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June 18, 2018

NYC Book Expo: “Books are my only friends…”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 4:23 pm

Six years ago, my three-year-old granddaughter Mena was spending the night with me. All evening long she had been wheezing, listless and pale. Finally at around 2:00 am, she practically crawled into my bedroom, coughing, choking and white as a sheet. “Gaia, I need to go to the hospital — now!” she said. I didn’t waste any time.

We were still in our nightgowns when the doctor told us, “Worst case of asthma I’ve ever seen. A few more minutes and she would have been dead! You saved her life.” No, I didn’t. Mena saved her own life. And since that day, I’ve always listened closely to everything she was telling me, just in case.

Later that month, Mena also told me, “Toys are my only friends.” What could I say to that? I told her the truth. “Sometimes I think that books are my only friends.” So when I recently went off to the Javits Center in New York City to attend the 2018 “Book Expo America” being held there — and walked into a whole giant building all filled with nothing but books, I couldn’t help but think that I had just entered a building filled with hundreds and hundreds of my very best friends.

Once the doors of the Book Expo opened, I immediately made my way down to Soho Crime’s exhibit booth and scored an advance-reader copy of the hilarious new Colin Cotterill book, “Don’t Eat Me” (and, yes, I did feel rather strange reading a book with a title like that on the subway — but well worth every stare). https://sohopress.com/soho-crime/

I also gleefully swept up five other murder-mystery books by some of my favorite Soho authors — Martin Limon, Timothy Hallinan, Mick Herron, Gina Apostol and James R. Benn. I love murder mysteries because, unlike in real life, justice is always done by the time we reach the last page. https://www.globalresearch.ca/drivers-behind-the-war-on-syria-and-the-impoverishment-of-us-all/5644381

The next evening Bernie Sanders spoke at the Book Expo. Gotta love Bernie. Good grief, how I wish he was in the White House right now instead of having to helplessly watch Trump’s yard sale of everything that is American. I voted for Bernie. The only thing that used to be wrong with Bernie was his tolerant policy toward Israeli neo-colonialist state-sponsored terrorism. But recently he has been wising up — as have the rest of Americans who actually keep up with the horrors happily inflicted onto the rest of the Middle East by neo-con Zionists.

How does that joke go? “We should make America name Israel as its 51st state,” someone recently suggested to Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Why should we do that?” answered Bibi. “Then we would only have two Senators in Washington. Right now we already have 50.” And yet people talk about Russia buying our elections? Donnie the Mole and Crooked Hilary could never have been bought off by Russia — because Israeli neo-cons already owned both of them body and soul. Humph.

While at the Book Expo, I also tried to get a few publishers interested in re-publishing my book “Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips for Touring Today’s Middle East”. https://www.amazon.com/Bring-Your-Own-Flak-Jacket/dp/0978615719

“But this book was written in 2007,” one publisher exclaimed.

“So what,” I replied. “It’s still totally right up-to-date. In the Middle East? Nothing has changed at all in the last decade. Americans, Israeli neo-cons and Saudis are still brutally slaughtering anything that moves.” Except that now they are getting even better at it. http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/11/u-s-backed-catastrophe-brewing-in-yemen/

And then I had lunch with my friend Dinky — who casually mentioned that her son had just won the Pulitzer Prize. “What!” Wow! And her son, James Forman Jr, also spoke at the Book Expo. And thus I was gently reminded that books weren’t my only friends. But books, however, will always remain my really really good friends. https://www.jamesformanjr.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you’re at it, please buy my books. https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Stillwater/e/B00IW6O1RM

June 13, 2018

Fathers Day: America’s grim tradition of stealing children from their parents continues…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 1:36 pm

America’s current moral decline and decay can easily be traced back through its barbaric treatment of children.

First there were those nasty “boarding schools” for the thousands of terrified Native American children who were dragged screaming away from their helpless parents.

Then there were those ghastly slave markets that ruthlessly dragged young children away from their mothers and heartlessly sold them into wretched lives of hard labor and chains.

And now Americans are at it again — dragging young children away from their undocumented Latino parents and shoving these human babies into cages as if they were animals in a zoo.

Not exactly a good way to celebrate Fathers Day, America. What’s with that?

PS: America’s foreign policy, however, appears to more closely resemble King Herod rather than Oliver Twist. With the possible exception of paying for those infamous Israeli neo-colonialists’ prison camps for Palestinian children, America’s foreign policy tends more toward Herod’s “slaughter of the innocents” in places like Syria, Central Africa, Libya, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Yemen, Vietnam, etc.

Am I being too hard on America here — or not hard enough. Either we are decent and moral people — or we are not.

 

 

 

 

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Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you’re at it, please buy my books.  https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Stillwater/e/B00IW6O1RM

June 6, 2018

There’s a Whole Foods in Harlem now…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 1:46 pm

I was raised in the suburbs. Back in the Boomer days, suburbs were spozed to be wonderful places where residents could relax, enjoy nature and be happy. Funny how it didn’t work out that way. My father commuted to his job Monday through Friday, was gone from 6:00 in the morning to 8:00 at night and also worked a second job on weekends to pay off our suburban mortgage. So much for smelling the flowers. And my college-educated mother was bored out of her freaking mind with her life there as chief maid, cook, bottle-washer and nanny to her mostly-absent husband and two ungrateful brats. Ah, white flight.

There are clearly a whole lot of advantages to living in a city.

However, for Black people who were forced to live in cramped city slums, who had no access to decent employment or education and who were the targeted customers of their drug-dealing CIA sales reps, urban life was a nightmare. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4U1ozz7nM8

“Wanna change places?” bored suburban commuters and housewives suddenly started asking Black people. “We’ll take back Harlem and you can go enjoy the wonders of nature by living in a tent under a bridge.”

Can you believe it? First Black people were forced into Harlem because nobody else wanted it. Red-lining, slumlords and all that. Crappy schools. Unemployment. Bigotry. 80% of the housing stock in Harlem was under-code and sucked eggs. “But those are genuine brownstones!” the Yuppies and Techies suddenly cried — and suddenly their race for real estate in Harlem was on.

Black people originally came to Harlem in desperate flight from the extreme brutality of Southern Jim Crow. Seeking their freedom in New York City, they soon discovered that they were living in a concentration camp instead.

Back in those days Harlem may not have been surrounded by barbed wire like Manzanar or Auschwitz or Gaza, but the iron fist of American social norms (not to mention the New York PD’s iron fist) kept Black people trapped there just the same. And so they did the best that they could and made this new Harlem concentration camp their home — “made something out of nothing”. But now they don’t even have that.

I just got back from a walking tour of Harlem. In Harlem today, signs reading “Condo for Sale” are now a common sight. There is even a freaking Whole Foods located right there on the corner of Malcolm X Boulevard and 125th Street. So much for white flight. Goodbye Harlem. It’s now called Central Park North.

And when brownstones in Harlem are sold for several million dollars each, who gets all that money? Does it go to the Black grandmother who had religiously paid her rent every month for the last 50 years? Even though her landlord never made any repairs and yet charged her double the amount that White people were paying for the same sized unit elsewhere in Manhattan?

Or do those millions of dollars go to the slumlord who had already made more profit on each brownstone than is morally possible? What would your educated guess be?

June 3, 2018

Meeting the Buddha for lunch in New York City

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 12:47 pm

For some unknown reason, I’ve only been able to do a half-fast for Ramadan this year. Here’s me, barely limping along without food until mid-afternoon, never quite making it to sundown. My bad. But I’m doing the best that I can — in solidarity with the millions of tortured, vilified, starving and endangered people in Gaza, Bethlehem, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, etc.

On Sunday I broke my fast with a nice bowl of rice pudding at Barney Greengrass’s famous kosher restaurant on the Upper West Side, an area that many former Israelis have immigrated into lately (apparently one in six Israelis no longer live in Israel and have been voting against Netanyahu with their feet).

On Monday I broke my fast in Harlem, eating shrimp and grits at that iconic luncheonette founded by “Sylvia, the Queen of Soul Food” — followed by a quick trip to the Apollo theater to buy an iconic T-shirt and reminisce on the good old days when I used to buy a seat in the second balcony every Saturday night for only a dollar and change.

On Tuesday I broke my fast with some kosher rice pudding from B&H Dairy — after a morning spent at the historic Riverside Church. Long story. Here’s the abridged version. The 17th Gyalwa Karmapa is the latest reincarnation of a long line of Karmapas going back almost to the Buddha himself. This Karmapa talked to us about compassion, the highest form of human emotion. And right then and there, in the 26th pew on the left, I had a sudden enlightening realization — that most of our leaders in Washington are totally lacking the compassion gene and will probably be reborn as toads. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/21/nyregion/bh-dairy-in-the-east-village-reopens-after-months-of-red-tape.html

So. After this powerful experience with the Buddha, I’m now starting to wonder exactly who I will be having lunch with next. Mohammad, Abraham, Jesus? I’m sure that each one of them would all serve up a nice hot dish of compassion too.

The moral here? Human beings today are starving for compassion — not for wealth or power. And they are certainly not starving for more “war”. We have totally grossed out on all that shite already.

And I betcha anything that Jesus would never want America to spend a trillion dollars on some stupid 2000-mile-long border wall — and that Abraham would never want America to spend a trillion dollars on some stupid Wall in Palestine either. And surely Mohammad would never want those freaky-weird spoiled-brat princes in Saudi Arabia to join with America in spending a trillion dollars slaughtering Muslims in Yemen and Syria either.

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