Archive for category Positive Visioning

Hymn of Gratitude

From Charlie’s Facebook page.


Hymn of Gratitude for the Catholic Worker Vol. LXXVII, No. 5 August-September, 2010

price 1 cent (can't find the sign for 'cent' very easily on this computer, 
sign of the times)

these front page headlines:

Joseph Takami of Nagasaki                              Our Lady the Hibakusha

Edited by Yuki Tanaka and Marilyn B. Young. The New Press, New York and London, 2009. 
Reviewed by Bill Griffin.

who titles his review Bombs Do Not Save Lives

Here it is 2011 and May 1 coming up

Truth & Traditions Party mobilizing people 1 x 1

to bring some sanity each day into politics USA

a tar pit full of failing flailing dinosaurs

desperate on the very brink of extinction

us modest milky warmblooded mammals

nipping at their gigantic achilles heels

I know the blog box is not set up in a way that favors poets who may be fussy about

space, wanting air and the aura of ether around the penumbra of each word, each line, 
and especially around each unspoken thot. Plodding traditional prose will have to serve.

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No Mind on the Hudson River


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All that Stuff Weighing You Down?


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Flowers R Us



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Why the Expressive Arts are Essential to the Transition

The expressive arts: music and dance, drawing and painting, calligraphy, sculpture, acting, needlecraft, architecture, and so on. Why they are essential: Because they bind us to one another and to the earth, they transform a place, a locus, into a home.

Before continuing down that path, however, let’s take a look back to the Romantics. It’s important to see how, for all their love of nature and of the expressive arts, they contributed to the ideologies that have ended up alienating us from Nature, and from the expressive arts.

It’s really quite simple. Back at the turn of the 18th into the 19th century, as the industrial revolution took hold, the Romantics venerated Nature, and opposed it to the City and to Industry. Industry was dirty, degrading, and alienating, keeping us from our True Home, nature. The trouble is, by so arguing, the Romantics placed Nature on a Pedestal, and put the Pedestal Over There Somewhere. The Romantics preserved nature by separating it from us. As more and more people moved into the cities, more and more people moved away from Nature. Nature became more and more alien, even as the Romantic Ideal became more and more alluring.

At the same time, the Romantics invested artistic expression in a class of rustics that lived Other There, in Nature, but also in an elite class of Geniuses who, while living among us, were not of us. Music and painting and poetry and dance became the provinces of those august geniuses, on the one hand, and women and children on the other. They were no longer capacities that each and everyone of us had and exercised. And those geniuses, they became the playthings of the industrial rich, perhaps railing against them, but ultimately tied to them as patrons.

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My Father Cleaned Coal for a Living

A Systems Story

by Bill Benzon

My father was trained as a chemical engineer. He spent his entire career with Bethlehem Mines, the mining division of the Bethlehem Steel Company. He designed coal-cleaning plants, at least the system for actually cleaning the coal.

This is a story about the last plant that he designed, one designed to keep the air clean while at the same time reducing the cost of running and maintaining the plant. It was a beautiful and elegant solution to a nasty engineering problem. I offer it as a study in systems thinking – though my father probably never used that phrase.

Cleaning Coal

Before coal can be turned into coke (for subsequent use as a fuel in steel-making) it must be cleaned of impurities, mostly sulfur. Most cleaning techniques take advantage of the fact that the rocks containing the impurities are denser than coal. So, you crush the raw coal until all the particles are less than, say, an eighth of an inch. Then you float the crushed coal in some medium – generally, but not always, water – and take advantage of the fact that the rock sinks faster than the coal. There are several things you can do, as I recall, but whichever technique you use, you end up with wet coal when you’re done.

Wet coal is considerably heavier than dry coal. As railroads charge by the pound, it costs more to ship wet coal than dry. And, in the winter, a hopper car filled with wet coal at the mine – coal is generally cleaned at the mine, not at the steel plant – is likely to be filled with frozen coal when you get to the plant. How do you empty that mess from the cars?

So, you need to dry the coal.

The old drying techniques – drying ovens – leaves you with a lot of coal dust in the air. A lot. And coal dust is nasty stuff. You don’t want it spewing out of chimneys anywhere in your neighborhood. Or near your farm.

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