Category Archives: books

Relating PTSD, homelessness and debt to lessons not learned in youth: do we need studies?

What we need our children to prove, for recognition of adulthood, is not their prowess in battle or the hunt, not their virility, not their adeptness at social maneuvering, but their ability to contribute meaningfully to society by teaching another person, from level 0, how to do something that is both difficult and absolutely neccessary in our society today. By requiring our pre-adults to teach some other person a needed life skill, over the course of at least a year, that pre-adult shows persistence, perseverence, discernment, and of course, the skill in question.

Thus we provide an esteem building excercise and respect building accomplishment which we then reward with full adult status, whatever the age of the pre-adult in question. This obviously assumes that the person has had opportunity to prove his or her good judgement in other ways as well, prior to seeking adulthood recognition. This might help as one step of a series of steps implemented by and through local communities which could lead to more long-term thinking in society at large, given a critical mass and good faith in the ability of humankind to rise above our instincts, and learn to cooperate.  Certain pre-requisites should apply: knowledge of emotional, financial and physical self-defense.

Tying into emotional challenges like PTSD, pre-adults must learn how to communicate non-violently, manage their own emotions and prevent emotional manipulation, which eases the recognition and treatment of difficult past traumatic disorders.   Homelessness and debt both relate to issues of financial self-defense, by which I mean the ability not only to balance a check book and write up a home budget, but also to avoid falling victim to scams of all sorts, as well as the ability to plan for long-range problems like job-loss, or illness, etc.
Hence the post I mentioned developing the idea of an Adulthood Rite of Passage:

First elaborated here: https://network23.org/communitycoop/2014/04/17/pre-adulthood-adults-and-rites-of-passage/ with an annoyingly trivializing comment, and then here:

http://adulthoodchallenge.dreamwidth.org/318.html , with more extensive conversations.

Then the prerequisites which are essentially being able to defend oneself physically, financially, and emotionally:

http://meowdate.dreamwidth.org/6177.html but more cleanly written (w/ref. to V. Frankl, also) here: https://network23.org/communitycoop/2014/06/27/am-i-an-adult-part-1-definition/

(A useful side effect of this idea is that it would effectively increase the number of available tutors, and also lead to every adult in our society coming away with an understanding of the challenges involved in teaching anyone anything non-trivial.)

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !
ShiraDest
May 7th, 12017 HE

Black and Jewish Americans fight together for human dignity… in Spain…

As we discussed my all time favorite show, El Ministerio del Tiempo (sorry B5!!), a friend recently told me that one of her relatives had fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the Lincoln Brigade which turned out to have been known officially as the Lincoln Batallion.

Looking into the history of the Lincoln Batallion, I found, among others, Oliver Law, a Black man who had to leave the USA to become the first African-American in US history to command a military unit (not counting NCOs during the US Civil War like Robert A. Pinn, who picked up the standard and command after the deaths of all of his officers), during the Spanish Civil War.

In total, one Black woman and 54 Black men volunteered from the United States, where they were treated with disdain, to fight racism and oppression on the other side of the Atlantic. They hoped to change things back home in the US, and they were following the calling of their consciences, to fight racism and oppression where they could: in Europe.  For Tom Page, it was the first time he was treated with human dignity, and for Salaria Kea, the only Black woman to volunteer, it was a dashing of hopes upon returning home.  But for all, it was honorable service to humanity.

Like Delmer Berg, the last surviving American to travel to Spain, 1/3 of the volunteers were Jewish. This was in keeping with a long but little-known tradition of cooperation between the Black and Jewish communities well before the 1960s.  In that sacred tradition, led by Dr. King, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Gandhi and many others, we must continue the cooperation between individuals, families, communities and states that so desperately needs to continue, to move us all forward as a united human race.

May all of their memories be a blessing to us all, and a reminder of Human Cooperation
Zichronam LiVrachah,
Shira Destinie Jones Landrac

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !
ShiraDest
March 16th, 12017 HE

 

Change the Calendar, Change the World? Really?

In light of Popular Mechanics Mag’s article on the Holocene Calendar, I’m reblogging this article to link with my more recent cultural framing article…

ShiraDest Community Cooperation Blog

In my review of a book on Cherokee Women’s Voices, I commented that the change in the calendar, from the traditional East Coast native American way of seeing time, to the Gregorian Calendar, played a large role in cementing the ‘civilization’ plan to Europeanize Native Americans.

See:  http://meowdate.dreamwidth.org/8663.html

But I wonder whether all the work those of us in the Calendar Reform movement do will really lead to the cultural change, and hence the world change, that we want to see?  In inclusive calendar should, hopefully, make people think more open-mindedly, or at least think in terms of Humanity rather than just the Christianity of 2014 AD, or Judaism’s 5773, or Islam’s 6xxx years?   But are we calendar reformers too optimistic?  How do we all come to think of ourselves as just human beings, rather than Black, White, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, American, Russian, Ukranian, etc?

In Service to Community…

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Review (English) of: L’espace est une question de temps ; Einstein et la relativité

L'espace est une question de temps ; Einstein et la relativitéL’espace est une question de temps ; Einstein et la relativité by David Blanco Laserna

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was revealing not so much for his personal life, but for the ways in which Einstein represented people like my high school students back in 2001, or my Community College students in 2012, all of whom needed to understand the mysteries behind the mathematics, rather than just memorizing the rules.
My students needed, like this genius, perhaps a bit less authoritarian rule-following, and a bit more flexibility in my own ways of communicating with even those I saw as less hard-working. From their points of view, the situation was surely different, and as I learn that time and space is relative, I understand that so is thinking and teaching.
Well worth reading,

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
2nd of April, 2016

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History and B5 and Chanting, Oh My!!!

I’ve finally done (sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to prevent my backposted entries from showing up in the Reader.) sorting through entries in my old LiveJournal.  I hope that lessons I’ve tried to draw from previous ideas, plans and attempts at businesses, cooperatives and community organising can be of use to others.  I’ve tried just a bit to group some entries together from conception to fruition (and often failure, or publication, as the case may have been…) so that a few of my ideas sort of flow-chart a little, or at least show the evolution of how I first day-dreamed, then planned, implemented, and generally failed, but usually wrote up the attempt so that hopefully someone else with a similar idea can learn from my mistakes and go a bit farther than I managed.

As with my DC Black-Jewish Walking Tours, I started by melding the two histories, which was way too big, and looked at how other groups give their walking tours to try to cut down my tours while keeping the essential, and then shared that information (yes, I was severerly criticised by one advisor for not keeping my sources secret, but that goes against my principles), hoping to attract allies and build a cooperative.  That did not work as I’d hoped, but I have left the trail of bread-crumbs for others to build on.

2012-08-13 16:49:00
Loved giving 1st Underground Railroad of DC Tour!!
I loved giving the first tour of my Underground Railroad and Black History series Singing Community Cooperation tours here in DC.
2012-08-15 10:07:00
Interesting points in fascinating book on DC´s 1st race riot
Moreley, in his new book, Snow-storm in August : Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the forgotten race riot of 1835
not only puts together a sound context for the Snow Riots, but also draws together strands which began then, and still define, he claims, our politics today.
I found most striking his juxtaposing of property rights and individual vs. community as well as freedom of speech, and whether free speech is applied best for owners (elites) vs. the people (the 99%).
Excellent book.
http://www.worldcat.org/title/snow-storm-in-august-washington-city-francis-scott-key-and-the-forgotten-race-riot-of-1835/oclc/757466911

Am I the only leyner who has Negro spirituals running through my mind as I prepare my chanting!!?? Often times I feel like a schitzophrenic, trying to integrate the two major parts of my life, my childhood and ethnic background, recalling summers with Grandma at Mt. Zion UMC, juxtaposed against beautiful nigunim to which I felt little access, on the other side of the mechitza (divider between men and women) in Baltimore.
Peace,
“Wayfaring Stranger”

2012-12-02 11:15:00
Star Trek and B5 helped my Torah Chanting, come discuss more SF and ethical values, bring a TV!  Yesterday’s portion had lots of names in it, which I found easier to learn, I argue, because of my experience with words and names in Klingon, and then in Narn and Minbari!  Who says Science Fiction is not practical? 🙂
Kashering Party immediately upon move-in,  kitchen will be kosher pareve-dairy (milchigs …) : I use soy milk.
First Babylon 5 party to be held on the first Sunday in January, provided a TV arrives before then!
Peace,
Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
24 February, 12016 HE

review/revista: Historia de La Esclavitud Negra En Puerto Rico

Historia de La Esclavitud Negra En Puerto RicoHistoria de La Esclavitud Negra En Puerto Rico by Luis M. Soler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This extensive and not easy to read, but well worthwhile history of slavery in Puerto Rico, shows the importance not only of where we have been, but also what tools we have now and how to evaluate them in the light of past and present situations. The author comments that a Cooperative could have saved the small coffee producers of Puerto Rico, though not on whether that would have enabled the liberation of their enslaved workers. Yet this is a step forward in the analysis of both labour relations and the history of People of Color in the Americas.

I now also know that the family of my enslaved 5xGreat Grandfather Miles Manzilla could even have originated in Spain itself, potentially. Our shared origins are important to know, both for understanding why enslaved workers would have defended their masters during Indian attacks, and also in deciding how to relate to our history of enslavement today. What feelings remain to be resolved on all sides?

P. 15 del pdf = P. 21 del libro
La Corona y los esclavagistas se creaban liberales y generosos, evidentemente, pero sus

esclavos no compartieron ese sentimiento!
The Crown and owners thought themselves generous, but their slaves disagreed!

P. 25=32: Ya sabîa Bartolomé de Las Casas pero no de Fray Antonio de Montesinos a favor de los

indigenes.
Dominicans vs Franciscans ??

P.33 Las Ordenanzas No Fueron Cumplidas… (The Orders of the King to protect the

Indigenous/Indian/Native Population Not Obeyed…)

but “Como si los indios fuesen africanos!” -Nice, Thanks. Now I know which part of my blood

sits higher…

P.33=P.40: At least he admitted his error before he died; Al menos se admetîa su error antes

de su muerte.

Updates online… (Courtney, Richard H., Ruth A., Michelle, Thomas and Mel will certainly like

this book, and Akshat Liked an early update…)

P.77pdf=P.86 del documento: The author thinks that a Cooperative would have saved small

producers in PR from the falling coffee prices (due to Cuban overproduction)…

P.109pdf=P.119 book: Pardos must be like me: morenos claros ?

P. 111pdf=P.119 book: Alot of English testimony from ship captains: 14 British citizens sold

into slavery by contrabandists, apparently never freed (though 7 were identified!!).

P. 126 So France had a Black Code, too? Of course, where did the southern colonies/states

(USA) get them from…

3 November, 1839: Pope Gregory XVI condemned the Slave Trade? and Baltimore, and Maryland…

In summary, there was not only lots of Mestisage, but a good bit of back-and-forthing of slaves between PR and the English and French-speaking colonies. Thus, entirely possible that Miles Manzilla, Sr’s family was of Spanish colony origin.

Read, Write, Run, Teach !

ShiraDest
18 February, 12016 HE

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Revu/Review: Ma Bible des Huiles Essentielles

Ma Bible Des Huiles EssentiellesMa Bible Des Huiles Essentielles by Danièle Festy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Huiles Essentielles, huiles végétales qui viennent avec et même les voies d’administration pour chaque maladie ! On ne peut pas terminer de lire ce livre, cars c’est trop bon, trop plein et trop utile !

Essential oils, vegetable oils that go with them, and even the best ways to take each oil for every illness! One can never finish reading this book because it is too good, packed full, and useful!

Read, Write, Run, Teach !

ShiraDest
12 February, 12016 HE

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Groups to join as Coping and Family-building measure

Personally, I have a high need for connection with others.  In order to avoid burning out my nearest and dearest, I’ve decided that finding groups that share my values may help diffuse some of that pressure on my supporters.  So, I personally want to find:

  1. A progressive chavurah, shul, temple or synagogue to join, and a Women’s Mosque as well, if there are any lady Imam or leaders around (there was one in Ankara back in 2005…)
  2.  A Quaker (Friends) Monthly Meeting to join and stand silent Peace Vigil with,
  3.   Greek or Balkan or other international folk dance,
  4.  a walk-run marathon group
  5.  a public library-based book or reading club
  6. A public library based writer’s critique group
  7. an NVC and also maybe Literacy Volunteering group (and give blood).

 Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
24 March, 12016 HE

Rev: Jour des Fourmis, and Lesson: Biblical Hebrew

First, the review of

Le Jour des fourmisLe Jour des fourmis by Bernard Werber

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I found this book disappointing due to the increased spiritualism and preachiness, which his first book in this series touched on, but not nearly as heavily. He also gets a few things wrong that begin to become annoying by the end of the book.

J’ai trouvé ce livre pas a mon gout parce que le spiritualisme et ses efforts de nous dire quoi penser m’ont gêné. Ce n’était pas si lourd dans son premier livre. Aussi, il a raté quelques chose qui me commencé à gêner par le fin du livre.

4 Janvier, 12016 èH

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Now, the Biblical Hebrew lesson:


Look up the Hebrew for the first verse of Genesis (“Bereishit” in Hebrew, which is not even remotely the correct translation!!), here is the first sentence (will find image of where Hebrew keyboard letters are located):

Bereishit/B’reishit/B’reshit 1:1

Bereishit bara Elohim ( et ) haShamaim ve(Et) haAretz.
In Beginning created God (vrb-obj) theHeavens and(vrb-obj) theEarth.

Ok, vrb-obj is what I use for the “word” ET. You’ll notice that it always comes between a verb and the word HA (HA = the, and sometimes the word HA becomes HE in front of words like Harim=Mountains, or other words that also start with an H), the definite article, which, yes, is the object of the verb.

ET is a ‘filler’ word that only tells you ‘here comes a noun which is the object of the verb you just saw’ -so many folks consider the word ET to be useless (the inventors of Modern Israeli Hebrew actually wanted to drop the word ET from Israeli Hebrew grammar!! 😦 For me, ok, yes that does simplify the grammar, but it also means you lose the connection with ancient Hebrew, and also lose an important grammatical indicator, imho…).

I’m sure you can find long comments on the use or lack there of the connector-word ET online probably. I was glad to have ignored my first Rabbi’s advice (ok, the conversion failed, so maybe not so glad back then) and studied both MIH and biblical Hebrew, because now you can see the difference that a little non-word word can make! 🙂

If one has had time to chew on Bereshit 1:1, now it is time to learn by heart the entire Alef-Bet, or just start by learning the letters you need to read that first verse:
Bet,
Resh,
Shin,
Tav (BRShT),
Aleph,
Lamed,
Hei,
Mem Sofit (the final version of the letter Mem: 5 letters change when they come at the end of a word),
Mem, and
Tzadi Sofit (final Tzadi).

Let me start with a story (you can undoubtedly find it online as well):
Aleph, the first letter, wanted to know why the Torah starts with a Bet. If you look at the letter Bet, you see that it is open on three sides, while Aleph is sort of like a slanty H: closed. Bet is also the word that means ‘House’ so starting the Torah with the letter Bet means that the entire Bible is like a home: open and welcoming.
🙂

Also, on YouTube, if you can see videos, The Moshav Band had a video with the words sung pretty slowly, so easy to learn.
My first lesson is to find that video and sing the first verse of the song: Bereshit, Bara Elohim (In Beginning, Created God)
and the next day, or when you have learned those first 3 words, move on to the next verse of the song: Et HaShamaim.

Shira

4 Jan. 12016 HE

Review/Revu: Les Fourmis

Les Fourmis (La saga des fourmis, #1)Les Fourmis by Bernard Werber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Don’t kill any more ants!!
This book is worth learning French to read. Honestly. It had me worrying for the fate of an ant by page 40! Fascinating swap of perspectives, and hair-raising cliff-hanger ending. I have the 3rd book in this trilogy, but am anxiously waiting to get the 2nd from the library!

Ne tuez plus de fourmis !
Ce livre vaut la peine d’apprendre le français pour le lire. Vraiment. Il m’a fait soucier pour le destin d’une fourmi avant la 40e page ! Changement impressionnant de points de vues et fin incroyable. J’ai déjà le 3e tome mais j’attends avec impatience le 2e de la bibliothèque !

ShiraDest
22 Decembre, 12015 HE

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