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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

COUNTRY LIFE
Magazine Subscription
Let sleeping dogs lie
May 1/08


Quote:
More toxic pets/toxic pet rules andregulations.





Quote:
Dog owners are warned by a Government vet not to let pets sleep in the bedroom for frear of transmitting disease. Dr Fred Landeg says: 'Many new diseases are passable from animals to man, such Sars and hendra virus from bats.' Defra says 10% of Britain's 6.5 million dogs may carry MRSA. However, most owners seem unconcerned; 62% of dogs sleep in the bedroom or kitchen, according to Liverpool University. Beverley Cuddy of Dogs Today says: 'It's scaremongering. You can catch more from the person next to you in bed. With climate change, we shouls use dogs for warmth.' The Kennel Club's Caroline Kisko agrees: 'If the dog is clean and healthy, there's nothing wrong with snuggling up.' But Dogs Trust vet Chris Laurence says: 'Dogs shouldn't be allowed to share everything. Basic hygiene makes sense.' (emphasis added) (-- p. 67)


But get this, from the same issue:

Quote:
Labradors as assistance dogs

Disney is making a film about him, and he can use a cashpoint, but Endal was once an assistance-dog reject. Owner Allen Parton tells his tale.

'I was in the Royal Navy, when, in 1991, I sailed to the Gulf War and was involved in an incident that left me in hospital for five years. When I woke up, I couldn't recall being married, I couldn't read, write, walk or talk, and I attempted suicide twice.

'My wife had become a "puppy parent" for a charity called Canine Partners, and, one day, when I was in its waiting room, I was spotted by an 11-month-old labrador called Endal, who had joint problems and who had failed assistance-dog selection. He went across the room to a toy supermarket, took a tin off the shelf, put it in my lap and, to cut a long story short, I was disappearing under a pile of toys when, for the first time in five, I smiled. That night, I took Endal back home to Hampshire.

'Visiting Crufts one year, we were struck by a hit-and-run driver. I was left unconscious, but Endal pulled me into the recovery position and covered me with a blanket, before going to get help. For this, he became the first holder of the Animal George Cross.

'He's also learned to operate a cashpoint, mastered chip and pin, and is still the only dog in the UK that can put a letter in a letterbox. He was also the first dog to fly in the cabin of an aircraft.

'Endal is 12 now, and Disney is making a film about him. I know that, one day, I'll put my hand down and he won't be there, but he's left a great legacy behind - we're now looking to EJ (Endal Junior). I'm very proud of my boy. For more information, visit www.endal.co.uk or www.caninepartners.co.uk.

Labradors as guide dogs

Between 1931 and 1938, the only variations from German shepherd bitches that the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (GDBA) used were four German shepherd males, two golden retriever bitches and three crosses. Now, about 80% of guide dogs are labradors.

Neil Ewart of the GDBA (and a former trainer) says: 'The labrador has few complexities of temperament than the other guide-dog breeds.'

Indeed, German shepherds become frustrated with clumsy owners, can easily become stressed, and have a long, striding gait, which does not suit many people.

For a blind owner, the labrador's short coat make it easy to look after; its size means that its height and stride, plus the width of its harness, are suitable for most people; and the reputation of the breed means that it can carry out its duties without fuss - something Andrew Lane, 28, can testify to. ... (-- pgs. 82-83)


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good Poems
Hardcover
Selected and Introduced by Garrison Keillor


Quote:
More of Keillor's excellent poetry collections.

More of this book.




Quote:
Dog's Death

John Updike

She must have been kicked unseen or brushed by a car.
Too young to know much, she was beginning to learn
To use the newspapers spread on the kitchen floor
And to win, wetting there, the words, "Good dog! Good dog!"

We thought her shy malaise was a shot reaction.
The autopsy disclosed a rupture in her liver.
As we teased her with play, blood was filling her skin
And her heart was learning to lie down forever.

Monday morning, as the children were noisily fed
And sent to school, she crawled beneath the youngest's bed.
We found her twisted limp but still alive.
In the car to the vet's, on my lap, she tried

To bite my hand and died. I stroked her warm fur
And my wife called in a voice imperious with tears.
Though surrounded by love that would have upheld her,
Nevertheless she sank and, stiffening, disappeared.

Back home, we found that in the night her frame,
Drawing near to dissolution, had endured the shame
Of diarrhoea and had dragged across the floor
To a newspaper carelessly left there. Good dog.

(From Part 10, Beasts, p. 247)


Quote:
3 doz. poems
Audio CD
Selected and narrated beautifully by Keillor




Years of radio have perfected the clarion Keillor delivery! A joy!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Full Moon
Hardcover
By P.G. Wodehouse


Quote:
MORE of Tipton P., Vee and Freddie Threepwood, youngest son of the doddering Ninth Earl of Emsworth.




Quote:
In the bearing of Tipton Plimsoll, as some quarter of an hour later he took up station at the tryst, there was no trace of the old diffidence and lack of spirit. He was jaunty and confident. The elixir, coursing through his veins, had given his system just that fillip which a lover's system needs when he is planning to seize girls in his arms and say, 'My woman!' to them. You could have described Tipton at this moment as the dominant male with the comfortable certainty of having found the mot juste. He exuded the will to win.

He looked at the sky sternly, as if daring it to start something. In the quick glance which he gave at the rhododendrons there was the implication that they knew what they might expect if they tried any funny business. He straightened his tie. He flicked a speck of dust off his coat sleeve. He toyed with the idea of substituting 'My mate!' for 'My woman!' but discarded it as having too nautical a ring.

A caveman, testing the heft of his club before revealing his love to the girl of his choice, would have shaken hands with Tipton in his present mood and recognized him as a member of the lodge. (-- pgs. 120-121)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New York Times Magazine
Magazine Subscription
A Tall, Cool Drink of ... Sewage?
In the world's driest places, the future of drinking water may flow from a wastewater-recycling plant
By Elizabeth Royte
Aug. 10/08


Quote:
STILL MORE good reasons to gamble green (online!)





Quote:
... When you flush in Santa Ana, the waste makes its way to the sewage-treatment plant nearby in Fountain Valley, then sluices not to the ocean but to a plant that superfilters the liquid until it is cleaner than rainwater. The “new” water is then pumped 13 miles north and discharged into a small lake, where it percolates into the earth. Local utilities pump water from this aquifer and deliver it to the sinks and showers of 2.3 million customers. It is now drinking water. If you like the idea, you call it indirect potable reuse. If the idea revolts you, you call it toilet to tap.

Opened in January, the Orange County Groundwater Replenishment System is the largest of its type in the world. It cost $480 million to build, will cost $29 million a year to run and took more than a decade to get off the ground. The stumbling block was psychological, not architectural. An aversion to feces is nearly universal, and as critics of the process are keen to point out, getting sewage out of drinking water was one of the most important public health advances of the last 150 years.

Still, Orange County forged ahead. It didn’t appear to have a choice. Saltwater from the Pacific Ocean was entering the county’s water supply, drawn in by overpumping from the groundwater basin, says Ron Wildermuth, who at the time we talked was the water district’s spokesman. Moreover, population growth meant more wastewater, which meant building a second sewage pipe, five miles into the Pacific — a $200 million proposition. Recycling the effluent solved the disposal problem and the saltwater problem in one fell swoop. A portion of the plant’s filtered output is now injected into the ground near the coast, to act as a pressurized barrier against saltwater from the ocean. Factor in Southern California’s near chronic drought, the county’s projected growth (another 300,000 to 500,000 thirsty people by 2020) and the rising cost of importing water from the Colorado River and from Northern California (the county pays $530 per acre-foot of imported water, versus $520 per acre-foot of reclaimed water), and rebranding sewage as a valuable resource became a no-brainer.

With the demand for water growing, some aquifers dropping faster than they’re replenished, snowpacks thinning and climate change predicted to make dry places even drier, water managers around the country, and the world, are contemplating similar schemes. Los Angeles and San Diego, which both rejected potable reuse, have raised the idea once again, as have, for the first time, DeKalb County, Ga., and Miami-Dade County, Fla.

While Orange County planned and secured permits, public-relations experts went into overdrive, distributing slick educational brochures and videos and giving pizza parties. “If there was a group, we talked to them,” says Wildermuth, who recently left Orange County to help sell Los Angelenos on drinking purified waste. “Historical societies, chambers of commerce, flower committees.” The central message was health and safety, but the persuaders didn’t skimp on buzz phrases like “local control” and “independence from imported water.” Last winter, the valve between the sewage plant and the drinking-water plant whooshed open, and a new era in California’s water history began. (-- pgs. 30-32)


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sonnets to Orpheus
Hardcover
By Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Edward Snow
Bilingual Edition


Quote:
More Rilke.





Quote:
23

Not till that day when flight
no longer for its own sake
climbs into the silent skies
propelled by sheer bravura,

so that in shining profiles,
means to its own end,
it plays the wind's favorite,
slender, sure, agile, --

not till a pure "out there"
dispels boyish pride
in the power of instruments,

will one breathless from winning
and closing in on distances
be what his solo flight attains.

O erst dann, wenn der Flug
nicht mehr um seinetwillen
wird in die Himmelsstillen
steigen, sich selber genug,

um in lichten Profilen,
als das Gerat, das gelang,
Liebling der Winde zu spielen,
sicher schwendend und schlank, --

erst, wenn ein reines Wohin
wachsender Apparate
Knabenstolz uberwiegt,

wird, ubersturzt von Gewinn,
jener den Fernen Genahte
sein, was er einsam erfliegt.

(From First Part, pgs. 50-51)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Capilano Review
Magazine Subscription
Tristram's Book
By an otherwise unreadable Frostback, Brian Fawcett
Based on the tragic romance of Tristan and Iseult
No. 19 (1981)


Quote:
More of this and other interpretations of this extraordinary old story at the PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Opera.

DON'T MISS the PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Poetry.



Quote:
A lousy bargain I was given
Tristram sad in exile

in return for an eternal love.
Sadness takes the comfort from home

no love is possible
to have and hold

without home. Taken
from me, given

in return
this eternal return

looking for you where no love
can thrive. This

is the first forest
I lost you in.

(-- p. 13)


Quote:
Only a fool believes a single fire
can burn down a whole forest.

Yet in the face of ordinary logic, love
is a torch in the hand

of a pyromaniac. Or is it ordinary logic
in the face of love.

Between these, ordinary lovers hold hands
and build small fires to keep their love alive

believing in small fires and the existence
of the whole forest
.

In the face of which
despite love and logic

it begins to rain.

(-- p. 28)


Listen:

Quote:
Tristram's Book was recorded on June 23rd, 1980 as a rdio performance for five voices and was subsequently aired on CFRO 102.7 (FM) Vancouver Cooperative Radio on June 30th, 1980. Voices were Jon Furberg, Alban Goulden, Penelope Connell, Brian Fawcett and Bill Schermbrucker. Al Neil accompanied the voices with piano improvisations.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

THROB
Number Two
* Collector's Item

Quote:
a magazine os suppurating poetry edited by F.A. Nettelbeck and published whenever there is some money on the table - hopefully quarterly by The Horseheard Nebula Press, mailing address: 15930 Kings Creek Rd., Boulder Creek, Calif. 95006 - 75 cents a copy, $2.50 per year's subscription, (be a patron for $50.00, fucker!) ...

Charles Bukowski Answers 10 Easy Questions
("10 Easy Questions" shall be a regular feature of THROB and will envelop a different poet each issue. We hope to give you the clearer, more defined picture of the poet and his "excuse" and will continue with more bemusing questions in the future...)
Summer-Fall, 1971


Quote:
More of the Buk.


Quote:
5.) How come you're so ugly?

I presume you're talking more about my face than about my writing. Well, the face is the product of 2 things: what you were born with and what has happened to you since you were born. My life has hardly been pretty - the hospitals, the jails, the jobs, the women, the drinking. Some of my critics claim that I have deliberately inflicted myself with pain. I wish that some of my critics had been along with me for the journey. It's true that I haven't always chosen easy situations but that's a hell of a long ways from saying that I leaped into the oven and locked the door. Hangover, the electric needle, bad booze, bad women, madness in small rooms, starvation in the land of plenty, god knows how I got so ugly, I guess it just comes from being slugged and slugged again and again, and not going down, still trying to think, to feel, still trying to put the butterfly back together again...it's written a map on my face that nobody would ever want to hang on their wall.

Sometimes I'll see myself somewhere ...suddenly...say in a large mirror in a supermarket...eyes like little mean bugs...face scarred, twisted, yes, I look insane, demented, what a mess...spilled vomit of skin...yet, when I see the "handsome" men, I think, my god my god, I'm glad I'm not them.

(-- p. 57)


Quote:
8.) Does your cock still get as hard as you would like it to?

Nobody's cock gets as hard as they would like it to. But, being 51 this August 16th, I can't complain. I still go 2 pieces a day sometimes, maybe 4 pieces in 3 days, then a couple of days off. Of course, there are dry periods when I don't have a girl friend or don't look for one. I don't search women out. If they don't come to my door then it doesn't happen. A writer, of course, should have experience with women. There's much pain involved with me as I am sentimental and get quiite attached. I am not much of a lady's man and unless I get some help from the lady, not much happens. I'm not married now, have one child, 6. I've been lucky to have 4 long term relationships with 4 unusual women. They all treated me better than I deserved and they were very good on the love bed. Should I stop loving, fucking right now I believe I have been far more fortunate than most men. The gods have been good, the love has been fine, and the pain, the pain has arrived in boxcar loads. (-- p. 58)


Quote:
10.) What would you say is the best brand of American beer on the market today?

Beer was much better before world war 2. It had tang and was filled with sharp little bubbles. It's wash now, strictly flat. You just do the best you can with it.

Beer is better to write with and talk with than whiskey. You can go longer and make more sense. Of course, much depends upon the talker and the writer. But beer is fattening, plenty, and it lessens the sex drive, I mean both the day you are drinking it and the day after. Heavy drinking and heavy loving seldom go hand in hand after the age of 35. I'd say a good chilled wine is the best way out and it should be drunken (drank) slowly after a meal, with just perhaps a small glass before eating.

Heavy drinking is a substitute for companionship and it's a substitute for suicide. It's a secondary way of life. I dislike drunks but I do suppose I take a little drink now and then myself. Amen. (-- p. 59)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lexus
Magazine Subscription
Words, Words, Words
The Manhattan-based organization Girls Write Now show the power - and pleasures - of the pen
By Grace Bastidas
Q4 2008


Quote:
DON'T MISS the PokerPulse Gambler's Study Guide - Best Bets for Success at School and more!



Quote:
The teenage girls I know write in pink spiral notebooks. Like other New York City students, they commute to class on the subway every day, but instead of staring off blankly, closing out the world with the help of their iPods, they watch the bustle of strangers rushing to work and the confusion of tourists unforlding maps that never seem to fold back up in the right way. They observe because observation is a writer's training.

They are the wordsmiths of Girls Write Now (www.girlswritenow.org), a volunteer organization that pairs creative teenage girls, from 13-20 years old, with professional women writers, like me, who serve as mentors and writing coaches. The girls are recruited from public high schools throughout the city; the mentors are magazine editiros, newspaper reporters, and even waitresses waiting to turn their prose into bestsellers.

I once read somewhere that a mentor is someone whose hindsight can become your foresight, but the mentor/mentee relationship is mutually beneficial. My 16-year-old mentee, Thea, writes descriptive personal essays in between Regents exams, soccer matches, and an internship at a local hospital, inspiring me to create new work despite my own hectic schedule. Thea and the other girls are all college bound (Girls Write Now has a 100 percent college acceptance rate).

A native of the Philippines, Thea has lived here for only a year, yet her command of the English language is flawless, much like her fashion sense - her Nike sneakers always match the color of her T-shirt. ... (-- p. 64)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

National Geographic Adventure
Magazine Subscription
Everyday SURVIVAL
Most survival guides fail to consider some very useful tools: an individual's character, wits, and worldview. The tips assembled here will change the way you approach each and every day - and help you survive a particularly bad one.
By Laurence Gonzales
August, 2008


Quote:
More of the Will to Win.





Quote:
... Although I still believe that equipment and training are good to have, most survival writing leaves out the essential human element in the equation. That’s why I’ve concentrated my efforts on learning about the hearts and minds of survivors. You can start developing these tools of survival now. It takes time and deliberate practice to change. But new research shows that if we adjust our everyday routines even slightly, we do indeed change. The chemical makeup of the brain even shifts. To make these lessons useful, you have to engage in learning long before you need it—it’s too late when you’re in the middle of a crisis. Presented here are 14 concepts that have proved helpful to survivors in extreme situations, as well as to people trying to meet the challenges of daily life.

Do the Next Right Thing

"Debriefings of survivors show repeatedly that they possess the capacity to break down the event they are faced with into small, manageable tasks," writes John Leach, a psychology professor at Lancaster University who has conducted some of the only research on the mental, emotional, and psychological elements of survival. "Each step, each chunk must be as simple as possible.... Simple directed action is the key to regaining normal psychological functioning." This approach can sometimes seem counterintuitive. And yet almost any organized action can help you recover the ability to think clearly and aid in your survival. ... Forcing your brain to think sequentially—in times of crisis and in day-to-day life—can quiet dangerous emotions. ...

Control Your Destiny

Julian Rotter, a professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut, developed the concept of what he calls "locus of control." Some people, he says, view themselves as essentially in control of the good and bad things they experience—i.e., they have an internal locus of control. Others believe that things are done to them by outside forces or happen by chance: an external locus. These worldviews are not absolutes. Most people combine the two. But research shows that those with a strong internal locus are better off. In general, they’re less likely to find everyday activities distressing. They don’t often complain, whine, or blame. And they take compliments and criticism in stride. The importance of this mentality is evidenced by tornado statistics. In the past two decades Illinois has had about 50 percent more twisters than Alabama but far fewer fatalities. The discrepancy can be explained, in part, by a study in the journal Science, which found that Alabama residents believed their fate was controlled by God, not by them. The people of Illinois, meanwhile, were more inclined to have confidence in their own abilities and to take action. This doesn’t mean we should be overconfident. Rather, we should balance confidence with reasonable doubt, self-esteem with self-criticism. And we should do this each day. As Al Siebert put it in his book The Survivor Personality, "Your habitual way of reacting to everyday events influences your chances of being a survivor in a crisis."

Deny Denial

... Take getting lost. A hiker in denial will continue walking even after losing the trail, assuming he’ll regain it eventually. He’ll press on—and become increasingly lost—even as doubt slowly creeps in. Learn to recognize your tendency to see things not as they are but how you wish them to be and you’ll be better able to avoid such crises.

Use a Mantra

In a long and trying survival situation, most people need a mantra. Ask: What will keep me focused on getting home alive? Then learn your mantra before you need it. For Steve Callahan, adrift in a raft for 76 days, his mantra was simply the word "survival." Over and over during the ordeal, he’d say things like "Concentrate on now, on survival." Yossi Ghinsberg, a hiker who was lost in the Bolivian jungle for three weeks, repeatedly used the mantra "Man of action" to motivate himself. Often, a mantra hints at some deeper meaning. Ghinsberg, for example, explained it this way: "A man of action does whatever he must, isn’t afraid, and doesn’t worry." ...

Think Positive

Man's Search for Meaning
Paperback
By Jewish Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl




Viktor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning recounts the story of Jerry Long, who was 17 years old when he broke his neck in a diving accident. Long was completely paralyzed and had to use a stick held between his teeth to type. Long wrote, "I view my life as being abundant with meaning and purpose. The attitude that I adopted on that fateful day has become my personal credo for life: I broke my neck, it didn’t break me." Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, would agree with this sentiment. Dweck studies individual learning habits, specifically how people grapple with difficult problems. According to her research, individuals with a "growth mindset"—those who are not discouraged in the face of a challenge, who think positively, and who are not afraid to make or admit mistakes—are able to learn and adjust faster and more easily overcome obstacles. ...

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Every new challenge you face actually causes your brain to rewire itself and to become more adaptable. A study at University College London showed that the city’s cab drivers possessed unusually large hippocampi, the part of the brain that makes mental maps of our surroundings. The fact that London has very strict requirements for cab drivers forced them to create good mental maps, which caused their hippocampi to grow. For most of us, a normal routine at work, home, and play will provide plenty of opportunities for simple mind-expanding exercises. For example, if you’re right-handed, use your left hand. Learning to write with your nondominant hand can be extremely challenging and builds a part of your brain that you don’t use much. Learn a new mental skill, such as chess or counting cards for blackjack. Learn a musical instrument or a foreign language. A recent study suggests that Chinese uses entirely different parts of the brain than Western languages. Take tasks that require no thought and re-invent them so that you have to think. This bears repeating: Survival is not about equipment and training alone. It’s about what’s in your mind and your emotional system. Living in a low-risk environment dulls our abilities. We must make a conscious effort to learn new things, to force ourselves out of our comfort zones. ...

