John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

The rise and fall of a paper bag.

Every man is a consumer and ought to be a producer.
300 quotes from Emerson
To view more Emerson quotes or read a life background on Emerson please visit the books blog spot. We update the blog bi-monthly  emersonsaidit.blogspot.com

Isn't this a cool painting?

What Love is…..

If you want to be successful, it's just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing. Will Rogers


By Vassar Miller

Vassar Miller (July 19, 1924 – October 31, 1998) was a writer and poet.Miller was born in Houston, Texas, the daughter of real estate investor Jesse G. Miller. She began writing as a child, composing on a typewriter due to the cerebral palsy which affected her speech and movement. She attended the University of Houston, receiving her B.A. and M.A. in English. In 1956, Miller published her first volume of poetry, Adam's Footprint. Her poems, most of which dealt with either her strong religious faith or her experiences as a person with a disability, were widely praised for their rigorous formality, clarity, and emotional impact. In 1961 Miller was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her collection Wage War on Silence. Over the course of a literary career which spanned almost forty years, Miller published ten volumes of poetry in all. Vassar Miller’s ten volumes of poetry, published between 1956 and 1984 were collected in 1991 under the title If I Had Wheels or Love. An outspoken advocate for the rights and dignity of the handicapped, Miller also edited a collection of poetry and short stories about persons with disabilities titled Despite This Flesh. Miller received many awards and accolades for her poetry in her home state. Three of her books won the annual poetry prize of the Texas Institute of Letters. In 1982 and 1988 Miller was named Poet Laureate of Texas, and in 1997 she was named to the Texas Women's Hall of Fame by the Governor's Commission for Women. Ms. Miller was not only a poet of extraordinary talent, she was a woman whose indomitable spirit enabled her to overcome her significant physical limitations. Vassar Miller died October 31, 1998. 

God, best at making in the morning, tossed
stars and planets, singing and dancing, rolled
Saturn’s rings spinning and humming, twirled the earth
so hard it coughed and spat the moon up, brilliant
bubble floating around it for good, stretched holy
hands till birds in nervous sparks flew forth from
them and beasts---lizards, big and little, apes,
lions, elephants, dogs and cats cavorting,
tumbling over themselves, dizzy with joy when
God made us in the morning too, both man
and woman, leaving Adam no time for
sleep so nimbly was Eve bouncing out of
his side till as night came everything and
everybody, growing tired, declined, sat
down in one long descended Hallelujah.

Good words to have.................

Roustabout: Deckhand, a person who loads and unloads ships at a seaport, an unskilled or semiskilled laborer especially in an oil field or refinery,a circus worker who erects and dismantles tents, cares for the grounds, and handles animals and equipment, a person with no permanent home or regular occupation; also : one who stirs up trouble

Circus roustabouts (who erect and dismantle tents, care for the grounds, and handle animals and equipment) are commonly associated with circus animals, of course, but they also have a connection with game birds, at least in terms of etymology. Roustabout comes from roust, which is an alteration of rouse, a verb from Middle English that originally meant "to shake the feathers" (as in the way a bird might ruffle its feathers or shake its plumage when it is settling down or grooming itself). Rouse, which today is a synonym of awaken, also formerly meant "to cause to break from cover," a sense that may have influenced the modern meaning of roust: "to drive (as from bed) roughly or unceremoniously."

The rise and fall of a paper bag.
A short story by

John William Tuohy

      The long day was over and Elysia was temporarily released from the confines of her  suffocatingly small cubicle at the New York Public Library were she embedded codes in books, day in and day out, her doctorate degree in literary criticism taken from his place on her moveable green felt wall and hidden in her desk.

    Paroled to the claustrophobic cabin of her economy car, a tin box that sat motionless in a massive traffic jam at 179th Street just inside Queens, it was, she thought,  as if the entire city converged there and suddenly stopped without reason.

     She could see the outline of her building on the other side of the bridge counting down the floors she spotted the small window to her efficiency apartment.  It was less than a mile away, but she guessed it would take her two and a half hours to cross over to the other side.
   The setting sun baked one side of her narrow sallow face, yet its imminent departure from the day’s stage did nothing to lower the ceaseless, suffocating humidity that gripped the city.
     She thought again, as she did every night, that maybe she should have taught English. What happened to that plan, she wondered?  It was too late to go back to that. Her life, much like her car, were stuck in neutral, gridlocked, going nowhere.  

    Releasing her sweaty palms from the hot plastic steering wheel, she resigned herself to her motionless fate and slowly sat back and turned her face from the blinding sun and focused her soft blue eyes on the cement and concrete labyrinth of worn roads and colossal apartment buildings that surrounded her

   She watched a tall man appear at the doorway of a convenience store whose window signs pronounced proudly, in bold red letters, that it sold Ouzo by the case. The tall man reached inside a small dull ivory colored plastic bag and pulled out a long brown bottle of beer. He opened it and took a long quenching swallow and then tossed the bottle cap and bag to the hot city streets. She watched the cap make a valiant effort to roll for Jersey but sadden when it was only able to make a few inches to the curb before it expired. But her hopes were renewed when a soft wind lifted the plastic bag up from where it had gracefully fallen, an inch from the gutter and then swept it gently in to the air.
   She could sense that this was no ordinary bag.

   Lifting itself up a few hundred feet it swayed softly along a jet stream and then smoothly lowering its altitude it bounced playfully on an unseen soft breeze.

     This bag with wings of wax was perfect in the wind, perfect. It was Sinatra in the forties, it was Fitzgerald sober and writing, it was the Yankees of 63 seasons, it was the son of Zeus and Hera gliding elegantly towards his rightful home on Mount Olympus or over to the Jersey shore, which ever was closer. She needed this bag, she needed it to succeed. A broad smile came across her plain face as she watched its rise and then she heard these words float down from the skies above her.

                    “Nous sommes libres le moment ou nous etre libres!”

  “We are free the moment we wish to be free.” She whispered and a tear came to her eye.
   Well, it was probably from pollution but still, you know, it was a tear so it kind of worked out right.  The near-tear arose from the fact that not only had the bag quoted Voltaire, completely out of context, but still, you know, it quoted Voltaire! In French! It spoke French! …okay with a slight Bronx accent, but still....I mean, you know, it’s a bag. And, although, like most Americans, she preferred Locke over Voltaire...well, she did have a liking towards Rousseau but sometimes he struck her as morally irresponsible but then again she wondered if her parochial school education just made him seem that way...but, anyway, moved by the moment, she leaped from her car...she didn’t actually leap, but she rushed from the car only to have the seat belt part that goes over your shoulder get caught in her hair and nearly choke her to death.  But after that she more or less leaped from the car and still on fire with the passion of freedom burning white hot in her surpassed soul she raised a fist to the sky and yelled at the very top of her voice to the bag,

“Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things,”

Stopping to catch her breath she watched as the bag flew higher and she climbed on to her car’s hood and continued, 

I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”

     Hearing the deep passion of her words and seeing the bag fly its course so gloriously into the blue, a homeless man on the corner adjusted his aluminum foil hat, snapped the heels of his sneakers and standing at full attention, he raised his hand to his forehead in salute as the bag circled in the wind above him.  The homeless man stood erect...in a bunch of different ways for he was easily excited when the medication wore off... he watched this magnificent bag rise up once more, up to the heavens escaping the surly bonds of Earth and the lonely grey caverns of Manhattan.

     It chose to fly towards Jersey, although Elysia thought that personally she would have chosen Connecticut, but, she reasoned, perhaps the bag was thinking shorter commute, who knows? But southward it flew over the Hudson. But then she thought that if she could fly what would a shorter commute matter anyway?  

    As she pondered that thought and realized it was a pointless waste of time and she really has to stop doing that she turned attention back to the bag and saw now that the bag was sinking from the sky. Perhaps the sun was melting it or maybe the wet air of the nearby Atlantic had dampened it or maybe, exhilarated by the thrill of flight and unrestrained freedom, maybe it had fainted. She knew bags didn’t faint but she needed a reason.
     Downwards and downwards it spiraled descending from the clouds to its icy grave below...but then she thought, well, okay, the Hudson probably wasn’t icy in mid-August but like, still, it was a crappy way to die, considering what they pour into the Hudson and everything.  Rolling her tiny hands into tiny fists that she rose to the sky, she rolled her head back to face the heavens, closed her eyes and cried a mournful shrill,

“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aero planes circle moaning overhead.”

     She lowered her eyes in defeat and then lifted her gaze to the river and watched the bag that was so much more than just a bag land in, on or maybe near, the river and disappear.
     “Give me a sign that you made it,” she cried and then hugged herself.
     “Lady, “You’re blocking traffic over here already, what the hells the madda with you?”  a voice boomed and she was disappointed because she didn’t think the bag would sound that gruff but ti wasn’t the bag it was the voice of a cop in a police helicopter circling behind her.
     The road before her, now cleared of traffic across the bridge and all the way into New Jersey, was empty. Turning completely around she eyed a traffic jam behind her that further than her eyes could see. She looked to the man in the car directly behind her. His license plate claimed he was from Georgia, or at least his car was. He was staring at her. His lips were tightly closed and his eyes were wide as saucers and when she looked at him he very quickly diverted his eyes to the floor in a way that shouted, “Please don’t hurt me.” 

     It was now official.  She was a crazy lady. She lowered her head and returned to her car. She gave a last look to the bag and recalling its valiant flight she vowed that her life would change.

A Realistic Summer Writing Schedule

Theresa MacPhail
Assistant Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology

Working on a book or article? Whether it's advice or support you need, you can start a thread on our On Scholarly Writing forum.

The grueling grading period is over. The semester is finally finished. You’ve probably taken a few well-deserved weeks off, but now it’s time to start working on your own research and writing projects. Many of us use our precious summer “vacation” to churn out articles and book chapters. But as the tenure-track market tightens and pressure to publish increases, many people – especially junior faculty – feel intense anxiety over their summer writing schedules.

“I’m going to write my book.”
“I have to write and submit three articles this summer.”
“I need to write every, single day. At least 1,000 words a day.”

Do any of those pledges sound familiar? If so, I have some bad news: You may be setting yourself up for failure. Even worse, crafting an unrealistic summer writing goal might actually be harming your ability to write at all, creating a vicious vortex of procrastination, anxiety, and guilt.

The solution is to set realistic goals and maintain a regular writing schedule. Instead of being rigidly attached to an overambitious writing schedule, it’s better in the summer to think of your writing time as somewhat more flexible than it might be during the academic year. It’s summer, after all, and you do need to recharge your batteries. There is a way to relax and be productive, trust me. Just follow these simple rules:

Stop thinking about your writing in terms of large projects.

You may indeed be working on a book. But no good has ever come from sitting down in your writing space and thinking: “Ok. I’m going to write my book today.” Ditto for thinking you are sitting down to write a chapter or an article. No, you’re not. You’re sitting down to write a small section of something, be it an article or a book chapter.

That bit of advice may sound like semantics, but the words you use really do matter in terms of your motivation and goal-setting. After a day of writing, you should feel as though you’ve accomplished something. If your goal for the day was “to work on my book,” then you will usually end up feeling as though you didn’t accomplish enough by the end of that day. Because how could you? No one can “write a book” in a day, a week, a month. It’s the accrual of days, weeks, and months that produces a book. It’s the motion that’s important.
Set up a realistic writing schedule and then (mostly) stick to it.

The key word there is “realistic.” If, at the beginning of the summer, you promise yourself that you will write “every day” or write “8 hours for 5 days a week,” you are probably trying to do too much. I do know professional writers – think journalists – who could accomplish that, but for the rest of us, it’s just not feasible.

If you insist on producing a rigid daily word count or writing without days off, you’re priming yourself for a burnout. I’ve seen it happen time and time again: People start off their summers by working nonstop and then, only a few weeks in, hit a major wave of fatigue. That can be very hard to recover from (I speak from experience here).

You’re better off scheduling your writing in blocks of two to four hours, with regular breaks. For the summer months, I don’t recommend trying to write more than four days a week. We all have families, friends, and lives. You will be more productive during your writing sessions if you’re happy and relaxed instead of stressed out.
Writer, know thyself.

Craft a writing schedule and goals that work for you. That’s tricky because it requires you to really be honest about yourself and what kind of writer you are. Do you tend to be focused for a couple of hours and then do very little at your desk after that? Then schedule writing blocks of one to two hours to accommodate your style. Do you need a deadline in order to work at all? Then set one up with a friend (again, however, be realistic about it).

Experiment a little before you construct your writing schedule. If you usually write at night (something I highly discourage, since our creative reserves, ability to focus, and willpower tend to be drained by the end of the day), then try a morning shift. If you use the pomodoro method (typically that involves working for a 25-minute block, followed by a break), then try writing for a longer period of time. If you write every day, try writing for three or four days in a row and then taking two days off. Play around with your writing schedule and habits until you hit your groove. You’ll know what works because you’ll start seeing dividends in your productivity level. When you’ve found what works for you, stick with it. That’s the writing schedule that should become standard and (mostly) nonnegotiable.

It’s possible to feel like you’ve used your summer months wisely, I promise. But not if you’re starting out with impossible goals and a completely unrealistic writing schedule. 

Professional writers don’t write all the time. In fact, many of us goof off a fair amount and yet still manage to churn out essays, talks, grant applications, op-eds, and books. The secret sauce is that we’ve discovered sustainable writing practices and we stick to them. If I can work on a new book project and still find time to go to the beach, so can you. Pro-tip: Don’t forget the sunscreen.

By Stephen Sparks

No one will read your book.
This isn’t an insult. It’s a statistical fact.
For an example that’s depressing on many levels, take Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s Killing Patton, which according to Nielsen was the only adult novel (in English) to sell more than one million copies last year. When viewed globally, selling 1.19 million copies of a book, though a marketing feat worthy of our attention if not admiration, is pretty insignificant. Less than .017 percent of the world’s population bought Killing Patton (and less, I’m sure, finished it).
These sobering statistics are not meant to discourage writers, but to point out the obvious: no one reads. But who is no one really not reading? With that question in mind, Will Schofield, the man behind the treasure trove that is 50 Watts, started Writers No One Reads, an unexpectedly popular tumblr “highlighting forgotten, neglected, abandoned, forsaken, unrecognized, unacknowledged, overshadowed, out-of-fashion, under-translated writers.” Soon after, Jozsef Szabo and I joined Will as editors of the site and have since compiled a list of unread writers scoured from our personal libraries and websites (like the great Neglected Books Page), along with suggestions from fellow travelers.
Since then, I’ve come across hundreds of writers forgotten by history or ignored altogether. Some undoubtedly deserve their fate; others, immensely talented writers, nearly break your heart. I haven’t come closer to understanding the vicissitudes of literary fortune (the moment I do, I’ll open my own publishing house), but in studying these writers, I’ve come up with a set of categories into which many fall. I’ve included ten below, with a disclaimer acknowledging that any list like this is a matter of personal taste and is necessarily exclusionary. This might sound snobbish; it probably is. But the spirit of Writers No One Reads has never been one of hipness—we’re three admittedly ill-adjusted bookish types who love digging through the dusty corners of the literary past and sharing what we’ve found.
Lastly, in the hope that it’s not too late to save some of the writers on this list from complete oblivion, in all but one instance, every book featured on this list is currently in print.

Marcel Schwob (1867-1905)
Category: A writer whose influence far exceeds his readership
Category: A writer who died too young
Marcel Schwob may be the most influential writer you’ve never heard of. Criminally overlooked in the English-speaking world, Schwob—a sort of French Robert Louis Stevenson—nevertheless exerted influence over a diverse array of his more famous successors, including Alfred Jarry, Borges, Paul Valery, Roberto Bolaño, and others. He is the epitome of the writer no one thinks they read, but who, due to his profound influence, lives on in the work of others.

Mary Butts (1890-1937)
Category: A writer whose penchant for scandal occludes her literary merit
Nicknamed the “storm goddess,” Mary Butts was not always a writer no one reads. She was published in the legendary Little Review, the magazine that serialized Joyce’s Ulysses, and counted among her contemporary admirers Ezra Pound and Marianne Moore. Her resolve to “depict worst things” (in Paul West’s assessment) scandalized many, including the prudish Virginia Woolf. Her work fell out of fashion after her early death, though McPherson & Co. keeps her in print.

Marguerite Young (1908-1995)
Category: A writer who takes so long to finish a novel that everyone forgets about her
Marguerite Young’s death in 1995 resulted in one of the most fascinating obituaries (published in the New York Times) I’ve ever read. Here’s a paragraph from it:
[She] was a woman with the pageboy haircut who looked like W. H. Auden, wrote like James Joyce, strode through the Village in her signature serapes, had breakfast at Bigelow’s with Richard Wright, got drunk at the White Horse Tavern with Dylan Thomas, palled around with Truman Capote and Carson McCullers, kept a vast collection of dolls in her Bleecker Street apartment and regaled intimates with tales of her romantic conquests.
In the midst of this rich personal life, she spent 20 years writing the sprawling, 1,200 page Miss Macintosh, My Darling, a novel that serves as a cure for writer’s block for a character in Anne Tyler’s Accidental Tourist.

João Guimarães Rosa (1908-1967)
Category: A writer whose work is nearly impossible to translate
Grande Sertão: Veredas (translated as The Devil to Pay in the Backlands) is considered by many to be Brazil’s equivalent to Ulysses and is included on a list of the Top 100 Books of All Time, as voted on by 100 international writers. Despite the acclaim, the book has fallen into a prolonged obscurity after the English translation, published by Knopf in the early 1960s, fell out-of-print. This may partly be due to the imperfect translation of that edition and the stylistically challenging original, which works in several registers to capture a tumultuous period of Brazilian history.

Julien Gracq (1910-2007)
Category: A writer who prefers obscurity
Gracq, a pseudonym for Louis Poirier, has been called the “last of the universal writers.” A geography teacher by trade but a writer with a capital W who refused awards—including the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 1951 for Le Rivage des Syrtes (The Opposing Shore)—Gracq never traveled on promotional tours and rarely gave interviews. His debut novel, the haunting Chateau D’Argol, was admired by Andre Breton and his work was later published in the illustrious Pléiade editions, yet he often went unrecognized in Maine-et-Loire, where he spent his remaining years.
Also, the cover of the original New Directions translation (pictured) is surely one of the great book designs of all time.

Jane Bowles (1917-1973)
Category: A writer who may just have been too strange to gain a readership
Category: A perpetually rediscovered and lost writer
Jane Bowles, whose only novel Two Serious Ladies (1943) is currently in print with Ecco Books, is a writer seemingly destined to ride a sine wave of fortune. Bowles was troubled by mental illness and her marriage to Paul Bowles was unconventional to say the least, was included on a list of “undeservedly neglected” writers on the American Scholar as far back as 1970 and likely will be again in another 40 years.

Augusto Monterroso (1921-2003)
Category: A doomed short story writer who wasn’t lucky enough to be Borges
The Guatemalan writer Augusto Monterroso is the author of one of the world’s shortest stories, presented to you here in full [spoiler alert!]: “When he awoke, the dinosaur was still there.” Although virtually unknown in the English-speaking world, Monterroso is considered a peer with the heavyweights of the Boom generation, including Julio Cortázar and Carlos Fuentes. Besides one novel, All the Rest is Silence, his output consisted entirely of fantastic and ironic short stories, a characteristic that perhaps has kept him from attaining the status he deserves.

Rosemary Tonks (1928-2014)
Category: A writer who renounces her art and disappears
It seems Rosemary Tonks preferred the no one read her work. After publishing two collections of poetry and six novels in the 1960s, Tonks retreated from the British literary scene, where she was a figure of some renown, and ceased publication altogether to spend her remaining years seeking spiritual consolation and slowly cutting herself off from friends and family. According to Neil Astley, the publisher of Bloodaxe Books, who has recently collected all of Tonks’s poems under the title The Bedouin of London, Tonks disavowal of books stemmed from a crisis that led her to condemn all books other than the Bible.

Fran Ross (1935-1985)
Category: A writer before her time
Novelist Mat Johnson believes that Fran Ross’s only novel, the uproariously funny Oreo, was overlooked upon its initial publication in 1974 because it didn’t fit into the narrative of the Black Power movement. It hasn’t faired very well since then either, though perhaps its latest incarnation, in a paperback published by New Directions in July, will earn this criminally neglected book some readers.

Driss ben Hamed Charhadi (1937-1986)
Category: An illiterate writer resigned to being unread

Charhadi (the pseudonym of Larbi Layachi) is the second writer on this list affiliated with Paul Bowles. He was an illiterate shepherd and petty drug trafficker in Tangier whose story, A Life full of Holes, was recorded, transcribed, and translated by Bowles. It was the first book produced in Maghrebi, an Arabic dialect of Northern Africa, and relates the story of Charhadi’s life in a fatalistic and unsentimental manner.

Why Public Libraries Matter

Katrina vanden Heuvel

There are more public libraries in America—some 9,000 central buildings and 7,500 branch locations—than McDonald's restaurants, making them one of the most ubiquitous institutions in the nation. Far from serving as obsolescent repositories for dead wood, libraries are integral, yet threatened, parts of the American social fabric. Libraries, after all, are truly democratic spaces where all are welcome and where everything inside is available to everyone. Few American institutions strive for "equity of access," a core principle of the American Library Association, and even fewer pay more than lip service to the idea that services like the Internet are necessary aspects of life that simply must be made available to all members of society. But despite their impact and import—much of it hidden from people of means who can independently (and often expensively) secure for themselves those services provided by the library—America is starving its libraries, cutting off millions of people from the stream of information that, like oxygen, powers the development and basic functions of society.

In response to a 2010 story by Chicago's Fox affiliate, "Are Libraries Necessary, or a Waste of Tax Money?", Commissioner of the Chicago Public Library Mary A. Dempsey explained, "There continues to exist in this country a vast digital divide. It exists along lines of race and class and is only bridged consistently and equitably through the free access provided by the Chicago Public Library and all public libraries in this nation. Some 60 percent of the individuals who use public computers a Chicago's libraries are searching for and applying for jobs." It might be amusing to quip about musty, 19th-century-era card catalogs and smudgy, analog newspapers racked on giant spindles, but the access to contemporary society that public libraries provide is deadly serious.

In New York City, library funding is down $65 million since 2008, even though demand for library services is surging. At the 217 local library branches across the city, there are waiting lists for English-language classes and computer-coding classes. One-third of city residents—about 2.8 million people, more than the entire population of Chicago—has no home Internet access and must rely on services available at the public library.

 Indeed, the Queens Library, which serves the most ethnically and economically diverse communities in the United States and which loaned out 15.7 million items during the 2014 fiscal year, has the highest circulation rate of any public library in the country. Yet despite their popularity, City libraries are literally falling apart, and some branches in Brooklyn and the Bronx more resemble subway stations than literary oases. New York's three library systems are requesting $1.4 billion in city funding to upgrade infrastructure over the next ten years, and Mayor De Blasio—whose administration says it's "made a clear commitment to libraries"—needs to listen. After all, you can't get more populist than the public library.

While it would be wonderful to assume that all media are available to all New Yorkers at all times—and that the only thing standing between us and the world is a sticky connection or a malfunctioning server—this simply isn't so. And if you spend a morning observing a job-search program at the public library—where recent immigrants, perhaps, and parolees and recovering addicts sign up for their first email addresses and struggle with a QWERTY keyboard for the first time—you recognize such a sentiment as woefully naïve. 

As The New York Times editorialized last month, "The libraries are where poor children learn to read and love literature, where immigrants learn English, where job-seekers hone résumés and cover letters, and where those who lack ready access to the Internet can cross the digital divide." Imagine everything you did today that utilized the Internet—checked your checking-account balance, ordered a birthday present for a friend, read your hometown newspaper—and now imagine having to go to the library, during library hours, to do it. 

Can't make it to your local branch between 10 and 6 (between 1 and 6 at many Queens locations)? Tough luck. Hop on the bus and try again tomorrow during your 20-minute lunch break.
Beyond mere fairness, there are viable economic reasons for sustaining New York City's public libraries. In 2010, the City of Philadelphia spent $33 million on its public libraries; private donations contributed $12 million more. Subsequent to the funding, the value of an average home located within one quarter-mile of one of the city's 54 public library branches rose $9,630. In the aggregate, the public libraries contributed $698 million to home values in Philadelphia, which translated into an additional $18.5 million in property taxes for the city and school district. Other studies have demonstrated that for every tax dollar that libraries take in, communities receive anywhere between $2.38 and $6.54 in return. Simply put, it's not just cruel to starve our libraries—and the communities that utilize them. It's bad for business, and bad for America.

