A Walk in the Woods

This move to Connecticut has been strange for me. I grew to love Portland, Maine. The restaurants, the spirit, the beauty, the breweries, the poetry scene, the people. I liked having my in-laws closeby.

Connecticut is new. I don’t have enough people here and am home so much. Including work, it’s odd to be in a locked office the whole day. It’s also not kitty approved.

But there are beautiful parks and open space here.  We live less than half a mile from the Naugatuck State Forest. So many great walks. I’m looking out tp a clearing at the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path right now, a bird tweeting close and far. There is the Naugatuck Valley, the slopes, the rocks, the Naugatuck and rivers. The Osborndale State Park, even the ocean/ Long Island Sound a half hour away at the Seaside Park in Bridgeport. It’s lovely here. Far more trails and nearby public open space then Westbrook, Maine.

The crickets sing their songs of late summer, insects buzz, cars race. I think I will be very happy here eventually, but I need people.

Glad to have family here this week for Thanksgiving, glad to have a bunch of medical appointments setup, glad to be more settled. But still finding my place, I wish I did leave the house for work and had my old car again.

But, I love the woods, love the quiet, love birdsong, love beauty, as there are a few efferemal warm days before the coming winter.

Edmund

Some Thoughts on the War in Iraq and Terrorism

Was reading this outstanding article about how the word terrorism changes how states can act in the New York Times today “The Reign of ‘Terror'” and I had this response thinking about the War in Iraq that I posted in the comments:

If nothing else the War in Iraq was great at making terrorists. When the US took over Iraq militarily in a few days, a lot of people were prepared to like us. Then we made three terrible ill-considered decisions by morons like L. Paul Bremer. We didn’t protect the museums and sacred sites from looting; we fired the entire Ba’ath Party and removed the civil institutions of government, making things much less governed; and we disbanded the Iraqi Army. Instead of having a functional (if extremely corrupt) government and an army to keep the peace and rebuild, we had a population without governance, and hundreds of thousands of men with jobs and no work.

The war was good for the Kurds without question, and ISIS/ISIL makes it more likely in my view to see a Kurdish state. And we transferred power from the Sunni Ba’ath party to Shiite rule. Instead of being enemies, Iraq and Iran are closer to allies.

Hurting civilians to stop terrorism, just creates state terror, that “terrorists” fight back against like in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. It’s an Orwellian term that makes for many evils.

If you want to read more about the Iraq War see Charles Ferguson’s excellent documentary “No End in Sight.” If you want to see the effects of state terrorism from the Palestinian perspective I highly recommend Joe Sacco’s graphic journalism in “Palestine” and “Footnotes from Gaza.” Excellent piece by Tomis Kapitan in the New York Times.

While posting an update to Facebook about this I added a lot. Here are those thoughts:

It takes a surreal world for a “War on Terror” to create terrorists, but that is definitely what happened in Iraq. Was reading an excellent post in the New York Times earlier today called “The Reign of ‘Terror'” and this blogpost is mainly my comment. The Iraq War ended a strong dictatorial state run by a stalinist in Saddam Hussein and created a power vacuum with 3 people that don’t get along: the Kurds, the Shiites and the Sunnis. With Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party the Sunnis had control and were vicious to Shiites in Iraq and Iran and evil to Kurdish people. The end of the Iraq War has created a virtual Kurdistan in Northern Iraq and a country ruled by the Shiites for now. And the radical Sunnis are now part of ISIS. Be careful of a power vacuum. I thought earlier it was the new Yugoslavia, Tito vs. Hussein but the current states of the former Yugoslavia, especially Slovenia and Croatia are much stronger states than modern Iraq. Will be curious to see what the coming years bring. It’s not good now.

Iraq is a mess. It’s not going to be pretty. I really hope that Kurdistan becomes it’s own state. Turkey helping the Kurds against ISIS now is a big deal. I think at some point the rest of Iraq may break up as well but that’s not clear. Kurdistan is already close to a self governed state already.

Tuesdays in Connecticut

Tuesday is one of my favorite days here.

A day off.

And a chance to have the car and explore. I got rid of the 99 Mercury Sable before leaving Maine due to a myraid of repair reasons.

But on Tuesday, I wake up, drop off Lanna at work, often go for a walk and eat breakfast.

So far I have discovered the Seaside Park in Bridgeport, the beaches in Stratford, CT, the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path at several points, the Ansonia Nature Center and adjoining Naugatuck State Forest.

Also the wacky Roosevelt Tower and the cool Books at the Falls both in Derby. The gorgeous fields of the Osbornedale State Park. The delicious bagels of Royal Bakery in Shelton, the amazing corned beef hash at Pagliaro’s Lunch. The little hole in the wall Jamiacan place, the Rootsman Kitchen in Bridgeport, CT.

Connecticut is a wonderful place to explore.

I would love to have a car again and eventually will, but the act of dropping Lanna off gives me the chance to explore. Maybe the Indian Well State Park in Shelton this morning after a delicious bagel at the Royal Bakery.

Tuesdays are good days for me. Although I do miss going to the Port Veritas poetry reading. I still get the invites and see a bunch of poets I would like to hear. Like John Sinclair tonight and my friend Robin Merrill last week.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Greg Maddux

I had a wonderful day. Got up at 4am, which may seem crazy but it’s when I got to get up tomorrow (or today since I am writing this on Sunday evening and posting it for Monday morning).

Two hour walk around Ansonia and the Ansonia Brass and Cooper site (formerly The American Brass Company) which will be going away soon. Took maybe 100 pictures with my phone. Was beautiful to see the sunrise.

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to blog about.

Saw a link somewhere called “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Greg Maddux” I was a a big fan of his. Control pitcher, pitched fast. Didn’t get showy. Amazing to watch.

I liked him since he played with the Cubs. Although I am a Phillies fan always loved watching Greg Maddux even thought he was on the Phillies big rival team, the Atlanta Braves in the 1990s.

But this article was not about Greg Maddux. It was about an incredibly talented friend. A lost talent. So much potential. So much alcohol.

SCOUTING REPORT: Jason Kenney, age 19, by Boyhood Friend & College Roommate Collins

Height: 6’2, Weight: 216, DOB: 1/9/77. Home: Atlanta, Georgia.

Abilities: Three-Sport Athlete. Center Fielder, Georgia Little League World Series team, 1990; Fullback and Tight End, Atlanta Colts Pop Warner Football National Champions, 1991; Guard and Small Forward, Dunwoody High School, Georgia High School Basketball Champions, Undefeated, Ranked No. 3 by USA Today, 1995.

A “natural.” Hyper-competitive. Crazy instinctive touch and feel. Inspires envy.

Once bowled a 290 in Rome, Georgia while consuming 2 1/2 pitchers of Bud Light.

Weakness: Lacks control (drinking). Dismissed from basketball team two days before state title game — showed up drunk (again) to school. Binge drinking since age 14.

Jason and his friend Jeremy Collins loved the Atlanta Braves and Greg Maddux.

Greg Maddux who had such beautiful control as a pitcher and worked on it with a famous baseball coach when a scot at 18 said: “Weakness: Lacks control on all his pitches. Just has to get ahead of hitters more often.”

We have so many weaknesses as teenagers.

Seventy one days sober. Let’s celebrate. Six miles from their destination. Didn’t stop with just one pitcher. Car flips, he survives, his friend doesn’t, only 19.

Stunningly beautiful writing. A tale of control and loss of control. One night out, lost potential a lost friend. And Greg Maddux who had amazing control. Addiction hurts. So many lives and relationships are lost without control. I give my love to anyone working to leave addiction and to those lost. Powerful. #longform

For We Have Been Touched by Magic

There is a line in a chant we using at the closing circle at Rites of Spring, a pagan gathering we go to every Memorial Day weekend in the Berkshires called Rites of Spring. “For we have been touched by magic, and the magic will make us whole.”

Maine is beautiful, it’s a special place. Portland is a magical city.

But since we have moved to North State Street in Ansonia, CT the place ahs been touched by magic. When my wife saw the two benches in the gravel she immediately thought it was a Fairie garden. It seemed touched with something special.

The song of crickets at night makes my soul happy. All of the beautiful rocks. The old trees. The old houses. It’s beautiful.

The amazing view across the valley, special. Seeing insects lit up by the late evening sun looking like little fairies.

Bees loving the wildflowers, playing with the pollen and being happy.

The world would be a better place if we planted gardens over grass. Better for the local wildlife. Prettier. Food during the harvest. Canning. Old ways.

Also less gas used, less sameness, less blah.

Not sure when planned communities in beige with bizarre homeowners association rules and sameness became desirable.

Feeling touched by magic in the local forest. I am a forest person.

Going from the beautiful Ansonia Nature Center and exploring off trail into the Naugatuck State Forest. Getting lost, feeling the spirit of the trees, stumps and old rocks. Feeling the energy of the land. I am feeling deeply connected here.

Who know I may have some roots here. My ancestors in America go back a long way, a lot fo them in the 17th and 18th Century. I know I have some roots in Mexico, Maine wondering if I have roots in the valley.

This area built things. Rivers like the Naugatuck, and the Presumpcot which goes through Westbrook, Maine and was the most dammed river in the US per mile not long ago, were industrial corridors. The United States, used to build things. Ansonia was a copper center, Waterbury a center of Brass, Westbrook a paper town, tires made in the Valley working people.

Beautiful old mills, sometimes destroyed, sometimes converted to beautiful use. Like the North Dam Mill in Biddeford, ME and the Dana Warp Mill in Westbrook, Maine.

I heard a rumor while fixing my car that the huge copper mills in Ansonia are due to be torn down too. I hope they are made into a park. I would rather they were converted into something cool and beautiful. I need to ride the Metro North to Waterbury and go through them before they go.

I have heard everyone in Derby and Ansonia knows each other. I need to get into those circles and I think I will be a lot happier. It’s a matter of time.

I do like the neighborhood and it’s a special place. And touched by magic.

eddie

Blogtober

My friend Margaret Finch is one of the better bloggers I know. And she is trying to blog every day in October. I am very tempted. I miss the blog. I miss thinking about it everyday.

So I think I will try it and maybe start by adding to some of my good things posts every day on Facebook.

That way I can get the first three days in.

I certainly write enough to blog on the Facebooks.

So why not and let’s see how it goes.

eddie

I Think I’m Alone Now

I have been working remotely for about a month now since moving to Connecticut.

I really appreciate being able to move with my job. It removes a lot of stress and provides income while we deal with the cost of settling in a new place.

But, I really miss goofing off with people. I like quipping love being laughed at or with. I am a foole. And proud of it.

I realized that on Tuesday when I went into my wife’s new work which is pretty awesome. And being both tired and caffienated was on a run of jokes. People that know me well know that if you start laughing I won’t stop. I also belong to the David Letterman school of comedy where if I a joke fails, make fun of the failure.

I could have worked remotely for a long time in my call center job. It’s a perk for experienced agents that a lot of people really enjoy. I declined. Westbrook, Maine to the mall area is very close. A 15-20 minute drive at once due to the traffic lights. And I like the casual atmosphere where I work. I liked being able to joke around when it’s quiet between calls it makes the day go so much faster.

Being home with a locked door is very quiet. And the Macintosh is quiet, much quieter than the laptop I am using now. Doesn’t seem to need the fan.

In fact, since it is so quiet I often have a fan on low just for the white noise.

It’s odd to be home.

I also miss the beautiful landscaping on Southborough Drive where I worked. Beautiful landscaping and a lovely green with marshes and a creek. I miss that walk.

I still walk around on my breaks with my headphones, but it’s different going down the streets, although I do have beautiful moments like seeing the bees loving wildflowers. But I do miss what was a special place to me.

And it’s especially lonely when you are in a new place and don’t know people. I have been spending a lot of time alone. I do love alone time, I find the woods recharge me. But it is lonely.

And I think I do need to see a therapist again, it’s only been eighteen months since my dad died and I had a mental health crisis, major manic episode and breakdown.

Connecticut is beautiful, there so many beautiful parks. I love all the stones in the area, love to hear the crickets. The view across the valley from my front yard looking across the Naugatuck Valley is so, so beautiful. Having a state forest up the hill less than a mile away is amazing. The drive through Woodbridge to the Merritt Parkway is so green.

But, I miss people. Going to work is a chance to get away. I thought I might spend too much time at home working remotely and it’s true.

It’s also tough to only have one car. My old 99 Mercury Sable with 150,000 miles had too many repairs to keep going. But it’s actually been nice to drive Lanna to work and explore some of the local trails. Especially the Shelton Lakes Recreation Trail. And to have delicious bagels at the Royal Bakery, and delicious corned beef hash at Pagliaro’s Lunch in the same shopping plaza. My Tuesday mornings have been very good.

Wednesday night has been for pinball league and I really enjoy it, although I do wish it was on Mondays so I didn’t have work the next day. It’s only 40 minutes to Meriden, CT but when you have to get up at 5:45am the next morning it still leads to tired Thursdays.

So, still looking to find my place here in Ansonia, CT. I do want to get more involved locally. I was very much looking forward to checking out the Ansonia Harvest Festival today to meet local organizations but alas, postponed due to rain and next Saturday I am working.

I think it’s beautiful here and touched by magic. But I do miss people, especially working remotely.

eddie

Write Until You are Done

One of my favorite recent lessons comes from Roger Ebert. People always said he was a fast writer, but he said he wasn’t he just spent far less time not writing. When he wrote for the Urbana, IL high school paper on sports and stuff, he had a friend who wrote for the Champlain, IL paper next door and also became a future sportswriter and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bill Lyon:


“One, don’t wait for inspiration just start the damn thing. Two, once you begin, keep on to the end. How do you know how the story should begin until you find out where it’s going?”

Roger Ebert’s “Life Itself” is well worth a read. A story about being a journalist’s journalist, who made his own newspapers as a kid and never stopped wanting to be a newspaperman. He stumbled into movie crictism, but as you can tell from his blog, he was far more interesting than that. I also didn’t expect the book to be so much about his struggles with alcoholism. *** 1/2

Personally I love this idea but have not been putting it into practice enough. I have been writing the Three Good Things post on Facebook everyday, and I do write that until I am done, which is usually 10 to 15 things, but have got off track from the blog.

When I did blog everyday, I held by this idea.

Sometimes it was a lot of writing, sometimes not nearly as much.

Hope to get back at it again.

It’s a great practice.

eddie

3 Good Things Day 68

Three Good Things Day 68
1. Not blogging everyday but over two months on this practice.
2. Kitty in the tub,kitty in the tub!
3. Brave investigative journalism
4. Whistleblowers
5. Matt Taibbi
6. Carl Sandburg
7. Having a great progressive candidate who cares about civil rights and used to work for the ACLU, vote Shenna Bellows in Maine for US Senate.
8. Kitties laying on the unmade futon.
9. Putting clothes away
10. Kitty water fountains
11. Getting lost in nature

I have really enjoyed doing these and it is a practice I do everyday now for over 2 months.
I definitely will talk more about Matt Taibbi’s “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap” as I continue reading it.
Things are bad, things are very bad.
Although kitties are awesome.
Shenna Bellows is awesome.
And people brave enough to run for politics and not just be apathetic are awesome.

Blessed be.

Awkward. ***1/2

Just good writing.

I like the Jenna character. I like that she overthinks everything all the time. The rest of the show is sweet and often ridiculous.

I usually don’t like the absurd drama of MTV shows but I like this. Saw that ten more episodes were on Amazon Prime last week and ran through season four part one in a few days. Fun show. Although not in the same class as the Wire which I just finished. ***** Also easier admitting my love for The Mind of a Chef.