When formulating a bailout plan, it’s important to establish parameters by which to make the decision. For example, if you aren’t on the summit by three o’clock, you must turn back. Or if you have lost $100 million, you must end the project. Whatever the criterion, make sure it’s specific. Then, when you’re brain’s not working well because of stress or exhaustion, you’ll still make the right decision.

Help Others

Survival Psychology
Hardcover
By John Leach




In a survival situation, tending to others transforms you from a victim into a rescuer and improves your chances. Psychology professor John Leach writes in his book Survival Psychology that in disasters, natural and otherwise, doctors and nurses have a better survival rate because they have a job to do and a responsibility to others. This same phenomenon was documented in the Nazi death camps, where people who helped those around them stood a far better chance of surviving. Practice being selfless in daily life and it will become second nature when disaster strikes.

Be Cool

The Survivor Personality
Paperback
By Al Siebert




Acting cool is not the same as being cool. As the head of training for the Navy SEALs once said, "The Rambo types are the first to go." Siebert wrote in his book The Survivor Personality that "combat survivors . . . have a relaxed awareness." People who are destined to be good at survival will get upset when something bad happens, but they will quickly regain emotional balance and immediately begin figuring out what the new reality looks like, what the new rules are, and what they can do about it. In the past few decades, technologies like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have allowed researchers such as Bruce McEwen at Rockefeller University to demonstrate that stress changes the shape and chemistry of the brain, resulting in trouble remembering, difficulty completing tasks, and altered behavior. In effect, losing your cool makes you stupid. Examine the way you handle yourself under pressure: Do you blow up when you’re stuck in traffic or when someone cuts you off? Are you able to accept failure philosophically and move on with resolve to do better next time? If you’re rejected—in love, in business, in sports—do you stew over it? Practice being calm in the face of small emergencies and you’ll be more prepared to deal with large ones.

Surrender, but Don’t Give Up

The concept of surrender is at the heart of the survival journey. While that may sound paradoxical, it starts to make sense when you realize your limitations. If you are terrified, for example, you are more vulnerable in a hazardous situation. ... Once you surrender and let go of the outcome, it frees you to act much more sensibly. It actually puts you in a better position to survive, to retain that core inside of you that will never give up. A good survivor says: "I may die. I’ll probably die. But I’m going to keep going anyway." (-- pgs. 66-74)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dream Work
Paperback
By Pulitzer-Prize winner Mary Oliver


Quote:
More Oliver.

The Chance to Love Everything in The Truro Bear and Other Adventures.

The Swan in Winter Hours.





Quote:
Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about dispair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things
.

(-- p. 14)


Listen:

At Blackwater Pond
Clothbound Audio CD
Poems by Mary Oliver featuring selections from in order House of Light, Dream Work, Why I Wake Early, House of Light, New and Selected Poems Vols. I and II, White Pine and Owls and Other Fantasies
Read in a slow, clear, sonorous and purposeful voice by the poet
A classic!




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... As the world changes from the long winter into spring, and everything takes on a freshness and a spiritual meaning, just so poetry can quicken, enliven the interior world of the listener.

Much of the work of a poet is a mystery, but the last labor is clear; it is the deliverance of the poem. Often this happens through a manuscript or a book, but it can occur in a vocal way also. Has everyone at some time looked up the original meaning of performance? It means, says Webster, "to finish, to complete." The poem is meant to be given away, best of all by the spoken presentation of it; then the work is complete. Which makes performance sound, does it not, like part of the life-work of the poem, which I think it is. As if the poem itself had an independent life, or the endless possibility of its own life, in minds other than the poet's, which I think it has.

When I step onto a stage to read poems, the anticipation and even the hope of the audience is palpable. The people sitting quietly in the chairs - they have come not to rest, but to be awakened. They have come for some worthwhile news.

But, as I say, there are other ways to fall into the enchantment besides the live reading. I once read a story about an old couple in New York City; the wife kept house, and the husband went every day to the public library and read, and copied into a notebook, the poems of Keats. He had fallen under the spell of the English poet - these were the poems he loved, and would have written if he could have written poems at all. His wife in the evening read his notebook, and found the poems astonishing and, also, thinking her busband had written them himself in the solitude of the library, she could not believe she had such good fortune, to be married to such a man. (From Performance Notes included along with color photos of the poet in the woods probably near her home)


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Post-American World
Hardcover
By Fareed Zakaria


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More of the book.

STILL MORE of the book.

More of the PokerPulse Gambler's Study Guide - Best Bets for Success at School.





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The native-born, white American population has the same low fertility rates as Europe's. Without immigration, U.S. GDP growth over the last quarter century would have been the same as Europe's. America's edge in innovation is overwhelmingly a product of immigration. Foreign students and immigrants account for 50 per cent of the science researchers in the country and, in 2006, received 40 per cent of the doctorates in science and engineering and 65 per cent of the doctorates in computer science. By 2010, foreign students will get more than 50 per cent of all Ph.D.s awarded in every subject in the United States. In the sciences, that figure will be closer to 75 per cent. Half of all Silicon Valley start-ups have one founder who is an immigrant or first-generation American. America's potential new burst of pruductivity, its edge in nanotechnology, biotechnology, its ability to invent the future - all rest on its immigration policies. If America can keep the people it educates int he country, the innovation will happen here. If they go back home, the innovation will travel with them.

