Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Garbage pilaf & pancakes

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Well, the garbage food the homeless guy brought me is either cooked, cooking or eaten.

I made pancakes today from the 3 eggs he brought me. I sauteed the apple and some of the banana chips he brought me in cinnamon, sugar, scant butter and filtered water. Even the pancake syrup I used came from the garbage: Mrs. Butterworth's, a brand I like but can't afford. All I paid for was the flour, baking soda and sugar.

Now, I'm making a pot of pilaf from some of the brown rice he gave me.

Here's a Real, traditional Pilaf recipe.

I'm cooking something similar. I don't have pasta, so I'm using sesame seeds, poppy seeds, rice and peanuts.

In a large frying pan, I toasted:

2 c rice
1/4 c sesame seeds
1/4 c unsalted peanuts
3 tbsp poppy seeds
1 pat butter

Stir the rice mix frequently, so it won't scorch. When it starts smelling nutty, it's close to done. If you're feeling brave, toast until some of the rice kernels pop, like pop corn.

Stir in
1 can chicken broth and
2 cans water
salt or seasoning salt to taste
2 tsp. cayenne pepper flakes

Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer on low

Finely chop and add to pot:

1 medium onion
2 large cloves fresh garlic

Simmer, covered, for nearly an hour. I do check it and stir it, to make sure there's enough liquid, and add water, if necessary.

When the rice is done, I'll add:

1 c carrots, grated
1 small can mushroom slices
parsley flakes

I like eating pilaf all by itself, but it'll be great with the turkey, good in tacos, etc. It's good in soups, too. I still have a bit of goat cheese left I could crumble on it. Pilaf is good served cold, with vegetables and hard boiled egg, as a salad, with a bit of dressing.

couldn't get out my gate last nite

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It was blocked by a big kitchen garbage bag, full of half eaten food, covered with my folding, wooden chair.

The contents were primarily Mexican style foods, such as Tabasco sauce, spices and half a package of taco shells. But it was also Asian foods, such as rice crackers, packets of broth, rice sugar candy, etc.

I fed the rice crackers, taco shells and some evil-smelling-spiced snack food to the pets.

I wondered if some local person, who reads my blogs, had left it. But the most likely candidate was the homeless man.

The best thing in the haul was two plastic bags, full of long grained brown rice: nearly five pounds.

This morning, Porkchop was barking, so I went out in the alley to look.

There was the homeless man. He handed me three eggs, an apple, 3 Little Debbie donuts and a perfectly-good nonstick pancake griddle.

I thanked him. He had, indeed, brought the food.

I thanked him and brought the food in. I put on some sweat pants and went back outside, but he was already gone.

I'm going to make apple pancakes, and was going to ask him if he wanted some. I'll wait, and see if he comes back, but I doubt it.

He pointed out that tomorrow is the 1st of the month, which is when many people move into new digs. So the trash this week will be full of move-out stuff. I'll be more thorough, as I pass through the alleys on my way to the radio station.

I'm going to ask him if he wants to collect stuff and store it here, so we can have a yard sale in April, when the weather gets warmer.

He has very interesting stories. I'll tell you some of them later. He is an alcoholic. He's disabled. He's a veteran. He was employed full time in air conditioning repair. He had a nice home and he had a vehicle.

Now, he's a wanted man, with multiple warrants. He's very sick and has no income. He sleeps, most nights, in a cemetary.

He's a good man in bad circumstances. He's so far off the grid, he doesn't see any way to get benefits, health care, subsidized housing, etc.

He doesn't complain about his circumstances, except when he's cold and wet. The other night, we had a serious rain storm, which turned to snow. He got soaked through. His pants were frozen to him, and he had to have help, from a lady at the laundromat, to get his pants off to put them in a drier. And the owner of the laundromat had reset the drier timers to less than ten minutes, so it cost him a lot of money to get his clothes dry.

I'm hoping to interview him for the radio, but that's not my primary motive for talking with him. We've been talking for about a year. He comes by, hunting aluminum cans to sell, while I'm in the empty lot, gardening. We just started chatting.

I think he's surprised I talk to him. He actually thanks me for my time, after I've dragged 2 lawn chairs out into the empty lot, given him a cup of coffee with artificial sweetner and a cigarette, and sat with him in the sun, listening to his stories.

We don't listen. And that's all most people really need or want: just hear me.

I hope he comes back today.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

I pulled out that damned tooth!

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I could hear it clicking, through the headphones, at the radio station. My tongue would "trip" over it and I could hear it when I recorded.

I swore, when I left Thursday, that I was going to get it out over the weekend.

I could already feel 3 out of 4 root ends with my tongue, and it could tip up and out at several angles.

The fact it was so loose was a good thing: gave the socket a chance to start healing. But pushing it back down into the socket kept the socket open. It HAD to go!

I just wiggled and twisted and pushed and pulled, a little at a time.

It was only hanging on by a bit of gum, anyway.

It was irritating, the way an underwire bra or a sticker in your sock is irritating.

It wasn't painful; felt like scratching an itch.

The jaw's a bit swollen from fiddling with it. But my mouth feels SOOO much better now.

I'll have to be careful about food for a few days. Can't eat anything crumbly or sticky; don't want anything in that socket, 'til it heals over.

I'm keeping the tooth. I'm going to dry it and bleach it real good, like you do with sea shells, so they won't stink. And I'm going to wear it around my neck on my necklaces of charms. I paid nearly three hundred dollars for the crown on that bastard, and I'm going to wear it! So there!

good tortillas

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The homemade tortillas came out quite tasty. The only problem is that they're a bit too dry.

The recipe calls for 2 c flour. I substituted 1 c self-rising cornmeal. I don't have masa harina.

Next time, I'll use real shortening, instead of butter, so I can be a bit more generous with it. I guess I could have added a tad of vegetable oil. I might try soaking the cornmeal, too.

But the flavor is wonderful. And they are a bit more sturdy than corn tortillas, because of the flour.

Osa, my carbohydrate cat, loves them.

The homeless guy came by this morning, looking for cans. I made him breakfast.

I had fried 2 cans of Ranch Style pintos, with some of my home made salsa, and squished them into refries. I chopped up two soft boiled eggs in it. I fried a potato into strings, pourd the beans on top, and served with picante. I made him a cup of coffee, too.

He tells me his stories. I'll tell you about him someday, but right now, Oliver Twist is on, and Richard Dryfus is playing Fagan. I'm surprised he aggreed to the fake nose: very hooked. You'd think a Jew wouldn't agree to be stereotyped, but what the hell? I'm sure lots of Jews, as well as lots of all kinds of people, were active in the criminal underground in London....and still are.

I LOVE Oliver Twist, cuz it reminds me of the kids in the War Zone. It's so clear: honesty is a luxury of the middle class. Stealing is necessary for survival, when you're REALLY poor!

It gave me an idea for a story about the 'hood rats....I'll start wiritng it soon enough.

I REALLY like Oliver Twist. The book, anyway. Most of the movies of Dickens really suck, cuz they're so sugary and cutesy. But this one seems pretty honest. And nobody's singin and dancin...jees... but the sound track IS distracting: trying too hard to be funny.

I don't think Oliver Twist is funny. I think it's friggin tragic.

Here's a very good review of the movie....dang, one of thse days, someone will let the literature speak for itself....guess thre's a reason Disney doesn't do Shakespeare, huh? I didn't realize it was a Disney movie....sure explains the invasive sound track!


Has Richard Dreyfus lost his MIND? probably just hungry....

Friday, February 27, 2004

trash grill

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I found a curious looking object in the trash last Tues. At first, I walked on by, thinking it was a CD player or something. But I went back to look, after I realized it was too big for cds.

It was a George Foreman grill. It had been used once; it still had beef grease in it. But the cord was still folded up in a twist tie.

All I can figure is that whoever had it was too stupid to put a cookie sheet under it, to catch dripping grease. They must have gotten grease all over the kitchen!

I looked them up on the 'net just now. The cheapest sells for fifteen dollars.

I rarely have enough meat to grill.

But it would make good grilled sandwiches. It would work for grilling vegetables, too...esp. asperagus, I'd bet.

And quesadillas. and calzones and "hot pockets (I make my own."

I bet it burns a lot less energy than the frying pan, electric grill, etc. And I'll bet it's cooler, too; I couldn't feel any heat when I plugged it in, until I opened it and touched the cooking surfaces.

I bet it'd make s'mores, too.

wonder if I could use it for cookies...hmmm...like granola bar type cookies, not drop cookies like chocolate chip.

looks like it'd make really flat bacon...as if I ever eat that.

HEY! I could make square tortillas in it! cook both sides at once!

They'd be "wiggly," as it has bars to make grill marks, but who cares?

I forgot I'd found the silly thing, until I was cleaning out my cart last night....

Flour tortillas

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Since I'm out of bread, and out of corn tortillas (I have 3 left), I'll make some flour tortillas, so I can make "wraps."

Here's a recipe:

2 cups flour, white
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortning
3/4 cup water, hot

Mix flour and salt together. Cut in shortening until crumbly and then mix in the water. Roll out ping pong sixe balls on a well floured surface and cook in a nonstick pan on medium heat. When tortilla starts to bubble up turn over immediatly and be ready to take it out as it only needs 20 seconds on the other side.

Since I don't have any shortening right now, I'll have to use SCANT butter, frozen.

Here's a corn tortilla recipe.

I have a tortilla press. It's also useful for small pie crusts, for making my own "hot pockets."

I prefer a press to rolling, as my shoulders don't hurt so badly.

Presses are also extremely useful for smashing garlic, to take the skins off.

If I feel better in a few hours, I might make an hybrid corn/flour tortilla. I prefer the flavor of corn, but flour holds together better.

I can't walk

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20 minutes ago, I walked about 20 feet, to warm some coffee in my microwave.

I sat to drink it, but found I was concentrating most on the pain and weakeness of having walked.

I've been in bed since, and still haven't recovered. My legs feel two feet thick. They're hot and feel very heavy.

I'm having trouble holding my head up. My neck muscles are very weak, and the pain between my shoulders is hideous.

My balance is poor. I had to hug the wall to make it back in here.

My arms, fingers and wrists are so weak and tender, I'm having trouble typing.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

I'm running out of food

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The only animal protein I've had this month has been marked-down turkey. I have only 1/2 turkey left in the freezer.

There's some turkey soup in the fridge. I'm running out of cheese. I have about 1 1/2 dozen eggs, but that's pure cholesterol. I have maybe 3 more cans of tuna.

Food stamps don't come until the 8th. That's almost 2 weeks.

I spent my last three dollars today on a sack of food for Porkchop.

I dumpster dove several restaurants today and found some falaffel for him and half a burrito. There was nothing I could eat; it was all too dirty.

I see piles and piles of cheese, beans, fruit, vegetables: hundreds of pounds, all the time, thrown away. But unsafe.

I'm just about to the point of stopping at each restaurant and asking them to set some aside for me, so I can make it.

I have enough oranges for one a day.

I have beans and rice.

I have the cheese cake I made and froze.

I can make it, but it's going to be really tight.

I always panic, when the money and stamps run out. And the lack of variety in my diet is depressing.

I'm trying not to freak out.

I'd kill for a grilled cheese sandwich...no cheese; no bread.

Well, there's a LITTLE cheese, but I'm saving it for turkey tacos with beans. I may have enough for four or six tacos.

I'd kill for a salad, too.

I'm SO careful with my money, but there's just not enough!

And I'm determined not to electronically advance myself any money. I've GOT to pay that DOWN!

Thirty seven dollars a month for borrowing money on my own disability check is just friggin' criminal.

I paid a seventy five dollar phone bill this month: three months' worth of bills.

SO, after the rent and msntv bill, and the phone bill, I only had seventy dollars for the whole month, plus sixty in food stamps.

I've been stealing toilet paper at the university. I'm not proud of that.

Next month, I'll have to buy Porky a real bag of food; this one's only four pounds. I'll have to trash pick him food every day, to suppliment. He could go through four pounds in two days.

My disability check doesn't come for six more days yet.

Thank heavens for that new Middle Eastern restaurant! Porky likes falaffel.

Snuffy's gone. He got trapped, two nights ago, in the rain and snow storm. Normally, if he gets caught in a storm, he ends up in one of the cat beds I made in my yard, and I just go out and drag him in.

But he's really gone. And I see deep dog tracks, like a dog was running, going around the corner of the building. If I find out it was Rowen's dogs who killed him, I'll mess her up. Selfish cow.

Tonight, when I came home from the radio station, I saw SOMEONE has stollen one of my big, heavy, wooden flower planters! Had to tear it out of the board it was nailed to! Weighed nearly a hundred pounds! gawd.

SO, I'm sad and scared.


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Come support KWRU as we stand trial for demonstrating in defense of victims of domestic violence!

Monday, March 1st @ 8 AM
Criminal Justice Center
1301 Filbert St., Center City - Philadelphia
Dear �Friends,

I have been active in the fight for low-income women for years now.

KWRU and I personally were the first in the nation to testify before congress on the impact of welfare reform to poor women. �We have been instrumental in working with shelter providers around the country in addressing the economics of violence and the need for domestic violence work to include affordable housing as a priority on everyone's agendas.

We were the first to hold demonstrations in Philadelphia on the impact of welfare reform to victims of domestic violence at the center district welfare office. Our work helped to pave the way for a statewide body to monitor these issues. �Everyday for years now we have kept women alive when Women Against Abuse had reached capacity.
We are on a first name basis with Judges and police because we have secured so many protection orders and literally helped hundreds of women pack up and leave.

So today, I call upon you for your help. Once again, I face criminal charges for demonstrating without a permit at City Hall before the holidays for seven victims of domestic violence. The city offered no safety for these women so six of us were arrested and went to jail.

I now face a misdemeanor in the third degree, a point away from a felony and was issued a STAY AWAY ORDER FROM CITY HALL!

I have missed many important meetings with city council members as a result. �What is so terrible about all of this is that I just won a settlement against the Philadelphia Police Department after their last unlawful arrest.

Please join myself and KWRU at 8 am on March 1st at the Criminal Justice Center, the day we are expected to stand trial for demonstrating.

Cheri Honkala
Founder, KWRU
National Organizer, Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I know why I can't write

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I just watched the American Masterpiece episode on Judy Garland.

With a great deal of ambivilance, she was one of my life time heros.

Like a fool, when I reached young adulthood, I turned against her. I thought her weak. I thought her a coward. I thought her a victim. I thought her a bad example.

Well, I didn't know her biography then. I only knew press rumors and folk myths.

Every time I see a documentary about her, I realize how wrong I was about her.

She is one of the fiercest women ever. She kept her family together, no matter what.

I still have the "Judy at Carnegie Hall" album. It's one of my favorite recordings.

I haven't listened to any of my music in a very, very long time. I have all the vinyl records. I have most of my dad's 78 rpm recordings.

My last turn table broke about five years ago: shortly after losing my daughter and, more recently, my home. I never replaced it.

I was so distracted by survival, I couldn't make it a priority.

Add to that the need to repress, suppress, the traumas I'd experienced, in order to survive.

I couldn't listen to Judy Garland, Gershwin, Beethoven, Joni Mitchell, Billie Holiday, Stevie Wonder or any of the others and keep the lid on.

I couldn't afford to feel. I would have lost my mind. I had nobody to take care of me but me. The best I could do was mark my days as an emotional cripple, keeping a roof over my head.

Well, I've done some very brave things recently.

I started these blogs, for one thing. I see the counter; I know I've got regular readers, who've been watching me go through daily life. I don't know who most of them even are. There aren't many, but they keep coming back. I know I'm being watched.

But I try to be honest. I do try. I leave some things out, yes. There are people I feel I need to protect. And I need to protect myself. But I'm a hell of a lot more honest than most bloggers I see.

But I started these blogs in my vulnerability. I felt inadequate, deranged, confused, useless, ashamed of my failure...blah, blah.

But I started feeling stronger, as I began writing every day.

I even, about a month ago, stopped by a thrift store, looking for a turn table. The clerk followed me around the store to see if I were going to shop lift. She said, "ma'am, ma'am," but I pretended I didn't know she was talking to me.

I was pushing my collapsable stroller, the one I use on the bus, full of heavy groceries.

I heard her tell two guys, "she doesn't have a baby in that stroller." I must be crazy, right? Trying to get my groceries home without hurting my arms and back.

So, I ignored her.

I asked one of the guys when they might get in more electronics equipment, as I headed for the door. He answered, but with such contempt on his face.

As I opened the door and pushed my stroller out ahead of me, I said, "I'm disabled, and I'm on foot. That's why I have the stroller for my groceries. You can stop staring at me now."

I heard the woman start to protest, or defend herself, or tell me where to go. I don't know; I turned my back, walked away, and let the closing door silence her.

Ironically, she was a Black woman, and ought to know better.

The second truly brave thing I've done is to walk into that radio station, to volunteer. I have no idea what will happen.

But I learned how to edit .wav sound files yesterday. It's so much easier to edit sound on a computer than with raw tape! But I want you to know, I was SO GOOD at editing on tape, I could get the most minute flaws out of a recording! And splice the tape perfectly, using a razor blade and adhesive tape! The tiniest sound, I could find it.

My dad was a sound engineer.

I grew up around fabulous music. Both my parents loved it.

I started playing classical flute at the age of six.

I can barely play my flute now, it's in such bad shape. But I can't afford to get it repaired. I still struggle with it, on special occasions, like the concerts on tv after 9/11, holiday performances, and, occasionally, the radio.

I miss music. It's part of who I am.

And, until I get the money for a stereo, I'm stranded.

Until I can dig deep and get back to who I really am, my writing will be adequate, but not real.

I'll find a way. I don't know how.

But I have to do this. There's no way to get around it. Anything else is coasting.

My writing now is like a clever child or a trained chimp.

But I have something profound in me.

To let it die with me would be cheating.

I'm still not safe. I'm broke as hell. I'm sick. I'm still all alone. I'm very vulnerable.

But I watched that abused, tortured, addicted, terrified, powerful, poignant, wicked, snarling beauty on my tv tonight.

And I recognized myself.

"I'll be by your side...smiling...through the years...smiling...through your tears...I'll always be by your side," sung with a look of grieving determination.

Judy died a year younger than I am now. Suicide or over dose doesn't matter.

They murdered her.

I know what it's like when they silence you; it's what they do to powerful women. We're inconvenient. We're frightening, because we're honest. We're a threat, because we know the truth.

I can't speak for Judy; I can only speak for myself.

But I know she'd understand and egg me on, one hero to another.

am I malnourished?

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Walked to the radio station and back yesterday. I can't describe the pain I'm in. And it's not just the usual joint pain, either; my muscles are cramping. And the stabbing pain between my shoulders doesn't make any sense.

Here's what I ate yesterday:
2 c coffee
1 orange
1/2 c oat cereal
1/4 c milk
6 oz turkey
12 oz cola
about 6 cookies.
2 c tea
16 oz water
That's all.

I had no appetite for anything more. And, as the food stamps don't come in for 2 more weeks, I'm very conscious of conserving whatever food is left here.

On the way back, I was going through the alleys, looking for stuff in dumpsters. A young woman gave me two sacks of raisin cookies. I guess she thought I was homeless? They were unopened, so I accepted them. I ate so many because the raisins tasted so good.

The meal I describe above isn't unusual for me. I eat very little.

I'm getting pretty tired of eating turkey. But it's the only animal protein in the house. So, I'm being as creative as I can with recipes.

I'd seen a tv commercial for "chicken strips." It sounded tasty.

So, when I thawed out a turkey half this time, I made soup of the wing, drumstick, back and rib bones. I deboned the thigh and breast, and cut them into thin strips.

I made a tempura batter, dipped some strips into it, and fried them in my Fry Daddy.

I made honey mustard dip for them. That was lunch yesterday.

Tempura style batter:

1 egg
1/4 c flour
1/4 c corn meal

Beat egg thoroughly with about 1/4 c water. Add corn meal and flour, beat, adding water, until you have a reasonably-runny batter.

You can add seasonings, cracker crumbs, corn flakes, sugar, etc. for taste and texture, but I made this batter plain.

Dip strips of meat, vegetables, noodles, potatoes, cheese, whatever in batter. Gently shake excess.

Vegetable oil should be heated below smoking point.

Dip battered foods into oil. Do not crowd. They'll sink, at first, but will float to top when water begins evaporating from batter.

Remove with chop sticks, into wire strainer, to remove excess oil.

Honey Mustard Sauce

thoroughly blend 4 tbsp. each of:


Again, seasonings may be added, such as onion powder, parsley, black pepper, etc. A dash of wasabi horseradish tastes good, too. So does the juice from candied ginger.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Cheese Cake

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Two springs ago, a local church drove a large truck through the War Zone. They had dozens of cases of fresh strawberries in the bed.

I ran out just in time to collect 2 cases.

I stemmed each berry, rinsed them and let them dry thoroughly on towels. I placed berries on cookie sheets, not touching, and froze solid. I filled zippered plastic bags with berries and stored in the freezer.

I was cleaning out my refrigerator today and found a pint of cottage cheese that was getting old. I also found half a pint of sour cream.

I decided to make cheese cake.

In a large bowl, blend the following with an egg beater.

1 pint cottage cheese
1/2 pint sour cream
3 eggs
1 c flour
1/4 c sugar
pinch salt
3 tbsp. vanilla extract
scant milk

Only use enough milk to thin the batter to pancake or cake batter consistancy. Keep it a bit thick.

I sprayed my cake pans with nons-stick spray which happened to be lemon flavored. I don't flour my pans for cheese cake.

In a food processor, I finely crumbed one 6 oz. package of La Moderna Marias cookies. This is a very inexpensive Mexican brand. They're made with vegetable shortenings and oils and have a hint of artificial lemon flavor. They're very crisp.

Graham crackers are more traditional, but I like the price, lemony flavor, and crispiness.

I poured the crumbs on the bottom of the pan. Many people make crumb crusts with butter, but I find the cheese cake filling binds the crust well enough.

I set thawed, raw strawberries around the pan, evenly spaced, apx. 1" apart.

I baked in a 350 degree Farenheit oven for almost an hour.

In the mean time, I'm sauteeing thawed, raw strawberries on the stove an very low heat.

I have drained the juice from a can of pineapple chunks, and whipped 2 tbsps. cornstarch into the juice.

When the strawberries are cooked, I will slowly stir in the corn starch mixture, sugar to taste and the pineapple chunks. This makes a thick, fruity glaze for the cake.

The cake is removed from the oven, cooling thoroughly on a rack.

Then, I'll apply my glaze and let it cool.

NOTE: cheese cake can be made entirely sugarless. Just substitute very ripe bananas for sour cream and sugar.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

to KUNM Women's Focus

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I recently wrote to Women's Focus, through Carol B. She wrote back, asking me what I had in mind about helping. Here's my reply:

Well, as you can see by my writing samples, and blogs, I can definately write... and research. My resum� shows I've got a decent background in public radio and women's journalism.

Right now, while Rene� is ill, Marcos has me writing a weekly commentary. And Leslie needs me to rewrite press releases, et al, for broadcast.

My primary interests are in putting children at the center of public policy, as I stated in my first commentary. You can find it fairly far down on my http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com Hood Life blog.

This focus necessarily puts womanist and feminist issues, social justice, environmental considerations, education, etc. as my emphasis.

As for what I'm thinking, I'm more than willing to "prove" myself, by assisting in current projects, as necessary.

But I'm also interested in creating segments for WF, as time permits.

For example, I spend a LOT of time on the 'net, and would like to share the info and resources I've found there.

I would like to see more community dialogue on the impact of public policies on poor women and kids. I'd also like to provide info. re: resources to them.

It's my firm belief that, until this culture attends to the needs of poor women and children, we are living in a terminally-ill empire, which will collapse under its own weight.

I can prove that thesis with solid documentation.

Because of the nature of msntv, which is not a computer, I can't copy and paste my commentary and retain the text of this email to you.

I'll send a 2nd email with my commentary.

I will tell you this, Carol: Rachel Kaub made a point of coming in to the news room to give me the compliment that "everybody likes" my commentary. I don't know who "everybody" is, of course.

And Marcos made a point of telling me that I'm a very good writer, and very intellingent.

I have a pleasant radio voice, I'm told, although I think I sound like a lisping hillbilly...which, of course, I am.

I have 3 major shortcomings: I'm extremely low income and, therefore, stressed out and vulnerable; I am a bit short-tempered, when treated in a demeaning, threatening or patronizing manner; I have no vehicle and am physically quite weak.

But, where my body and income leave off, my mind is quite rich.

My major frustration is that I haven't fond ways in which to be useful in the past year. And, given the urgency of our times, I'm nearly frantic, trying to "plug in" to social action in which I could be useful.

I'm not out to be a "star," Carol; I just want to HELP! KUNM is my nearly-constant companion. I can't afford to subscribe. Free speech, intelligent conversation, etc. are in scarce supply these days, especially for a woman of my financial limitations. I'd like to help support it.



Saturday, February 21, 2004

Poor to erect "Bushville" tent city at NY convention

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By Grant McCool

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A group fighting poverty announced plans on Thursday to erect a tent city called "Bushville" during the Republican Party convention in August, one of several demonstrations expected in a summer of political protest in New York.

�The Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign will put up the tents for five days before the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 meeting, which will nominate President Bush (news - web sites) to run for a second four-year term in the Nov. 2 election.

The group said it will also demonstrate at the Democratic Party's national convention in Boston at the end of July, but had no plans to set up a symbolic shantytown there.

"We will be marching because both Democrats and Republicans alike have failed to address our real life and death issues," said spokeswoman Cheri Honkala. She said the political establishment neglected poor and homeless people and issues such as health care, housing and farm workers' rights.

Honkala, a formerly homeless mother in Minneapolis, Minnesota, said the group will provide "reality bus tours" in rundown areas of New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey from the tent city. She declined to disclose its precise location.

The group plans a march on Aug. 30 from U.N. headquarters to the Madison Square Garden convention venue, she said.

As a prelude to the summer protests, the U.S.-led war in Iraq (news - web sites) will be the focus of anti-war rallies on March 20 in New York and around the country. The date was chosen by the United For Peace and Justice organizers because it is the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

One protest will feature military families in Fayetteville, North Carolina, with the "September Eleventh Families For Peaceful Tomorrows" group, whose members lost loved ones in the 2001 hijacked plane attacks on America.

New York activists organized one of the largest anti-war rallies on Feb. 15, 2003, when hundreds of thousands took to the streets to oppose the war over Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction. Weapons stockpiles have not been found and more than 500 Americans and thousands of Iraqis have been killed.

"The intensity of interest is different than it was before the war began," said Bill Dobbs of United For Peace and Justice. "For months, there has been a quiet vindication of our position, but we still need to send a clear message against Bush policies."

A spokesman for another activist organization, Campaign to Demilitarize the Police, said it planned monthly demonstrations through the convention to highlight police conduct at rallies.

Last week, 52 anti-war protesters sued the New York Police Department and said officers unlawfully arrested peaceful protesters and detained them for up to 12 hours after an April 7, 2003, rally, only to dismiss all the charges.


Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign

University of the Poor

Friday, February 20, 2004

Connie Rice

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Connie Rice Biography

Connie Rice of The Advancement Project talks to David Brancaccio about her views on the state of our nation with a focus on economic disparity.

Connie Rice, co-director of The Advancement Project, is known for her success in tackling problems of inequity and exclusion. She has received more than 50 major awards for her work in expanding opportunity and advancing multi-racial democracy.

Rice graduated from Harvard College in 1978. She won the Root Tilden Public Interest Scholarship to New York university School of Law, where she earned her law degree in 1984. After law school, she served as law clerk to the Honorable Damon J. Keith, judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and worked at Morrison & Foerster as a litigation associate. In 1991, she joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and became co-director of LDF's Los Angeles Office in 1996.

As a litigator, Rice has filed class action civil rights cases redressing police misconduct, race and sex discrimination and unfair public policy in transportation, probation and public housing. She filed a landmark case on behalf of low-income bus riders that resulted in a mandate that more than 2 billion dollars be spent to improve the bus system. And in 1999, Rice launched a coalition lawsuit that won $750 million for new school construction in Los Angeles - money previously slated for less crowded, more affluent suburban school districts. In these and other cases, Rice has led multi-racial coalitions of lawyers and clients to win more than $4 billion worth of injunctive relief and damages.

In her non-litigation work in the 1990s, Rice served as counsel to the Watts gang truce and spearheaded a statewide campaign to save equal opportunity programs.

Mayors Tom Bradley and Richard Riordan appointed Rice to the governing board of Los Angeles' Department of Water and Power where she served as president and enacted contracting reforms and environmental advances. In 1998, Rice helped lead a successful campaign to place aggressive public school reformers on the governing board for Los Angeles' public schools.

In 1998, the LOS ANGELES TIMES designated her one of 24 leaders considered the "most experienced, civic-minded and thoughtful people on the subject of Los Angeles." And in October 2000, CALIFORNIA LAWBUSINESS named her, along with Governor Gray Davis and Warren Christopher, as one of California's top 10 most influential lawyers. In May 2003, Rice received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Occidental College.

Rice is a co-founder of The Advancement Project, a public policy and legal action group that supports organizations working to end community problems and address racial, class and other barriers to opportunity.



Ironically, her 2nd cousin is Condi Rice. Good lord.

my butt's cold

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Boy, I got into the Project From Hell today! I have some nylon rope, almost an inch thick, twenty five feet long. I wanted to use it to elevate my tarps, in my yard.

This meant it would have to be slung over the branch of an elm tree, stretching over my yard.

The trick is that there are electrical, phone and cable tv lines strung below, and parallel to, the branch.

The branch is apx. twenty feet up.

The other problem is that I have no ladder, except kitchen step stools.

I tied a metal tool to one end of a long telephone cord I'd found in the trash. The other end was tied to my rope.

I stood in the alley and threw the tool.

It would get stuck in twigs. It would get stuck on cables.

Raoul, my addict neighbor next door, came home. I tried to be quiet, because I don't want anybody to know what I do.

The very next throw, the tool landed in HIS yard! Oh, hell.

I got it out before he came out to see what was going on. I just stood perfectly still in the alley, as though being stalked by a bear, until he staggered back in and cranked up his music.

The very NEXT throw, the tool went EXACTLY where I wanted it! I jiggled the phone line until it dropped. I fed the nylon rope on top of my tarps. I came in and tied everything up, apx. eight feet in the air, on poles.

I repaired the tarp at the roof and front entrance by poking and proding with a janitor's push broom and a rake. I retightened all the fittings.

I didn't even know it was cold out, of course, because of the work.

But I'm on my bed now and my butt is SO COLD!

But my tarps are hung much better, look nicer, and are WAY out of the way of my...or anybody else's...face.

Spring's coming, and I'll have a lot of work to do, gardening and crafting. So I'm preparing the space out there already.

I got done just in time. THe sun's behind the clouds and there's a nippy breeze.

I'll put away yesterday's laundry later this afternoon.

Miss Thing helped me the whole time. She ran from alley to yard, every time I came in and out to fetch the tool or do whatever.

I nearly killed her on several occasions, but she trusts me implicitly. Anything Mommy does is OK with her. Highly unusual personality for a female cat, especially a Siamese; she acts more like a puppy!

Thursday, February 19, 2004

state sponsored child abuse

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Posted on Thu, Jan. 29, 2004
AP: Young Calif. Inmates Caged, Drugged
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Young California inmates are often locked in cages as punishment, and those with mental problems are frequently drugged and improperly cared for, a state-funded study says.

The California Youth Authority is supposed to rehabilitate its 4,600 young wards, but instead often focuses on punishment such as isolating offenders in wire cages, two experts said in a confidential report obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

Inadequately trained therapists frequently treated youths suffering mental illness and substance abuse problems with prescription drugs instead of providing proper therapy. A majority of the wards suffer mental or drug-abuse problems.

State officials are not disputing the findings, and Youth and Adult Correctional Agency spokesman Tip Kindel said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration inherited the problems but is trying to fix them "on a fast track."

"The vast majority of youths who have mental health needs are made worse instead of improved by the correctional environment," reported University of Washington child psychologist Eric Trupin and forensic psychiatrist Raymond Patterson of Washington, D.C.
Drugs are frequently administered to restrain misbehaving youths who are of no apparent danger to themselves or others, while, "In a number of facilities, psychiatric evaluations are cursory and do not meet accepted professional standards," the report said.

Widespread use of so-called "chemical restraints" is intolerable, said Sen. Gloria Romero, who chairs a corrections oversight committee.

"This is not the 1930s. Even in mental hospitals, I thought we'd gotten rid of these practices long ago," she said.

The state-funded report is the first of six being conducted as part of a class-action lawsuit by the San Francisco-based nonprofit Prison Law Office alleging poor conditions and treatment at the state's 11 youth institutions, which handle young people up to age 25.

The experts said there's been some progress, but cited wide variations among the nine institutions they reviewed.

The report's release comes a week after two teenage boys hanged themselves at the Preston Youth Correctional Facility in Ione, east of Sacramento.

"We have got a serious problem, and before another teenager commits suicide the California Youth Authority has got to get its act together," Romero said.

California Youth Authority

� 2004 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

I'm a damn fool!

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No nap.

I'm angry about being called a racist for this page: "VOTE!", so I added the 2 sentences, under the photo.

The tactics these reactionaries use are filthy. They know I'm not racist; they're just trying to discredit me, trying to exploit the suffering of victims of racism to try to manipulate them!

Well, most people of color I've met aren't as stupid and reationary as them southern good ol' boys. Most seem quite capable of speaking for themselves, thank you, and don't need some paternalistic spin warper to speak for them! lord have mercy.

Anyway, since I couldn't sleep, and since it warmed up for awhile, I did FOUR loads of laundry! moan. It's all hanging in the house to dry.

Good thing, too, since it's clouding up and getting cold out there now.

I found more clothes, bed linens, etc. in the trash this month, that's why there's so much to wash.

I found a set of baby blue satin sheets. I wouldn't pretend to sleep on the clingy, sweaty things. But, they'll make 2 good backings for quilts I plan to make. I make quilted covers, with an old blanket inside.

I have lots of old blankets.

Maybe I can sell some quilts? who knows...all I can do is try.

I've got a bed full of cats and a belly full of bbqed turkey sandwich.

The wind's picking up and it's quite chilly out there.

I'm just going to relax in my cozy house for the rest of the day.

I feel guilty

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There's so much I want to do, but my ol' body is worn out. I walked about eight miles this week. And pushing the cart hurts my arms, neck and shoulders..even my wrists. There's no WAY I could have pushed a plow all day! Wow, how do people DO that?!

I made crepes this morning. I've discovered I can stretch one egg into about eight crepes, if I'm careful. I used low fat milk, but thinned that more with water, too. I didn't add butter. I did add vanilla, and a tad more salt than usual (I often don't eat any salt) to compensate for missing butter.

I squirted them with juice from some orange segments, and just a tad of pancake syrup, just for fun. I ate the rest of the orange, before I ate the crepes, so I wouldn't pucker.

I'm full.

It's alternatingly pretty and ugly outside. I heard "snow" in the forcast, but I doubt they meant here. Life would be nicer without wind sigh.

I was hoping to do some laundry today. I don't think so. brr

I did get my trash taken today. It's been over a month since I set my container out. I just don't make much trash. But I had turkey and ham bones today. Whatever the animals won't eat gets dried in the yard for trash day. If I let it dry, it won't rot and stink.

I picked up dog poo. Man, that dog is a turd factory! How can one dog make four piles a day?

I'm back in bed, listening to Performance Today.

There are eleven million things I ought to be doing: sewing, crafts, laundry, cleaning...blah, blah.

But that eight miles of walking affects every joint movement in my body today, including typing. That's from holding onto the cart handles.

So, I'll rest. I'm tempted to go back to sleep: the ultimate decadance.

This walking hurts like hell. And, so far, at least, it doesn't seem to be getting any easier, 'though I've been doing it for several weeks now. It causes me a lot of fatigue and pain.

But I'm determined to try to get my strength back.

Y'know, Porkchop's snoring in a puddle of sunlight at my feet. Miss Thing's curled on a pillow at my side.

I'm going back to sleep.

Don't set anything on fire while I'm out, ok?

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Tax Me If You Can

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- This Week: "Tax Me If You Can" (60 min.), Thursday, Feb. 19 at 9pm on PBS (check local listings)

It's hard to believe, but some people actually look forward to tax season.

We're not talking about the honest tax professionals who earn a living helping Americans navigate the tax code. We're talking about the corporate tax shelter promoters, including those at some of the country's most respected accounting and law firms, who concoct sophisticated and often illegitimate tricks that can reduce a company's taxes to zero and turn the tax line on a corporate financial report into -- ready for this? -- a profit center.

Meanwhile, the rest of us end up paying the bill. Somewhere between $250 to $300 billion in taxes are owed but not paid each year, and the largest single source of the gap, according to former Republican IRS commissioner Charles Rossotti, is abusive tax shelters. What this means, Rossotti tells FRONTLINE, is "basically ... everybody is paying 15 percent more -- you could give everybody twice as big a refund, if they average it out, if you just collected all the taxes that are due."

In "Tax Me If You Can," this Thursday, Feb. 19 at 9pm on PBS (check local listings), FRONTLINE correspondent Hedrick Smith -- whose recent report "The Wall Street Fix," about WorldCom and its investment bankers, earned an Emmy for business reporting -- follows the tax-shelter trail to some far-flung and surprising places, investigating the companies behind the tax schemes, how the schemes work, and how they're sold. Along the way he talks to former IRS and Treasury officials from the Reagan, Clinton, and current Bush administrations, tax experts, industry insiders, and members of Congress from both parties who are battling some of Washington's most powerful lobbyists to put a stop to the big business of illegitimate shelters.

So please join us on Thursday night, and on the Web following the broadcast. In addition to extended interviews with Charles Rossotti, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, and other experts, our website will offer a look at KPMG's aggressively marketed shelters, and at the prospects for reform. And as always, we hope you'll join the discussion, at frontline shows

Finally, in conjunction with the television broadcast, FRONTLINE and the public radio program Marketplace are producing a two-part series based upon Hedrick Smith's investigation. The radio series airs this Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 18-19, on Marketplace, and will be available at marketplace.org

Wen Stephenson
Website Managing Editor

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

wanna know a secret?

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Last summer, I had to listen, many afternoons, to my neighbor, Raoul and his buddies, gossiping about me.

They said horrible things.

These people don't even know me. They wrote me off as soon as they figured out I'm: not a party girl, low income, not their idea of attractive.

Now, they can't hear me, because their music is loud and they shout over it.

But I had to hear them. I could hear them from all the way back here in my bedroom, with the air conditioner on and the doors and windows closed.

So, I was bombarded with the nastiest epithets, insults, prejudices and hate, directed at me, and had to endure it in silence.

No WAY I was going to go out there and CONFRONT that bunch of coked-out, drunken pigs!

Well, as you know, I visited the clinic recently and became concerned about my nutrition.

Even before I went to the clinic, I'd begun exercising with home-made weights. I was feeling week from a winter of relative inactivity and was finding it harder and harder to walk.

I have this fantasy.

I want to be in good shape, by summer. Except for my poor, abused belly and a hint of double chin, I'm not out-of-proportion by much.

But my belly has prevented me from dressing the way I like. I have nice clothes, but I can't wear them. I'm embarrassed.

The belly's not my fault, true. It's a combination of losing the baby and -- apparantly -- an ovarie, lousy diet, physical weakness and probably perimenopause. Not to mention that both my mother and grandmother were VERY substantial women, but they were also very self-endulgent.

I want the whole, damned building full of drunks and junkies to see me, out in my garden, dressed nicely and looking good!

I want them to choke on every ugly, hateful, cruel, dismissive, racist, sexist, homophobic word that ever came out of their filthy mouthes about me!

I want to be able to surround myself with my flowers, critters and art and look trim, smooth, well dressed and just as beautiful as everything else about my life.

My body is a reflection of abuse and neglect: from others, yes, but from myself, too. Because I didn't really believe I deserved, or could have, better.

So, I'm working hard at this. Every soda I don't drink is 160 calories of pure sugar, not to mention the sodium.

I look at my daily food consumption and realize I've been right: I don't eat much. In fact, I eat as much in a whole day as some people eat at one crap meal at McDummies.

All the walking has got to help. I hope. I come home so tired I can't do anything else for the rest of the day, but I'm hoping that'll go away after awhile. I hope.

I'm on my own here. There's nobody to nurse me, bail me out, pat my back, give me a hug or just help. I need to be as strong and healthy as I can be.

And, if I can drop a few jaws in the process, that's ok by me.

I've always been a modest person in my dress....in public, anyway. I don't flash my cleavage or anything. I fear being victimized, for one thing. But I also want to be approached as a person, rather than as eye candy. I have spiritual and cultural reasons, too.

So don't expect anything slutty or revealing...in public.

But to stand in my yard, looking and feeling healthy, and have those gossiping turnips see me and feel like the fools they are....that would be satisfying.

you can do anything you want: KUNM commentary

"If you go to jail, you can do anything you want."

You know that sound a phonograph needle makes, when it swipes over the grooves of a vinyl album: that sound effect they're using these days on tv commercials, to designate that everything has stopped, in utter shock, at profound stupidity? I heard that sound in my head.

I looked around the bus. Nobody else seemed to have heard the kid say it. Even the girl across the aisle, to whom he'd been speaking, looked glassy eyed and disinterested.

But that comment hung in the air, over my head, like a bad smell.

"If you go to jail," I said, looking him dead in the eye, "you're a fool. If you go to college, you can do anything you want." It may not be true, of course, but it still seems a better option than his.

He looked at me as though I were speaking a foreign language. I suppose I was: Old Lady Speak.

There have been times, on the bus, when I've spoken up and been assaulted. I save my comments for issues I find urgent. I try to mind my own business.

But this is my business. Maybe it doesn't take a whole village to raise a child, but it takes somebody, or else every child gets left behind.

The fact that this kid believed jail meant freedom, or power, or machismo, or adulthood meant that somebody wasn't raising him -- not on the issues of manhood, anyway.

This wasn't the Central Ave. bus through the War Zone. This was the Rio Grande bus. He was picked up in a neighborhood of very affluent homes and dropped off in another.

So, it wasn't watching his neighbors being hauled off to jail that was informing his opinion.

In the 'Zone, jail sometimes does seem like a better alternative than homelessness, domestic abuse or some of the other insanity in which some kids live.

This kid had clothes from the department stores, not the thrift stores. His shoes weren't even scuffed.

Then, I remembered that I'm an anachronism; I don't watch cable tv. My mental landscape isn't decorated with booty and bling bling. I rarely ever see images of guns or hear epithets -- except in public, of course.

On the TV news last night (I don't know which; they all look alike, to me), I heard two boys in a South Valley middle school jumped another kid and broke his nose. Unfortunately, this isn't unusual.

The news reader melodramatically described this as "gang related." Whether it was, or whether that's just an assumption, based on location and surnames of the attackers, I don't know.

What alarmed me was the Bernallilo County Sherrif's comments.

One of the kids had a pellet gun tucked into his pants. Yes, it's a toy; but it looks enough like a real gun to be confusing in a crisis.

The Sherrif's concern was that, had that kid pulled that gun on an officer -- well, he didn't want to think of the consequences.

The War Zone doesn't stop in a geographical area any more. Any kid, in any school, is in danger of fatal injury at any time.

On the PBS show, "NOW with Bill Moyers," someone recently said these double income families work so hard to live in neighbrhoods with good schools.

Sounds like an excellent argument for school funding reform, to me.

Seems to me the kid on the bus would be better off in a more modest neighborhood, with more parenting.

And isn't Columbine High School in a nice neighborhood?

ooo, baby!

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Well, went to the Pueblo Cultural Center today for Evil Weed Tobacco. I'm down to a carton a month. I was smoking three. That's still 200 cigarettes a month, but it WAS SIX HUNDRED CIGARETTES A MONTH! holy smokes...LOL

That's only on the bad months; I often squeeked through with 2 cartons...barely.

Addiction is a b)tch, huh?

ANYWAY, I was home by ten something. I'd left on an empty stomach, so I was ready to eat paint when I got back.

Made myself a one-egg German pancake. I'm trying to only eat one egg per day. By the way, the juice of half a lime on a one egger will tear your head off, it's so sour! But I'm TRYING to eat produce at every meal. Almost melted what's left of my teeth, though. Didn't want to smother the thing in powdered sugar, so it was pretty puckery. I don't mind. It still tasted divine.

Yes, the weather's warm. Yes, I have tons of laundry to do. Yes, I'm in bed with a snoring dog, resting.

I still need to go to the radio station tomorrow; that'll make 4 days in a row, 2 miles per day. I need the rest; laundry will wait.

That seafood cocktail, with my home made coctail sauce, is heaven! Oh, I know: the squid, cuttlefish (I always thought cuttlefish WAS squid?) and octopus probably gross you out, but I like it! Nice and boingy!

The cocktail's good with a sour dough roll on the side, to cut the acid and heat of the sauce. 1/4 c seafood, smothered in sauce, and bread, that's filling.

I think I'll nap awhile. I'm feeling a bit puny.

Later, I'm going to write my next commentary, about something a kid on the bus said that blew my mind...

Well, that's all the news that fits!

Monday, February 16, 2004

I've offended white republicans

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Lord, there are some STUPID people around! In news:alt.discuss.politics.liberal, some reactionary fool is objecting to my email sig with the "This Nigger Voted" page in it!

I took that image and added, in big, red letters, the word, "Vote!" People have died, and CONTINUE to die, for that simple right.

And, in case you STILL don't get it, I HATE the word, "nigger!" That's ANOTHER reason I used the photo; I'm sick of hearing young Black men calling each other "nigger!"

My reply:

I don't CARE what people WANT to see! I care that we NEED to see the TRUTH!

The TRUTH is that people DIED for the right to vote!

If the word on the sign is all that offends you, NOT the LYNCHING of the MAN, then YOU, sir and not I, are the offensive one!

I didn't write that word on that poor, dead hero's chest; the GRAND DADDIES OF THE NASCAR DADS WROTE IT!


The whole world knows!

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I'm so excited, I walked home from the station too fast, so I could post the news in my blogs, at the forums I visit, and email the universe!

I haven't even PEED yet, and I'm starving to death! LOL

I've got half an hour. I'm gonna make me a sammich, get out of these tight pants, and take a dang LEAK!


Rogi on Radio in an hour!

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What I wrote, "KUNM Commentary," at http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com is being broadcast on KUNMfm tonight, in about an hour.

Unfortunately, MSNTV can't hear their RealAudio feed, but I'm going to ask for a copy for my web site. MSNTV users will, hopefully, get to hear me in a week or so.

I've been asked, by Marcos Martinez, Program Manager, to record another Commentary on Wednesday. He wants me to write and broadcast Commentaries on a regular basis.

kunm commentary

Sunday night, between commercials, I surfed over to watch a family's house get radically redecorated. I couldn't have stomached watching an hour of the angst of decorators, construction workers, landscape artists and other prima-donna types, trying to accomplish, in one week, what usually would take them months.

This family was chosen because the husband and father was in the military, overseas, in Iraq. Coincidentally, he returned for the surprise finish, when the family would see their remodeled home for the first time.

I don't know what all they did to the home, but the family "oohed" and "ahhed" appropriately. I came back at the end, as the family stood in the 1/7th scale imitation of Dodger Stadium that was their back yard. The boys were squeeling happily.

Then they brought out a "special" guest, in a catcher's mask. It was Dad, back from Iraq.

If you'd told those boys they'd have to spend the rest of their lives in a cardboard refrigerator box in a downtown alley, they wouldn't have cared.

I saw two starved sets of arms, clinging desperately to a father, frantically trying to absorb the love they'd missed for however long he'd been gone.

I saw a silly, chattery, bouncy, red-headed kid transform suddenly, as the wounding and trauma of seperation, of worry for a parent's safety, flooded out of him. He couldn't hold his daddy tightly enough.

And I thought about the kids whose parents aren't coming home.

I thought about Afghani kids, Iraqi kids. I thought about the Timor Tigers, who conscript -- aka kidnap -- small children into their terrorist gangs. I thought about Palestinian kids, throwing rocks, passing bombed-out walls bearing posters of suicide bombers. I thought about South African kids, orphaned by AIDS, in a country that's trying desperately to heal from Apartheid.

I remembered the ten years I lived in the so-called "War Zone" of Albuquerque. I know some people consider that label an epithet -- mostly the property owners in the area.

But the label pertains.

After my daughter died, I opened my home to the neighbor kids.

We did homework, learned to cook and repair things, gardened, created art and just talked together.

And I heard their stories.

Not one child who came to my home hadn't witnessed serious violence or criminal behavior. Many had been victimized directly. Most didn't live in two-parent families. None lived in houses, either rented or owned. Most struggled to make it through the day with enough food, without being hurt. Many tried to make it through the day without being caught for trying to take care of themselves and their younger siblings.

I recognized something in those boys on my TV last night. It was something about deprivation. It was something about bravery, to survive trauma.

And I imagined. What if we adults made children the center of our decision making -- not in theory, but as the main motivation of our lives?

What if every ambassador, CEO, politician, preacher, landlord, soldier and parent made the welfare of children his or her main priority?

Those boys last night didn't care about status symbols. They didn't care about upward mobility. They weren't interested in mass-produced gizmos from a big box store.

All they wanted was the nurture, protection and support of their daddy. Love, comfort and security were all that mattered to those boys.

Their priorities were simple, reasonable, logical.

Why aren't ours?

a beautiful day in the neighborhood

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Bright, clean sunlight is streaming in my bedroom window. It's still really cold out, just above freezing, but the temps. promise to rise into the mid sixties Farenheit today, which is short-sleeve weather (unless you're from Southern California, and don't know what cold is).

I'm in a world of hurt. Apparantly, pushing home an eighteen-pound sack of cat food, with a case of toilet cleaner, a whole turkey and ten pounds of oranges is taxing.

I was useless for the rest of the day yesterday, pretty much. I'd wanted to take advantage of the warm afternoon to do laundry, but thought better of it. I have a lot of walking to do this week.

I ate an orange, a thin "slice" (hard to call it a slice, as it crumbles on contact with a knife) of cheese, a small bowl of generic cheerio type cereal and some coffee. Hopefully, the cheese will make the breakfast more substantial, so it'll last 'til I return for lunch.

I'm apprehensive about going to the radio station. Since Renee's probably still sick, and she's the news director, I really don't have a steady source of direction or assignments. I emailed someone, but didn' get a reply. So, I don't know if I'm about to walk myself tired, just to sit there for two hours, looking like a fool.

I almost decided not to go today, but that seemed stupid. It's just that my poor body is so tired.

If they don't have any work for me today, I'll try asking around the station, to see if I can be useful in another department.

Don't expect much from me today. I'll come home dazed and weak and won't feel like thinking.

Have a good day!

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Cactus Candy

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Susie sent me some recipe URLs for pickled watermelon rind...thanks, Susie! I'm going to post them here"

Watermelon Rind Pickle

Watermelon Preserves

But what I really wanted was a good candying recipe.

This can be used for pumpkin, melon, pineapple, mango, papaya and other, juicy fruits....

Cactus Candy
Yield:6 servings

3c granulated sugar
1c water
2tb orange juice
1tb lemon juice


Select prickly pear cactus (or small barrel cactus if you own this
type of cactus, since it's illegal to remove it from the desert).

Remove spines and outside layer with large knife. Cut pulp across in slices one-inch thick. Soak overnight in cold water. Remove from water, cut in one inch cubes and cook in boiling water til tender.

Drain. Cook slowly in the following syrup until nearly all the syrup
is absorbed. Do not scorch!


Heat all ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Then add cactus.

Remover cactus from syrup, drain and roll in granulated or powdered
sugar. For colored cactus candy, any vegetable food coloring may be
added to the syrup.


btw: people have been braggin' to me my entire life about watermelon pickles...guess I'll just have to do that this summer...Susie swears by em.

this nigger voted

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Porky and I went shopping today. I saw Smith's had eggs for a dollar a dozen. I also wanted to check out marked-down Valentine chocolate.

I got two turkey halves for less than five dollars!

I got 12 oz. bags of Dove milk chocolate for a dollar fifty per sack! That's less than two dollars/lb.

I got some Necco sweet hearts and some red hots. I poured them into a wine bottle with cork. So cute!

I got three dozen eggs. It might last until Easter eggs go cheap...don't know when Easter is this year, though. Gotta look that up.

I got more of those giant oranges, ten cents cheaper than last week! yummmmmm.

And I got a bag of mixed sea food: three dollars a pound. Here's sort of what I got: http://www.aquastar.com/New%20Pages/fav2.html from auqastar.com. It contains: clams, mussels, octopus, white fish, cuttle fish and squid.

And they had a big sack of cat food on sale.

The Dollar Store dumpster had an entire case of toilet bowl cleaner: rust and mineral remover. I need that with this water. I could probably sell them for a dollar each, too.

I stopped at the Palestinian convenience store for cheap cigs to tide me over 'til I can get to the Pueblo Cultural Center on Tuesday.

While I was there, I got 1/2 lb. of those creamy dates. ANd I asked about some cheese. It was three dollars a pound, which is a fair price even for crappy cheese. He gave me a taste. It's goat cheese. I don't think it's feta, but I'm not sure. It's squeeky on the teeth. It's about the consistancy of bleu, but less crumbly. It even tastes a bit like bleu..just a hint, but is also lemony. It's crumbling, not melting, cheese. It'll go great with the dates, on salads, with the oranges...I could even crumble a bit on tacos. It's FABULOUS! and very inexpensive!

I came home and baked a German pancake. I used 2 eggs. I used butter. I hadn't eaten all morning, and do not feel guilty. I squirted juice from 1/2 lime over it and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Filled a supper plate and tasted FABULOUS with a small glass of milk! My whole house smells of vanilla and eggs!

As the pancake baked, I made some cocktail sauce for my fish.

I'll be eating only a few tablespoons of that fish at a time, as it's an omega3/good cholesterol trick per day. My nurse practitioner wanted me to eat some fish every day. I really can't do that, even with sardines and tuna, so I'm supplimenting with a couple of tablespoons of tofu, stirred into meals. I'll swap different foods for different days, so I don't lose my mind! LOL

Here's the cocktail sauce:

I found 3 cans of V8 juice in a dumpster, so that's free.

1 can V8 juice
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp. wasabi horseradish
picante sauce, to taste
black pepper, to taste
dash salt
Whisk, pour into bottle, keep refrigerated.

Now, really good cocktail sauce should have a bit of finely-chopped celery, but the V8 has celery juice in it, so that's cool

I rinsed, drained and thawed about a quarter cup of the seafood. I have it in a pretty, glass bowl, marinating covered in sauce right now. I'll eat it at supper.

The tuna will taste great in cocktail sauce, too.

If I hadn't had the free V8 juice, I'd have either used canned tomato sauce, pureed fresh tomatoes, or cheap tomatoe juice, with carrot or celery juiced into it.

One can buy nearly a half gallon (32 oz.)of generic tomato juice for about a dollar. Or, one can buy a small 6 oz. bottle of cocktail sauce for THREE DOLLARS! Even a 16 oz. bottle of catsup is about a dollar fifty, on sale!

I hate catsup, because of the sugar, so I can definately live without it. When I need catsup, for Chinese food or whatever, I boil some tomato sauce on the stove with salt, pepper and a DASH of sugar, until it thickens.

Tomato sauce and tomato juice are MUCH cheaper!

Can't WAIT to eat my seafood cocktail tonight, as my appetiser for my turkey sandwich! Dessert will be an orange, a date, and a small taste of that CHEESE! I may or may not eat some of the chocolate.

Saturday, February 14, 2004


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It has taken me a few days to figure out how to post this. I'm not ashamed; I haven't done anything wrong.

But there are some sick people on the 'net.

Here's the thing: I've found two lumps.

I first noticed some sensitivity several days ago while grooming.

They're the size of peas. They're very hard. One is just below the surface of my skin. The other is larger and deeper under the skin.

The area is very sore now. The pain is about equal to a stubbed toe or a punch in the nose.

I'm hoping to hell it's because I almost always have a systemic infection, caused by my rotting teeth.

There have been lumps in the area before, which turned out to be infections.

None, however, have been so close to very sensitive nerve endings.

I am not a filthy person. I have no socially transmitted diseases. I'm always careful with my grooming, because I can't afford to get sick.

I'm scared. I don't want to get medical treatment for several reasons. First, I hate how I've been mocked, both when I lost my baby and once afterward. Second, as an incest survivor who has been mutilated, I do NOT want further physical trauma! Third, I do NOT want to undergo the humiliation of their judgments of me, regarding the most intimate part of myself.

They'll think I'm unclean. But it's not my fault my teeth are rotting and infecting my entire body!

So, despite the discomfort and fear, I'll wait and hope these heal.

I'm applying warm compresses, to try to bring the infection to the surface. I'm swabbing the area with hydrogen peroxide, to prevent further infections.

gawdDAM it! I deserve some dang dignity!

Pan Forte

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I was channel surfing, when I saw this and it looked so yummy.

I'm thinking it's really smart food. It lasts a long time; it's easy to make; it sounds absolutely delicious and, with a glass of milk, it's a complete meal. In tiny portions, of course! It would pack well, too, as a sack lunch.

I'm not putting any filberts/hazelnuts in it. I hate them. I'll just use the equivelent in extra almonds.

I also won't dust with powdered sugar.

It can be made either with or without chocolate.

I think corn flour sounds better...and probably more authentic?...than wheat.

Since honey's expensive, I can substitute SOME corn syrup, but reduce the sugar to JUST enough to bind it.

The one I saw on TV was made with lots of candied fruits, including candied melon. It was a green melon. This fascinated me; I'd never considered candying melon before! What a wonderful idea! In summer, I get absolutely sick of eating cheap or homegrown melons. This way, I can perserve them for winter!

I'm including 2 recipes here. One's a lahdeedah recipe that SEEMS to bear scant resemblence to old fashioned techniques, but which has some good tips and interesting ingredients.

But I'm also including what appears to be a quite old recipe. It's the one that calls for corn flour. It's ingredients are more simple. I'll bet you that's someone's gramma's recipe, straight from the Old Country.

New recipe, first:

CDKitchen Recipes!
Visit us at http://www.cdkitchen.com

From: Siena@deleted
Subject: Pan Forte di Siena
Newsgroup: rec.food.recipes

Pan Forte di Siena

Ciao Italia by Maryann Esposito -

One of the most famous cakes of Siena is its Panforte, which means "strong bread." It is chewy, dense, and perfumed with cinnamon and pepper. It is sold in flat rounds, brightly wrapped in paper, or by the piece. Sadly, this cake is rarely made in homes nowadays, and most panforte is commercially produced.

Panforte di Siena
2/3 Cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chopped candied orange peel 1/2 cup chopped candied lemon peel
1/4 cup dutch-process cocoa
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
confectioner's (icing) sugar
Parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter an 8-inch cake pan, line it with parchment paper, and butter the paper. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 325 F. Chop the hazelnuts coarsely with the almonds. Put the nuts in a bowl and add the candied peels, cocoa, flour, and spices; mix well. Set aside. In a saucepan, combine the sugar and honey and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until a bit of the mixture forms a soft ball when dropped in cold water. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Spread the batter evenly in the pan; the cake will be no more than about 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. While still warm, invert the cake onto a wire rack.

Carefully peel off the parchment and let cool completely. Sprinkle the top of the cake generously with confectioner's sugar. Serve cut in thin wedges. Note: I find using a well greased ceramic pie dish eliminates the need for parchment.
This cake will keep for at least 2 weeks if well wrapped in foil.

Original post by Kitka here

Old Recipe:

One question, though: wafers of WHAT? This is the problem with old recipes...

The Cook's Decameron: A Study In Taste. Containing Over Two Hundred Recipes For Italian Dishes; Mrs. W. G. Waters
Chapter: No. 224.
Pan-forte di Siena
(Sienese Hardbake)

Ingredients: Honey, almonds, filberts, candied lemon peel, pepper, cinnamon, chocolate, corn flour, large wafers.

Boil half a pound of honey in a copper vessel, and then add to it a few blanched almonds and filberts cut in halves or quarters and slightly browned, a little candied lemon peel, a dust of pepper and powdered cinnamon and a quarter pound of grated chocolate. Mix all well together, and gradually add a tablespoonful of corn flour end two of ground almonds to thicken it.

Then take the vessel off the fire, spread the mixture on large wafers, and make each cake about an inch thick. Garnish them on the top with almonds cut in half, and dust over a little powdered sugar and cinnamon, then put them in a very slow oven for an hour.

See? That last recipe is so dang simple! If I only knew what a friggin' wafer was...hmmm...

And I don't have a copper pot. Always wanted one, too. I'd like to have one for egg white whipping.

Anyway, that SOUNDS like an old gramma recipe, doesn't it? As though even telling you how to make it is a ridiculous waste of time, because, of course, EVERYBODY knows how to make Pan Forte; they're BORN knowing how!


But doesn't that sound a helluva lot nicer than a granola bar???? It's basically baked trail mix!

what if you're wrong?

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What if Don isn't a crack pot? What if he's right? And what if he loves this country and this planet at least as much, if not more than, you, with the sacrifices he makes?

What if he's not crazy? What if he sees how individual choices contribute to or detract from the living standards of us all?

It takes absolutely no courage, creativity or compassion to dress, drive, eat, over consume and abuse as the herd does.

It's easy to drive a car to a mall or a wal*mart and go into debt for cheap, plastic crap, made of petrochemicals, which will break and be tossed into the landfills within a month.

See, I see your trash. I see upon what you waste your money! I see how you think trinkets will make you feel better about the spiritual deprivation you really feel.

I see the level of addiction to consumption. I see merchandise, still in the packaging, still with price tags, never used.

I see the wasted water, rolling through the gutters, while you whine over the Silvery Minnow, the canary in the coal mine, that's telling us our river is DYING!

I see the rudeness and cruelty you use to control and manipulate each other and which you heap upon me for being "different."

I'm not saying people shouldn't work or pay taxes or any of that. Your taxes pay for the broken, cracked sidewalks, with no accessibility curb cuts, over which I stumble. And I do thank you. I thank myself, too. I have always paid taxes -- in this state, even on FOOD!

We each have something to contribute. Don makes a great contribution, just by living his simple, healthy life.

He's not telling you to live as he is; he's simply telling you how he lives, and why. He's not judging you.

You're judging yourselves, comparing your lives to him!

And I think you feel guilty. And I think THAT's why you lash out at him! You KNOW he's right, at least about some of what he says and does.

They crucified Jesus for the same reason, you know.

But Don's not judging you; he's living by his ethics and morals. He just has the courage to speak out about that.

Why do you want him to shut up? So you won't have to look at your gluttony? So you won't have to look at the spiritual and psychological damage that drives you to cover up and compensate? So you can dream your delusion of grandeur, in peace, without reminders that what you're believing is a lie that's killing all of us?

Why can't you just let him live his life in peace? Why do you threaten to kill him? Why do you accuse him of the weirdest motives? Because, if you were in his shoes, those would be YOUR motives?

Let him be. He's not hurting you. In fact, he's helping all of us!

No, you DON'T have to live like Don. But, if we each shaved even a LITTLE off our over consumption and nest-soiling, we might make things a little better, instead of a lot worse.

Our grandchildren will have to live in the filth we're leaving behind!

The Lysol you're using today will be your grandchild's filth!

Is that SO HARD to comprehend?

Friday, February 13, 2004

whine about taxes while they ream yer ....

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Downward Mobility

Income Disparity Overview

NOW often looks at the flip-side of the American dream, as in its profile of the struggles of low-wage workers in "Downward Mobility". NOW also keeps track of the high end of the income spectrum. Recently we updated viewers on the fate the past years' corporate scandals. It seems that all the bad press and shareholder outrage, executive pay keeps on rising. According to a August 2003 report by THE ECONOMIST, median senior total pay among America's top 350 companies rose by 10 percent last year, even as median total shareholder returns in those companies fell by more than 5 percent.

�����Turns out that American executive compensation rates are quite different from those of the rest of the developed world. In Japan a typical executive makes eleven times what a typical worker brings home; in Britain, 22 times.

According to recent studies, the top one percent � the wealthiest among us � are getting richer and richer. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) has found the United States to be the most unequal society of all industrialized nations. The U.S. ranks last among OECD nations in terms of income equality, yet in 1993 the poorest 10% of the U.S. population was still wealthier than two-thirds of the rest of the world.

In its recent report "The State of Working America 2002-03," the Economic Policy Institute estimated that the bottom 80 percent of American households control only about 17 percent of the nation's wealth. Meanwhile, wages, benefits, and working conditions for workers at the bottom continue to decrease.
Worldwide, the story is the same. A 2002 study by the World Bank found inequality growing not only between nations, but within nations.

Sources: THE ECONOMIST; THE WORLD BANK; "The State of Working America 2002-03, The Economic Policy Institute


sound MORE familiar?!

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Excuse the language. I'll edit; Alibi didn't

The following exchange from the Letters pages of the Weekly Alibi (Albuquerque, NM, www.Alibi.com) got such a response on my radio show and another live "reading", that I offer it here as a fine tribute to free speech, to Letters sections in general and to the Alibi's in particular, where the letters tend to be passionate...

Don, FYI, is a fixture of the university neighborhood, often seen walking and tanning his golden body along the main drag.

Don's World (April 17, 2003)

Dear Alibi,

No job, salary, relationships, degree, car, house, art, furniture, trip or gadgets are worth paying federal income tax to rob, terrorize, blind, cripple, paralyze, make homeless and murder our sisters and brothers in Iraq and worldwide.

The main purpose of the U.S. war machine is to make sure that most Americans, especially the greediest, keep on hogging and stealing the wealth of the world.

The best way to boycott the U.S. war machine, with no fines and no threats from the IRS, is to live simply under the taxable level. The taxable level this year for a single, sighted, under 65-year-old person is $7,800. I lived well last year on $3,760.

I have owned no car since I returned to Albuquerque in 1988.

The last time I rode in any car was April 7, 2001. I hate cars because I hate wars for oil, poisoned air, the horror of global warming, highways smothering fertile soil ... I love to walk! I would not trade my 12' by 14' home for the most luxurious mansion in the world.

