8.17.2017

Lessons from a year playing Pokemon Go

Pokestops are, in general, "street furniture".  While most of these were initially Ingress sites, and many others have been added (notably Starbucks and Sprint stores):

Churches, temples (many faiths), zen centers.  I no longer live near a Sikh house of assembly, nor a mosque, so I don't know about coverage of all faiths.

Clocks.

Fountains.

Architectural details (gargoyles, mosaics, art deco terra cotta tilework, cupolas, etc.)

Archways.

Historical markers.

Public artworks, especially in vest-pocket parks.

Libraries.

Subway stops/train stations, etc.

STATUES.

TRUMP-BRANDED BUILDINGS.

Now, I am not aware of any statues, here in NYC, CT, PBCo., which commemorate events or personalities who contributed to the US civil war on the losing side. So I do not know if they are Pokestops.  I suspect not.

I would like to know if Pokemon Go has lessened gang graffiti and neo-Nazi graffiti on "street furniture", especially given that children are increasingly visiting these public markers.

Surprising to me, some bars (albeit with architecturally-notable facades) are Pokestops.

7.26.2017

voting -- beginning of spiel

As with everything else, there is a great deal of confusion about "voter fraud", barriers to voting, and voter registration.

Before the last general election, +Ashby Manson shared that he still receives voter registration update cards for more than one! previous owner of his house.  Disturbing -- did these people sell a home and neglect to re-register?  Are they then not voting?  Yet, the reports of people registered in multiple states are most likely true, because voting laws vary from state to state:  if one re-registers in Arkansas from Kansas, maybe one's registration is not automatically purged from the rolls in Kansas, but it doesn't happen that someone is going to drive from Arkansas to Kansas in order to vote twice on one day.

I continually, two years after my dad died, get political calls for him.  He will not be voting, and the days when the Chicago Machine and Tammany Hall used names of voters to get votes who are dead are long gone.

As a canvasser, I encountered a lot of people who proudly showed me their voter registration cards.  It was important to be educated in the ways and means to change their addresses to their current address or to vote in their previous district (this was within the same county), since if they voted at the polling place in their current district, but not that on their voter registration card, their vote wouldn't count, and be able to provide the forms and the process for re-registering.  

There are many people who travel for work, and then there are people who are in assisted care, some of whom can't vote on their own.

6.02.2017

http://jacket2.org/commentary/bodies-cities-part-1-queering-geographic-information


Awesome essay!

Although one has to question the idea that Schuyler was a poet of urban environments, since he wrote so much about man-made suburban environments (well, Southampton, NY, is hardly suburban).  He also wrote about preferring smaller towns with more outdoor space.  However, Eileen Myles' set of personal anecdotes about assisting Schuyler are poignant, and I had forgotten about the (perhaps exacerbated by alcohol abuse) diabetes which began to take away his ability to walk well.

6.01.2017

I would like to write a bit about James Schuyler, even though I never met him.  

As a fan of his poetry, I am a bit disappointed about the critical discourse surrounding him and his work.  For instance, after he was released from the US Navy after WWII, returning to Manhattan, writing a play made into a short film, he chose to go to Italy and continue his studies.  Was he a “typist” for Auden, or was he a secretary or assistant, as Joyce was, or Rilke was, or Merwin was (to different writers)?  Is this self-effacement, or what?

Is Bethany College crap compared to Harvard? Ever known anyone on the college plan where it takes eight years to get a BA?  “Well, I was playing bridge.”  I actually regret sharing that anecdote.  I want to send to Bethany College and see if he was ejected.  And I don’t care if he pursued knitting courses at University of Florence and never finished a sweater:  more power to him. No one wants a farm in Arkansas if one is not a farmer in Arkansas, but instead a homosexual man in Manhattan who could be in Italy with that money.

Then there’s the problem with mental health:  with Robert Lowell, criticism resides with “he was able to write what he wrote despite his mental illness” -- yet, one has to travel pretty far into the weeds with the histories of many other poets and writers to even know they were drunks or whatever, while with Schuyler:  well, you know, he was nuts.  Because he never wrote anything before 1960.  Really?  He started publishing and producing works as soon as he got off of the blanket ship.  Well, everything was charity: his collaborations, his pulitzer prize-winning book, his more than a decade in Southampton, NY, with the Porters… there was that time he fell down in the street, the time he set fire to his bed.  He had the audacity to write about his time in the asylum.  Do you know how difficult it is to get a pencil and paper in one of those places?


