and on earth (Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 10:14; Job 41:11; Psalm 24:1; 50:12; 1 Corinthians 10:26), His riches do not consist primarily of what is material. The riches in view here are those of Christ’s supernatural glory, His position as God the Son, and His eternal attributes. . . . As the eternal second person of the Trinity, Jesus is as rich as God the Father. To the Colossians Paul wrote, “For in Him [Jesus] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9), and “[Jesus] is the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Hebrews 1:3). Arguments for Christ’s eternity and deity are inseparable. Since the Scriptures reveal Him to be eternal, and only God can be eternal, Jesus must be God. Therefore, He owns the universe and everything in it, possesses all power and authority (Matthew 28:18), and is to be glorified and honored (John 5:23; Philippians 2:9–11). [4]The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 2 Corinthians, 289–90.

Therefore, the riches Christ offers us surpass anything this world can offer. Material blessings don’t merely pale in comparison—they fade into oblivion when contrasted with the vast spiritual riches the Lord supplies. Justification, reconciliation, sanctification, and, eventually, glorification—the eternal benefits of salvation are beyond our comprehension. Peter described them as “an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for [believers]” (1 Peter 1:4).

And as John MacArthur explains, these are the riches we most desperately require:

Sinners desperately need the riches of Christ because they are spiritually destitute. They are the “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3), beggars with nothing to commend themselves. But through salvation, believers are made “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17), sharing His riches because they are made “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). The ultimate goal of their salvation is to be made like Him (1 John 3:2), to reflect His glory in heaven, “so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). [5]The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 2 Corinthians, 294.

Paul anticipated the lies of the prosperity gospel. In his letter to the Philippians, he described its promoters as “enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things” (Philippians 3:18-19). He charged the church to avoid such worldly distractions. Instead, Christians must fix their hearts on the eternal riches only Christ can provide.

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20–21)

       

          Macroeconomics        
Macroeconomics By: N. Gregory Mankiw Why have some countries experienced rapid growth in incomes over the past century while others stay mired in poverty? Why do some countries have high rates of inflation while others maintain stable prices? Why do all countries experience recessions and depressions recurrent periods of falling incomes and rising unemployment and how can government policy
          Comment on "No, John, Let’s Talk About Race", by Spencer Quinn        
Inasmuch as these largely fictive, more accurately ephemeral designations of the behaviors that inequality creates, actually happen (as opposed to exist), they are creditable to poverty and segregation and terrible peer support where the peers are unavailable or living under the fug of cognitive burden long-term poverty, exposure to violence and lead pipes - and...
          Comment on Should We Tax the Rich, or Leave Them Alone? by Robert Chapman        
The Trouble With Billionaires is That Too Many of Them Act Like the Koch Brothers. This concept is far too kind to the rich. Thei subversion of our economic futures is far more insidous than their role in politics. Look at call centers and computer programing, for example. What reason is there to send such jobs overseas? Does sending a call center for US products to the Phillipines or India make sense? Taking those jobs away from Americans lowers the standard of living here. This is only of many examples orf the American rich using their wealth directly against the well being of Americans. Our prolonged debt crisis has kep the bite of poverty from being obvious, but it cannot continue. Unlike famous third world kleptocrats like Mobutu or Mubarek, who only steal cash, American plutocrats are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs by offshoring the jobs that make middle class possible. Limiting the discussion to the effect the rich have on the political discussion merely serves to obscure how badly they are hurting us. We simply cannot afford the rich.
          Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children        
Mission Statement of the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty To affirm the Wesleyan heritage to care for the poor by encouraging “the people called Methodist” to serve children and youth at risk to poverty   http://www.panmethodistcampaignforchildren.org/booklet.html
          World War 2 Never Happened        
Here are just a few of the rules in my world…
In my reality:
I do not fear poverty, because I will always be rich.
Making £1,000,000 a month is not only possible, but a forgone event.
People like, trust, and respect me.
There is no business skill I cannot master.


I attract Top Tier prospects effortlessly because they can see that I share a similar reality to theirs.
For many of you, these things could never happen. You could never fathom a 7 figure income, and you could never imagine ultra-high caliber, 7-figure network marketers wanting to do business with you…

Hang with me on this one and I will prove this fact in the text below, but I’ll reveal the single most powerful secret in the world to you in the process.



No, I’m not a crazy conspiracy theorist, or smoking crack. Read this entire message and it will all make perfect sense.

Alright… So something pretty “out there” occurred to me over the couple of months.

You know… “What has this girl been smokin’?”, sort of stuff.


But when you consider the incredible transformation that has taken place for me in such a short period of time, something extra-ordinary must have popped into my little noggin :)
So for what’s it’s worth, here’s the underlying secret behind all of the little things that happened which brought the end result to life.


It’s the secret within all of the self-help books that you’ve probably read, but might have never really “gotten”. In fact, they probably left you more frustrated than when you started.
I can relate. It took me about 3 years to finally comprehend this secret.
Until you get this part of your life and your head where it needs to be, you will NEVER be successful. It is impossible.



You MUST get this right. There is no website, marketing system, lead source, or product that will save you. If you don’t get your head where it needs to be, everything else is just a waste of time, money, and efforts.

That’s why I dedicate an entire section of themillionairesbusinessclub.com every single month to personal development. It’s important, in fact it is crucial.


Because success in anything in life, including network marketing, is 90% mental, and 10% mechanical (executing the business).
This is going to sound strange. Very strange. But, here’s what you really need to “get”, and get fast…


Everyone of us lives in a different world and different reality.
In fact, there are six billion+ realities taking place on earth right now, this very moment. Six billion!

And every single one of them is different. With six billion different lists of rules for what is possible and what isn’t. With six Billion different perceptions of one event.



With six billion different ideas of what truth, morals, and justice mean.

You live in a completely different reality than everyone else. I live in a completely different reality than you do.


You make your rules.
I make mine.


You live by what you think is possible in your world. I live by what I think is possible in mine.

There are six billion+ people, living in six billion+ realities that are all different. And each person has created the rules that define their reality, or has adopted the rules of others.
And here is the key to all of it… You have the power to completely create the rules that define your reality. And you can do it instantly. What was impossible today, can be possible tomorrow if you desire it to be.

This is what God meant when he said that he would grant our every heart’s desire.

This is what Napoleon Hill describes in Think and Grow Rich.


You live in your own personal reality, limited by your own personal set of rules.



This is important:
In any situation, the ideas, concepts, and beliefs of the person with the strongest reality will be adopted by the other party.
Have you ever heard that saying that “sales are a transfer of belief from one person to another”? Well that’s what that means.


When a sale is made, it means that your belief, or your reality, was stronger than the other person’s, and so they adopted it. They bought what you were selling because they bought into your reality.
Don’t believe me?
I’ll prove it.


There is a remote tribe of people called the Huli living in remote areas of Papua New Guniea. Until recently, they have never been exposed to anyone or anything outside of their immediate area. They live in a world of endless forests with no other people. You and I truly do not exist.



There are no countries. There are no such things as plastic, steal, or paper. The only flying objects are birds, and man has never been to the moon. There are no governments and there is no stock-market.



The two world wars never took place. Electricity, telephones, and roads do not even show up in their dreams.
They could never comprehend the sight of a beach, or open ocean. Whales, sharks, and submarines? No way.

These things TRULY do not exist in their world, and they would DIE to protect their reality of the world, just has countless humans have died to protect their realities throughout history.


Yet, you and I know they are real.


We live in different realities, with different possibilities. But the Huli’s reality is just as real to them, as yours is to you.
So what does this mean to you and your business?
People attract others who live in realities similar to theirs.

MBC Revolution is all about attraction marketing.
And the point you must understand is that you will ONLY attract people who live in realities similar to yours…
This means that if you are sponsoring duds, it’s because deep-down, you believe you are a dud, and that is what’s coming through to others.


Why is it that some people can sponsor top tier individuals with almost no effort at all, while others continue to sponsor needy, broke people?

It’s easy… Your reality is a reflection of the way you see yourself inside.


If you TRULY believe you are already successful, then you will automatically do the things that successful people do, which will automatically attract other successful people.
You can’t fake it. You can try… But you can’t.
All of this stuff happens on it’s own, without a conscious intent or agenda. It’s just your reality. It’s just the “way things are”.
Most people try to “get successful” before they start to act successful.
It doesn’t work that way. The belief has to come first, which leads to correct actions, which brings the results.
And the best part, is that you’re only a decision away from creating your new reality…


Entrepreneurs decide to define their own reality. They have come to understand that they have this power.
They constantly create, and re-create the rules by which this world operates based on new experiences and new knowledge.

They continually expand their universe by accepting new rules of possibility discovered through reading, listening, and learning about the realities of others who have what they seek.


There are business building strategies and techniques which can change your life forever in minutes. Powerful things which are already part of other people’s reality.

All you need to do is expose yourself to these people’s worlds, and open yourself up to it. Be willing to adopt the rules they live by, and do business by.
And as you do, your rules will change. Things which were once impossible for you, will become possible.
Idea’s you’ve never had will start to flood you mind.
The outside world you live in will slowly begin to change as you place new rules upon it.
This is what happened to me when I found books by Mike Dillard, Perry Marshall, Dan Kennedy, and Joe Schroeder. New things… Impossible things came into my world about building a network marketing business.


They completely changed my set of rules and possibilities.

I made their realities mine, and in less than a year, I was making the kind of money that existed in their world.
And guess what’s happened since then?


NEWER realities have been seen… Realities where earning £100,000/mo is not even a big deal… Where earning £1,000,000+ per month is absolutely doable…

And the ability and means to accomplish these goals have presented themselves as well.


If you want to live a new life. A free life. The life of an entrepreneur… You must seek out people who live in the world you want, because the bus you ride now doesn’t stop there.
But before that, you must decide on what reality you want to live in… Define a new set of rules for it… Because you’ve got to hand the driver a new map with new stops.


Here are just a few of the rules in my world…
In my reality:
I do not fear poverty, because I will always be rich.
Making £1,000,000 a month is not only possible, but a forgone event.
People like, trust, and respect me.
There is no business skill I cannot master.


I attract Top Tier prospects effortlessly because they can see that I share a similar reality to theirs.
For many of you, these things could never happen. You could never fathom a 7 figure income, and you could never imagine ultra-high caliber, 7-figure network marketers wanting to do business with you…


Well, here’s the kicker…
You can, and they would… If, your reality, your belief level, was stronger than theirs.
If it is, they will absolutely buy into your world.


When your level of belief about a new rule you set for yourself becomes stronger than your current belief, then your world will change and you will have what you seek…
But not before.
Belief comes first. Results come second.


Define your new reality. Live it. Sleep it. Dream it. And your life will become it.

If you’d like to adopt the parts of my reality that helped me achieve spectacular results in business, then take the millionairesbusinessclub.com tour. It’s that simple.

Reading the books written by mentors allowed me to adopt THEIR realities, and achieve the same kind of results they did.



Thank you for your leadership,



Carole G Delglyn
Carole G Delglyn

The Spirit Temple
Millionaires Busniness Club
          Washington To Provide Universal Health Insurance Coverage        

Washington, D.C., Council member David Catania (I) on Monday proposed a $50 million plan that would require all district residents to obtain health insurance and provide subsidized care for those who qualify, the Washington Times reports (Emerling, Washington Times, 4/1). Catania, chair of the council's Committee on Health, said the Healthy D.C. bill would provide coverage for about 25,000 uninsured residents who are ineligible for Medicaid and the D.C. HealthCare Alliance. Under the program, residents with incomes lower than 200% of the federal poverty level would receive subsidies, paying monthly premiums between $20 and $100, depending on income. The plan would take effect in July 2009, and residents would have until January 2010 to enroll before fines of $250 would be assessed.

About $21 million of the cost would be paid by the city, and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield would contribute about $5 million. CareFirst also would make its provider network available to program beneficiaries. The plan would generate additional revenue by increasing the tax on commercial health care premiums from 1.7% to 2%, imposing a 2% premium tax on HMOs and doubling the cigarette tax to $2 per pack.

Catania said he has anticipated problems that could lead to higher costs, such as companies eliminating their insurance plans and uninsured people moving into the city to take advantage of the plan. He said the plan would mandate that businesses disclose health care programs on their tax returns and that residents live in the district for six months before applying for the program.

Carrie Brooks, a spokesperson for district Mayor Adrian Fenty, said the mayor is "supportive of the concept" of the plan, but he has not finished reviewing the details. Barbara Lang, president of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber supports the plan but has not seen a final version and plans to review the new taxes more closely (Nakamura, Washington Post, 3/29).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.


          Trimming a Wallnut Tree.        

 A poverty stricken local farmer sold a field at the back of where I live to speculators who built an estate bordering my back garden where I have a wallnut tree that hangs over the gardens of the rabbit houses that were built.

Sooner or later there will be complainst so could anyone please let me know what time of the year one shold prune such trees? 


          Reasonably fast growing ornamental conifers.         

A poor poverty stricken farmer has sold the field behind where I live and where I used to be able to see Deer, Pheasant's and other wild life filling it with second rate housing which I want to block the sight of.

I think that a few tall reasonably fast growing ornamental conifers would do the job strategically placed. I would even consider paying for pot grown trees that are already a decent height.

Could someone please advise as the very sight of those rabbit box hoses depresses me.


          Made in Baltimore: A Renewed Sense of Hometown Pride        
Pop-Up Shop’s furniture showroom floor. Photo by: Andy Cook, Baltimore City Planning Department’s Office of Sustainability.

The following appeared in the U.S. Economic and Development Administration (EDA) May 2017 Success Story series.

Small businesses in Baltimore are getting a boost as a result of a $110,000 EDA Local Technical Assistance Program (PDF) grant that was awarded in 2016 to help the Baltimore City Department of Planning launch its Made in Baltimore program.

Made in Baltimore aims to spur re-investment in Baltimore City by growing the market for locally-produced goods. They do this by supporting makers and manufacturers through the local-brand certification program, promotion and marketing events, and business development services. Local craft shops, breweries, manufacturers and many other companies that make products in the “Charm City” are proud to stamp that Made in Baltimore seal on each and every one of their products signifying that honorable hometown pride.

“The Made in Baltimore program helps to elevate the presence of maker and manufacturing companies in Baltimore,” said Andy Cook, coordinator of the Made in Baltimore program at the Baltimore City Planning Department’s Office of Sustainability. “Makers and manufactures in the city are selling products, hiring people, and staying open for business and creating a renewed sense of pride for our local economy.”

Baltimore city has been hit hard with a struggling economy due to decades of population losses and poverty.  The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 23.7 percent of city residents were living in poverty in 2015.  But despite the odds, according to Glassdoor.com, Baltimore ranked 17 out of 25 last year as one of America’s top cities for job opportunities.

Made in Baltimore’s sprawling efforts are a big part of helping the city to rev up its economic engine!  The program has spearheaded a series of five Pop-Up Shops at different locations throughout the city.  These Pop-Up shops allow Made in Baltimore associated companies an opportunity to showcase their products, promote entrepreneurship and engage networking opportunities. The first Pop-Up Shop opened in 2015 featuring more than 80 local vendors with a wide variety of products ranging from furniture to clothing and beauty products, to food and beverages.  In 24 days of operation, the shop collected more than $20,000 in sales and connected several vendors to large purchasers and substantial contracts.

The most recent Pop-Up Shop took place last holiday season from November to December with 50 local businesses that generated more than $30,000 in sales. This holiday shop was so successful that the concept is being replicated by a local retailer on an ongoing basis. Made in Baltimore has plans for two additional Pop-Up Shops this summer.

“The Made in Baltimore program is helping to bring a 'farmer’s market mentality' (such as 'farm to table') through educating our consumers,” said Jeremiah Jones, co-owner of SewLab USA, a Baltimore based soft goods manufacturing company that participated in the Made in Baltimore program.  “With the Made in Baltimore seal, we as consumers can make a well informed decision to buy locally made products that help create jobs and pave the way to local sustainable manufacturing.”

The program has also launched a series of workshops that will help small business owners with startup support services including access to capital, marketing strategies, and best practices. The program is just one of countless examples how EDA helps business to grow and thrive.

“We are proud to elevate the presence of these Baltimore companies,” adds Cook. “These are the kinds of businesses that give Baltimore its character, and create meaningful, living-wage jobs for our city’s residents.”


          From little things, big things grow...        

Took the Children Away, Archie Roach, 2006

Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Wednesday 13th February 2008


To quote Kerry O'Brien, journalist today 'Can't wait for the big things...'

And as always, Mez says it better...





From Little Things, Big Things Grow - Paul Kelly, Kev Carmody and John Butler - Make Poverty History

          Adoption Blogger Interview Project 2012 - Meet Lynn        
I mentioned last month that I had decided to participate in the Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012.  This project is put on by Heather at Production, Not Reproduction in connection with Open Adoption Bloggers.  The project helps celebrate Adoption Awareness Month and gives us an opportunity to get to know fellow bloggers.

I was paired with Lynn of Open Hearts, Open Minds.  Lynn and her husband Tim have a fantastic little boy Elliot who they adopted at birth three years ago.  It was terrific getting to know Lynn through her blog and our email correspondence.  Lynn lives in Michigan so geographically we are not that far away.  Talking with her made me think of the four years I spent in Windsor.  In particular the two years I lived directly under the Ambassador Bridge to Detroit.  Oh university life... lol.

Lynn is a writer and among other projects has written a few children's books, one based on a story she wrote for Elliott about his adoption.  Lynn's blog was a joy to read.  She talks not only about her open adoption with Elliott's birth family but also about raising her son, travel and life in general.  I found her posts on bilingual parenting especially interesting since I would love to teach myself and Gaby Italian.  Lynn is teaching her son Spanish and has an amazing grasp on it herself even though it is not her first language.

Below is my interview with Lynn.  If you would like to read her interview with me you can find it here.  Heather has posted a list of all the interview project pairs on her blog if you are interested in exploring any of the other interviews.


Me:When we as potential adoptive parents make the decision to adopt we learn allot throughout the adoption process.  Our families do not always have this same opportunity.
 
You talk allot in your blog about adoption being the way Elliot joined your family not one of his defining characteristics.  Do you find this is a point you have to remind friends and family of (eg. positive adoption language)?

Lynn:Fortunately, no…we have not often had to remind family and friends to use positive adoption language. I have had a few situations where acquaintances have referred to Elliot’s birth parents as “his parents” and I’ve immediately corrected them. I’m hyper-vigilant about people saying things like “he is adopted” (defining characteristic) vs. “he was adopted” (one-time event), although this has rarely come up.

 
Me:In response to an open adoption bloggers prompt that stated "open adoption is about information sharing" you spoke about how you felt open adoption was about love.  Over the years has your opinion on this changed at all? Why?
 
Lynn:I’m not a big fan of rereading my own writing, so I’m not going to go back and see what I wroteJ However, I do feel that love is at the heart of our (and any successful) open adoption. Love – and wanting to do the best thing for their unborn child -- was the motivating factor beyond Elliot’s birth parents’ adoption decision. Love – of each other and of the idea of growing our family – was what prompted Tim and me to explore adoption. Although it’s not really expressed, I think love is the underlying current that connects Elliot’s birth parents and us.

And of course, parenting is love, and the love I feel for Elliot is hard to put into words. 
  
 
Me:When you adopted Elliot his birth parents were still together. Are they still? If so how do you think Elliot will feel about this as he gets older?

Lynn:They are still together, but I don’t feel that their relationship with each other should in any way affect how Elliot feels about their adoption decision. A lot of birth mothers make an adoption decision because they are in a situation where they would otherwise have to parent alone, and that’s valid. However, it’s a misconception to think that all birth parents (usually birth mothers) decide on adoption as an alternative to single parenthood.

Not everyone wants to be a cook. Not everyone is cut out to be a runner. In the same way, not every person in this world is meant to be a parent. Elliot’s birth parents love him, but realized that they shouldn’t be his parents. That’s what I plan to tell Elliot as he gets older, and I’m confident he’ll understand.

Me:You have said that you do not have and would not have wanted an open adoption agreement.  In Ontario it is required that an open adoption agreement be signed.  It is part of the paperwork reviewed by the ministry of child and youth services before granting finalization of an adoption.     
Looking back if you would have been required to have an openness agreement would it have changed the level of openness you were willing to have? Why?

Lynn:A theoretical question of this type is hard to answer. It makes me think of a marriage pre-nuptial agreement. We had no reason to have one, so don’t. But, if it were legally-mandated, we would.

Likewise, Tim and I would have obviously agreed to an openness agreement if it were mandated by law. However, I’m not sure that I would have been comfortable stating that we’d get together with Elliot’s birth parents once a month or so, which was our verbal agreement. I think perhaps we would have agreed in writing to a lesser degree of openness, but would have hoped to have the level of contact we have currently.

 
Me:There are many stereotypes about birth mothers.  They are all teenagers, unwed, drug users, poverty stricken, eg...  Have you ever had someone assume that Elliot's birth parents fit one of these stereotypes? How did you handle the situation?

Lynn:Elliot’s birth parents do not fit any of the popular stereotypes, but people often assume that they do. In the beginning, people would often ask, “Are they really young?” as if assuming this would be the only reason someone would decide not to parent. When this has happened, I’ve simply explained that their age didn’t have anything to do with their decision and that they simply had never wanted to be parents…so, they made the wise decision not to be. People generally seem surprised, but they always “get” it.
 
Me:In your blog you discuss how at times it is difficult to determine when it is important to tell people Elliot was adopted and when to leave it alone.  You make a great point in saying that eventually it should be Elliot's decision who should be told and in what circumstances. It is his story...

Our daughter is only 9 months old and I already struggle with this.  Do you have any advice on how to deal with these situations? 

Lynn:Elliot is only three years old, so you might have to check back with me in a few years!

In part because all of the important people in our lives obviously already know that Elliot joined our family by adoption, it’s not something that comes up nearly as frequently as it used to. When Elliot was a baby, I felt that I needed to tell people that we adopted Elliot -- sometimes, because people in the neighborhood suddenly saw us with a baby after I hadn’t been pregnant; sometimes, when other mothers were sharing stories about their birth and breastfeeding experiences, which I couldn’t relate to.

Today, the fact that Elliot is not our biological child really only comes up at doctor’s appointments. It’s not a secret by any means; it’s just not relevant to our day-to-day lives.

I anticipate that the topic may come up more when Elliot is older. When he’s old enough to understand, I plan to discuss with him how and when we should deal with any questions that may arise.


I would like to say thank you to Lynn for participating in the interview project this year and also to Heather for all of her hard work.  Without her there would be no interview project.






          In Rio's Favelas, Hoped-For Benefits From Olympics Have Yet To Materialize        
In the opening ceremony of Rio's Olympic Games, Brazil's favelas, or shantytowns, were showcased as the birthplace of a lot of Brazil's culture. That was showbiz. In three of the most iconic communities, the reality of how these Olympics are affecting favela residents is more complicated. Brazil is one of the most unequal countries in the world. In Rio, at least 25 percent of the population lives in impoverished communities. Take Santa Marta. Perched above Rio's expensive South Zone, it's the city's most internationally famous favela. Michael Jackson filmed the video for "They Don't Care About Us" here, and in response, the community has gotten a lot of attention over the years. It's sponsored by a paint company, so all the ramshackle housing is covered in pastels. It was the first favela to get community police when Rio launched its " pacification " program. These days, there is a bronze statue of Jackson, arms outstretched, in the middle of a small square surrounded by gift shops.
          Leveling, Squaring, and Tramming Your CNC Machine        
Leveling, Squaring, and Tramming Your CNC Machine

Calibration and tuning your CNC machine will help you achieve consistent and reliable results. There are three primary procedures we recommend after initial machine assembly (and before creating the spoilboard).

  • Table Leveling adjusts leveling-feet so that your machine's two table axes (Y) move along the same nominal XY plane.
  • Gantry Auto Squaring Calibration ensures that your machine's table axes (Y) are coordinated, perpendicular to the machine gantry axis (X).
  • Spindle/Router Tramming verifies that your spindle/tool is making cuts square to the XY plane (primarily concerned with Left/Right adjustment).
Source Files (Fusion 360 Project and CAD-Neutral Files)
How-To Video Walkthrough

Table Leveling
A convenient method to ensure the table axes are aligned along the same plane is to use a long (4 ' or more) level and adjust the leveling feet such that the table is level along x, y and diagonally.
When to Re-Check: When your machine is moved to a new location in the shop.
Gantry Auto-Squaring Calibration
Our machines use a dual gantry drive architecture, meaning there are independently driven axes moving each side of the gantry. They synchronize their motion and auto-square your gantry by homing to their respective Y and Slave axis home sensors. By adjusting these two sensors you can adjust the squareness of the gantry to your machine table.
There are multiple methods that will test if a gantry is square. This is the procedure that we use and recommend. Once this is performed the machine can be re-homed and automatically re-squared by using the "REF ALL HOME" button on the operator panel at any time in the future.
Step 1: Install the Y and Slave "Home" sensors the same depth (or count the exposed threads). For machines with red bumper plates, leaving the sensors exposed 3/4" thru the plate is typical.
Step 2: Home the machine using REF ALL HOME (if this is your first time, check out our initial setup video here).

Step 3: Download the Vectric or Fusion calibration project (above under Source Files) and create (or use DXF to create) the calibration test toolpath files (operations are pre-configured).

Step 4: Using a1/4" end mill, run the calibration test program to create four dowel hole locations.

Step 5: Install dowels (or 1/4" tool shanks will do, just be careful not to cut yourself).

Step 6: Measure outside edge to outside edge on each diagonal with a construction square or ruler and confirm they are the same approximate lengths.

Step 7: If they are the same, you are done! Otherwise, adjust the Y axis or Slave axis sensor as needed and go back to Step 4.

When to Re-Check: When the Y or Slave Home sensors are moved, adjusted, or replaced.

Spindle/Router Tramming

We recommend using a 1/2" or larger flat tool to surface a small test region of a board. Customers will typically use a small 2 'x2 ' or off-cut of MDF for this.

Step 1: Using our Vectric or Fusion 360 project (or using your own), export gcode that will surface a test board with the surfacing running parallel to the Y (table) axis of the machine. Note: The stepover should be nearly the radius of the tool so that an out-of-tram condition will be more obvious, we recommend 90% stepover with most tools for this test.

Step 2: Run the test surfacing program (ideally in multiple places) on your CNC machine.

Step 3: The resulting surfacing should be smooth with minimal ridges between passes. If it is not, which side the ridges are formed will indicate if the spindle needs to be adjusted clockwise or counter-clockwise.

Step 4: If there are ridges, go back to step 2.

When to Re-check: When the spindle mount is moved or adjusted.


