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We salute the Grammy nomination of the late great Dave Van Ronk's final concert album:
". . . and the tin pan bended and the story ended . . ."
DVR Grammy CD
Watch the 47th Grammy's and look for DVR's Wife and Producer, Andrea Vuocolo Vanronk, and our beloved Christine Lavin [who helped edit it]
February 13, 2005 8PM on CBS.

click here

William Valdez is our Son-in-Law Extrodinaire.
You can support our troops via this site, and support William, personally, if you wish. His TFT ID is 1862195
Thank you!

don't recycle bush


Listen to Hober

US Faces of the Fallen:
US Fatalities in Iraq

US Fatalities; "Operation Enduring Freedom"

Civilian casualties update
  Wednesday   April 27   2005

I all want to do is sleep... has been my litany all day -- but what a magical day it's been DESPITE myself LOL!

I've been having my Garage made into a place for storage -- for those things of Gordy's, mine and Mom's that, as of yet, has no home, but is extra special and can't be sold yet, or given away, i.e. some limbo tchokes, object d'art and furniture!

Gordy likens it to a Japanese household tradition, where they have a "gallery" of sorts to display their art, and it changes..I'll ask the name of it later. Consider my house that gallery! Man it's over-run with stuff and more stuff! It's bulging at the seams.

I stir and move slowly because that "Mack truck" came by and ran me over again...and it was carrying a heavy load -- ouch...but Gordy comes over and plays a message that's on his phone from William! And he wished me a happy birthday, and he was pleased with the aerobed we sent him...[it had been on backorder for so long, but it got there around his birthday, the 22nd, so that was good] and he said it was the best night sleep he had had! That made our hearts soar!

Ok, back to getting up and getting dressed. Kim has done a lot already (and Gordy helped a lot, as did Douggie) and she's already stoked about the storage (BTW, if you ever need a person to help you plan, organize, garden, lanscape, build you a house, or a gourmet dish, etc. call Kim at "We're Getting There") AND, my b'day prezzie is outside...I have to hurry to get my clothes on to see it -- oooooh lovely ... A "birdbath" and plantings and lilacs cut, arranged beautifully -- I'll have to take a shot or three later and post it!

And, this means Kim finally trusts me to (maybe?) keep a living green thing alive! It's brilliant.

So, get ready(ish) i.e. no makeup etc, to take Mom to the Md in Coupeville. We don't make our typical stop at Knead and Feed because I have a migraine coming on...and besides, Mom, all I want to do is Sleeep (I Whine)....! My driving FWIW, was not stellar, no wonder Mom asked to drive us back, but I wouldn't relinquish the helm.

I get home, ready for Stadol and sleep when, a flurry of good energy, you have to go upstairs to the room...I do, and there, in the windows, are these brilliant "garden art", in front of the screens, so Zach and /or Olivia, don't do a repeat of Zach's plummet from the 3rd story...they can get all excited by the swallows, even leap onto the iron garden art, and they will not go sailing 3 stories and tempt fate again...This is a gift from Mom, gorgeous...and Kim and her LOML, Douggie, helped design it to fit in the window.

I'm about to head upstairs, when Kim runs in to tell me that Mom's neighbors, aka "the ladies" just stopped by! Very cool! And, maybe Mom will be distracted somewhat by them and less freaked out by the changes.

I am afraid that they will slip on the throw rug I put down the night before, and I run for the non-skid thing to put under it, before they enter...they don't come in after all..but it's down, and time to pick up all the stupid peanuts (white packing thangs) that fell in haste. Well, I'll get to them later, because I need to be a good hostess...so, drink and food? Egads -- unprepared!

I look frantically for something to offer them, and they said they didn't need anything, that they are just back from a meal (phew -- truth? or too polite to say, I dunno, but I'm temporarily "off the hook").

Wow. Time to sleep....or not? Stadol taken, but ut oh, the phone rings, and it's Lynn Ohlinger Harris from a gazillion years ago, and it's wonderful to chat and there's so much to talk about we have to write and play catch up -- but ooooooooh -- what a treat!!!

Back to sleep? Maybe a few moments, when I'm called to the phone -- Aunt Joan calls!!! She sent a card, as did Crissi, my sister (of choice and spirit) from Brisbane, but Joan is on the phone! As we talk, Gordy and Doug are bringing up the stairs a piece that she and Uncle Jay (Mom's brother who is 8 years her junior, and sadly died way too young at 40 -- and on Joan's birthday...someone driving this planet has a nasty sense of humor sometime) and I tell her they are heaving it up now. To my delightful surprise, Joan was thrilled! She said, "I love(d) that piece" and I do too, and love that it was theirs, and I never thought to tell her that it has travelled with me since she gave it to me many many many years ago.

Ok, sleep? Well, my tummy speaks -- so down the stairs to grab some cold 'za slices courtesy of Gordy and BestaRound Pizza, aka Millie's as we call it.

Answer some inquiries from Kim and turn to head into the house, finally some sleep... when...look! It's Jenny!!! Hi, I wave, in my jammies, then, look it's Hannah and Robby, (ut oh, I'm in my Jammies!) and here come the kids, and I'm still stadol-ish, and mind is blown -- thank you Gordy for all your hard work -- oh my I can barely speak -- and the words I find are stupid incoherent ones..gak.

Home made Jennifer Coale Valdez Cheesecake with strawberries (aka awberries -- a photo insert later)
mmmm mmmm goodness (but ooops gobbled it down and then remembered last night I had bad beginnings of bile in my mouth and bad portents of potential ERness...) I have to stop mid cake...!

And, I can't follow the conversations, my brain can't wrap itself around anything, and I blurt things out while others are talking and I'm just a mess...but I love these guys, and I can't be present, here, whole, to enjoy and tell them of my being so ticked that they are Here! Why can't I say the words and what loving feelings I feel?

So, now I can sleep, finally, but..wait, nope, Mom is unhappy with what we brought over from her Condo, hoping she'll enjoy her familiar things, but it backfires, so I have to move things around for her, and she's not happy, and well...it isn't happening, I'm too tired to move anything more, and I am getting to that place I am often placed throughout my life, no matter how hard I try, I can't make her happy...so I'm bummed, until Gordy and I sit together on the couch, my toes in the "mink" throw, and just sit, not talking...rest my eyes...time to get some sleep?

Ok, so after this posting, time to go to sleep...

It was a lovely birthday, my loved ones here, and, I forgot to mention, I rounded up all of us to the garage, and we took measurements, and they were signed by the height-ee, and there they are, for posterity, and we need to paint a tree or some such thing...I don't plan on leaving this house, but if I do, it gets cut out of the storage wall, and comes with.


 10:56 PM - link -    

Watch out Roe! Now, please explain to me how this bill will afford "teens" the chance for parental "guidance" as Bush states, if, in my opinion, there was probably a lack of same, for them to be in this path now? Methinks that those with good parental relations, have talked this option through, and those that have poor relationships with their guardians, made this choice for a reason...?

House Passes Abortion Restrictions for Minors

Published: April 27, 2005
Filed at 10:53 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House passed a bill Wednesday that would make it illegal to dodge parental-consent laws by taking minors across state lines for abortions, the latest effort to chip away at abortion rights after Republican gains in the November elections.

By 270-157, the House sent the bill to the Senate, where the policy has new momentum as an item on the Republicans' top 10 list of legislative priorities.

Reflecting rising public support for requiring parents' involvement in their pregnant daughters' decisions, the bill would impose fines, jail time or both on adults and doctors involved in most cases where minors were taken out of state to get abortions.

In a statement, President Bush praised the House for passing the measure. ''The parents of pregnant minors can provide counsel, guidance and support to their children and should be involved in these decisions,'' Bush said. ''I urge the Senate to pass this important legislation and help continue to build a culture of life in America.''

This was the third time since 1998 the House has approved such a measure sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. The Senate has never taken it up and no vote has been set, but Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., expects to bring up a similar measure this summer, according to spokeswoman Amy Call.

In another sign of the measure's new support, Democratic Rep. William Clay of Missouri, who staunchly favors abortion rights and voted against the measure in the past, voted for it on Wednesday. Clay said he switched in response to an outpouring of support for the bill from constituents in his St. Louis district.

''This bill simply says that a parent has a right to know if their child is having surgery,'' Clay said.

Voting for it were 216 Republicans and 54 Democrats. Voting against it were 145 Democrats, 11 Republicans and 1 Independent.

If passed by the Senate and signed by the president, the policy would represent the fifth measure since Bush took office in 2001 aimed at reducing the number of abortions.

Senate abortion opponents prevailed last month in preventing Democrats from restricting the rights of abortion clinic protesters in bankruptcy court.

Tempers flared in the House even before the emotional floor debate.

Democrats complained that their efforts to soften the bill, for example, by exempting from prosecution adult siblings and grandparents who help pregnant minors, were described in the GOP-authored committee report as efforts to protect ''sexual predators.''

Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who authored the panel's report, defended its language, saying the Democratic amendments would not have specifically excluded child molesters from protections.

''Perhaps these amendments were not properly drafted by the authors when they were submitted in the committee,'' Sensenbrenner told the House. ''That's not the fault of the majority, that's the fault of the people who drafted the amendment.''

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., called the report by Sensenbrenner's committee ''a rape of the rules of this House.''

''Would it be fair for an official report of this committee to call this entire bill the 'Rapists and Sexual Predators Right to Sue Act?''' Nadler asked rhetorically.

Last year, Congress made it a separate crime to harm a fetus during an assault on a pregnant woman. It also decided to deny federal funds to state and local agencies that act against health care providers and insurers because they don't provide or pay for abortions.

In 2003 it outlawed what critics call partial birth abortions, generally carried out in the second or third trimester, in which a fetus is partially delivered before being aborted. A year earlier, lawmakers amended the legal definitions for person, human being, child and individual to include any fetus that survives an abortion procedure.

The bill defines a minor as anyone ''not older than'' 18. More than 30 states have parental notification or consent laws.

The measure provides certain exceptions to a mandatory waiting period and punishments, such as when the abortion would save the life of the mother. Also excepted are any physician presented with documentation showing that a court in the minor's home state waived any parental notification requirements. In addition the bill makes an exception for minors who have signed a written statement saying that she is a victim of sexual abuse by a parent and can back it up with documentation of having reported that abuse to a state authority.

The House rejected two Democratic amendments that would have added immunity from prosecution and civil suits confidants of the minor who help transport her -- such as grandparents and clergy -- and others involved in the violation, such as taxicab and bus drivers.

Opponents say any gains the bill might make would be dwarfed by health, abuse and legal problems that pregnant girls and their well-meaning confidants might suffer.

Bebe J. Anderson, a lawyer at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said it would produce ''a confusing maze of requirements ... designed to isolate some teens and leave others with no safe options.''

''No matter how few people it affects, it's an important bill on the principles,'' said Frist, a Tennessee Republican who is looking at seeking his party's presidential nomination in 2008.


The bill is H.R. 748
On the Net:
Congress: http://thomas.loc.gov

 09:59 PM - link -    

  Saturday   April 23   2005

Montreal Gazette on DVR's Memoirs [For the latest info on things Dave Van Ronk, make sure you stop at Christine Lavin's site as she is always current if not "avant garde"]:

The singer Dylan admired

Dave Van Ronk's engaging and funny memoir, finished after his death by Elijah Wald, offers what may be the best account yet of the early Greenwich Village folk scene

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Mayor of MacDougal Street: A Memoir
Dave Van Ronk with Elijah Wald
Da Capo Press, 246 pages, $34.95

In Chronicles: Volume One, published last year, Bob Dylan recalled Dave Van Ronk, the influential Greenwich Village folk and blues singer he learned from - and often borrowed couch space from - in his first year or two on the New York folk scene: "Van Ronk could howl and whisper, turn blues into ballads and ballads into blues. I loved his style. He was what the city was all about. In Greenwich Village, Van Ronk was king of the street, he reigned supreme."

MacDougal, in the heart of Greenwich Village in lower Manhattan, is the street Dylan is referring to. In 1961, when Dylan landed in the Village, MacDougal St. was filled with coffeehouses like the Gaslight and the Commons, where the folksingers plied their trade, bars like the Kettle of Fish, where they drank and played cards all night, and Izzy Young's Folklore Centre, where they hung out all day. Sometime in the early 1960s, a bartender at the Kettle of Fish bestowed the title of Mayor of MacDougal Street on Van Ronk, and the appellation followed him for 40 years.

Van Ronk, who died in 2002, grew up in Brooklyn and Queens and arrived in Greenwich Village as a teenage musician in 1951. He started out playing in traditional jazz bands, discovered an affinity for rural blues and became one of the major players in the folk and blues revivals of the 1950s and '60s.
In this always engaging and frequently laugh-out-loud funny memoir, Van Ronk looks back at those groundbreaking years, telling his own story and giving us an insider's view of how the folk revival, particularly in Greenwich Village, developed, boomed and collapsed. While most accounts of this period, including Dylan's own, begin with Dylan's arrival in the Village in 1961, Van Ronk gives us an insightful description of the development of the scene that Dylan and countless others were drawn to and swept up in. I've read most of the books that have been written about that time and place. This one may well be the best, as a historical narrative, a critical analysis of the music and the musicians who made it - and as an altogether enjoyable read.

Van Ronk was a natural raconteur who honed his gift for storytelling at thousands of concerts and club shows over a career that lasted almost 50 years. He and blues scholar Elijah Wald had begun working on this book when Van Ronk was diagnosed with cancer in 2001. After Van Ronk died, Wald finished the project by drawing on recordings of Van Ronk in concert and an extensive collection of radio, television and documentary film interviews.

Wald has done a superb job of putting Van Ronk's words on paper. I knew Van Ronk and felt like I was hearing his voice as I read through these pages. In fact, one of Van Ronk's interviews used by Wald in completing this book was with me on Folk Roots/Folk Branches, my CKUT radio program, done at the time of Van Ronk's last trip to Montreal for two concerts at the jazz festival in 1998.

Van Ronk performed regularly in Montreal throughout his career. One of his live albums was recorded in 1967 at Sir George Williams University, and he played at local folk venues like the New Penelope and the Back Door. In the 1970s and '80s, he played at the Golem, the Stanley St. folk club that I ran then.

Van Ronk vividly recalls many of the musicians he shared the scene with, from legendary blues artists like Brownie McGhee, Mississippi John Hurt and Reverend Gary Davis to the young singer-songwriters like Dylan, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs and Joni Mitchell who came to the fore in the 1960s.
One particularly funny story recounts a night at the Kettle of Fish when Hurt, a small and gentle songster already in his 70s, beat Van Ronk and a succession of other musicians, bigger of size and 40 years younger, at arm wrestling.

Another hilarious story he tells is about Albert Grossman, Dylan's manager, out to prove how powerful he could be in the music business. Grossman offered to guarantee Van Ronk $100,000 for a year's worth of bookings if he'd perform wearing a helmet with horns and change his name to Olaf the Blues Singer. Van Ronk turned Grossman down but slyly confides he might have done it for $120,000.
Although Van Ronk's memoir ends as the 1960s fade away, he stayed in Greenwich Village for the rest of his life, making music that seemed to just get better as he aged and mentoring succeeding generations of young performers.

*Mike Regenstreif hosts Folk Roots/Folk Branches on CKUT and writes about music for The Gazette and other publications.

The Gazette (Montreal) 2005

 05:21 PM - link -    

  Tuesday   April 19   2005

I got to tell this out loud somewhere and this blog-o-mine is hardly read, so I figure this is a place to get the words out that are screaming inside me.

I've been not doing swell, and Mom hasn't either -- and she's now got a "hate on" for me for some reason I can't get clear, or dig deep to find, or ask the right questions to figure out what is causing her this negativity about me -- maybe selling her house? I dunno.

But after knocking my already bum knee into a chair, in just the right (wrong?) place yet again, so it is swollen and not easy to walk on, and not feeling just right in the gut for some undefined reason (and scared that it means and ER trip in my near future) and having spent thousands in this month's bills ad nauseum and feeling the pinch, I get a phone call today.

Since I was feeling "off center" i.e. vertigo-ish, I didn't take Mom to her appt. at Waite's, Gordy did, and the RN too the opportunity to phone, and tell me privately, that the Mamogram I just took came out wanky, and I need a diagnostic one -- and I'm scared shitless. Yes, I am scared beyond words -- it's just the next last straw yet again!

AND, the Imaging center at WGH can't get me in for the diagnostics until MAY 11!!! Sitting on this, and keeping it from Mom (she'll get freaked out that she may get left alone if I am sick) for all that time is not going to be easy on any level for me. I am so effing scared! No more surprises and health issues to fight, please?

I am not sure if there is any more strength in me to deal. I'm so exhausted and tired, and I can't even get personal time to just BE. I have to be on guard for Mom and others 24x7. This is just one more thing that I am flying solo about, but without the privacy.

So, who needs privacy when you can blurt it out on your public blog, eh? What was I thinking?

But, if anyone reads this, please send me healing, positive, energy or prayers or light. I thank you in advance for even a moment's good thought.

Chins Up!

 06:50 PM - link -    

  Sunday   April 17   2005

What a delicious book I just finished!!!

I hope that these guys collaborate in the near future and turn out more yummy gems!
I highly recommend you buy or reserve a copy from your library and read Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's "Peter and the Starcatchers"!

This book is sort of a "prequel" or the presumed inspiration for JM Barrie's "Peter Pan". Beautifully done!

Peter and the Starcatchers

Peter Pan
Peter Pan; 100th Edition

MMMMmmmm mmmmm good!
[Pssst! Harry Potter, you're getting old ;-).]

Enjoy and Peace!

 09:39 AM - link -    

Strange bedfellows seems to be in our immediate futures for so many of us. Here's an article from the New York Times, but it is nationally pertinent:


Need Turns Aging Strangers Into Roommates

In New York, the eternal struggle to cope with the high cost of living has often meant a willingness to live with just about anyone, anyhow.

Adults in their 30's routinely move back in with their parents. Young artists bunk with other young artists in $3,000-a-month apartments intended for two tenants, not six. Poor immigrants wedge themselves into unsafe tenements, mimicking generations before them.

But more and more, the unforgiving math of housing economics is altering and upending the lives of older New Yorkers as well, forcing them into urgent partnerships in which embarrassment is eclipsed by necessity, fear must be swallowed and the loves and habits of a lifetime must be bent just to make do - often with complete strangers.

In Queens, Lou Tuccillo, 76, and Billy, 61, never imagined they would suddenly be bound by desperation and forced to split the rent in the way, well, college sophomores more typically might. But the deaths of Lou's wife and Billy's mother conspired to cram the two together in a cluttered apartment in Maspeth.

In the top floor of a house on Staten Island, Bob Canale, 66, and Tom Block, 62, strangers until last year, are pooling their food stamps, Social Security checks and disability benefits to stay off the streets. Yet out of their later-life crisis - Bob was assaulted and Tom's heart was weakening - they have improvised a true friendship.

Such partnerships are typically accidental, although sometimes anticipated. They can be fleeting or fixed for years. Sometimes, all it takes is a sudden slip on the stairs, and a hospitalization, draining finances and options. Sometimes, all it takes is an eviction notice from a landlord who wants to ride a hot real estate market.

"It's hard to be alone, and old, and sick, with very low income," said Irena Schafhauser, 77, who fell down the stairs of her four-story walk-up in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a couple of years ago. Unable to continue working at a doctor's office on the Upper East Side, she reluctantly took in Eugene Swierczynski, 57, a neighbor she dislikes.

"Before, I was active, but after the accident, I can't -- " she started, fighting back sobs. "I dream a lot, to have something else, but it's very hard, because rent is life."

Capturing the doubled-up universe of aging tenants is hard because the arrangements can be short-lived, and because some are reluctant to talk about their circumstances. But according to the 2000 census, more than 9,000 households in the city consisted of people 60 and older, living with unrelated boarders or roommates.

And with older Americans sometimes waiting years for subsidized housing and people living longer, the trend appears to be growing, according to social workers and lawyers.

 08:53 AM - link -    

  Saturday   April 2   2005

Ok this is not my finest hour, day, week -- nay !

First, today is April 2nd, which is the 6th anniversary of the day Dad died. This bad all on it's own, but wait! there's more!

I was at the ER 2 time's on Thursday. [details to follow becuase I need to purge them] My 2nd time there left me with more questions, suggestions, ad nauseum [literally?] from the ER doc, so I was lucky to get an appointment with Dr Waite yesterday (to have been in limbo all weekend would have done zero good, and maybe drive me off the really really final deep end) so we met.

Our meeting was less than encouraging.

His suggestion is to retry one more test that is out of Whidbey General Hospital's comfort zone, and if they agree it's my last hope at a real diagnosis for what is now termed IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), but means they aren't sure what the source of pain is, so the next step is exploratory surgery.

This brings up a very dreaded word; ADHESIONS (which should be said with one's lowest and loudest voice with the volume turned up and reverb on high).

This is a "catch-22" attempt at finding the source of the problem at best. The docs seem to think that when my Gall Bladder was removed, there were tiny scars, called Adhesions, formed, which can touch and put a "kink" in the "hose" that is called my intenstines, which causes the dreaded BOWEL OBSTRUCTION.

Now, they can go back inside, and if they find Adhesions, remove them, or if they find lesions, sew 'em up, or ulcers, the same -- sew it up. But, get this, the operation itself may cause MORE Adhesions. Yessiree it can. It can even do that and not have found any other source which may be causing my initial distress.

Since my Doctor used the "s-word" for surgery, I've gone online and found to my total dismay, that there is a new TLA (three letter acronym) created for another, mysterious and chronic problem, relating to Adhesions called ARD (Adhesion Related Disorder).

What I've read is that there are many many people who have had all sorts of surgery that created complications stemming from adhesions. And many of those people have gone through surgery after surgery chasing down Adhesions, to never end the cycle of pain it incurs.


[ut oh, Mom calls, gotta pay attention -- will write more later]

 04:25 PM - link -    

"walk this way..." Igor [prnounced Eye-gore] from "Young Frankenstien" [pronounced Steen] -- there's more!