BFF – Nothing Short of Amazing

Angie Tupelo:

I grew up in a place where most people didn’t hunt for entertainment but for survival; where one deer can make a big difference to a family living on the edge. For me the most poetic and hopeful part of this post was “When Billy explained what they needed it for and tried to offer money to the hunter, he declined saying “When you asked me if you could have a deer, I figured that you must have really needed one.” ” Hope comes from many directions.

Originally posted on your passport to complaining:

Occasionally, some intellectually leaning person will try to make the case against hope.  They will tell you things are bad and that it is important to be realistic, and the cards are terribly stacked against us and you should not delude yourself, and you should prepare for things getting worse, and really this is the reasonable and prudent thing to do.  Nonsense, i say.

For if you were reasonable, you might well just give up on Baltimore. The city has seen a 30% decrease in population since 1950, collapse of infrastructure, a high violent crime level, a spike in heroin use, food deserts and more.  The folks at the Baltimore Free Farm (BFF) however are nothing like discouraged, taking every piece of abandoned property as they possibility can for a guerrilla urban garden or more.

Welcome Sign to the garden - classic anarchist suggestion

Welcome Sign to the garden – classic anarchist suggestion

When you arrive at the Ash…

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November is Piper Passing

Angie Tupelo:

A few months after I moved to Twin Oaks I was part of a task force with Piper and several others called CWIC (Coping with Illness Compassionately). The group’s goal was to develop suggestions on how Twin Oaks could best support members who were coping with a serious illness and/or aging and/or dying. (It was in this group that the Nashoba Addition proposal was born.) As part of that group’s work I spoke with Piper extensively about her thoughts on aging and dying, her hopes and fears.

It’s beautiful and rare to hear the news of a friend’s death and be able to say “she lived a long and full life, she was ready to go, and she went in just the way she wanted.” I’ll miss seeing Piper when I go to Twin Oaks, yet I’m delighted for her that her movement out of this life avoided her fears and involved chocolate. We’ll miss you Piper.

Originally posted on your passport to complaining:

Early this morning Piper Martin passed away; she would have been 90 years old in December.  Piper came to Twin Oaks over 30 years ago and has been a constant booster of community life and fierce advocate for children’s rights to read.

She did one of one tutoring with over 200 kids.

Piper did one-on-one tutoring with over 200 kids.

Piper believed literacy was a stepping stone to world peace.  She saw it as the cornerstone of greater understanding and compassion.  She very fundamentally viewed her literacy work as peace activism.

Piper was a behaviorist.  Her Reading Window School used a technique which she developed that rewarded kids for trying.  B. F. Skinner would have been proud of how well the kids responded to this technique. My own son Willow arrived at Reading Window School both unwilling and claiming to be unable to read.  Six weeks later he was pleasure reading and a year later he was reading Harry Potter…

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Acorn Arson

Angie Tupelo:

Glad all my friends are ok, wishing I could be closer/of more help. Reblogging so people who follow me but might not follow Pax see the news.

Originally posted on your passport to complaining:

Someone tried to kill me this morning.

As controversial as i sometimes am, this does not happen often.  In fact it has never happened until today.  There is a story, of course, and i am going to tell it to you.

At moments after 5 AM this morning i smelled smoke.  I had been sitting with the door open in the conspiracy office in the middle of Acorn’s main building, Heartwood.  I jumped out of the office and there was a fire burning right outside the dishwashing area, which was less than 10 feet from where i was sitting.  As i looked around quickly for a fire extinguisher, i saw that there were three large diesel containers on the floor of the building and someone had poured the fuel on the floor.  I started screaming to wake people up.



I dragged the gas containers, which were still partially full, out…

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How to be an everyday poly (and solo poly) ally

Angie Tupelo:

Ooo, good stuff!

Originally posted on SoloPoly:

alliesHey folks, it’s National Coming Out Day! Congrats to everyone who’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer — you’re wonderful, whether you’re out or not.

Of course, today isn’t solely about sexual orientation and gender identity/presentation. It’s also a day to celebrate being out as polyamorous, open, a swinger, solo by choice, asexual, kinky — and any other way in which you might not quite fit the standard social relationship escalator norm.

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Wait, But What?

Angie Tupelo:

I read the article this post is critiquing a few weeks ago and was so infuriated I had to go take a walk- I was too ragetastic to write a post tearing it apart, but happily DDP did it for me. The whole piece is a good read, I especially loved these bits: “I will throttle the next person who tells me I have to work for my career. I have to work to PAY THE BILLS, motherfucker!” AND “This guy is kind of racist, super patronizing, doesn’t understand what a yuppie is, and has a lot of really stupid thoughts about what is “wrong” with a group of people who probably don’t exist in real life, and if they do, they’re quite a small portion of the population. So, if you read this and found yourself nodding along, you should probably make some middle-class/poor friends. Then you can read this to them and when they stop laughing while staring into your eyes and stabbing a teddy bear with a butter knife, maybe y’all can go get some Fro-Yo. You know, another thing “our generation” just can’t get enough of.”

Originally posted on Disrupting Dinner Parties:

So this dumb opinion piece on what’s wrong with my generation happened. Pretty much all articles that make sweeping generalizations about anybody are flawed at the heart. This is no exception. Most I can write off as just another denizen of the internet weighing in with their special snowflake opinion, but this one was actually getting re-posted. A lot. By my Facebook friends.  So I thought it might be important to point out why this is not, in fact, real life, and is, in fact, utterly insulting.

Let’s take a look at this guy’s argument, point by point.

  1. Wait But Why Dude: “Lucy is part of Generation Y, the generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s. She’s also part of a yuppie culture that makes up a large portion of Gen Y…I have a term for yuppies in the Gen Y age group—I call them Gen Y…

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How to leverage your competitor’s terrible choices, pasta edition

Originally posted on Barilla Germany’s Facebook page, later posted on the company’s US page with the caption “Sauce for all”

Barilla’s president Guido Barilla is a big fan of “traditional families”, and is definitely NOT ok with those weird families in which gay men raise children, saying “if they don’t like it then they will not eat it (our pasta) and they will eat another brand.”  Also, he’s apparently he’s unaware that women can be gay (or maybe he assumed that lesbians make their own pasta and/or don’t eat gluten?)  Bad publicity for sure, and I’m definitely one of the people who will never buy that brand again.  The following day competing pasta company Bertolli jumped into the fray with a great example of how to deal with one of your rivals messing up big time; release a cute positive ad, get free publicity, and reach customers around the world who are looking for a new pasta brand.

Some other thoughts: This is a great illustration of how the internet has changed how businesses present themselves and the standards they’re held to.  The comment was originally part of an Italian radio interview, and I have to imagine that in Italy (as in much of America) his viewpoints are unremarkable to many people.  Before the age of the internet and social media the story would probably have died a quiet death, or at least only caused a kerfuffle in Italy.   Not in 2013 though. (The times referenced are EST.)  Barilla’s comments (and subsequent non-apology) were picked up by UPI and other sources mid-morning on September 26th.  From there the story spread to Twitter where the hastag #BoycottBarilla quickly gained steam, to LGBT focused blogs like TowleRoad, Joe My God, and Pink News, and to news sites and stories all over the web from  HuffPo to USA Today.  Many of those stories broke before noon the same day!

Bertolli’s response was created, posted, and then spread just as quickly.  The cute image above was posted on Bertolli Germany’s Facebook feed sometime on the 27th, was spreading across the web by noon, and was shared on their US Facebook page on the 28th.  Bertolli has created explicitly gay-friends ads in the past, but this image was created by Barilla’s German social-media agency Orca im Hafen specifically as a response to the Barilla controversy.  I’ve had dance rehearsals that were longer than the time it took to create, proof, approve, and post their ad!  It’s possible, of course, that they were inspired by this spoof ad, which the company it was attributed to later denied involvement with.  (Although mostly in Italian.)  Either way, a nice catch by the marketing and social media team, and I’m happy that this catch was made by (and will benefit) a company with a history of gay-positive advertising.

Sagging Pants Do Not Cause Inequality.

Angie Tupelo:

If you don’t already read Disrupting Dinner Parties get to it, it’s good stuff. “PLEASE STOP publishing “pragmatic” articles that sound like they were written by a Young Republican. If you’re going to tackle the complex issues that affect black and low-income communities, the least you could do is come up with some solid bullet points that don’t make it sound like you hate poor people. You want to stop the stupid “sagging pants debate” in its stupid tracks? Then dredge up some compassion, quit judging people who like television and give people a way to put their money where their mouth is.”

Originally posted on Disrupting Dinner Parties:

For a while, back in the early days of my Google Reader obsession, I loved GOOD’s online magazine. They had copious articles on education reform, which I gobbled up. But even before I had the social justice chops to understand why, their articles left me wanting more. They never seemed to really delve into the issues they brought up. After a few years, they changed their format to a completely unreadable angry spaceship of social media garbage, and I stopped reading.

I’m still hungry for education news, though, and GOOD, shallow and widget-happy as they may be, has an excellent Education Editor (Liz Dwyer). So when they posted a civil rights’ quiz my organization put together (demonstrating good judgment, in my opinion), I started to browse again.

And I found this: 5 Pragmatic Alternatives to The Sagging Pants Debate. And I rejoiced! Canning the debate about black…

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9/11 + 12 or + 40 or + 0

Angie Tupelo:

A thoughtful take on 9/11, what we choose to remember and what we choose to ignore, and international policy.

Originally posted on your passport to complaining:

I thought about going into Manhattan yesterday morning to be at “ground zero” at the moment of the 12th anniversary of 9/11.  But the more i thought about it, the more i realized the image makers combined with the people who suffered real personal loss would make the experience unworkable for me.

These light up the sky most nights in Manhattan

These twin tower light beams can be seen most nights in Manhattan

First some uncomfortable history.  The 9/11 attacks did not come from nowhere, nor were they a surprise, nor was it because “they hate our freedom.”  The reasons for the jihad against the US were publicly outlined by bin Laden in 1997.  The reasons were threefold:

  1. US military presence in Saudi Arabia (despite significant protests)
  2. US sanctions in Iraq that killied 600K children
  3. US support of Israel’s oppressive policies towards Palestine

Though you would never know it from listening to the US media, much of the…

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Care Bear Villains

“If two people can attack you by loving each other you’re not a “real man,” you’re a Care Bear villain.” via 5 Reasons Homophobia Is Unmanly « Man Cave Daily.

I’m not in love with this website but this is one of the funniest “don’t be a homophobic d-bag” one-liners I’ve seen in a long time.

Health in the U.S. and other rich countries: We pay more in health care but are sicker. – Slate Magazine

“Our health depends on much more than just medical care. Behaviors such as diet, physical activity, and even how fast we drive all have profound effects. So do the environments that expose us to health risks or discourage healthy living, as well as social determinants of health, such as education, income, and poverty.

The United States fares poorly in almost all of these. In addition to many millions of people lacking health insurance, financial barriers to care, and a lack of primary care providers compared with other rich countries, people in the United States consume more calories, are more sedentary, abuse more drugs, and shoot one another more often. The United States also lags behind on many measures of education, has higher child poverty and income inequality, and lower social mobility than most other advanced democracies.” via Health in the U.S. and other rich countries: We pay more in health care but are sicker. – Slate Magazine.