New in: Instructions & Configuration
          BANG BANG: Adam Hartzell        
[BANG BANG is our week-long look back at 20!!, or "Twenty-bang-bang," or 2011, with contributions from all over aiming to cover all sorts of enthusiasms from film to music to words and beyond.]


by Adam Hartzell

I spend most of my time watching movies out of sync with my time and place. Since I prefer cinema from elsewhere, only one U.S. film makes my Top Ten, though it does make the top spot. Work and financial constraints keep me from traveling abroad for film festival premieres, which means I have to wait until they make it here to San Francisco. So my Top Ten lists usually say something about my cosmopolitan dreams that are anchored awake by my restricted finances and mobility. But here are 10 films which were released this year, or made their way to Bay Area festivals in 2011, about which I have found myself still ruminating in a positive way since they shined their light and heat on my eyes.
 
10. Passion (Khusel Shunal) (Byamba Sakhya, 2010, Mongolia) I knew nothing about Mongolian cinema until this documentary about said cinema, told through a lonely road movie, found its way into the program of this year's San Francisco Asian American International Film Festival. Now I want to know more, which is ironic since the film presents a pessimistic view of Mongolian cinema's future. But it's at least caught the fascination of one viewer even more isolated from this nation's cinema than the Mongolian residents portrayed in the documentary.

9. Aurélie Laflamme's Diary (Christian Laurence, 2010, Canada) A French language film from Quebec that was part of the NY/SF International Children's Film Festival that ran from October 21-23 at Viz Cinema, it ended up winning an audience award. I would have voted for it as well, had I seen it in the theater along with that awarding audience rather than on DVD for an sf360.org overview I wrote on the festival. It's a teen film that doesn't have to throw an American-Pie in our faces thinking that will entertain the kids and kidults. Marianne Verville is a refreshing presence in the lead role, allowed to be awkward in what is an awkward time of our lives. Plus, although she gets the boy the genre demands, she isn't swan-ed away from her duckling beginnings.


8. The Trip (Michael Winterbottom, 2011, United Kingdom) I am still laughing about the scene where Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are riffing on announcing the inexact time of an ancient battle. Adding to this comedic pleasure was that I got to laugh at this scene along with a friend I hadn’t seen in some time whom I randomly ran into in the lobby of The Bridge theatre before the screening. It was a nice day in the Richmond neighborhood thanks to the run-ins such local establishments afford.


7. Oki's Movie (Hong Sang-soo, 2010, South Korea) I got to see three of my favorite director’s films for the first time this year. (The others were Ha Ha Ha on DVD because I couldn't make the screenings at the San Francisco International Film Festival and The Day He Arrives on screen at the Starz Denver Film Festival in mid-November with the proprietor of the Coffee, Coffee and More Coffee blog, Peter Nellhaus.) Thanks to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, I was able to watch Oki's Movie in the theatre in late June after having already seen it on DVD to prepare a piece for sf360. I'm biased in that I always find something to ruminate on endlessly in a Hong film (even with my least favorite, Woman Is the Future of Man). But Oki's Movie seems to have won over those who haven't been fans of his work. I think a big reason is the auditioning of men in Oki's movie nested within "Oki's Movie" that Andrew Tracy expertly analyzes in the Fall 2010 issue of Cinema Scope magazine.

6. The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls (Leanne Pooley, 2009, New Zealand) Finally getting the theatre release it deserved, The Topp Twins graced our local screens outside of the film festivals that started the momentum (Frameline in 2010 and Mostly British in 2011). I own the DVD and saw the film in the theatre three times, once each at those festivals and once in Berkeley at Shattuck Cinemas with my cousin when it was released. Even after all these screenings, I'm still moved by how much major moments of the lives of these yodeling, country singing lesbian twins are tied up with major political successes in New Zealand history. I am still giddy about getting to meet them for an interview for sf360, the most nervous I have ever been for an interview.

5. Poetry (Lee Chang-dong, 2010, South Korea) Poetry definitively represents what I have been appreciating lately about South Korean cinema - how much it has opened up cinematic space for its senior actresses. Yun Jung-hee came out of retirement for this virtuoso performance of Lee Chang-dong's as he continues to explore the life of the outsider in South Korea. During my first draft of this brief commentary on Poetry, I went into a rant about how, if there failed to be a Best Actress nom nod to Yun, the Oscars would continue to be irrelevant in my cinematic life. But after writing that draft, I went to talk with Brian Darr of Hell on Frisco Bay blog and he informed me the Los Angeles Critic Circle gave Yun their Best Actress award. As a result, I put my seething rage at the Oscars as a failed institution back into its cage to be unleashed some other day.


4. The Salesman (Sébastian Pilote, 2011, Canada) I am someone upon whom car commercials fail to make the intended impact. I don't desire the products they advertise. And I don't buy into the false sense of freedom the commercials purport to symbolize. (The streets are usually much more crowded than as portrayed in the commercials and buying a car shackles you with debt, high gas prices, and vast acres of asphalt requirements for roads and parking.) That said, I'm primed to appreciate the tragedy in The Salesman, a perfect example of a genre I'm calling 'Post Peak Oil Cinema', where the life of a successful car salesman is turned on its head by the very products he sells so successfully. The Salesman is a sad, sad film that doesn't pummel you but rather slowly piles upon you like the snow that surrounds this little Quebec town.

3. The Life of Fish (Matías Bize, 2010, Chile) My wife and I caught this film during our yearly Caltrain trip to Cinequest in San Jose because it fit with our schedule and it's one of those happy accident, eeny-meeny-miney-mo(e)ments where you select a film with no real sense of what you are getting yourself into and you realize the programmers have made an excellent choice for you. In this film, we travel through a party held in a single house as our main character relives his younger self through his memories and those of others. Simple, poignant, and delightful.


2. Nostalgia for the Light (Patrico Guzmán, 2010, France/Chile/Germany) This was a truly amazing film I saw in the Dolby screening room as part of the press screenings for the San Francisco International Film Festival this year. Guzmán’s pairing of professional astronomers with amateur archaeologists works on so many levels. Even though the archaeologists are searching for the remains of family members killed by their own government, somehow, in spite of all this, Guzmán leaves us with tremendous hope for humanity.

1. Deaf Jam (Judy Lieff, 2011, USA) I have not had the experience with a film for a long time like I had with Lieff’s documentary about high school Deaf poets venturing out into the venues of a (hearing) poetry slam. Cinema transfixed me again at the Mill Valley Film Festival like it did the first time I could not stopping about the impact a film had on me. Lieff captures the vibrancy of American Sign Language through several tactics of translation. Her willingness to mess with the text of subtitling the poems in the opening sequence is mesmerizing. At the same time, she even took the risk not to translate the ASL later in the film and it is just as powerful sans subtitles. Mixed in with this story of the life of young Deaf folk is a story about the struggles of immigrant children whose parents’ citizenship comes after they enter adulthood and a friendship between a young Israeli Jew and Palestinian Muslim. Lieff and the subjects of her documentary show us how ASL is as perfect a language of cinema as any other, leaving you hoping Lieff and the students she films don’t stop here. We need these stories. We need this kind of active, engaged cinema.


________________________________

Adam Hartzell is totally bummed that sf360.org is no longer publishing because he had a blast writing for them for three years. He continues to write for Brian Darr's San Francisco film blog, Hell on Frisco Bay, and the premier English language website on South Korean cinema, Koreanfilm.org. He began this year as a guest on an episode of the VCinema podcast where he discussed the original version and the recent re-visioning of the South Korean classic The Housemaid (MP3). He has had a few magazine pieces in Kyoto Journal, a chapter on The Power of Kangwon Province for The Cinema of Japan and Korea (Wallflower Press), and next year he will have a bunch of essays in the upcoming publication of World Directory of Cinema: Korea (Intellect, Ltd.).

          A conjunction of quotations #13        
— edited by Ryland Walker Knight

by Paul Nozolino
— Paul Nozolino

1.

We don't even know if what ends in daylight terminates in us as useless grief, or if we are just an illusion among shadows, and reality just this vast silence without wild ducks that fall over the lakes where straight and stiff reeds swoon. We know nothing. Gone is the memory of the stories we heard as children, now so much seaweed; still to come is the tenderness of future skies, a breeze in which imprecision slowly opens into stars. The votive lamp flickers uncertainly in the abandoned temple, the ponds of deserted villas stagnate in the sun, the name once carved into the tree now means nothing, and the privileges of the unknown have been blown over the roads like torn-up paper, stopping only when some object blocked their way. Others will lean out the same window as the rest; those who have forgotten the evil shadow will keep sleeping, longing for the sun they never had; and I, venturing without acting, will end without regret amid soggy reeds, covered with mud from the nearby river and from my sluggish weariness, under vast autumn evenings in some impossible distance. And through it all, behind my daydream, I'll feel my soul like a whistle of stark anxiety, a pure and shrill howl, useless in the world's darkness.
— Fernando Pessoa

2.

C. Bergvall says space is doubt—
What emerges then?
Something cast in aluminum from a one-half scale model of a freight shed
Intrication
The slight smudge of snow in the shadow of each haycock in the still-green field
The hotel of Europe. Its shutters.
Fields and woods oscillate as in Poussin
While the vote is against renewed empire, or at least capital temporarily
Each wants to tell about it but not necessarily in language
— Lisa Robertson

3.

Walked through Covent Garden; there were five of their mimes knocking about. I don't understand why people take pictures of mimes. Everyone looks like a mime in a picture.
— Karl Pilkington

4.

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To where were the foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
— Job, 38:4-7 º

5.

English has a hard time speaking the deed, articulating the event. We can speak actively — I love you — or passively: I am loved. But it's difficult to speak in a way that is neither active nor passive, that is both active and passive: loving. Which is to say, it's difficult to speak with the world because either we're doing things to it or things are being done to us.
— Daniel Coffeen

6.

There’s no need to invoke the Beyond when talking about Dreyer. Neither God, nor master. Just soul, that’s all. A gospel of images, that’s all. That the images happen to be sharp, ultra-sharp, is a plus – a ‘bonus’, as people say these days. The essential thing in Dreyer (as in Fassbinder, the master of cinema after cinema, which obviously needs a master) is what he tells, not how he tells it. What he sings, if you like. Oh, you don't like, you want your short-order review of Ordet. And what does Ordet even mean? It means ‘the word’. And that means there is speech, and that this speech matters. Is that too complicated for you? Tough luck.
— Louis Skorecki

7.

The logic of artistic construction and esthetic appreciation is peculiarly significant because they exemplify in accentuated and purified form the control of selection of detail and of mode of relation, or integration, by a qualitative whole. The underlying quality demands certain distinctions, and the degree in which the demand is met confers upon the work of art that necessary or inevitable character which is its mark. Formal necessities, such as can be made explicit, depend upon the material necessity imposed by the pervasive and underlying quality. Artistic thought is not however unique in this respect but only shows an intensification of a characteristic of all thought. In a looser way, it is a characteristic of all nontechnical, non-"scientific" thought. Scientific thought is, in its turn, a specialized form of art, with its own qualitative control. The more formal and mathematical science becomes, the more it is controlled by sensitiveness to a special kind of qualitative considerations. Failure to realize the qualitative and artistic nature of formal scientific construction is due to two causes. One is conventional, the habit of associating art and esthetic appreciation with a few popularly recognized forms. The other cause is the fact that a student is so concerned with the mastery of symbolic or prepositional forms that he fails to recognize and to repeat the creative operations involved in their construction. Or, when they are mastered, he is more concerned with their further application than with realization of their intrinsic intellectual meaning.
— John Dewey

8.

My difficulty is only an — enormous — difficulty of expression.
— Wittgenstein

9.

Somebody go fetch me a preacher
So I can buy the rights...
I wanna love you!
— The Mighty Hannibal

10.

I’ve been dancing so long, I don't know. Maybe. I don't know, I’m not against the idea. Again, it’s like these guys in the play entering middle age. You say, well, what stopped me from this, and was it the other person, or was it in me? And I don’t have the full answer for that. I was never really settled in being an actor, what I wanted to really do in my mind was think, Okay, let me settle that first because then I’ll do this. Because if you get married and have kids you should shovel shit for them, you really should. When I was 25 or 35, "shoveling shit" in my parlance would mean doing really crappy movies, intentionally making crappy movies I didn't want to do. I mean, I had some that came out crappy, but it was never the ideal.
— Jason Patric

11.

We're going to turn this team around 360 degrees.
— Jason Kidd

12.

Sometimes it’s unfair, because of how strong I am.
— LeBron James

13.

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze distance.

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.
— Wallace Stevens

14.

The bowl that emerged was one of those gifts whose first impact produces in the recipient's mind a colored image, a blazoned blur, reflecting with such emblematic force the sweet nature of the donor that the tangible attributes of the thing are dissolved, as it were, in this pure inner blaze, but suddenly and forever leap into brilliant being when praised by an outsider to whom the true glory of the object is unknown.
— Vladimir Nabokov

15.

Forgiving is never as easy as we would like. Apparently quite a lot of people cried.
— Karen Green
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          Balochistan: Join hands to dismantle Sardari System and Sardars hold on people        


Source: Baloch Youth Network

Chief Minister Balochistan, Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri has said that traditions such as brotherhood, tolerance, hospitality and respect for each other were the identity of our province. “Keeping all these traditions alive and intact is our joint responsibility,” he added.

Chief Minister Balochistan expressed these views during a traditional ceremony of nomination of newly designated Sardar (Chief) of Jattak Baloch tribe, Sardar Ali Muhammad Jattak.

Nawab Zehri said that being Chief of Jhalwan was more important for him as compared to the slot of Chief Ministership. “Today I am so glad that we are promoting the centuries old tradition which dates back from the period of Khan Naseer Khan Noori,” he remarked.

“Such steps help avoid disputes,” he added. He said that God had made tribes so that we could identity each other’s thus we should intact our traditions and values through promoting love, brotherhood and tolerance in our society.

The Sardari system is a tool to oppress people and keep them underprivileged, denying education, social and economic development. In this system only Sardars will enrich themselves at the cost of people’s underdevelopment and ignorance .

The Government promote this system for it’s benefits as majority of people will be under Sardars and dealing with them is easy. In the 21st century Baloch people should rethink whether to support this Sardars and Sardari system. Our poets already cautioned us about corrupt influence of Sardars  on people. 

 For Tribal elite- Sardars,  anything is moral that serves the interests of their class. They don’t hesitate to join hands to crush Baloch  commons and their leaders. Sardars problem is that, due to their upbringing by their  parents, like conservatives, they  know and see the past much better than the future. Or, more accurately,  they see the future as a continuation of the past.

Their arrogance, thoughtlessness and irresponsible behaviour of Sardars is rocking the very  foundations of Baloch society, bringing it to point of inevitable collapse.

It is time to start building a new Balochistan and new Baloch by the baloch for the baloch . And this is where a vision of the future appears to be much more important than an understanding of the past. We the Baloch youth should join hands to collectively dismantle the Sardari system and iron grip of Sardars on out public affairs.

The below poem will be inspirational for youth to get motivated.

Socialism-I-Amal

Today, the world is changing fast 

Socialism’s charm is in full swing 

Sindh’s Wadera, with a bank balance of millions 

Is telling Lenin how socialism should be 

Punjab’s rich and pompous Chaudary 

Is twisting and twining socialism 

Khan Sahib (of The Pashtuns), whose pockets are full of cash 

Is (pretending to be) trembling in agony [like the strings of a violin] 

On the pain of the proletariat 

Mir Sahib (of the Balochs) is looting the impoverished Baloch farmers (not the big landlords) 

On pretext of enacting land reforms (like Mao) 

Even as I am uttering these words 

The fire burning in my heart is barbecuing it 

The dacoit has donned the mendicant’s garments 

The murderer’s thoughts are of earning rewards from God 

The defendant wants to be the judge 

Thieving pigs desire to be compared to friends of the Prophet 

The wolf yearns to be made the shepherd of the sheep 

The cat dreams of getting pieces of fresh meat 

The mouse is craving for flour 

The jackal is impatient to get its hands on the hen 

The rich and powerful are asleep 

The black snake (the bourgeoisie) is burning 

The bosses’ brains are located in their heels 

The ship of their thoughts is sailing towards a mirage

These Mirs and Waderas fail to realize 

That imperialism is about to leave (its foot is in the stirrup) 

The poor labourers and farmers 

Have their loins girded, and are ready for a revolution 

The age of flattery has gone 

Now things will happen as they do in the books 

The public have become their own masters 
The bubble of the aristocrats is about to burst 

Take a look at the tides of change 

Nasir is moving forward with the red flag

by Mir Gul Khan Nasir


          #ChinaVsJinping : Military Reforms, PLA Trimming and New Operational Head        

 Source : NewsBharati  Date : 04-Aug-2017

 Vinay Joshi

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12

In first two parts of China Vs Jinping, we have analysed fallouts of Jinping’s anti-corruption purge of politico-military leadership and his merciless crackdown on Military Business Empire of People’s Liberation Army including huge human organ trade and transplant industry. Both steps have created much uproar in China as those arrested and prosecuted in the sweeping campaign were powerful in their respective fields. After assuming the office, Jinping had vowed to catch “Tigers and Flies” engulfed in corruption, which was veiled reference to all ranging from “Top to Bottom” irrespective of their position, fame, persona and honour in public and party life.

 

In this paper (3rd in a series) we will go through Jinping’s ambitious structural reforms in Chinese armed forces on command and organizational level, integration of all services into one, cohesive, tri services integrated theatre command abolishing supremacy of PLA commanders, dominated by infantry officers. These reforms are similar to US reforms of its armed forces which were based on United States’ The Goldwater–Nichols Act-1986, to solve the problems caused by inter-service rivalry and operational failures leading caused by such rivalry. Though these reforms are going to increase the efficiency of Chinese armed forces, it has generated resentment and backlash from mighty commanders of PLA.

One more and probably most significant factor of Chinese military reforms are proposed a sharp cut in PLA strength. The containing PLA strength from 2.4 million to 1 million over a period of time is biggest and boldest step taken by Jinping immediately after taking over as Chinese President. There are many angles to this move and many theories propped up from a Western and American analyst. The most significant and logical conclusion was, fear in Jinping’s mind about PLA’s wealthy and powerful generals! We will try to find out whether the fear has anything to do with reality or not.

PLA Openly Attacked Jinping’s Military Reforms

China is the country governed by a single party. The Chinese media is only state run newspapers and TV channels pouring in information which party wants to disseminate. Every word and case is being strictly monitored and censored. Utmost care is taken not to transmit any information which is detrimental to party’s image. But, the scale of Jinping and PLA is such a high and tensions between two camps are unprecedented that PLA’s mouthpiece daily People’s Daily blatantly attacked Jinping over reforms in armed forces.

In November 2015, when structural reforms were already declared and the majority of the Chinese including PLA, were yet to judge Jinping’s capacities People’s Daily- the mouthpiece of PLA committed a serious offence. The two authors associated with PLA Academy, Mr Sun Kejia and Mr Han Xiao lashed out in clear words at proposed military reforms. They warned of serious consequences if proposed military reforms were pushed through. Later the article was pulled down from the website after much uproar.

Surprisingly, even after taking on practically omnipotent Jinping, no one could harm any one of the two authors, which launched a scathing attack on Jinping. The reason behind the immunity which both authors enjoyed is not known but it is not impossible to judge. Though publicly just two authors were visible attacking Jinping’s policies on military reforms, everyone in China knows that they were voicing the opinion of thousands of PLA ranks against the possible axing of their jobs and stripping them of various privileges which they were enjoying these days.

In China, such direct public expression of opinion was unusual and hard to believe!

The Military Reforms and Trimming PLA

Military reforms envisaged by Jinping would see the slashing of PLA strength from 2.4 million to just 1 million within next few years. It means half of the PLA troops would lose their jobs. Moreover, new theatre command structure will take down army’s supremacy within armed forces. Though these reforms; if actually executed successfully, would convert Chinese armed forces in lethal, formidable and most professional fighting machine in the world. The initial indications and structural, psychological and practical deficiencies in the system suggest that reforms are going to hit hard rock.

The central theme of military reforms is converting military from “quantitative” to “qualitative” force. But what is going actually going to be on the ground is huge cuts in infantry combat troops and a simultaneous increase in naval strength, rocket force and strategic support forces. Obviously, infantry is the biggest loser in this exercise.

The New Joint Theatre Commands consisting Eastern, Southern, Western, Northern, and Central commands will rearrange troops and resources in respective areas and merge it within the single homogeneous structure to boost mobility, pace and proficiency of the troops by integrating all resources into one cohesive unit.

The theme is based on American Goldwater–Nichols Act-1986, which would continue to appoint three services chiefs, but none of the three chiefs would have any operational power. They would cease to be the advisers of Central Military Commission and President. This whole power will be consolidated in the hands of CMC head and Commander-In-Chief.

The Unrest in Demobilized Soldiers

As an ultimate fallout of demobilized Chinese soldiers after the restructuring of PLA, the large scale unrest growing among those who lost the jobs. In October and November 2016 two protest marches were called at powerful Central Military Commission HQ in Beijing to demand compensation and penalties for snatching their jobs in new military reforms. On October 11, 2016, near about 30,000 demobilized troops took part in a protest at CMC headquarters in Beijing. Another protest on November 01, 2016 vanished under media blackout as the government imposed stringent prohibition orders on covering the protests fearing its spread.

Why Jinping Reminded Army of Party Supremacy?

Xi Jinping reviewed military exercise to mark the 90th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army this week. While addressing the troops he reminded the military of “Gutian Congress” Principle of party’s supremacy over the military. He told PLA to ‘uncompromisingly follow Communist party leadership and it shall march wherever Party points too’. Many believed that deep sense of mistrust and insecurity in Jinping’s psyche about PLA has forced the president to speak it up.

Recent aggressive steps taken by Jinping which directly or indirectly hit vested interests of military commanders has placed him at loggerheads with men in uniform.

The balance of power hangs in imbalance as uncertainty looms over Jinping’s career due to his consistent campaign against powerful party leaders and military commanders. It would be interesting to watch the events in China in next one year to wait and see which camp turns the table and whether Jinping tightens the grip or loses the game.

Jinping as Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces

In April 2016 Jinping officially took charge of the chief of newly formed Joint Operations Command Center of Chinese Armed Forces. Though, being president of China, he was chairman of Central Military Commission- CMC, the latest installation of Jinping as Head of JOCC has far reaching implications.

China is economically sharply divided into two distinct parts; wealthy, industrious and rich coastal China and poor, underdeveloped and impoverished hinterlands. The majority population in China is living in poor and underdeveloped rural China. The Great Equality Utopia assured by glossy Communism has already waned away. The wealthy coastal area has economic bonds with Europe and USA and they have nothing to do with Chinese masses. Under such circumstances, it is a difficult task for Jinping to control brewing anger among rural Chinese masses, which were the backbone of the Chinese revolution. Xi Jinping’s biggest concern is to monitor and quell any future turmoil which would come to fore either slowly or in the form of a huge outburst of public anger. Jinping wants Communist Party to control it. But biggest hurdle in quenching the fire is PLA and paramilitary troops.

After ruthless crackdown on so called tainted commanders, former security Czar, two former vice chairmen of Central Military Commission, dismantling lucrative military business empire including PLA controlled medical facilities and dismantling monopoly and dominance of PLA in Chinese Armed Forces; Jinping needs more operational control over its forces, to keep vigilant eye on day to day affairs related to troops movements.

The composition of Chinese Armed Forces is also mattered of concern for Jinping. The majority of the Chinese troops are from Chinese hinterland which is deprived rich dividends of economic boom in the country and wealthy coastal region has a very negligible presence in forces. The huge economic disparity and wealth imbalance within two regions might trigger a chain of reactions in PLA, with the majority of the troops from the largely backwards region.

The sharp reduction in a number of troops would add to Jinping’s woes. As being autocratic country; expectation of fair compensation to troops removed from forces is somewhat unrealistic and it would hardly address in a country like China.

On The Other Hand, wealthy China is a potent threat to the Communist regime for a very strange reason. China watchers believe that real motive behind anti-corruption blitzkrieg is to warn wealthy Chinese and to deliver them subtle message to refrain from indulging in party affairs with enough financial resources in hand. In near future, Jinping might think of taking control of private assets to distribute it in the regions facing financial imbalance. To achieve it, he must have full control over its armed forces for dual purpose; to monitor and thwart unrest within PLA ranks deriving from peasant class and to pressurize affluent class from becoming dominant over party and policy makers.

Jinping hit most dangerous conglomerate of influential people in China

In one more direct bold move, Jinping hit most dangerous conglomerate of influential people in China. In January 2016, he installed Discipline Inspection Commission under the direct control of Central Military Commission specifically for corruption related to PLA ranks. PLA commanders with deep pockets and cross sectional influence across all spheres of industrial, commercial and Chinese elites are real time treat for Party in general and Jinping in particular. Within just a few months of the establishment of DIC, hundreds of PLA officials are purged from top to bottom.

The message was open and out to all PLA bigwigs- “fall in line or get prosecuted”. After years of career in PLA, there would be hardly anyone in the military with Mr Clean image, especially at the time when the military was running thousands of industrial, commercial enterprises all over China.

As a Head of Joint Operations Command Center means Commander-In-Chief of Chinese armed forces; he is in a position to monitor every movement of PLA of any scale, which could threaten his regime. After unleashing terror within Communist Party and military in the name of big bang anti-corruption drive, Jinping has established his most trusted aids at all nodal positions to monitor any movement by party or military which could topple him!

Present military reforms would take years to complete but its magnitude and number of people either losing their jobs or getting sidelined in due course will mount unbelievable pressure on the party and Mr President.

Let’s see how Jinping tackles the issue and whether he softens his stand or ups his ante against his rivals within party and PLA


          11/27/06 - "The boy in the picture."        
I feel nauseous. And not just a little, but completely sick to my stomach. This is a common reaction of mine to break-ups, and I'm trying to keep that in mind, but it's still bothering me. I feel like I could be okay, if only this feeling would subside. My mind could move on if my body would quit reminding it to be upset.

Last night I went through a few stages of grieving for the last two months; first sadness, then anger, and finally a little bit of relief. I've been so caught up in all of his problems, trying to tip-toe around his issues and be a source of support, trying to be fun and sexy and not too needy and on and on, putting my needs aside with the idea that I was building on something. It's taken up a lot of energy, which I've been aware of (and noting in a journal, because I had allotted six months for this "experiment," and was going to re-evaluate if the effort was worth it after that). The relief was stronger when I woke up this morning, and I even left the house on time and caught the bus, breaking a three-week streak (at least...) of taking cabs to work because I'm lazy and don't get up on time. That's over. A lot of things are over, actually. Drinking more than three nights a week. Potato chips. Snacking (or dinner) after 9:00 pm. I've been feeling fat lately anyway (metabolism slowing down, too many beers), but nothing can make a girl feel like an elephant than getting dumped for someone else. I don't know who she is (I have an idea, but it's based on nothing but intuition, which I've learned is not as reliable as I'd like it to be), but I can only assume she's incredibly hot. Please, Lord, let her be hot. I would much rather he be shallow than me be uninteresting.

After I got to work, though, the relief wore off some, and the sicker I feel the harder it's been to be "okay" with everything. Constant questioning by coworkers wondering how my holiday weekend was didn't help, and while "good" ruled my responses, I told my supervisor that I had been broken up with, so I wasn't feeling well. Which made me tear up a little again, but I was able to keep it together. Ugh. This is so not worth crying over. My roommate and my brother both just got out of three-year relationships, and both break-ups were instigated by the girl. That's worth some tears. But two months? When we weren't even technically going out? What is my problem? I was a disaster after Eric, too, and that was only one month. Something is seriously wrong with me. I used to have a much thicker skin. I also used to be the dumpER, though, not the dumpEE. When did that change? When did I acquire the stink of desperation?
If he has just ended it a week and a half ago for emotional reasons, as he had tried to, I would be fine. It's that he changed his mind, said that he enjoyed being with me and wanted to keep seeing me. That night, he had said he still needed to be alone, to straighten out his thoughts. We said goodnight and I closed the door. Then a few minutes later he called, asked if I had made new plans yet, asked if he could come back up. He said he was wrong, he did want to be with me that night, and invited me back to his place to watch dvd's. I thought it was so romantic. We went, watched, had a couple beers. It was really nice, I felt like things were right again, and we had a rejuvenated round in the bedroom that, to me, spoke of good things to come. We saw eachother again on Sunday; unbeknownst to me at the time, that was our last sleepover. Then fast-forward to Wednesday. We spend the day together at the Seattle Underground, I meet his coworkers, we get our picture taken (yeah, I'm really glad I have that little memento now...). I had to go to class, so we part ways, but discuss possibly getting dinner later, he says he'll let me know if he can. I get a text a few hours later saying he's going to hang out with his friend Lindsay instead, who I've been hanging out with recently as well (which means I could have been invited along, but I wasn't), and then... silence. I thought I was doing him a favor by giving him the space he has professed to desire, but... I'm getting ahead of myself.

After some scattered text mesaging throughout the day, at about 8 o'clock last night I leave him a very lighthearted message asking if he'd like to have a snowball fight, and he texts back saying he was out to dinner, but would call me later. Later ended up being almost four hours later, close to midnight. We chat a little, and then he gets to the meat of it - he's been spending the last few days with someone else. I'm a little taken aback, and ask more questions, and he throws out fun cliches like not wanting to hurt me and wanting to still be friends. Not understanding his whole meaning, I say that fidelity isn't high on my list of priorities, that I'm fine with something being open, but he says that he isn't, he can only see one person at a time, and I'm out. She's in. I don't think being a little upset over this was unreasonable. He apologizes, says he feels like a jerk. I let out the leash on my inner monologue and come back with a sardonic laugh and "Maybe you feel that way for a reason," or something to that effect. Not my finest moment, but biting my tongue has never been a strength. In defensive mode, I try to end the conversation by telling him to "Have fun." He says he doesn't want me to say that to him, he doesn't want me to be mad. I respond that it's okay for me to be mad right now. I tell him I'm going to be mad for a little bit and that I think that's perfectly reasonable. There's more conversation, it loses its importance. He told me to call him when I'm ready or something like that. After we hung up, I remembered that I have a cake pan and a pair of earrings over there. It's subconscious, but I know part of me does that on purpose. Like, by leaving things there, I'll be harder to disentangle from. It obviously doesn't work, but I'll probably keep doing it.

So, unlike the first break-up attempt over him not being able to deal with how "serious" this felt, this one is a horse of a different color. This isn't being emotionally unprepared, this is liking someone else better. After all of four days, if his assertion at the "suddeness" of it all is to be believed. How is that not supposed to be hurtful? How can he possibly expect me not to be at least a little upset? He's said many times that he was sort of a mess before he met me (and has admitted to still being a mess in some ways), and that he feels so much better now, and I've done so much, and blah blah blah. In retrospect, it was wrong to be giving if I was expecting something back; if I wanted to help him, it should have been just for the sake of helping him, not with the idea that maybe he'd make a good boyfriend some day. I still think he will make a good boyfriend some day; just not to me. I was the bandaid, but now my job is done, and he wants to go back out and play.

What I'm probably most ticked off about is when this first started, not the first night but that first week for sure, I specifically said that I'm tired of being the girl that people spend time with until they find something better. I've become a placeholder, and I hate it. I'm not trying to settle down for the rest of my life or anything, but I want some stability. I want someone who cares about me, not what they can get from me. Why is that proving so difficult? When I was younger, I felt like I was constantly being held down by guys that wanted more serious commitments than I was capable of. Now that I actually desire some sort of commitment, there's no one in sight. That's not completely true, in fact there are two people I could call right now and immediately pick up a dating relationship, but... meh. The ones that want me are never the ones that I want.
Just now I had to go downstairs and break Beth for lunch, and leaving this up here, with my phone too, allowed me to think about other things for a while. It was nice. I don't feel like so sick anymore - the little nausea I have left is mostly hunger-based, considering all I managed to choke down earlier was a small fruit smoothie this morning and half a salad at lunch. When I came back up I had a voicemail from Lindsay, who I had texted earlier to see if she'd be out tonight, and I called her back and while we were talking I wasn't even thinking of her as his friend, I was just excited to be seeing her tonight. It was a light-hearted conversation, and probably the first time all day I've laughed and meant it. So... yeah. See? I really did just have to get it out. Things are already better.

I guess the last thing I'm mad about is that he was supposed to go to my company Christmas brunch thing with me this Sunday, but now, obviously, doesn't want to go. He knows how I feel about plans; bailing on me at the last minute is like a slap in the face. Ha, that and as soon as we got off the phone, he logged on to Myspace and took me out of his Top Friends. Seriously. I never even asked to be there, he did that all on his own. Like a week after we met, too. But now? Gone. Can you say petty? Boy, do I know how to pick 'em.
           The Top 10 Most Difficult Books        

Back in 2009, The Millions started its "Difficult Books" series--devoted to identifying the hardest and most frustrating books ever written, as well as what made them so hard and frustrating. The two curators, Emily Colette Wilkinson and Garth Risk Hallberg, have selected the most difficult of the most difficult, telling us about the 10 literary Mt. Everests waiting out there for you to climb, should you be so bold. If you can somehow read all 10, you probably ascend to the being immediately above Homo sapiens. How many have you read? What books would you add?Let us know in the comments!

Emily's Picks
Nightwood by Djuna Barnes - Dylan Thomas called Nightwood "one of the three greatest prose books ever written by a woman,” but in order to behold this greatness you must master Barnes' tortuous, gothic prose style. In his introduction to the novel, T.S Eliot described Nightwood’s prose as “altogether alive” but also “demanding something of a reader that the ordinary novel-reader is not prepared to give.” Nightwood is a novel of ideas, a loose collection of monologues and descriptions. What will keep you going: The cross-dressing Irish-American "Dr. Matthew-Mighty-grain-of-salt-Dante O'Connor," who, when not wandering Paris, drinking heavily, or dressing in nighties, rouge, and wigs of cascading golden curls, is expounding great rambling sermons that fill most of the book. These are funny, dirty, absurd, despairing, resigned—even hopeful in a Becketty I-can't-go-on-I'll-go-on kind of way.


A Tale of A Tub by Jonathan Swift - The first difficulty: The superabundant references to obsolete cultural squabbles (some obscure even in Swift’s eighteenth-century England) and then there’s the narratorial persona: an impoverished, syphilitic madman who cuts pieces out of his manuscript and his fellow citizens remorselessly. His compulsive digressiveness is deliberately baffling, but more baffling still is that this satire, aimed at “the Abuses and Corruptions in Learning and Religion” and written by a conservative, Anglican clergyman, ends finding nothing sacred. If you can bear it (and the 100s of footnotes you’ll need to understand its historical context), it’s the ultimate expression of cultural alienation and despair.

The Phenomenology of the Spirit by G.F. Hegel - Do you enjoy a good intellectual gobsmack every now and again? If so, Hegel’s your man and this book, a classic of German idealism and unquestionably one of the most important works of modern philosophy, is a fine place to start. Hegel’s refutation of Kantian idealism, history of consciousness, and quintessential explanation of the process of the dialectic is hard to understand and harder still to retain (“goes through you like lentils,” as one Stanford professor described it to me), due first and foremost to the breadth of its subject and its terminology. The book’s nearly impenetrable without a good edition and guide or two: The Oxford UP edition is widely considered the best (and don’t skip the notes and foreward) and the Routledge Philosophy Guidebook’s commentary by Robert Stern makes good warm-up reading; also good (and free) are J.M. Bernstein’s lecture notes for his UC Berkeley graduate course on the Phenomenology, available at BernsteinTapes.com.

To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf - In its intermingling of separate consciousnesses, Virginia Woolf’s fiction is both intellectually and psychically difficult. Not only is it hard to tell who’s who and who’s saying or thinking what, it is also disconcerting—even queasy-making—to be set adrift in other minds, with their private rhythms and associative patterns. It feels, at times, like being occupied by an alien consciousness. Some readers don’t ever find their sea-legs with Woolf. The trick is to surrender yourself (true with other high modernists too), to let the prose wash over you and take you where it will—not to worry too much about understanding a dogmatic way.

Full article at PW

          Is Alliance Defending Freedom a “Hate Group”?        
After a speech by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Southern Poverty Law Center just labeled Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) a “hate group.” Sessions addressed an ADF group in California, and this occasioned a firestorm of criticism, with the SPLC leading the charge. Others quickly followed–here’s ABC News, NBC News, and the Daily Beast chiming in and [Read More...]
          Comment on Socioeconomic status and the Developing Brain by Poverty shrinks Brains from birth | Learning Sciences of Change        
[…] Socioeconomic status and the Developing Brain […]
          Hong Kong + Auckland + Sydney = bundles of fun        
I recently had the opportunity to do a conference presentation in Auckland for work and take a vacation stopover in Sydney on the way back. On the way there a looong plane change in Hong Kong allowed me to do … Continue reading
          Cash: American IV Album Review        

I know I am a little behind the times in reviewing this album, since it has been out since November of 2002. So I thought I would bring some of my thoughts (having just purchased the album) along with some other thoughts retrieved from Amazon.com reviews.

I personally love the CD. I won't listen to it very often though. It does not have songs on it that you listen to over and over again. Frankly, it is a depressing album. There are a number of covers in it, that arguably Cash makes his own. Hurt, originally done by Nine Inch Nails becomes another song entirely when Cash does it. Yet, like I said there are no feel-good songs here. Listener beware, you need to be in the right mood for this album. When you are though, its fantastic in an "end me now" kind of way.

Here are what some other reviewers said:

(retrieved from Amazon.com on 9/5/09)
By A Customer
First of all, I'm a Johnny Cash nut. So, I tend to be a little more critical than most people when it comes to reviewing his albums. His fourth album in the American series is by far the weakest. Although the title track is by easily one of the best Cash songs ever, the remainder of the album is evidence that Cash needs to ditch Rick Rubin and start writing his own songs. Has anyone noticed how every American album Cash puts out seems to have more covers than the previous one? Sure, some like "Rusty Cage" and "Personal Jesus" (which is featured on this album) work beautifully, but it seems that Rubin has gotten a litte too cover-happy these days. Cash's own tunes are always the best. This album is, however worth every cent, if only for the wonderful title track. For casual Cash fans, its best to buy one of the earlier American albums, or just buy one of the live prison albums.

(retrieved from Amazon.com on 9/5/09)
By Bram Janssen
I am the least capable person to review this album. This man had been writing and singing songs for forty years and all I'd heard of him was "Ring Of Fire". I knew the song. I did not know who sang it. It was all but another one of these inevitable songs on every compilation, and one of these songs every channel my parents loved so much would play. I never noticed. Today, I still know hardly more.

One late-summer evening as I was zapping through the music channels here in The Netherlands, my thumb froze over the remote. On the screen singing was, not the usual parade of lewd, crafted, playbacking little mouths seemingly right of production lines, not good capable singers only better than the rest because of management and advertisement skills; it was a man dressed in black, looking old as death, with a voice raw as a crow's. I did not know it was he, if it had mattered. It was Cash, singing "Hurt". I looked, listened but then more. It was so unspeakably sad, so unfathomably melancholic. How can I describe the emotions hearing that song? Haunted and moved don't seem adequate.

Enchantment. I was a youth with a passion for music: metal, symphonic, classic, techno. Give it to me, give it to me every day, all day long. I'll be satisfied. I was a youth, looking at an old man, singing for me, singing of his life and emotions. Music moves me always, but it was this music, barely more than a voice and an acoustic guitar, that drew a tear, dropped into my heart - then another and another. Silent, invisible tears filling hollows, and all that showed on the outside, were a sniff of the nose and a blink of the eyes. I was a youth.

Many of the songs on this final album, including "Hurt", are covers, even though some are his own. Cash here also covers Paul Simon, Hank Williams and John Lennon. Not all of his arrangements are better than the originals. Technically. But Cash performs with such feeling, such sway, such voice, that this is the most cherished music I've bought in a lifetime.

Then, as I sat there oblivious, and wishing I had seen the whole thing, the clip ended and I saw Cash's name. I turned off the set, stood, and hoped I would hear it again. Weeks later, Cash was dead. Today, I still know hardly more.

Now back to me.

I would recommend purchasing this album or any of the four other American Recordings albums. They show a good view of Johnny Cash in the last days of his long and difficult life.
          gatto con occhi semichiusi probabile clamidia        
Alla fine ho ceduto al tuo sguardo. Quando ti avvicini alla colonia sai già che per te ci sarà un pasto speciale che è quello che ti piace tanto ed è quello che ti attira qui da me. Quando ti avvicini al piattino non vedi quello che metto finchè non ne senti il profumo e quando tento di accarezzarti ti spaventi perchè con quegli occhietti chiusi da chissà quanto tempo, hai più difficoltà ad accorgerti di qualcosa che si avvicina. Ti ho guardato tante volte ho chiesto chi fosse la tua mamma, ma a lei non importa niente di te, adesso porta il suo cane a spasso e non si cura più di te che sei un bellissimo gattone siamese. Quindi ho deciso di curarti quell'infezione che hai agli occhi, che sono alle volte serrati ed in altre invece si intravede più in profondità un azzurro bellissimo. Non c'è ancora la possibilità di utilizzare la gabbia trappola per una visita specialistica, non ci entreresti, l'essere diventato randagio ha fatto si che tu non possa fidarti di nessuno. La Vet mi ha prescritto un antibiotico a largo spettro con un collirio che non so come e quando riuscirò a somministrarlo. Intanto scopro con sorpresa che sei l'unico gatto che conosco che mangia le pastiglie dal piattino ancora prima di metterci dentro la pappa, per me questo significa che avrò la possibilità di aiutare questi poveri occhietti a guardare finalmente tutto quello che ti circonda e potrai osservare le coloratissime farfalle che spesso volano sopra la tua testolina e che tu ora non ti accorgi. Domani sarà la terza somministrazione dell'antibiotico ed insisterò finchè non vedrò i tuoi occhi guardare il cielo, l'erba, la pioggia.
          Comment on Kids don't need teachers. Kids need parents. by Penelope Trunk        
<I>I have written a lot about how low-income people can homeschool. Here's one: http://education.penelopetrunk.com/2013/11/05/how-to-homeschool-as-a-single-parent/ But I think, actually, the most persuasive thing I can offer is that I had kids right after I lost my job that was across the street from the World Trade Center. After being a the site of 9/11 I knew I wanted to have kids, and I was too traumatized to leave the house to work. The combination of the two landed my family on public assistance in New York City for the first three years of my son's life. Basically, I was living below the poverty line so that I could stay home with my son. It was not easy. But it was way easier than leaving him to go to work. It's arrogant to think that only rich people can give their kids a full, engaging childhood. You don't need very much money to feed and clothe your kids. Especially when you can live in the boondocks because you don't need a good school. 95% of the kids in our school district are on public assistance. That tells me there a communities of people who can live from a job at McDonalds. I am living in one. I think that people have very little framework for experiencing poverty so they assume that people in poverty can't homeschool. They can. Penelope</i>
          Student Packages Uganda        
Special itineraries for student and school education trips, visits, excursions, safaris and holidays from all over the world to Africa of all kinds of interest like art, music or languages, culture, and sports. The uganda tours are tailor suit, full of learning interests to life. Besides, Safaris are basically educational travel and tours for schools, learning institutions, alumni that are seeking quality and truly nature based learning tours that go beyond the morning and afternoon students.
Activities like White Water Rafting, Bungee Jumping in uganda , nature walks, Fishing, Quad Biking, Walking and Hiking Safari offer valuable learning experiences and lots of fun and our itineraries provide the right combination of adventure with education.
Terms & Conditions for Students Groups.

-Only groups are acceptable
- Minimum 2 students and above
-All students must carry their International Identity Students Cards
-It's purely a camping safari unless Lodge accommodations are requested
TOUR 1)
Day 1: Transfer with visit to Uganda Wildlife Center.

Day 2: Service work with Center staff of the Zoo and a visit to the botanical gardens.

Day 3: Transfer to Jinja with a visit to Sezibwa falls, Mabira forest, and source of the Nile.

Day 4: Full day whitewater rafting on the Nile.

Day 5: Morning visit to Soft Power projects, plus a visit to the Bujahgali Falls traditional owner palace.

Day 6: Quad biking uganda and afternoon community walk.

Day 7: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park.

Day 8: Morning game drive and Afternoon boat cruise on the Nile River


Day 9: Morning chimp tracking and transfer back to Kampala
Day 10: Optional kampala City tour and departure
Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Transfer with an Excursion tour to Uganda Wildlife Center.

Past breakfast you will be picked and briefed by the company guide/representative who will take you through the safari and head to Uganda Wildlife center commonly known as the zoo. Expect to see a number of animals’ species available at UWEC such as; chimps, lion, Ostrich, Girafes, Zebras to mention but a few. It is worth visiting with your family members, friends since even the kids have a chance of closely glancing at these animals, studying their ways of living as well as how they relate with one another. This attraction is easily accessible and would ideally be convenient to a client that has got very limited time to spend. Have a lunch break, dinner and overnight at Central Inn (Budget), Travellers Inn (mid-range) and Imperial resort beach luxury.Masai mara holiday kenya


Day 2: Service work with Center staff of the Zoo and a visit to the botanical gardens. kenya family safari tour

After an early morning cup of tea, join the Zoo staff in service work like care and feeding of animals, and tree planting in communities. Have lunch, and then later visit the Entebbe botanical gardens for relaxation. Meals and overnight at Central Inn (Budget), Travellers Inn (mid-range) and Imperial resort beach luxury. hotels in kenya


Day 3: Transfer to Jinja with a visit to Sezibwa falls, Mabira forest, and source of the Nile.
Your will depart from Entebbe for a whole day exploration at Jinja a city best known of impressive flat rocks and it was previously the industrial capital of Uganda. However, expect to see variety of tourist attractions like Sezibwa falls, the source of the Nile, Rippon Falls, Bujahgali falls, and adrift campsite.

Later head east passing through coffee, Tea and Sugar plantations and the colorful roadside fruit/vegetable markets. The first stopover will be at Sezibwa Falls a Buganda uganda safarisHeritage site with great falls said to have been born by a woman, then Mabira Forest. Here you will be able to see the primates, birds and butterflies, and then continue to the source of the Mighty Nile. The Nile down river from Jinja which offers some superb white water rafting and sport fishing. Have lunch at Kingfishers Resort. This is the place to spend the afternoon relaxing.
There after, transfer to Bujagali Falls where different cultural activities take place like Acrobatic, jerry can swimmers, traditional Dances, waterfalls etc for an evening , gorilla trek in bwindi
After the exhilarating and memorial experience, your guide will then transfer you to your hotel for an overnight stay at Eden Rock (Budget), Nile pocth,(mid-range) Nile Resort hotel (Luxury)
Day 4: Full day whitewater rafting on the Nile. gorilla trekking holiday
African Secrets Ltd representative will meet you at your hotel at 07:00am and drive to the starting point for the activity at adrift campsite. White water rafting at the Source of the Nile is done on the powerful water rapids on the Nile and it’s an experience worth enjoying. Note: Clients do not need any previous rafting experience. The guide will instruct the client on all aspects of safety and will prepare them for an unforgettable experience. Rafting the Nile has 100% safety record and clients can enjoy the activity since they are very sure of safety. For the period of your trip you can try out Bungee Jumping as well. 3 days mountain gorilla safaris
The duration of the rafting experience ranges from 2hours, half day, or full day;
• One day rafting:
On this day rafting you will tackle all the big grade 5, rapids of the Nile for about 31 km.
• Half day rafting, if you are short of time. white water rafting uganda
• Two day rafting: This is the best rafting experience whereby you will raft for about 49km.Return for dinner and overnight at Eden Rock (Budget), Nile pocth,(mid-range) Nile Resort hotel (Luxury).
Day 5: Morning visit to Soft Power projects, plus a visit to the Bujahgali Falls traditional owner palace. rwanda primate safari
Past break fast, Visit Soft Power projects including a pre-pri. School and health Clinic.
Service learning with Soft Power Education to build or renovated Primary schools in Jinja area an activity which will teach you to help others and also share the school life experience with pupils in the schools visited. Return for lunch and later visit the palace of the Bujagali owner and learn more about the history and culture beliefs of the Bujagali fall. Dinner and overnight at Eden Rock (Budget), Nile pocth,(mid-range) Nile Resort hotel (Luxury). bwindi gorilla tours

Day 6: Quad biking and afternoon community walk.
Having taken a cup of tea or coffee to warm up for the morning, go for an Adventurous activity (guided quad biking) off the beaten track and into the warm heart of Uganda. Scenic rides through forests, farms and villages exploring the riverbanks from Bujagali Falls. Have lunch and latter visit the local community and learn more about African life style of people of the nearby community. Dinner and overnight at Eden Rock (Budget), Nile pocth,(mid-range) Nile Resort hotel (Luxury). 3 day gorilla safari
Day 7: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park.

Depart Jinja, lunch enroute to Murchison falls National Park arrive Murchison fall afternoon; stop at the top of the falls. Dinner and overnight at the Paraa safari Lodge (Luxury), Sambiya river lodge (mid-range) Redchilli Rest camp/simba safari lodge (Budget) meal plan F/B.

Day 8: Morning game drive and Afternoon boat cruise on the Nile River 3 day

After breakfast, depart early at 070.00am Ugandan time to Murchison falls and drive through the beautiful country side through the famous Luwero triangle with a stop over for lunch. Then proceed to the park stopping at the top of the falls, where the longest river is forced through a narrow gap in the rock (only 7 meters wide), before viciously plunging down 43 meters. During the activity, you will also have a game view experience on the way. Animals like buffalos, hippos, elephants will be seen mentioned but a few.
Overnight at a Luxurious Paraa Safari Lodge/Midrange Sambiya River lodge/Budget Red Chili Camp (Full Board)
Day 9: Morning chip tracking and transfer back to Kampala.
After breakfast, proceed to Budongo forest, a dense natural forest, passing through Bugungu gate with packed lunch. Take a forest walk through the dense tropical rain forest. On the walk you may see different primate species such as chimpanzees, monkeys among others. Have packed lunch and then return to Kampala arriving in the late evening. Dinner and overnight at New city hotel (Budget), Africana hotel (mid-range), Serena hotel (Luxury).
Day 10: Optional City tour and departure. gorilla tours

Depart from your hotel past breakfast and our experienced guide will pick you from your hotel or residence and take you through the sights and sounds of this hilly city. Meet people renown for their friendliness and visit cultural sites. The tour can include the Uganda museum, Kasubi Tombs, Makerere University, Nakasero market, craft markets, Namirembe Cathedral, Kibuli Mosque, Kabakas Lake, Baagalayaze cultural center and Ndere Center for entertainment depending on the time you have. There after, transfer to the Airport to catch up with your home flight. safari uganda

Safari Inclusions
Our attractive Price includes:
- Full time transportation throughout the safari.
- All meals from Breakfast to dinner.
-All accommodation as per itinerary
-Activities as per itinerary
- Bottled Water during the Walks
-Park Entrance Fees
-Experienced English guide
-Airport transfers
Safari Exclusions
-Gratuity or tips and expenditure of personal nature
-Airport taxes, visa, insurance
-Airfare to Uganda

          Rwanda’s Cultural tourism is the Key investment Sector        

It is a well-known fact that tourism can be a deadly antagonist as much as a firm friend in the matter of development. Considering the economic might of the tourist industry now gorilla safari regarded as the biggest in the world ahead of automobiles and chemicals, careful attention should be paid to culture in order to progressive strategies which are vitally needed in order to prepare the ground for genuinely progressive international, regional and local tourism development gorilla trekking uganda .

Besides, cultural travel directed towards experiencing the arts, heritage and special character of unique places includes arts (galleries, rwanda travel guide studios, performing and visual arts), Cultural activities (festivals, celebrations, and rituals), events and physical heritage, building and environment. While reconsidering the relationship between tourism and cultural diversity, tourism and intercultural dialogue, and tourism and development, the Organization (UNESCO) proposes to contribute to the fight against poverty, gorilla safari rwanda protection of the environment and mutual appreciation of cultures.

Considering cultural development, Rwanda will, next week, host the Commonwealth investment conference, ahead of the 7th Edition of the Pan African Dance Festival (FESPAD 2010) that will be staged in July. This is a result of Rwanda being an attractive investment destination and both forums present an opportunity. uganda gorilla safaris , Apart from breaking into new markets, the events will enhance business openings for Rwandans since they facilitate gainful partnerships

However, the Rwandan business community will be accorded , rwanda gorilla safari , opportunity to forge new partnerships with business leaders from around the world since approximately 31 African countries are expected to attend, as well as China, Japan, Vietnam, France and Spain.

By promoting the rich Rwandan uganda gorilla safari , cultural heritage, the country shall attract both investors and tourists. The traditional dances and dress are world class, and our museums have a powerful story to tell. There is no doubt that Rwanda's tourism sector has been very kenya safari successful, but there are areas that have not been exhaustively exploited.

The country can cut itself a niche in the region by aggressively promoting its arts and culture which will rank Rwanda as the best cultural destination in Africa. houses for sale in kampala uganda


          Reflections on Achham: Growth and Opportunity.         
GROW: a : to spring up and develop to maturity.  to have an increasing influence. to promote the development of. -Merriam Webster Dictionary.


Two months in Achham. Two months a world away from what we are used to in the United States, yet still, it is only two months. Two months is hardly enough time to understand, to appreciate, and to develop. Yet time flows differently in Achham and development, both personal and otherwise, comes sooner than one expects.

