Ithaca Blog

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Todd Saddler: "I'm Going To Live A Hundred Years"

We recently ran a poem by our friend Todd Saddler here on Ithaca Blog, about Haiti.

Here's another, more generic, called "I'm Going To Live A Hundred Years."

* * *

I'm going to live a hundred years
out of pure spite and defiance

Long enough for medical science to cure all my ills
and long enough to see universal health care in the United States of America

Long enough to watch people tooling around on Mars
possibly even long enough to see farm workers get their rights enshrined in law

Long enough to celebrate the end of the last war
and surf on the wave that washes ashore when the last mighty empire falls into the sea

I'll attend the funeral of corporate personhood
and join the choir as we sing "the quiet joys of anarchy"

My wife and I will celebrate our 66th wedding anniversary by walking across the dry river bed
of what used to be Niagara Falls (Canadian Side), the water evaporated, the nations retired,
the border dissolved at last

And for my one hundredth birthday I'll celebrate by drinking my age in pints of beer
Why don't you join me? Consider yourself invited

Then we'll finally have time to toast the downfall
of every principality and power that ever we railed against

To shed a tear for every species that went extinct during our glorious lifetime
and to throw a bushel of rose petals from the top of a space elevator

And when I slice off my ear building a piece of furniture
out of oak that I myself handled as an acorn
then a zero emissions ambulance will swing low and sweep me to the hospital
where that ear will be mended almost as well and fast
as if Jesus himself took pity on me in spite of everything I've been accomplice to

And when my ear is thus restored I'll whistle high and wee
and saddle up my donkey for the ride home

Yes, if we will but endure and hold true we will see all this and more:
All bad things must one day end.

- Todd Saddler

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Beckett at the Baseball Game

THE OTHER GUY: All right!

SAMUEL BECKETT: What happened?

THE OTHER GUY: Guy hit a home run.


THE OTHER GUY: Yeah, so what.

* * *
Thank you.
Nevertheless, spring training has begun.
My father called this morning to discuss the second-string catcher the Mets just signed.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Vermont Demonstrates Democracy With Anti-Nuke Vote

Vermont's senate has voted to close the state's Yankee nuclear power plant when its license expires in 2012.

The vote follows revelation of lies by plant operators to regulators about safety and structural issues.

Nuclear industry officials express dismay that state representatives are superseding federal officials.

Vermont gave itself that power in the original license, with a provision to opt to renew, or not, in 2012.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sign On For Ithaca Money, Tuesday 23 Feb.

Ithaca Hours, the country's oldest local currency system, holds its 19th annual membership meeting on Tuesday 23 February, 6 - 7:30 pm, on the 3rd floor of Autumn Leaves Books.

Start or renew a membership at the meeting for one Ithaca Hour, or $10, and receive 4 Ithaca Hours, worth $40.

Members get a listing on to advertise goods or services they will provide for Ithaca Hours, or (most frequently) a combination of Hours and dollars.

The membership includes hundreds of businesses and individuals, including accountants, carpenters, computer repairers, contractors, gardeners, general laborers, graphic designers, massage therapists, painters, web site designers, and yoga teachers.

Prominent businesses accepting part Ithaca Hours include the Alternatives Federal Credit Union, Angry Mom Records/Small World Music, Autumn Leaves Books, Cayuga Medical Center, GreenStar Coop, Ithaca Bakery, Ithaca Health Alliance, Lightlink (internet service providers), and the public library.

Come for any or all of the meeting. See the Hours web site for more details.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chili Cook-Off Traffic Alert

If you are planning to attend the Chili Cook-Off on the Commons today, and are driving, we recommend taking the first parking spot you see.

Mild weather has brought the crowd to extravagant size.

The Chili event always does well, anyway, with Ithacans mad to conquer unfriendly weather getting together to eat outside in February.

There is plenty of music, and tabling by do-gooder groups, along with the food and drink.

Autumn Leaves Books has a live mannequin display of members of the roller derby Suffer Jets posing in the front window.

The Jets are promoting merchandise to fund the team. It's on sale at Angry Mom Records, in the basement of Autumn Leaves, which is also the new home of Small World Music, which is also the home of Ithaca Blog.

Stop in and see us!

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras (In Ithaca) Means Maxie's

Today is Mardi Gras, and of course we wish tonight we'd be at the Maple Leaf Bar on Oak Street in New Orleans, where we used to be.

In Ithaca, we will be at Maxie's instead.

All the time, Maxie's has a New Orleans feel, and clear inspiration. We don't know if they are doing anything special tonight. We guess yes. But it doesn't matter, we'll be there.

Maxie's reminds us a little of the Maple Leaf, just cleaner. Pressed tin ceiling. Better-looking staff.

We'll have a Turbo-Dog draft so some of our tab will go back to the Big Easy.

have fun -
Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Live Music in Ithaca, Thurs. 11 - Tues. 16 February

A sense of nepotism leads us to do a listing of weekend music, which we sporadically do, and to start it early, in order to squeeze in a Thursday show that we like to promote pretty nicely.

Also, there seems to be lots to do in the recent future, with Valentines Day on Sunday, and Mardi Gras on Tuesday.

