On Marches and Life

From a friend. Not to explain something that I got right away, but just to clarify: When he says, “I am pro-life,” he’s describing the general voice of someone who proclaims they’re “pro-life” … then ticks off all their exceptions, as my friend points out.

Tikkun olam.

The World's Common Tater

Last weekend was the women’s march in Washington. I had a lot of friends go down to march and I support them and their right to march.. I had other friends who did not support the march because pro-choice organizations and people were involved. Today is the march for life. I’m sure I have friends who are in Washington for that as well.I also support them and their right to march. I hope that regardless of how you feel about either march you understand that the right to march is a fundamental part of America. You can disagree, but you have to support the right to free speech.

Now, the next part has been in my head for a day and I have hesitated  writing and posting it because I think people will be angry with me. I am operating on 5 hours(split into two 2.5 segments with 9 hours…

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Sunday read: The man who spent 44 years in solitary confinement

Image from Answer Coalition.

Last February, Albert Woodfox finally walked out of a Louisiana jail. He had been in prison since 1971, most of it spent in the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

Almost 44 years of his imprisonment was spent in solitary confinement.

Imagine living the vast majority of your life in a dimly lit, six-by-nine-foot cube. Imagine living the vast majority of your life in silence, with only snatched conversations, occasional books and irregular visitations to break the monotony. Imagine being despised by the prison guards and wardens as much for your beliefs — Woodfox was motivated by the self-improvement philosophy of the Black Panthers — as your crimes.

And imagine that you may have been placed in solitary based on a crime you may not have committed. Punishment, certainly. But justice?

Much has been written about Woodfox in the last year, but few pieces have been as powerful as Rachel Aviv’s recent take in The New Yorker. It’s my Sunday read.

Continue reading


I love the pictures here. I’ve never been to Geneva, but hope to go someday.

I was particularly curious about the big chair. I looked it up: It’s a sculpture called “Broken Chair” and it’s almost 40 feet high. It was built to symbolize opposition to land mines and cluster bombs, according to Wikipedia. Intriguing.

the nomads project

I spent a few days in Geneva in the middle of Autumn, while I was there I stayed at Hotel N’vY which was perfectly located right by the lake.

I mainly wandered around Geneva with no specific plan and since it was the middle of autumn everything looked beautiful and so I spent a lot of time walking through parks.

The autumn colours were breathtaking.

I did visit the UN and the WTO but I didn’t have time to go inside. If you visit Geneva you can pre book tours so you don’t miss out.

Like many European cities Geneva has an old town full of beautiful buildings.

I went to see the Jet d’eau however I arrived on the first day of a month of maintenance so it wasn’t running.The lake is stunning from wherever you choose to view it.

I could see the lake from my bathroom…

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My Unpopular Opinions

A friend posted this. For the record, I agree with Nos. 3-5. But though I love early Elvis — and “Hound Dog” kicks the shit out of almost every rock ‘n’ roll record ever made (and what you’re hearing is, amazingly, the 28th of 31 takes) — I’ve got to go with the Beatles.

The World's Common Tater

A friend posted his 10 non-political unpopular opinions on Facebook recently and then I saw someone else ask the question on Twitter. I’m not sure I can think of 10, but I decided to post some of mine.

  1. Elvis over the Beatles – It is probably because I grew up in an Elvis house and didn’t really know the Beatles’ music until late teens, but I’ve always liked Elvis more than I like the Beatles. If I had to make the choice to never listen to one of them again I would choose to keep Elvis. I do like the Beatles. I just like Elvis more.
  2. Pineapple on Pizza – My friend had this in his list as well. I also didn’t realize it is as controversial as it is. I love pineapple on pizza. It is one of my favorite toppings. Ham and pineapple, bacon and pineapple, chicken and…

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Sunday read: 37 short short stories about Bob Dylan

Photo by Jerry Schatzberg via the San Francisco Art Exchange.
I was reading David Remnick’s New Yorker profile of Leonard Cohen when I ran across a story I’d heard before.

Cohen is talking with Bob Dylan. Dylan asks him how long it took Cohen to write “Hallelujah.” Cohen says, “Two years,” which is a lie — it actually took him more like five.

Cohen tells Dylan he admires “I and I,” off “Infidels.” How long did it take Dylan to write it?

“About 15 minutes,” says Bob.

If I recall correctly, Elvis Costello tells the same story — certainly a similar one — in his memoir, “Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink.”

Whether presented by Remnick or Costello, Dylan comes across as something of a savant, a man who can simply unroll genius at his command. I’m not sure that’s the truth, but there is something effortless about the best Dylan songs — and it seems to become even more so the older he gets. He can lock into the rhythm of “The Levee’s Gonna Break” or “Mississippi” and manage to create something both original and timeless, seemingly off the cuff.

You won’t find me complaining about Dylan’s Nobel Prize. For all my love of Philip Roth and other deserving authors, Dylan simply towers over modern culture in a way few individuals of any art do these days. He doesn’t need the award — hell, neither does Roth, really — but why not let the world’s stuffiest honors organization acknowledge the bard?

Anyway, this is all just a way to lead up to my Sunday read, which is a New York magazine article about Dylan’s eccentricities. He apparently has bad breath (no surprise; he’s smoked for more than 50 years) and loved Larry “Bud” Melman. It shouldn’t be any surprise that he’s both inscrutable and has a loopy sense of humor — if you ever listened to his radio show, “Theme Time Radio Hour,” his narration was continually surprising — but it’s still fun to read about it.

I wonder if he’s ever met Bill Murray?

You can read the story here.

A long night in Charlotte

This comes from a friend of a friend. Really well said.

Tommy Tomlinson

This shouldn’t need to be said but let’s say it. There were honorable protestors in the Charlotte streets last night, and there were people who came to break and burn. It’s possible, even likely, that some changed sides during the night. They showed up to stand for peace but anger overwhelmed them. Or they showed up to riot and their hearts pushed them a different way. Our lives are complicated.

This shouldn’t need to be said but let’s say it. There are honorable and skilled police all over this country, and there are police not worthy of the badge. It’s possible, even likely, that some change sides under pressure. They practice calm reason but pull the trigger too soon. Or they itch to take down a suspect and decide, in the moment, to leave the gun in the holster. Our lives are complicated.

It’s 1 o’clock Thursday morning and the…

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