September 29, 2005

someone should tell these guys what "vom" means...

Teach New Yorkers how to COOK!!!
Reply to:
Date: 2005-09-28, 10:00AM EDT

Volunteer Positions in FoodChange’s Vegetable of the Month Club program

Community based nutrition education - Teach New Yorkers to enjoy cooking fresh vegetables in season

We invite culinary and nutrition education students and professionals and food enthusiasts in general to become VOM Volunteer Leaders and assist trained instructors in hands-on cooking based nutrition education workshops in New York City neighborhood organizations. Volunteers will be assigned to the same site every month. Sites may include food pantries, WIC agencies, public schools, senior centers, teen programs, community centers, parenting skill programs etc. and are located in all five boroughs.

Volunteers will:
1. Participate in a preliminary 4 hour volunteer training
2. Volunteer 2-3 hours each month in an assigned community based organization for a minimum of six months.
3. Assist workshop leaders in delivering the VOM™ workshops in a variety of capacities. Possible volunteer duties may include any of the following tasks:
-Collaborate with the workshop leader in planning the workshop
-Assist in presenting the workshop
-Evaluate and document VOM™ lessons and activities
-Support the teaching and reinforcement of food safety techniques
-Participate in VOM™ food shopping
-Assist in guided field trips
-Provide educational input and ideas for workshop participants
-Plan, oversee, and take part in integrated VOM™ activities
4. Maintain confidentiality of all workshop participants and agency clients in keeping with individual VOM™ agency rules. All volunteers are expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct and personal integrity when volunteering with agencies collaborating with the Vegetable of the Month Club™ and FoodChange.
5. FoodChange will provide free training, an opportunity to teach cooking skills, networking opportunity, community work, 3hrs/month or more volunteer experience, school credit.
6. If interested, please contact Jennifer Prissel at 212-894-8070 or

* this is in or around All boroughs...
* no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests


September 19, 2005

I was born in 1976, at the cutoff point of what some people call Generation X. I mention all this because '70s pop culture is supposedly one of Gen-X's pet fascinations, and I caught the tail end of a lot of '70s fads as they were crossing the threshold into the early '80s.

There's one fad I was never aware of until recently: the pizza-parlor-with-a-pipe-organ. Technically, the first such place opened in 1962 (Hayward, California's Ye Olde Pizza Joynt), as a renewed interest in the Wurlitzer organs from silent-era movie palaces was taking hold. 1962 also saw the birth of the Santa Clara, California restaurant Pizza & Pipes (which, over the years, turned into a successful regional mini-chain with locations in California and Washington State).

In the early '70s, the craze really took off. San Diego had Organ Power Pizza; Portland, Oregon had Organ Grinder Pizza; Phoenix had Organ Stop Pizza (in 1975 a second location opened in nearby Mesa -- it's this one that's still in business today). One of the last to cash in was Uncle Milt's in Vancouver, Washington (1979; Milt finally closed shop in 1999). Perhaps someone in Las Vegas took note, because in 1999, the Fiesta Hotel & Casino cut the ribbon on Roxy's Pipe Organ Pizzeria.

It wasn't solely a phenomenon in the western states though. A quick Google search tells me there were organ pizzerias in Texas, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Iowa, Florida, and even one up in Toronto. I couldn't find any information about similar places in the Northeast U.S. (or even the Southeast, Florida excluded). I'm a native New Yorker, and I have no recollection of ever seeing or going to an organ pizzeria in my part of the country. If I'm wrong, I'd love to know. We certainly had Chuck E. Cheese (a similar breed of "family entertainment" restaurant, with a curiously similar mid-'70s Northern California background).

Pictured below: Organ Power and Uncle Milt's.

Pictured below: artwork from LPs released by Organ Grinder and Organ Stop.

September 10, 2005

It's official: I'm signed up to take the GRE on November 1st. And now I will take a deep, measured breath as I prepare to descend into madness.

September 07, 2005

On a lighter note, I may have found a new favorite snack food: Trader Joe's "Joe-Joe's," an Oreo analog with no corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, or weird artificial additives. Sugar, yes, but it's real sugar, and real anything makes food taste better. As long as you don't eat the whole box at once (suggested serving size: two cookies), there's not that much to feel guilty about.

September 05, 2005

Rubella Ballet - "Every Second Counts"

September 03, 2005

So who is Michael Chertoff, current U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and evil not-so-genius responsible for keeping the Red Cross out of the city of New Orleans?

A few links for ya:


Circuit Judge Michael Chertoff, an appointee of Pres. George W. Bush, has found that despite significant evidence of harassment of gay people in Jamaica, Oneil Orlando Parker’s asylum petition should not be granted.

and this, which provides a handy summary of Chertoff's agenda:

Chertoff is a member in good standing in the Federalist Society; a cabal of radical lawyers devoted to the systematic dismantling of the Bill of Rights. Already, they've provided much of the legal rationale for the unlawful detention of aliens, the enhanced powers of the Executive, the indefinite incarceration of POW's and the cruel and unusual treatment of prisoners. They've also made strides in crushing what few regulations still exist to protect both consumers and environment.

Chertoff has been an effective conduit for the Federalist ideology. Following 9-11, he masterminded the round-up of 1100 Muslim suspects; dumping them in prison without bothering to file charges. None of the suspects were provided with attorneys or allowed to challenge the terms of their detention. Instead they were held in solitary confinement, abused, and either deported or released after secret tribunals. Chertoff effectively rescinded the Bill of Rights to pursue his blinkered witch-hunt. His actions made no one any safer, nor were they intended to. They were designed to show how easily legal protections are eviscerated during a national emergency. Don't think Chertoff and co. haven't monitored the affects of hysteria on public sensibilities. For the Bush team, demagoguery is the primary tenet of good governance.

Months after the illegal detentions, the Justice's Dept's Inspector General harshly criticized the draconian and unproductive steps that Chertoff authorized. The General dismissed the arrests as "indiscriminate and haphazard"; a clear violation of basic human rights and civil liberties. His reprimand was shrugged off by the impervious Chertoff, who later admitted to Congress that he would have done the same thing all over again.

Nat Hentoff on the same subject:

As for the detainees' right to contact lawyers, Chertoff and the others in the room, reports Brill, knew that under INS rules, the prisoners "were entitled to call a lawyer from jail, but the lists the INS provided of available lawyers invariably had phone numbers that were not in service." (Emphasis added.)

Well this is a big WTF. Please read the following Daily Kos post if you need any further persuasion about how deplorably hateful our administration is.

My first diary! This whole week has been so depressing. My Red Cross donation was one bright spot. At least I had done something to help.

Then, after reading dKos and the other blogs all week and seeing over and over again comments that that FEMA and the NG were no where to be seen from the people on the ground in NO, I was wondering where the Red Cross was in all this. They were never mentioned. It was like they didn't exist. And, after yesterday's drama at the convention center, the Brown and Chertoff lies, the Red Cross was still MIA. Then, earlier today, I saw a note that the Red Cross was not allowed to enter NO. Hmm, that's doesn't make sense. This simmered for a couple hours.

So I called the Red Cross and asked them if its true....

And, to my surprise, the nice lady answering the phone said it was true and they told/asked/ordered not to enter NO. She then went right into her spiel about all the other work the Red Cross was doing across the region. I said that's nice, but I still didn't understand why they weren't in NO. To my amazement, she patiently explained it to me. I even called back to verify what she said. This time she asked if I was media, I said no, just a concerned and confused contributor.

So here goes: Homeland Security (her term, not mine) told the Red Cross DO NOT enter New Orleans and says this still now. And why, you may ask? Not Security. Not worker safety. Not lack of access. It was because people would be drawn to the Red Cross food and they wouldn't want to go to be evacuated. So I asked: "The people starving and dying at the convention center yesterday couldn't get Red Cross food and water because they would be drawn to the food at the convention center, where they were, and not want to be evacuated from the convention center where no evacuations were going on or planned and all the while they are dying". (Actually, it was a couple questions.) She went back into her spiel about all of the other good work they were doing. When I asked again, she said yes, that was true. She seem relieved to admit it.

In closing, I asked if she asked this question before since she was very familiar with the answer she gave. She said yes. And I promised another donation. Which they will get after this post.

So, the question for Bushies, why was the Red Cross banned from NO when they knew people were starving? Could it be they were saving the convention center rescue until Bush's visit today? It certainly seems like it. Doesn't it?

Red Cross National Affairs number (202-303-5551)

September 02, 2005

If you'd like to donate money to help Katrina victims but you're not sure how your charity of choice will spend it, is a great "checks & balances" resource for tracking nonprofit organizations. The Red Cross puts 91% of its donations towards directly helping those who need aid, while America's Second Harvest uses an impressive 98%. My take on this is that any charity that spends over 90 percent on aid is a class act and totally worth donating to.

One effort operating on a more local, grassroots level is ACORN, a New Orleans- based nonprofit (and "the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities") that is accepting donations for its Hurricane Recovery Fund.

How will donations to the ACORN Hurricane Recovery Fund be used?

ACORN is not a relief organization -- we are a national community organization with headquarters in New Orleans and a deep membership in low and moderate income communities there.

We need funds to:

1. Establish a temporary Headquarters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana;
2. Reopen our New Orleans offices as soon as possible;
3. As we reopen and rebuild, we will unite community members to face the challenges at hand:

* Servicing the housing and credit needs of our communities;
* Organizing to see that low income neighborhoods and families get the help the need.

Already, in this chaotic situation, ACORN members are uniting to support each other.

* Houston ACORN members are preparing to meet arriving evacuees at the Superdome to offer support, and house fellow ACORN members in their homes.
* With cell phones down, we are using our website ( to let connect staff, members and others get in touch and offer help.

Your donation will help us get our local and national offices up and running, so we can serve our communities in this time of dire need.

Thank you for your support.