Chuck Levesque for Senate

Rhode Island’s Future reports that State Senator Chuck Levesque faces a tough race in his district of Bristol/Portsmouth.

I saw Sen. Levesque at the hearings on human trafficking, and he showed a real concern for passing laws that would really help people who are exploited. There was a lot of pressure, and anyone who questioned making indoor prostitution illegal was accused of not caring about victims of trafficking. We did get an anti-trafficking law passed in 2007, but we don’t have a constituency that cares about people who might be here illegally or might have trouble with the law. The problem of trafficking won’t be solved by putting a few women in jail. Sen.Levesque knew that and was slandered for saying so.

I saw the General Assembly in action a few times when going to testify about a bill. Chuck Levesque always made a good impression.

Most of the time I was encouraged to see how thoughtfully our representatives discussed each bill and the respect they showed for the citizens and the process. To just call them all corrupt is lazy thinking. More often than not, our government is as good as we make it.

See Rhode Island’s Future for more on this race. Chris Ottiano, the Republican candidate is a vascular surgeon. It amuses me that some commenters take it as a given that a doctor will automatically be a better legislator than a lawyer. I wouldn’t count on it, no offense to the good doctors I’ve worked with. Like in any other profession, there’s bad apples too.

Halloween at the Armory

Pirates Storm the Castle

Perfect day for West Broadway Neighborhood Association Goblins and Gremlins Party and Parade. There were some scary costumes,

Scary Costumes

There was a giant catapult that was shooting pumpkins the length of a football field.
There was the Really, Really Free Market where everything was free. Unused stuff was re-incarnated as someone else’s must-have, and brisk trading was happening.




Can't Beat These Deals

Amy Rose and her Troublemakers were rocking the field, there was a funky antique truck parked near the stage, don’t know if that’s the Troublemaker’s wheels.

Many small children and small dogs were running around ecstatically, and grownups had a chance to dress really silly. Looked like a couple of hundred people were strolling around, relaxing, buying beer and hot dogs. I thought a softball game might break out– maybe it did after I left.

Happy Samhain

Wheel of the Year

The end of October is traditionally a time of reflection on the passing year and preparation for winter. October 31 is the Celtic holiday of Samhain, followed by the Catholic holy day, All Saints, and the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos.

In the US it’s a kind of free time to just dress up silly and give candy to children. When I first did the trick or treat with my friends and our kids, I was surprised at how friendly and child-centered our neighborhood could be.

Passing for normal is tough– Halloween gives everyone a break, that’s why it’s so popular.

I went to Rochambeau Library on Thursday and saw Dreams Before Waking, a Celtic inspired band that played some truly spooky sounds for the season. Although songwriter Ray Price and guitarist Michael Osler were down two musicians they played like troupers, and a graceful young woman named Melanie did interpretive dance.

Friday I went to the Steel Yard Iron Pour.

Casting Iron

Droning mood music, fire and molten metal– it had the feel of anarchy, but the men and women of the Iron Guild moved with concentration and discipline. They had to– that stuff is hot! My technique is to forget my glasses and aim the camera and click, so this photo doesn’t begin to do justice to the amazing spectacle of glowing molten metal flowing in a stream from the smelter– and poured into wooden molds which instantly burst into flames. But there were film crews, so surely youtube videos will appear soon.

Today there are events all over town, street parties and stuff. This is a good time to eat some candy, because Halloween candy has no calories. That’s a scientific fact. My alchemist told me so.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES! In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, on the knife edge of an election, some words from Starhawk of hope and unrest. Samhain 2012.

Too Fat for Love?

Kat Hudson on Salon has a beautiful post about learning to stop waiting for the day when she will be worthy…

In the past seven years, I’ve slowly gotten comfortable with myself. I know I’m not for everybody, but then again, who is? In learning to love my whole self, I’ve learned to love others, too. It is rare I find anyone physically ugly; I joyfully embrace all of our imperfections and differences. I see the spark of the soul hiding behind the eyes of all people and I fall in love a hundred times a day with everyone I see. Beauty is everywhere if you open your heart to see it.

There are so many kinds of beauty. Long ago I took art classes and discovered that when you look at a person with enough concentration to draw them, their beauty emerges. An older gentleman who lived in a little apartment near RISD was the model, so it was counter-cultural to find beauty in a person not young or buff.

I spend a lot of time with people who are physically challenged, but I’ve never met anyone I’d call ugly– barring behavior that is.

So much depends on self-hatred. It’s cost-effective to persuade people to whip themselves. Then they pass along the pain to others and restlessly buy stuff.

Women’s magazines come in two kinds. The kind that tells you that you bear the mark of original sin but check out the ads for mark remover, and the kind that has three weight loss diet plans and nine recipes for dessert in every issue. I used to appreciate the fact that men think they’re gorgeous no matter what they look like, but the commercialization of the body is getting to them, too. Like women need them to be more neurotic and self-absorbed?

What will happen to our consumer culture if enough people believe they are just fine the way they are? What if enough of us decide to wear what we look good in– regardless of this year’s fashion? Why be normal, when there are so many more fun things to be?