Friday, September 30, 2011


portrait of troy davis, 2011
artist, alex schaefer
courtesy of the grand bastard

Troy Davis' memorial was held in Savannah this evening at New Life Apostolic Temple. 
Jason Ewart, a Washington attorney who spent seven years handling Davis' appeals, fought back tears as he recalled sitting in the second row of witnesses at the execution and watching the life drain from Davis' eyes.
 Ewart recalled many long phone conversations with Davis, never shorter than an hour, in which the men spent twice as much time talking about their families as they did legal strategy. Ewart said his own grandmother had just died, and he pictured her and Davis together at "heaven orientation."
 "She would say, 'Jesus died on the cross not because he was guilty, but because we all were,'" Ewart said.
Media Witness Jon Lewis describes here Mr. Davis' formal last words at an execution community activists have decried as legal lynching or state sanctioned murder.

According to the AP story, many notable civil rights leaders and activists attended.  Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta recalled to the reporters how Emmett Til's mother insisted on an open casket, hoping people could see the injustice of Jim Crow.   In a similar spirit, Troy Davis' family hopes that opening the funeral to supporters, Saturday October 1st, will help people see the injustice of the death penalty.

Courtesy of The Grio

Former President Jimmy Carter, among the many prominent voices calling for clemency, wrote, "If one of our fellow citizens can be executed with so much doubt surrounding his guilt, then the death penalty system in our country is unjust and outdated. We hope this tragedy will spur us as a nation toward the total rejection of capital punishment."


In other news, Americans find it easy to believe Onion reports that U.S. representatives are holding Americans hostage.

Courtesy of the L.A. Times

Congress is not pleased, and is instigating a Federal probe of the Onion.  

Courtesy of Hollywood Gothique
"Martians and Aztec Mummies
Invade the Hammer Museum: Mexican Sci Fi Classics"

 Hostage negotiations continue.


Coming to a theater near you soon !

(John Stewart takes on Tony Bologna.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Here He Is

Now web viral (no thanks to the authorities), introducing NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna:

Courtesy of Gothamist

Is this why they are arresting people for taking pictures?  A police officer does not have to identify themselves or show their badge? 


Monday, September 26, 2011


Did you read this New York Times article about foraging abandonned gardens?  A scissors is a handy thing to carry around if you happen upon edible greens.

I took a walk down an old trail that meandors into town over assorted woods alongside the backs of abandoned buildings – near wilded gardens. 
I spotted a broccoli plant without broccoli, but tons of tasty and nutrition-rich leaves, often ignored and discarded by consumers.  So I pulled out my handy scissors and clipped a few, along with the outer leaves of a nearby cabbage needing barber, and another variety of cabbage and kale at the next spot.
A few hikers smiled and nodded as they passed me, snipping and clipping into my sack. 

Broccoli Leaves Without Broccoli - Spigariello

Just several hardy leaves with this trusty manicure device, and I conveniently continued on with at least a week's supply of fresh greens  - and greens that stay fresh.  (Since supermarket greens are a lot older than we often think - at the end of this supply, the leaves were still firm and rich - fresher than the freshest ones on a quality store shelf.)

Once home, they were soaked and well cleaned, chopped, and mixed - then ready to pull from the refrigerator for fast, delicious, assorted stir fries and soups.

Saturday, September 24, 2011



back in Denmark

funeral delayed

troy davis’ body



with the State

across the wide Missouri

“to the saguaro

cactus tree

in the desert"


in absentia


seeing is believing 

we shall overcome

- o.s.r.

Back In Denmark

Authorities still haven't released Troy Davis' body to his family, now delaying his funeral. 

Courtesy of Deviant Art
Owl In The Hanging Tree



Spadecaller takes us across the wide Missouri.

Friday, September 23, 2011


To the Saguaro Cactus Tree in the Desert Rain
by James Wright

I had no idea the elf owl
Crept into you in the secret
Of night.

I have torn myself out of many bitter places
In America, that seemed

Tall and green-rooted in mid-noon.
I wish I were the spare shadow
Of the roadrunner, I wish I were
The honest lover of the diamondback
And the tear the tarantula weeps.
I had no idea you were so tall
And blond in moonlight.
I got thirsty in the factories,
And I hated the brutal dry suns there,
So I quit.

