Monday, August 31, 2009

Like flames to the MOTH...

Went to the MOTH with Robin Bady and Barbara Aliprantis last night. Amazing - waiting in line that went round the block. Over 300 people crushed into the Bitter End to hear the 10 of the 21 people who wanted be the storytellers in a storyslam. Wow. This experience sure fanned the flames of us three LANES types who attended...such generous and dynamic women. Thanks again to both R and B for their hospitality.What a night - great stories and great connecting with the folks in NY, NY. More to come.

Weekend fun with Rodents

I worked all weekend in our mouse infested attic. Hot, smelly, cannot stand up straight because of roof pitch. Mice leavings every where - I am talking chewed paper, cardboard, fiberglass insulation,clothing, shoes and mouse pee and poo-
even dead mice all mixed in with things of great sentimental value.

I have a new appreciation for the meaning of the term "rat's nest" - we were the rats and the mice had invaded our nest.

At the end of two long days of sorting and triage through the belongings of our children and 30 some years worth of my papers and art work I squealed in shock when I saw a live mouse disappear below my hand as I moved books from one plastic box to a larger one. How the hell did that mouse get in there? It was in the same box with the dead mouse near the top.Continuing on I found below the next layer of books three little micelings in a nest of insulation. I removed and examined books and finally the nest was at the bottom of a plastic box. They looked so vulnerable, trying to hide underneath each other after I removed their nest,

I brought the little guys outside. My family urged me to drown them but I could not. The poor little guys seemed so helpless and so, yeah, I know it sounds stupid, but humans are programmed on a DNA level to be kind to little mammals,- they looked so cute. I dropped them is some high weeds far from the house.

The mice nest and family had not been there long because the books were untouched. The rest of our belonging were not as lucky. Mouse excrement is one thing but their unrine is really nasty. And it was all over our storage - books, paper and clothing! Mamma mia-

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bike Fridays - commute/Boston AUG 28th

RIDE INTO WORK WITH AN EXPERIENCED CYCLING GUIDE! August 28 and October 30 ( from their website) "Talk about a grand entrance—you and a convoy of your fellow bikers all escorted into the city by experienced cycling guides. Really, how could you pass that up? What’s more, at City Hall Plaza you can enjoy a free breakfast burrito and yogurt parfait courtesy of Boloco, tour the Bike Expo featuring tons of great gear from local bike shops all while listening to WZLX live. And still get to work on time. That’s the deal on Bike Fridays. "

Bike Friday is fun. There is an exhilaration that comes from filling the roads en masse and when looking for exponential leap of exhilaration, I roll with the work and energy of Critical Mass " a vision of a happy, bike-friendly world replacing our polluted, congested roads, a protest for better cycling facilities and against car culture, a mobile paean to bicycling’s joys, a merry ride downtown and through the neighborhoods with friends, and more – all rolled into one convenient monthly ride right after work! Critical Mass is a party on two wheels to celebrate bicycling – a fast, friendly, clean, efficient, healthy, cheap, sensible, and fun way to get around the city. Critical Mass is not an organization. It is a coincidence. It is a xerocracy. Make your own flyers! Make a route map--maybe it will be followed! Bring a sign, noisemaker, or cupcakes to the ride! We ride on the last Friday of every month at 5:30 PM in Copley Square."

I love to ride my bike to shop, to visit, to play and to work. I ride wherever and whenever I can. My sister bought me a beautiful and comfortable bicycle for my birthday last year and I invested in some commodious and waterproof bike bags that clip on and off with ease - so I can carry a small amplifier, cables, a mic and a mic stand, water bottle and my journal etc. without straining my shoulders or back. But waterproof panniers aside, I shy away from rainy day riding- I am just that much of a chicken. A little drizzle is okay. Or a ride on a bike path + falling water ? I am in. It seems that Boston drivers, who have so little patience or attention for bicycles under the best of conditions get dangerously stupid and blind the minute there is one drop of moisture in the air. Add to that the fact that my glasses are not for show and have no wipers and it is scary. Random pedestrians have asked me 5 times in the last few weeks if I was not scared to ride the streets of Boston. Hellz ya! I mean, I would not still be alive if I did not have some healthy fear focusing my attention while riding. Though an avid multi-tasker I just ride. Really. I never plug up my ears with an iPod, rarely talk on my cell (speaker phone in extreme situations only) and have trouble texting even while sitting still. So texting and checking email while riding is right out.

Looking forward to many fall and early winter days of biking to work as a freelancer and unemployed artiste. Sweet. I want to say that I am missing the start up of school but simply is not so. I loved the kids and miss them very much. But, there is no longing for the lack of congeniality, and mad, unbearable work load of last year. Instead, I am missing my mother and as I am less busy and have time to reflect I am beginning to feel the loss and the awful sudden finality of her demise more rather than less.

* Photos by Rosie, the amazing and Music by Rupa + the April Fishes ( I believe that Poisson D'Avrile means April Fool in French)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sister Shotgun of Enlightenment - Unitarian 'Jihad'

The following is the first communique from a group calling itself Unitarian Jihad. It was sent to me at The Chronicle via an anonymous spam remailer. I have no idea whether other news organizations have received this communique, and, if so, why they have not chosen to print it. Perhaps they fear starting a panic. I feel strongly that the truth, no matter how alarming, trivial or disgusting, must always be told. I am pleased to report that the words below are at least not disgusting

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is only God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary.

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States! Too long has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist thought. Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions (except Buddhism -- 14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism subcommittee) made your head hurt. Too long have you been buffeted by angry people who think that God talks to them. You have a right to your moderation! You have the power to be calm! We will use the IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!

People of the United States, why is everyone yelling at you??? Whatever happened to ... you know, everything? Why is the news dominated by nutballs saying that the Ten Commandments have to be tattooed inside the eyelids of every American, or that Allah has told them to kill Americans in order to rid the world of Satan, or that Yahweh has instructed them to go live wherever they feel like, or that Shiva thinks bombing mosques is a great idea? Sister Immaculate Dagger of Peace notes for the record that we mean no disrespect to Jews, Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Referred back to the committee of the whole for further discussion.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We are everywhere. We have not been born again, nor have we sworn a blood oath. We do not think that God cares what we read, what we eat or whom we sleep with. Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity notes for the record that he does not have a moral code but is nevertheless a good person, and Unexalted Leader Garrote of Forgiveness stipulates that Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity is a good person, and this is to be reflected in the minutes.

Beware! Unless you people shut up and begin acting like grown-ups with brains enough to understand the difference between political belief and personal faith, the Unitarian Jihad will begin a series of terrorist-like actions. We will take over television studios, kidnap so-called commentators and broadcast calm, well-reasoned discussions of the issues of the day. We will not try for "balance" by hiring fruitcakes; we will try for balance by hiring non-ideologues who have carefully thought through the issues.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We will appear in public places and require people to shake hands with each other. (Sister Hand Grenade of Love suggested that we institute a terror regime of mandatory hugging, but her motion was not formally introduced because of lack of a quorum.) We will require all lobbyists, spokesmen and campaign managers to dress like trout in public. Televangelists will be forced to take jobs as Xerox repair specialists. Demagogues of all stripes will be required to read Proust out loud in prisons.

We are Unitarian Jihad, and our motto is: "Sincerity is not enough." We have heard from enough sincere people to last a lifetime already. Just because you believe it's true doesn't make it true. Just because your motives are pure doesn't mean you are not doing harm. Get a dog, or comfort someone in a nursing home, or just feed the birds in the park. Play basketball. Lighten up. The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone.

Brother Gatling Gun of Patience notes that he's pretty sure the world is out to get him because everyone laughs when he says he is a Unitarian. There were murmurs of assent around the room, and someone suggested that we buy some Congress members and really stick it to the Baptists. But this was deemed against Revolutionary Principles, and Brother Gatling Gun of Patience was remanded to the Sunday Flowers and Banners committee.

People of the United States! We are Unitarian Jihad! We can strike without warning. Pockets of reasonableness and harmony will appear as if from nowhere! Nice people will run the government again! There will be coffee and cookies in the Gandhi Room after the revolution.

Startling new underground group spreads lack of panic! Citizens declare themselves "relatively unafraid" of threats of undeclared rationality. People can still go to France, terrorist leader says.

Read more:

Monday, August 17, 2009

It would be laughable if...except health care is so damned important

This health care debate is not a debate. The right wing attackers are part of an orchestrated disinformation campaign that avoids any real information the way vampires avoid sunlight. And for similar reasons. I say, let the sun of reason and reality shine in !

What is this oddly familiar sounding 'scary' idea of 'death panels' ? The idea that single payer health care would cause a scenario that it could actually cure? “Sometimes for the common good, you just have to say, ‘Hey, Grandpa, you’ve had a good life,’ ” as FOX news Mr. Beck said. Or the idea that public health care means a monitoring of "... treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost-effective,” Just swap out "federal government" and put in "insurance companies' and you have the present living hell of managed care. Have any of these people who we see "enraged" by the idea of government supported health coverage experienced "managed care" today? The gate keepers, now, are the profit driven health insurance companies. No one gives a sweet damn how we feel about Grandpa's life or anyone's life. We get care where the hospital must worship the bottom line.

Recently we had many conversations about the delivery of care to our terminally ill mother. We heard over and over what she could or would not rec eive based on her condition and "what the insurance companies will pay for." This is what is real. The right wing scream machine manipulates people's fears, ends debate and tries to stop people from thinking. Have these people been in a hospital or with a loved one in need of care ? Then they will know without a doubt that we already have gate keepers and patients are regularly denied even a bed and basic care because they are not "sick enough". And this is all according to the insurance guidelines based on what is profitable.

This health care debate is not a debate. The right wing attackers are part of an orchestrated disinformation campaign that avoids any real information the way vampires avoid sunlight. And for similar reasons. I say, let the sun of reason and reality shine in !

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Curiosity ?

Transforming into Mary Read

When I was performing this month as Mary Read, I would go to Peet's to get my morning coffee dressed for work. As I walked through Coolidge Corner, no one ever asked me about my "dressed for success clothing" or even looked at me. As I ordered my favorite latte no one commented. (All the mates get lattes- right?) This went on for many days. Even when I went out to lunch each day dressed to kill, it was the same reaction. And I had the charcoal "facial hair" on me by lunch time.No one ever asked what I was doing. The staff at Peet's did finally ask our daughter about me later, though. "We were wondering, what's up with your mom?" Surprised me that no one had had the....what? Curiosity? Temerity? to engage with me f2f.

My cousin Jen filmed me talking to her mom and her son as I dressed for a bedtime story in full costume. I explained to Alex that back then women were not allowed on ships, except as passengers - never as crew. I changed, accessorized and morphed into a pirate while six year old Alex prompted and was a great audience.
Thanks, youse cousins!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Norah performs in AUG 2009

Mary Read shakes her booty - photo by Jen Walz

Dressed as pirate Mary Read, performer and storyteller, Norah Dooley, puts into port in Boston, starting July 6th. Her message: "Literacy, mates. It is the sea that raises all boats! "

Mary Read's Schedule:

AUGUST MON 3 Roxbury Tour
10:00AM Dimock Community Hlth Ctr 1800 Columbus Avenue 02119
11:15 AM Paige Academy 28 Highland Ave Roxbury 02119
1:00 PM Sociedad Latina 1530 Tremont Street , Roxbury 02120

AUGUST TUE 4 Cambridge MA
*10:30AM Arts in the Park Dana Park 74 Magazine St. 02139 *sponsored by Arts in the Parks a City of Cambridge program from Dept. of Human Services

AUGUST WED 5 Jamaica Plain and Roxbury
10:00AM JP Head Start, 315 Centre Street 02130
11:15 AM Bromely Heath, 30 Bickford Street 02130
1:00 PM Yawkey Club 115 Warren Street, 02119

AUGUST THUR 6 Roxbury + Dorchester
10:00AM YMCA, 285 MLK Blvd. 02119
11:15 AM Crispus Attacks, 105 Crawford Street 02121
1:00 PM St. Katherine's 175 Ruggles Street, 02120

READ BOSTON schedules 20 minute shows all over the city - free and open to the public...Performing for summer camps, libraries and community centers, Mary Read will tell tales about the people she sailed with in the Golden Age of Piracy, and the wonders of the 7 seas.
You can see video about Read Boston here: or videos of Norah as a storyteller here:
Recent past performances:
10:00 AM Ellis Children's Center 66 Berkely Street, 0211511:15 AM Wang YMCA 8 Oak Street, 021161:15 PM Salvation Army, 1500 Washington Street 02119 10:00 AM Jeffries Point, 425 Summer Street, 02128 11:15 AM EB YMCA, Guild School, 195 Leyden Street, 02128
1:15 PM EB YMCA, Guild School, 195 Leyden Street, 02128 10:00 AM Yawkey Kreyol Center,185 Columbia Road,02121 11:15 AM Egelston Square Library, 2044 Columbus, 02119 1:15 PM Perkins Community Ctr. 15 Talbot Ave. 02124

ABOUT MARY READ and the program:
In the early 1700s Mary Read disguised herself as a sailor to survive in the harsh world and became a pirate quite by accident when her ship was over taken and she was captured by the crew of Captain “Calico Jack” Rackham. Norah tells Mary’s story in the first person brandishing pistol and sword and sharing pirate lore and secrets and multicultural stories from her sea bag. Norah plays pennywhistle and leads songs and sea chanties, including: John Kanaka, The Mermaid, and Run the Riggin’ Again. While in port, Mary provides historically accurate and engaging fun for all.

Showing a copy of Ships Article's signed by
'Mark' Read, 'Andrew' Bonny and "Calico" Jack Rackham:

PS>> For all your high quality pirate needs I heartily recommend Dead Men Tell No Tales World's Largest Purveyor of Pirate Loot, Pirate flags, Flags, Pirate coins, Pirate stuff. Good service. Intelligent voices on the phone. Nice people. Give them a call or check out their site.
Navigate their site for a shipload o' Pirate Treasure

Answers to the T F Pirate quiz ( see pdf.) :

T √ 1.The name “Jolly Roger” may have come from jolie rouge –French for “pretty red”
T √ 2.Pirating was not for sissies.
T √ 3.Buccaneers were pirates who lived on meat from cattle and pigs in the areas of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Their name comes from the French word for outdoor roast or barbecue. Their name comes from French cooking frames used by hunters in France to smoke and preserve meat.
F √ 4. Pirates were more likely to smoke out foes below decks using stink pots rather than fight it out down below. If they needed to go down below they probably covered their eyes for a minute or two (if the situation permitted it) and then headed below. They would not wear eye patches. This is the same method soldiers use today (if they lack night vision equipment).
F √ 5. There are no historical cases of people being made to walk the plank. Pirates marooned,shoved overboard or hacked their enemies to death. Not very nice folk, really.
F √ 6.Pirates didn't have much gold or silver to bury and most pirates had a 1 - 3 year "career". Very few saved for a rainy day or retirement. And “booty” was often food stuff, gunpowder and other supplies. The idea of a buried treasure was made popular by "Treasure Island".
T √ 7. Ooo la la! and “Ho ho ho and a bottle of rum!” In 1655 when the British fleet captured the island of Jamaica the British Navy changed the daily ration of liquor given to seamen from French brandy to rum. The practice of watering down the rum began around 1740 a mixture which became known as grog.

F √ 8.When pirates were caught, they were brought to trial and sentenced to death by hanging and hanging was referred to as “dancing the hempen jig”
T √ 9.Bless their merry souls, pirates had such cute names for things.
T √10.Piracy is a big problem in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and particularly along the coast of Somalia. Modern day piracy accounts for $13-$16 billion dollars in losses annually.
T √ 11.Shi Xainggu (better known as Cheng I Sao) was active between 1801-1810 in the South China Sea. She commanded five to six squadrons of 800 large junks, about 1,000 smaller vessels, and between 70,000 and 80,000 men and women.
T √ 12.Clever and new agey before their time pirates may have known that the ear lobe is an acupuncture point for several eye conditions. It is quite possible that the practice of ear piercing was brought to the west from the eastern trade routes.

RIDDLES answered Riddle Me This

1. Your promise
2. A towel
3. The letter M
4. Footsteps
5. Counterfeit money
6. A lobster
7. A red-hot poker
8. Water, fire, earth, wind
9. Rain
10. Your name
11. Silence
12. A hole