He may have been a hot mess.  I do not know.  But he is derided as “a lesser Frank O’Hara, who only became an adult after O’Hara’s untimely death”.  I do not care.  He was not Frank O’Hara, anymore than I am.  

1.06.2017

Disreputable

I began using "disreputable" to refer to items about 20 years ago (or more).

In context:  "this disreputable sponge" is a kitchen sponge so filthy that all sorts of soap and vinegar will not clean it enough in order to prepare it to clean other things, such as pots and pans or floors.

^ that was the intro:  

recalling reading how-to home maker American Books from the 30's:  flapper to pecuniary, how to turn run stockings into dish scrubbers!


11.03.2016

In light...

Three people I knew, or knew of, most closely, died before the Cubs won the World Series.

But I am an opinionated person, as always (go Cubs), and so I want to post a few things:

These are some of the phrases that have travelled with me during my life thus far:

1) your shit doesn't smell sweeter.

(it does not)

2) you think you are so smart.

(yes, you got that; also I am)

3) you're so pretty.

(I read this negatively)

4) Smile.

(I know it is a popular meme now, but, experience)

5) You think you can do that?

(yes)

--

I want to punch you.
Suck me off.
Trash.
Whore.

10.24.2016


Lunch Ladies

During the recent and not-so-recent controvery about school lunches, breakfasts, and snacks, as well as lunchesand sometimes dinners, I would like to share some few stories.

I went to parochial school, beginning in the 70s.  Before this time, when children after first communicaion were supposed to be in mass, the prospect of 500+ hungry 2-8th graders loomed large. Accordingly, some schools served breakfast as well as lunch. Some smaller schools dissuaded children from bring their own lunch, so they would end up have sufficient scale to pay the cooks and for the food.

Public school districts vary in the meal service provided, and based on what the majority of culturally-diverse people will actually eat/be able to eat, and what their families can afford: what is served and not served varies.

There is even wide variance among assisted living facilities and nursing homes, hospitals.

For all meals, there are [something got deleted:  will fill in].  Now, many of our parents either owned very specictible restaurants, or had done.  [something missing too!]

Health and nutrition standards are set by the state,  federal government, and local school boards, at public institutions.  This means places like grocery stores, bakeries, etc. often can not donate leftover food (ex., day-old bread) to public institutions.  That's why several restaurants, etc., will donate food to so-called "soup kitchens", and other entities:  they can't donate them to public schools or hospitals (again, the risk is too high).  They are not donating food that has been served to anyone:  that would be crazy.  It is also a reason many public institutions can only reuse or donate certain types of leftovers they have prepared but not served.

So now I'm launching into my parochial school hot lunches story.  One would generally bring in lunch money once a week.  Occasionally, someone's parents or that student would totally forget to ask about lunch money.  I remember some kids having to help with after-school cleaning to work off various tuition and lunch fees;  that pretty much ended for high school, when everyone could get more lucrative part time jobs.

But the grade school / junior high had a big problem:  the lunch ladies were embezzling.  Semis would pull in and unload all the food that had been paid for, and somehow it never appeared in the "hot meals."  Hamburger day consisted of a TVP patty and two slices of white bread.  I don't remember any condiments.  Obviously, we just made dough balls of the bread and threw them at each other, or the cafeteria ceiling.  Hamburger day was followed by chili day, for obvious reasons.  But with the addition of tomatoes and real beans, the ground TVP was sort of good.  Other meals consisted of all starch:  canned applesauce, canned corn, and mashed potatoes, maybe two fish sticks.  Now, many of our parents ran respectible restaurants, bakeries, catering establishments (even for local hospitals).  Somebody ran the numbers.  And lo and behold, the lunch ladies were fired for embezzling.

During the chaos of "what do do now," I at least remember it this way, my sister always got to bring her own lunch, because she was allergic to milk, wheat, and honestly, I don't remember, probably a lot of other stuff.  So she was an exemplar.  As I remember, she had a great red tupperware lunch box, with tiny tupperware containers for carrot sticks and another for sliced fruit, etc.  My family also had an array of thermous containers with a wide mouth for hot soup, chili, stew, narrow ones for hot tea or cold juice.  This is still a problem today, as so many people are allergic to peanuts, cucumbers, mangoes that they can't even be near them.  This was before insulated lunch bags.  So balogni and cheese would get sweaty, anything with mayo like tuna salad or egg salad would be a bit dubious, braunschiger with onions (that I loved) would smell up the classroom.  (It was also a problem because unlike my kindergarten in public school, we didn't have lockers.)

This is still a problem for public school, which generally offers hot meal or bring-your-own.   If your parents don't have enough time or money to pay lunch money, they probably don't have time or money to make lunches, until they can show children how to make our own.  A person I went through school with, son of a single Dad, came every day with a deli sandwich.  I have waited in line at grocery store checkouts with Moms buying her lunch and the kid's lunches, which were generally lunchables and carrot sticks, and maybe a frozen burrito for herself to heat up at work.  Which brings to mind:  do schools not have microwaves for students, yet?

I support the school vending machines not having Regular soda and candy bars, because some kids were eating that instead of lunch.

This brings us to back to institutional food, at hospitals, in the military, and in retirement homes.  Trains and planes are definitely offering more options (especially since one can't bring food or water through security on planes), but.  Hospitals are under three different types of pressure:  people are generally not healthy in hospitals, delivering three hot meals a day for a thousand people is not very practical, people with allergies and certain other problems haven't been fully diagnosed yet, and, above and beyond that, many aren't particularly well fed when they arrive.  This has supported a variety of packaged foods for easy delivery, like Ensure, Jello in cups, various sorts of canned fruit cups, denial of hot herbal tea for no good reason, and no 100% fruit juice.  Not only is it ridiculously expensive for the patient, pre-diabetic or severely allegic to ingredients used as filler (corn starch, corn syrup, soy, wheat).  You may get advice for food ordering from nutritionsts who don't know you, and haven't had the opportunity to know you.

For example, the first time I was in the hospital, through the ER, was for severe abdoninal pain.  I had thrown up the contrast they gave me for the CT scan, and otherwise ejected it; all over the machine.  MY specialist internist, GYN, and Gastroenterologist all said, yes, there were somethings in each of their specialties that would need to be done, but ruled out ectopic pregnancy, appendicitis, and lower GI blockage.  They expected my main problem would be allergies, and I would need IV contrast and a more state of the art machine.  I said, if you let me go today, I will see you all during the week, and see an allergist (the next day was my birthday, I just wanted to be warm and on the couch).   (The night nurse had, against orders, allowed me some hot herbal tea and ice chips).  The nutritionist came in and said, "no fiber, but I can't let you leave until you've eaten (and passed, etc.) << I hadn't eaten for a day and a half, hadn't been allowed a bottle of water, and had already established that there was absolutely nothing left in my system.

So I said, "I would like some scrambled eggs.  Plain yogurt."  She said, "You missed breakfast."  I said, ok, a plain chicken breast.

I got a chicken breast covered with beef white flour gravy, mashed potatoes, formerly canned green beans that had been cooked to death, no butter, no flavoring possible, some sort of white flour bread product, a cup of jello, and a fruit (salad) cup.  You know, the kind that would have half a marischo cherry in it.  So I scraped off the gravy.  I had a bag that my sister and husband brought me (containing a cashmere sweat suit and warm socks):  there went all the items in containers.  In the coming weeks, I learned I was allergic to every item on the tray, except the chicken.  With two other nutritionists, I ran through, "no one is allergic to millet and quinoa (I am), small amounts of this and that, in a rotation diet (that means I don't react until reactions snowball), and that future allergy tests have to be through a blood draw (scratch tests bring on shock).  The next time I was in the hospital, my sister brought me some food I could eat, and being able to eat nothing for breakfast, tried to skip it.  But in the intervening years, hospital nutritionists had gotten a lot better!  I was able to order my own meals, and not "one from this group, one from that, etc."

Yet, while the VA caf was excellent for visitors, and they provided fruit and granola bars, free, it was still quite grim for patients in rooms.  Scrambled eggs, some outmeal that wasn't the instant kind was all; I snuck him a diet coke.

Food banks and former soup kitchens allow people who have the opportunity to cook (gas and electric) ingredients, even run CSAs where the food is free for those who can't pay, or who run better food lines, or restaurant-style cafeterias, where people can order only what they want.  Schools are doing a better job at seeking which kids are underfed (many are responsible for feeding younger siblings), with food to take home (dinner), and at least good lunch and food to take home in the summer.  But many, including in North Powder, OR, have stopped running food drives in the same way, when they found that many non-perishable items they'd provided kids were getting returned "to help other kids."  Assisted living apartments have had a slightly different problem:  at least one place rethought box lunches and fruit (to eat in one's apartment or picnic) because they were being saved for grandkid's visiting, to be able to offer something.