Sharing Happiness Part 13

Sharing Happiness Part 13

submitted by Michelle B. My favorite podcast, “Pop Culture Happy Hour” ends their show with each member saying what made them happy the previous week.  The rule is that it must be something anyone could enjoy if they chose (i.e., books, movies, twitter feeds, albums). [...]
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A Day In Prison

A Day in Prison

by Kristi H. This past Tuesday I spent the day in Graterford State Prison, a maximum-security institution for men. Alex and I were in Philadelphia for one of our annual conferences, the American Society of Criminology. A few months ago I heard about a pre-conference workshop opportunity hosted by the Inside Out program and signed up. [...]
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The Perfect Flashlight

The Perfect Flashlight

submitted by Brandon P. Reggie is always out there- in the heat, the rain, and the cold. He’s there day and night. There were times last summer when I’d see him stand for hours on the median at forty-seventh and Madison with his huge brown shirt soaking wet, an irregular circle of white on his back where the salty sweat had traveled. I’d pull up to the light and give him another five. Man, can’t you get in the shade for a bit? No, I’m ok, I have some water right here- how are you? I’m fine, but I’m not standing outside in this heat. [...]
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Watching Giant From This Side Of “The Wall”

Watching Giant from This Side of “The Wall”

submitted by Doug S. Giant director George Stevens leaves no doubt where his political sympathies lie early on in the film.  At the Thanksgiving dinner table at their grandparents’ home in Maryland, the three children under age five are wearing self-made feathered head bands and commence bawling inconsolably when they learn the turkey is their beloved friend “Pedro”.  The children identify with the Indians at the Thanksgiving meal but the film’s director identifies with the many Mexican workers at their ranch home back in Texas.  The brutal living conditions of the Mexican-Americans along with the racist attitudes of the Texas ranchers are depicted glaringly and powerfully in the film.  “It (the movie Giant) more than any other Hollywood film of its time …… directly addresses the great American dilemma, race, and its implications, and not from the familiar racist, white supremacist point of view” according to the IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) biography of Stevens. [...]
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Sharing Happiness – Part 12

Sharing Happiness – Part 12

submitted by Michelle B. My favorite podcast, “Pop Culture Happy Hour” ends their show with each member saying what made them happy the previous week.  The rule is that it must be something anyone could enjoy if they chose (i.e., books, movies, twitter feeds, albums). So, here’s what’s making the family happy recently: [...]
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BBQ Jackfruit

BBQ Jackfruit

submitted by Kristi H. You may have run across the newest sustainable vegan meat substitute in any number of restaurants—Jackfruit. I was lucky enough to see this GIANT fruit growing and being used in the jungles of Nicaragua (see picture). Jackfruit is a fruit that is a relative of figs and breadfruit and grows in many tropical environments. The consistency of “young” jackfruit is fairly neutral with the consistency of pulled pork. It has no saturated fat or cholesterol, and is low in calories and sodium. [...]
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Sludge Rivers And Flaming Baseball Caps

Sludge Rivers and Flaming Baseball Caps

submitted by Brandon P. The other day I met a homeless guy on the Plaza named Bob. I've talked to him several times, mostly just to say no, sorry, it’s a cashless society. He's always there with his tie-dye shirt on, sitting in a wheelchair, with books and other things scattered around and always asking for money and I never have any. (I do for Reggie, farther down, at the next intersection, but that's another story). Anyway, he liked my Ryan Adams shirt and we started talking. And wouldn’t you know, we were at the same Soul Asylum show at the Uptown in 1987, and at the Meat Puppets show at the Shadow in 1990(?), and the Replacements at Memorial Hall in 1989. Anyway, it was a nice talk, especially since he turns out to be a secret link to my past. One of those treasures that is right in plain sight if we just squint the right way. He said he has the infamous 1981 Replacements bootleg. Or he did until his stuff got stolen, but it had spent enough time on the dash of his truck that it didn’t really play anyway. [...]
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A Talk About War And Art

A Talk About War and Art

submitted by Doug S. “Wars don’t end with the signing of peace treaties.”  Novelist and short story writer Tim O’Brien As a young child the girl feared sitting at the dinner table with her father.  His silence and brooding made her wonder if she might say or do something that would set him off.  Then, as a 12 year old, she found a small metal box under the stairs to their basement with his name on it.  Inside were a couple of medals, some photos, a woman’s garter, one or two letters.  Mementoes of the War her father had fought in and never talked about. [...]
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Sharing Happiness Part 11

Sharing Happiness Part 11

submitted by Michelle B. My favorite podcast, “Pop Culture Happy Hour” ends their show with each member saying what made them happy the previous week.  The rule is that it must be something anyone could enjoy if they chose (i.e., books, movies, twitter feeds, albums). So, here’s what’s making the Brightwell family happy recently: [...]
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The Disappeared

The Disappeared

submitted by Brandon P. She had disappeared. We pulled up last Wednesday night to find the park empty.  No Vietnam vets on the benches. No one sitting on the stone wall overlooking the West Bottoms. No one coming up to the truck looking for a bottle of water or a box of lozenges. And no “Kelly”. [...]
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More Coffee, More Love

More Coffee, More Love

submitted by Sofia P. As time quickly passes and the only reliable things in my life are coffee dates with my dad and constant stress about college and my future, I have come to realize that nothing will ever love and support me like coffee does. This is true for many reasons, too many to list. All I know is that I’m never more content than when I’m holding a nice plastic cup full of an iced mocha. Even when I go to college in about ten months and won’t be able to see my dad every day, when I’m stressed and overwhelmed, I can simply drink coffee and reminisce about the good times that we had. What follows are some more of my favorite places to get that magical bean juice. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. [...]
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Feels The Same

Feels the Same

submitted by Brandon P. Sunday night in Gulu, Uganda. The room in the surgical ward at Lacor hospital is small and stuffy. There’s just enough space for a bed against each wall, two metal chairs and a small desk. The metal shuttered window against the south wall lets in mosquitos but no air movement. My white shirt is sticking to me as we screen patient after patient. One of our team members takes vitals, another fills out forms and organizes the surgery schedule and a local intern and the patient’s attendant help with translation. This means that there are six people in the room at a time, all tired and hot and sticky. [...]
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