The League of American Pen Women first place winner: me

pen-womenLarry Gill of the Lorin Tarr Gill Foundation (Hawaii) was present to hand out the awards for the winners of the Pen Women Writing Competition. I won first place in the non-fiction category for my memoir “Grandpa Hoeler and the Race Riots.”

certificate Seventy-two people were present at the luncheon for the awards ceremony.

Without further adieu: I present the winning piece:

“Grandpa Hoeler and the Race Riots”

          Grandpa Hoeler built most of the houses in the neighborhood where he and my grandmother lived. He was as rooted to his land as the pole on which he raised the flag every morning and from which he removed the flag every night, no matter how big a storm raged throughout the day. He shuffled his eighty-five-year-old feet in tiny steps to the old oak chair planted on the landing. Gray-and-white suspenders held up his gray flannel slacks, which crumpled up his bleached white cotton shirt.

I would barge through the side entrance of the house, barrel up the five steps, and notice the faraway gaze in his intense blue eyes, yelling my hello as I dashed left toward the kitchen.

His straight gray hair, with a few wisps of black, would dip onto his face as he stopped me. “Hey, kid, get me a beer.”

It was our ritual hello. He wanted me to run back down the five steps to the door, and then another five to the basement refrigerator. My grandmother placed the beer there so he would have to shuffle his way down the two flights of steps to the damp, dark coal cellar. I would sometimes find him sitting down there alone in the darkness and wonder what he was thinking.

Sometimes I would say, “No.”

He’d mutter something , then yell, “You damn fresh kid, now go down there and get me a beer.”

Most times I would. I loved my grandfather, even though he and my grandmother, true Germans, showed little affection.

I guess I realized he was my hero when I was eleven, in 1964. That was the year before a white policeman shot Lester Long, a twenty-two-year-old unarmed African- American, to death during a drug search. It was two years before National Guard tanks rolled through the Central Ward of Newark, New Jersey, in hopes of quelling what turned out to be a six-day race riot that killed 23 people, injured 725, and incarcerated 1,500.

Often, the African-American Avon Avenue kids would chase me home. I became a very fast runner and even joined the track team, and became the only “cracker” to place in a heat. Grandpa laughed when he heard that. By then, I was sitting with him on the top step while he drank beer and my grandmother cooked dinner. I told him I wished I had been born a black boy instead of a white girl. All our neighbors were black. He would talk about Germany and what many went through, leaving their homes, family, and work when Hitler came into power.

“Eh, in Germany, it was the Jews. Here, it’s the blacks and whites. Just don’t let them catch you.”

“Will you time me running up the driveway? I’m getting faster.”

“Get me a beer.”

“Okay.”

My grandfather and I would argue about which show to watch on the little black-and-white TV, while we waited for my parents to come from their New York City jobs, eat dinner, and turn around again to our own home, where I lived late weeknights and weekends, in Union, New Jersey. I wanted to watch Astro Boy, while he wanted to watch The Life of Riley. He mainly won, except when I had a bad day at school or when I didn’t run as fast as the Avon Avenue School kids. During the shows he would ask me about my day.

“Did you get in trouble today?”

“No. But, Virginia beat up Ken during math. Sister Marie DePaul cried the whole time. Ken said he didn’t like the smell of her nigger perfume.”

“Eh, that stupid kid. You gotta keep your mouth shut.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

I liked to believe that I was a carpenter’s assistant. Although he could barely move, my grandfather had me set up two workhorses and told me to get the wooden saws and the 2-by-3-by8 pieces of wood so I could make stilts. He sat there and drank beer and instructed me on how to make them. I brought them to school and awed everyone; all colors and makes of people were impressed as I walked the halls two feet above my fellow students.

Grandpa Hoeler reminded me that he had built the houses on the block.

“People don’t ask what color the builder was. They like the house, they move in.” He spoke, then cleared his throat of the phlegm that settled in the back.

A man of few words, I believed he loved me. He even showed Afro-American Judith Smith, my best friend at the time, how to make stilts. We constructed stilts and go-carts in the first of six connected, brown wooden garages in the backyard behind my grandmother’s garden.

They rented out four of the garages to people who worked in New York City and took the bus from Newark. One garage housed pigeons. A man would catch them in our backyard and place them in the garage. I would often go in to watch them. Grandpa would drink beer with the pigeon man and the three of us would sit and talk about the birds. I named some and had my favorite, and Grandpa and the pigeon man would remember their names. I was always impressed by that. When the pigeons left, the pigeon man would say he had found the bird a good home. What did I know? I was eleven during this time. How did I know they wound up on a dinner plate?