You were the shadow
Of a hallway
In me.

I have never gone through that door,
But the elf owl's face
Is inside me.

You are not one of the gods.
Your green arms lower and gather me.
I am an elf owl's shadow, a secret
Member of your family.

In Absentia

Supreme Court, U.S. Courtroom


Courtesy of the New York Times
Photograph by Marilynn K. Yee

Seeing Is Believing

Tyler Green tours the nation's best known historical art museums and asks the National Gallery if they've happened to notice any great women artists over time. 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Deaf Ears

If justice is blind, it is also deaf. 

In what John Nichols recalled as retired Justice Steven’s “haunting reminder of once prevalent southern lynchings,” Troy Davis was executed late this evening, dying 11:08 P.M. in Georgia.  Community activists decry his execution as legal murder or lynching by the State.
Courtesy of Feministing
U.S. Demonstrators, "I Am Troy Davis"
The U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution moments before Mr. Davis, strapped into a gurney, was to be lethally injected with poisons at 7;  however, it turned out our hopes for a stay had been falsely raised when, not much later, the Court summarily and unanimously turned down the appeal, without explanation

Within the next half hour, Troy Davis was killed.

“I am innocent,” Mr. Davis stated simply, shortly before his death.
Courtesy of Community Radio For Northern Colorado
International Demonstration For Troy Davis, France
Mr. Davis’ courageous 19 year effort on death row produced 700,000 signatures on petitions to the Georgia prison authorities, worldwide demonstrations, and appeals for clemency from prominent political and community leaders, including a Nobel laureate, a former U.S. President, the Pope, the European Union, 50 members of Congress, former representatives, and a former director of the F.B.I.  No physical evidence connected Mr. Davis to the crime, 7 out of 9 witnesses recanted, alleging police coercion, and one of the two remaining witnesses reportedly boasted of being the actual murderer.  Even jurors came forward to assert that, if they had known differently, they would not have voted for a conviction, and Mr. Davis would be free.
Yet nine people in Washington on the highest court of American "justice" were so far away from this country and the rest of the world, they couldn't hear a thing. 

Right Versus Just

Back in Denmark, the State continues to insist on "being right," at all costs, rather than being just.  Georgia prison authorities have denied Troy Davis' request to take a lie detector test.  N.A.A.C.P. officials in contact with the Department of Justice hope the federal government will intervene on the basis of civil rights violations and "irregularities in the original investigation and at the trial." 

The New York Times reports:
Edward O. DuBose, president of the Georgia chapter, said the organization had “very reliable information from the board members directly that the board was split 3 to 2 on whether to grant clemency.”

“The fact that that kind of division was in the room is even more of a sign that there is a strong possibility to save Troy’s life,” he said.  
The issues in Mr. Davis' case transcend partisanship and even the death penalty debate.  Many prominent leaders have stepped forward to ask for clemency, including former President Jimmy Carter, 51 members of Congress, former FBI Director William Sessions (under Reagan and Bush Sr.), former Georgia representative and Republican Bob Barr, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Pope, and the European Union. 

Benjamin Jealous, head of the N.A.A.C.P., is asking President Obama for a reprieve;  also, The Innocence Project has asked the Chatham County D.A., Larry Chisholm, to pull the execution because there is no DNA evidence linking Mr. Davis to the crime.  (Mr. Chisholm was not the D.A. at the time the case was decided, and stated that he would not have sought the death penalty.)

Meanwhile, protestors continue to gather in Georgia.

Courtesy of The Grio

Courtesy of The Grio

The Grio reports that demonstrations are spreading worldwide with several planned at U.S. Embassies. 

Mr. Davis is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 7:00 P.M. in Georgia this evening.  He has repeatedly maintained his innocence.

Mr. Davis is presently with family members and has refused a last meal.  In a recent conversation with an Amnesty International U.S.A. representative, he stated:  “I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath.  Georgia is prepared to snuff out the life of an innocent man.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Something Is Rotten In Denmark

Courtesy of Elfinspell
The Castle of Kronborg, Denmark
"Hamlet's Castle"
Photograph by Horace Marryat

Troy Davis is denied clemency in Georgia and is scheduled to be unjustly executed tommorow by lethal injection.  Witnesses have recanted and alleged in written testimony submitted to a Georgia judge that they were coerced by officials to lie.

Please email on behalf of Troy Davis to the White House, your U.S. Senators, and the Georgia D.A. and Pardons Board through Amnesty International's petition.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Early Abstract Art

Roberta Smith implores people to save The American Folk Art Museum's 10 year old building on West 52nd Street in Manhattan.  The Museum houses an impressive historical collection of quilts, along with four to five thousand works by 20th century outsider artist Henry Darger

On the quilt exhibition, Ms. Smith observes,
They effortlessly combine personal and national histories with an exceptional kind of down-home formalism, all the while using available, often humble, fabrics. Like painted furniture and ceramics — only more so — they encourage a free-range pictorial expression outside of painting’s traditional boundaries. Like Navajo blankets, many can be counted among the earliest abstract art in post-conquest North America.
Courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum
Artist, Rebecca Fisher Stolzfus, 1903
Wool with rayon binding (added later)

We don't often think about a bunch of 19th century housewives, or Native Americans, American slaves or unassuming Amish as predominant 19th century abstractionists, or, as the New York Times writer notes, regarding Rebecca Fisher Stoltzfus' 1903 Diamond in the Square, "precursors of Minimalism's rigor and scale ... worthy in its boldness of the young Frank Stella .. a marvel to dissect and reassemble with the eye."
Could this, too, be part of the reason the museum is scheduled for closure? 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday In N.Y.C.

Sometimes a statement captures what so many people feel.

Courtesy of WNYC
Photograph by Arun Venugopal
Demonstrators Marching Through the Financial District

Marchers are gathering as part of Occupy Wall Street to protest corporate influence in politics and demand higher taxes on the top 1%.  

Saturday, September 17, 2011

In the Arms of An Angel

Matthew Schwartz weaves his art and photography magic with Sarah McLachlan's In the Arms of An Angel.


Paul Krugman writes about old-fashioned compassion.  Having canceled my cable television subscription years ago, I missed the following:
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Representative Ron Paul what we should do if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance suddenly found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Mr. Paul replied, “That’s what freedom is all about — taking your own risks.” Mr. Blitzer pressed him again, asking whether “society should just let him die.”  
And the crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of “Yeah!”
Photograph by Kristina Neumann
"And there was a massive cross to the side in remembrance of those Christians who died there, but I found out that the only documented Christian persecuted in the Colosseum was Ignatius of Antioch. The mass slaughters we read about happen elsewhere."


Friday, September 16, 2011


I'll Remember This Autumn

I'll remember this autumn
Gleaming and skittish in the migrant light
That curves in the wind across the slouching reeds.
The canals at floodtime swelled waist high—
Shriveled by the dry heat, I plunged in.
When I'm with friends at night in the city
I'll tell the story of these privileged days,
Of my father whose feet turned red
Treading grapes,
Of my shy mother
Carrying a warm egg in her hand,
Happier than any bride.
My father talked of that cherry tree
Planted on their wedding day. It hasn't
Bloomed this year, he told me. He dreamed
It would someday be their firstborn's wedding bed—mine.
The north wind blew open the sky
To the quarter moon. A moon
With a calf's pinkish budding horns!
Tomorrow we'll be able to plant, he said.
I looked at his open palm, its creases
Sharpened by the firelight, I heard
The seed explode in his heart,
I saw blazing in his eyes
The corn-ripened conch.

(Text of the poem in the original Italian)
Leonardo Sinisgalli
translated from the Italian by W. S. Di Piero

(Courtesy of Poetry Daily)

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Have you met Green Dean at Eat the Weeds?  He has many helpful videos on how to identify edible weeds and wild plants, even in urban areas like Los Angeles.  Also recipes!

Here is a great video he did on foraging the common yet highly nutritious Dandelion green.

"Luxury Food"

What in the world is “luxury food” ? 

When I first heard this oxymoronic phrase, images of caviar and French pastries, or exclusive restaurants in Washington D.C. rolled across my imaginary screen.

Where the "posh of the posh" rub shoulders !