Immigration also gives America a quality rare for a rich country - hunger and energy. As countries become wealthy, the drive to move up and succeed weakens. But America has found a way to keep itself constantly revitalized by streams of people who are looking to make a new life in a new world. These are the people who work long hours picking fruit in searing heat, washing dishes, building houses, working night shifts, and cleaning waste dumps. They come to the United States under terrible conditions, leave family and community, only because they want to work and get ahead in life. Americans have almost always worried about such immigrants - whether from Ireland or Italy, China or Mexico. But these immigrants have gone on to become the backbone of the American working class, and their children or grandchildren have entered the American mainstream. America has been able to tap this energy, manage diversity, assimilate newcomers,a dn move ahead economically. Ultimately, this is what sets the country apart from the experience of Britain and all other historical examples of great economic powers that grow fat and lazy and slip behind as they face the rise of leaner, hungrier nations. (-- pgs. 198-199)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Fatty
Hardcover
By Dawn French


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More of the book.

More on obesity - the myths, the industry and now the lawsuits to combat harmful body image worldwide.





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Dear Hannah (French's niece),

... I can't apologize enough for the lifetime of comparison to me you have already had to, and will in the future, endure. The endless comments about how you and I are so similar must be agonising. I am quite often the culprit myself, even when I am aware of how tiresome and frankly fightening it must be for you. ... So I understand how alarming this comparison must seem. For a start, how could anyone be alive and so very fat?! What is the point of that? Well, all I can say is that I am just as surpirsed as you. I honestly cannot fathom the dimensions of this curious body I've been given. I was aware, from very early on, that it wasn't quite like anyone else's. None of the laws of physics, nature, chemistry, biology, art or universal order seem to apply. I know I am a human life form, but not as we know it, Captain. Why, for instance, am I so short? I know that Frenchies are not tall in the genes department, hailing as we do from labouring stock, heavy, beefy men who built the first tar roads in Cornwall and from fishermen who, again, need to be robust and sturdy to haul in their living. Surely, though, their porportions were not quite as startlingly dwarfish as my own? What is my physical cateogory, actually? Plump? Rotund? Squat? Corpulent? Buxom, possibly, in poor light? No, I defy these definitions. I've seen folk who fit those descriptions and they are not like me. I am more hobbitish, with a big dollop of Weeble. You know, the ones that wobble but don't fall down? Except I do, due to alarming lack of foot size which might otherwise offer some stability. You would think that in return for the shocking lack of leg/arm/torso length, God might have been prepared to barter and bless me with elegant long fingers suitable for pianos and rings, or even exquisite toes for sandal and nail-polish use. No no no. Not to be - got the dumpy Wall's sausage fingers and the cocktail sausage toes. Thanks, God. What about an aesthetically pleasing, well-arched neck? No no no. Got the full, direct-from-chin-to-chest fortification, with impressive turkey-gobble flaps attached. How generous of the Almighty to gift me with not just one chin, but several reserve chins - lest I lose one? Or perhaps so that I might fashion a sail from my own face if I am stranded at sea oin a raft?

Above all, what in the name of all that is holy is the purpose of these massive ocean-going buoy chests? I know bosoms are womanly but these surely belong to many women. How did I get the rations for the whole queue from here to the edge of the earth? Every time I see a flat-fronted woman, I want to apologise for my seemingly appalling greed. This is the kind of hoarding that gets you sent to your room with a stinging arse. I would happily share, given half a chance. ... (-- pgs. 18-19)


Was there a seminal moment in early life that led to French becoming such a confident, successful comedienne?

Quote:
Another example of legendary fathering to a girl.


Quote:
Dear Billie (French's adopted daughter),

When I was about 13, I was invited to a party by my friend Karen. I was so excited about this party because I knew that there was going to be a boy there called Mark who I really liked. Although we had some mutual friends and we had been in the same room on various occasions, he had paid me no attention whatsoever and was blissfully unaware that I existed at all. I found this heartbreaking and I was determined to get him to notice. I planned to summon up my courage and somehow do this at the party that Saturday night. In order to impress him, I decided to wear my new purple suede hotpants. Hotpants were what we called shorts back then and they were the singular most fashionable item you could own. ... They didn't really fit me, they were far too tight, but I wanted them SO much I didn't mind how uncomfortable they were. Everyone wanted hot parts, but as is so often the cruel injustice of fashion they suited very few people. I wasn't one of the chosen few. ...

... I glanced in the mirror and decided I looked pretty damned fine. Actually I didn't feel this at all but I knew I would have to fake feeling good in order to leave the house. ... I met my dad in the hallway and he asked me to come in to the front room for a quick chat. ...

Dad: Sit down, puddin'. Actually, before you sit down, give us a twirl. Wow, you look really lovely, a right bobby-dazzler. Are those shorts? Or lederhosen?

Me: They're hot pants, Dad. ...

Dad: ... We haven't had much money, no surplus certainly, but we have saved and shared everything together, haven't we? In this family, no one is lonely because we're always there for each other, the four corners that keep our square whole, each connected to and looking out for each other, equally. You are a vital part of that. You and your brother are our life, our reason and our happiness. We adore you both and we feel blessed to have you, and to witness you grow into the remarkable young people you are becoming. Your are both so impressive! Truly, you are our world, our joy. Never forget what a treasure you are, and if your faith in that ever wobbles, have a look in the mirror and have confidence in what you see. You are a rare thing, an uncommon beauty, a dazzling, exquisite, splendid young woman. Look! You must know it's true, you're a corker. How lucky any boy would be to have you on his arm. They should fight tournaments to win your affection, they should kill for your favour. Don't you dare be grateful for their attentions, you utterly deserve it and, more than that, you deserve the very best. Don't think for one second you should settle for other people's rejects. You are the princess, you are the prize, so be choosy and take your time. You decide how, when and where, not them. They will wait. Of course they will. Who wouldn't wait for someone so priceless? There is no one better. Know this: if anything ever happened to you, Moo, our lives would fall apart, we would be devastated and this family would never be happy again. So, you must take care of yourself, you must guard against danger. When you are out of this house it is up to you to protect yourself, your reputation and your dignity. We love you and we need you.

OK. That's all. You can go now. And yes, you can come home late, 1 am at the outside, understand?

Me: Yeah...Thanks, Dad. (-- pgs. 78-83)


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Post-American World
Hardcover
By Fareed Zakaria


Quote:
More of the book.

STILL MORE of the book

More of the PokerPulse Gambler's Study Guide - Best Bets for Success at School.

More of Clinton, the card-sharp.





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President Bush's foreign trips seem designed to require as little contact as possible with the countries he visits. He is usually accompanied by two thousand or so Americans, as well as several airplanes, helicopters and cars. He sees little except palaces and conference rooms. His trips involve almost no effort to demonstrate respect and appreciation for the country and culture he is visiting. They also rarely involve any meetings with people outside the government - businessmen, civil society leaders, activists. Even though the president's visit must be highly programmed by definition, a broader effort to touch the people in these foreign lands would have great symbolic value.

Consider an episode involving Bill Clinton and India. In May 1998, India detonated five underground nuclear devices. The clinton administration roundly condemned New Delhi, levied sanctions, and indefinitely postponed a planned presidential visit. The sanctions proved painful, by some estimates costing India one percent of GDP growth over the next year. Eventually Clinton relented and went to India in March 2000. He spent five days in the country, visited famous sights, put on traditional clothes, and took part in dances and ceremonies. He communicated the message that he enjoyed and admired India as a country and civilization. The result was a transformation. Clinton is a rock start in India. And George W. Bush, despite being the most pro-Indian president in American history, commands none of this attention, or respect. Policy matters but so does the symbolism surrounding it. (From Chapter 7, American Purpose, pgs. 225-226)


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gourmet
Magazine Subscription
No such thing as a free lunch
For generations, the students at Red Cloud Indian School raised their own food - then the federal government got into the act. Ever hear of a road paved with good intentions?
By Sam Hurst
April, 2009


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A considerably less flattering view of the Black Robes and their efforts to educate First Nations children in Canada.

More on South Dakota First Nations observed by French author Bernard Levy.





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In the 1880s, the Lakota chief Red Cloud turned away from the buffalo hunt. He turned his back on the militant resistance of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull that would lead both warrior chiefs to violent deaths. He settled on the arid, harsh Pine Ridge Reservation in the Badlands of western South Dakota and began the painful process of assimilation.

One of the first decisions Red Cloud made was to invite Jesuit “Black Robes” to set up a boarding school to teach Lakota children and their families how to farm. The school would be a bridge to a new way of life, a refuge from the radical change that was destroying traditional Lakota culture and diet.

The idea that the gumbo-soil grasslands that sustained small migratory herds of elk, deer, and buffalo could be transformed into prosperous family farms now seems absurd. But on the narrow floodplain of little White Clay Creek, in the shadow of native corn patches and thickets of chokecherries and wild plums, the Jesuits built a school and, for more than a century, nurtured a self-sustaining community. As the decades rolled by and the reservation sank into the nation’s worst poverty, Red Cloud Indian School survived as a sanctuary for the best and brightest college-bound Lakota students. At the center of its identity was its ability to feed its people.

Cecelia Fire Thunder is the former president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. She enrolled at Red Cloud in 1952 and stayed there until 1963. “We would go back to school in September,” she says, “and the boys would immediately start with the harvest of potatoes and cabbage. They made enough sauerkraut to last for years. The girls would can and cook. I became a good cook at Red Cloud. Some of the priests were dairy farmers, and the boys milked the cows every day. We always had fresh milk, and we would skim the cream right off the top. I remember wringing the necks of chickens and dipping them in boiling water to make it easier to pick the feathers. The main thing was three square meals a day. No junk food. And nobody went hungry.”

Henrietta Cross Dog started at Red Cloud in 1953. I ask her what she remembers most about the school farm. She thinks for a while, and then laughs quietly to herself. “Nobody ever got sick.”

The history of American Indian boarding schools is extremely conflicted, and horror stories about the abuse of the children are legendary. Schools like Red Cloud that have survived into the 21st century have been forced to undergo painful soul-searching and reconciliation. But as today’s students and faculty struggle with the related epidemics of obesity and diabetes, there are aspects of the troubled past that hold positive lessons for the future.

Brother Mike Zimmerman stands on a concrete landing outside the cafeteria and points. “All that land where the football field is now used to be the garden.” “Ten acres, twenty?” I ask. He chuckles. “Oh, no. Much bigger.” He turns, indicating an area behind the machine shop. “Over there was a huge potato field and a chicken coop. We kept hundreds of chickens. We also had a cattle ranch.”

Students took classes in home economics, farming, carpentry, and outdoor survival. They also worked hard in the fields, the bakery, and the kitchen. The ovens and dough mixers, bread slicers, ten-gallon milk cans, even coffee grinders gather cobwebs in the basement of the 19th-century brick building. Grappling hooks still hang from the iron rails of the meat locker. Brother Mike crabwalks under the new heating ducts suspended from the low ceiling and gestures to the wide, cool floors where apples were stored. Fifty years ago, this basement was a busy place.

