Friday, February 24, 2006


listener writes:

Soldiers in Iraq must be having a very scary week, with the situation there deteriorating so rapidly. And the medical units must be running on exhaustion.

I am thinking these days of my friends' son Aaron who left for Iraq in November when his firstborn daughter was only two weeks old. He's younger than our youngest, so about age 21. I've been wishing we knew how he is, and wondering how to ease the strain on our friends here in Vermont.

Well, I just got word through my sister Patti, who is now an Air Force Captain, that there are some specific items that a medical unit serving injured soldiers could use. It might take a little of the strain out of this time to do something which is kind and useful, at least to add a little balance to the Universe.

If you would like to send something, here are the particulars, which come from Capt. Maureen A. McCann, Life Skills Nurse. Typical of a nurse, Maureen says, "Many of you are asking what you can send, do we need anything? Well, we don't, but our patients do."

She elaborates, saying: Many can't continue to wear the uniforms they come in with and do not have anything else. Here is a list of what we can use (many of you are connecting with your church or job, but even one set is great!).

  • Large size:
    • Sweat pants

    • long sleeve T-shirts

    • T-shirts

    • gym shorts (blue, black, gray only; they need to be conservative due to the area we are in)

    • mens underpants

    • small pillows (great for stuffing under or around the patient's injuries/casts to make them more comfortable for their long flight while they are on a litter.)

    (We get tons of socks and toiletries.)


Mailing address for packages:
Capt Maureen McCann
APO AE 09315-9997

Thursday, February 23, 2006

From The Inbox: The Foundation for Self-Sufficiency in Central America

Last month we went to El Salvador so Ike could get better acquainted with the people and projects. In El Salvador, this included a variety of meetings with community leaders and the staff of the Coordinadora, our local partner. In Guatemala the Mesoamerican Peace Committee had its annual meeting (which drew the attention of the international press); Ike shared a pipe ceremony, a part of his Native American spirituality, with the participants from Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

One of the things visitors to El Salvador always want to see is the Rays of Light Youth Art Project. The communities are truly proud of their young people and how they are channeling their creativity into works of beauty. Balbino is one such artist, who has already received international recognition in El Salvador. You can read more about him here. To learn more about the advances of the art project last year, click here for a report and pictures. Remember that there's still time to sign up for our summer tour, July 22-29. Contact us if you'd like to participate.

Isaac "Ike" Trevino & Jose "Chencho" Alas
Executive Director Founder & Peace Project Director

PS, We will be in Worcester, Massachusetts, on March 22nd to celebrate Romero's anniversary with Rep. Jim McGovern. The event, from 7-9pm, will take place at The College of the Holy Cross's Rehm Library. For more information on this event, call (508) 831-7356 or click here.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Quilts For Veterans

Rutland Herald
February 21, 2006

Fifty Iraq war veterans from around the state were presented with "Quilts of Valor" at a ceremony Monday night at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in White River Junction.The quilts were made by nationwide volunteers taking part in the Quilts for Soldiers organization based in Silver Springs, Md.

VA Hospital director Gary De Gasta said the quilts were in part a response to the poor attention given to veterans of the Vietnam War."I hope we've turned that around," he said.

Rep. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., was scheduled to be guest speaker for the event, but had a scheduling conflict. Samuel Haskins, a Vietnam veteran and aide to Sanders, read a statement stressing the importance of adequately funding the VA to give veterans the help they deserve.

Monday, February 20, 2006


Blue Jay
I heard the first blue jay today. Spring can't be long off now.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

On The Money

Different countries and cultures have different ideas about who it is appropriate to portray on their money. At present, the Swiss Frank is graced by portraits of figures from the arts. The previous series displayed portraits of scientists.

If the U.S. were to place American artists (native born and naturalized) on our bank notes, who do you think those artists ought to be?

Images and Blogger

Some Blogger blogs, this one among them, have user pics in comments enabled. This means that, if you have an image stored on your Blogger profile, that image will show on your comments on the Blogger comments page. User pics do *not* show next to comments on the individual pages for each thread.

Blogger does not allow you to upload images directly to your profile. Instead, you must provide a URL of up to 86 characters. The image must be in .png, .gif, or .jpeg format. If you have a graphics program such as Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop, you can simply "open" an image with the .jpg extension and "save as," giving the file the .jpeg extension. Then, upload it to your online storage area, free web space, or whatever, and enter the URL in the blank on the profile form. Click the orenge save button at the bottom of the form to save your changes.

As to the uploading itself, you have a choice. If your ISP provides free web space, as many do, you can upload your images to that space for storage. To use this option, you'll need an FTP program to transfer the image files to your webspace.

A simpler, less expensive alternative is the Hello software system, offered free to Blogger members. According to the info on the Hello page, this system is fully integrated with Blogger and will allow you to upload images to your Blogger blogs with minimal effort or knowledge of the particulars. This system may also allow you to create a URL accessible to the Blogger profile.

