Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
By BOB HERBERT Op Ed columnist New York Times
Published: January 29, 2010
I had lunch with Howard Zinn just a few weeks ago, and I’ve seldom had more fun while talking about so many matters that were unreservedly unpleasant: the sorry state of government and politics in the U.S., the tragic futility of our escalation in Afghanistan, the plight of working people in an economy rigged to benefit the rich and powerful.
Mr. Zinn could talk about all of that and more without losing his sense of humor. He was a historian with a big, engaging smile that seemed ever-present. His death this week at the age of 87 was a loss that should have drawn much more attention from a press corps that spends an inordinate amount of its time obsessing idiotically over the likes of Tiger Woods and John Edwards.
Mr. Zinn was chagrined by the present state of affairs, but undaunted. “If there is going to be change, real change,” he said, “it will have to work its way from the bottom up, from the people themselves. That’s how change happens.”
We were in a restaurant at the Warwick Hotel in Manhattan. Also there was Anthony Arnove, who had worked closely with Mr. Zinn in recent years and had collaborated on his last major project, “The People Speak.” It’s a film in which well-known performers bring to life the inspirational words of everyday citizens whose struggles led to some of the most profound changes in the nation’s history. Think of those who joined in — and in many cases became leaders of — the abolitionist movement, the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the feminist revolution, the gay rights movement, and so on.
Think of what this country would have been like if those ordinary people had never bothered to fight and sometimes die for what they believed in. Mr. Zinn refers to them as “the people who have given this country whatever liberty and democracy we have.”
Our tendency is to give these true American heroes short shrift, just as we gave Howard Zinn short shrift. In the nitwit era that we’re living through now, it’s fashionable, for example, to bad-mouth labor unions and feminists even as workers throughout the land are treated like so much trash and the culture is so riddled with sexism that most people don’t even notice it. (There’s a restaurant chain called “Hooters,” for crying out loud.)
I always wondered why Howard Zinn was considered a radical. (He called himself a radical.)
Mr. Zinn was often taken to task for peeling back the rosy veneer of much of American history to reveal sordid realities that had remained hidden for too long. When writing about Andrew Jackson in his most famous book, “A People’s History of the United States,” published in 1980, Mr. Zinn said:
“If you look through high school textbooks and elementary school textbooks in American history, you will find Jackson the frontiersman, soldier, democrat, man of the people — not Jackson the slaveholder, land speculator, executioner of dissident soldiers, exterminator of Indians.”
Mr. Zinn would protest peacefully for important issues he believed in — against racial segregation, for example, or against the war in Vietnam — and at times he was beaten and arrested for doing so.
He had a wonderful family, and he cherished it. He and his wife, Roslyn, known to all as Roz, were married in 1944 and were inseparable for more than six decades until her death in 2008. She was an activist, too, and Howard’s editor. “I never showed my work to anyone except her,” he said.
They had two children and five grandchildren.
Mr. Zinn was in Santa Monica this week, resting up after a grueling year of work and travel, when he suffered a heart attack and died on Wednesday. He was a treasure and an inspiration.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
We write to inquire of your culinary preference for Zepping up common soup.
Please advise. Would be delighted if you choose to reply via your cosmic instrument.
s/ Dulled Bud(s)
Granted, Mrs. Grass's is a soup for commoners, which we buy at the poor man's Pick N Save, but if you go out to Penzey's on Bluemound Rd, Brookfield WI - or send for their spice catalog which is a delight unto itself - you will find these special hot ground red peppers to shake into your Mrs. Grass's, and many other things, too, crying out for zip.
As spices are known to have briefer shelf-lives, we recommend the small container of pepper, as shown. Buy often, buy fresh. Or use very often, then buy larger quantities. We thrive on pepper, but prefer to trek to Penzey's frequently. The very air in the store is a kick; flying trapeze-time.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
BEAUTIFUL TABBY SHOWS INTERIOR OF HER EYEBALLS
WHILE CHRISTMAS CACTUS STARTS TO BLOOM NEAR HER RIGHT EAR
A STILL LIFE WITH CAT, CACTUS AND TOILET PLUNGER, NOT JUST ANY PLUNGER
a plunger with pizzazz
but worn over decades
of heavy pushing
to its present striation
showing the natural wood
a cacophony of glorious color
Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams' Streetcar Named Desire said, wispily, "Ah've always relied on the kindness of strangers."
That is true here also. It is a faith and a trust. Sometimes we strangers impose our field among raccoons, or willing-to-try friends, using devices of our own construct. Such was the case with Toni Guardalabene, now of Albany CA, who, here in this today-discovered photo abided directions in operation the cosmic antenna known as the Magic Twanger. Any epiphanies she received she kept to herself. Her husband, former driver of Yellow Cab No. 206, John Guardalabene, looks on in bemused semi-belief.
He is a maker of magic also.
For more information on 206's input into this raccoondite system, see: http://raccoonnews.blogspot.com/2008/01/finger-in-phone.html
All things ARE connected.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
rec·on·dite (rek′ən dīt′; occas. ri kän′dīt′)
*beyond the grasp of the ordinary mind or understanding; profound; abstruse
*dealing with abstruse or difficult subjects
*obscure or concealed
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Lt. Maynard Dix
Navigator, 'The Little Savage'
B-17 Flying Fortress, WW II
In a recently searched dusty suitcase an old photo of Uncle Maynard's B-17 crew turned up.
He flew 25 missions over Germany. On one of them near the end, his aircraft was attacked by German fighter planes and gunnery from the ground. This was a frequent occurrence. This time they were badly hit. With one engine functioning and surrounded by badly wounded crewmembers Uncle Maynard took the controls and managed to return across the English Channel to his air base, setting down on the runway safely.