There was never a final decision to dispense with Red Cloud’s commitment to self-sufficiency. It just fell victim to a hundred small decisions and a cascade of unintended consequences. In 1910, for example, when the Great Sioux Nation was broken up and the best fields were sold to white farmers, parts of the Red Cloud farm were dispersed. When the worst stories of abuse at boarding schools surfaced, many liberal supporters of the school found the idea of children working to grow food an offensive echo of forced child labor. In the 1960s, when the school stopped boarding students, there was a natural expectation that they would eat at home. As farm bill after farm bill promoted formalized school lunch programs, regulatory standards became stricter and the rhythms of the school’s food system broke down. As sanitary regulations were tightened, students could no longer wash the dishes. Perhaps most importantly, knowledge slipped away. The Jesuit farmer-priests retired and died. No one replaced them. Idealistic young teachers arrived, but they taught history and chemistry, English composition and physics. No one was a farmer.

Then, in the 1990s, the Lakota Nation woke up to the fact that diabetes was sweeping through every family. (Today, the Indian Health Service reports that nearly a quarter of the adults on the reservation are diabetic.) Great numbers of children were obese and suffering from symptoms of diabetes. Red Cloud students were eating meals at the Pizza Hut in Pine Ridge or at Big Bat’s gas station and convenience store, which features deep-fried fast food and 44-ounce soda pop “specials.” (-- pgs. 46-48)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New York Times Magazine
Magazine Subscription
My Son's Gamble
Dan started playing online poker full time, made money and quit college. What's a mother to do?
By Lucy Ferriss
June 28/09


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More on the education gamble and the role of games of luck and skill in the early years and beyond.





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Between tennis matches and on nontennis weekends, Dan and his friends played cards. They were part of a national craze set off by the televised World Series of Poker and its sudden elevation of poker players to media stars. Some parents worried about the $5 buy-in games of Texas Hold ’Em that were held in various basements, including mine. I countered that I was glad the boys were talking to one another rather than staring at a video screen; that those who lost would play Ping-Pong or foosball. I actually taught Dan his first casino game, blackjack. When he was learning arithmetic, we had a jar of pennies on the kitchen counter, and one day I asked Dan and his brother if they’d like to learn a game in which they counted to 21 — and if they won, they got to keep the other players’ pennies. In short order, Dan owned the whole jar.

The college Dan chose to attend, Old Dominion University in Virginia, wasn’t his first choice. While many schools wanted his tennis prowess and high SAT scores, they balked at his grades. Old Dominion, a commuter school in Norfolk with a crack tennis team, was willing to take him. To me, Dan seemed to be going to college for all the wrong reasons. There was nothing he wanted to learn. He wanted only to get away from home and to follow the same path that his tennis competitors were on. But when Dan would not consider a “gap year,” even at a prestigious tennis academy, I stipulated that he take out a private student loan in the amount of the scholarship that he could have received from Old Dominion had his grades been better. If he finished the year in good standing, I would repay the loan.

By April, following a rough first semester, Dan had been suspended from the tennis team for missing study halls. He was unhappy at the school. Though he brought his grades up to the point where I would repay his loan, he spoke of wanting to transfer to a college where he might thrive. But when he came home in May, it was soon clear that he had no time to research and prepare any transfer applications. He was too busy with the activity that had replaced tennis: Internet poker. ...

Dan’s second year of college saw him losing out on things other than profits. His grades took another nose dive. Reinstated on the tennis team, he quit after a few months. Yet he was winning, consistently, at poker, amassing a big enough bankroll by December to fly himself and a friend to Aruba and have plenty left over to buy a car, support himself and start planning a life of international travel. Since he no longer valued being a scholar-athlete, the loss of grades and sports prowess were, from Dan’s point of view, insignificant. In February, having paid spring tuition himself, he made the belated but rational decision to drop out of school. ...

He was no longer a college student or my dependent. He was, for the moment at least, not only self-supporting but looking at six months’ earnings that were more than my annual salary. Yes, he was playing poker because he loved the competition, because it had a bad-boy appeal, because his peers looked up to his success. (From The Journal of Gambling Studies: 92 percent of college students agree that gambling makes a person look smart.) But he was also playing poker because the financial independence it could yield allowed him to separate. Here, then, was something I could seize on: a small benefit, a morsel of sanity in what had seemed a feast of madness. ...

Two weeks after withdrawing from school, Dan took off with a group of poker buddies for the European Poker Tournament in Germany, a face-to-face poker round leading up to the World Series of Poker. Some players at these tournaments have sponsors, their fees paid by companies or individuals in exchange for a percentage of their winnings; but like most of the 667 competitors — 31 of them from the United States — Dan paid the 5,300-euro buy-in himself, along with all the expenses of the trip.

On the second day of the tournament, I found a report online. A third of the entrants remained in the draw, only six from the U.S., and Dan was among them. I couldn’t help feeling a flash of joy, knowing how happy he must be, how confident and eager for the next round. Twelve hours later, he had lost. “But my friend Jake won the $2K event,” he said over the phone the day he flew back.

“You mean he won $2,000?”

“No, Mom. That’s the buy-in. He won like $140,000.” (-- pgs. 38- 43)


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