Category Archives: Uncategorized

TCS: To Hear the Flute of Your Whole Existence

Flowers For Socrates

Good Morning!

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WelcometoTheCoffeeShop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

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A dead end street is a good
place to turn around.
Naomi Judd

How far you go in life depends on
your being tender with the young,
compassionate with the aged,
sympathetic with the striving and
tolerant of the weak and strong.
Because someday in your life
you will have been all of these.
– George Washington Carver

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Librarians Under Fire from Rightwing Parent Groups

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jeffrey Fleishman of the Los Angeles Times describes the assault on librarians by rightwing groups and parents who want to ban books. Across the country, but especially in red states, librarians are vilified as “the arm of Satan” by those who want to control what books are on the library shelves. If you want to read a concise summary of book-banning, read my book The Language Police, published by Knopf.

He writes:

In her time as a Texas school librarian, Carolyn Foote watched the image of her profession veer from “shrinking violets behind spectacles” cataloging titles to “pedophiles and groomers” out to pollute the minds of the nation’s youth.

“Librarians came from a climate of being so appreciated to hearing this message that we’re reviled,” said Foote, co-founder of Freadom Fighters, an advocacy group for librarians that has nearly 15,000 Twitter followers. “It was an astonishing turn of events.”…

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Here is the AP African-American Studies Course That Florida Wants to Ban

Diane Ravitch's blog

The College Board has not released the syllabus for the AP African-American Studies course that the state of Florida wants to ban because, they say, it has “no educational value” and violates state law by invoking “critical race theory.

But the syllabus was released by NBC News and is easily found on the internet.

And here is the syllabus.

I suggest that you read it for yourself.

Stanley Kurtz, a conservative academic, wrote a scathing critique in National Review, where he blasted the AP course as “Neo-Marxist” and intent on propagating a socialist-Marxist-Communist mindset. Google and you will find follow-up articles by Kurtz.

I taught the history of American education, and I wrote books that specifically included the history of the education of Black Americans. To write about the history, I read many of the authors cited in the AP course. None of those authors, like Frederick Douglass or Carter…

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Picking Cherries by Mary Rohrer-Dann (ONE GOOD MEMORY Series)

Silver Birch Press

cherry-g576c698e0_1920Picking Cherries
by Mary Rohrer-Dann

My father lifts me to pick sour
cherries from my grandmother’s tree.
His whiskers scrape against my skin.
Sugar cubes stuffed in our cheeks,
we eat straight from the dinged pail,
spit out yellow pits, bits of twig and leaf.

In this dream he is my young father,
dark-haired, muscled, laughter easy
on his lips. Afternoon slips into blue
twilight with nothing more to do
than pick and eat cherries,
watch shadows purpling green grass.

First published by Vita Brevis Press in July 2020, and included in the author’s collection, Taking the Long Way Home (Kelsay Books, 2021).

Photo by Hans.

MRDNOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My father is long gone, but he has visited me in dreams on occasion, for which I am grateful.

PHOTO: The author and her father on the beach in Atlantic City, circa 1954.

MRD1ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Rohrer-Dann, author of

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A Different Tuning: Jean Follain

1960s: Days of Rage


“I own one book I’d truly grieve losing, D’Après Tout by Jean Follain. My reasons are partly sentimental—I went to great trouble to get the book, and it found me when I felt lost in my writing life. Most of all though, the poems inside are ones I wish I’d written. Jean Follain (1903-1971) was a barrister and eventually a judge in Paris but came there as a student from Canisy in Normandy. Those facts mean little to me, but Heather McHugh, in her introduction to her translation of D’Après Tout makes much of Follian’s origins. The intimacy of his upbringing, she suggests, contributes to the size of his poems and their use of the commonplace to illuminate ‘the monumental.’ Because of his early, circumscribed conditions, his poems are ‘miniatures.’  Calling them miniatures, however, belies their echoing expansiveness. They are miniature in the sense that Sherwood Anderson’s stories in Winesburg…

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Mad scientists of Stanisław Lem

1960s: Days of Rage


Mad scientists and inventors appear in the fiction of Stanisław Lem in the memoirs of Lem’s starfaring vagabond Ijon Tichy, collected in The Star Diaries and Memoirs of a Space Traveller, as well as in The Cyberiad. Most of Lem’s mad scientist stories fit into the format of stories about unusual inventions, known since the 19th century, most of them are devoid of ironic tone characteristic of most of Ijon Tichy’s stories and robots’ fables, and they are literary frames for various Lem’s theories. Lem’s mad scientists include professors Corcoran, who created several artificial universes in isolated lockers; Decantor, who created an immortal soul, Zazul, who cloned himself and was apparently killed by the clone who took his place; Diagoras, who created progressing makes of an ‘independent and self-perfecting device that is capable of spontaneous thought’ and was unwittingly used by two such devices…

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Flat Eggs by Cruz Villarreal (ONE GOOD MEMORY Series)

Silver Birch Press

ellesi 1Flat Eggs
by Cruz Villarreal

In my kitchen,
I make breakfast for my granddaughter.
A small, wide-eyed girl with long brown braids.
She calls the two bright suns swimming in the frying pan,
flat eggs.
She says, no one makes them better.

I wonder
if she’ll look back
one day,
the same way I look back
and remember a small boy
in an adobe house
where the sound of a rooster
greets the morning,
and gentle rays of sunshine
make their way through
a small earthen window beside my bed
and gently caress my face.

Then
from under the wooden bed
comes the scuffle of tiny hoofs
as a baby goat scurries out to find his mother.

I rise and venture into the courtyard,
noisy chickens scatter beneath my feet,
angry that I’ve disturbed their breakfast.

Across the courtyard
is grandmother’s house
fashioned in the old way
of mud and…

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The Impressions – This Is My Country (1968)

1960s: Days of Rage


“… These statistics would have made disheartening, if familiar reading to the late Curtis Mayfield. As a driving force in black music from the early ’60s through the mid-’70s, he was a seasoned documentor of the struggle of black Americans through his music and lyrics, which blended fluid, at times lush, melodic funk/soul with measured social commentary. Before launching a highly successful solo career, Mayfield was a member and later leader of Chicago-based vocal group The Impressions. Of all the mid-60 R&B vocal group heavyweights, their music, despite significantly lighter radio rotation, is arguably the most enduring. While the likes of The Temptations only began to produce socially conscious records around 1968-69, Mayfield and The Impressions had been consistent in doing so since the departure of original lead vocalist Jerry Butler in 1962. Paralleling the Civil Rights movement, it took different forms, but was invariably dignified and gently righteous, whether…

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Patti Smith Makes a Pilgrimage to French Guiana in This Exclusive Excerpt From Her New Memoir

1960s: Days of Rage


“In 1965 I had come to New York City from South Jersey just to roam around, and nothing seemed more romantic than to write poetry in a Greenwich Village café. I finally got the courage to enter Caffè Dante on MacDougal Street. The walls were covered with printed murals of the city of Florence and scenes from The Divine Comedy. A few years later I would sit by a low window that looked out into a small alley, reading Mrabet’s The Beach Café. A young fish-seller named Driss meets a reclusive, uncongenial codger who has a café with only one table and one chair on a rocky stretch of shore near Tangier. The slow-moving atmosphere surrounding the café captivated me. Like Driss, I dreamed of opening a place of my own: the Café Nerval, a small haven where poets and travelers might find the simplicity of asylum. ……

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Virginia Woolf: A Room of One’s Own

Flowers For Socrates

January 25, 1882Virginia Woolf born, leading English modernist author and feminist; best known for her novels To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway, and her essay A Room of One’s Own.

“… a woman must have money and a room of her own
if she is to write fiction.”

A Room of One’s Own was published in September 1929. It is based on a pair of lectures she gave at Newnham and Girton, the women’s colleges at Cambridge. It remains a testament to the injustice of limiting women to childbearing and domestic duties, denying women’s intellectual potential.

She focuses on literature, contending that the absence of female fiction is a result of a lack of opportunity rather than a distinct absence of talent. Social problems may shift shape, but the absence of opportunity still causes isolation and inequality.

To read an excerpt from A Room of One’s Own click:

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