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Bedlam Farm Journal





Last Build Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2018 01:21:13 +0000

 



The “Black Panther”. Re-Imagining Movies And The African Experience

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 00:29:48 +0000

"The Black Panther" is one of those landmark movies that marks a passage in tIme, or a seminal experience in culture and history. The movie will change the way many people see black Americans, Africa and the world. As it breaks one box office record after another, it will certainly change Hollywood's skittishness about making movies for and about blacks or Africans. It will also mark the coming of age of the Superhero Genre, which can handle deep subjects,  and continues the  evolution of women as characters who are both fierce and feminine. The movie offers a shocking creative lesson in history: what would be like if Africa had not been colonized? I have to say that one of the […]

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Gus’s ME Journal: 2/17/18

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 17:10:45 +0000

Gus has hit something of a cruising speed in his struggle with megaesophagus. He has some trouble with what seems to be acid reflux – coughing up his food and swallowing it, but little real regurgitation or vomiting. I'm continuing to tinker with his diet to see what moves quickly through the esophagus and what does. He continues to have symptoms of what appear to me to be gastroenteritis, but the vet says isn't. He actually has few symptoms of megaesophagus, but the X-rays are quite clear. His esophagus is swollen. The fiddling with the diet has worked. He's eating turkey/sweet potato canned food, some of the En gastroenteric food, and some Royal Canin high calorie recovery food. I took […]

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Robin Discovers Rice And Beans

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 16:37:09 +0000

My granddaughter Robin discovered rice and beans this week, and seemed to enjoy greatly. Some of it even got into her mouth. She has a great wicked look. Maybe, like Fate, is Satan's spawn.

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A Letter: Dear Students At The Marjory Stoneman Douglas School

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 01:27:56 +0000

You will not, of course, have heard of me, I will never be on cable news or write as a pundit or influential commentator. I write books and publish a blog, and I do have a lot of readers – four million last year – and a good number of them are in Florida, so I imagine one or more of you might get to read this. It isn't important, really, I'm writing this more for myself than anyone. Something I needed to do. The pain inside of me was great and growing today, and so was the anger, I needed to reach out to you in the only way open to me. I live on a farm, I am […]

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Going Green: Re-Imagining A Fish Tank (And The “Black Panther?”)

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 22:16:22 +0000

My fish tank gift to Maria for her birthday was a success, she loves watching the fish and plotting the aesthetics of the fish tank. We have two fish and two bumblebee snails, the Pleko didn't survive the transition, despite a stream of algae tablets. When I bought the tank, I got some colorful plastic plants and a couple of natural green real plants. We both soured on the plastic plants quickly, we went back to the fish store and got more real plants and went all green. And we are thinking of Mother Earth these days, she doesn't need more plastic. Surprisingly, the fish seem to love the new aesthetic, they swerve in and out and around the plants, […]

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Opening Your Mail On Valentine’s Day

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 22:05:39 +0000

Thanks To The  Army Of Good, everyone at the Mansion had some mail to open, and more than one letter. They had a blast reading them. Thanks Cathy, for your gift bags and beautiful letters.

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Threads Of Life, Taken For Granted. Notecards For The Mansion Residents

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 21:54:27 +0000

This week, I was sitting with several of the residents talking – we were doing some reading exercises – and one of them (I'll call her Sheila, not her name)  asked if I could talk to her privately.  We went off to a nearby sofa, and she spoke hesitantly, and seemed about to cry. She was a very shy and quiet women, I had not spoken with her much, I told her it was okay to talk to me, I would listen. Sheila was in her 80's frail and soft-spoken. I didn't know much about her. She said had been getting letters from people for months, from all over the country and she loved them. Every morning, she took them […]

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Checking Out Uniforms For The New RISSE Girl’s Basketball Team

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 14:50:30 +0000

Ali and I went shopping yesterday to look at some uniform possibilities for the new RISSE (refugee and immigrant support center in Albany) girl's basketball team, not taking on players. The league games won't begin for a month or so, practice will start sooner. Ali liked this black and red uniform shown above, Todd Van Epps of Wicked Smart Sports Apparel, the owner of the company, which sells sports apparel all over the country,  will send him some page proofs and he can show the uniform to the girls. Todd is giving us huge discounts (thanks, Todd) and we expect teach uniform will cost about $25, a radical discount. If you would like to support the RISSE girl's basketball team, […]

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Here Comes The Refugee Girls Baskeball Team (And Gift Page Is Sold Out)

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 14:34:51 +0000

Ali and I walked through the showroom of Wicked Smart, one of the hottest apparel companies in America,  in Watervliet, N.Y. yesterday. We brought the Nike equipment bags so that the player's names can be stenciled in them, and also checked out some  uniforms for the new and kick-ass girl's RISSE basketball team, getting ready for the Spring season. There are nine young women signed up for the team right now, these are the first five above. In other good news, the new RISSE Amazon Gift Page sold out in about 10 minutes, the page was no match for the Army Of Good, which swept over them like a big happy wave. I think they are not used to such […]

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Simon, Lulu, Fanny: Three Donkeys. This Photo Is For Sale

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 14:20:55 +0000

This photograph of Simon, Lulu, and Fanny, was taken several years ago, just before Simon died of a stroke. It was one of the last photos taken of him, Simon remains one of the most loved animals to ever live on Bedlam Farm. He just touched a deep chord with people. The picture will be printed on high quality rag paper, it will be 8 1/2 by 12.5 inches unframed. If you are interested please contact Maria at maria@fullmoonfiberart.com. You can see all of my photos for sale at the new photo gallery page on the website. Proceeds from the sale of this photo will go towards the refugee children at RISSE, and the kids on the RISSE soccer team. […]

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Resurrection, And The Long, Slow, Death Of The Wise Man

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 02:15:09 +0000

Thomas Merton once wrote that pride makes us artificial, humility makes us real. Writers die twice, wrote Martin Amis in his new collection of essays, "The Rub Of Life:" Once when the body dies, and once when the talent dies. My talent has not died, but my understanding of it has. The Wise Man inside of me is dying, there will be no resurrection, I think it is too late for that, I'm ready to shed that skin. I realized that I was never going to be a great writer nearly 20 years ago, my dreams of writing great novels and bathing in a sea of literary rose pedals died swift and hard.  Generally speaking, great writers do not write […]

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Two Worlds Meet: The Mansion Residents Meet The Refugee Kids

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 23:22:13 +0000

In one sense, they have nothing in common, in another sense they have everything in common. Today, the RISSE refugee kids accepted an invitation to come to the Mansion and have lunch with the residents on February 23. We'll order a special lunch and the Mansion is going to give them a chance to make their own sundaes. If the weather is good, we will try to get them to Pompanuck  Farm for a couple of hours afterwards. We believe the exposure will be good for both sides, they will mix together at lunch, have some sandwiches together, and talk to each other about their very different lives. I imagine it might be something of  culture shock for both of […]

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On This Awful Day, Good People Dropped From The Sky

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 22:50:52 +0000

I got a message from Jane,  a high school student in Indiana this morning, she said "they keep telling us they will protect us, but I know and all of my friends know they are lying. Did they protect those kids in Florida yesterday?" She was talking about the new RISSE – refugee and immigrant support center based in Albany – Amazon Wish List. A refuge from Myanmar, a student a RISSE, a member of the soccer team, was nearly in tears over the news from Ft. Lauderdale. "America is getting to be just like my country," he said. "They kill children." I watched some of the videos – I feel I need to do that, at least for a […]

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Feel Good: The New RISSE Amazon Wish List.. Very Easy To Do

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 15:43:53 +0000

A month ago, I suggested to RISSE, the immigrant and refugee support group based in Albany, that they might consider an Amazon Wish List to make it easier for people to support the refugees and immigrants – especially the  young ones – in an inexpensive and very simple way. Last night, I got the good word that the site is up. These gift lists a great breakthrough for the needy, and the simplest and cheapest way for us to provide them with some of their most basic needs. People can choose from a list provided by refugee organizations and famllies of the things they most need in their homes and in RISSE's after school program, a lifesaver for families and […]

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Allan’s Seat. Valentine’s Day At The Mansion

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 02:22:06 +0000

Allan is an independent person, he is often off by himself, he got a great seat right by the band, and I loved the photo, it captured his spirit and the diversity that exists within the community. I'm just getting to know Allan, he is exceptionally bright and quick. He has agreed to be one of the four stars in the upcoming "Night Of Four Skits," we begin rehearsals this week. Allan gave me a slight nod when I took the photo, he was giving me his permission. His toe was going right along with the music. It was a very special part at the Mansion, the residents were full of memories and feelings, it was a bittersweet day in […]

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Sylvie’s Stickers: Valentine’s Day, The Mansion

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 02:14:27 +0000

Sylvie was mesmerized by her stickers, everyone at the Mansion got heart or other Valentine stickers (thank you), they are a big hit. Sylvie is sport a new hat someone from Ohio sent to me to give to her, and she loved it. Sylvie is a serious letter reader and writer, she has many friends in the Army Of Good she talks about their letters all the time. You can write Sylvie c/o The Mansion, 11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816. She is an avid reader and a devout follower  of the Jehovah's Witnesses. She has agreed to perform in "Night Of Four Skits," to be held at the Mansion on April 5. She has difficulty with return addresses […]

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Valentine’s Day Gifts For Peggie

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 02:08:54 +0000

Peggie was grateful for the pink bear sent her by a soldier in the Army Of Good and the chocolate Rose sent to her by another member. Peggie loves stuffed animals, and she was excited about the chocolate as well. Peggie has agreed to be in the cast of "Night Of Four Skits," to be held at the Mansion April 5, she is, she admits, a natural ham. You can write to Peggie c/o The Mansion, 11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816,

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Ken’s Valentine’s Day Happy Dance

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 02:05:11 +0000

When Ken got his beautiful chocolate Rose for Valentine's Day, he did what he called his "Happy Day Valentine's Day Dance." It was pretty wild.

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Valentine’s Day Cards From The AOG: Connection Grows

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 02:01:58 +0000

Everyone at the Mansion had Valentine's Day Cards to read and open, and these messages are so loved and appreciated. More than anything, they help the residents feel known and connected. Here, Guerda, Sylvia and Brenda read their messages. Sylvie reads each letter carefully and works hard to answer each one, she says the letter writers are her cherished friends. Sometimes she has trouble getting the addresses and zip codes right (might be good to send her a stamped, self-addressed envelope if possible), and I offered to help her write them. She said she would consider that, but she considered every letter she get a prayer, and that's how she would see the ones that never made it to the […]

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Valentine’s Day At The Mansion: Wayne’s Lollipop

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 01:50:02 +0000

Wayne was very appreciative of the lollipop sent him by the Army Of Good. He said he will save it for dessert tonight.

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Valentine’s Day At The Mansion. See What You Did!

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 01:47:54 +0000

The Army of Good outdid itself today at the Mansion, where there was a boisterous 90 minute Valentine's Day celebration enhanced by beautiful chocolate flowers, gift bags, banners, cookies, cards and magical creations. The party was the warmest and most emotional I've seen at the Mansion, and thanks to you all, everyone had a letter or a gift or red rose with chocolate inside. The cookies were beautiful and much loved. So were the cards and photos. (I'm thinking Easter.) I've never seen the Mansion residents so animated and enthusiastic, I could see the day was meaningful to them, they thought about love and the bittersweet experience of lost love. At lunch, I read a Valentine' Day poem, and also […]

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Valentine’s Day: Summer And Red On The Women’s Fainting Couch

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 01:41:00 +0000

It seems that Red, the soul of patience and acceptance, and Summer, the stray cat we helped rescue and spay this summer, have bonded. This couch in the Mansion great room has a rich history. They used to call it the Victorian Fainting Couch, and it was made so that women could have a place to swoon and faint when they were upset or had what people then called the "vapors." During the Valentine's Day celebration today, Red looked for a place to lie down, Summer was there first, but she was happy to share the space with him. The history of women is quite remarkable.Summer, the Mansion cat, has made the fainting couch her day time headquarters, she is […]

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Joan’s Third Lesson, Word Games. What A Difference A Week Makes…

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 01:30:12 +0000

Today, right after the Mansion's Valentine's Day lunch and before the Valentine's Day mega-party, Joan and I had our third experience reading together as she works to rediscover some of her memory. I was working with the Read-Aloud Word Games from reading2connect, a pioneering publishing company whose books do not treat the elderly as children, or helpless beings,  but as prideful adults struggling with memory and eager to keep reading in their lives, or perhaps bring it back. The Mansion is a Medicaid Elder Care Facility with severely limited financial and staffing options, they struggle mightily to both entertain and stimulate their residents. Susan Ostrowski and Dr. Peter Dixon at reading2connect believe their books can help revive memory and voice, […]

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Talking About Donald Trump, President. Life Is Mysterious

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 15:38:30 +0000

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science." – Albert Einstein. I want to write today about the mysterious, the unexpected, the surprising. There is always more mystery, wrote Anais Nin. I would not wish to live in a world without dragons, and I would not want to live in a world without magic. Both are flourishing inside of my life. Some people love Donald Trump, some people do not. I am a lover of democracy, and I believe the people are ultimately wise. I'm not writing this to join the fray for further widen the divide, I'm not writing to endorse […]

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