Monthly Archives: July, 2010

Off Mineral Spring

On Woodlawn Avenue, just a short walk from Mineral Spring with its strip malls and endless rush hour, is this cemetery. It is green and quiet, and some of the older stones are worn by rain and lichen to a kind of Zen namelessness. They all face away from the road, perhaps to where the road used to be.

It’s a good day for bumper stickers. ‘Beholder on Board’ What’s that supposed to mean? And ‘Adult Child of Alien Abductors’. Does that get you a discount on a rocket to Mars?
This little patch of green won’t be disturbed, but the rest of the area is a sea of parking lots with islands of elderly housing and condos. You have to keep an eye out for scooters and people with canes bravely crossing the three lanes of Mineral Spring to get to the bank. It would be a great place for some urban planning for walkability, with its concentration of people who can’t or shouldn’t drive.

Bacon that Glows in the Dark

Germans like the manly sport of wild boar hunting, but they may have to pass on the pig roast. In fact, they may have to build more toxic waste dumps, because the radiation released in the Chernobyl disaster is working its way up the food chain…

Via RawStory, here is news from Der Speigel.

Many of the boar that are killed land on the plates of diners across Germany, but it is forbidden to sell meat containing high levels of radioactive caesium-137 — any animals showing contamination levels higher than 600 becquerel per kilogram must be disposed of. But in some areas of Germany, particularly in the south, wild boar routinely show much higher levels of contamination. According to the Environment Ministry, the average contamination for boar shot in Bayerischer Wald, a forested region on the Bavarian border with the Czech Republic, was 7,000 becquerel per kilogram. Other regions in southern Germany aren’t much better.

Radioactive pollution causes cancer and birth defects and hangs around forever. It travels on the wind and in the water. There’s no easy way out of our energy dilemma, but nuclear fission is a risky way to boil water.

From The Hot Club

One of the best urban sunsets is from The Hot Club. Traffic was light today and the humidity has let up– I’ll live.

Three of the suspected home invaders on Federal Hill were quickly caught. Let’s hope they catch the fourth. Good thing. It’s surprising how many people leave doors unlocked and it’s sad that we all can’t just do that. Anyone who shoots at a baby needs to be locked up, and I don’t mind paying for that. Release a couple of non-violent offenders and we’ll come out even.

It’s a nice evening. I saw a hot air balloon drifting East, don’t know where they will land. I’m working the weekend, but only for a few hours and there’s going to be some serious art and music, so it’s looking good.

Farmer’s Market Update — Fish, Compost, and Poetry

From Democratic candidate for Cranston City Council Steve Stycos:


Sam Grimley, a masters student in Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island, will be at the market Saturday to conduct research on consumer preferences for local seafood in Rhode Island. He is working with the Sustainable Seafood Initiative and Rhode Island Sea Grant.

Sam hopes to expand to local seafood sales at farmers’ markets. His research could potentially lead to developing a local Rhode Island seafood initiative which would benefit both consumers and Rhode Island fishermen. Please chat with him and complete his survey. We would like to have seafood at the market, but have been unable to find a vendor. Last year’s shellfish vendor quit the market due to lack of sales.

In other market news, Mike Dahlquist of Longentry Farm joined the market last week, so all our farmers are now attending the market. Welcome Mike back and try some of his tomatoes.


Annemarie Bruun will offer a free composting workshop at the August 7 market at 10 AM. That same day New England Rainbarrel will sell their rain barrels and outdoor composters at the market. Annemarie will demonstrate how to use the company’s rolling composter and demonstrate other outdoor composting techniques.

You can sign up in advance for the workshop at the market’s recycling table, or just show up August 7.


The Warwick Avenue Al-Mall convenience store and pizza shop has applied for a 24 hour license. The Cranston City Council’s Safety Services and Licenses Committee will hold a hearing on the request Monday August 2 at 7 PM in City Council Chambers in City Hall. Respect4Edgewood is urging opposition to the proposal, warning that it will increase noise, traffic and litter and give other stores, like the proposed CVS at Norwood Avenue and Broad Street, a reason to apply for their own 24 hour license.


A brown bag poetry discussion will be held August 11 at 12:30 PM at Cranston’s William Hall Library. Ira Schaeffer and friends will read from current and previous collections. Bring a lunch and enjoy this free program.

See you at the market.

Don’t Persecute Fashion Victims

They are suffering enough. Common Dreams reports that a judge threw out a charge against a man wearing droopy pants.

I would not admit to being with a guy who was nearly thrown out of the Met Cafe by Sen. Josh Miller for letting his pants droop before it became fashionable and legally defensible. That’s the price you pay for being ahead of your time. And the old Met was demolished a long time ago. And Josh’s establishments now have seats and tables so no one will see you standing around with your pants drooping.

Studying Harvey Pekar

Via Buzzflash here’s a link to The Rag Blog where Rhode Island’s own Professor Paul Buhle reviews the life and work of Harvey Pekar as compared to Tuli Kupferberg of The Fugs. Tuli Kupferberg lived long enough to make the scene with the Beatniks and with YouTube, which I would call an illustrious career.

If I ever retire I’m going to take a class where you can talk about things like that.

Downtown Diary– Cumberland

Cumberland is a remote, largely unexplored territory, at least by me, but it was actually settled a while ago.

There are so many fascinating historic buildings along Mendon road that I wish people would drive a little slower. Here’s one of them, St. Joseph Church.

There are blocks of beautiful brick mill workers houses that I couldn’t capture a sense of. Also, there were a lot of people out and I didn’t want them to think I was a spy. Maybe I’ll drive by there again some day.

Anne Rice– Apostate

According to the Huffington Post, vampire novelist and Christian convert Anne Rice has left the flock.

She still believes in Christ– it’s the Christians that get on her nerves. Maybe she was afraid that she would spend eternity in the heavenly choir with Pat Robertson on her left hand and Beverly La Haye on her right, instead of in the row with C.S.Lewis and Hildegard of Bingen. Even a hardened horror writer might tremble at that prospect.

Of course, if she changes her mind, she can always repent.

And while God inexplicably refrains from smiting all the fools who claim to be His mouthpiece, there are actually a spectrum of Christian churches and groups that take a more humble and humanistic approach to the religion.

Unitarianism has strong roots in Transylvania–I’m not kidding. The courage of the freethinking reformers there would make a great novel series. Anne, you’re welcome at coffee hour any time.

Loved and Missed

A candlelight service was held last night at the State House for Dave St. Germain. It was the right place, Dave was such a presence there. It was a warm night with a gentle breeze, unlike the many bitter winter days we gathered for the causes that Dave devoted his life to.  His brother-in-law spoke and his family received condolences from his many friends. Dave’s life was a long and complicated story. We say the system failed him, and as his friend I regret not staying closer. I knew that he lived with pain, but not that he felt despair.

A system is made up of individuals, each one human and fallible. People usually want to do the right thing. In a more merciful world we would do it more often. Dave worked for that world, and that is what he leaves us.

Dave St. Germain

I can’t believe he’s gone. He was only 43, he seemed so on top of things.

Dave was a friend, he helped configure my computer. He talked a group of us at First Unitarian into cooking a hot meal for the homeless men living at Harrington Hall. He had a room at Crossroads for himself, but his life was never secure. He struggled to pay his monthly rent, a percentage of his disability check.

He was an activist, a leader, confident and well-spoken. He kept his pain to himself but walked with a limp and didn’t sleep well.

I wish with all my heart that he had found someone to take over his life when he was driven to such despair. I’m angry with him for eluding his dear friend’s best efforts to protect him. Today I met with people who were close to him, who really tried to get him help. I wish he had called someone, but he knew the system well and did not choose to go that way. Now we are missing a gifted and loved advocate for justice.

Dave was someone who helped solve other people’s problems. He had many friends. We will miss him. I wonder, and will always wonder, why he had to end his life that way.


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