15 March 2017

Short Haul Gibbon

Short Haul Gibbon. That was his name. He worked June to October hiring out to local farmers who needed workers and flatbeds to bring newly cut silage from the fields to their barns for winter storage. Seasonal people from the city would employ him to move things from Millard’s Auction House in Arcade – furnishings by the house load to fill up their summer places right quick.
His birth name had been Eustace Gibbon – a name he hated growing up. His Pa said he gave him that name because and on account of his belief that a boy with an odd name had to quickly learn to stand up for himself on the school grounds.  Which worked well for him and by the time he’d got to second grade, he could manage himself quite fine. At the same time, he was no rabble rouser either.

By third grade, even the tough kids from the Hollow called him “Eustace” in a certain tone that signified an air of muted respect. Older folks were deferential as well, only their approach to him led to asking him to do chores, and they paid him handsomely. Some said that with a name such as his it must mean the family had some civility that other families lacked.

When he was 17, he already knew what he wanted to do. He didn’t plan on returning to high school the following year. He’d saved up $500 (a tidy sum for a lad in those days) and went and bought old Putt Smith’s beat-up 10 gear standard shift Brockway Semi-trailer. He got himself his own phone number - the only person under 30 to have his own personal phone number in the entire county.

That, summer after doing these two things he spent his spare time fixing the Brockway up. Come autumn he wangled some deal with the Ag-Tech school to give the cab a new crisp paint job; then had one of the Thompson Brothers carefully detail lettering on both side doors that read “Short Haul Gibbon” with that phone number below it, and he was in business! Just – like – that.

T’was the summer people who began to call him Short Haul directly; first because they didn’t really know his name. And he found this so much to his liking that by age 20, he filed papers in Probate to make the change legit and for the record.

When folks asked his Pa iffen this warn’t some sign of disrespect he told them that his boy made his own living, and that he was old enough to do as he pleased, that Pa was fine with this and whyn’t they just go and mind their own danged business.

Shortly after this, he began getting tattooed. Never said why, and we didn’t know from where since there were no places what did that kind of artwork around these parts.  He was private about it, sort of. Except for a five pointed star right center on his neck, in that hollow between the Adam’s Apple and the collar bones, all his body pictures could be discreetly hid beneath his clothes  .. except in the summertime, which is when I first saw then and took notice.

I first made acquaintance with Short Haul the summer I had just turned 17. He was 28.  I‘d been working on one of the Mennonite family’s farms helping thrash the hay. Short Haul took their custom made furniture that they made and drove it all up to Oberlin for them where they sold it to some fancy-dance appliance and household goods store. One day I working on their farmstead and doing heavy lifting, I was big for my age, muscular and full of spunk and vinegar and all sweated up, but it was clean, working sweat.  

Short Haul took note and said I was just the sort that he needed working in his business – what with all the many tasks he was getting hired on to do. After all, he was getting older and he could no longer do all the work by himself.

My folks thought working for Short Haul would do me good. It was a step up and away from weekends drinking up on Cream Ridge Road with the Ag-Tech boys. You know – one of those secrets that nobody says much of by everybody knows. So I said yes right away. Besides, I was enthralled with those tattoos.

Truth be known, they was a whole lot more that the ink what got me curious ~ though I wan’t ‘zactly sure how to express myself about that then – not having learnt of greater mysteries beyond the Baby Jesus being born from a Virgin, and the odd noise that could be heard in the caves on Covenant Mountain.

Now, Short Haul was a right personable man.  He could also be a real charmer. The ladies would just swoon over him, but he just kep his space from them, remaining real polite and keeping things to business. Given he was always hiring himself out for work I figured this to be pretty smart. 
But I was working for him for just over a year when one day I asked him if he ever planned to take a wife. At first he looked at me plain flustered. Then, “Well, what brings that personalness up?” He asked in such a tone that I believe my first reaction was to blush.

And I thought about it. My sister, Emily, had goaded me into asking. Turns out she is friends with this shy deaf-and-dumb girl, Wisteria; her people lives just shy a mile down the road from us. They are our closest neighbors on the way to town. Anyway, Wisteria was sweet on Long Haul, it was no secret. It was almost painful to watch her when he came in proximity to her at the Agway.

And while my question was on that occasion, awkward, it also brought open a whole passel of subjects that we, neither he nor I – ever talked about until then.

The question altered everything – not right away, mind you – but from that point on. The question was a beginning.
On that occasion, there was a long and uncomfortable silence as we drove a truck full of merchandise to Oberlin. Until we were just on the outskirts of town, when he took my inquiry one step further, and asked of me the same thing back. And it was the second time that day I blushed.

"Hot Dog Man"

Arrostook County - South of Fort Kent, Maine


Culture of Violence

11 March 2017

Venison For Supper

Pen & Ink study. (c) 1978


Shugrue Farm (with some modifications)

16 June 2016


As we get closer to the REAL election horse race, (AFTER the conventions . . . all of them) I plan on being more circumspect on making my POV discernible.

Partly because I have always believed that voting really ought to be a private matter - decision-making wise)

Partly because I also was trained as a "special registrar" (when Myles Rappaport was Sec'y of State in Connecticut) and had well ingrained the idea into my brain the importance of being neutral with personal points of view while signing up people to vote.

Also I count amongst my personal inner circle of friends individuals who align themselves with a wide range of stands within (and maybe sometimes - without) the political spectrum.

I believe it's important that we ALL communicate as civilly as possible on matters concerning pickin' the next CEO of the United States [oops! I'd meant to type POTUS. Damned auto-correct features!]

I shall continue to post items about candidates - presumptive, presumptuous, preposterous and sane alike - but don't even ask where I stand. You can guess but don't ask.me; you may be wrong, but maybe not. Ain't tellin'.

I'll work at not cross posting links that are demonstrably partisan, but since these will be other people's links - none of them are unbiased.

That said . . .

Reflections on the Mass Shooting in Orlando, FL

As a late aged teen I was in one of the (many) pre-liberation police raids that NYC police regularly conducted in the Stonewall bar. Lucky for me, it was one of the "benign" raids, where most everyone was chased out for an hour or so, until the bar re-opened and allowed all who repaid the admission fee back in.

I marched with a Mattichine Society demonstration at Philadelphia's Independence Hall with placards on grim but sunny day. We were warned that the TV cameras recording the event were not the media, but the FBI. Again, I was fortunate nothing horrific happened. 

These were pre-gay rights moments. They occurred concurrent with valiant battles of others calling for equal rights for Black folk, for Native peoples, the disabled and others.

With reports in the past decade of greater acceptance around the world, a single moment shows clearly how much farther we need to go before any fundamental acceptance actually occurs.

Broaden the venue (and circumstances) from lone gunman on a shooting spree in a gay bar, to include indigenous people's in the Amazon Basin, their ancestral lands stolen, bulldozed and burned flat; their advocates murdered without investigation.

Include, then, the millions around the planet sold and forced into slavery - the existence of this rampant evil cloaked and disguised behind the sterile bureaucratic phrase "human trafficking".

Pay attention to the many governments around the world determinedly bent on genocide against it's own - be this Myanmar's refusal to acknowledge the humanness of its Muslim citizens; or the People's Republic's concerted effort to eradicate Tibetan culture; or of others - the incursions of the US government into Afghanistan and elsewhere; the barbaric proto-government of ISIS/ISUL casually ruling with fear and beheadings, or the Knesset's systematic destruction of Palestinian lands and people's (whose people, incidentally, include Christians and Muslims alike.)

Take heed of the venal, greedy myopic feudal/corporate lords of this globe, ravenously seizing control of the planet's resources (resources that rightfully belong to everyone on Earth, not just the powerful) and using them for themselves, intent only on their own, gated and walled-in comforts; blithely indifferent to the fact their avarice contributes so much to humankind's spiraling degraded path. . . . And this elite is not blind to the outcomes of their greed - they just don't care.

I could go on. I have identified (or alluded to) only a handful of vast wrongs committed because of ignorance, prejudice and indifference to the suffering of others.

The Revolution to change these evils must come from within each of us. It will not be televised. It shall be global. And above all, if humans are to survive, it MUST occur.

Until it finally comes to fruition, there shall be more atrocities, more sadnesses, more dispair.

I pray we can bear them.

But we must fundamentally change how we treat one another - if we are to survive.

Social and Economic Injustice

Those same Whores of Babylon who profited by short-selling the USA citizenry on the stability of the economy in 2008 (and since then), are now getting ready to screw the citizens of Puerto Rico - and with a vengeance!


How Brave New Educators Works

Brave New Educators uses documentaries to start a dialogue with students and professors across college campuses. Through in-class participation, our mission is to champion social justice issues by using a model of media, education and grassroots volunteer involvement that inspires, empowers, motivates, and teaches civic participation.

These facilitation guides were created to help professors and groups engage with student audiences.  The goal is to provide resources that accompany Brave New Films’ documentaries and short videos to elicit conversation, debate and critical thinking.

Our guide is designed for a thorough and thoughtful unpacking of our films - Click here for more Details..

Inside the guides you will find: background information, articles, timelines, in-class activities, discussion questions, tips for hosting a screening, as well as ways to get involved. The facilitation guides are free to all educators  all we ask is for information on how you use the guides. Please explore the films below.

Questions, comments, or concerns about the program? Please e-mail educators@bravenewfilms.org.

Musical Interlude

I Love To Singa - Owl Jolson (1936)

ruminations on women

Japanese Donald Trump Commercialトランプ2016

09 January 2016

Two Cellos

Here is a link to HYSTERIA - particularly poignant as it makes a direct connection between creativity when stifled by the psychiatric establishment and the indifferent and indiscriminate use of forced drugs and restraint to keep people from truly expressing themselves.


2Cellos (stylized 2CELLOS) is a Croatian cello duo, consisting of classically trained Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser. Signed to Sony Masterworks since 2011, they released three albums and play mainly instrumental arrangements of well-known pop and rock songs. The duo perform internationally and have been featured on several US TV shows

01 January 2016

Winter Warmth

It's that time of year again. 

Last year this time we'd already gone through a cord and a half of wood leaving me worried if we'd have enough to make it through winter.

This year, we've gone through, maybe, a quarter of a cord. Of course, this doesn't mean all is hunky dory, heatingwise. 

We can hope

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Other Voices ~ Bill P

"I believe a long time ago that God got hurt; that is why people got hurt"

IMAGE CREDITS: William Blake - "Ancient of Days"

deceptions - discover the spy in your midst

How to Spot an Infiltrator. Posted on Davey D's Hip Hop Corner.
 [initially posted here on 8th December 2010]

1- They bring confusion and chaos with them. Every time they come around, it’s drama.
2- They keep discussions and productivity at a stalemate. They’d rather keep debating than engaging the community you’re supposed to serve.
3- They focus on impertinent theoretical points of contention as serious sources of conflict. It’s never about the people or the work. It’s always about some ideas, structures, philosophy, or abstract concept.
4- They create/increase tribalism and intensify pre-existing organizational dissatisfaction.
5- They don’t have reputable sources or references for where they come from.
6- Many have short bursts of vigorous activity, not long histories of continuous (documented/verifiable) growth and development. They come in, make a mess, then disappear.
7- Others claim long histories, even claiming “birthrights” of some sort, as a means to establish authority. Yet these claims rarely hold up under further investigation.
8- They have ambiguous sources of income.
9- They came from prison or worked in the military or law enforcement in the past (or the present, if u dig deep enough). They may be working in exchange for reduced time/plea agreement/special assignment.
10- They turn around all questions about them into attacks on the questioner. They create scapegoats, red herrings, and target people who may be onto them.
11- They build alliances with weak-minded dissatisfied people through shared vices, financial generosity, or a sense of solidarity.
12- They also “give” as a means of establishing authority and legitimacy.
13- These people don’t tend to be primary sources either.
14- They act like zealots but aren’t zealous about social change.
15- They want power and control, but demonstrate no ability to use this power or control for the good of others.
16- They are masters of manipulation, but never teach others how to manipulate the system.

IMAGE SOURCE: Still photo from the film The Molly McGuires. Found on the MUBI, an online cinema website.
     Deception and fear mongering by provocateurs among the working poor has a long history. The Molly MacGuires were a part of that history.
     The Molly Maguires were members of a secret organization. Many historians believe the "Mollies" were present in the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania in the United States from approximately the time of the American Civil War until a series of sensational arrests and trials in the years 1876−1878. Evidence that the Molly Maguires were responsible for coalfield crimes, and kidnapping in the U.S. rests largely upon allegations of one powerful industrialist, and the testimony of one Pinkerton detective. Fellow prisoners also testified against the alleged Molly MacGuires, but some believe these witnesses may have been coerced or bribed.
     It is entirely possible that the leaders of the Molly McGuires were agent provocateurs paid by coal company industrialists to create terror and confusion; providing the coal company owners an excuse to attack hard working miners who were trying to organize into unions to get fair wages, safer working conditions and freedom from oppression and isolation forced upon them by the mining companies.

Electroshock Protest

A reading of the Reclassification document published by the US Food and Drug Administration


Here's a direct link to the FDA's document: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-12-29/pdf/2015-32592.pdf

About Journal Keeping # 2

Last Summer I was posed a series of questions about Journal Keeping. My response was quite long. Therefore, I shall break the questions up into separate posts over the next several days.

What physical form does your journal take? Spiral-bound, cahier, oilcloth sketchbook, Moleskin, etc.? What materials do you use to fill it? Pen, pencil, charcoal, paint, collage, etc.?
     My preference is a hard-bound notebook with a black cover. This is what I was first introduced to in 1980. I like to be able to use both sides of the page. I am not concerned about the manufacturer of the book (e.g. “moleskin”) but I like to be able to use both sides of the page, prefer unlined pages, acid free paper with a paper weight of at least 60 lbs. My favorite sized book is 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 (14x21 cm) though I have used soft cover sketchbooks and one or two spiral bound books of various sizes. The size noted, however, is easy to carry with me almost all the time without drawing a lot of attention to it.
      With rare exception, I have written in the journals with a Pilot Precise “V” Series pen. It is close to a mechanical pen in construction, and over time I have found the ink is of a low acid content and doesn’t bleed through the pages.
     I have also sketched in the journals pasted in items as keepsakes and made an occasional collage.
     Watercolor (using a “dry brush technique) and pen/ink sketches. I don’t use pastel, soft pencil or charcoal because I am concerned about it smearing on the pages.
     I’ve made collage pages, and inserted photographs.
    Many times (not always) I have affixed things on to the covers of the notebooks. Once I did a collage that encompassed both covers. Often, with the smaller books, the intent is to make distinct one volume from others, or to easily discern front from back.