A Lynching in 1847

August 3rd, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

It’s not really crucial for the book I’m working on, but I just finished the diary of a priest who travelled from New York to North Carolina in 1847 to start a monastic community in Valle Crucis. This priest was later a missionary on Blackwell’s Island, which is why I’m looking into him.

They travelled on foot for the last leg of the journey, and just as they were entering Greensboro they came across a huge mob who were on their way to a the hanging of a black man accused of murder. This was around November, 1847. The priest doesn’t go with them, and he doesn’t say much about it except to describe what happened at the inn where he stayed that night.

“I was much shocked at some unfeeling remarks made at table about negroes, by two young lawyers, and a lady of the house, a Presbyterian. After living awhile in a slave state, I ceased from feeling any surprise at want of sympathy for the ignorant slave. It is not the least evil of slavery, that is sears the noble sentiments of brotherly love, which man naturally has for a human being.”

I don’t like the condescending “ignorant” part but at least he was anti-slavery. I’ve tried to look up who was hanged/lynched that day, but so far I have been unable. I found a database of lynchings but it begins in 1882. As I said, it’s not really crucial, but this is the kind of thing that always pulls at me. It’s what I’m doing with this whole book really. All these people who suffered and are forgotten. I know that is the way of it for almost all of us but still. I want to give them their history back.

On a much much lighter note … a kitten! Okay, not really a kitten but he will always be my kitten to me. Hey little Bleeck.

Bleecker on the Bed

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Listening to Podcasts

August 2nd, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

I’m listening to podcasts that have been recommended to me. First up, the C-Realm Podcast.

“KMO is the host and producer of the C-Realm Podcast and author of the book ‘Conversations on Collapse.’ He recently relocated from the Ecovillage Training Center on the Farm in Summertown, TN to Brooklyn, NY. He describes himself as, “a recovering libertarian and Singularitarian.”

I’m listening to a show about Troy which is making me want to move to Troy. I’m curious to listen to more. I’m going to ask which podcasts they think are among their best.

Next up Hardcore History by Dan Carlin.

Look at how clean my windows are! That’s looking through a window, then out over the air shaft, and through another window into my kitchen. Thank you Apple Window Cleaning! If you’re in New York, their number is (212) 620-0708. They are not paying me to post that, by the way.


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I’m in 3rd Place!

July 31st, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Last night I learned that I am currently in 3rd place in the lap swim contest, and 2nd place is actually a possibility. Even if I don’t make it though, I’m thrilled with 3rd. I checked and I’ve only been able to make it to half the swimming nights. Under those circumstances 3rd place is tremendous. Honestly, there’s not a lot of people competing at my pool, but I know that the number of miles I am swimming would put me in contention at most of the pools in the city, so I’m proud.

A shot at the West Village Chorale summer sing I attended on Monday (instead of swimming). Thank you West Village Chorale for holding these sings every summer (for 40 years we learned!).

Summer Sing

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New York City Lap Swim Contest Update

July 30th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Backstory: This is the third time I’ve entered the summer lap swim contest sponsored by NYC Parks & Recreation. I have to swim at least 25 miles by August 28th. People who swim the 25 miles get a tshirt! There’s also a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prize for the man and the woman who swim the most miles in their division at their pool by August 6th. Those people also get a trophy.

The first year I entered I came in 3rd place, last year I came in 2nd, and although 1st place in not a possibility for me (the best female swimmer in the city swims at my pool) I hoped to win 2nd place with even more miles this year.

Well, that’s not going to happen. I’m in the night division and not only have I had to miss a lot of nights, the City keeps canceling the night lap swim in order to keep the pool open for everyone due to the heatwave, which is fine. I understand. (But once the heatwave is over, what are the chances they will take away some of the weekend hours and give it to us so we can make up the time? Nil.)

At this point I’m not sure I’m even going to come in 3rd place, alas. Sob. But I will earn that tshirt, by God. I’m just a little under 19 miles right now with a whole month to go.

One of the outdoor writing spots I’ve chosen for myself. This is along the Hudson River. I’m currently reading Island at the Center of the World, so now when I look out at the Hudson River I try to imagine what this all looked like in 1609 (I’d be underwater for one, that park is on landfill).

Hudson River, New York City

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Abolish Mandatory Minimum Sentences Retroactively

July 30th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Thank you, John Oliver. He just did a great piece on this. (Along these lines, I still want to read Matt Taibbi’s book The Divide.) Thankfully, and miraculously, this is not becoming a democrat vs republican issue. Here is a republican-written op-ed in the Times also calling for reform.

Please watch John Oliver’s piece. Here is the most important part:

“But if we really want to address this problem permanently, we needs states and the federal government not just to repeal mandatory minimum sentences going forward, but to also pass laws so that existing prisoners can apply for retroactively reduced sentences.

“Because almost everyone has agreed that mandatory minimum laws were a mistake and we cannot have a system where people are continuing to pay for that mistake …”

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