I am glad I have no refrigerator, TV, VCR, car, computer, credit cards, business suit, jet travel, phone, microwave, air conditioner... I wash my clothes by hand at home. I am glad I consume no booze, cigarettes, restaurant meals, junk food, meat, dairy, cooked food, illegal drugs, prescription drugs ... I am glad I have no doctor, dentist, medical insurance. I am an all-raw foods vegetarian devoted to natural health. I yearn for passionate lifelong romance with a man, but I will not surrender or compromise my war tax refusal and my living simply for any man on Earth!

I refused to be a soldier in 1969 during the Vietnam War. For me, as a conscientious objector to pay federal income tax to train other Americans, largely the poor and people of color, to become professional hired killers to murder on command with no conscience would be more evil than being a soldier myself. My life is an all-out public boycott of the U.S. Empire every day as long as I live.

Don Schrader
Don Doesn't Get It (April 24, 2003)

Dear Alibi,

Don Schrader? Here we go again.
Blah, blah, blah. You are an anachronism. You are out of place and time. You long for a passionate lifelong romance--good luck! You won't find it parading your ... up and down Central. Your landlord should kick your naked ... out of that 12' x 14' box you call home, so that you can see what the world is really like. No computer, no TV: Where do you come by your warped view of the world? Besides the Alibi, what is your source of news of current events? Do you actually peruse a newspaper or news magazine? Or do you base your ....ed-up image of the country on the evil passersby in oil-burners who honk at your foolish and simplistic propagandistic signs?

By the way, in the interest of "full disclosure"--what is the source of your $3,760? Since you don't work, do you produce anything to earn an income? Or do you live off some trust fund from a deceased parent? Are you milking the system for some disability? Do you vote? If you don't vote, your opinion means nothing anyway--you are irrelevant.

Do you realize the "U.S. War Machine" maintains your right to live and act the way you do, and yes--even to insanely rant against the "Empire." I think it would be appropriate--and divinely poetic--to drop your semi-clad butt into Saddam's Iraq--say, from a Huey helicopter--and watch as your Iraqi brothers and sisters' beat you for being naked, cut out your tongue for speaking out and then stone you to death for being gay.

Such an "enlightened" society might illustrate to you just how lucky you are to live in the United States, where people only laugh at the sight of you.

Gene Anderson, employed, tax-paying, SUV-driving, on-line, satellite, phone, radio/tv, insured, licensed and contributor to society and the economy-- and proud of it.


Emphasis mine.

Sound familiar?

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AUGUST 21, 2003
Schrader Wins Again
From the letters section of Albuquerque's Weekly Alibi:

Dear Alibi,

Responding to "Inside the City's Water Conservation Program" (July 24-30), I use less than seven gallons of water a day for all uses inside my home. In 1999, I disconnected the drainpipe for my one and only sink. I use a five-gallon pail underneath to catch the sink's wastewater. I use a smaller pail to pour past almost two gallons of the wastewater directly into the center of the toilet bowl to flush.

In 1999 I also removed the shower faucet handles. Most people on earth, past and present, have had no home showers. I use the sink and a wet cloth to wash my body. I have no right to more than I need while others have less than they need.

As an all-raw food vegetarian, I eat no meat, no dairy, no cooked food. I have very few dishes to wash. I wash my clothes by hand in my sink. I have a purifier for my drinking water to remove most of the chlorine, fluoride and other poisons from the city water. I am glad I have no car to wash, no lawn to water and mow. I love to live simply!

Swamp coolers waste a hell of a lot of water. I have never used a swamp cooler, a fan or an air conditioner in my home since I moved in over 15 years ago. In warm weather I open the door and windows for cross ventilation and I live naked.

If Albuquerque continually squanders twice the amount of water that is being replenished in the aquifer, how insanely stupid. Water is far more precious than money, computers and high tech industry like Intel. We borrow the earth from those who come after us. We must stop stealing and poisoning their water.

The least sane choice is to make sure that we use no more water than is being replenished in the aquifer--far more sane and responsible would be to consume much less water than is being replenished in order to gradually return the aquifer level to what it was centuries ago, before the European invasion.

We all choose daily every time we turn on faucets- spoiled rotten, selfish stupidity or wise, fair sustainability!

Don Schrader
Posted on August 21, 2003 at 04:11 PM |


like I don't feel ugly enough

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The sonnets you've been reading, Poetry, are primarily written about news stories and other broadcasts I've heard on KUNM.

I've been posting them on their "discussion" web forum, under "community."

I got an email from the webmaster. All my posts have been moved to a subcatagory called, "Rogi Riverstone's Kitchen Sink." Apparantly, there were "complaints," particularly regarding the fact that my posts were on the opening page of the Community Forum.

I put them there because there's no subcategory called, "current events," or "comments." There's no discussion forum for news, either.

So, I'm in a little, backwater ghetto, where nobody will read my stuff, I guess.

Why were people complaining? Was it the word, "titty," in one sonnet? Was it my criticism of the Democratic machine in this state, in the personages of Mayor Chavez and Governor Richardson? Was it my endorsement of Kucinich? Was it my advocacy of the Green Party?

Or is it the fact that my writings are informed by my experiences in the War Zone? Is it too controversial that I speak for the voiceless poor? Ignore it and maybe it'll go away?

A highly-placed person at KUNM referred to me as being like Don Schrader the other day.

Don Schrader is a nudist, able-bodied, gay man. He's a vegetarian. He lives on a poverty-level income, because he refuses to pay taxes to the war machine. He is frequently seen clad only in a small pair of cut-off shorts, in front of the University bookstore, holding a protest sign. He produces a weekly, late-night program on Public Access television.

He is a man of principle. He lives what he believes.

And he is perceived, in this town, as a crack-pot. Especialy by the affluent so-called "progressive" community.

I am not Don Schrader. I do not CHOOSE to be low income. I am not able bodied. I am constantly discriminated against and even physically and verbally abused and attacked for my situation.

So, have I been relegated to the postition of loveable crack-pot?

Is it Leslie's hospitalization, or is it prejudice, which has consigned me to sit at a desk and take voice mail messages and write new cards for the rolodex? Is this why I'm expected to ALWAYS clean up a particular reporter's dirty lunch dishes, which I always find, cluttering my work station?

I heard an announcement today about "OFFCenter," a "community art space. I looked it up on the 'net.

It's run by the same woman who ran Art Street. OFFCenter is her PhD project; she got a grant for it.

I was attending Art Street for awhile. I introduced my self and tried to show her the ARTICLE I'd written for net4tv "Voice" on Outsider Art, in which I'd cited her organization. I said, "would you mind if I..."

She interrupted me and said, "clients can't use the computer."

I continued, "I was saying, would you mind if I gave you the URL to the story, so you can read it?"

On another occassion, two of her "pet" homeless artists had a sack of Halloween candy. One man said I could have some.

The bag was tied in a hard knot. I'm not very strong, nor can I see well, particularly plastic knots.

I slid the bag toward me, so I could better see how to untie it.

"Don't take it ALL! It's to SHARE! DAMN!" the man said.

The woman was standing right there; she saw the whole thing.

I said, "I wasn't trying to steal it; I was trying to untie the knot!" and slid the bag back across the table to him.

She said to me, "As long as you're in here, clients are supposed to be doing art; you can't just hang around, talking."

I held up the art supplies I had been collecting when I'd first walked over and said, "I came over here to collect some supplies I need; he offered me the candy."

She literally chased me across the room, as I walked back to my work station, to repeat herself.

The message was that I am perceived as a boat rocker and a trouble maker, that she has her eye on me, and I'd better watch my step, or she'd throw me out.

I quietly went around the room, STEALING what supplies I needed, packed them in my cart, and left.

SHE controls the art studio space for homeless and low-income people in this city. I have no recourse but to stay away from the ONLY accessible studio space in which I could have worked.

I think I'm perceived as a threat because I'm smart. I'm not a low-functioning, depressed, frightened, maliable street person. I'm also not one of her "cash cows," the artists who produce stuff she can show off to her benefactors and contacts.

I'm a writer. That means I'm a thinker. That means I'm dangerous.

She has to be the big fish in a small pond of traumatized, impaired, timid people who have no way to defend themselves.

She's exploiting the most vulnerable population in town, so that she can have a degree in art "therapy," and sit around, gossiping and playing with art supplies all day!

So, I can't go there, either.

I hitched up Porkchop and went to the convenience store today. It's very cold, below freezing for most of today and yesterday. It was finally sunny, at least, and the fierce winds had calmed.

So, I wanted some damned soda pop. If I have to sit in here, all alone, having people in this town slam doors in my face right and left, gawddammit, I'm going to have a friggin soda pop and work on my art, which I can't sell anywhere, legally!

Walking down the street, here comes some young gal with her dog off the leash. I said to Porkchop, "wait, buddy, we have to wait for the irresponsible pet owner to pass."

She cussed me out and made excuses. She even flipped me off.

All I said, over and over, was, "what you're doing is illegal."

I shouldn't have to explain to every friggin hippy free spirit that: I can't see nor walk well, that I'm trying to protect MY dog and myself, that other "cute" family dogs have ATTACKED me and Porkchop and caused BOTH of us physical injury!

But, no, yuppy brats can do whatever they want, when ever they wish, and to HELL with my health, safety, security or right to walk down the street without being friggin' ATTACKED!

And I'm NOT Miss Cleo, the Psychic: I don't know, nor should I HAVE to, which dogs are dangerous and which are no threat.

To me, ANY stray dog, not under direct control of a leash or total confinement by gate and fence, is a LETHAL THREAT!

If Porkchop bites anybody again, they'll put him down, and I'll end up in legal trouble!

So, here I sit, all alone, having been well put in my place again.

I'm nothing but crazy trash.