He was never one to brag.
Returning after the war, Uncle Maynard settled again in Newton Iowa where he resumed his job as an engineer for the Maytag Co. Hw lived a peaceful life in Newton and did not discuss what he was doing over Germany.
FROZEN IN TIME
Residents remember Blizzard of ’47 decades later
Forty years later, in 1987, The Freeman commemorated the blizzard by reprinting the front page of the special edition. They also collected and printed memories of the storm from it subscribers. The recollections of those who lived at the time bring the reality of the difficulties into focus.
OUR THOUGHTS TURN AGAIN to Sunny Rupnow. We heard her name mentioned today in reference to the story, now a legend, of how she once asked a farmer 'up north' if he intended to waste a 'perfectly good snake' - meaning, she would love to have it and cook it up back at the cabin.
The farmer, a neighbor, said Sunny surely could have it. He was just throwing it over the barb wire so the raptors could see it better. Sunny peeled the dead creature and we had pine snake for supper that night. The owls were left to other devices.
Friday, January 22, 2010
There we were, having a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate cake and ice cream, the dessert after our supper of Pollock Tandoori, asparagus, rice and a fruit salad, and I found myself thinking of doing some traveling.
I toyed with my hologram bookmark from the Taiwanese gift shop at Holy Hill. I pondered the various destinations at hand; old winter blues to be kept at bay.
Sure, you can look directly at a thing and think you see it, I mused. But the bookmark shifted in my idle fingers, and lo!
I was suddenly focusing on the means of travel. An old streamliner, old passenger airplane, old freighter, or an old car all presented themselves.
My thoughts shifted, thanks to the miracle of holography, to how I would get to wherever I was going........
It seemed narrowed down, and let's not forget riding on somebody's shoulder.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I don't know how many Americans know of this simple method of shining your shoes with this fruit. Here, we have many bananas so it is easy and cheap for us.
Try it sometime. There are many things bananas are good for. (see attachment)
Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit of South American leading athletes.
But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.
Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.
Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert. Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.
Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
Mosquito bites: We have many in Uruguay. Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.
Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack. Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!
Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!
So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around.
The international wire service at the Raccoon News picked up an item this morning from the smalltown newspaper, THE WAUKESHA FREEMAN, and reprints it herewith for a wider audience.
The Great Blizzard of 1947 is of particular interest to us. An ode we wrote is seen at the bottom of this posting.
In that wonderful and terrifying drifting storm, our father was on his commute on the interurban (electric trolley) from his job in Milwaukee to our home at Waukesha. It took four hours to complete the journey. He was carrying a small maple rocking chair on the train, a gift for his wife purchased that day at a dowtown Milwaukee furniture store.
After arriving in Waukesha, he carried that rocker through nearly impossible snowdrifts to make his belated but happy presentation. He was then home for a delightful snowbound 'vacation'.
Blizzard of '47 all but paralyzed Waukesha
Many people still living recall the snowstorm of 1947. When I was a child, whenever we had a blizzard my mom would say, “This is nothing compared to the storm of 1947.” She would then recall her experiences in rural Port Washington. Most vivid in my mind is her description of a tunnel that they had to dig to get out of their front door.
The snow that falls so white and fresh
is quickly pushed to the sides of
the already salted streets
and more salt is spread behind the blades
The snow no matter how persevering
can't win a temporary victory
because it's not allowed to repose there
delaying commerce anymore
Snowbound in the city is an anachronism
The big blizzard of 1947, though, closed
businesses and schools, everything for days
in Waukesha Wisconsin
until the handful of plow-equipped trucks
could get around to opening all the streets,
and the Inter-Urban electric train did not run
into Milwaukee, so Dad was home for five days
The snow was dominant then, keeping everyone blessedly
at home, happy captives of unanticipated pass-times,
skiing to the grocers or to the post office, drinking
cocoa and digging tunnels outside, dawns to dusks
During cribbage games and radio shows, the wind blew
unending heavy snow all around town
And the ice-blinkered Fox Dairy horses struggled
to pull their milk wagons until they couldn't
negotiate the drifted valleys formerly known
to them as their street routes
And everything was rounded off white
for many deepening days
But now, when there is a forecast of snow
heavy or slight
armadas of municipal plows and reinforcements
of free-lancers idle their engines everywhere
loaded with tons of salt, waiting at checkpoints, ready
to make short work of any white that quietly comes
and to make the trains, trucks and everything else
run on time
The esthete dreaming of snow having dominion
over him for a just a little while
loses to technology and industry
and loses no precious time at work or school
thanks to economies dedicated to rumbling
and salt, lots of salt
And fervent salty neighbors
keeping their sidewalks absolutely clear
of Old Devil Snow, running neck and neck
toward the inevitable loss against the plowers
who fill and re-fill the grumblers' driveways
Over clear but gray-skied days, whizzing traffic splatters
more salt onto the salt-laced drifts and the sun melts
and re-freezes the mounds into darkened, pitted reefs
of dingy black coral
And you wish for another clean, crippling snow, as in 1947
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
And lo, the family was not making her stand in the cold out of strict old-school Finnish discipline. They were actually readying a birthday celebration for their acting, swimming and steel drumming daughter/sister. Grace knew they were pretending, so she played along and just acted kind of scared and, uh, frozen.
THE AMARYLLIS BULB SHOT UP AND ACTUALLY BEGAN OPENING ON GRACE'S 16TH BIRTHDAY.
As previously reported, the old chrome coffee maker was a gift of author and electric percolator collector Terry Mahoney, for our silver wedding anniversary last year.
See and enjoy Terry's blog: