Author: ehawkes

The Dangers of Poor Document Management, Boston Subway example of

Boston’s subway was running at less than half speed because it lost critical track inspection paperwork, an official said Friday.

At 10:20 p.m. Thursday night, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which operates the T subway system among other entities, announced on Twitter it was instituting a systemwide maximum speed of 10 to 25 mph “following findings by the Department of Public Utilities during a recent site visit of the Red Line between Ashmont & Savin Hill.” The T typically operates with a maximum speed of 40 mph. It is very rare for a transit system to institute a blanket speed restriction outside of extreme weather events.

During a press conference Friday morning explaining the bizarre move, MBTA interim general manager Jeff Gonneville said the slow speed restriction was implemented because inspection crews could not find paperwork verifying that necessary track work had actually been done, so the MBTA leadership decided to slow down the entire system out of an abundance of caution.

Boston’s Subway Was Running at Half Speed Because It Lost Paperwork

Happy International Women’s Day

Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity.
Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness about discrimination. Take action to drive gender parity.
IWD belongs to everyone, everywhere. Inclusion means all IWD action is valid.

International Women’s Day is a global holiday celebrated annually on March 8 as a focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women. Wikipedia

New Black Canon – Books, Plays and Poems That Everyone Should Know – The New York Times

Pauline E. Hopkins, “Of One Blood” (1902-3)
Chester Himes, “Lonely Crusade” (1947)
Fran Ross, “Oreo” (1974)
Alison Mills Newman, “Francisco” (1974)
James Alan McPherson, “Elbow Room” (1977)
William Demby, “Love Story Black” (1978)
J. California Cooper, “The Wake of the Wind” (1998)

Jean Toomer, “Balo” (1922)
Eulalie Spence, “The Starter” (1923)
Lorraine Hansberry, “Toussaint” (1961)
Charles Gordone, “No Place to Be Somebody: A Black-Black Comedy” (1969)
Adrienne Kennedy, “An Evening with Dead Essex” (1973)
Andrea Hairston, “Lonely Stardust” (1998)

Esther Popel, “Flag Salute” (1934)
Bob Kaufman, “The Collected Poems” (1965-78)
Gwendolyn Brooks, “In the Mecca” (1968)
Ishmael Reed, “A Secretary to the Spirits” (1978)
Dolores Kendrick, “The Women of Plums: Poems in the Voices of Slave Women” (1989)
Melvin Dixon, “Love’s Instruments” (1995)
Ai, “Vice: New and Selected Poems” (1999)

The New Black Canon: Books, Plays and Poems That Everyone Should Know
A guide to some of the undervalued 20th-century works that testify to the richness of the Black American literary archive.


Old George, Cotswold Mason

I was introduced to old George, a Cotswold mason. He is in his seventies but still at it. When I met him he was engaged in the almost lost art of dry-walling, pulling down some ramshackle old walls and converting their materials into smooth solid ramparts. He was a little man, with a dusty puckered face and an immense upper lip so that he looked like a wise old monkey; and he had spent all his long life among stones. There were bits of stone all over him. He handled the stones about him, some of which he showed to us, at once easily and lovingly, as women handle their babies. He was like a being that had been created out of stone, a quarry gnome. He was a pious man, this old George, and when he was not talking about stone and walls, he talked in a very quiet though evangelical strain about his religious beliefs, which were old and simple. Being a real craftsman, knowing that he could do something better than you or I could do it, he obviously enjoyed his work which was not so much toil exchanged for so many shillings but the full expression of himself, his sign that he was Old George the mason and still at it. Bad walls, not of his building, were coming down, and good walls were going up. The stones in them fitted squarely and smoothly and were a delight to the eye and a great contentment to the mind, so weary of shoddy and rubbish. I have never done anything in my life so thoroughly and truly as that old mason did his building. If I could write this book, or any other book, as well as he can build walls, honest dry walls, I should be the proudest and happiest man alive. Old George has always been a mason, and his father and grandfather were masons before him; they were all masons, these Georges; they built the whole Cotswolds: men of their hands, men with a trade, craftsmen. I do not know for what pittances they worked, or how narrow and frugal their lives must have been, but I do know that they were not unhappy men; they knew what they could do and they were allowed to do it; they were not taught algebra and chemistry and then flung into a world that did not even want their casual labour; they were not robbed of all the dignity and sweetness of real work; they did not find themselves lost and hopeless in a world that neither they nor anyone else could understand; they did not feel themselves to be tiny cogs in a vast machine that was running down; they had a good trade in their fingers, solid work to do, and when it was done — and there it was, with no mistake about it, ready to outlast whole dynasties – they could take their wages and go home and be content. I am glad I met old George and saw him at work. And if ever we do build Jerusalem in this green and pleasant land, I hope he will be there, doing the dry-walling.

English Journey
J. B. Priestly

Note – I heard about this book via David Bowie.

A Man Who Believed Himself to Have a Fish in his Jaw

Most people I meet are secretly convinced that they’re a little crazier than the average person. People understand the energy necessary to maintain their own shields, but not the energy expended by other people. They understand that their own sanity is a performance, but when confronted by other people they confuse the person with the role.

I once read about a man who believed himself to have a fish in his jaw. (The case was reported in New Society.) This fish moved about, and caused him a lot of discomfort. When he tried to tell people about the fish, they thought him ‘crazy’, which led to violent arguments. After he’d been hospitalised several times—with no effect on the fish—it was suggested that perhaps he shouldn’t tell anyone. After all it was the quarrels that were getting him put away, rather than the delusion. Once he’d agreed to keep his problem secret, he was able to lead a normal life. His sanity is like our sanity. We may not have a fish in our jaw, but we all have its equivalent.

When I explain that sanity is a matter of interaction, rather than of one’s mental processes, students are often hysterical with laughter. They agree that for years they have been suppressing all sorts of thinking because they classified it as insane.

Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre

Keith Johnstone

Food Assistance Cuts – Kentucky

HAZEL GREEN, Ky. — As he claimed the first spot in a mile-long line for free food in the Appalachian foothills, Danny Blair vividly recalled receiving the letter announcing that his pandemic-era benefit to help buy groceries was about to be slashed.

Kentucky lawmakers had voted to end the state’s health emergency last spring, by default cutting food stamp benefits created to help vulnerable Americans like Blair weather the worst of covid-19. Instead of $200 a month, he would get just $30.

He crumpled up the letter and threw it on the floor of his camper.

“I thought, ‘Wow, the government is trying to kill us now,’” said Blair, 63, who survives on his Social Security disability check and lives in a mobile home with his wife after their house burned down five years ago. “They are going to starve us out.”

A mile-long line for free food offers a warning as covid benefits end
Tim Craig

Scent of a Documentary – The A24 Candle Collection

A24 and Joya partnered to create a scented candle collection inspired by nine classic film genres: Horror, Western, Thriller, Noir, Adventure, Musical, Sci-Fi, Rom-Com, and Fantasy. Each Genre Collection candle sold separately.

A24 is the New York City-based entertainment company behind Minari, Uncut Gems, The Lighthouse, The Farewell, Midsommar, Lady Bird, Moonlight, The Witch, The Lobster, Ex Machina and more.

No 10 Documentary – lotus, lavender, vinegar, Chinese coumarin, blackcurrant, brandy, oakmoss

Inspired By: university library archives, weathered newspaper clippings, a timeline of the events. found footage, the opinion of an expert, competing narratives, court documents (newly unsealed), the fog of memory, time.

10 Tostolyan Conclusions

These conclusions, which paraphrase Tolstoys thought or draw dotted lines from his thought to the present, are offered not as so many truths but as prompts for dialogue.

1. We live in a world of uncertainty. Assured prediction is impossible. History and individual lives contain contingent events that might just as well not have happened. No account that tries to think contingency away can be adequate.

2. There can never be a social science, in the sense that nineteenth-century physics is a science.

3. We need not only knowledge but also wisdom. Wisdom cannot be formalized or expressed adequately in a set of rules. If it could, it would not be wisdom at all. Wisdom is acquired by attentive reflection on experience in all its complexity.

4. Because the world is uncertain, presentness matters. The present moment is not an automatic derivative of the past. In human life, more than one thing can happen at any given moment. Theories that assume otherwise mislead.

5. Because presentness is real, alertness matters. The more uncertain a situation, the greater the value of alertness.

6. Numerous biases distort our perceptions of our lives. We must undeterstand these biases to minimize their effect.

7. The idea that truth lies in the extreme is not only false but also dangerous. Even extraordinary moments are largely the product of what happens at ordinary ones.

8. The road of excess leads to the chamber of horrors.

9. True life takes place when we are doing nothing especially dramatic. The more drama, the worse the life.

10. Plot is an index of error.

Anna Karenina In Our Time
Gary Saul Morson
From the section One Hundred Sixty-Three Tostolyan Conclusions

Mexico Protests Electoral Law Changes

MEXICO CITY — Tens of thousands of people filled Mexico City’s vast main plaza Sunday to protest electoral law reforms that they say threaten democracy. The plaza is normally thought to hold nearly 100,000 people, but many more protesters couldn’t fit in.

The marchers were clad mostly in white and pink — the color of the National Electoral Institute — and shouted slogans like “Don’t Touch my Vote!”

The reforms proposed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador were passed last week. They would cut salaries, funding for local election offices and training for citizens who operate and oversee polling stations. They would also reduce sanctions for candidates who fail to report campaign spending.

“He wants to return to the past” when “the government controlled elections,” said protester Enrique Bastien, 64, a veterinarian, recalling the 1970s and 80s when the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, ruled Mexico with fraud and handouts. “It was a life with no independence.”

Tens of thousands protest Mexico electoral reforms
Tens of thousands of people filled Mexico City’s vast main plaza to protest electoral law reforms that they say threaten democracy