Too often we celebrate the mind and the spirit and forget that we are incarnate beings, merely but magnificently mortal. While it's true that our flesh will ultimately fail and die, our passage on this earth is nevertheless contained within what the Anglo-Saxons accurately and evocatively called the "bone house," which in spite of how much we ignore it, abuse it, or forget we have it, remains incredibly resilient and resourceful for much of our lives. That's why we need to protect and cherish it, and that's why Lantern Books publishes titles that can help you do just that.
In Condom Sense, Dr. Monica Sweeney, director of the New York City Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, makes it clear that the AIDS epidemic is not over, not only in Africa and Asia, but in North America and Europe, where a new generation of young men and women are returning to sex without condoms, resulting in a dramatic increase in HIV cases after years of decline. Her message is clear and strong: The best protection is prevention, with latex condoms. Condom Sense uncompromisingly focuses on the reality of human lives and tells you how to stay safe.
Following this weekend's huge May Day rallies against the new immigration enforcement bill in Arizona, this morning's commute showed that in New York, this Monday morning, plenty of people are exercising their First Amendment rights.
Grand Central Station had a heavy presence by the War Resister's League, calling for nuclear disarmament of the United States. The demonstration included about forty people marching around the main hall with signs, and another team of people distributing information by every train track and exit. The call for disarmament is timed to coincide with the United Nations’ Special Session on Disarmament meetings. In addition to the demonstration, close to 2,000 were arrested at U.N. blockades, and another million marched to bring the message to the streets of NYC.
A benefit of having our offices in Brooklyn is that we have a yard. As spring unfurls, the prospect of having meetings and breaks in the yard feels closer, and very positive. There are trees and flowers and herbs and compost heaps. It feels like an oasis in the city. It's why our office is dubbed the "garden suite."
Through the winter, even, the garden has been a benefit. That's because the neighborhood socialite stops by for regular visits. His name is Samo, and he's a large black cat. Same-o. Don't mispronounce, he's fussy! Samo comes and types on our keyboards, knocks our files onto the floor, drools, demands to be let in and out multiple times a day, and lounges on a red velvet cushion. He is a bit high maintenance, but the good cheer he brings us is well worth it. It's great to have Samo around, and he definitely reminds us that we're not in Manhattan anymore.
Please join me in welcoming the newest addition to the Lantern gang.
The first calendar day of spring has passed. At the Lantern offices in Brooklyn, there are daffodils, crocuses, tiny spouting leaves everywhere, and the forsythias are turning yellow.
Where I live, sixty miles up the Hudson valley, the buds are barely visible, much less opening. I wake up to frustrating things like snow flurries. I'm desperate for the switch to happen, literally crawling around looking for signs.
This passage from Rachel Carson's The Sea Around Us is helping to tide me over a little longer, making me look a little closer at those nubs that will soon be sprouting leaves.
We woke this morning to three inches of snow—just the right amount to etch the outline of the trees and make every twig stand out. This was the view from the back of the Lantern offices in the Garden Suite of the house out of which we do business.
It was a gloriously sunny day, cool (55 degrees) with no wind: the perfect weather for running 26.2 miles. I had my plan (to run with the 4:00 hour pacer that I'd signed up with) and I stuck to it as we wended our way through New York City. I drank my fluids, and sucked my energy gels, and miraculously I never felt any pain or hit any wall. The only time when I experienced any feeling of doubt was when I entered Central Park at 90th Street at mile 23.5, on time for a 4:00 hour marathon, and a little voice inside me said: "Well, Martin, you've run a good race. If you make it in 4:01 or 4:02 or even 4:05, it's OK. That's good for a first-timer." But then another voice said: "Are you kidding? I haven't run all this way, and kept pace, not to make it within 4:00 hours."
Last night I went to see the film Behind the Masks. It's about the Animal Liberation Front and includes a lot of exciting footage of actual liberations from labs. There is also a fair share of footage of animals being abused, including products being tested in the eyes of rabbits.
That's why the chain of events after the movie pleased me so much: I won a raffle prize—a Bklyn Bunny t-shirt. Today, when I went to see what on earth Brooklyn Bunny is, I found that it's exactly what it sounds like, on webcam. And, the lovely people that run BB (who were sitting behind me in the movie) feature Lantern's own Stories Rabbits Tell on their site.
To get to watch a webcam of a seriously happy Brooklyn rabbit with lovely natural "eyeliner" was a seriously nice way to recover (as much as you can) after seeing laboratory footage.
I attended a book reading on Friday night at my local bookstore, Book Court, in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. The event: The launch of The Skin Between Us, a memoir by Kym Ragusa of growing up in Harlem to an Italian-American father and an African-American mother and the social and racial stresses and strains that caused members of these families to come together and fall apart and then make it work.
It's a beautifully written work that encapsulates all that is most challenging and enriching about living within and among diversity and difference. That the book is so closely and intimately observed is perhaps not surprising, given the author is a documentary filmmaker.