Monthly Archives: June, 2010

Botox Paralyzes the Body-Mind Connection

I was once doing rounds in a nursing home, going from room to room. Every room had a TV, always on, usually playing Fox News at high volume. I caught a few seconds of a talking woman’s head. She had a Schlafly hairdo and was so angry she was nearly spraying saliva. But there was a strange divide.

Her face was a mask of fury from the eyebrows down. From the eyebrows up she was smooth serenity. ‘Botox’, I said to myself.

From MSNBC via the Drudge Retort, a study shows that Botox blunts the ability to feel emotion. Well, duh. What do you think you are, Spock, a brain in a box? Haven’t you heard of the body-mind connection?

Here’s a little experiment you can try at home. Smile. Now, don’t you feel happier? No? My research shows that 20% of you will actually feel cynical, bitter and hostile, but that’s because you have a sardonic smile. This is more common in Kmareka readers than the general population. Research is ongoing.

Myself, I am getting re-acquainted with the joys of shopping at Sals, so I won’t be getting a facial real soon. Luckily I signed up for Gold’s Gym so I’ve got another place to work off the stress fat. Humanity cries out for a way to be agelessly slim without giving up bad habits or forming good ones. Or taking bad drugs either.

I have dedicated myself to this quest. Don’t thank me, it will be a long-term project. Preliminary results show that since going to the gym I’ve gained five pounds, but I’m sure it’s all muscle. When I find the Holy Grail I’ll share my secret at a reasonable fee and my cash flow problems will be solved.

Vote Now!

Having had a night to sleep on it, I’ve decided that Rhode Island needs an authentic political voice. We have too much yapping from big national parties, (no offense, Dems and Repubs), Green is okay, but right now I’ve got the blues, the Moderate party doesn’t excite passion and the Tea Party– pushing a Chinese drink that only Bostonian elites sip in thin porcelain cups, is too Foxy for me.

So which will it be? Frozen Lemonade to make the best of the lemons the economy has thrown at Rhode Island, or Coffee Milk to get us caffeinated but yet calm and sweet?

Vote Today– and don’t hesitate to suggest a candidate. I’d do it, but I’d never survive the glare of national publicity. Any volunteers?

Get Well Soon

Kellen the Human Cannonball is out of the hospital. And I thought my job was tough.

Hurricane Season

Less than a month into the 2010 hurricane season we are already up to ‘Celia’ in the storm name alphabet.

I’m posting my favorite hurricane link, to National Hurricane Center.

This takes you to a cool map of the Atlantic and Pacific with storms in color codes by severity. You don’t have to get it secondhand, it’s free and public, your tax dollars at work.

Thank You, Dad

Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, who raised seven of us in a house with one bathroom, worked six days a week, and didn’t seem to think it was any big deal. That’s what men do.

Happy Father’s Day to my husband, who walked the baby at 3am, who pays the bills, who critiques my creative writing, and doesn’t act like it’s any big deal. That’s what men do.

Happy Father’s Day to my father-in-law, who raised nine children in a house with one bathroom, worked in a factory so his kids could go to college, never brags about it. That’s what men do.

Happy Father’s Day to all you good men out there. You hold up your half of the sky.

Taken in Context

Is this a case of Puritanical bureaucrats putting their blue-stockinged heel on the throat (a lovely swan-like throat, let’s say) of sexual happiness? From NYT…

Drug for Sexual Desire Disorder Opposed by Panel

A federal advisory panel on Friday unanimously voted against recommending approving a drug to treat female sexual desire disorder, but it encouraged the company to continue its research.

A close reading shows that the drug is a dud without much effect, certainly not enough to justify the health risks. It is intended for pre-menopausal women only, and doesn’t really do much. It works on the brain chemistry, so the possible unwanted effects could be just about anything. You might find yourself collecting cats. Or blogging.

Maybe desire is like happiness. When you pursue it, it is always out of reach. But happiness comes unexpected when you are in the right place. Maybe desire is like a cat, who never comes when she’s called but is unexpectedly underfoot, rubbing against your leg, tripping you up.

Bonnie Rait sang, ‘You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t’.

There’s so many mood-altering drugs being pushed on us, to make us better cogs in the machine. A drug to enhance desire would be a good thing, life being short and all. But maybe a better remedy is a three-day weekend.

Peerless Lofts

So, what’s not to like about an organization called Green Drinks? Green Drinks meets on the third Thursday of every month in different local businesses and venues. It’s an opportunity to get inside some of the buildings you drive past every day, and see creative green architecture in good company.

This month’s meeting was sponsored by Farm Fresh R.I., which explains the fresh strawberries and pea pods in abundance. Newport Storm sponsored the drinks, including blueberry beer. Very summery.

The featured site was the Peerless Lofts. Amazing.

I am not quite old enough to have put on white gloves to go downtown, but I shopped at Peerless. Peerless was the place to go to get a bra that fits. The ladies would explain the mysteries of sizing and sell you an item that, in 2010 dollars, would approximate my rent back then. It was an investment. That’s before the entire garment industry fled overseas and came back thru Wal-Mart.

Peerless went the way of the other great anchor stores in the Downtown and lay vacant for years, but is now converted to loft apartments. The center of the building was opened up, the steel beams exposed, and a skylight illuminates a huge atrium that serves as an art gallery.

We met in the roof garden. I walked around the edge of the roof and looked down at Westminster Street. From that vantage Providence looked hilly and forested. Back in the day who would have imagined?

I wish I had my camera, but you can see a photo-essay about the Peerless Lofts at Art in Ruins.

Teach Them to Use the Internet and They Won’t Bother You for Weeks

Scientists in Japan find evidence that monkeys like to watch TV. Well, duh. Don’t you think it gets boring sitting around in some lab all day? Open the cage door and see how long they stick around watching C-Span.

I have an uncomfortable sense that myself clicking a mouse and a hamster pressing a bar on a pellet dispenser would look the same on a brain scan.

In later experiments the monkeys will be given a bowl of chips and a remote. Stay tuned, or look it up on the net.

Book Sale at Pawtuxet Farmer’s Market This Saturday

From Steve Stycos:


Saturday, the Pawtuxet Village Farmers Market will hold it spring book sale Saturday to benefit the education fund of Bob and Alan Fratantuono, the sons of the late Peter Fratantuono of Moosup River Farm.

Peter, a graduate of Cranston High School West, was the first farmer to attend the newly formed Pawtuxet Village Farmers Market in 2003 and helped guide the market’s growth. Prior to farming he worked as a substance abuse counselor and psychology professor at the University of Rhode Island. Last November 20, after attending the market, he died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack, leaving his wife Ingrid and three sons, two of whom are still in college. Bob, who is at the market every week, is a sophomore at the University of Rhode Island and Alan is a junior at Wesleyan College in West Virginia.

All proceeds from the book sale will go to the Fratantuono Boys Education Fund established by the market and Ingrid Fratantuono. Donations may be made at the market, or mailed to Ingrid Fratantuono, 1640 Plainfield Pike, Greene, RI 02827.

Book donations may be dropped on porches at 25 Berwick Lane, 10 &18 Williams Avenue and 37 Ferncrest Avenue in Cranston. Please do not donate textbooks or damaged books. We expect to have another sale in the fall.

Please attend the sale, purchase some books and make a generous donation to help with Bob’s and Alan’s college educations.

Saturday is also Farm and River Day, sponsored by Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, at the market. We will have three new vendors, a wildflower walk and a children’s cooking program for students at Cranston’s Edgewood Highland Elementary School.

Mazie’s Organics of Providence (pre-made salads and other foods made from local produce) and the Virginia & Spanish Peanut Company of Providence (peanut butter made with Rhode Island honey and roasted nuts) will join the market for the first time Saturday. Wedgewood Flowers of North Kingstown, which has a wide variety of interesting plants, including Venus flytraps and unusual herbs, joined the market last week.

Also Saturday, Edgewood naturalist Rod Rodrigues will lead a wildflower walk along the Pawtuxet River starting at 10 AM from the recycling table at the market. Children are welcome, but please no dogs.

Finally, thanks to the sponsorship of Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, children from Edgewood Highland Elementary School will cook some simple items for customers after learning about healthy foods in school. Heidi Hetzler, who occasionally ran the Zephyr Farm market stand last year, will supervise the program.

Attendance at last week’s market at the Hall Library was respectable by less than usual at last week’s market at Hall Library. We hope it will rebound this week back at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet. Thanks to those who attended last week.


Plans to remove the Pawtuxet River dam at the bridge in Pawtuxet Village are moving ahead thanks to the Narragansett Estuary Project, Save The Bay and the Pawtuxet River Authority.

Dam removal is primarily to allow herring and shad to migrate from the ocean into the river to spawn. The project should help restore natural conditions and improve fishing in both the river and the bay.

The most attractive and functional option is to remove the southern two thirds of the dam to create a channel that insures proper water flow for fish passage at key times in the spawning cycle. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the National Marine Fisheries Service have helped plan the project and estimate it will have a minor impact on flooding. Upstream, the river will still be passable by canoe, but the water level will drop 3 feet at the dam, two feet at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet and one foot at Warwick Avenue.

The dam removal permit is being finalized. If the permit is approved. sediment behind the dam will be dredged this fall and the dam removed in the spring. Once the permit is filed, a public information meeting will be held to explain the details and answer questions.

Meanwhile, an artist’s rendering of what the falls will look like without the dam is on display at Hunter’s Garage on the Warwick side of the river in Pawtuxet Village. Hunter’s is open from 8 AM to 5 PM and welcomes the public to view the drawing.


Thursday June 17, the City Council’s Ordinance Committee will again consider a comprehensive plan for Cranston, including a controversial change inserted by council members to encourage half acre development in western Cranston. The West Bay Land Trust urges citizens to attend the meeting and speak against the change, which was previously approved unanimously by the Ordinance Committee. In addition to encouraging sprawl, the change would cost the city more than $2 million in services than it would collect in taxes, according to a Planning Department estimate. The meeting will be held in City Council chambers in City Hall on Park Avenue at 7 PM.


Rocking Soul Horns, the Cranston East Jazz Band, the Park View Band, Arthur Montanaro and Charlie Hall will all perform Wednesday June 23 at a benefit concert for the Cranston School music program.

The concert will be held in the Cranston East Auditorium starting at 7 PM. Donations of music stands and gently used instruments will also be accepted at the performance.

See you at the market.


A woman was bitten by a rabid fox in Foster, RI.


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