Newark had become a bed of coals waiting to ignite, and ignite they did after Lester Long was murdered. The fire of fear jumped from family to family, street to street. Black gangs would throw stones at the whites. Many of the whites moved, leaving few left. My parents wanted my grandparents to move to Union, New Jersey, near us, but they refused. My grandfather continued to sit in his chair, shuffling in and out of the house for the flag, and to drink beer. This was his home and this is where he would stay.

At the end of a cool April day (two months before Lester Long was murdered), I exited the school building in single file with my classmates. A Puerto Rican girl named Ann Marie had promised to pulverize me at the corner of 10th Street and Avon Avenue. She had spread word of my fate around the school and a crowd formed to watch. I was filled with such rage that I pounded her—to my complete shock.

I had stopped running.

The school called my grandmother, never my best fan, and I was made to sit in the dining room, past darkness, to wait for my parents, who were due in three hours.

Saddened by the whole day, I tried to lose myself in fantasy. The door behind me was a swinging door into the TV room. My grandfather rarely sat in the chair behind the door anymore because it was too close to the TV and too hard to get up from. He had to grab the arms of the chair and push. I heard him clear the phlegm from the back of his throat and knew he was about to speak.

“You got in trouble today, kid,” he whispered.

“She said she was gonna beat me up and she hit me in the face; she hit me first. So I punched her in the mouth. Now grandma thinks I’m bad,” I whispered back.

“What does she know? Eh, you’re not bad.”

“Grandma says the school called. I broke Ann Marie’s tooth, and her nose bled.”

“Kids shouldn’t be fighting. I’ll put on the TV.”

The Life of Riley?”

“No, your show, kid.”

“Grandma won’t let me leave here.”

“You can listen. I’ll turn it up. I’m going to get a beer.”

I heard him turn up the sound, then shuffle toward the basement. When he returned he yelled at my grandmother: “Let the kid watch her show.”

“No, Jules. Turn off the TV.”

“No, I’m watching it.”

He sat down in the chair behind the door and stayed there the three hours before my parents came home, except for two more visits to the basement (taking a few minutes with grunts to get out of the chair)

That summer my parents decided to take me out of the school. Newark had become too dangerous. It was the same summer that my grandfather slipped on some wet bricks, in a thunderstorm, while taking in the flag. My mom swore it was rocks from the black gang.

Either way, I lost the most important person in my life.

There were never heroic words or heroic actions from Grandpa Hoeler. Yet, I always felt that he had saved me from hatred and loneliness

Grandpa died and his old office on Springfield Avenue was burned to the ground in the racial unrest. My grandmother finally moved—after the tanks rolled into Newark.

THE END

Article in Mill Valley Lit Summer 2016 issue YAY! an article that traveled

Do Publishers Dream of Robo-writers?

report by Patricia Morin

The pressure is on for authors to sell books. With book stores closing because of Amazon and other internet outlets, publishers demanding authors to do their own marketing, publishers delivering contracts with less incentive, and selling books cheaper, it’s a wonder authors don’t just pack up their pens, and close down their imaginations.

But now, we may be replaced by robots!

Robo-journalism was used to report an earthquake in Los Angeles, CA, in March, 2015. The article, however, was based mainly on data from the US Geological survey. Here’s the article: “A shallow magnitude 4.7 earthquake was reported Monday morning five miles from Westwood, California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 6:25 a.m. Pacific time at a depth of 5.0 miles. According to the USGS, the epicenter was six miles from Beverly Hills, California, seven miles from Universal City, California, seven miles from Santa Monica, California and 348 miles from Sacramento, California. In the past ten days, there have been no earthquakes magnitude 3.0 and greater centered nearby. This information comes from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service and this post was created by an algorithm written by the author.”

Sounds like it was written by a real journalist.

“However, As well as the earthquake report, it also uses another algorithm to generate stories about crime in the city – with human editors deciding which ones need greater attention”, the article continues (LATimes March 17th, 2015).

FullSizeRenderShelley Podolny  “If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Ever Know?” (NYTimes 3.7.15)

“These robo-writers don’t just regurgitate data, either; they create human-sounding stories in whatever voice — from staid to sassy — befits the intended audience. Or different audiences. They’re that smart. And when you read the output, you’d never guess the writer doesn’t have a heartbeat.

 

Consider the opening sentences of these two sports pieces:

“Things looked bleak for the Angels when they trailed by two runs in the ninth inning, but Los Angeles recovered thanks to a key single from Vladimir Guerrero to pull out a 7-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sunday.”

“The University of Michigan baseball team used a four-run fifth inning to salvage the final game in its three-game weekend series with Iowa, winning 7-5 on Saturday afternoon (April 24) at the Wilpon Baseball Complex, home of historic Ray Fisher Stadium.”

First one by a machine, second by a human.

Next, we’ll be reading novels written by computers, a conglomerate of the best-selling authors with a simple plot, realistic (ha) characters, and a creative twist at the end that you would have never imagined.

And the “The End” on the last page will mean exactly that.

Patricia Morin is author of Deadly Illusions, Confetti: A Collection of Cozy Crime, Crime Montage, and Mystery Montage.

Don’t know why they stuck in the comic about bookstore and their lowly customers, but thrilled an article of mine made a lit magazine.

A Clean Well-Lighted Park Bench

every dreamSeeing my play on video brought me to a deeper level of my work. A friend of mine said that he had to remember that even though the actor, Brian Levi, made my play shine, that it was me that wrote that very first word. Like bringing anything to life, the seeds get planted, grows and then blooms. But in the playwright world, there are so many hardships the flower must endure before it can be appreciated. First the playwright may have to change some of the words, or a sentence, and the flower has less leaves, maybe even less color. Then their is a gardener, a director, that takes hold of  the flower and plucks it into a vase that reflects the the beauty of the work, or not, the final manuscript. The actors accent the design, the curves and the special nuances. The stage is the room that the flower is placed. Is it given enough light? When the sun rises like a curtain to a new day, will its essence shine, or will it wither?

All these aspects have to blend together to achieve the perfect blossom. Yet, in the end, the audience decides whether or not they like your vision, your theme, your flower. But you have the last silent word, not the audience. My silent words? It was awesome, and I loved it. What else is there? Until it does eventually wither in memory and is replaced by another seed to be nurtured.

 

 

Silence Interrupted

I know I said that I would have the third installment of mystery authors that have witnessed murder, outside of police, investigator, and military, but I’m still waiting for some people to respond to my survey. It seems not many people have witnessed an actual murder, then added it to their mysteries, or even began to write mysteries.

But … instead, I’m sharing with you my short play, SILENCE INTERRUPTED, last show, of four, tonight, March 29th, in San Fran’s SF Theatre Pub (144 Taylor St, San Fran). Logo below.

Pianofight

Cast of my play, with producer and director:

Silence interruptedFrom left to right: Sara Judge, producer; Ellen Dunphy playing Cara, Danielle Gray playing MIME, and Carole Snow, the director.

P1080832 A mime, played by Danielle Gray, meets a distraught CEO of an internet company, Ever Lasting Love Dating service, played by Ellen Dunphy. It reminds me of a quote from my fellow International Centre for Women Playwrights comrade, Barbara Blatner, “Silence is as fascinating as language, methinks.”

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Does anyone see theatre or movies with/about mimes anymore? There silence is rich for the telling. In the world of noise, working a mime into my play was enlightening and rewarding.th

Livius Andronicus Latin adaptations of Greek plays in 230 BC (Rome),  were more lyrical in their metrical form, and more impassioned in their tone than the ordinary dialogue parts. In the musical recitation of these Livius seems to have been very successful, however,the exertion being too much for his voice, he introduced the practice in these monodies, or cantica, of placing a slave beside the flute player to recite or chant the words, while he himself went through the appropriate gesticulation. Hence, a mime was born. There is much more to the history. I just wanted to point out how  far back in time this form of acting existed.

The emotions of the mime to the gesticulations of what the mime sees is what attracted me to write this play … not to mention that Danielle was a mime–a performance artist.  What would bring the mime out of her/his silence? What attracts the mime to stay in such a world? Even when abused, the mime stays silent. Yet, it is in that silence, and the ability to act out a story, we find their superiority. Maybe that is the reason some people dislike them. However, I love them, and intend to build my short play into an one act, one hour play about the nature of silence verses the nature of the talker.th (3)

 

The Effects of Witnessing an Actual Murder–PTSD PART 2

“A neighbor broke in to my home at 3 am and I heard the foot steps as she walked into my moms room (Where I was laying next to my sleeping mom) she held the knife over her head then ran at me and stabbed me in my chest twice, my mom then awoke and the killer ran around to her side of the bed and stabbed her over 30 times. I did see most of it but ran out of the house and hid behind a car half a block down the street. I stayed there until the police came and after surgery, found out my mom didn’t make it. I have come a long way in the past 6 years, but the flashbacks are the hardest to deal with and make me feel so unsafe and that this will happen again.” PTSD (Post Traumatic Shock Disorder) blog from 2013

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according the the Mayo clinic (www.Mayoclinic.com/PTSD) is defined as:  is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while, but they don’t have PTSD — with time and good self-care, they usually get better. But if the symptoms get worse or last for months or even years and interfere with your functioning, you may have PTSD.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event

Avoidance

Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative feelings about yourself or other people
  • Inability to experience positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships

Changes in emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Being easily startled or frightened

“Im currently awaiting a decision to be made for compensation from the, criminal crime compensation authority , (CICA) . Due to something terrible that happened to me and witnessing (being forced to watch a person murdered in my home) The person that commited the crime, was later sentanced to life imprisonment, as i was the only witnees i stood and testified against him to ensure justice was served. The impact this event on my life has been huge, suffering from flashbacks, deppression, isolation, fear, social anxiety and guilt, also choose alcohol as a coping stratergy which now i have let go off. so find it hard to build a life for myself and keep stable, but strive hard for myself to recover” PTSD blog

These are stories of people who were impacted by seeing murder. One story reminded me of a noir story I once read. It’s from the same blog. I could hear a Private Investigator recounting his first brush with murder (and possibly his own death).

“I was working as a bouncer in a bar in college in 1997, and there was a shooting. I saw the guy with a gun run by me, tuck his gun in his pants, and followed him out thinking I could point him out to a police officer. We ended up outside, and as I was pointing at him he reached for his gun. I grabbed him and forced him against the wall while thinking “If i see the gun I am going to kill him.” I felt my mind snap at that moment. Someone behind me said “let him go, let him go” and he took off. I went back in the bar, pulled a woman off the victim so they could try to help the guy, but his brains were scattered on the floor.
I found out later there were 2 shooters, and the person behind me was likely the other shooter. Who knows what would have happened if I didn’t let him go … Anyway, I find myself thinking about it constantly. Its weird to me that people I know don’t know this about me. When people get stressed at work, all I can think of is at least your brains aren’t on a floor right now. It gave me a new perspective.”

TO BE CONTINUED …

 

At Death’s Door

At Death’s Door– Part 1

towersMy husband and I live in a 90-unit apartment complex, and you can imagine the goings-on that can happen (and do happen) with approximately 150 people living in close proximity to one another.

Our across-the-hallway neighbor died in his apartment. Alone. He was dead for two weeks before the manager made a “wellness” call. We thought he had gone away on vacation. He went away, all right. When the fireman opened the door to the apartment, the pungent, acrid, decaying, nauseating smell that overtook the hallway, and us, is one I will never forget. The rancid smell was so overpowering that I couldn’t describe it at first. Rotting grapefruits? Rotting citrus mixed with dirt and vomit?

Death smells vile.

But that wasn’t all: the flies—every size, and shape, and color—escaped (different flies for different stages of decomposition, we were told). The downstairs neighbor suffered the most from the flies—through the kitchen and bathroom exhaust vents they came, maggots, too. It was something out of a horror flick.

Did I say I would never forget the smell, a smell that took a week to diffuse, and lingered after the “cleanup” crew came with, what appeared to be, hazmat suits? As a mystery writer, I would have never before been able to describe the feeling of a dead man’s flesh-eating fly buzzing around my ear, panicked it would land on me. I could never before have been able to describe the smell of death, the stages of the smell of death.

The coroner said they couldn’t release anything to relatives until they’d discovered the cause of his death. Was it suicide? He was depressed, had a limp, couldn’t ride his motorcycle anymore, drank, took his medication, then didn’t take his medication…you’ve heard all this before. Nothing new.

He died of a massive heart attack.

Luckily, many of my stories do not involve describing corpses. I couldn’t now anyway. Tony’s dead body—which I only smelled, along with meeting the flies that covered him—would immediately pop into mind.

What about mystery writers who have witnessed an actual murder? How do they write about it?

Tune in

 

Giving Thanks to the Self

Shadowart200It’s that time of year again. I posted this picture one other thanksgiving to discuss  our “shadow”. In Jungian Analytical theory, I wrote, there is a concept called the Shadow. The Shadow is the collection of unacceptable characteristics about ourselves, others, and society that we place in the dark nooks and crannies of our personality. The more one is true to themselves, the smaller the shadow is. What I also added: “Every individual needs,” as Jung stated in 1966, “a revolution, inner division, overthrow of the existing order, and renewal, but not by forcing them upon his neighbors under the hypocritical cloak of Christian love or the sense of social responsibility.” I would add … or an adherence to cultural demands and institutions. So family members and holidays don’t have to go together, if you still want to celebrate the holiday.
FullSizeRender (3)

This year, I’m giving thanks to me. We don’t  give thanks to ourselves enough. My new collection is coming out in three weeks, Deadly Illusions (The title kinda fits with our “shadow” lurking about to nudge us to question reality), and I’m proud of my work. Each collection gets deeper and richer. Just when you think you have done your best work … I know we all go through those phases, but I’ve been pleased with each growth spurt.FullSizeRender (4)

I helped produce the 24 hour play fest for the Playwright center of San Francisco, and learned what goes into a theatre production.

My plays have taken off this year with an award in Marin Fringe, and one play chosen to be produced in NYC (Times Square Theatre) and in SF (Exit Theatre). “A Clean Well-Lighted Park Bench” will show in two weeks, Dec 3,4,5,10,11,12! Seven shows, eight plays. I’ll take pictures.

falling_angels_detailThen, I completed my psychological thriller, Moloch and the Angel, am sending it off to agents. Even if it doesn’t get picked up by an agent, I am thrilled that I have worked it to my satisfaction. I thank me for hanging in with all the drafts, researching pace and movement, and most of, asking for help. Sure I’m grateful to those that aided in my growth, but right now I’m indulging in self gratitude; it’s making me smile just writing this.

But most of all, I am thankful for finally reaching a decision on how I’m going to spend the next year of my writing life: my Dr. Anna Smith series and plays. My short stories are turning into plays anyway, so I’ll focus on my novel and plays.  I’m relieved that I made that decision, and am thankful that I have the acumen to see clearly a path, and the strength to follow it.

So for any of you reading this, thank yourself for your accomplishments, for hanging in when you thought you couldn’t, for making a unspoken promise to yourself, and for that smile that seems to appear out of nowhere.

When did you realize you wanted to write?

FullSizeRender (1)Haruki Murakami, my favorite author, recalled in this book (that includes his first two short novels, Wind and Pinball): “The satisfying crack when the bat met the ball resounded throughout Jingu Stadium. Scattered applause rose around me. In that instant, for no reasons and based on no grounds whatsoever, it suddenly struck me: I think I can write a novel.

His second experience: “Hear the Wind Song” was short listed for a prize … just as we were passing an elementary school, I noticed a pigeon hiding in the shrubbery. When I picked it up, I noticed that it seemed to have a broken wing … and decided to bring it to the police department. As I walked there along the street, the warmth of the wounded pigeon sank in my hands. I felt it quivering … That’s when it hit me. I was going to win the prize. And I was going to go on a be a novelist who would enjoy some success. It was an audacious presumption, I was sure it would happen. Completely sure. Not in a theoretical way, but directly and intuitively.”

Murakami wrote his first two short novels in English because he wanted to learn the language. Interesting. My second short story was written in Latin because it was an advanced Latin class assignment. Both Haruki and I can attest to the severe changes in style and vocabulary.

download (1)My first ever writing:

My favorite Dog and Me

I have a little Dockson- pretty as can be-a short and funny dog-that watches over me. She wears a bright red color- and has four tiny claws-she’s short and long-with black around her paws.  when I wake up I see-a happy face, a waggy tail-My favorite dog and me.

Kinda lost at the end, but hell, I was in third grade, and I had written my first poem. I knew then that I would be a writer. images (9)

My first short story at twelve involved a white horse that meets his end in a “river of tumult”. Not too symbolic of what was happening in my life at that time–my loving grandfather had just died.

Murakami said: “These short works have played an important role in what I accomplished. They are totally irreplaceable, much like friends from long ago.”

My first works were place-marks, and I remember them well. But I was much younger than Murakami when I began to write. I couldn’t even spell dachshund! My writings helped me explore feelings … different people, different experiences, all I can re-touch, re-experience by re-reading my works.

For Murakami, it was: “tactile memories that teach me to believe in that something I carry within me, and to dream of the possibilities it offers.”

How about you? When did you realize you wanted to write? And what was it?

 

 

 

Yikes, book stores closing … robots writing stories … what next?

FullSizeRender The pressure is on for authors to sell books. With book stores closing because of amazon and other Internet outlets, publishers demanding authors to do their own marketing, publishers delivering contracts with less incentive, and selling books cheaper, it’s a wonder authors don’t just pack up their pens, and close down their imaginations.

But now, we may be replaced by robots! Robo-journalism was used to report an earthquake in Los Angeles, CA, in March. The article, however, was based mainly on data from the US Geological survey. Here’s the article: “A shallow magnitude 4.7 earthquake wrobotas reported Monday morning five miles from Westwood, California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 6:25 a.m. Pacific time at a depth of 5.0 miles. According to the USGS, the epicenter was six miles from Beverly Hills, California, seven miles from Universal City, California, seven miles from Santa Monica, California and 348 miles from Sacramento, California. In the past ten days, there have been no earthquakes magnitude 3.0 and greater centered nearby.This information comes from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service and this post was created by an algorithm written by the author.”

Sounds like it was written by a real journalist.

“However, As well as the earthquake report, it also uses another algorithm to generate stories about crime in the city – with human editors deciding which ones need greater attention”, the article continues (LATimes March 17th).

08ROBOT-master675     Shelley Podolny  “If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Ever Know?” (NYTimes 3.7.15)

“These robo-writers don’t just regurgitate data, either; they create human-sounding stories in whatever voice — from staid to sassy — befits the intended audience. Or different audiences. They’re that smart. And when you read the output, you’d never guess the writer doesn’t have a heartbeat.

Consider the opening sentences of these two sports pieces:

“Things looked bleak for the Angels when they trailed by two runs in the ninth inning, but Los Angeles recovered thanks to a key single from Vladimir Guerrero to pull out a 7-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sunday.”

“The University of Michigan baseball team used a four-run fifth inning to salvage the final game in its three-game weekend series with Iowa, winning 7-5 on Saturday afternoon (April 24) at the Wilpon Baseball Complex, home of historic Ray Fisher Stadium.”

First one by a machine, second by a human.

Next, we’ll be reading novels written by computers, a conglomerate of the best-selling authors with a simple plot, realistic (ha) characters, and a creative twist at the end that you would have never imagined.

And the “The End” on the last page will mean exactly that.

 

 

Music and Memory by Barry Ponneck

Larry and I were walking around Santa Rosa waiting for the 6th street theatre to open. We picked up Sonoma County Peace Press (June/July 2015) and I read this article, word for word as printed, and was very touched by the video and the new research in reaching Alzheimers patients.

Barry Ponneck is a long-time peace and justice activist who lives in Windsor, California with his trusted and loyal pal, Duke, his service dog, and his roomate/caregiver. This the first-half of Mr. Ponneck’s article:

No one wants to end up alone and isolated in a nursing home. It’s hard enough to lose someone you love to Alzheimer’s or other

forms of dementia. It’s terrifying to think you could end up there yourself, someday. I should know. Because of circumstances in my life, I ended up in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) and spent 14 months feeling alone, isolated, trapped. If not for the extraordinary support and love of some very dear friends, I might never have walked out of that facility. This story is not, however, about the negative aspects of nursing homes in general or about what I experienced living in the SNF.

 What it is about is the magic of music and how we can improve the lives of Alzheimer’s sufferers and those who have other forms of dementia. The best part of this is, the remedy is extremely inexpensive! How is this possible, you-ask? About six months ago I went to see a “must see documentary” called Alive Inside. I was initially hesitant to see the film because my 14-month nightmare was still way too recent, and … it was about people in nursing homes. AliveInside_NewSlide-dvdWell, I talked myself into going and it was without a doubt one of my better decisions. I laughed and cried along with the rest of the audience, and by the time I left the theater, I had decided I wanted to do something to assist this amazing organization, Music & Memory, Inc. What Music & Memory does is simple, elegant and effective: They train elder care professionals, private caregivers, and family members in how to set up personalized music playlists delivered on iPods and other digital devices, for those in their care. These musical favorites tap deep memories not lost to dementia and can bring residents and clients back, enabling them to feel like themselves again, to converse, socialize, and stay present.

It’s truly amazing what music is capable of doing Watching the many different residents, who are provided with an iPod programmed with their favorite music was a kin to turning a light switch on and off. In the off position, the resident is in his or her own world, not talking or interacting with anyone else, almost in a state of catatonia. When the music is turned on, it’s like they have woken up from a deep sleep. The scared, isolated stares are replaced with smiles, laughter, and often singing along with the music … like Harry in the video.

www.memory and music.org