Sunday, June 26, 2005

revenge? or do they just like purple?

Stanley told me about this house a while ago, and we finally snapped a shot of it while driving by a week or so ago. It’s on a corner of Flax Hill Road, in Norwalk. It’s very interesting in that the yard and gardens are meticulously maintained, and everything looks trim and tidy. But a closer look reveals the paint job is, um, less than professionally done. Which leads us to suspect this is the result of a fit of pique. But, we could be wrong.

image
click to enlarge, if you dare ...

It really is purple. My photo doesn’t do justice to its purpleness. I’m sure the neighbors are fit to be tied. It’s not a high-end neighborhood, but it is a neighborhood with a lot of house pride: people mow their lawns and trim their hedges and rake their leaves and maintain their houses.

It must be really hard to find plants and shrubs that don’t look gaggy against grape.

posted by lee on 06/26/05 at 04:48 PM

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thirteen years

Still owe my sister a huge debt of gratitude for all she did to help me kick that demon booze 13 years ago. Ciggies took a lot longer—it’s been 3 years, 9 months for those. Which saved me $3,593.62 since then, according to QuitNet (I didn’t use this service—discovered it after Stanley bore the brunt of my kicking the butt.) Saved 5 months, 6 days, 20 hours of life, they claim.

I refuse to give up coffee or chocolate. Life isn’t short enough to do that.

posted by lee on 06/26/05 at 04:37 PM

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Sunday, June 19, 2005

macarthur censored account of nagasaki destruction

The Mainichi Daily News, a national newspaper in Japan, published Pulitzer Prize winner George Weller’s eyewitness account of what he found in Nagasaki, Japan about a month after the United States dropped the atomic bomb on it, an attack that killed about 70,000 men, women, and children.
George Weller

George Weller, from the Mainichi Daily News

It’s a harrowing read, and one that General Douglas MacArthur ordered censored. Weller, who died in 2002 at the age of 95, was the first foreign journalist to make it to the bombed-out city, which MacArthur, head of the U.S. occupation in Japan, ruled was off limits to reporters. Weller’s son, Anthony Weller, found the carbon copies and accompanying photographs in his father’s Rome apartment last year. According to an Associated Press report, “Anthony Weller told Mainichi he thought wartime officials wanted to hush up stories about radiation sickness and feared that his father’s reports would sway American public opinion against building an arsenal of nuclear bombs.” Anthony Weller plans to publish his father’s story and photographs some time soon, but made it available to Mainichi. You can read it here: A Nagasaki Report.

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posted by lee on 06/19/05 at 11:38 AM

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

council passes anti-patriot act resolution

We (Stanley, Alice, and I) showed up at the Norwalk Common Council chambers at about 7:45 Tuesday evening. We were there until nearly 2:00 Wednesday morning. There were three resolutions before the Council that, combined, packed the audience. They moved the meeting from chambers to the Concert Hall because so many people showed up.

I think it’s a pretty strange procedure to have speakers all line up and speak out about resolutions before anybody even knows what the resolutions are. The way it’s all a mish-mash makes no sense—speakers who had no intention of speaking to any resolution but the one they were interested digressed to encompass the other resolutions, it was bizarro-land, for the most part. Seems a more logical procedure would be to present the resolution, ask for speakers, debate it, then vote on it and then go on to the next resolution.

There were some good speeches on all sides of all the issues. A couple orators I would like to listen to for more than the allotted three minutes. And there was stuff I wanted to say, but decided to just shut up and not add to the listening load, especially since a couple of the speakers presented my issues more eloquently than I ever could.

The first resolution had to do with the Council urging the Mayor Knopp to get off his ass about the firefighters’ contract, or lack of one I should say. They’ve been working without a contract (or raise) for three years. It’s now in binding arbitration. The mayor said, in a pre-vote speech that went on interminably, cycling the same points as if repetition would make it more believable (a Bushie tactic), that the union had canceled some of the more recent negotiation sessions. Like two or three since April. But didn’t get into why it had even dragged into April 2005 to begin with. The Council amended the resolution to call on the mayor AND the union to get on with it—rendering it pure even more meaningless mush. The firefighters walked out in disgust. I don’t blame them.

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posted by lee on 06/15/05 at 09:35 AM

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Monday, June 13, 2005

mandarin design

Don’t know who or why, just love the what and I think I’ll be spending much time here over the next few days: Mandarin Design.

posted by lee on 06/13/05 at 09:37 PM

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Sunday, June 12, 2005

neighbors take on travesty known as patriot act

On Tuesday, June 14th, the Common Council will be asked to pass a resolution:

To:  The Mayor and Common Council of Norwalk

Whereas multiple provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional and dangerous to the legal rights of Norwalkers and all Americans in that they allow authorities to:

1.Search A Private Home Without Notifying The Owner (section 213),

2. Collect Information About What Books We Read, What We Study, What We Purchase, Our Medical History, And Our Personal Finances (section 215),

3. Label One A “Terrorist” For Belonging To An Activist Group (sections 411 and 802),

4. Monitor Our E-Mails And Watch What Internet Sites We Visit (216),

5. Confiscate or Impound Our Property Without A Hearing (section 806),

6. Spy On Innocent Americans (204 and 901),

7. Jail Targeted Immigrants Indefinitely (412), and

8. Wiretap Citizens Under A Warrant That Does Not Even Contain Their Name (216).

We Citizens of Norwalk Petition the Mayor and The Common Council Of The City Of Norwalk, to:

1. Inform the White House and our elected federal representatives of our objections to these provisions and seek their repeal and specifically that the Common Council President transmit as soon as possible a copy of this resolution to Senators Christopher Dodd and Joseph Lieberman, and Representative Christopher Shays, accompanied by a letter urging them to support Congressional efforts to assess the impacts of the PATRIOT Act, monitor federal anti-terrorism tactics, repeal provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT and other laws and regulations that infringe on civil rights and liberties, ensure that provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act “sunset” in accordance with the provisions of the Act and prevent passage of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, known as “Patriot II.”

2. Instruct all departments of the city of Norwalk to refuse to comply with any provisions of the law found to be unconstitutional by the City’s Law Department, and

3. To notify all appropriate state and federal enforcement agencies of the City’s position of noncompliance.

Norwalk residents are being asked to sign this petition online—go to http://www.petitiononline.com/norwalkp/petition.html. It’s easy.

This resolution is being sponsored by council members Carvin Hilliard, Bruce Kimmel, Bill Krummel, and Peter Wien. (Though word is that Bill Krummel won’t be there to vote on this resolution.) It is supposed to be a bipartisan deal, since the Patriot Act tramples on everyone’s rights, dem, republicans, independents, non-voters—everyone.

In addition to signing the resolution, NEIGHBORS (Norwalkers Engaged In Giving Hope to the Bill of Rights) Freedom Committee (organized by Paul Cantor) is urging supporters to show up at the council meeting on Tuesday as a show of strong support, and sign up to speak in favor of the resolution.

This afternoon, Stanley and I went to the NEIGHBORS meeting to find out what is going on. We already signed the petition, and wanted to find out what else we could do in addition to showing up at the Council meeting on Tuesday (we’ll be there). Not much, as it turns out, except get people to show up and sign up to speak. So we will.

We were informed that there is “powerful opposition” to the resolution by “people with influence,” mainly because of parts 2 and 3 of the resolution. The council member who is one of the presenters of the resolution, Bruce Kimmel, said, in essence, that if he doesn’t think the resolution would pass unless provisions 2 and 3 are dumped (which he apparently already decided is the case), he would cut them when the Democrats have their closed caucus on Monday. He’s decided that it’s better to pass just section one than nothing at all. Some people agree. Others, like me, think this is the typical kind of namby-pamby nonsense that lost two presidential elections.

And, we learned, there’s not a thing we can do if the Dems decide to drop 2 and 3 unless we show up in force and insist that they be put back in (and even then, who knows?)

He also said, when I asked him about why he would de-fang the resolution (which, without teeth, I think is an exercise in futility—though I hope I’m wrong), that he didn’t care what I thought. Guess he’s too powerful to care about what mere citizens think. And he said this without knowing who I am. He said that he has to play politics with this because he’s up for reelection in November.

What shocked many of the people at this meeting was that the Dems have this closed meeting to decide what gets on the agenda, even though they’ve already got the resolution petition circulating for signature. We won’t know what the resolution actually says until we show up on Tuesday—though Kimmel did assure us that it will really, truly be on the agenda. Though we don’t know in what form.

So, bottom line: sign the petition, show up Tuesday to show your support, and call and write to the members of the council and let them know what you think. In particular, write to the dems to let them know they should present the resolution as it stands.

Council Members At-Large
Representing all residents of Norwalk
Kenneth Baker D 838-5457 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Matthew T. Miklave D 852-7051 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Jeanette Olmstead-Sawyer D 845-7949 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Douglas Sutton D 846-9862 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Michael W. Coffey D 849-9404 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Council Members in District A
Representing residents of Central Norwalk
Peter Wien D 838-2806 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Richard A. Mcquaid R 838-0454 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Council Members in District B
Representing residents of South Norwalk
Carvin J. Hillard D 866-4284 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Leona Williams D 831-0356 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Council Members in District C
Representing residents of East Norwalk (our district)
Fred Bondi (Majority Leader) D 853-0793 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Kevin Poruban D 838-4862 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Council Members in District D
Representing residents of Northern Norwalk , Cranbury and Silvermine
Bruce Kimmel (Council President) D 847-2301 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Douglas E. Hempstead (Minority Leader) R 846-1054 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Council Members in District E
Representing residents of HarborView, Village Creek, Rowayton, Brookside and West Norwalk
Betsy Bain D 838-1109 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
William Krummel D 853-7147 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

UPDATE: Here is a link to resolutions pending in Fairfield County (thanks, Alice!) http://www.ctgreens.org/fairfield/Coalition.htm

Here are some resolutions passed by other CT towns:

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posted by lee on 06/12/05 at 03:54 PM

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

this music meme thing

Adam passed the baton he got from Rudi for this music meme. I usually ignore memes, but it was from a friend, so ...

But first, a word about music and me. I’m not obsessed with music. If I had an iPod, I’d probably load it with more books than music. There are musicians I like a lot and never grow tired of, but I don’t HAVE to have music playing all the time. In fact, having music playing for any length of time while I’m working, for example, begins to annoy me—unless I’m in the flow. Then I like it.

My husband considers me a music moron. Maybe. But I’m quite deaf, so listening to anything is work for me. I’m not totally deaf, mind you—I have about 30% of hearing. Born that way, nerves never developed, nothing to be done about it. Hearing aids don’t work (though the new digital ones seem like possibilities—IF I could afford one).

I won’t go into detail about the music that influenced my life—I’m nearly 50, so that would take way, way too much time. I don’t like most jazz. Back in the sixties, I preferred the Beatles to the Stones and that hasn’t changed much.

I’m not crazy about heavy metal live because it makes my ears bleed.

Springsteen, Paul Simon, U2, Robert Johnson, Leo Kottke, Fred Neil, yes. Motown—this is embedded into my psyche since I grew up in a Detroit blue-collar ‘burb during Motown’s finest hours.

I like Eno, Kitaro, Enya as well as Owen, Low, Alexi Murdoch, Tom Waits. I love acoustic guitar played well, bottleneck guitar played by someone who’s been through some rough times, blues by singers not well-fed white boys, minimalism.

I know all of the words to “Build Me Up, Buttercup” from listening to it repeatedly on WKNR and then later after buying it as my first 45, but won’t sing it because I can’t carry a tune.

I like quite a bit of country music but don’t listen to it much. Rap is interesting to me because my New York City middle school students taught me a lot about it. I like quite a bit of classical music, but don’t seek it out. I don’t like screechy vocals or all this over-emoting crap that all sounds the same.

But, here is the meme, then I really have to get some work done.
Total volume of music on my computer:
First, I use a laptop with those crapola harmon/kardon speakers built in, so it’s not exactly a thrilling experience to listen to music on my computer. And I don’t have an iPod. So, the answer is 270 MB, about 70 songs. That’s what, about 3.5 hours worth? When I hear a song I like a lot, I generally try to buy the CD and then listen to it on Stanley’s computer since I got him really good speakers for it for Christmas a few years ago.

The last CD I bought:
Ghosts of the Great Highway, Sun Kil Moon. And I listen to it a lot.

Song playing right now:
Nothing. The last song I heard was, hmm, oh yes, on WFUV: something by Aimee Mann, then a song by Chris Isaak, then something smarmy by Al Green.

Five (or so) songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:
Stand by Me ONLY by Ben E. King
Blue Guitar, Cowboy Junkies
Carry Me Ohio, Sun Kil Moon
White Room, Cream
Dinosaur Act, Low
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, Paul Simon
I’m on Fire, Bruce Springsteen
Late Summer, Early Spring (Season Suite), by John Denver
Everybody’s Talkin’, Harry Nilsson
Orange Sky, Alexi Murdoch
and on and on and on.

Five Victims People To Whom I’m Passing The Baton:
Well, let’s see. There’s Kate, and Stanley of course. And Les. And Tony. And Ben, if I can figure out how to reach him via email and get him to comment.

There. Done.

posted by lee on 06/09/05 at 07:01 AM

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Friday, June 03, 2005

ashes and snow

reading to elephant by gregory colbert

ashes and snow is an exhibit running for three more days at Pier 54 in Manhattan (13th Street). It features the work of Gregory Colbert, a photographer and filmmaker. Ashes and snow features his photos of mainly humans interacting with animals (as far as I can tell). There is a sampling of his images and video on his website. I don’t know what I think about this exhibit yet—I wish I had the time to go in to the city to see the actual installation. The images are beautiful, but there’s something about many of them that bothers me. Maybe I just don’t believe them, there was no truth in some of them. Maybe they are lies, or maybe I’m just not in a very receptive mood today. But take a look for yourself.

posted by lee on 06/03/05 at 07:25 AM

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