Yet when reading internet discussions about poverty in America, posters rather include anything from leaner cuts of beef or seafood prepared at home, to yogurt, brown rice, breads that have higher fiber content and therefore cost more, or fresh fruits and vegetables. 

These are not luxury items, however.  They are basic, real food items commonplace to a balanced diet, and with prices inflated relative to people’s ability to pay.  Here are more thoughts on some of the mentioned examples:

Besides children, many women must have yogurt as part of a balanced diet.  Its good bacteria prevents and treats yeast infections.  It is high in protein and calcium.  In balancing your economic priorities and meal planning, also consider that you can obtain a more inexpensive organic yogurt product, compared to the price of organic milk.  Do not simply deny yourself yogurt on the notion that it is a "luxury food" you don't deserve or that it is unwise to spend food money on this product.


Apart from vegetarian diets, meat-eaters should consume at least two servings or more per week of seafood (fish or shellfish).  With higher mercury content seafood (such as larger fish in the food chain) restricted to once a week out of all seafood selections.  Ironically, the less expensive chunk tuna is safer than albacore.  (Canned in water for either.)
Red Meat

With red meat, it can be healthier to buy a more expensive, leaner cut, and have smaller portions.  Stir fry dishes and wraps/burritos are a good way to stretch these portions.  Indeed, for real dollar stretching, you can forget about purchasing the tortilla wraps, and use a healthier, more economical cabbage leaf with all kinds of combinations for stuffing.
Courtesy of See Michelle Cook


With bread, it is almost pointless to buy these less expensive loaves so bereft of nutritional value.  Brown rice and other whole grains like oatmeal can help fill in the spaces for a more expensive loaf purchased less often, and with much more health punch per dollar.  Or people can bake their own loaves, with some practice (yeast, the initially more costly item).

Additional Thoughts

Lastly, “comfort” food is an important part of anyone’s diet or health.  In a New York Times article about American poverty in the last couple of years, I was appalled to see a woman on the Food Program videotaped crying her heart out because she believed that boxed cereal was off-limits.  First of all, it not an off-limits Food Program item.  Secondly, while there may be more economically sensible choices (non-instant oatmeal, for example), clearly boxed cereal is a comfort food to this person.  The image of her crying about her cereal stayed with me for a long time.  Who was telling this poor woman not to get her cereal?  Of course, she has budgeting considerations, but shoppers should, indeed, be taking their psychological health into consideration when prioritizing.  If she is that upset about her cereal, she should go ahead and buy herself some.  Psychological health and well-being is an integral part of one's physical health, too.  Couldn't someone just give this woman some boxes of her beloved cereal? 
More On Comfort Items

Children need to be treated to things like ice cream every now and then.  No one should be “made” to feel poor.  These little treats help children feel like they are part of the real world, and not about to fall off the edge of the planet.  Families should be having real meals, and all together on a regular basis, with common American fare, like ice cream from time to time, as well.  Apart from the diabetes issue, and people eating junk and only junk, all the time.

Final Thoughts On Stretching Dollars & Health

If you are stretching food dollars and health, it is helpful to think in terms of meals.  Although some people recommend using a very limited amount of food funds on fresh fruits and vegetables, this can depend on what part of the country you are living in.  For example, foraging is on the rise, along with people sharing out of gardens.  It may be wiser to buy larger quantities of better meats, if possible, breaking them down with freezer bags.  Consider, too, what fishing and hunting options are available in your area, and what food products your local food bank is usually stocking. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Roast Chicken

Courtesy of True Wild Life

Mark Bittman has this great recipe on roast chicken.  Before rubbing the bird with olive oil, you can cut slits in the meat to insert garlic slivers.  Try generously sprinkling with rosemary and thyme, along with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  The quality of the meat - as in free range - is also key to an excellent tasting roast.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Winter In America

The New York Times reports on a lost decade of soaring poverty indicated by new Census Bureau information released.
Joblessness was the main culprit pushing more Americans into poverty, economists said.

Last year, about 48 million people ages 18 to 64 did not work even one week out of the year, up from 45 million in 2009, said Trudi Renwick, a Census official.

“Once you’ve been out of work for a long time, it’s a very difficult road to get back,” Mr. Katz said.
I'm reminded of Mr. Heron's classic, Winter In America.  Here he is in London in 1990: