With a little hard work, some power tools and some nice pipe cleaners Mahsa and I have got some pretty good looking stubble growing on our Lego heads. Here we see Mahsa demonstrating some excellent technique. Be sure to support our lego mustaches! All of this is of course to support 826 Boston‘s free youth writing and tutoring programs for students ages 6-18.
Located in Roxbury’s Egleston Square, 826 Boston teaches creative and expository writing to students age 6 to 18, and helps teachers inspire their students to write.
In 2009, 826 Boston published student writing in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and in numerous books like 2% of 2% of All the World’s Stories. This year 826 Boston’s free writing and tutoring programs will reach over 2,000 students and provide more than 7,500 hours of one-on-one support.
I stumbled upon this while cleaning out some folders on my computer. Early last summer I wrote this essay for the second issue of a zine on grief in radical communities called the Worst. The zine maker hasn’t been able to finish the next issue it seems, so here it is.
For more then a decade, I rehearsed getting that phone call from back home telling me my father had passed away. I was still in high school when my dad was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. The doctors gave dire predictions of an early death in the next 5-10 years. Well, my dad surpassed all expectations and thrived for over a decade with only half a working heart.
My dad was a radical….a radical singer, artist, historian, story teller…so many things. He was U. Utah Phillips. He was also (more often to me) Bruce Phillips the comedian, French fry lover, prankster, gardener, and fierce little league fan. His lessons, many of which I and others learned from watching him on stage, and his grace, kindness, songs and stories are blessedly enduring because he kept on working after his diagnosis. Onward!
I got an email response to my pointed letter to NPR over there allowing David Horowitz to offer a rebuttal to Howard Zinn’s obituary. Well of course I didn’t get a personalized response. And of course that would have made me feel quite pompous and self important. As it is I do feel like I was a part of a wonderful effort of people who created “a fire storm” for NPR.
I got an email from Dana Davis Rehm Senior Vice President for Marketing, Communications, and External Relations. She says that “NPR News management has concluded that the quote from David Horowitz is harsh in tone, but that doesn’t undermine the legitimacy of using his point of view” She also apologizes that NPR’s reporting has failed to live up to me, a loyal listeners, standards.
Boo! Fail! Apology not accepted. The email links to a letter written by The NPR Ombudsman. After much heming and hawing and making of elaborate excuses as well as admitting that what Horowitz said was harsh and inappropriate she finally admits “Critics are right that NPR was not respectful of Zinn. It would have been better to wait a day and find a more nuanced critic — as the Washington Post did two days after Zinn died –than rushing a flawed obituary on air.” So just say that then. Admit it and dispense with the excuses.