Thurs. 2/11: Burke, Burke, and Bone's Three Night Stand, Part 1, at the Wildfire Bistro, 106 S. Cayuga St. We know the band, but don't get the title. Nobody in this family ever tells us anything. Country blues, and fun. 10 pm.

* * *

Fri. 2/12: Johnny Dowd Band, at the Rongo in T-burg, 8 pm.

* * *

Sat. 2/13: Sim Redmond's Annual Valentine's Show, Wildfire Bistro, 9 pm.

Nate and Kate's Valentine's Show, at the Giving Tree Cafe, 306 Stewart Av. A good occasion to visit the new place in the old ABC Cafe.

Hubcap, with Papership, at the Chapter House, 10 pm.

Haiti Benefit at the Nines, 10 pm. The entertainment is DJ Josh and the cunningly un-PC named Everybody Here Gets Laid Tonight.

* * *

Sun. 2/14: The Grady Girls at Felicia's, 7 pm.

Mustard's Retreat at Bound For Glory, Anabel Taylor Hall, Cornell, 8:30 pm. Arrive early for (free) seating.

* * *

Mon. 2/15: The Grady Girls again, at the Shop coffeehouse, 312 E. Seneca St.

* * *

Tues. 2/16: Mardi Gras parties at Maxies, with The Bicycle Thieves of Berlin - we like that name, too - 6 pm; Oasis, with Blue Sky Mission Club, 6 pm; and the Haunt, with Dixie Cats, 8 pm.

have fun -
Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Poem of Haiti, By Todd Saddler

Todd Saddler is married to Laurie Konwinski, whose advice about donating to Haiti we recently posted. Todd and Laurie met while working in Haiti.

Last week at a community meeting Todd read a poem he wrote in Haiti in 1991, when he left Haiti after his first stay. We asked him if we could post it. It is titled "Voodoo Ceremony".


Carrying a pot out to the rear of the shrine,
I was silent.
When the women and children congregated for the cooking of the yams,
I was there.
I held little Sadya on my knees while Florence gathered mango twigs and coconut husks
for the fire.
Lwisna was sent to find a burning coal.

Flo squatted by the yams and began to peel them with an old broken blade.
She said I was happy to be leaving them in Haiti.
No; I am hidden on a mountain of sorrow.

The fire licked the scorched pot full of water which sat on three large stones.
"A white person licking a Haitian's ass," Flo said.
"Fire under a pot," I answered.
Verline grinned at the riddle and threw salt into the water.

The flame became the focus of our group
as the night thickened around us.
For almost the last time I enjoyed the deep color
of the skin stretched over their elegant frames.
The yams went into the pot.

Polson pulled out a burning twig and traced fire snakes in the air.
I wanted to speak but it was too big; words wouldn't go around it.
They still won't go around it today.
Can you see it in my eyes?

At any rate, the yams got done.
Poor Verline whimpered as she lifted the pot off the fire with the heels of her hands
and set it aside.
The children laughed and slapped their thighs:
"Did you burn yourslf, Verline?
Look, she's crying!"

I accepted the yams they gave me.
I accepted my hiding place.
I swallowed my yams.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Help For Haiti On Local Levels

Over many years, Laurie Konwinski of Ithaca has lived and done development work in Haiti.

We asked Laurie about Haitian groups she would recommend for donations from people looking to support Haiti's infrastructure, along with immediate relief efforts.

We excerpt her reply (and hope she will not mind the editing) :

(Laurie writes):

I co-directed a group called Beyond Borders. They are involved in putting together an emergency medical team. They have a special focus on children, and are planning a system to reconnect kids with their parents in the midst of the chaos.

Fonkoze is a bank that serves the poor, in places the commercial banks wouldn't dream of going. They set up savings accounts, make loans, and run business skills and literacy programs. They are also a safe, inexpensive way for Haitians abroad to send money home.

Partners in Progress supports an amazing small farmers organization in Fondwa, a rural community outside Jacmel. They fund agricultural training programs, and a school. Their buildings have been decimated.

Although I provided web sites here, I would like to make a pitch that, if you're donating, do it by check. This avoids fees to the credit card companies - the groups will get more of your donation.

This is a culture and a people of resistance. Do not pity them. Just be in solidarity with them with your thoughts, prayers, and sharing from the abundance that we have in this country.


Thank you, Laurie -

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Key To Ithaca: Galumpha at the State Theater

If it is possible to learn what a place is like by what it likes, one can learn a lot about Ithaca by seeing Galumpha, the dance/acrobatics/joke troupe, at the State Theater on Saturday, 20 February.

Galumpha has performed at the State many times;, the GrassRoots Festival, too.

They have also performed their death-defying Velcro hat routine on the David Letterman show.

Their art is serious enough for adults, and whimsical enough for children. Or vice versa.

The show at the State is family-friendly, starting at 3 pm, with tickets $15 for adults, and $10 for children.

Find out more at the web sites for the State, and for Galumpha.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

"Benefit Jam" For Haiti Tonight

Samite, Richie Stearns, and Nate Richardson are performing a "Benefit Jam" tonight for relief for Haiti.

The event is at Gimme Coffee, 506 W. State St., from 7 - 9 pm.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog