Archive for the ‘From us to you’ Category

You remember from our other stories that Arvey Jones as a young man fled his home in Good City with only the shirt on his back, nothing in his pockets except a comb, heading for New York, New York. If you don’t remember the story you can make one up as you go along. Here is Arvey’s recollections of a coffee pot, the one in the photo, that he has been carrying around in all of the travels and settling in over the course of the last 50 some years.

Coffee Pot view with handle.

It was a sunny Saturday, the kind of day that everyone enjoys except for those who like it blasting cold with snow swirling or raining. Yes, I do know there are folks who like such things and I am one of them who likes all things. Never has the weather made me mad, or to cry out loud, “This fucking weather is going to fuck up my plans.” No what ever the weather the weather may be if its good enough for Mother Nature then its good enough for me. I was walking down on the Bowery, the old Bowery not the superficial one that is the Bowery now. The real deal Bowery of flop houses, cheap bars, panhandlers, A.I.Residence, junk shops, cheap clothing stores, used restaurant equipment, and down and out folks all over the place. Gerry warned me, “Stay a night in one of those hotels and get bugs like you wouldn’t believe.”  There was a junk store or a “we got a bit of everything” type of a place that I loved to poke around in and see what I could find. The owner, a delightful older Jewish man took to me right away and we had many a good talks when ever I was around. Well I spied what was to become my coffee pot for many a years after that. If not traveling to my new destination then packed away in my old trunk, stored in someone’s home until I could come back and retrieve it. Coffee pot 5 cents, couldn’t go wrong. A drip coffee maker that Carl told me was a French Drip Coffee Pot and that it made some very good coffee. Some of the best. Here look I have the same type in my back room. Sit down awhile and I will make us a cup of coffee. Carl’s brother ran a business out of the West Village, a work ready place where assignments would come in and he found the people to fill it. He got me the job that I had at the time. He told me about Carl’s store and said I should stop by there as he had good things cheap. Not in it for the money but for something to do. When the going got tough for some folks they knew that if they had something to sell go and see Carl. He was fair and would throw in a couple of extra dollars just because. One thing he wouldn’t deal with was the junkies. I can spot them a mile away and don’t want any of their stolen property. They want to get sober, well I know folks who would help them. But if not stay away.

Coffee all made I have to admit it was some of the best coffee that I had ever drank. So began my love affair with my French Drip Coffee pot. You know I think that if I had one bag to bring on my journeys I would leave out a change of socks, underwear, or any thing else just so my coffee pot would fit. It was my security blanket, a reminder of my home, a token of closeness. This coffee pot has traveled to San Francisco and back to NYC. The pot traveled through all the states in the middle of America. In a suitcase to Sterling City, California and a small steamer trunk to Davenport Iowa. It was in my trunk when I moved to Woodstock New York and came here in the same trunk when I moved to Hartford in 1978.

Coffee Pot view with spout.

I will never forget the afternoon that I couldn’t find my coffee pot. Where, oh where, was it? I searched and searched. I even went out to the dumpster pulled out the bag of trash that I had put in and searched. I finally gave up and said, It must have vanished in thin air or I have a little elf in the house playing tricks on me. I looked at my cat Sammy, “Sammy did you see my coffee pot?” and he meowed back. Well later in the day I went into the refrigerator to get some juice and there I spied it. In a real lapsed I had put the coffee put behind the milk and the juice. “Alleluia,”  I yelled and they heard me the other side of town. Sammy cat came into the kitchen to see what was going on.  Well I went about making a nice cup of coffee so happy that I had found my coffee pot.

I gave up coffee and my French Drip Coffee pot around 20 years ago. At that time there was a scare about using aluminum cooking utensils. But I hung on to the coffee pot. It resurfaced again when I was packing to move. I had placed it in a large kettle stored with a box of candles, wooden matches, and small cooking pans. There in the emergency kettle was my dear old coffee pot. The items were suppose to be used if the lights went out and we needed to cook on a steno burner.  I thought to myself, “How foolish you would never be able to heat up enough boiling water to use in the pot.” So guess what ? I am going to turn it into a work of art. Yeah, Yeah, art.  Now I can’t promise that I will have a show, put the coffee pot in it and make coffee as I would not want to be accused of helping anyone’s diseases along the way. I am sure we all got something brewing in us and of course its not from one cup of coffee from a aluminum drip coffee pot, but you know how it is now-a-days. Everyone knows everything, some know something, there are jack of all trades running around, and a bunch of goof balls in change of the United States. I once knew a anarchist woman who thought a beautiful bouquet of flowers was disgusting because the vase had come from Walmart. Honey get out of the way, you are not going to make any change that way.

So enjoy my photos of the coffee pot and my little recollections. I know just the artist that may want it for one of his terrific installations. I will ask him or maybe leave it on his door step. On the door step would better but I’m not sure where he lives.

Many thanks to Arvey Jones for this first person account of his French Drip Coffee Pot.

 

 

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Chick-fil-A funds anti-LGBT youth home in Georgia

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Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A – which once pledged to treat LGBT people with honor after donating millions to anti-gay groups – is again funneling money to anti-LGBT organizations, including one in Georgia that proclaims homosexuality is evil.

So much for CEO Dan Cathy’s charm offensive and pledge to focus on chicken and not anti-LGBT causes.

The company’s charitable foundation made headlines in 2011 when IRS filings showed it pumped millions into anti-LGBT groups. It didn’t help that soon after Cathy dissed gay marriage and criticized LGBT activists. Cathy later apologized, said the foundation would curtail its donations to anti-LGBT groups and promised to use only his inside voice when condemning LGBT equality.

Nevermind that years later, little has changed with the company’s charitable giving. The foundation’s most recent IRS filings show that it donated more than $1.4 million to anti-LGBT groups in 2015, according to Think Progress.

The donations include more than $200,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, which is in Vidalia. The facility calls homosexuality an evil that is caused by the abuse of children. Via Think Progress: (more…)

June-July 2017 – Volume 38, No. 3

Tribute to gay rights pioneer Tamara Turner

Historian, wit, and flagrant socialist feminist, 1940–2017

Megan Cornish
June 2017

A foremother of the LGBTQ movement, Tamara Turner graduated from the anti-gay 1950s school of hard knocks. She played a crucial role in shaping the Freedom Socialist Party’s (FSP) groundbreaking program for queer liberation. She was a historian of the gay movement, an ardent bibliophile, and a brilliant satirist who filled her 77 years with commitment, generosity, and humor. Turner died March 22 in Seattle after a long battle with leukemia.

Playwright and director Drew Emery says of her, “She had a quick wit, an undying passion for social and economic justice, and she was flat-out one of the best storytellers I ever knew. I learned a lot from her and have long considered her one of my heroes.”

Merging gay liberation with Marxist feminism. Tamara was the first open lesbian to join Radical Women, FSP’s sister organization, in 1972. Her loyalty was won after extensive discussions of lesbian oppression led her to the conclusion that Radical Women (RW) was serious about gay liberation.

Tamara shared her knowledge of history with the organization, from the influence of early lesbian and gay writers to the origins of the homosexual movement. She particularly brought to life the period of the anti-communist McCarthy witch hunt. She explained how the taint of being queer was used to get rid of radicals, and vice versa. She told her own story of being forced into counseling at the University of Washington for her supposed “mental illness” of lesbianism and of freeing herself from this requirement by declaring herself “cured.”

Raised on her mother’s single income, Turner had a deep knowledge of the centrality of class exploitation and its interconnection with gender and sexuality oppression. So it was logical that she soon joined FSP as well. As she later became fond of saying, “Capitalism can’t have its cake without eating ours too!”

Her influence led to socialist feminist theory embracing the understanding that the oppression of sexual minorities, like sexism and racism, is rooted in the private property system, and dependent on the nuclear family. And she mentored a flood of new lesbian and gay members who joined the party and RW.

But as this multi-issue, class-based analysis gained traction in the gay community, fireworks erupted. In 1973, lesbian separatists spray-painted the RW and FSP meeting hall with slogans like “Straights out of lesbian politics.” Tamara participated in the stinging defense of the right to be radical that followed.

Organizing, writing, spinning ideas. While working for the Pierce County Library system in the mid-1970s, Turner was elected to the union’s contract bargaining team and initiated the selection of FSP founder Clara Fraser as chief negotiator. The resulting landmark contract won a substantial wage and benefit increase, plus a guarantee of constitutional rights on the job, a model grievance procedure, extended seniority rights with separate affirmative action lists, and a broad nondiscrimination clause.

Later in her professional life, she was Director of Medical Library Services at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital for 17 years.

Tamara helped produce the Freedom Socialist in its early years and wrote prolifically for the paper, including the satirical column Malice Aforethought under the byline Ms. Tami. (Her articles are available at socialism.com.) She wrote and performed in innumerable comedy sketches and roasts over the years, with her Elvis Presley impersonation a fan favorite. (more…)

Furbirdsqueerly sends out a liberation greeting to all of our readers, friend, comrade and foe. Here is one of our favorite liberation warriors who we celebrate today and everyday. How many times over the years have we said the same. No Pride for Some of US without Liberation for All of US! or as I use to say, I do not want my rights if all of my comrades can’t have theirs. (note to the mainstream)

Marsha P (Pay It No Mind) Johnson

The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson

You know this happened to us last time when we were up here in Vermont. We were handed a two dollar bill in our change not once but twice. Strange we never see a two dollar bill in Connecticut.

 Well dear hearts if we were in Ecuador this would be our lucky day. A two dollar bill there is considered to be good luck. Here in the U.S and no one knows for sure why the two dollar bill is considered to be unlucky. Well its just plain old money to me and that’s that. I got enough to worry about without some superstitious fools telling me the two dollar bill I got back in change is unlucky. But you know what I will do says dear old Olga, I’ll keep it just in case. Stick it in my box and hope that some how some money will find its way to me and I promise with no fingers crossed that if it does I will then become a believer in the power of the Two Dollar Bill. ( 1 ) Not paying too much attention to the news Olga thought she heard that some man was robbed in his home and among the items taken was a stash of two dollar bills. Police wanted info from folks if they received any two dollar bills and where they got them from. Damn if I know snorted Olga, and does anyone really think that I would hand over my two dollar bill to the police. Nah I’m no fool the next thing you know they would be here in my hotel room asking all sorts of questions and then take my two dollar bill away and I would never get it back. I’ll just keep it and be quiet. The very next day Bessy Marie reported that she also got a two dollar bill in her change. Somethings up at the store across the street.

Out the Train Window

Olga was so happy that in many spots along the route the train slowed down. Really down, a crawl. Better to look out the window and see what I can see. I love looking out the window as everything passes by. Sometimes I go and stand at the back of the train and look out the back door at everything receding down the track. Goodbye, see you on the way home.

Image result for skunk cabbage

Skunk Cabbage

You know Skunk Cabbage always got a bum rap. Smelly stuff that grew around the sewer outlets in the town where I grew up. One time as children we pick a whole bunch and threw the leaves on old Mrs. Wilson’s front porch. She was a nosy old crone, always yelling at the kids in the neighborhood, calling our parents for anything and just a all around mean lady. Well we were having none of that. I think someone’s aunt told us to go pick some skunk cabbage and rub in and throw it all over old lady Wilsons porch. Well that is just what we did.

A few years later I found out that Skunk Cabbage, (yes it does smell like a skunk) was a healing plant and worked wonders for many a people. I first heard about the use of Skunk Cabbage from Mrs. Bates a member of the Wongnuk Tribe who lived in my home town. Her nephew and I would accompany her out to gather wild plants, nuts, roots, barks and berries in the woods. She told us, people take Skunk Cabbage for a variety of reasons bronchitis, asthma, cough, and whooping cough. It is also used for painful condition such as join and muscle pain, headache and toothache. It is used for treating infections such as worms, ringworm and scabies. Once when old grandfather Bates got bitten by a snake we used Skunk Cabbage and you know he lived to be we think 106. Mr. Bates loves to eat Skunk Cabbage and I cook up a batch of leaves for him. Many times some of the herbalists I know have used the tea for a blood purifier and to stop bleeding from surface wounds. Here is something that I bet not many folks know. The root of the Skunk Cabbage may live several hundred years or perhaps over a thousand as long as the soil that it grows in is undisturbed. Check out a plant if there are numerous leaves then you can bet the rhizome is old. This species has survived through millions of years since the Cretaceous period. ( 2 )

I never saw flowering skunk cabbage but here is a photo I found of what the flowers look like.

Fiddlehead Ferns (more…)

Well us old gals are at it again. Traveling in search of a new home. This should be our last trip. We have contacts who have contacts who are in the know of where to live and where to go. Where to stay away from and where to check out.  Someone told us Vermont is full of cows, well we said even if we don’t drink milk, eat cheese or ice cream we love cows. Bonnie said with giggles, “you should see the place during rush hour, cows here, cows there, cows everywhere.” Yeah okay we will be in the city where we are sure there are very few cows. We’ll see some cows from the train give them a moo moo and be glad we don’t have to clean the barn. We love cows even if they do a job on the ozone. “I have to wonder,” said Bessy Marie, “do cows ever escape the field and come and stand on the train tracks?” I really hope they don’t as the train has no cow catcher in the front of it and if we hit such a creature it would be all over for the cow and cause delays. ( 1 ) Let’s hope not said Olga, lets hope the cows know where they at suppose to be and if they go anywhere else they will not hear the dinner bell. Here is a little song to start us on our way.

I am Cow, by Arrogant Worms.

Rush Hour In Vermont.

 

Lots of these on our trip. No worry the train is only 5 cars long. We were happy we weren’t waiting to cross the road or go on through to the other side of the tracks in Springfield as there was a freight train with almost 75 cars passing by.