We must not abandon the egalitarian living rooms that our public libraries have become. Scott Sherman's extraordinary reporting The Nation (as well as his new book) set in motion a chain of events that led the New York Public Library to abandon its Central Library Plan. Armed with Sherman's reporting, New Yorkers (and others around the country and the world) demanded that NYPL, well, serve New Yorkers and other readers, and the library has started to respond. Sherman's reporting shows that our libraries don't need to be endangered at all, as long as we are willing to stand up for them. Our support is due, and empty, abandoned stacks are late fees we just can't afford to pay.

Bail Equals Inequality: 

The Kalief Browder Case & Why Freedom Costs Money
By Madison J. Gray

For the three years Kalief Browder sat in New York’s Rikers Island, he probably wondered what the difference would have been if his family could have posted the $3,000 bail that would have gotten him out of the jail and back on the street to await trial.
Instead he languished there, just a couple football fields away from LaGuardia Airport, experiencing the pre-trial punishment that inmates endure — for being accused of stealing a backpack. The then 16-year-old insisted he was innocent, that there was no reason for him to be locked up.

Ultimately he did get out, he tried to assume a normal life. Work, family, friends. But the malnourishment, the fights with other inmates, the beatings by guards (which were caught on video), the nightmarish conditions he lived in were etched in his mind.

Last weekend, the demons still inside got to be too much. He had tried to commit suicide before, but was unsuccessful. This time, his internal struggles led him to tie an air conditioner cord around his neck and hang himself.
He was only 22.

Browder’s death and ordeal marks a problem in the criminal justice system that is nowhere near unique to him. It serves as a stark indication that the difference between the ability of an accused person to get out of jail and prepare for a trial, and someone who has to sit there and hope for adequate defense, is the ability to make bail.

Browder’s mother didn’t have the $3,000 that would have gotten him out. But insisting that he did nothing wrong, he also did not take the plea bargain either, so the only other option was for him to stay at Rikers Island until his turn in front of a judge came up.
In a place like New York City, it’s supposed to take no longer than six months for a felony. Browder went to jail in May 2010 and his case was dropped in May of 2013. His Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial vanished.

All because he was poor and believed he was innocent until proven guilty.

“The biggest source of inequality in the system is bail,” Rebecca Kavanagh, a Legal Aid attorney in New York said a day after she attended a vigil for Browder. “It means that for poor people your chances of being released, of being able to make bail, are very slim.”
Kavanagh noted the difference between other countries, where the bail system is not as stringent for misdemeanors and low-level felonies and people can be released pending a court appearance, as opposed to the United States, where bail is a question of being able to pay to get out and launch a defense.

“(Browder’s) family could not make that bail for three years and it has to give you pause for thought, because it just shows that it’s a whole lot of money for some people and even going to a bail bondsman where typically you might put up 10%, they couldn’t pay that money,” Kavanagh continued.

“The reason that bail is a huge problem, obviously then, is because people are incarcerated before they’ve ever been convicted of anything. So he’s incarcerated for three years and doesn’t even go to trial and then his case is just dismissed. That happens in so many instances.”

Now people in Browder’s situation do have an option that allows them to avoid staying in jail, exposing themselves to hellish conditions and violence, having to lose their jobs, losing their place in the shelter system if they are homeless, or having their children taken away and put in foster care: plead guilty.

“Most cases in the criminal justice system don’t go to trial,” said Kavanagh. “97% of misdemeanors and probably 90% of felonies end up in plea bargains. If someone says ‘I’m going to go to trial,’ it’s going to take a long time. And even though you have the right to a speedy trial, the way speedy trial time is calculated is really disingenuous because if there are no judges available to hear a case, then that time doesn’t count towards your speedy trial clock.”

But it’s a Catch-22.

If you do take the plea, that means you are telling a judge you did it, whether you are innocent or not. That means the judge can release you with time-served, or a brief sentence, but you now are a convicted criminal. In this country, with that on your record, you may be openly, legally and brazenly discriminated against by any number of institutions and potential employers, and lose your right to vote for a significant amount of time in most states.

So looking at it from Browder’s standpoint — that of a young man in high school with his future ahead of him at the time of his arrest — of course he would want to fight the charges.
John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, pointed out how deep-seated the problem is. Citing a study of the New Jersey jail system, he observed that almost 40 percent of the people locked up there are only in jail because they couldn’t make bail while they waited for their trial to come up.

Meanwhile, if you’ll remember Khloe Kardashian — who is famous for…well, I don’t know why she’s famous — got arrested on a DUI charge and spent all of three hours in jail in 2008, because the judge felt the jails were too overcrowded. No bail set.

Heaven forbid we put someone with her much-needed talents behind bars just because she potentially put lives at risk, rather than make room for guys like Kalief Browder, who was arrested because someone said — but never proved — he stole a backpack.
But there are alternatives that can work.

Timothy Murray, executive director of the Pretrial Justice Institute, told State Legislatures magazine that use of nonfinancial release options have had positive results:
Several years ago the National Institute of Justice, (NIJ), the research arm of the Justice Department, conducted a controlled experiment testing the efficacy of supervised pretrial release. Simply put, supervised pretrial release accountably monitors pretrial defendants in the community using an array of supervision conditions designed to minimize failure to appear in court and re-offending. NIJ’s experiment showed conclusively that randomly assigned defendants who were placed into supervision had better outcomes than those who were released on financial bonds.

If Browder was given the option of being released on condition of reporting to the court, since he was accused of a non-violent crime, rather than having to literally fight his way through the system, maybe he’d still be alive.

There’s no real telling how many Kalief Browders of all ages, races, and genders are sitting in this country’s jails simply because they can’t make bail. How many jobs lost. How many lives broken simply because being arrested leads to punishment before a trial even comes up.
If lawmakers open their eyes, they’ll get serious about changing who is forced to pay bail, because the difference between freedom and incarceration is often not a jury’s vote, but someone’s ability to write a check.

Madison J. Gray is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based multimedia journalist specializing in urban issues and criminal justice. He writes for NewsOne on the subject of Black males in America. Follow him on Twitter:@madisonjgray

From Othello
(Othello speaks)
Visit our Shakespeare Blog at the address below

Her father loved me; oft invited me;
Still question’d me the story of my life,
From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I have passed.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
To the very moment that he bade me tell it;
Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field
Of hair-breadth scapes i’ the imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
And portance in my travels’ history:
Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle,
Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven
It was my hint to speak,–such was the process;
And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders. This to hear
Would Desdemona seriously incline:
But still the house-affairs would draw her thence:
Which ever as she could with haste dispatch,
She’ld come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse: which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not intentively: I did consent,
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffer’d. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:
She swore, in faith, twas strange, ’twas passing strange,
‘Twas pitiful, ’twas wondrous pitiful:
She wish’d she had not heard it, yet she wish’d
That heaven had made her such a man: she thank’d me,
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story.
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
She loved me for the dangers I had pass’d,
And I loved her that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have used:
Here comes the lady; let her witness it.

I’m trying to teach myself Spanish and this is what I learned today……..

Limpiar (leem-pyahr' ) To clean
1.         Limpio mi apartamento dos veces al mes.
I clean my apartment twice a month.
2.         La candidata prometió limpiar la corrupción en el gobierno.
The candidate promised to clean up the corruption in the governm

"Half the lies they tell about me aren't true.”


Compiled by

John William Tuohy

Guess again

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

"Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and weigh only 1.5 tons." -- Popular Mechanics, 1949

"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." -- The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.

"But what...is it good for?" -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." -- Attributed to Bill Gates, 1981, but believed to be an urban legend.

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -- Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys." -- Sir William Preece, chief engineer of the British Post Office, 1876.

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" -- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

"While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility." -- Lee DeForest, inventor.

"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C', the idea must be feasible." -- A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" -- H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper." -- Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone With the Wind."

"A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make." -- Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies.

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." -- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

"Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax." -- William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, British scientist, 1899.

"So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'" -- Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.

"If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this." -- Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M "Post-It" Notepads.

"It will be years -- not in my time -- before a woman will become Prime Minister." -- Margaret Thatcher, 1974.

"I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious sensibilities of anyone." -- Charles Darwin, The Origin Of Species, 1869.

"With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market." -- Business Week, August 2, 1968.

"That Professor Goddard with his 'chair' in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react--to say that would be absurd. Of course, he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." -- 1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work. The remark was retracted in the July 17, 1969 issue.

"You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of your muscles? It can't be done. It's just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training." -- Response to Arthur Jones, who solved the "unsolvable" problem by inventing Nautilus.

"Ours has been the first, and doubtless to be the last, to visit this profitless locality." -- Lt. Joseph Ives, after visiting the Grand Canyon in 1861.

"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." -- Workers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." -- Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.

There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will." -- Albert   Einstein, 1932.

"The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives." -- Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project.

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." -- Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

"There will never be a bigger plane built." -- A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that holds ten people.

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." -- Attributed to Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899, but known to be an urban legend.

"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." -- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.

"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon." -- Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.

A recent review for "Notime to say goodbye: A memoir of a life in Foster Care"
From Professor William Anthony Connolly

This incredible memoir, No Time to Say Goodbye, tells of entertaining angels, dancing with devils, and of the abandoned children many viewed simply as raining manna from some lesser god.
The young and unfortunate lives of the Tuohy bruins—sometimes Irish, sometimes Jewish, often Catholic, rambunctious, but all imbued with Lion’s hearts— is told here with brutal honesty leavened with humor and laudable introspective forgiveness.
The memoir will have you falling to your knees thanking that benevolent Irish cop in the sky, your lucky stars, or hugging the oxygen out of your own kids the fate foisted upon Johnny and his siblings does not and did not befall your own brood.
 John William Tuohy, a nationally-recognized authority on organized crime and Irish levity, is your trusted guide through the weeds the decades of neglect ensnared he and his brothers and sisters, all suffering for the impersonal and often mercenary taint of the foster care system.
Theirs, and Tuohy’s, story is not at all figures of speech as this review might suggest, but all too real and all too sad, and maddening. I wanted to scream. I wanted to get into a time machine, go back and adopt every last one of them. I was angry. I was captivated.

The requisite damning verities of foster care are all here, regretfully, but what sets this story above others is its beating heart, even a bruised and broken one, still willing to forgive and understand, and continue to aid its walking wounded. I cannot recommend this book enough

In 1962, six year old John Tuohy, his two brothers and two sisters entered Connecticut’s foster care system and were prompltyl spilit apart. Over the next ten years, John would live in more then ten foster homes, group homes and state schools, from his native Waterbury to Ansonia, New Haven, West Haven, Deep River and Hartford. In the end, a decade later, the state returned him to the same home and the same parents they had taken him from. As tragic as is funny complelling story will make you cry and laugh as you journey with this child to overcome the obsticales of the foster care system and find his dreams.


John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washington DC. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University. He is the author of numerous non-fiction on the history of organized crime including the ground break biography of bootlegger Roger Tuohy "When Capone's Mob Murdered Touhy" and "Guns and Glamour: A History of Organized Crime in Chicago."

His non-fiction crime short stories have appeared in The New Criminologist, American Mafia and other publications. John won the City of Chicago's Celtic Playfest for his work The Hannigan's of Beverly, and his short story fiction work, Karma Finds Franny Glass, appeared in AdmitTwo Magazine in October of 2008.

His play, Cyberdate.Com, was chosen for a public performance at the Actors Chapel in Manhattan in February of 2007 as part of the groups Reading Series for New York project. In June of 2008, the play won the Virginia Theater of The First Amendment Award for best new play. 

Contact John:


Architecture for the blog of it

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Sculpture this and Sculpture that

The art of War (Propaganda art through the ages)

Album Art (Photographic arts)

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Admit it, you want to Read this Book (The art of Pulp Fiction covers)

The Godfather Trilogy BlogSpot

On the Waterfront: The Making of a great American Film

Absolutely blogalicious

The Wee Book of Irish Recipes (Book support site)

Good chowda (New England foods)

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And I Love Clams (New England foods)

In Praise of the Rhode Island Wiener (New England foods)

Wicked Cool New England Recipes (New England foods)

Old New England Recipes (New England foods)

Foster Care new and Updates

Aging out of the system

Murder, Death and Abuse in the Foster Care system

Angel and Saints in the Foster Care System

The Foster Children’s Blogs

Foster Care Legislation

The Foster Children’s Bill of Right

Foster Kids own Story

The Adventures of Foster Kid.

Me vs. Diabetes (Diabetes education site)

The Quotable Helen Keller

Teddy Roosevelt's Letters to his children (Book support site)

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Whatever you do, don't laugh

The Quotable Grouch Marx

A Big Blog of Irish Literature

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The Irish American Gangster

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When Washington Was Irish

The Wee Book of Irish Recipes (Book support site)

Following Fitzgerald


The Blogable Robert Frost

Charles Dickens

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Holden Caulfield Blog Spot

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Old New England Recipes

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The New England Mafia

And I Love Clams

In Praise of the Rhode Island Wiener

Watch Hill

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Good chowda

God, How I hated the 70s

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The 1980s were fun

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The Russian Mafia

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We Only Kill Each Other

Early Gangsters of New York City

Al Capone: Biography of a self-made Man

The Life and World of Al Capone

The Salerno Report

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Recipes we would Die For

The Prohibition in Pictures

The Mob in Pictures

The Mob in Vegas

The Irish American Gangster

Roger Touhy Gangster

Chicago’s Mob Bosses

Chicago Gang Land: It Happened Here

Whacked: One Hundred years of Murder in Gangland

The Mob Across America

Mob Cops, Lawyers and Front Men

Shooting the Mob: Dutch Schultz

Bugsy& His Flamingo: The Testimony of Virginia Hill

After Valachi. Hearings before the US Senate on Organized Crime

Mob Buster: Report of Special Agent Virgil Peterson to the Kefauver Committee (Book support site)

The US Government’s Timeline of Organized Crime (Book support site)

The Kefauver Organized Crime Hearings (Book support site)

Joe Valachi's testimony on the Mafia (Book support site)

Mobsters in the News

Shooting the Mob: Dead Mobsters (Book support site)

The Stolen Years Full Text (Roger Touhy)

Mobsters in Black and White

Mafia Gangsters, Wiseguys and Goodfellas

Whacked: One Hundred Years of Murder and Mayhem in the Chicago Mob (Book support site)

Gangland Gaslight: The Killing of Rosy Rosenthal (Book support site)

The Best of the Mob Files Series (Book support site)

It’s All Greek Mythology to me

Psychologically Relevant

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Perfect Behavior

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When Washington Was Irish


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