You can upload images on the fly to your post threads by means of the "add Image" function on the post creation screen. This function permits you to upload images directly from your computer.

Morning Prayer

Ocean Sunrise (stock photo)
Lord, thank You for a beautiful morning,
The hope and promise of a beautiful day.
Grant me the strength to fulfill that promise.
Help me to be kind, thoughtful and generous
And to think of others before myself.
And help me to do something good this day.

Protect those I love and all Your people,
And keep the world in peace till evening.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Well, Knock ME Over With A Feather!

Have you ever had a moment, as a writer or other sort of artist, when you received unexpected recognition or worthwhile comment on your work, and the experience just knocked you over with unimaginable joy?!

This is not a rhetorical question; please share your "bluebird of happiness" stories!

Mine happened TODAY!

An article I wrote was published in December in a magazine that comes out every two months. This morning I received word from a peer in R.I. that the new issue includes "a full page of letters to the Editor (including one from the Executive Director herself) affirming" the article! A short while later I received word from another peer in MA saying: "Did I share with you that copies of your article were given to us at the Residency? Excellent and so important to the dialogue."

Given that in the past whenever I have gone out on a limb and spoken out about something regarding the ministry I offer, I have been met with resistance and disdain, I am feeling a bit startled! So, it may take awhile to receive this news, but I will continue to savour it.

Now, I really DO want to hear your stories!
Tell us your "greatest response" and JOY story.

With Amazed and Delighted Gratitude, listener

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

In Memoriam: Peter Benchley

Peter Benchley, novelist, shark lover and advocate for ocean concervation, died Saturday. He suffered from pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive and fatal lung disease. He died at home, in Princeton.

Most recently, Mr. Benchley wrote articles for National Geographic and did radio ocean reports and educational films on ocean conservation. He believed deeply in the vital importance of the seas and of rain forests, and worked to educate the public, especially young people, about the need to care for this planet.

Mr. Benchley is survived by his wife of forty-one years, Wendy, and his three children.


Related Links
Jaws Author Peter Benchley Dies at 65
Jaws Creator Loved Sharks, Wife Reveals
Jaws Author Dead at 65 from (China)
Peter Benchley, The Author of Jaws, Dies at Sixty-five

Monday, February 13, 2006

Words of Wisdom from the Good Gray Poet

Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men - go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers or families - re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.

From the 1855 Preface to Leaves of Grass

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A Snowy Day

It's been snowing here in W. MA all day, the same snow JC had in KY a couple of days ago. It's quite lovely, and put me in mind of this poem, which I wrote in 1986.


The slow, steady creak of my boots sounds
loud in the silent street; until I pause
to raise my hood, and a crystal soft swish
and patter enspheres me, in whose center
I soon grow still. More now, and faster falling
around me; and I walk In a world, without,
yet within, alone, yet one with the sounds
of the waking street: Shouts of playing children,
barking of a dog, ring of an ax on wood.

For hearing has eclipsed sight in the silver-strung
morning, where distance deceives and even gravity stands
still, content to straddle the shoulders of the wind.
And the wind, with a conjurer's hand, sets the snowflakes
dancing in spinning spirals that bewilder the unwary
watcher, winding him - me - in a wandering reverie.

The houses, the trees, the passing people of the familiar
street seem strange through the shifting screen of snow,
unreachable, and yet I could dance with them all, whirling
and wheeling in the wind's hands like the softly sifting
snowflakes. I stop and draw a long breath, blinking
away visions of forbidden freedom in the singing circles
of the stars. Earthbound again, I feel my fingers, nose
and feet chill. Heedless of higher things, they crave
cocoa and curling up in a warm corner. Smiling, I turn
and quietly walk home through the crowded, snowy morning.

First published in Delta Epsilon Sigma Journal

Saturday, February 11, 2006

One Year At The DNC

Howard Dean
Howard Dean is about to complete his first year as Chair of the Democratic National Committee. How are you going to commemorate the anniversary? Some people are contributing to the DNC. Others are planning tributes, greetings and gifts. Ideas?

Kudos for Edwin: From the HEP blog

Puddle's Edwin was reviewed in today's Wall St. Journal--

The same caveat applies to the acting. Most of the performances in "The Right Kind of People" are cartoonish, albeit agreeably so (Keith Jochim and Evan ******** are especially sharp as an odious pair of arch-snobs). But Edwin C. Owens, last seen in the Irish Repertory Theatre's unforgettable revival of "Philadelphia, Here I Come!," is so believable as Frank, the upper-middle-aged businessman whose 40-year marriage is unraveling, that he seems to have wandered in from another, better show down the street.

AND there was a photo of Edwin and 2 of his co-stars. He's identified as 'Ed Owens.'
Corinne | 02.10.06 - 7:27 pm | #

Valentine's Day Haiku Contest: DEADLINE LOOMING!

I just learned that Breakup Girl is running a haiku contest to be judged by Jason Reich, "Emmy-Award-winning writer for Emmy-Award-winning The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

You'd better get going, though, the deadline is midnight tonight!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Writing Contests

The NFB Writers' Division's Poetry and Fiction contests are now open. Nonmembers, blind and sighted alike, may enter. Come to think of it, I'm not altogether sure the contests page says so, but the deadline is June 30. See the contest page for all other details.

Join The Team: Donate To Habitat

On Monday, I posted about the team associated with this community to assist Habitat with their Home Delivery project. Checking the team page, I see that the donation total stands at $25.00, the same level it was at when I published that post.

We can do better than that!

I know that $25.00 is sometimes a lot to give all at once. But, can you afford $5.00 this month? $5.00 to help people who have nothing regain some measure of security and dignity with a new home. $5.00 that will mean as much to the family you help as it means to you, maybe more.

When I check the team page on Saturday, please let me see a total higher than $25.00. Do it for The Arty Blog. Do it for Howard. Do it for our brothers and sisters who are in such desperate need.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Get Involved In The Arty Blog Community

Since I am *not* the only person with keys to the blog, it would be extremely helpful if other members would post here. Thoughts, news items, anything at all related, however vaguely, to the Arts, handycrafts, politics, Howard Dean - ideally some sort of synthesis of two or more of these, but not necessarily. Also, if anybody has time on their hands and just wants to update us on their doings, that would be great too.

I simply can't maintain this blog alone. Besides, it's supposed to be a community. Please, friends, get involved in this community, or it will wither and die.

Posting Hints
To post a main blog entry, click the orenge "Blogger" button in the uppermost left corner of any of the blog's pages. This takes you to your "dashboard," a control pannel displaying (as hyperlinks) the titles of the blogs you own/participate in. Click the green plus sign marked "Create New Post. You'll be taken to the post entry page.

Please make use of the "Title" field near the top of the post entry page. Adding a title makes identifying the post easier for everyone.

If you want to include a pic in your post, look for the "Add Image" function on the post entry page. This will allow you to upload or enter a link to an image resource already on the web. You must know the exact URL (web address) of the image to link to it.

Proofread your post for grammatical errors, omitted words, and the llike. It's probably best to compose long posts in a word processor, where you have the benefit of spellcheck and grammarcheck. You can also use the spellcheck function on the post entry page.

The length of the post is *not* important. Your participation is what's important. A community is only as strong as its members. We're Deaniacs. We're strong; we can do anything!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Arty Bloggers For The Gulf Coast

You may have seen the NBC Nightly News report (Jan. 23, 2006) on Habitat's project to build a Musicians' Village in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orliens. This seems to me an ideal project for us to pitch in and help with. Doing so is easy. Just go to this online donation form. If you do not use the Address Line 2, as for an apartment No. etc., use it for Artists For Dean.

In addition, I have created a "team" to help with Habitat's more general Home Delivery project. Having created the team, I'm the team captain. Don't worry, though; I won't be breaking out the cat o nine tails. *grin* I do, however, ask that all Arty Bloggers and friends join the team and give as generously as possible.

Additional Links
"Through building with Habitat, Bon Jovi helps ‘make volunteering hip'"
Some of the world’s leading songwriters and singers are supporting Habitat for Humanity's hurricane response efforts with their lyrical talents
Harry Connick Jr. Addresses Lawmakers, Urges them to Help Rebuild the Gulf Coast

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Purpose and Project

With her usual acumen, listener nutshells our problem and suggests some solutions.

We need a common purpose, a short-term project perhaps. What do the Poets Against the War need by way of support from kindred blogs? Or do we simply want to choose our own "project" and go for it?

One idear is to link with some of the people who visit veterans, such as Anne*from*Vermont and see if there are some vets who have written poetry about their struggles.

In addition, are there some among us who have written poetry during this difficult time? Or who have painted, or created music, or whatever OUT OF their sorrow or hope related to the war and/or the state of this country?

What if we all tried to create or uncover at least one item to share with one another by...Valentine's Day?

~ listener

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

In Memoriam: Columbia

Crossposted at Disabled Americans for Democracy

Columbia crewThe STS-107 crewmembers strike a flying pose. From the left, bottom row, wearing red shirts, are astronauts Kalpana Chawla, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark and Ilan Ramon. From the left, top row, wearing blue shirts, are astronauts David Brown, William McCool and Michae Anderson. --NASA

We remember that terrible Saturday morning, three years ago today when, rather than reporting on the safe return of Columbia, audibly shaken newscasters reported the Space Shuttle's destruction during reentry into Earth's atmosphere.

May they rest in peace.

STS 107
February 1, 2003

Seven souls released in fire,
Vehicles sublimed between air and Earth,
Their courage and love set free to fill
Our hearts and the universe.

God takes his own in his good way and time,
Not for us to fathom the emptiness behind the taking
Or the mind so vast its love looks like death.
For us is only grief and, looking up,
To reach again for the stars.

Published in Slate & Style: Magazine of the NFB Writers Division

Additional Links Special Report
BBC In Depth Coverage
NASA's Columbia Site