The train route

Image result for amtrak train the vermonter

We know that by the time the train gets to us the bathrooms can be and usually are very smelly. Olga is the smart one in the bunch always brings a mask to wear when she is in the toilet. I just can’t sit there and smell that horrid smell, do my business and not have vomited all over the floor. Then the train folks would have another mess to clean up. So I get one of those masks fold it up keep in in my pocket along with a Lysol wipe or two. No telling what germs lurk around in the train. Germs are a funny thing can’t see them but if they get into you man can they do a job. Both of us gals are too old for that and thank our lucky stars we haven’t contracted anything this past winter on top of what either one of us have all ready. We take our Elderberry syrup each and every day. Getting old, now that is a whole other story. We don’t know too many old folks to sit around with and talk about getting old. I wish we did as then we would say, “Hey we don’t have it all that bad.” At the very least we would know what this getting old is all about and if this or that pain is worth complaining about. Maybe it will go away in a couple of days.

Image result for amtrak train the vermonter

Gals like us love the train. Having never learned to drive we take it all the time. You know the things you see on the train are much different than what you see in a car whizzing by at 60 miles per hour. These highways leave a lot to be desired as far as good scenery is concerned. Trees, cars, trees, cars. We love the train we get to see the backside of the cities, usually the older part, the graffiti along the tracks is always something to marvel at, an art show caught out of the corner of our eyes and then it retreats into the distant. Last time we were amazed at all of the mullein patches along the tracks. Huge Mullein plants, skunk cabbage, and ferns, ferns, ferns all along the tracks edge and into the woods. Something we very rarely see around these parts are white birch trees. The white lines among the green and brown, lovely. We came home last year in October and what a site to see out the windows of the trees changing colors. Never saw such beauty. What will we see in the spring time wondered Bessy Marie, of course we will be north and hopefully the gardens of tulips near the State Capitol will be in bloom. (more…)

Here is a longer version of the leaflet that we are passing out at the Equality March this Saturday in Hartford. The Note to the LGBTQ community is a longer version than what is on the leaflet.

*Greetings to all who gather today*

Many years ago, when our movement was young we learned that as LGBTQ folks we were here, there, and everywhere. We learned that as Queers in the Gay Liberation Front that we could not survive unless we formed a united front with others who at that time were under attack. We fully understood that we must not only seek the liberation of our people but of all people and join with the movements around the world in solidarity and in fighting for liberation. Later we learned from the great Black, Lesbian, poet, author, philosopher, teacher Audre Lorde when she said, “There is no such thing as a single issue movement, as we do not lead a single- issue life.” Both of these ideas have stayed with us all of these years and we continue to act with them in mind in all activist work that we do.  If indeed we are here, there and everywhere then we as a people must stand in support of all issues that are represented here today at this rally.

We stand for our Transgender Youth who are taking the first blows in our community from Jeff Sessions, Betsy De Vos and Donald Trump. We stand with our Trans sisters and brothers who are held in detention and terrorized by ICE. We support Sanctuary cites and an end to deportation. We support our Trans comrades in the front lines of fighting back no matter where they live. No Human is Illegal. Stop All Deportations!

We stand with the Black Lives Matter Movement and support our sisters and brothers in the struggle. We call for an end to Trump’s executive orders that expand the discretionary power of police enforcement which are a clear attack on freedom, justice and equality. These new polices are intended to further criminalize, imprison, and deny justice to the nation’s most targeted populations including people of color, people living below the poverty line, and LGBTQ people. We support full civilian review boards controlled by residents not the elected officials or police. We join with those who say, Racist Cops Out of Our Neighborhoods!

We stand with the immigrant community who are now at the end of amerikkka’s beating stick in what Trump has called a military operation. We offer full support to this community. Tell us what you need.

We reject this regime’s war against the Muslim Community. We reject this administration modern day exclusion order. We don’t want to just put a pause on the ban—it needs to be thrown out entirely because of the way it targets Muslims—and only Muslims. Lift all bans!

We stand for ending Climate Change and strengthen the rules and regulations that deal with this. What good will anything be if we do not have an earth to live on?

We stand for PEACE. We stand to put PEACE back on the front burner of our agenda. We can not only care about how this regime is affecting any of us but must remember that many others just like us around the world are now at the end of amerikkka’s military beating stick. We do not support war no matter what the powers that be tell us it is good for. Either you are for their slaughter fest or are against it! We stand against any war with Iran, North Korea, China or anywhere else that this government wishes to go push its weight around. We call for an end to the war against the people of Syria. We call for freedom for the people of Palestine.

We support animal rights. We once saw a sign that said, “Extend your circle of compassion.” That is our goal. We call for an end to unethical and inhumane practice of testing where animals such as dogs, rabbits, birds, mice, and monkeys are forced to comply with painful experiments. Some methods that take place during animal testing include: Pouring corrosive chemicals on their bare skin, Injecting chemicals into their eyes, repeatedly force fed large substances, Forced inhalation of toxic gases and other means of torture. We ask that the activists involved with this movement do what they can to lead and organize opposition to the abuse, and murder of animals. (more…)