Monday, December 15, 2014

Confrontation and consciousness

I stepped out of my building with my dog in tow. In front of our coop building we have a new tree, where we constructed an iron fence around the new tree. The fence is there to keep dogs out. A woman was there, letting her dog in the fenced in area.

In a gentle tone of voice, I stated something I believe is obvious: "We put a fence around this tree because we don't want dogs in there."

Of course, the woman got defensive, and a common way to speak defensively is to avoid what someone has said directly. "I have a bag! It's not like I'm going to leave it there!"

If I had had my wits, I would have repeated my first sentence verbatim. Having a bag does nothing to mitigate the fact that we don't want dogs there, whether you pick up after your dog or not. I told her that it's the urine that is the real threat to the tree's health, which is true, but in a sense, it was also beside the point. We don't want dogs there, and that's really all there is to it, reasons or no reasons, good reasons or bad reasons. Why else would anyone put a fence in? Would anyone rightly think a fence is a reminder to dog owners that they should pick up after their dogs? No. A fence says unambiguously, "Stay out." It does not say, "Behave yourself when you enter (or allow your dog to enter)."

So what thought goes through the minds of dog owners when they allow their dogs inside tree-surrounding fences? Silly question, I know, because I'm using the words "thought" and "mind," as if they are actually involved.

I'm tempted to hang a sign on the fence that says, "The fence is here to keep dogs out. Please don't let your dog in." Is that likely to get people to engage their minds? Maybe not, but it will give some people a chuckle. Or at least, it will give one person a chuckle.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Gender identity: what do we call people?

Times are changing. How do we deal?

A friend wrote:

I don't want to offend anyone, but the subject doesn't interest me enough that I'd want to really work on getting it right.

It depends on what the meaning of "work" is. Skimming the wikipedia article on Transgender, I see it's complicated. I know I have to respect that there aspects of all this that I can't or won't understand, and no one wants to know if I think any of it is a good idea or bad idea. It just is. I accept that.

My decision is to listen. I will listen. I am listening.

One of my daughters is gay or something. She doesn't want any labels. I respect that many young people now say let's not use labels. It seemed hard at first, but in just a few months, I found that I accept that, and it's not hard any more.

LGBTQ people raising children is becoming common and open. My daughter is interested in having kids eventually, and I predict Julia will be a good parent.

I just learned that my cousin's fiancé was raised by two mothers. He is about 29. It doesn't change my view of him. No, to be honest, it does. I like him even more now.

Acceptance of all this new stuff seems to be spreading like wildfire, even in conservative areas, though I'm far from those areas to see accurately.

What's happening in your corner of the world?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Please, no more war!

To all of our  Senators and Representatives,

War is murder. Military action is murder. We have to stop murdering each other. No more war, please. We don't need to kill Syrians to get Syrians to stop killing Syrians. Neither will it work. And it does not give us higher ground to stand on, if we've killed in the name of the end of killing.

We've stood by for over a year while the government of Syria killed thousands with guns and bombs and knives. By taking action now, we are saying that the killing that occurred before the use of chemicals was just fine.

Killing does not stop killing. Let's be the change we want to see. Please vote against
 so-called military action. Please encourage your colleagues to vote against it, too. Please tell everyone you speak with to oppose any such thing.

Tom Reingold
New York, NY

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New Jersey is rated among the top ten states for cyclists

I read about this on The Patch at the article here. Here is the comment I posted:

I'm glad New Jersey got this designation, because it encourages everyone to keep going in the right direction. I would imagine it is not because conditions are in the top ten but because the legislation and plans are most forward thinking. For example towns and counties are adopting "complete streets" policies, which I hope will lead to better built streets and roads, giving equal access to pedestrians, motorists, cyclists, and wheelchair users.

I co-founded the South Orange Maplewood Bicycle Coalition, which, sadly, is shutting down. Those of us who ran it no longer have the time or energy to continue. We held various activities to encourage cycling and show how we can cycle on the roads we currently have. We advocated to our towns to adopt "complete streets" policies, and we succeeded.

I hope the vision continues to grow. I believe the world will be a better place when we drive motor vehicles less and walk more and cycle more. And it will be necessary, because I predict that fuel prices will reach unimagined levels eventually. We might as well start new habits now. If you think you can't cycle to school or work or the supermarket, please contact me or a local cycling expert or someone at There is a lot of help and encouragement in all kinds of places.

Please support a cycling portion in your schools' physical education program. We should all be in the habit of moving by our own power.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012

bone marrow donation

I'm going to give a few small blood samples on Friday morning. I'm sure this will be uneventful.

Since I had back surgery back in 1988, they're not going to do the procedure taking samples from the back, which is one of the procedures that they sometimes do.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bone Marrow Donations

Speaking of donations:

In 2005, there was a woman near me, living in South Orange, who had a fatal disease and was hoping for a bone marrow transplant to increase her chances of survival. I don't think she received it, and she died soon after the word went out. Before she died, her family organized a local drive for many of us to test for eligibility to donate. Many of us in the area went in and had our cheeks swabbed. It was very easy. We are registered with the Gift Of Life Bone Marrow Foundation.

Since then, I've been getting periodic emails about what's going on in the organization.

In the meantime, I mentioned this to my cousin who is only a few months younger than I am. She is diagnosed with leukemia, though she is symptom-free. She is on an experimental drug program to keep it in check. I don't understand this, so take it at face value. She is on disability, and the drugs reduce the amount of energy she has throughout the day. Since she might one day need a bone marrow transplant, I mentioned I could donate to her, if I'm eligible. She was quite touched. Of course, it would be a big deal for her, but I tend to look at it for what it means to me. It would hurt, but it would be a relatively small sacrifice for me, especially given how big the payoff could be.

Today, I got a call from Gift of Life, saying there's a patient who needs a transplant and I might be a candidate. She's 37 years old, and that's all I know. I'll be going in for tests, and if I'm a candidate, there will be one of two procedures. The 20% likely one will be pretty painless, and the 80% likely one will be fairly painful. Apparently, a lot of the pain comes from the drugs, not the procedure. But I think she said the pain should only last a week. I was picturing them carving open my femur (after cutting through my quadricep) to get the marrow, but I guess not, and that's a good thing, though I'd be game for that.

So this might happen. Stay tuned. I knew this might happen, and here it is, six years later, and now it really might happen. I'm rather excited.