Growing up
Personal development is easy when one is starting from nothing. Before this summer, the world of international development and global health was very much a rhetorical one, given life only through articles and essays. In retrospect, despite nearly a year of campaigning and raising awareness through Globemed, my view of Bayalpata Hospital was significantly flawed before I actually got there. With all the rhetoric of ‘grassroots’ and ‘community-based’ I had thrown into my prepared elevator pitch, I was a bit unprepared to see a respectable looking complex with solar panels, tiled floors, that looked, well, a lot better than what I was expecting, honestly. My mental image was tied up in the form of the small community clinic that Nyaya started with, but the hospital has grown, expanded, developed. Nyaya has changed for the better, expanding and serving more people and as such it has, without us knowing, left behind many of the phrases we use to describe it.

Growing Out
Our rhetoric emphasizes that Nyaya is a grassroots organization. It’s a good word, one that really gets people excited. It invokes images of strong community backing and involvement, small, local roots, and a personal touch to healthcare delivery. Does that word still apply when if the small regional clinic has upgraded to one of two district-level hospitals that serve patients from hours away? Does it apply to the public-private partnership that is looking to dramatically increase the amount of government funding it receives, fighting through the bureaucracy to achieve it? Does that word describe an organization which has a U.S. team of researchers that receive tens of thousands of dollars in grants to do research that often seems to fly in the face of reason for the Nepal side? What does the word “grassroots” mean when the organization grows?  

Growing In
The point of a successful campaign is, in many ways, to paint the scenario in the best light. The danger of successful campaigning is that it becomes easy to believe your own elevator pitch. One forgets that organizations are not purely corrupt and inefficient or transparent and streamlined. Problems exist. Inefficiencies gum up the works. Communication lines are often tangled and tensions sometimes run high. That is the reality, not the campaign. And while it is important to frame the organization and the fundraising goal in a light that will promote action and involvement, it is essential that delusion does not become an accepted tradeoff. A realistic assessment of strengths and weaknesses is necessary for the chapter as a whole, not only to foster a better understanding of our partner, but to better think of ways to help strengthen the partnership.  

Growing Understanding
It is often difficult to describe the demographic Nyaya serves to others, whether while giving an elevator pitch, or while campaigning. “Rural Nepal” is hopelessly inadequate. “Under-served” is difficult to visualize. “Impoverished” gives a one-sided view of the situation. In reality, no summary for an elevator pitch can capture the full nuances of the Achhami populace. What’s a short way of saying “subsistence farmer / migrant worker / tea shop entrepreneurs / impoverished but not starving / hard working and generous / indolent and self-serving / caring parents / neglectful parents / victims/perpetrators of gender inequality / happily married / domestically abusive when drunk / bearing great burdens, physical and otherwise / mild hypochondriacs believing that no pills or tests means ineffective treatment” ? How do you summarize a caste system that segregates and discriminates, and how do you give an overview of a younger generation who couldn’t care less about caste? How can you express the changes occurring, from changing age-old traditions which harmed women to improving overall health through community investments, and how can you reconcile that with the cold reality that the more things change, the more things stay the same in the sense that at the end of the day, you still have to look out for number one. In a society where males are valued more, there are parents who love and pamper and cherish their daughters. In a community where most people perform migrant work or subsistence farming, there are some who dream of studying abroad and pursuing higher education. No matter how hard one tries, there is really no way of easily encompassing the population that Bayalpata Hospital serves, who are probably the most important detail when describing the hospital’s care.

Growing Pains
If a hospital runs out of medicine in rural Nepal, does it make a sound? Poisonous snakes are, unfortunately, all too common in Achham. The problem was exacerbated by a country-wide shortage of antivenom. So when, one night, a member of the Armed Police Force came to the hospital with a snake bite, what could be done? How must it have felt, knowing that if only there was this small vial of liquid, everything would be all right? What sort of terror and anticipation must have filled that officer’s heart when, in the middle of the night, he was told that there was a chance, a CHANCE, that the other of two district-level hospitals in Achham MIGHT have antivenom. That is the stuff of nightmares. Often, donations and campaigns are run for projects that are sexy, that are popular, that are easy ways to pluck peoples’ heartstrings and their wallets. But basic issues of supplies and logistics are sometimes more complex than a single hospital can handle, and sometimes the simplest things are the ones that need the most attention.  

Growing forward

Growth can be tough, and Nyaya fits all of the descriptions of growing. It has come to maturity, both scaling up in physical size and also in scope of services, going from a small clinic in Sanfe to being awarded “Best Hospital in Nepal”. More and more, Nyaya has increasing influence in both the region, and also the nation, through its work with the government. Through both Nyaya Health Nepal’s work with the government and also through Nyaya Health International’s work in implementation science, Nyaya works to promote its core values of transparency and efficiency in delivering healthcare to those that need it most. But growing can be difficult. Growing pains are normal. Nyaya faces challenges that it must overcome, from communication to employee retention. But growing also means new opportunities, for both Nyaya’s efforts in Nepal, and also for Globemed at Tufts to be as useful as we can for our partner. Whether or not we seize these opportunities and minimize the associated growing pains is up to us. 



          Light on the Hill        
"For if Tufts College is to be a source of illumination, as a beacon standing on a hill, where its light cannot be hidden, its influence will naturally work like all light; it will be diffusive."
~Hosea Ballou , Tufts’ first president

As our jeep wound through Achham, we kept glancing back at the light on the hill. The floodlights of the hospital that has been our home for the past two months are a visible sign of hope – hope that the patients might live another day, hope that they might have a better life, hope that our generation can do something to combat the injustices in the world.
Nyaya combats these injustices every day with clear, tangible results. One of the organizational values we appreciate most about Nyaya is the constant focus on the purpose of using resources and on the outcome of our actions for the people of Achham. It’s not simply a consideration of return on investment – it’s a moral responsibility for each of us working to achieve global health equity and it is active citizenship at its best. 

Active citizenship is a process that requires pragmatic solidarity – the commitment and actual actions of working as partners towards shared goals. The solidarity component of this equation is clear: Our shared goals focus on the concepts of health as a human right, public goods for public health, and health as an investment for economic development. These goals are interrelated and at times indistinguishable. A common thread throughout each of these is the inescapable complexity and the need for multi-sectoral solutions. 

The pragmatic component is the more difficult as it calls into question the sustainability of running a hospital that provides an entire, impoverished region with 100% free medical care. Nyaya Health provides the structure that facilitates actual accountable progress, the front-line care that addresses at least one of the fundamental inequities the people of Achham face, and the persistent hope that we can achieve our goals. Ultimately, however, the question is turned to you – our friends and our allies – to ensure that the light on the hill remains alive

Thank you to our readers, our supporters, to GlobeMed at Tufts, to everyone who made this summer possible, to the people of Achham, and especially to Nyaya Health. We will miss our Nyaya family but know that we will continue our work in solidarity together as partners in the pursuit of justice.

          Rameshwaram Jyotirling         
Date: 14, 15 March, 2015

Venue: Satsang Bhawan, Goswami Mutt - 2, Near Sita Tirth, RAMESHWARAM (Tamil Nadu)

Rameshwaram Jyotirling - Ramanatha Swami - Lord of God Ram


A land of penance, devotion and the holiest Hindu pilgrimage
A place where great personalities like Rama, Krishna, Parshurama, Agasta, Arjuna etc. performed their penance.

Just as certain limbs of the body are purer than others, so are certain places on earth more sacred - some on account of their situations, some because of sparkling waters and others because of the association or habitation of saintly people.

The four pilgrimage sites (char dhaams) are also the sacred place among those few sacred places and are considered to be the favorite abodes of Lord Vishnu on earth. The four pilgrimages (tirthas) of the Char Dhaams are set at the cardinal points of the Indian subcontinent. In the North, the dhaam of Badrinath is in the Himalayas, in the West, Dwarka stands by the Arabian Sea; in the South Rameshwaram is an island at the point where the Indian Ocean touches the Indian shores. All four have temples dedicated to either Vishnu or to one of his incarnations. Badrinath is a Vishnu temple, Dwarka worships Lord Krishna, Puri is the tirtha of Krishna as Jagannatha and Rameshwaram has temples dedicated to Lord Rama.

In Rameshwaram stands the Ramanathaswamy Temple dedicated to Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu and is one of the jewels of Dravidian temple architecture. Rameshwaram is an island along the Coromandel Coast of Tamil Nadu. It is located in the Ramnad District and the nearest town on the mainland is Ramanathapuram. Rameshwaram is the Southern most pilgrimage (Dhaam) of Lord Vishnu. This sacred island is located at the southern-most tip of the Indian peninsula and it is the place where the Indian Ocean touches the Indian subcontinent. Many pilgrimages in India are situated at the confluence of various rivers like Prayagraj in Allahabad at the confluence at Ganga and Yamuna, DevPrayag at the confluence of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda etc. What is unique about Rameshwaram is that like many pilgrimage, the island is also at the confluence but this time of oceans instead of rivers. Like all the dhaams, Rameshwaram too is connected to Vishnu, in this case through his Seventh incarnation of Rama. Rameshwaram is an island in the Gulf of Mannar in the Bay of Bengal and Sri Lanka is just across the bay. This island is shaped like a conch and the devout believe it resembles the panchjanya shankha that Lord Vishnu holds in his hand.

Rameshwaram is very pious place and interestingly the earliest mention of this place is found in Buddhists texts. It says that Emperor Ashoka came to Rameshwaram on a pilgrimage. In Mahabharata, this place has been mentioned as the greatest pilgrimage of the land. It is also true that during the period of his penance, Arjuna visited various pilgrimages of Southern part of India and Rameshwaram was one of those. Some Puranas mentioned that Balarama, the elder brother of Lord Krishna while on a pilgrimage to the South, visited Venkatagiri, Madurai and had a bath in the sea at the Setu. Legends say that Rameshwaram was visited by sages like Agastya,Dharmaraja and Parshurama.

Wandering around the temple precincts, one can discover some exquisite works of sculpture on the walls and pillars. The temple sings to the glories of Shiva and all across the complex there are innumerable depictions of the various forms of God. These icons reflect many aspects of this volatile, moody and many faceted deity, depicted in the saumya, roudra and shanta forms - his moods of gentleness, anger and serenity.

Here He is Nataraja, the Lord of the Dance, as he dances the tandava in an aureole of flames. He is the unification of purusha and prakriti as half Shiva and half Parvati in the Ardhanarisvara aspect. As the angry Tripurantaka, He is the warrior holding a tall bow, who destroyed three demon cities with just a single arrow. As the serene Dakshinamurti, Shiva is the cosmic teacher. He sits under the peepal tree facing South, surrounded by sages listening to his wise words.

As the handsome Chandrashekhara, Shiva wears the crescent moon on his brow. As Hari Hara He is half Shiva and half Vishnu. As Bhikshatana, the great yogi is in the compassionate aspect of an ascetic sadhu. As the angry Bhairava, He is the fierce God who beheaded Daksha. As Somaskanda He is the king of Gods, seated in a royal dress with His wife Parvati and son Skanda or Kartikeya beside Him. Similarly, there are carvings of many aspects of Vishnu and Devi in various sections of the complex.

All these traits of Lord Shiva are essential for every human being. Lord Shiva is the only God who lives a perfect householder's life. His family is complete with his wife Goddess Parvati and two sons Kartikeya and Ganesha. He is the God who can grant any boon yet He Himself lives happily in graveyard. He is accompanied by various ghosts, He wears venomous snakes around His neck, He just wears a lion cloth though all the worldly pleasures remains at His feet. When He is angry, no one dares to stand before Him and when He is in a joyful mood, He can bestow any boon to His devotees. When He is in an overjoyed mood, He dances as Nataraja, the creator of dance. When He is in utter anger, His dance is good enough to demolish this entire universe.

The Chandrashekhara form of Lord Shiva gives beauty to every man and when worshiped with His other half, they bestow a blessed family life. In the Bhairava form, He is the savior of all His devotees and drives away their enemies. As Vaidyanatha, He cures all the diseases of any person. And when worshipped as Ramanatha, He even abolishes the sins of His devotees.

Who doesn't wish to live a blessed life, who doesn't want to live a peaceful life? However all this can happen only by the grace of Lord Shiva and Guru. To achieve such a divinity in life, to achieve a state where no one can harm us, to achieve a state where we remain calm and peaceful in any circumstances, it is necessary to seek the blessings of the Divine Guru, who Himself is a form of Lord Shiva.

Blessed would be those who are going to be a part of this shivir and who would perform various divine activities under the guidance of Gurudev on this holy land. All those who wish to make their life worthy, all those who are keen to make their life better, all those who wish to make their mark in history would surely come and participate in this great event.

Gurudevji is early waiting to meet all of us and to guide us like Lord Shiva. We pray to Gurudev that may this Rameshwaram shivir fulfill all our desires, remove hurdles and pains from our life, eradicate poverty from our lives, give us health and relieve us from all the sins. As a disciple all we can do is to reach near You and surrender ourselves in your holy feet....





          Rameshwaram Dhanpradata Shiv-Gouri Sadhana Mahotsav - RAMESHWARAM        
Date: 14, 15 March, 2015

Venue: Satsang Bhawan, Goswami Mutt - 2, Near Sita Tirth, RAMESHWARAM (Tamil Nadu)

Dwadasa Jyotirling Stuti:



Rameshwaram Holiest Pilgrimage
Rameshwaram shrine is one of the holiest pilgrims of Hindus and is among the Char Dhaams (four divine sites) comprising of Badrinath, Puri, Dwarka and Rameshwaram. Rameshwaram is an island, which is in the shape of a conch. Its importance has been mentioned in the Skandha Purana and Shivapurana. Ramanathaswamy Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is the temple with the longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India. It enjoys reverence akin to Banaras. It is believed that one can’t attain ‘nirvaan’ without a visit to this place. Mythologically, this is the place where Lord Ram worshipped Lord Shiva to cleanse away the sin of killing Ravana (Ravana was a Brahmin and killing a Brahmin is considered a sin). Rameshwaram is therefore a holy pilgrimage for Vaishnavites and Shaivites alike. This temple is one of the holiest Hindu temples.

Spiritual Significance – Rameshwaram
If one lies down on bank and sticks the sand on the body, the number of as many sand particles would absolve as many Brahmahatya (killing a Brahmin) sins. The touch of the wind on one’s body from the mid-banks of Setu would pardon ten thousand ‘Surapanaas’(drinking alcohol). One can take an oath on behalf of someone and then taking a dip in the sacred water will relieve a person of all his sins.

Historical Significance – Rameshwaram
Following king Dasharatha’s wish, Lord Shri Ram, Devi Sita and Lakshman consigned themselves to the Dandakaranya forest for fourteen years. When residing at a hermitage in Panchavati, the demon king Ravana tricked and abducted Devi Sita. He held her captive in Ashokavana in Lanka – the present day Srilanka. Rama and Lakshmana reached Kishkindha in search of Devi Sita, where they made Hanuman and Sugriva as their friends. The latter was helped by Rama to kill Bali and made him the king of Kishkindha. A huge search for Devi Sita was organized by the vaanaras in which Hanuman having reached southern seashore at Rameshwaram, jumped across the ocean, and met Devi Sita at Ashokavana. After finding Devi Sita in captivity in a garden, Hanuman reveals his identity to her, reassures her that Lord Rama has been looking for her, and uplifted her spirits. Hanuman returned back to Rama and gave the news of Sita’s whereabouts. Rama, Lakshmana, Sugriva, Hanuman, Jambavan and other great warriors of vaanaras reached the seashore of Rameshwaram.

Rama prayed to Samudra Deva (God of Ocean) for three days but grew angry since he did not respond. As Rama took his bow and arrow to punish Samudra Deva, Samudra Deva appeared and agreed to help Rama. Nala constructed a bridge using stones and boulders across the ocean. Thus commenced the ‘Setu Bandhan’ with the help of any material including trees, plants, flowers, and even grass thrown into the deep waters by Nala and soon enough a remarkable bridge was planned right across the Ocean. Lord Shri Rama determined an excellent ‘muhurat’(auspicious time) for Ganesh Puja and Maheshwara Puja at the Devipatnam Nagar. The Setubandhan mantra recited by all those involved in the building of it is as follows:

Raghuvira padanyasa Pavitrikruta Pamsavey,
Dasakantha siraccheda hetavey Setavey
Namah Ketavey Ramachandrasya moksha
Maargonka hetavey, Sitaayaa maanasambhoja
Bhaanavey Setava namah

This Place has become sacred with the dust of Shri Ram’s feet; this Setu is the one being constructed to devastate the ten heads of Ravanasura; this is the Ketu (dhwaja or flag symbol) being built as the proof of ‘Moksha Sadhana’or the Route to Salvation, Shri Rama’s universal distinction and Devi Sita’s happiness like the opening of her lotus like heart with Surya Deva’s high radiance. Our greetings to this immortal Setu!

Starting the task of Setu Bandhan, the construction was accomplished within five days. Rameshwaram Maha Linga is the most hallowed Parameshwara linga established by Lord Rama and Devi Sita for the twin reasons of freeing them from sins of brahma hatya dosha (killing Ravana) and also to show their gratitude and veneration to Mahadeva.

In consultation with Maha Munis, Lord Rama decided to consecrate Rameshwara Linga at the most auspicious ‘Muhurat’ and requested Hanuman to bring the Linga from Mahadeva at Kailash Mountain. Hanuman raced to Kailasa by the sky route in a second time but could not secure Shiva Darshan fast and had to meditate Mahadeva for days together. Finally, Mahadeva blessed Rameshwara Linga and without loss of time Hanuman came back to Rameshwaram. However Hanuman could not arrive before the auspicious muhurat and hence Devi Sita prepared a Shiva Linga out of the ocean sand. Lord Rama established the sand linga by performing abhisheks amid recitals of vedas and other appropriate mantras by the holy waters from Koti Tirtha. In order that Hanuman should not feel disappointed, Shri Rama placed Hanumadiswara Linga and announced that devotees should have to see this Linga even before they worship Rameshwar Linga.

Rameshwaram Temple and other places of Interest
The Rameshwaram temple was built by many kings and is very famous for its sculptural beauty. The third corridor is the longest corridor in the world. Twenty two different tirthas are present inside the temple. Each of these tirthas is fresh water spring near to an ocean bed which in itself is a miracle.
There are total 22 tirthas (wells) in this temple and it is believed that taking a bath from the water of these wells helps one to get rid of all the sins as well as diseases in life. The most important ones are Chakra Tirtha, Betala Varada Tirtha and Paapavinashana Tirtha. Then there are Sitasarovar Tirtha, Mangala Tirtha and Amritavaapika, Brahmakund, Hanumankund, Agasthya Tirtha, Rama Tirtha, Lakshmana Tirtha, Jaya Tirtha, Lakshmi Tirtha, Agni Tirtha, Chakra Tirtha, Shiva Tirtha, Shankha Tirtha, Yamuna Tirtha, Ganga Tirtha, Gaya Tirtha, Koti Tirtha, Saadhyamrita Tirtha, Maanasa Tirtha and Dhanushkodi Tirtha.

Rules of Attending this Shivir
  1. Various spiritual activities will be performed on 14th March 2015 under the guidance of Gurudev after completion of Aarti on Rameshwaram Shivghat which lies on the bank of Indian Ocean.
  2. Swa Rudrabhisheka will be performed on 15th March 2015 to eradicate poverty, illness, untimely death consequences and misfortunes from the life.
  3. Yoga, pranayama, mantra recitation, sadhana, bhajans etc. will be performed daily.
  4. You should make sure that instead of roaming around after the Shivir, you should go back directly to home on the morning of 16th March, 2015 and recite the Mantra provided by Gurudev for getting the best results of your Sadhanas or Diksha.
  5. Registration cost of the Shivir is Rs. 5100/- (Rupees Five Thousand One Hundred Only). You can deposit this amount by yourself in account number 31763681638 in the name of Pracheen Mantra Yantra Vigyan, State Bank of India, U.I.T., Jodhpur account.
  6. If amount is directly deposited in the account, then it is advisable to send the PAY IN SLIP to Jodhpur Office or if the transfer is made online, then you can forward the amount transfer SMS.
  7. Please contact the Jodhpur office on the following landline numbers 0291-2517025, 0291-2517028 or on mobile numbers 07568939648 or 08769442398 for more details regarding the Shivir.
  8. Lodging and food arrangements will be made for registered disciples only. Lodging will be provided in DORMITORY / HALL only.
  9. Mothers / sisters / daughters should not come alone.
  10. It is also recommended that only physically fit person should attend this Shivir.
  11. It is necessary to reach Rameshwaram by 14th March 2015 morning.

All Major City connected by train to Madurai & Rameshwaram.

As mentioned above, Rameshwaram is one of the most holy pilgrimages of the Hindus and it is also said that one who visits this place get rid of all the sins. Without any doubt, it is also true that only a fortunate person can get Dikshas or Sadhanas on such holy land. It is our good fortune that we are getting such a golden opportunity in life to go to such a divine land under the guidance of Sadgurudev and we should grab this opportunity with our both hands.

Each registered Sadhak will be initiated by Gurudev Shri Kailash Chandra Shrimali with Shakshi Vinayak Diksha and Kaalbhairav Shaktipaat Diksha. To get completeness, prosperity, opulence, Hawan, Pujan, Rudraabhishek, Darshan at RAMESHWARAM JYOTIRLINGAM, Holy bath at 22 Kunds (Wells) is also organised.





          21st April 2015 - Akshaya Tritiya Divas        
21 April 2015 – Akshaya Tritiya Divas – When the whole day is auspicious for getting success in any sadhana

Akshay Tritiya is symbolized by God Vishnu, the preserver God in the Hindu Trinity. It was the day when Vyasa started writing the history of great Mahabharat war. According to Hindu mythology, on this day the Treta Yuga began and the river Ganges, the most sacred river of India, descended to the earth from the heaven. It was on this day that Goddess Annapoorna was born. Kubera received his wealth and position as custodian of wealth and property with Goddess Lakshmi on this day by praying to Lord Shiva. Lakshmi Tantram says that even Kubera prays to Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and consort of Vishnu, on Akshay Tritiya.

It is traditionally observed as the birthday of Prashurama, the sixth incarnation of God Vishnu. Yudhishtira received the Akshaya patra, which he used to serve food for all the needy ones in his kingdom. It was on this day that poor Sudama, the best friend of Krishna visited Him (Lord Krishna) to greet Him after He became the King. With nothing to offer, Sudama takes with him puffed rice and offered it to his friend and never discussed his poverty though he intended to. On his return he found his hut changed to a palace.

It was on this day only that Dushasana, Duryodhana’s brother, unveils Draupadi at the royal court where Krishna protected her providing the ‘unending’ veil. In more recent history, Adi Shankara recited the Kanaka Dhara Strotra on this day for the sake of the poor couple at whose house he stopped for offering and was offered their only available gooseberry.

A dip in the river Ganges on this day is considered to be very auspicious. The Vedic scriptures say that knowledge gained or charity done on Akshaya Tritiya is very fruitful. It is considered to be a very lucky day to start new business or venture. Many people buy gold or property on this day. Fasts are kept on this day and worships are performed.

Followers of the Jain religion consider Akshaya Tritiya to be a holy and supremely auspicious day. It is associated with Lord Adinath, also known as Rishabhadeva, first of the twenty-four Tirthankaras. Lord Rishabhadeva meditated without any food and water for six months and after that set out to accept food. He was the first monk of that era. Jain monks, do not own anything. They do not even cook food for themselves. When hungry or thirsty, they set out to accept ahara. They do not ask for it and accept it where it is offered. Tirthankara Rishabhadeva went to people to accept food. However, the people of that time did not know anything about the lives and disciplines of monks, as he was the first monk of the era. The people of Ayodhya offered him gold, jewellery, gemstones, elephants, horses, expensive garments and even their daughters to honor their beloved king.

But Rishabhadeva was not in search of these things. He sought only a morsel of food, but nobody offered it to him. Nobody understood that their king was looking for food, to ensure that the monks who would come after him get food and water in the purest form; he needed to lead an ascetic life. As there was no choice, he had to fast for one year until King Shreyansa understood his need due to his divine knowledge. Shreyansa Kumar offered him sugarcane juice and thus Rishabhadeva ended his fast. This was on the day of Akshaya Tritiya. Hence, sugarcane juice is considered by Jains to be one of the best offerings.

Akshaya Tritiya, owing to all these great events is thus considered as one of the most sacred days of the year. It is further believed that religious gifts bestowed on Akshaya Tritiya become inexhaustible. Jains today observe a fast to commemorate their first Tirthankara Rishabhadeva on Akshaya Tritiya and end their fast with sugarcane juice.

In the ancient texts it is also mentioned that if someone perform any mantra sadhana or recitation, then the person gets the full benefit of each and every recitation. This day remains energized throughout the day for complete 24 hours and thus the entire day is beneficial for performing sadhana. There is no restriction of any type and any sadhana can be performed on this day. Presented below, are four very powerful sadhanas related to various sects of a human’s life and are thus recommended for everyone.

Akshaya Lakshami Sadhana
(For inexhaustible wealth)

The unanimous answer for the basis of life in present world is wealth. The reason for this is that without it, life becomes a long tale of misery and sufferings. Not just for the family man, wealth is equally important for an ascetic. In fact, the Yogis who strive selflessly for bettering the lives of others, might need more wealth than the family man, for building temples, hospitals and for other charitable purposes.

Hence wealth is the key to success and happiness in life, provided that it is used for noble causes. If one lacks wealth in life, if there is a scarcity of resources then utter frustration, hopelessness, poverty and despair sets in. The Goddess of wealth is Lakshmi and to enchant her in one’s life is not so easy. This is because Lakshmi remains permanently at a place only if there is sacredness, intelligence, patience and activeness ruling over the place.

There can be no better way of making these attributes a permanent part of your home than accomplishing Akshaya Lakshmi Sadhana, that too on this auspicious day. There are thousands of Sadhanas for gaining wealth that have appeared in the ancient scriptures but presented below is a very powerful and rare sadhana, which if performed on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, not just makes a person rich but intelligent too.

Sadhana Articles: Five Laghu Supari, Jwalamalini Yantra and Akshaya Rosary.    

Sadhana Procedure: Have a bath, wear pure white clothes and sit facing South on a white mat. Cover a wooden seat with white cloth. Draw a star with six edges with vermillion on the cloth. This can be created by drawing two triangles one above the other, each pointing to opposite direction. Now place the five Laghu Supari on each of the vertices of the star. Place the Jwalamalini Yantra in the centre of the star. Also place a picture of Sadgurudev. Offer vermillion, rice, flower petals on the picture and light a mustard oil lamp. It is advisable to use a big lamp so that all the Suparis remain immersed in oil.
Then offer prayers to the Guru and chant one round of Guru Mantra. Take water in the right palm and then speak out thus – I (speak out your name) am performing this Sadhana for gaining wealth and intelligence and for giving Goddess Lakshmi a permanent place in my house.

Now drop the water onto the floor. Next chant just three (3) rounds of the following mantra wit Akshaya rosary.

Mantra
Om Akshaya Lakshmyai Siddhim Dehi Pratyaksham Bhav Namo Hoom
|| à¥ अक्षय लक्षम्यै सिद्धिं देहि प्रत्यक्षं भव णमो हूं ||

Blow away the flame after chanting the mantra. Take out four Suparis and throw them in four directions outside from your house. Then tie the remaining Supari and other Sadhana articles in the white cloth and bury this bundle in your house or place the bundle in your safe.

Sadhana Articles:   Rs. 470/-

Akshaya Swaastha Sadhana
(For a perfect health)

To overcome all hurdles, all adversaries, one needs the decisive strength of divine power with the help of which even the worst phases of life can be easily crossed over. One might well succeed in warding off the attacks coming from expected sources, but many catch ones from unknown and unaware sources leaving them struggling to keep life going on smoothly. Even if one is equipped with a daring spirit, one can possible take on at most two or three foes at a moment. A series of attack coming from scores of sources instead of proving to be a healthy competition could mean loss of precious time, energy and money and even health in life.

Life becomes fraught with worries, constant fears, ill health and loss of wealth due to such negative influences in life. In such situations, especially when no amount of wise counselling is available, there is no other choice than seeking divine help.  Sadhanas alone can help one overcome such persistent foes, for Vedic rituals are a wonderful source of Shakti or divine power which not just instils physical strength and stamina, rather also strengthens one mentally and spiritually. One should perform this sadhana if he is left hopeless in life, is surrounded by enemies or is living a life full of misery.

Sadhana Articles: Shakti Yantra

Sadhana Procedure: Wear a red cloth and sit on a red mat facing South. Cover a wooden plank with red cloth and place Shakti Yantra on it. Worship the Yantra and light a ghee lamp. Now chant the following mantra for 40 (forty) minutes fixing your gaze on the yantra.

Mantra
Om Kreem Kaali Udhrvoditaayai Om Phat
|| à¥ क्रीं  à¤•à¤¾à¤²à¤¿ ऊध्र्वोदितायै  à¥ फट् ||

Drop the yantra in a water body after the sadhana. This completes the sadhana procedure and the person starts getting all sorts of favourable circumstances in life.

Sadhana Articles:  Rs. 250/-

Akshaya Saubhaagya Sadhana
(For an infrangible fortune)

Every married woman in this world wishes to remain in her wifehood throughout her life. It is true that even a man wishes the same for himself, but it really is a truth that very few woman are fortunate to be blessed with such a fortune. This sadhana can also be performed by a married woman for the good health of her sick husband or if he is entangled in some problematic situation, which can be life threatening. This sadhana ensures good health for her husband and safeguards him from any peril. Presented below is the sadhana, which if performed with full devotion on this day, can bestow such a fortune upon any married woman.

Sadhana Articles: Saubhaagya Varjavrata Rinni Yantra and Saubhaagya Rosary

Sadhana Procedure: Get up early in the morning and take a bath. Get into clean white clothes and sit on a white mat facing East. Take 100 grams of red lead (sindoor) in a box and place the yantra on it. Now make a mark with saffron on the yantra. Light a ghee lamp and an incense stick. Next chant 5 rounds of the mantra below with the rosary.

Mantra
Om Hreem Mahaadevataayai Mahaayakshinyai Mama Akhanda Saubhaagyam Dehi Dehi Namah
|| à¥ ह्रीं महादेवतायै महायक्षिण्यै मम अखण्ड सौभाग्य देहि देहि नमः ||

Offer the yantra, rosary along with the box of red lead to a tulsi plant grown within a temple premises after the sadhana on the same day. Accomplishing this ensures that such a woman continue to live a fortunate life and her wifehood continue throughout her life.


Sadhana Articles: Rs. 450/- 

For more details please contact –

Pracheen Mantra Yantra Vigyan, Jodhpur
1-C, Panchavati Colony, 
In Front of N.C.C. Ground, 
Ratanada, Jodhpur – 342001(Rajasthan)
Phone - 0291-2517025, 0291-2517028
Mobile - 07568939648, 08769442398

          Singapore Stopover        
On our way back from New Zealand we spent a couple of nights in Singapore – for the second time in three years. It was the hot and humid rainy season (34° and 90% humidity) but nonetheless it is a fascinating place to visit and having discovered how cheap the taxis were, we only walked […]
          GILA NAK JADI WHY BE        





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Salah satu perkara paling mengecewakan ialah Orang Muda berfikiran tua.
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Mimie Anita Berfikiran tua matang ok jugak...kalau fikiran tua nyanyuk tu....golek ke lombong je
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Mohd Azli Ahmad Penyanyi muda menyanyi mcm artis 80an. Dah kenapa
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Lynda Linda tua perasan muda pun sgt merimaskan😁
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Syed Abd Habib Faiz Define 'berfikiran tua'. ðŸ¤”


ADA LAGI

SATU GILA

ANAK MUDA

GILA NAK JADI

WHY BE

KAH KAH KAH

---------------

          Why I celebrate College Signing Day        

I grew up as a first-generation American living on welfare and food stamps with a single mother in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. For most of my life, college seemed out of reach—no one in my family or neighborhood had gone, so it was hard to imagine that I’d ever get there. The day I committed to going to college was the day my life changed. It opened many doors and opportunities, and I made lifelong friends (and learned a few important lessons) along the way. Now I’ve dedicated my career at Google to helping educators use technology to give students more opportunities.

 Though it didn’t have an official name when I was in school, College Signing Day marks the day when high school seniors commit to attending a four-year university, professional training program or community college. This College Signing Day, I'm joining Michelle Obama to celebrate this moment and the students whose lives are about to change with their decision to go to college.

 Attending college was a huge milestone for me, but it was accompanied by fear and anxiety. I was entering the unfamiliar and unknown, and my mind filled with dread and doubt. Who was going to help me? If I take out student loans, will I ever make enough money to pay those loans back? What if I'm not smart enough? What if I don’t make any friends?

 These reservations are intensified for students who are growing up the way I grew up. You don't know many individuals who went to college, so you don’t have anyone to turn  turn to for guidance or to help you build the confidence and mindset you need to succeed in college. But I was a stubborn kid (and am now a stubborn adult) and refused to accept expectations for kids like me—that we were destined to a life of crime or poverty. I wanted to prove the stereotypes wrong, which is why I committed to attending SUNY Brockport.

 For students who are the first in their family to attend college, celebrating College Signing Day is critical. We tell students the most important thing they can do for their future is to focus on their education. We tell them how higher education will give them the perspective and tools they’ll use for the rest of their lives. When these students get into college, it’s an enormous accomplishment—and we need to show them it’s worth celebrating.

 Though these students may not have grown up around college graduates, they’ll soon be surrounded by a community of educators, counselors, students and alumni who can help them through the college experience. This community—combined that with the love and support of families and communities back home—is critical to the success of college-bound students.

 Google has done a lot of work to expand opportunities for students at every step of their education (so that they can eventually make it to College Signing Day!). Through Google.org we’ve committed $50 million toward supporting nonprofits that are working to close global education gaps. We’ve built products and tools—like Classroom and Chromebooks—designed to make teaching and learning more effective and engaging. And we’ve also created programs that give every student the tools to become the creators, not just the consumers, of technology.  

A critical component of this commitment is ensuring that every student also has a pathway to pursue their higher education, whether that’s through scholarships, mentors or interning with us at Google. In partnership with Reach Higher (part of the Better Make Room initiative), we’ve also created a series of Google Expeditions for students to virtually visit college campuses. This opens up opportunities for students who don’t have the means to travel to for college visits—they can check out residence halls, classrooms, and even financial aid offices before ever stepping foot on campus. Colleges interested in creating their own Expedition can sign up via this form.

howard

Former First Lady Michelle Obama touring the advanced skills lab in Howard Community College's Expedition.

For more information on College Signing Day and to access a toolkit to help teachers, counselors, and community organizations host a celebration in their community, visit www.bettermakeroom.org.


          The Afternoon Sound Alternative 08-01-2017 with Barry Roark        
Playlist:

The Bats- Land O Lakes - Couchmaster
Janka Nabay The Bubu Gang- Combination - Build Music
Jonathan Richman The Modern Lovers- Dancin Late At Night - Modern Lovers 88
Gang Of Four- To Hell With Poverty - Another Day Another Dollar EP
Tricky- Tear Out My Eyes - Angels With Dirty Faces
Cody ChesnuTT- Its In The Love - My Love Divine Degree
Warm Soda- I Dont Wanna Grow Up - I Dont Wanna Grow Up
- voicebreak -
Happyness- Tunnel Vision On Your Part - Write In
Greyface- Problems - Greyola
Mark Farina- Dropped Into Water - Air Farina
Damaged Bug- Mood Slime - Bunker Funk
Antipop Consortium- Free Hop - Antipop Vs Matthew Shipp
Yppah- Occasional Magic - Tiny Pause
Future Bible Heroes- Living Loving Partygoing - Partygoing
- voicebreak -
Explosions In The Sky- Be Comfortable Creature - Take Care Take Care Take Care
Betty Davis- My Soul Is Tired Take 9 - The Columbia Years 19681969
Flamin Groovies- Whiskey Woman - Teenage Head
Clint Mansell Kronos Quartet- Hope Overture - Requiem For A Dream Soundtrack From The Motion Picture
Surreal And DJ Balance- Yeah Boy beat By Kero One Featuring Theory Hazit - Future Classic
Swell- Golden Years - Crash Course For The Ravers A Tribute To The Songs Of David Bowie
Future Loop Foundation- Clusterfunk - Live In The Middle Of Nowhere
MGMT- Cool Song No 2 - MGMT The Optimizer Deluxe Edition
Turkuaz- On The Border feat The New Mastersounds - The New Mastersounds Turkuaz Single
Washed Out- Million Miles Away - Mister Mellow
Aldous RH- Feelin Blue - Feelin Blue Single
Joy Wellboy- Lay Down Your Blade - Yorokobis Mantra Deluxe Version
Psapp- Everybody Wants To Be A Cat - Rewind Vol 5
The Rural Alberta Advantage- To Be Scared - Mended With Gold
Various Artists- Everyday Is Halloween - WISH YOU WERE QUEER
The Amazing- Picture You - Picture You
- voicebreak -
Ondatrpica- Just A Moment - Baile Bucanero
Giant Sand- Transponder - Heartbreak Pass
- voicebreak -
Cloud Cult- To The Great Unknown - The Seeker
The Afghan Whigs- Copernicus - In Spades


playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/20/playlistDate/2017-08-01
          The Afternoon Sound Alternative 05-05-2017 with Erin Stereo        
Playlist:

Faithless- Summertime - Renaissance Presents 3d
DJ Jazzy Jeff The Fresh Prince- Summertime - The Very Best Of DJ Jazzy Jeff The Fresh Prince
- voicebreak -
Coco Freeman U2- I Still Havent Found What Im Looking For - Rhythms Del Mundo Cuba
Quantic And His Combo Brbaro- Undelivered Letter - Tradition In Transition
Rhythms Del Mundo- Hotel Buena Vista - Rhythms Del Mundo Cuba
- voicebreak -
Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Let Me Know - Gold Lion
Foxing- The Medic - The Albatross
Deftones- Xerces - Saturday Night Wrist Bonus Track Version
- voicebreak -
Gorillaz- Out Of Body feat Kilo Kish Zebra Katz Imani Vonsh - Humanz Deluxe
Tove Styrke- Say My Name - Say My Name Single
Caravan Palace- Comics - II
Lusine- The Level - Sensorimotor
Sampa The Great- Everybodys Hero feat Estelle - Everybodys Hero feat Estelle Single
Binary Star- Glen Close feat One Be Lo - Masters Of The Universe
DJ Shadow- Systematic feat Nas - Silicon Valley Music From The HBO Original Series
JERU THE DAMAJA- Me Or The Papes - WRATH OF THE MATH
- voicebreak -
Santigold- Big Boss Big Time Business - 99 Cents
Enon- Knock That Door - Lost Marbles And Exploded Evidence
RJD2- 1976 - Since We Last Spoke Deluxe
DeeeLite- IFO Identified Flying Object - Infinity Within
Gang Of Four- To Hell With Poverty - Return The Gift
The Presets- YippiyoAy - Apocalypso
OK Go- White Knuckles - Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky
Beast- Satan - Beast
Two Another- Aiming Up - Aiming Up Single
Yellow House- Blinding Sights Left Me Cold In The Night - A Carnival Of Fears EP
SOHN- Signal - Rennen
Jos James- You Know I Know - Love In A Time Of Madness
- voicebreak -
Willie Nelson- Still Not Dead - Gods Problem Child
Johnny Cash- Bad News - I Walk The Line
Buck 65- Blood Of A Young Wolf - Secret House Against The World
Tanika Charles- Money - Soul Run
Nilfer Yanya- Keep On Calling - Nova Tunes 35
Basement Jaxx- On The Train - Crazy Itch Radio
Kan Wakan- Still Feather - Still Feather Single
The BarKays- Soul Finger - Beg Scream Shout The Best Of 60s Soul Vol 3
Marva Whitney- Its My Thing You Cant Tell Me Who To Sock It To Pts 1 2 - James Browns Original Funky Divas


playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/65/playlistDate/2017-05-05
          Zohal’s Flight to Safety        

Zohal was born in a poor family in a village near Kabul. She and her sister grew up without their father. They grew up without love or education, without hope or dreams. When she was a young girl, Zohal’s mother had to marry her to a terrible man and because of the family’s poverty, Zohal […]

The post Zohal’s Flight to Safety appeared first on Nation against early marriage..


          Justice, Mercy, and Youthful Indiscretion        

      I come from a larger than average extended family – which includes more than twenty cousins. We all grew up either in poverty or close to it. More than half of those cousins have criminal records. Some learned from their mistakes, but some did not. All of them, however, did their time. Many of […]

The post Justice, Mercy, and Youthful Indiscretion appeared first on Children and the Law Blog.


          { kids forts }        
With the weather turning rather chilly in Brisbane this week, the kids and I have been spending a lot of time indoors.

One of our favourite past times is building a fort. Its amazing how much enjoyment one can have out of a few sheets and towels and a couple of props to hang them from!

How cool are these forts I found over at pinterest.


provides some lovely comfortable sitting for mum!


This one is made using roller blinds. What a great idea.


How cool would this be at night reading to the kids?


Oh so pretty


Sleepover forts

What's there not to love about this one

Have a relaxing weekend everyone. Long weekend here....and can not wait!

          The Afternoon Sound Alternative 10-17-2016 with DJ Deep Rawk        
Playlist:

Rachelle Clare Goldsmith And Barry Goldsmith- Grass - Relaxation The Key To Life
Mort Garson- Swingin Spathiphyllums - Mother Earths Plantasia
Jamie Cullum- Dont Let Me Be Misunderstood feat Gregory Porter - Interlude
Phil Ranelin- How Do We End All Of This Madness - A Message From The Tribe
Quincy Jones And His Orchestra- I Hear A Symphony - Quincys Got A Brand New Bag
- voicebreak -
RB Greaves- Always Something There To Remind Me - RB Greaves
James Brown- Mind Power Alt Take Edit - 12
Dennis Coffey- Plutonius - Dennis Coffey
The Parris Mitchell Strings With Brass- Goldfinger - Thunderball
- voicebreak -
David Axelrod- David McCallum House Of Mirrors - The Edge
Jimmy Smith- Respect - Respect
Newcleus- Automan - Jam On Revenge
X25 Band- Black Hole Bop - 12
ESG- UFO - The Moody EP
Jerry Goldsmith- The Droid - Alien Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
- voicebreak -
The Souljazz Orchestra- Jericho - Solidarity
Capital Letters- Old Old Owl - Vinyard
The Heptones- Good Life - Good Life
Prince Far I- Anambra Dub - Dubwise
- voicebreak -
De La Soul- Snoopies with David Byrne - And The Anonymous Nobody
Gumbo- Basement Music - Unknown
Poor Righteous Teachers- Each One Teach One - Pure Poverty
Illuminati Congo- Green Is All I Need - Green Is All I Need
Common- Out On Bond feat Vince Staples - Nobodys Smiling Deluxe Version
- voicebreak -
Rubedo- What Is Green - Massa Confusa
RJD2- One Day - Since We Last Spoke
Zola Jesus- Lawless - Taiga
Enduro- Lisbon - 12
Little Dragon- Klapp Klapp Instrumental - 12
- voicebreak -
Kelis- Jerk Ribs - Food
Emeli Sand- Where I Sleep - Our Version Of Events
- voicebreak -
Steve Spacek- Dollar - Gilles Peterson Worldwide A Celebration Of His Snydicated Radio Show
Soulstice- Wind JBoogie Mix - Lovely Single
Got A Girl- Last Stop - I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now
Erykah Badu- Cleva - Mamas Gun
Nobody- Mia Doi Todd Autumn Nobody Remix - Revisions Revisions The Remixes
Rockmaster Scott And The Dynamic 3- Request Line - 12
Buckner Garcia- Mousetrap - Pac Man Fever
David Bowie- Fame 90 Queen Latifahs Rap Version - Fame 90 Remixes EP
- voicebreak -
Various Artists- Carl Craig Presents Zoos Of Berlin Looking For Water - Life Beyond Mars
Easy Star AllStars- Thriller feat Mikey General Spragga Benz - Easy Stars Thrillah


playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/5/playlistDate/2016-10-17
          The Afternoon Sound Alternative 10-11-2016 with DJ Deep Rawk        
Playlist:

X25 Band- Black Hole Bop - 12
Various Artists- Material Dont Lose Control - Disco Not Disco Post Punk Electro
Rockmaster Scott And The Dynamic 3- Request Line - 12
New York Citi Peech Boys- Life Is Something Special - 12
The Devastating Duo- The Real Fly Guys Instrumental - 12
- voicebreak -
XTC- Making Plans For Nigel - Drums And Wires
The Jam- Mr Clean - The Sound Of The Jam
New York Dolls- Who Are The Mystery Girls - In Too Much Too Soon
Kenny Rogers The First Edition- Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Is In - The Big Lebowski Soundtrack From The Motion Picture
Neil Young- Journey Through The Past - Inherent Vice Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Emily Kinney Lauren Cohan- The Parting Glass - The Walking Dead AMC Original Soundtrack Vol 1
- voicebreak -
Bedroom Produkshionz- SELF - 12
Common- Out On Bond feat Vince Staples - Nobodys Smiling Deluxe Version
Public Enemy- Lost At Birth - Apocalypse 91 The Enemy Strikes Back
Poor Righteous Teachers- Each One Teach One - Pure Poverty
- voicebreak -
Joey Bada X Nick Caution- On My Life - Scion Av Pro Era Presents The Shift
Illuminati Congo- Green Is All I Need - Green Is All I Need
Prince Far I- Kaduna Dub - Dubwise
The Upsetters- Domino Game - The Sound Doctor
Capital Letters- Old Old Owl - Vinyard
- voicebreak -
The Souljazz Orchestra- Jericho - Solidarity
El Rego- Zon Dede - El Rego
Tommy McCook Don Drummond- Don De Lion - Music Is My Occupation
Easy Star AllStars- Thriller feat Mikey General Spragga Benz - Easy Stars Thrillah
Dillinger- Five Man Army Send Another Moses feat Trinity Wayne Wade Al Campbell Junior Tamlin - Five Man Army feat Trinity Wayne Wade Al Campbell Junior Tamlin Single
- voicebreak -
Soulstice- The Reason DJ Spinna Mix - Om Lounge Vol 7
Kwes- Lgoyh - Meantime EP
Vikter Duplaix- Can We Be Lovers - International Affairs
Mapei- As 1 - Hey Hey
Maxwell- III - Black Summers Night
- voicebreak -
Cal Tjader- Never Can Say Goodbye - Last Bolero In Berkeley
Funk Inc- Lets Make Peace And Stop The War - Chicken Lickin
Daniel Merriweather- The Children - Love War
Oneness Of JuJu- Space Jungle Funk - Space Jungle Luv
Sharon Jones The DapKings- People Dont Get What They Deserve - Give The People What They Want
The Symbols- Along The Watchtower - Symbolized
- voicebreak -
Cherrystones- Diary Of A Bad Girl - 12
Illum Sphere- One Letter From Death - Ghosts Of Then And Now
Rubedo- What Is Green - Massa Confusa


playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/20/playlistDate/2016-10-11
          The Afternoon Sound Alternative 05-06-2016 with Erin Stereo        
Playlist:

The BarKays- Soul Finger - The BarKays AllTime Greatest Hits
Syl Johnson- Different Strokes - Complete Mythology
Marva Whitney- Its My Thing You Cant Tell Me Who To Sock It To Pts 1 2 - James Browns Original Funky Divas
The Coasters- Cool Jerk - 20 Greatest Hits
Lord Flea- Shake Shake Shake Senora - Swingin Calypsos
- voicebreak -
Santigold- Big Boss Big Time Business - 99 Cents
Enon- Knock That Door - Lost Marbles And Exploded Evidence
RJD2- 1976 - Since We Last Spoke Deluxe
DeeeLite- IFO Identified Flying Object - Infinity Within
- voicebreak -
Res- 700 Mile Situation - How I Do
Estelle- Come Over - Shine Deluxe Version
Patrick Lee- So Simple - Twelve Tusk Piano
- voicebreak -
Massive Attack- Protection - Protection
Unkle- Lonely Soul - Psyence Fiction
- voicebreak -
DJ Cam- Summer In Paris feat Anggun - Soulshine
Tipsy- Grossenhosen - Tipsy
Koop- Summer Sun - Waltz For Koop
Coyote Kisses- Sunny Day - Sunny Day Single
- voicebreak -
Gang Of Four- To Hell With Poverty - Return The Gift
The Presets- YippiyoAy - Apocalypso
OK Go- White Knuckles - Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky
Beast- Satan - Beast
- voicebreak -
Florence The Machine- Girl With One Eye - Lungs
2Pac- Dear Mama - 2Pac Greatest Hits
Jean Grae- If You Close Your Eyes feat The Herbaliser - The Orchestral Files Deluxe Version
DJ Shadow- Nobody Speak feat Run The Jewels - The Mountain Will Fall
Tech N9ne- Fragile feat Kendrick Lamar MAYDAY Kendall Morgan - Something Else All Access Edition
- voicebreak -
Sylvan Esso- Hey Mami - Sylvan Esso
Purity Ring- Flood On The Floor - Another Eternity
The Xx- Intro - Xx Bonus Track Version
Mura Masa- Lotus Eater - Soundtrack To A Death
- voicebreak -


playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/65/playlistDate/2016-05-06
          Garden Sleepovers        
The latest edition of Alastair Sawday’s ‘Special Places to stay in Britain for Garden Lovers’ has just been published.  It is crammed full of lovely houses to stay in, with wonderful gardens to wander through.  If I could work out a way to get my garden to look after itself, I could spend months wandering […]
          There Are No Heroes: Peter Senge on System Leadership        

The world faces a host of systemic challenges beyond the reach of our existing institutions and their command-and-control hierarchies. Problems like climate change, ecosystem destruction, growing water scarcity, rising unemployment among younger generations, and embedded poverty and inequality. These serious issues require unprecedented collaboration – among different organizations, sectors and even countries. They also require […]

The post There Are No Heroes: Peter Senge on System Leadership appeared first on MIT Leadership Center.


          Report Finds U.S. Lags Middle- and High-Income Countries in Investments in Families Despite High Child Poverty Rate        

Findings identify global opportunities to help families flourish, maintain family stability, reduce family poverty, and alleviate undernourishment

(PRWeb September 22, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/09/prweb12975280.htm


          09.10.17 20:30 Uhr - Nürnberg - EMA        
Tickets erhältlich unter: http://www.frankentipps.de/veranstaltung215463-tickets

EMA

nach dem Erfolg von "Past Life Martyred Saints" (2011) und dem prophetischen "The Future´s Void" (2014) meldet sich EMA aka Erika M. Anderson mit ihrem neuen Album "Exile In The Outer Ring" zurück. Ein beängstigendes Portrait einer Welt, so real abgründig, wie sie sich kein Stephen King hätte ausdenken können. Für ihr neues Album verliess EMA ihre gerade noch so bezahlbare rumpelige Kellerwohnung und suchte in den Ruinen des liberalen Kapitalismus, fernab von Craft Beer, Food Blogs und Comfort Zone Portlandia, nach Antworten auf die größte soziale Frage ihrer Generation. Ihr Album steckt voller Wut aber auch Empathie für den mittleren Westen, dem "Heartland" der USA, ihrer Heimat. Dort, wo Armut, Drogen und Hoffnungslosigkeit ganze Landstriche im Griff haben und von wo aus sich ein Gebräu aus Rassismus, Hass und Gewalt einen Weg bis hin in die US- Regierung bahnte.


Die Single "Aryan Nation" ist eine düstere Bestandsaufnahme, die sich verzweifelt an die letzten Überreste der amerikanischen Working Class richtet, welche gerade dabei ist sich selbst zu zerstören. Die Message ist klar, die Probleme dieser Menschen sind real, aber nur zusammen geht es nach vorne und vor allem: Faschismus und Hass sind nicht die Lösung.


"This is for my people in the middle country. I don´t look down on, or laugh at, serious issues such as poverty or drug problems. I believe your situations are real, your pain is real. I´m not here to ridicule or dismiss you. But as a person who came from heartland America, I also believe that there is another way than directing your anger at those who often have less power than you. Don´t let your discontent or your patriotism be exploited. Don´t look down, look up." — EMA


Das Video zu "Aryan Nation" wurde von Aaron Anderson & Eric Timothy Carlson kreiert, die zuletzt unter anderem mit Bon Iver arbeiteten.
https://youtu.be/sTeqvdiLwmI


Erika erklärt: "I actually wrote this song about 3 years ago. It was partially inspired by people I’ve known in the the past and also the British film ´This Is England´, which most people in the UK are familiar with but hardly any Americans have seen.”?Und weiter: "In
the movie a group of non-racist UK skinheads in the 80s are radicalized through prison, poverty, and needless war. The results are violent and tragic. When I watched it I felt like I recognized a glimmer of their hopelessness and confusion in parts of America, but I had no
clue how much that would explode in 2017.



“Exile In The Outer Ring", von Jacob Portrait (Unknown Mortal Orchestra) mitproduziert, ist EMAs Rückkehr zu ihren Wurzeln in den Noise, zu früheren GOWNS Zeiten. Das
2007er GOWNS Album "Red State" deutete bereits auf einige der Kernthemen des
neuen Albums hin, gemeinsam mit seinem Mix an reduziertem Folk (“Always Bleeds,” ursprünglich ein Gowns Song), Spoken Word (“Where the Darkness Began”) und Noise Epen (“Breathalyzer”).


EMAs neues Album ist ausserdem der einzigartige Versuch einer Dekonstruktion von Gender Identitäten. Die Stimmen, die wir in diesen Songs hören - verdrogte, mürrische, gesellschaftliche Außenseiter, Nihilisten - sind typischerweise für Männer reserviert und der Archetyp des Dirtbag Teenager Jungen dominiert das Album. Jedoch betont EMA, dass es ebendiese Entfremdung gleichwohl auch für Frauen gibt “a woman who swallowed a scumbag teen boy whole” und benutzt diese sowohl um ihre eigene Verwundbarkeit zu hinterfragen als auch der Frage nachzugehen, wie männliche Gewalt die Welt prägt.

Das Ergebnis ist ein tief persönliches, konfrontatives, aber letztlich erlösendes Album einer amerikanischen Künstlerin in ihrer Höchstform.
"
          How this CEO invests in the dignity of others        

Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Now to another in our “Brief but Spectacular” series, where we hear from interesting people about their passions.  Tonight, entrepreneur Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen, a non-profit venture capital fund, talks about using the tools of business to address global poverty.

JACQUELINE NOVOGRATZ, Founder and CEO, Acumen:  When I was six years old, my first grade nun, Sister Mary Theophane, beat it into my head to whom much is given much is expected.  And so, I always wanted to change the world.

I moved to Rwanda to help start the first micro finance bank and soon thereafter realized that most people don’t want saving.  Most people want choice and opportunity, which is another way of saying dignity.

In a funny way, I became an accidental banker and ended up in Latin America during the financial debt crisis of the early 1980s.  And there I saw that I love the tools of business.  The problem was that low-income people who were so industrious had no access to the banks and that’s why I went into international development and saw that on the other side, there was a great humanitarian ethos, but it lacked the efficiency, the effectiveness of the markets.

We often say the market is the best listening device that we have.  So, if I give you a gift, you’re unlikely to tell me what you don’t like about it.  But if I try to tell you a solar light, you’re going to tell me exactly what you think.

We created an organization with this idea that you could change the way the world tackles poverty by using something we call “patient capital.”  We took philanthropy and rather than give it away, we would invest it in intrepid entrepreneurs that were going where both markets and government aid had failed the poor, basic services like health care, education, agriculture, energy, workforce development.

What entrepreneurs and others we’ve invested in have in common is what we call moral imagination.  Moral imagination starts with putting yourself in another person’s shoes and seeing the world through their perspective.  But it’s more than empathy.  It’s the ability to envision a world and build institutions in which all people matter.

So, often, we look at poverty in terms of how much a person makes, rather than understand their contribution as a human being.

When we see companies enable people to have access to clean drinking water or agricultural inputs that enable them to make a little more income, one of the first things they do is turn around and help somebody else.  It’s seeing that there is no one above you or below you.  And really that’s the world that we need on see right now when we are so divided, and yet have so much opportunity to become united.

My name is Jacqueline Novogratz.  And this is my “Brief But Spectacular” take on dignity and the moral imagination.

The post How this CEO invests in the dignity of others appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


          Menolong dengan Menumbuhkan Semangat dan Kemampuan Berwirausaha        
Menolong dengan Menumbuhkan Semangat dan Kemampuan Berwirausaha Cerita Motivasi dan Inspirasi Nomor 1

“Poor people are not asking for charity. Charity is not a solution for poverty. – Orang-orang tidak ingin selalu diberi. Pemberian bukanlah solusi bagi kemiskinan,” Prof. Muhammad Yunus.

Menolong sesama yang serba kesulitan menjadi kebiasaan yang sangat melekat dalam pola kehidupan masyarakat Indonesia. Dalam berbagai kesempatan istimewa, semisal hari raya, ulang tahun dan lain sebagainya, para jutawan kerap berbagi dengan kaum miskin. Pasti manfaat yang dirasakan masyarakat semakin besar dan dinikmati masyarakat secara luas jika semangat menolong yang terpuji itu dilakukan dengan cara yang tepat.

Mengapa demikian? Karena ternyata memang membutuhkan kecermatan dalam menyalurkan bantuan kepada kaum miskin yang membutuhkan agar tepat sasaran dan mampu menciptakan perubahan jangka panjang. Dalam hal ini Prof. Muhammad Yunus sudah menerapkan langkah-langkah yang inspiratif, bahkan tergolong cukup berhasil mengentaskan kemiskinan di Bangladesh. Dalam pidato di WFDSA World Congress XIII 2008 di Singapura, peraih hadiah Nobel perdamaian tahun 2006 tersebut menceritakan bagaimana ia dan kawan-kawan menyalurkan bantuan sejak tahun 1976 melalui Grameen Bank Project.

Lebih lanjut pria yang lahir dan besar di di Chittagong, Bang
... baca selengkapnya di Menolong dengan Menumbuhkan Semangat dan Kemampuan Berwirausaha Cerita Motivasi dan Inspirasi Nomor Satu

          How to Change the World – An Interview with Ben Randall of ‘The Human, Earth Project’        

The Human, Earth Project

Can one person make a meaningful difference in the world?  Ben Randall is an inspiring example of what’s possible in this time of great abundance. I first met Ben in Thailand last winter. He told me his story of how he saved some money and then quit his job to travel to SE Asia to search for a kidnapped friend and raise awareness for the tragedy of human trafficking.  Since that time, Ben and his cameraman Moreno Paulon have successfully crowdfunded $12,000 to complete production of a feature-length documentary film and managed to locate and meet the kidnapped girl (now an adult) in China. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress and busyness of our modern lifestyles, but  relative to the billions suffering in abject poverty around the world, are you doing the best you can do? Ben Randall definitely is.

Enjoy the interview.

What is ‘The Human, Earth Project’?

‘The Human, Earth Project’ has been a long, strange process of evolution towards the goal of finding and helping my friend M, who was kidnapped from Vietnam and sold as an unwilling teenaged bride in China.

It has involved a nine-month, 37,000-kilometre journey to find 100 people I …


          Home Sweet Home!        
Yes, Jadon is home.  After slightly more than a year as a patient at Sick Kids Hospital, he came home Tuesday afternoon.  We had been transitioning Jadon home over the last few days.  He came home for a sleepover Thursday and spent the day Friday.  He went back to the hospital in the evening for his antifungal IV medication.  He spent the day Saturday and Monday at home as well.  Sunday was spent at the hospital with a friend watching Jadon so that Sara and I could spend a little bit of 'us' time on Valentine's Day (the older two kids insisted we go out for lunch and leave them to care for the two siblings at home :-) )

Tuesday was the big day and he's been doing relatively well.  The transition to home was in part because the night nursing had not been arranged yet.  We have nursing care overnight to give Jadon his IV med, his continuous g-tube feeds and to keep an eye on him as he sleeps.  The first few nights have been quite interesting as we iron out some kinks and get settled into some sort of routine.  Hopefully over time things will normalize and the two of us will be able to get regular sleep.  The days are busy sorting out medications and appointments and trying to get used to having a mini-hospital room set up in our living room.

All the kids are thrilled that Jadon is home.  The siblings love playing with him and entertaining him as they are rewarded with one of his huge smiles!  Jadon is excited to be here and has recently learned every one's name and so loves to call out for whichever sibling is not around.  Jadon is scheduled to start an intensive daily rehabilitation program at Bloorview Hospital where they will focus on occupational, physio and speech therapy.  This is in addition to weekly visits to Sick Kids and our local pediatrician.  So, yes it's better but will still be very busy!  Despite the challenges, it's wonderful to be able to be together as a family once again!
          Remembrance Day... we will never forget!        
November 11th has a special significance for us.  16 years ago today, Sara and Steph Parent became parents for the first time as lovely Rykauna Doris Parent came into the world.  Our lives have been one great adventure ever since!  She has always been a wonderful and intriguing child.  We recall her telling us before her 3rd birthday... "I want to have a sleepover birthday.  The parents can come drop the kids off but they can't stay!"  She went on to arrange the sleepover to a rousing success!  She has not stopped aiming for the stars since.

Rykauna makes us proud.  She has grown into a wonderful young lady, full of compassion, creativity, optimism and joy of life!  She certainly adds a spark to our family!  She has matured tremendously over the last difficult year.  We are truly blessed to call her our daughter!
Rykauna being a wonderful jiejie!


          Minimum-wage cruelty        
There are political movements to push the federal minimum hourly wage to $15. Raising the minimum wage has popular support among Americans. Their reasons include fighting poverty, preventing worker exploitation and providing a living wage. For the most part, the intentions behind the support for raising the minimum wage are decent. But when we evaluate [...]
          Comentario en Recoleccion de 600 canciones de los años 80s (Ochenteras) por Roberto        
'Til Tuesday - Voices Carry.mp3 00 10 CC - Donna.mp3 4 Non Blondes - What's Up.mp3 A Flock of Seagulls - I Ran [October 1982].mp3 ABC - The Look Of Love.mp3 AC-DC - Ride On.mp3 AC-DC - You Shook Me All Night Long.mp3 Ace Of Base - All That She Wants.mp3 Ace Of Base - Don't Turn Around.mp3 Adriano Celentano - Il Tempo Se Ne Va.mp3 Adriano Celentano - Susanna.mp3 Aerosmith - Amazing.mp3 Aerosmith - Crazy.mp3 Aerosmith - Cryin'.mp3 Aerosmith - Dream On.mp3 Aerosmith - I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing.mp3 Aerosmith - Janie's Got A Gun.mp3 Aerosmith - Walk This Way.mp3 Afrika Bambaataa - Reckless.mp3 Aha - Cry a wolf extended.MP3 Aha - Crying In The Rain.mp3 Aha - early morning.mp3 Aha - Hunting High And Low.mp3 Aha - Ive been losing you.mp3 Aha - Maybe Maybe.mp3 Aha - stay.mp3 Aha - Take On Me.mp3 Aha - The Living Daylights.mp3 Aha - Touch me.mp3 Aha - Touchy!.mp3 Aha - You are the one.mp3 Air Supply - All Out Of Love.mp3 Air Supply - Haciendo El Amor De La Nada.mp3 Air Supply - Hasta Las Noches Son Mejores.mp3 Air Supply - Just As I Am.mp3 Air Supply - Lost In Love.mp3 Air Supply - The One That You Love.mp3 Air Supply - The Power Of Love.mp3 Air Supply - Two Less Lonely People In The World.mp3 Al Bano & Romina Power - Arrivederci A Bahia.mp3 Al Bano & Romina Power - Ci Sara.mp3 Al Bano & Romina Power - Felicita.mp3 Al Bano & Romina Power - Sharazan.mp3 Al Stewart - Year Of The Cat.mp3 Alanah Myles - Black Velvet.mp3 Albert Hammond - It Never Rains In Southern California.mp3 Alice Cooper - Poison.mp3 Alix - Por Vez Primera.mp3 Alphaville - Big In Japan.mp3 Alphaville - Dance with me.mp3 Alphaville - Forever Young.mp3 Alphaville - Sounds Like A Melody.mp3 America - A Horse With No Name.mp3 America - You Can Do Magic.mp3 Amy Grant - Baby Baby.mp3 Andy Gibb - I Just Want To Be Your Everything.mp3 Anggun - Snow On The Sahara.mp3 Animals - House Of The Rising Sun.mp3 Anita Baker - Sweet Love.mp3 Annie Lennox & Al Green - Put A Little Love In Your Heart.mp3 Annie Lennox - No More I Love You's.mp3 Annie Lennox - Why.mp3 Anything Box - Living In Oblivion.mp3 Aretha Franklin - Think.mp3 Art Garfunkel - Bright Eyes.mp3 Asia - Heat Of The Moment.mp3 Aswad - Don't Turn Around.mp3 Axel F - Harold Faltermeyer (Original Version).mp3 B.W. 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Say It Isn't So.mp3 Harold Faltermeyer - Axel F.mp3 Heart - All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You.mp3 Heart - Alone.mp3 Heart - Barracuda.mp3 Heart - Never.mp3 Heart - These Dreams.mp3 Herbie Hancock - Rockit.mp3 Honeydrippers - Sea of love.mp3 Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing.mp3 Howard Jones - Things Can Only Bet Better.mp3 Huey Lewis & The News - Hip To Be Square.mp3 Huey Lewis & The News - I Need A New Drug.mp3 Huey Lewis & The News - She's Heart n Soul.mp3 Huey Lewis & The News - Stuck With You.mp3 Huey Lewis & The News - The Power of Love [August 1985].mp3 Iggy Pop - Candy.mp3 Inner Circle - Sweat (A La La Long).mp3 INXS - Beautiful Girl.mp3 INXS - By My Side.mp3 INXS - Devil Inside.mp3 INXS - Elegantly Wasted.mp3 INXS - I Need You Tonight.mp3 INXS - Never Tear Us Apart.mp3 INXS - New Sensation - EMG - www.elitemusic.org.mp3 INXS - Suicide Blonde.mp3 Irene Cara - What A Feeling [June 1983].mp3 Iron Maiden - Wasting Love.mp3 Jambalaya - Carpenters.mp3 James Brown - Living In America.mp3 Jamiroquai - Space Cowboy.mp3 Jan Werner - Find Your Way.mp3 Janet Jackson - Every Time.mp3 Janet Jackson - Nasty Boys.mp3 Janet Jackson - That's The Way Love Goes.mp3 Janis Joplin - Summertime.mp3 Janis Joplin - Take another Little Piece of my heart.mp3 Jellybean - Jingo.mp3 Jellybean - The Mexican (1984).mp3 Jennifer Lopez - Play.mp3 Jennifer Rush - I Come Undone.mp3 Jennifer Rush - The Power Of Love.mp3 Jermaine Jackson - Dynamite.mp3 Jim Croce - Time in a bottle.mp3 Jim Diamond - I Should Have Known Better.mp3 Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe.mp3 Jimmy Ray - Are You Jimmy Ray.mp3 Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers - That's What I Like.mp3 Joan Jett - I Love Rock 'N Roll [April 1982].mp3 Joan Osborne - One Of Us.mp3 Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes - Up Where We Belong.mp3 Joe Cocker - Summer In The City.mp3 Joe Cocker - You Can Leave Your Hat On.mp3 Joe Dassin - A Toi.mp3 Joe Dassin - Et Si Tu N'existais Pas.mp3 Joe Dassin - Salut.mp3 Joe Esposito - Lady,Lady,Lady (1983).mp3 Joey Scarbury - Beleive It Or Not.mp3 John Cougar Mellencamp - Jack & Diane [October 1982].mp3 John Farnham - You're The Voice.mp3 John Parr - St Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion).mp3 John Paul Young - Love Is In The Air (1978).mp3 John Rocca - I want it to be real.mp3 John Waite - Missing You.mp3 Johnny Hates Jazz - I Don't Want To Be A Hero.mp3 Johnny Hates Jazz - Shattered Dreams.mp3 Johnny Hates Jazz - Turn Back The Clock.mp3 Johnny Logan - Hold Me Now.mp3 Jon Anderson - Hold on to Love.mp3 Jon Secada - If You Go.mp3 Journey - Don't stop believing.mp3 Journey - Wheel In The Sky.mp3 Journey - When You Love A Woman.mp3 Juice Newton - Queen of Hearts.mp3 Julee Cruise - Falling.mp3 Julian Lennon - Too Late For Goodbyes.mp3 Julian Lennon - Valotte.mp3 K.D. Lang - Constant Craving.mp3 Kajagoogoo - Too Shy.mp3 Kansas - Carry On Wayward Son.mp3 Kansas - Dust In The Wind.mp3 Katrina & The Waves - Walking On Sunshine [June 1985].mp3 Ken Laszlo - Everybody Is Dancing.mp3 Kenny G - Don't Make Me Wait For Love.mp3 Kenny Loggins - Danger Zone.mp3 Kenny Loggins - Footloose [April 1984].mp3 Kim Carnes - Bette Davis Eyes [June 1981].mp3 Kim Wilde - Cambodia.mp3 Kim Wilde - Hey Mr.Heartache.mp3 Kim Wilde - Kids In America.mp3 Kim Wilde - Love Blonde.mp3 Kim Wilde - You Came.mp3 Kind Of Blue - Bitter Blue.mp3 King - Love and Pride.mp3 Kinks - All Day And All Of The Night.mp3 Kiss - I Was Made For Loving You.mp3 Kool & The Gang - Cherish.mp3 Kraftwerk - The Model.mp3 Kris Kross - Jump.mp3 Kula Shaker _ Hush.mp3 KWS - Please Don't Go.mp3 Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out Of My Head.mp3 Kylie Minogue - Confide In Me.mp3 Kylie Minogue - I Should Be So Lucky.mp3 Kylie Minogue - Locomotion.mp3 Laid Back - Sunshine Reggae.mp3 Laura Branigan - Gloria.mp3 Laura Branigan - Power of Love.mp3 Laura Branigan - Self Control.mp3 Lenny Kravits - Again.mp3 Lenny Kravitz - Are You Gonna Go My Way.mp3 Lenny Kravitz - I Belong To You.mp3 Lenny Kravitz - Stand By My Woman.mp3 Leo Sayer - When I Need You.mp3 Leo Sayer - You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.mp3 Leonard Cohen - I'm Your Man.mp3 Leonard Cohen - Take This Waltz.mp3 Leopold Nord Et Vous - C'est L'amour.mp3 Level 42 - Lessons In Love.mp3 Level 42 - Running In The Family.mp3 Lighthouse Family - High.mp3 Limahl - Neverending Story.mp3 Lime - Babe We're Gonna Love Tonight.mp3 Lime - Unexpected Lovers.mp3 Lionel Richie - All Night Long.mp3 Lionel Richie - Dancing On The Ceiling.mp3 Lionel Richie - Easy Like Sunday Morning.mp3 Lionel Richie - Hello.mp3 Lionel Richie - Penny Lover.mp3 Lionel Richie - Say You, Say Me.mp3 Lipps Inc. - Funky Town [May 1980].mp3 Lisa Loeb & nine stories - Stay.mp3 Lisa Stansfield - All Around The World.mp3 Lisa Stansfield - Change.mp3 Lisa Stansfield - This Is The Right Time.mp3 listado.txt Lita Ford (feat. Ozzy Osbourne) - Close My Eyes Forever.mp3 Lita Ford - Kiss Me Deadly.mp3 Lita Ford - Lisa.mp3 Lobo - I'd Love You To Want Me.mp3 Londonbeat - I've Been Thinking About You.mp3 Lou Reed - Perfect Day.mp3 Lou Reed - Walk On The Wild Side.mp3 Loverboy - Working For The Weekend.mp3 M - Pop Muzik 1979.mp3 M People - Moving On Up.mp3 Madness - Our House [July 1983].mp3 Madonna - Crazy For You.mp3 Madonna - Don't Cry For Me Argentina.mp3 Madonna - Forbidden Love.mp3 Madonna - Gambler.mp3 Madonna - I'll Remember.mp3 Madonna - La Isla Bonita.mp3 Madonna - Like A Virgin [January 1985].mp3 Madonna - Live To Tell.mp3 Madonna - Material Girl.mp3 Madonna - Music.mp3 Madonna - One More Chance.mp3 Madonna - Rain.mp3 Madonna - Take A Bow.mp3 Madonna - This Used To Be My Playground.mp3 Madonna - Time Stood Still.mp3 Madonna - Veras.mp3 Madonna - Youïll See.mp3 Maggie Reilly - Every Single Heartbeat.mp3 Mainhorse - More tea vicar.mp3 Mamas & The Papas - California Dreamin'.mp3 Manfred Mann's Earth Band - For You.mp3 Marc Anthony - When I Dream At Night.mp3 Maria McKee - Show Me Heaven.mp3 Mariah Carey - Dreamlover.mp3 Mariah Carey - Hero.mp3 Mariah Carey - Love Takes Time.mp3 Mariah Carey - We Belong Together.mp3 Mariah Carey - Without You.mp3 Marillion - Kayleigh.mp3 Marillion - Lavender.mp3 Marmalade - Reflections Of My Life.mp3 Martika - Love Thy Will Be Done.mp3 Martika - Toy Soldiers.mp3 Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through The Grapevine.mp3 Marvin Gaye - Mercy Mercy Me.mp3 Matia Bazar - Solo Tu.mp3 Matia Bazar - Tu Semplicita.mp3 Matt Bianco - Don't Blame It On That Girl.mp3 Matt Bianco - Get Out Of Your Lazy Bed.mp3 Maxi Priest - Wild World.mp3 MC Miker G & DJ Sven - Holiday Rap.mp3 Meat Loaf - I Would Do Anything For Love.mp3 Meat Loaf - I'd Do Anything For Love But I Won't Do That.mp3 Meja - All About The Money.mp3 Men At Work - Down Under.mp3 Men At Work - Overkill.mp3 Men At Work - Who Can It Be Now.mp3 Men Without Hats - POP GOES THE WORLD.mp3 Men Without Hats - The Safety Dance [September 1983].mp3 Metallica - Nothing Else Matters.mp3 Metallica - The Unforgiven.mp3 Miami Sound Machine - Conga.mp3 Michael Bolton & Celine Dion - The Dock Of The Bay.mp3 Michael Bolton - De Esto Se Trata El Amor-.mp3 Michael Bolton - How I supposed to live without you.mp3 Michael Bolton - Said I Loved You But I Lied.mp3 Michael Bow - Love & Devotion.mp3 Michael Jackson - I Just Can it Stop Loving you.mp3 Michael Learns To Rock - Someday.mp3 Michael McDonald - Sweet Freedom.mp3 Michael Sembello - she is a maniac.mp3 Mick Jagger - Sweet Thing.mp3 Midge Ure - Breathe.mp3 Midnight Oil - Beds Are Burning.mp3 Mike & The Mechanics - Over My Shoulder.mp3 Mike & The Mechanics - Silent Running.mp3 Mike Oldfield - Moonlight Shadow.mp3 Mike Oldfield - To France.mp3 mike olfield - family man.mp3 Mike olfield - to france.mp3 Mike Reno & Ann Wilson - Almost Paradise.mp3 Modern English - I Melt With You.mp3 Modern Talking - Brother Louie.mp3 Modern Talking - Cheri, Cheri Lady.mp3 Modern Talking - You Can Win It If You Want.mp3 Modern Talking - You're My Heart, You're My Soul.mp3 Modjo - Lady (Hear Me Tonight).mp3 Mondo Rock - Primitive Love Rites.mp3 Morrissey - Every Day Is Like Sunday.mp3 Motley Crue - Dr. Feelgood.mp3 Mr. Big - To Be With You.mp3 Mr. Mister - Broken Wings [December 1985].mp3 Mr. Mister - Kyrie.mp3 Mungo Jerry - In The Summertime.mp3 Murray Head - One Night In Bangkok.mp3 M”tley Cre - Home Sweet Home.mp3 M”tley Cre - Without You.mp3 Nancy Sinatra - Bang Bang.mp3 Nazareth - Love Hurts.mp3 Nazareth - Victoria.mp3 Nelson - (Can't Live Without Your) Love And Affection.mp3 Nena - 99 Luftballoons [March 1984].mp3 New Edition - Candy Girl.mp3 New Kids On The Block - You Got It (The Right Stuff).mp3 New Orden - blue monday.mp3 new radicals - you get what you give.mp3 Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue - Where The Wild Roses Grow.mp3 Nick Kamen - Each Time You Break My Heart.mp3 Nick Kamen - I Promised Myself.mp3 Night Ranger - Sister Christian.mp3 Nik Kershaw - The Riddle.mp3 Nik Kershaw - Wouldn't It Be Good.mp3 Nilsson - Everybody's Talkin'.mp3 No Doubt - Don't Speak.mp3 Oasis - Stop Crying Your Heart Out.mp3 Oasis - Wonderwall.mp3 Oingo Boingo - Weird Science.mp3 Olivia Newton John - Physical [December 1981].mp3 Olivia Newton-John - Hopelessly Devoted To You.mp3 Ollie And Jerry - Breakin' There's No Stopping Us.mp3 OMD - Call My Name.mp3 OMD - Dream Of Me.mp3 OMD - Enola Gay.mp3 OMD - If You Leave.mp3 OMD - Sailing On The Seven Seas.mp3 OMD - Secret.mp3 OMD - Then You Turn Away.mp3 Opus - Live Is Life.mp3 Ozzy Osbourne - So Tired.mp3 Pat Benatar - Love Is A Battlefield.mp3 Pat Benatar - We Belong.mp3 Patrick Swayze - She's Like The Wind.mp3 Paul Hardcastle - 19.mp3 Paul Mc Cartney - No more lonely nights.mp3 Paul McCartney (feat. Stevie Wonder) - Ebony And Ivory.mp3 Paul McCartney - My Brave Face.mp3 Paul McCartney - Say Say Say.mp3 Paul Simon - You Can Call Me Al.mp3 Paul Young - Don't Dream It's Over.mp3 Paul Young - Everytime You Go Away.mp3 Paul Young - Senza Una Donna(Without A Woman).mp3 Paula Abdul - Rush, Rush.mp3 Paula Abdul - Straight Up.mp3 Percy Sledge - When A Man Loves A Woman.mp3 Pet Shop Boys - Always On My Mind.mp3 Pet Shop Boys - Go west.mp3 Pet Shop Boys - Its A Sin.mp3 Pet Shop Boys - New York City Boy.mp3 Pet Shop Boys - Rent.mp3 Pet Shop Boys - So Hard.mp3 Pet Shop Boys - Suburbia.mp3 Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls.mp3 Pet Shop Boys - What Have I Done to Deserve This.mp3 Peter Cetera - Glory Of Love.mp3 Peter Cetera - Restless Heart.mp3 Peter Gabriel - Big Time.mp3 Peter Gabriel - Digging In The Dirt.mp3 Peter Gabriel - Red Rain.mp3 Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer.mp3 Peter Gabriel - Solsbury Hill.mp3 Peter Murphy - Cuts You Up.mp3 Peter Schilling - Major Tom.mp3 Ph D - I Won't Let You Down.mp3 Phil Collins - Another Day In Paradise.mp3 Phil Collins - Don't Lose My Number.lite.mp3 Phil Collins - Groovy kind of love.mp3 Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight.mp3 Phil Collins - Sussudio.mp3 Philip Bailey, Phil Collins - Easy Lover.mp3 Phyllis Nelson - I Like You ( short version ).mp3 Phyllis Nelson - I Like You (1985).mp3 Pink Floyd - Another Brick In The Wall.mp3 Pink Floyd - High Hopes.mp3 Pink Floyd - Learning To Fly.mp3 Pink Floyd - Money.mp3 Pixies - Here Comes Your Man.mp3 Player - Baby Come Back.mp3 Pointer Sisters - I'm So Excited.mp3 Poison - Every Rose Has Its Thorn.mp3 Police - Spirits In The Material World.mp3 Pretenders - Brass in Pocket.mp3 Pretenders - Don't Get Me Wrong.mp3 Pretenders - I'll Stand By You.mp3 Prince - Kiss.mp3 Prince - Little Red Corvette.mp3 Prince - Money Don't Matter 2 Night.mp3 Prince - Purple Rain.mp3 Prince - The Most Beautiful Girl In The World.mp3 Prince - When Doves Cry [July 1984].mp3 Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade Of Pale.mp3 Public Enemy - Fight The Power.mp3 Pupo - Su Dinoi.mp3 Queen & David Bowie - Under Presure.mp3 Queen - A King Of Magic.mp3 Queen - Don't Stop Me Now.mp3 Queen - Innuendo.mp3 Queen - Killer Queen.mp3 Queen - Man On The Prowl.mp3 Queen - Radio Ga Ga.mp3 Queen - The Show Must Go On.mp3 Queen - Under Pressure.mp3 Queen - You Don't Fool Me.mp3 R.E.M. - Bang And Blame.mp3 R.E.M. - Everybody hurts.mp3 R.E.M. - imitation of life.mp3 R.E.M. - It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).mp3 R.E.M. - Losing My Religion.mp3 R.E.M. - Radiosong.mp3 R.E.M. - Shiny Happy People.mp3 R.Kelly - I Believe I Can Fly.mp3 Radiohead - Creep.mp3 Radioheads - High and Dry.mp3 Radioheads - The Bends.mp3 Rainbow - Catch The Rainbow.mp3 Rainbow - I Surrender.mp3 Ratt - Round And Round.mp3 Ray Charles - Hit the road, jack.mp3 Ray Charles - Unchain My Heart.mp3 Ray Parker Jr. - Ghostbusters [August 1984].mp3 Real Life - Send Me An Angel.mp3 Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge.mp3 Regina - Baby Love.mp3 Rembrandts - Just The Way It Is, Baby.mp3 REO Speedwagon - Can't Fight This Feeling [March 1985].mp3 REO Speedwagon - I cant fight this feeling anymore.mp3 REO Speedwagon - I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight.mp3 REO Speedwagon - In my dreams.mp3 REO Speedwagon - Keep on Loving You.mp3 REO Speedwagon - One Lonely Night.mp3 REO Speedwagon - Take On Run.mp3 Ricchi & Poveri - Canzone d'amore.mp3 Ricchi & Poveri - Mamma Maria.mp3 Ricchi & Poveri - Sara Perche Ti Amo.mp3 Ricchi & Poveri - Voulez Vous Danser.mp3 Richard Marx - Angelia.mp3 Richard Marx - Children of the night.mp3 Richard Marx - Hazard.mp3 Richard Marx - Hungry Eyes.mp3 Richard Marx - Now And Forever.mp3 Richard Marx - Right Here Waiting.mp3 Rick Ashley -Together Forever.mp3 Rick Astley - Hold Me In Your Arms.mp3 Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up.mp3 Rick Springfield - Celebrate Youth.mp3 Rick Springfield - Jessie's Girl.mp3 Rick Springfield - Love Somebody.mp3 Rick Springfield - State Of The Heart.mp3 Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody.mp3 Rihanna - Hate That I Love You.mp3 Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock - It Takes Two.mp3 Robbie Nevil - C'est La Vie.mp3 Robbie Williams - Angels.mp3 Robert Palmer - Addicted To Love.mp3 Robert Palmer - Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor).mp3 Robert Palmer - Johnny and Mary .mp3 Robert Palmer - Know By Now.mp3 Robert Palmer - Some Guys Have All The Luck.mp3 Roberta Flack - Kiling Me Softly With This Song.mp3 Robin Beck - The first time.mp3 Robin Gibb - Boys do fall in love.mp3 Robin Gibb - Like A Fool.mp3 Rod Stewart - Baby Jane.mp3 Rod Stewart - Da Ya Think I'm Sexy.mp3 Rod Stewart - Downtown Train.mp3 Rod Stewart - Forever Young.mp3 Rod Stewart - I Don't Want To Talk About It.mp3 Rod Stewart - Maggie May.mp3 Rod Stewart - My Heart Can't Tell You No.mp3 Rod Stewart - Rhythm Of My Heart.mp3 Rod Stewart - Sailing.mp3 Rod Stewart - Tonight I'm Yours (Don't Hurt Me).mp3 Rod Stewart - Young Turks.mp3 Roxette - Anyone.mp3 Roxette - Crash! Boom! Bang!.mp3 Roxette - Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave).mp3 Roxette - How Do You Do!.mp3 Roxette - It Must Have Been Love.mp3 Roxette - Listen To Your Heart.mp3 Roxette - Queen Of Rain.mp3 Roxette - Spending My Time.mp3 Roxette - The Look.mp3 Roxxette - Joyride.mp3 Roxy Music - Love Is The Drug.mp3 Roy Orbison - Pretty Woman.mp3 Roy Orbison - You Got It.mp3 Rufus & Chaka Khan - Ain't Nobody.mp3 Ryan Paris - Dolce Vita.mp3 Sabrina - Boys Boys Boys.mp3 Sade - Cherish The Day.mp3 Sade - Hang On To Your Love.mp3 Sade - Is It A Crime.mp3 Sade - Kiss Of Life.mp3 Sade - Never As Good As The First Time.mp3 Sade - No Ordinary Love.mp3 Sade - Nothing Can Come Between Us.mp3 Sade - Paradise.mp3 Sade - Please Send Me Someone To Love.mp3 Sade - Smooth Operator.mp3 Sade - The Sweetest Taboo.mp3 Sade - Your Love Is King.mp3 Saigon Kick - Love Is On The Way.mp3 Salt-N-Pepa - Push It.mp3 Sam Brown - Stop!.mp3 Samantha Fox - Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now.mp3 Samantha Fox - Touch Me.mp3 Samantha Sang - Emotion.mp3 Sandau Ballet - Through the barricades.mp3 Sandra - Everlasting Love.mp3 Sandra - Heaven Can Wait.mp3 Sandra - Maria Magdalena.mp3 Sandra - Stop For A Minute.mp3 Santa Esmeralda - You Are My Everything.mp3 Santana - Samba Pa' Ti.mp3 Scorpions - Big City Nights.mp3 Scorpions - Moment Of Glory.mp3 Scorpions - No One Like You.mp3 Scorpions - Rock You Like a Hurricane.mp3 Scorpions - Still Loving You.mp3 Scorpions - Wind Of Change.mp3 Scorpions - You And I.mp3 Scott Mckenzie - San Francisco.mp3 Seal - Crazy.mp3 Seal - Kiss From A Rose.mp3 Seals & Crofts - Summer Breeze.mp3 Secret Ties - One Night.mp3 Shakin' Stevens - Lipstick, Powder And Paint.mp3 Shakin' Stevens - Shirley.mp3 Shania Twain - From This Moment On.mp3 Shania Twain - Man! I Feel Like A Woman.mp3 Shania Twain - That Don't Impress Me Much.mp3 Shania Twain - You're Still the One.mp3 Sheena Easton - Almost Over You.mp3 Sheena Easton - We've Got Tonight.mp3 Sheryl Crow - All I Wanna Do.mp3 Sheryl Crow - Run Baby Run.mp3 Shocking Blue - Venus.mp3 Sigue Sigue Sputnik - Love Missile F1-11.mp3 Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water.mp3 Simon & Garfunkel - Mrs. Robinson.mp3 Simon & Garfunkel - The Sound Of Silence.mp3 Simple Minds - Alive And Kicking.mp3 Simple Minds - Don't You (Forget About Me).mp3 Simply Red - A New Flame.mp3 Simply Red - Fairground.mp3 Simply Red - For Your Babies.mp3 Simply Red - Holding Back The Years.mp3 Simply Red - If you don't know me by now.mp3 Simply Red - It's Only Love.mp3 Simply Red - Money's Too Tight To Mention.mp3 Simply Red - Something Got Me Started.mp3 Simply Red - Stars.mp3 Simply Red - The Right Thing.mp3 Simply Red - Thrill Me.mp3 Simply Red - Your Mirror.mp3 Sinead O'Connor - Thank You For Hearing Me.mp3 Sinita - Feel like the first time.mp3 Sin‚ad O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U.mp3 Siouxsie & The Banshees - The Passenger.mp3 Sister Sledge - We are family.mp3 Six Was Nine - Surprise, Surprise.mp3 Sixpence None The Richer - Kiss Me.lite.mp3 Slade - My Oh My.mp3 Slade - Run Runaway.mp3 Slow - Classic.mp3 Smash Mouth - All Star.mp3 Smokie - Living Next Door To Alice.mp3 Smokie - Wrong Reason.mp3 Snap! - Rhythm Is A Dancer.mp3 Soft Cell - Tainted Love [July 1982].mp3 Soul Asylum - Runaway Train.mp3 SoulSister - The Way To Your Heart.mp3 Spagna - Call Me.mp3 Spagna - Easy Lady.mp3 Spandau Ballet - Gold.mp3 Spandau Ballet - Througth the barricades.mp3 Spandau Ballet - True.mp3 Squeeze - Tempted by the fruit of another.mp3 Starship - Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now.mp3 Starship - Sara.mp3 Starship - We Built This City [November 1985].mp3 Status Quo - In The Army Now.mp3 Status Quo - Rockin' All Over The World.mp3 Status Quo - What You're Proposing.mp3 Status Quo - Whatever You Want.mp3 Steve Miller Band - Abracadabra.mp3 Steve Perry - You Better Wait.lite.mp3 Steve Winwood - Higher Love.mp3 Steve Winwood - Valerie.mp3 Stevie B - Because I Love You.mp3 Sting - A Brand New Day.mp3 Sting - All This Time.mp3 Sting - Desert Rose.mp3 Sting - Englishman In New York.mp3 Sting - Fields Of Gold.mp3 Sting - Fill Her Up.mp3 Sting - History Will Teach Us.mp3 Sting - If I Ever Lose My Faith In You.mp3 Sting - If You Love Somebody Set Them Free.mp3 Sting - King Of Pain.mp3 Sting - Lithium Sunset.mp3 Sting - Love Is The Seventh Wave.mp3 Sting - Mad About You.mp3 Sting - Moon Over Bourbon Street.mp3 Sting - One World (Not Three) - Love Is 7th Wave.mp3 Sting - Prologue (If I Ever Lose My).mp3 Sting - Russians.mp3 Sting - Shape Of My Heart.mp3 Sting - She's Too Good For Me.mp3 Sting - Why Should I Cry For You.mp3 Styx - Babe.mp3 Styx - Mr. Roboto [April 1983].mp3 Supertramp - Breakfast In America.mp3 Supertramp - Goodbye Stranger.mp3 Supertramp - It's Raining Again.mp3 Supertramp - The Logical Song.mp3 Survivor - Burning heart.mp3 Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger [August 1982].mp3 Survivor - The search is over.mp3 Survivor- The Moment of Truth.mp3 Suzanne Vega - In Liverpool.mp3 Suzanne Vega - Luka.mp3 Suzi Quatro - Can The Can.mp3 Suzi Quatro - Rock Hard.mp3 Swing Out Sister - Breakout.mp3 Synch - Where are you now.mp3 T Rex - Get It On.mp3 Taco - Puttin' On The Ritz.mp3 Take That - Back For Good.mp3 Talk Talk - Its My Life.mp3 Talking Heads - And She Was.mp3 Talking Heads - Burning Down The House.mp3 Talking Heads - Psycho Killer.mp3 Talking Heads - Wild Wild Life.mp3 Tamara and the Seen - Everybody Dance.mp3 Tanita Tikaram - Stop Listening.mp3 Tasmin Archer - Sleeping Satellite.mp3 Tavares - Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel.mp3 Tavares - More Than A Woman.mp3 Tears for fears - Advice For The Young At Heart.mp3 Tears For Fears - Break It Down Again.mp3 Tears for fears - Change.mp3 Tears for fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World.mp3 Tears for fears - Head Over Heels.mp3 Tears for fears - I Believe.mp3 Tears for fears - Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down).mp3 Tears for fears - Mad World.mp3 Tears for fears - Mothers Talk.mp3 Tears for fears - Pale Shelter.mp3 Tears for fears - Shout.mp3 Tears for fears - Sowing The Seeds Of Love.mp3 Tears for fears - Woman In Chains.mp3 Teena Marie - Lovergirl.mp3 Ten Sharp - You.mp3 The Alan Parsons Project - Don't Answer Me.mp3 The Art Company - Susanna.mp3 The Buggles - Video Killed The Radio Star.mp3 The Cardigans _ Love Fool.mp3 The Carpenters - Superstar.mp3 The Carpenters - Yesterday Once More.mp3 The Cars - Drive.mp3 The Cars - Hello Again.lite.mp3 The Cars - Tonight She Comes.mp3 The Clash - London Calling.mp3 The Clash - Rock The Casbah.lite.mp3 The Clash - Should I Stay Or Should I Go.mp3 The Communards - Don't Leave Me This Way.mp3 The Cover Girl's - Show Me.mp3 The Cranberries - Dreams.mp3 The Cranberries - Linger.mp3 The Cranberries - Ode To My Family.mp3 The Cure - Close To Me.mp3 The Cure - Friday I'm In Love.mp3 The Cure - Just Like Heaven.mp3 The Cure - Lovesong.mp3 The Cure - Lullaby.mp3 The Doobie Brothers - Long train runnin.mp3 The Eagles - Hotel California.mp3 The Fixx - One Thing Leads To Another.mp3 The Foundations - Build Me Up Buttercup.lite.mp3 The Four Seasons - Sherry.lite.mp3 The Four Tops - Reach Out I'll Be There.mp3 The Go-Go's - Our Lips Are Sealed.mp3 The Hollies - The Air That I Breathe.mp3 The Human League - Don't You Want Me.mp3 The Human League - Together In Electric Dreams.mp3 The J. Geils Band - Centerfold [February 1982].mp3 The Jets - Cross My Broken Heart.mp3 The Kingsmen - Louie Louie.lite.mp3 The Kinks - You Really Got Me.mp3 The Mamas & The Papas - California Dreaming.mp3 The nack - My Sharona.mp3 The Outfield - all the love in the world.mp3 The Outfield - I Don't Want To Lose Your Love.mp3 The Pointer Sisters - I'm So Excited.mp3 The Police - De Do Do Do De Da Da Da.mp3 The Police - Every Breath You Take [July 1983].mp3 The Police - Message In A Bottle.mp3 The Police - Roxanne.mp3 The Police - Spirits In The Material World.mp3 The Police - Walking On The Moon.mp3 The Police - Wrapped Around Your Finger.mp3 The Power Station - Communication.mp3 The Pretenders - Back On the Chain Gang.lite.mp3 The Pretenders - Brass In Pocket.mp3 The Pretenders - I'll stant by you.mp3 The Quick - Bed of Nails.mp3 The Rolling Stones - Angie (Acoustic, Live).mp3 The Rolling Stones - Angie.mp3 The Rolling Stones - Miss You.mp3 The Rolling Stones - Paint It Black.mp3 The Rolling Stones - Ruby Tuesday.mp3 The Rolling Stones - Satisfaction.mp3 The Rolling Stones - Start Me Up.mp3 The Romantics - What I Like About You.mp3 The Sweet - Ballroom Blitz.mp3 The Sweet - Fox On The Run.mp3 The Turtles - Happy Together.mp3 The Twins - Face To Face - Heart To Heart.mp3 The Who - You Better, You Bet.mp3 Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak.mp3 Thin Lizzy - Parisienne Walkways (feat. Gary Moore).mp3 Thomas Dolby- She Blinded Me With Science.mp3 Thompson Twins - Doctor! Doctor!.mp3 Thompson Twins - Hold Me Now.mp3 Tiffany - Could've beeny.mp3 Tiffany - I Think We're Alone Now.mp3 Tiffany - Radio Romance.mp3 Tina Turner & Barry White - In Your Wildest Dreams.mp3 Tina Turner - Private Dancer.mp3 Tina Turner - The Best.mp3 Tina Turner - We Don't Need Another Hero.mp3 Tina Turner - What's Love Got To Do With It [September 1984].mp3 Tina Turner - When The Heartache Is Over.mp3 Tom Jones & Mousse T - Sexbomb.mp3 Tom Jones - It's Not Unusual.mp3 Tom Jones - She's A Lady.mp3 Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Learning To Fly.mp3 Tommy Tutone - Jenny [May 1982].mp3 Tone-Loc - Wild Thing.mp3 Toni Basil - Hey Mickey.mp3 Toni Braxton - Un Break My Heart.mp3 Tori Amos - Past The Mission.mp3 Toto - Africa.mp3 Toto - Hold The Line.mp3 Tracy Chapman - Baby Can I Hold You.mp3 Tracy Chapman - Fast Car.mp3 Tracy Chapman - For My Lover.mp3 Tracy Chapman - Give Me One Reason.mp3 Trans-X - Living On Video.mp3 Twenty 4 Seven - Slave To The Music.mp3 Twisted Sister - The Price.mp3 Twisted Sister - We're Not Gonna Take It.mp3 U2 - Beautiful day.mp3 U2 - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.mp3 U2 - One.mp3 U2 - Pride (In The Name Of Love).mp3 U2 - Staring At The Sun.mp3 U2 - Stay (Far Away So Close).mp3 U2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday.mp3 U2 - Sweetest Thing.mp3 U2 - With Or Without You [May 1987].mp3 UB 40 - Can't Help Falling In Love.mp3 UB 40 - Kingston Town.mp3 UB40 - Red Red Wine.mp3 Ultravox - Dancing With Tears In My Eyes.mp3 Ultravox - Vienna.mp3 Umberto Tozzi - Tu.mp3 Uriah Heep - July Morning.mp3 Van Halen - Can't Stop Loving You.mp3 Van Halen - Jump [February 1984].mp3 Van Halen - Why Can't This Be Love.mp3 Van Hallen - Jump.mp3 Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl.mp3 Vanessa Paradis - Joe Le Taxi.mp3 Vangelis - Conquest Of Paradise.mp3 Vicki Sue Robinson - Turn The Beat Around.mp3 Violent Femmes - Blister In The Sun.mp3 Wang Chung - Everybody Have Fun Tonight.mp3 Wang Chung - Let's Go.lite.mp3 Wax - Right Between The Eyes.lite.mp3 Wet Wet Wet - Love Is All Around.mp3 Wet Wet Wet - With A Little Help.mp3 Wham! - Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.mp3 Whitesnake - Here I Go Again.mp3 Whitesnake - Is This Love.mp3 Whitney Houston - All The Man That I Need.mp3 Whitney Houston - Could I Have This Kiss Forever.mp3 Whitney Houston - How Will I Know.mp3 Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance With Somebody.mp3 Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You.mp3 Whitney Houston - I'm Your Baby Tonight.mp3 Wild Cherry - Play That Funky Music.mp3 Will To Power - Baby I Love Your Way.mp3 Willie Nelson - Always On My Mind.mp3 Womack & Womack - Teardrops.mp3 Yazz & The Plastic Population - The Only Way Is Up.mp3 Yazzo - Donït Go.mp3 Yello - Oh Yeah.mp3 Yes - Owner Of A Lonely Heart [January 1984].mp3 Yossou N'Dour - 7 Seconds.mp3 Young MC - Bust A Move.mp3 Yvonne Elliman - I Don't Know How To Love Him.mp3 Zucchero - Senza Una Donna.mp3 ZZ Top - La Grange.mp3 ZZ Top - Legs.mp3
          Economist Amartya Sen        
<br />Economist Amartya Kumar Sen won a Nobel Prize for his work on hunger, heman development, and the causes of poverty.  He is currently Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University.
          My Wife Died Because Of The Conflict In Yemen        
Smoke billows behind a building following a reported air strike by the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Jan. 22, 2017.

Yemen has suffered economic instability, political turmoil, civil unrest and conflicts for decades. But the beginning of the recent conflict in March 2015 was a stark turning point for the economic, social, and humanitarian destiny of this country.

As someone who was born and lived in Yemen, my life which revolved around work and family has now become a struggle for survival. I think back to that day when in a matter of minutes, the sky was flooded with bomber jets. As we realized what was happening, there was a mad rush to the shelter to protect ourselves from the bombs. In the days that followed, we were confined to our homes, curfews were imposed, while food, water, and basic supplies became scarce.

As of January, 10,000 civilians had been killed and 40,000 injured

The humanitarian situation has reached new depths.

The regular bombings and deliberate military tactics to shred the economy have destroyed public and private services, dragging an already weak and impoverished country to almost breakdown. If it weren't for international assistance, the country would have collapsed by now.

The majority of my fellow citizens have lost their jobs or their livelihoods and have depleted most of their savings. Their lives have been quite simply devastated by the conflict. Over twenty million people are in need of humanitarian aid to survive. That's more than in any other country in the world. The global humanitarian community is now faced with one of the most staggering man-made disasters in decades.

I have been working as an aid worker for Islamic Relief in Yemen since 2010. In the last two years our programme, including food aid, water and sanitation, health care, orphan and child welfare and vocational training for young people, has benefitted 4.6 million people. Most recently we have responded to the cholera epidemic by providing medical supplies and large tents to help the hospitals cope with the overcrowding.

I've put my heart and soul and all of my experience and expertise into making sure this life-saving aid is delivered where it is needed most, often in dangerous circumstances.

But as with every other Yemeni, the conflict has taken a huge toll on my personal and family life.

One bombing attack in mid-2015 close to my home marked the beginning of the physical and psychological horrors of war for my family.

The explosions were like something you could never imagine. The ground underneath shook as if we were experiencing an earthquake. Doors and windows were wrenched from the walls and glass was scattered everywhere. My children were terrified.

The impact was catastrophic. I had to move my family away from the violence. Within a year we were forced to move four times in a bid to find somewhere safe to live, but as the bombings became more and more frequent and widespread, this became impossible.

Throughout all of this, I continued with my humanitarian commitments to deliver aid to affected communities across the country. But I was aware of the physical and psychological impact the conflict was having on my family. My children were traumatized by the bombing attacks and were petrified when they heard the sounds of fighter jets in the air.

My wife was diagnosed with an autoimmune liver infection. We couldn't get adequate medical treatment because of the trade embargo on the country. She suffered for two years and then tragically passed away. I believe the stress and fear of the violence caused her health to deteriorate and ultimately led to her death.

She was a loving wife to me, and the perfect mother to our children. Her death has left a deep grief engraved in our hearts that will be there for the rest of my life.

The violence still continues as I write this. I have to be strong for my children and be strong for my community. My work with Islamic Relief is what keeps me going. When we are able to help a family or someone who is suffering, the relief I see in their eyes and the smile on their faces is what drives me to stay committed to my humanitarian work.

My country, Yemen, needs help. The violence needs to stop.

Salem Jaafar Baobaid is part of Islamic Relief Yemen's operations. He writes this from Yemen. For more information on Islamic Relief's Canada work in Yemen, click here.

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          Unsanctioned Wanderings: Capturing the Vagrant in Romantic Prints        
December 2014

Unsanctioned Wanderings: Capturing the Vagrant in Romantic Prints

Lucy Kimiko Hawkinson Traverse
University of Wisconsin-Madison

“[. . .] their movement cannot be captured in a picture, nor can the meaning of their movements be circumscribed in a text”

-Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life

1.        Epitomized by Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Watching a Sea of Fog (c. 1817-18), and the Wordsworthian peripatetic, the gentlemanly or artistic wanderer is integral to the Romantic imagination. Wandering lies at the heart of picturesque sightseeing, blank verse poetry, specimen collecting, and the Romantic cultivation of self. However, these forms of sanctioned wandering exist against a backdrop of less desirable movements that, nonetheless, inform, color, and at times literally converge with, the endorsed amblings of the inquisitive artist-gentlemen. Unsanctioned forms of wandering existed on a spectrum of criminality, which at times included peddlers, actors, shepherds, discharged soldiers, beggars, orphaned children, gypsies, sailors, highwaymen, pirates, and ultimately, as Toby Benis has argued, “anyone on the road without adequate cause” (2). These disparate groups, while often meticulously differentiated, were also increasingly amalgamated as vagrants through a series of common burdens and discriminatory practices, resulting from changing Poor Laws, licensing, and Vagrancy Acts in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

2.        It is not my aim or desire to reproduce here an exhaustive catalog of wandering types. Rather, I hope to sketch some of the strategies of representation used to capture the vagrant body in print. And further, to tease out some of the tensions and slippages between the text as material object and the roaming body it seeks to arrest. To do this I will examine a selection of British Romantic prints, all bound in books published in London in the first two decades of the nineteenth century (1800-1820). Some of these texts explore a signal category of wanderer (e.g., the urban beggar in the case of John Thomas Smith’s Vagabondiana, or, Anecdotes of mendicant wanderers through the streets of London [London, 1817], or the gypsy in the case of Heinrich Moritz Gottlieb Grellmann’s Dissertation on the Gipseys [London, 1807]) while others assemble a variety of eccentric persons, among which can be found wandering types (e.g., James Caulfield’s Portraits, Memories, and Characters, of Remarkable Persons [London, 1819], or G.H. Wilson’s The Eccentric Mirror [London, 1806]). The prints discussed are chosen because they represent different strategies of resistance to the project of containment or arrest, strategies which include signifying in ways that resist the cataloging missions of the text/author, critiquing the text as material object and commodity, representing stasis as a potentially political act, and encouraging the reader/viewer to be cognizant of their complicity in processes of erasure.

3.        The rich body of scholarship interested in Romantic vagrancy tends to focus primarily on Wordsworth’s representation of and engagement with the itinerant poor. The hope of this project is to explore how a more sustained survey of contemporaneous visual representations might alter and expand our understanding of Romantic vagrancy and its relationship both to the artist’s construction of self and the (supposedly) static image. This project resists the impulse to treat as a given the print’s stasis, or to accept prints as a default medium used in the absence of alternative representational technologies. In highlighting the tension of wandering as a space-time practice and the apparent stasis of the published print, I do not mean to suggest that Romantic moving-picture technologies (such as P.J. de Loutherbourg’s Eidophusikon, exhibited in London in 1781) would have offered a more accurate, neutral, or appropriate means of representing acts of unsanctioned wandering. Rather, by examining prints that represent wanderers we are able to explore instances of resistance that complicate a binary understanding of the moving and the still. Prints may seem to “arrest” or “make still” the wandering impulse, but they also reproduce and disseminate the vagrant body. In this way, prints allow for the movement of images even if they are not typically considered “moving images.”

4.        The Romantic era saw the displacement of many people as a result of enclosure, clearances, and revolutions. As Anne Wallace has argued, the resultant increase in pedestrian mobility, not only in the form of those exiled from common lands and sent adrift, but also in the form of “deliberate excursive walking, especially by the relatively well-to-do and educated,” meant increased contact between those wandering for spiritual or artistic refinement and those made mobile out of economic necessity (166). Such contacts feature prominently in the poetry and prose of the Romantic period, as authorial wanderers frequently encounter members of the wandering class, finding cause to celebrate, condemn, or identify with those traversing the landscape in less orthodox ways.

5.        While it may be problematic to assemble such divergent groups into a single category, a series of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century laws and ordinances worked to consolidate the wandering poor and to place them in a particular relationship to a wage- and settlement-based economy, which, I would argue, gave them a distinct class status. Since 1662, poor relief had been largely based on a system of parish charity that took “settlement” (defined as birth, long-term residence, or employment in a given community) as a prerequisite for assistance (22-23, 29). The wandering poor were inherently disqualified from such assistance, as they were not settled and were thus not the responsibility of any particular parish. Furthermore, this system of localized assistance increased hostilities towards the unsettled, as those forced to pay the poor rate were invested in limiting any additional burden on parish funds. Tales of transporting pregnant women in labor over parish lines, the destruction of cottages, and the forced eviction of unwanted dependents suggest (with possible hyperbole) some of the strategies used to decrease the pauper population and its concomitant costs (Lloyd 122; Olsen 23). For the nomadic poor this meant continually enforced movement. Unwilling to take on additional charity cases, many communities set laws restricting the number of days vagrants could camp within parish limits. Simultaneously, a series of Vagrant Laws made the very act of continuous, unsettled movement a criminal offense. Thus, an ironic and illogical system was produced whereby nomadic persons were (through local ordinances) required to move regularly, yet by conforming to these laws they subjected themselves to a variety of state-sanctioned punishments, including whipping, imprisonment, and forced labor (Mayall 258).

6.        If, as Celeste Langan has argued, vagrancy functions as both the paradigm of Romantic movement and thought, and as the structural analogy by which we understand the liberal subject, how does this liberalism relate to the materiality of the book, particularly the encyclopedic volumes of types which both contain and mimic the movements of their subjects (Langan 27)? While wandering may be integral to Romantic thought and action, so too is the desire to capture, record, and classify. Indeed, the most immediately apparent discontinuity in prints of wandering types centers on the tension between mobility and stasis. These are persons defined by their unauthorized movement, and yet, to record them as distinct personalities or types requires a degree of arrest. Thus, we find a collection of images organized around a verb that is largely unrepresented. These figures sit, stand, crouch, pose, gesture, and occasionally step, but they do not seem to wander.

7.        A print of Margaret Finch, “Queen of the Gypsies at Norwood,” from James Caulfield’s Portraits, Memories, and Characters, of Remarkable Persons is particularly striking in its apparent stasis (figure 1). As “Queen of the Gypsies,” Finch is unequivocally a representative of a wandering people, and we are told that she has spent her life “traversing the whole of England, in the double capacity of gipsy and thief.” However, in this image we find Finch boulder-like in her squat immobility and groundedness. Having adopted the custom “of sitting on the ground with her chin resting on her knees,” the author explains, Finch’s sinews became “so contracted, that she could not extend herself or change her position” (Caulfield, Portraits, 247-249). In this way, Finch becomes almost hyperbolically immobile, her body calcifying into a stationary lump. Thus fixed, she becomes a site of pilgrimage, a cause for wandering rather than its practitioner, as “persons from the highest rank and quality to that of the lowest class in life” clog the roads leading to Norwood, hoping to see the “singularity of her figure” and benefit from the “fame of her fortune-telling” (Caulfield, Portraits, 247-249). Her spatial movement restricted, she remains an embodiment of temporal roving, as she is believed to possess the ability to see into the future.

8.         As Michael Kramp has argued, the figure of the deformed and repulsive gypsy hag was a Romantic type constructed to undercut the “threat to heterosexual and labor (re)production” posed by the late eighteenth-century trope of Gypsy femininity as aggressively sexual. The old fortune-teller, the “antithesis of sexual allure,” does not endanger heteronormativity, or pose the threat of miscegenation (Kramp, Reconceptualization, 1339). In her decrepit and static state, Margaret Finch becomes an attraction rather than an attractor, and yet, this depiction also exceeds its presumed project to simply re-present a “type”.

9.         Though unwanted by Norwood (Caufield complains that Surry and Kent are especially “pestered” and “plundered” by gypsies), Margaret Finch appears defiant in her stasis (Caulfield 247-249). The cave-like structure that she inhabits seems to have grown up around her, mimicking her contours and naturalizing her place in the landscape. Her face, the nose of which has been drawn in more dramatic profile than the eyes and mouth, seems to hover between a frontal and side view, and concomitantly between a specific likeness and an attempt at physiognomic typing. Her direct stare confronts the viewer, even as her pronouncedly arched and elongated nose distracts from the specificity of this address by calling upon ethnic stereotypes meant to signal her eastern origins and status as “domestic other” (Nord 5).

10.         Bolstering the potential defiance of this address are details that would signal her irreverence to the Romantic reader. In addition to the predictable advice regarding hard work, religious devotion, and frugality, the poor were often advised to avoid unnecessary dependents, such as pets. In a 1795 article in The Times, we find a curious preoccupation with dogs as signifiers of excess (qtd. in Olsen 21-22). Dogs are presented as luxuries that may be afforded the rich, but are so impractical for the poor that their retention disqualifies their owners from charitable assistance. The presence of not just one, but two dogs solidifies Finch’s status as undeserving of—even defiant toward—charitable aid. Likewise signaling Finch’s “excess” are her tobacco pipe and drink. [1] 

11.         Though Margaret Finch dies in 1740, anchored to a Norwood hovel by a decrepit body, through the reproduction and dissemination of this print, she regains a measure of spatial and temporal movement, persisting through time and “traversing the whole of England” once again. Here, the print seems not to “arrest” or “capture” the subject so much as record an act of defiant immobility—stasis as a political act, in the face of discriminatory laws and practices. The boulder-like solidity of Finch’s form, enveloped by the landscape and seemingly immovable, suggests an insubordinate persistence.

12.         Refusing a teleological and hierarchicalizing narrative, recent scholarship purposes a greater degree of ambiguity, reciprocity, and oscillation between still and moving images. More importantly, such work critically rethinks the implications of stasis. Resisting an easy alignment of stasis with death, or a confusion of “rigor with rigor mortis,” Karen Beckman and Jean Ma advocate the “recursive temporality of the ‘still moving’ ” (5, 11). Beckman and Ma are particularly concerned with the political potential of the recursive and hope that it may provide an alternative to conceptualizing collective political agency solely in terms of “movement” (14). Attempting to forge a model of productive recursive activity, recent scholarship stresses the double meaning of “still,” which may be used to connote an arrest or immobility as well as a persistence or continuation. Significantly, if taken in the latter sense, “the still is on the side of becoming and moving rather than in strict opposition with it” (Kaplan 221). It is this tension or doubleness within “the still” that Jean-Luc Nancy has explored in relation to the logic of concealment (31-47). In a like vein, Jean Baudrillard has interrogated stasis that is not static in diverse instances of “freezing,” arguing that such “immobility is not an inertia, but a paroxysm which boils movement down into its opposite” (67). Whereas Nancy purposes a understanding of (the) “still” which is implicated in movement, Baudrillard insists that even if the still is understood as the antithesis of movement, it cannot be carelessly aligned with inaction or apathy. Rather, it is a particularly concentrated, dense, or “intense” extraction of that movement.

13.         An inaugural plate in Heinrich Moritz Gottlieb Grellmann’s Dissertation on the Gipseys (figure 2), may offer an instance of one such dense freeze. Arrested in the moment of taking a step, a gypsy woman of elongated stature moves from light to shade with an infant and small child. The varied positions of eyes and bodies gives the figure group a varied directionality that seems to work against the suggestion of movement in a particular direction. At the same time, the woman’s movement from light to dark within the hillside scene suggests a true spatial movement through a landscape that is more than a token backdrop. In combination, these aspects of composition and lighting give the scene the odd effect of appearing both spontaneous and posed. A coin in the woman’s outstretched hand (though vaguely delineated) is marked by the simple cross-and-dot pattern of a medieval two- or four-pence (Fleetwood 34-35). [2]  Though ostensibly meant to signal that the woman has received alms, this numismatic anachronism also complicates the temporality of the scene. In conjunction with the figures’ ahistorical dress, the coin suggests a temporal as well as spatial unrootedness, which stands in tension with the print’s claim to have captured a specific moment. In this way, the print seems to present its subjects as simultaneously caught in the act of wandering and performing the act with choreographed exaggeration, and thus gives us a particularly dense extraction of the act that is both specific and symbolic. While acknowledging that anachronistic details fit comfortably with primitivizing constructions of Gypsies as unchanging and timeless, we can still recognize a resistant potential between the supposed temporality of the ethnographic sketch (the claim to have captured) and suggestions of a deeper, un-moored time within the image.

14.        The ethnographic project of containment and classification may be further undermined by the book as material object. Many of the books dedicated to vagabonds, gypsies, and others of the wandering class become themselves strangely nomadic texts. Even a work as seemingly focused as Grellmann’s Dissertation on the Gipseys is notably sprawling and fragmented in its execution. Illustrations are clearly appropriated from other contexts, and gesture more towards their disparate origins than a cohesive narrative. Even the frontispiece, an engraving of a pirate and wanderer by James Heath (1757-1834), apparently after a painting by Richard Corbould (1757-1831) or one of his sons (figure 3), [3]  seems to have been appropriated from another context (as the unrelated volume and page numbers below the caption suggest). Thus, an image intended to introduce a focused treatise on a single topic (gypsies), instead conflates gypsies with other wandering types (pirates) and encourages the viewer to think of other mediums and published contexts for the image at hand. Unfolding pages cut to different sizes, interspersed with plates illustrating themes only tangentially related to the argument of the text, continually push the reader out of the confines of the book to imagine additional sources, narratives, and paths of inquiry. While Grellmann’s text strives to categorize, re-present, and define gypsies in a systematic fashion, its format and diverse content continually undermine this agenda.

15.        Even in seemingly more cohesive ethnographic projects, competing desires to generalize and particularize stand in tension. In Vagabondiana, or, Anecdotes of mendicant wanderers through the streets of London, John Thomas Smith strives to depict the “wanderers” of London, but in order to obtain portraits “drawn from life” he must arrest his roaming subjects. Thus, a vagrant like “Black Joe” (Joseph Johnson) (figure 4) is identified by the specific address of his supposed encounter with Smith, “N4 Chandos Street, Convent Garden.” Ironically, however, this specific location is not articulated in the print, the background of which consists only of non-descript shading. Smith undertakes the seemingly contradictory task of assembling subjects that are both unique and representative. Organized around abstract qualities such as “industriousness,” the text produces as archive of distinct “types” valued for their perceived role as representatives of larger categories. “Black Joe” is taken to represent both the black urban poor (he is one of only two characters in the book identified by a racial signifier) and the particularly creative or ingenious beggar. Thus, Johnson is represented as both a unique subject and a type, and as both emplaced and de-contextualized.

16.        Smith explains that Johnson, imaged with a crutch and cane, has sustained wounds rendering “him incapable of doing further duty on the ocean.” However, as a “consequence of his having been employed in the merchant’s service only,” Johnson is “not entitled to the provision of Greenwich,” and “having no claim to relief in any parish” must glean a living on the streets. Though the elaborate model ship, which Johnson wears affixed to a simple cylindrical cap, is described by Smith simply as evidence of especially creative beggary inspired by his former life as a sailor, between text and image other narratives surface. The author explains that Johnson animates his model ship “by a bow of thanks, or a supplicating inclination to a drawing room window,” thus simulating the “appearance of sea-motion” (33). Johnson’s decision to masquerade as an aquatic vessel may stem from his time as a sailor (one of many, primarily lower-class, occupations available to black Britons in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century), and yet the juxtaposition of a black man and large ship during a time of heated debate surrounding slavery also resonates on other levels.

17.        At the time of this sketch, the British slave trade had (ostensibly) been abolished, but slavery itself was still rampant. Additionally, ships held the threat of deportation, as London officials concocted solutions to the “problem” of the city’s black poor, an effort that culminated in an attempt to ship London’s impoverished blacks to a colony in Sierra Leone (Gerzina 142-173). Though unexplored by Smith, the context of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the possible threat of deportation are difficult to repress. Although we are assured that Johnson’s gestures are “supplicating,” his performance carries a political edge, an edge that may or may not have been registered by the women taking sugar in their tea as Johnson theatrically “sailed” past their drawing room windows.

18.        The fact that Smith’s Vagabondiana could itself enter such drawing rooms, becoming a sort of guidebook to the eccentric characters that passed, further complicates the project of “capturing” Johnson’s likeness. Smith’s impulse to record his own meanderings through sketches of fellow wanderers could be read as an act of violence by which the implied movement of the author/illustrator is privileged, while the subject’s movement is arrested or denied. By assembling an encyclopedic volume of vagrant types, Smith simulates the act of wandering using the conceit of “happening upon” beggars in their native environs and making “sketches taken from life”. Arguably, the disassociative perusing offered by such texts could function as safe supplement for more radical movement.

19.        Romantic sightseeing and landscape texts were likewise invested in simulating the act of wandering in potentially problematic ways. In Humphrey Repton’s Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, the enclosure of common lands and the clearance of undesirables is enacted with the simple lift of a page (Harrison 46). In “View from my own cottage, in Essex” (figure 5), the concluding hand-colored aquatint from Repton’s final treatise and memoir, we find a view of the artist’s own yard. Framed by two large trees, Repton’s view is molested by the traffic of public thoroughfares, which lie just beyond his low lattice fence. More troubling still is the one-eyed, one-armed, one-legged vagrant who leans against this fence. Disabled, elderly, and seemingly exhausted, the man’s mournful eye, long face, and hunched weariness, echoed by the long shadow he casts, seem intended to win our sympathy as viewers. Behind him, in a meager triangle of public green, flocks of ducks scavenge for food, perhaps underscoring the beggar’s own reliant state. Repton’s solution to the aesthetic problem posed by these vagrant scavengers (the beggar as well as the birds) is simple erasure. Lifting the half page reveals an “improved” garden, in which the formerly common green is appropriated and privatized with the use of handsome shrubbery. Plantings and trellises further obscure undesirable aspects of his surroundings (such as the butcher shop) and the beggar disappears altogether. In a final—almost perverse—gesture, Repton offers an empty chair (near the shade of a tree), but only after that weary traveler so clearly in need of such a comfort has been completely expunged. In this way, the "before" and "after" design of Repton’s over-slip illustrations work to justify both the enclosure of common land and the removal of unwanted persons on aesthetic grounds (pun intended).

20.        While the reader/viewer is made potentially complicit in the act of erasure by lifting the page of Repton’s book, it is a process that can be reversed (the vagrant body can be reinserted into the landscape by replacing the over-leaf). Arguably, the nature of “before” and “after” views depend on a certain back and forth comparison between the two images. While the “before” and “after” images are valued differently and their sequencing is meant to suggest improvement and progress, fully appreciating the extent and specificity of the renovation requires that the reader/viewer refer back to the original scene. Likewise resistant to the process of erasure is the inclusion of such a memorable and explicitly damaged body (bearing three distinct wounds), the removal of which is difficult to excuse as an ethically neutral act.

21.        This is not to assume that the injured vagrant is necessarily seeking aid. Certainly, many wandering poor practiced trades and had strategies for living off the land, and were explicitly not looking for charitable assistance or long-term residency in a parish. However, their forced—and simultaneously criminalized—nomadism made almost any action dangerous and suspect. Those who preferred, or were forced into, continual movement were faced with the additional difficulty of navigating lives on rapidly dwindling common lands. In “View from my own cottage, in Essex” we see enclosure on a small scale, as Repton appropriates the apparently public triangle of green for his own purposes, thus alienating both the beggar and the scavenging birds.

22.         Enclosure, the privatization of communal grounds, greatly restricted both the movement and the resources of the wandering poor. The process of consolidating and enclosing commons, wastelands, and open fields into private holdings demarcated by fences, walls, hedgerows, or trenches originated in the late medieval period, but experienced an unprecedented surge in England between 1793 and 1815 (McCalman 496). In many regions the process of enclosure eroded customary rights, including the right to graze animals, gather wood (estover), fish (piscary), cut peat (turbary), and glean wheat or produce left after the harvest (Janowitz 155). Like the agricultural laborers that depended on access to common lands to supplement their meager incomes, for members of nomadic or wandering classes attempting to live off the land, the loss of these customary rights severely affected their ability to subsist. Such rights are explicitly flaunted in an introductory plate from Grellmann’s Dissertation on the Gipseys (figure 6), in which a group of encamped gypsies flaunt their estover and piscary rights.

23.        This depiction of potential theft is exacerbated by the tense relationship between the book as commodity and the vagrant body’s supposed exclusion from commodity circulation. The Gypsy “thirst for glittering Gold” described in Dissertation on the Gypsies is echoed in the glittering crest and gold-coated pages of the book itself, reminding the reader that the artfully-bound volume which collects and contains these observations may itself be an object both coveted and stolen. In this way, the text, which delineates a particular relationship between the Gypsy and personal property, participates in this construction by making the possibility of theft more immediate to the reader—you hold in your hand something that is simultaneously described as desirable to the “dangerous” gypsy vagrant. Thus, the text itself seems to speak the threat of theft.

24.         While vagrants were often differentiated by degree of perceived criminality, I maintain that considering groups as seemingly disparate as beggars, gypsies and highway-men under the umbrella of a threatening un-rootedness helps to clarify how even the most explicitly criminal of these could be appropriated by artists as models, objects of meditation, or catalysts for expressions of empathy, longing, and admiration.

25.        The competing modes of representation we see in “The Trwe [sic] Effigies of James Whitney, the Notorious Highwayman” (figure 7) from James Caulfield’s Portraits, Memories and Characters of Remarkable Persons (1819), speak to an ambivalence toward the Romantic criminal wanderer as well as to a conflation of artistic and criminal types. Though decidedly a criminal—defined (in part) by his roaming, un-rooted movement—Whitney is here seen as a leisured artist or writer dressed as though seated in his study. Comparable images abound in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century portraiture, attesting to what fashion historian Aileen Ribeiro describes as the “well-established, (even hackneyed) convention for artists, men of letters and musicians to be painted in loose gowns” (34). James Maubert’s 1695 portrait of John Dryden (poet, critic, and author of heroic verse) and a 1689-90 portrait of Robert Boyle (after J. Kerseboom) are but two examples of the long tradition upon which Whitney’s “portraitist” draws. However, the engraver clearly plays against these associations as well. Though the dressing gown is understood as comfortable domestic attire for the gentleman who works at home (or, more specifically, the gentleman who does not work, but has pursuits or improves himself at home), it is here coupled not with the usual slippers and study, but with markers of Whitney’s outdoor livelihood: his boots and hat. Further parodying the convention, Whitney directs our gaze not to his accomplishments or objects of study, as we often find in similar images of learned men, but rather to the shackle on his left ankle, underscoring his captivity and criminality. Whitney signifies as both artist-gentlemen and notorious outlaw, and thus the image, while static, moves the viewer along (at least) two separate channels of association. [4]  Thus, the conflation of types inevitably leaches out through competing vocabularies of representation—a process echoed by the fugitive pigments that, with time, leak across the page, allowing the figure to move once again as a ghostly remnant. Though all aging prints are subject to this chemical instability, there is something particularly haunting about this effect in relation to the nomadic body seemingly captured within the text.

26.         Whitney’s “arrest” seems particularly pronounced as he is both literally imprisoned and figuratively captured by the text. Yet, images of cages, prisons, and captives often functioned to inversely signal ideas of physical and mental liberty in eighteenth-century art. As Lorenz Eitner argues, unlike the allegorical representations of previous centuries, the Romantics turned away from the Goddesses of Liberty and Phrygian caps of Baroque art, toward more indirect representations of Liberty, primarily signaled through images of its antithesis. [5]  Compassion for prisoners, images that underscore the pathos of enchainment, sensational tales of prison escapes, and a general public sympathy for the incarcerated seem to pervade the period. Likewise, Eitner points out that “the prisoner’s plight became a favorite metaphor of the isolation or persecution of artists by society” (37). Thus, the importance of liberty is underscored by images that depict its absence: the bound captive, the long-suffering prisoner. Similarly, perhaps, static portraits of wandering types call to mind the mobility they negate.

27.        The representation of “Victor, the Savage of Aveyron,” (figure 8) in G.H. Wilson’s Eccentric Mirror provides another instance of a wandering body both literally and figuratively captured, but makes more explicit the role of text in that arrest. Having wandered the woods unsupervised for many years, Wilson relates, Victor is finally caught by three sportsmen in 1798. Wilson tells us that they find “a disgusting slovenly boy, affected with spasmodic, and frequently with convulsive motions, continually balancing himself like some of the wild animals in the menagerie” (5). And yet, in the portrait that introduces the story, we see the clean, almost classical torso of a boy poised and fully contained within an elaborate set of framing devices. Though supposedly a child of the wilderness, in this likeness, nature is sent to the margins, contained and domesticated in two entwined cornucopias that pour down their bounty as decorative flanking. Far from a threatening or enveloping wilderness, this vegetation is contained and merely ornamental. However, the portrait, in which he is groomed but still naked, introduces an ambiguous temporality. Is this “Victor” before or after his capture?

28.        In a panel below, “Victor” is shown seated with a tutor learning his alphabet. Above, a stylus, paper, and alphabetic flashcards reiterate the theme of literacy. To the right, a badminton racket and birdie indicate a strategy for channeling his “sporadic” movement into organized sport. Together, these symbols suggest the disciplining of the mind and body. However, they also underscore the fraught relationship between the nomadic body and the text as a conduit of literacy, suggesting that “Victor” must be made literate in order to understand his own process of domestication. That is, he must be brought into literacy in order to recognize his own place in the text—a process underscored by the mirror-like quality of the medallion that contains his likeness and the way his gaze is directed at the facing page, on which the narrative of his life commences. The scene may narrate the process by which “Victor” will come to understand his own imprisonment within the text, but it also holds out the possibility of future self-representation.

29.        As a strategy of tying language to static forms that can thus be (at least in some sense) “owned,” the printed word seems inherently at odds with the itinerant subject it strives to depict. The historiated initials (figure 9) that populate John Thomas Smith’s Vagabondiana speak to the anxieties surrounding mobility in relation to the written word as property, and suggest acts resistant to reductive classifications. The small human figures that entwine themselves around inauguratory letters molest, steal, and vandalize the words used to describe them in subtly subversive ways, suggesting that language—even written language—is never stable. The movement of these embodied letters may also speak to what Michel de Certeau has called the “parallelism between linguistic and pedestrian enunciation,” whereby walking (understood as analogous to the speech act) produces the possibilities it executes (99). Thus, walking, as a space of enunciation, can make certain possibilities “exist as well as emerge” (98). Likewise, the man who entwines his body with the inauguratory letter of the word “Beggary” simultaneously presents and performs the word that seeks to classify him. That is, he performs a sort of linguistic theft.

30.        The tensions registered here between nomadic bodies and the texts that strive to anchor them are furthered complicated by the changing understandings of texts as intellectual property during the Romantic period. Emerging from a Kantian understanding of original genius as antithetical to the spirit of imitation, [6]  Wordsworth, Coleridge, and other major literary figures of the period argued for a distinction between original labor and original genius (Saint-Amour 30-31). Ironically, as Paul Saint-Amour argues, “the Romantic conception of authorship revolted against the very market conditions—mechanical reproduction, textual commodification, logics of equivalency, labor-based copyright laws—that had made authorship professionally viable in the first place” (31). Imbedded within this idea was the belief that the artist was ahead of his time. In the words of Saint-Amour, the Romantic conception of Genius “was earliness personified: not only did geniuses do things before anyone else, they antedated even their own comprehensibility and consumability” (32). The Romantic roots of what would solidify into a more self-conscious conception of the avant-garde as the century progressed is worth underscoring as it coincides with changing understandings of intellectual property and copyright law.

31.        Between 1814 and 1842, copyright protection was expanded from 14 to 42 years, and the first posthumous copyright law was enacted, protecting a work for 7 years after the author’s death. A major catalyst for these extensions was the argument, put forth by Wordsworth and others, that true artistic genius could not be understood in its own time and thus required a postmortem window, during which its value could finally be recognized (Saint-Amour 32). While the idea of artistic genius far precedes the nineteenth century, the concern that this genius was unlikely to be sufficiently appreciated during the artist’s own lifetime, that the artist was “out of synch” with his contemporaries (explicitly not co-temporaneous), seems a peculiarly Romantic preoccupation, and is suggestively imbricated with assumptions about the vagrant as having an eccentric relationship to time. Gypsies, and to a lesser extent other wandering types, were consistently assumed to have prophetic powers, as countless representations of gypsy fortune telling and divination attest. Thus, in addition to a sort of spatial eccentricity, members of the wandering class were often presumed to have a temporal eccentricity.

32.        The origins and lineage of vagrants were often (temporally as well as geographically) obscured. Grellmann’s Dissertation, for instance, spends an entire chapter attempting to determine from what country Gypsies originate and at precisely what date they came to be in England. By definition without land or title, vagrants were by and large excluded from the city and parish records that would give them a clear place in hegemonic time (further obscuring questions of origin and lineage). Perhaps a reflection of this ambiguity, the wandering figure is often constructed as a timeless, prophetic figure. [7] 

33.        Through changing copyright laws we find Romantic authors insisting on their lack of contemporanaiety and an attendant need for temporal freedom (through the prolonged life of their works). In this argument for a proto-avant garde I see a sort of temporal wandering, a feeling of disrootedness from one’s own era, a belief that artistic production is not of one time or place, but roams—not unlike those vagrant bodies with whom the Romantic artist so readily identifies. However, we should also note a certain paradox operating within this forced alliance. The Romantic conception of original genius, as a less tangible and heavily mythologized alternative to original labor (understood as industrial and solid), ostensibly resists the labor-based copyright laws it helps to enact—laws concerned with the production and distribution of texts as private commodities.

34.         To state this contradiction more precisely, at the same time that Romantic artists take the wandering, property-less subject as a model for creative production, they advocate for intellectual property laws that draw increasingly rigid boundaries around the intellectual-as-commodity. Concomitant, then, with the land enclosures that help to further dispossess the wandering class, we find a series of intellectual or literary enclosures that privatize texts, removing them from the public domain. As an added insult, these texts frequently contain representations (either literary or visual) of wandering bodies, which they twice alienate: both in their representational arrest, and through their commoditization and privatization as texts operating within a capitalist economy and under the protection of copyright monopolies. And yet, despite this double gesture of appropriation and enclosure, the vagrant body is not wholly confined. Repeatedly, we see it surface, resist, and question the parameters of its enclosure.

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Notes

[1] The accompanying text suggests that a “mug of beer” may be had “at the place generally called the Gipsy-house” (Caulfield 247-249). BACK

[2] Coins with a similar pattern on the obverse of the monarch’s profile were minted between the reigns of Richard I and Henry VII (c. 1189-1509). Choosing to show the back of the coin further obscures the temporal as a coin’s face changes with each new reign. BACK

[3] Richard Corbould (1757-1831) had two sons, George Corbould (1786-1846) and Henry Corbould (1787-1844).