Sunday, August 31, 2003


That's the view of Main Street from the gates of Smith College. I haven't walked past that first traffic island in months. That's the thing about lovely downtown Noho. If there is one word that could sum it up, it's convenience. Everything you need and a fair amount of the stuff you just might want, is within three blocks walking distance. Since my day job is also within that triangle, I don't have much reason to wander out of the hood. The short spire with the red roof is the Courthouse. That's as far as I usually need to get. My office is a half a block further east past the white building in the middle of the shot. Even downtown you can't see it for the trees.


I'd meant to get more done inside the house today, they were predicting rain, but it turned out to be so unexpectedly perfect, I headed outdoors instead. I didn't go downtown though, I toured the local gardens on the side streets, all finally in full bloom after such a cold summer and doomed I'm afraid, to end too soon this year. The almanac is predicting another tough winter. I ended up at the track of course. I love horses. That's an actual picture of the grandstand at the fair by the way and more than likely the same jockeys that rode today. Same guys are here every year.

From the time I was 8 years old, I always wanted a horse. My favorite TV programs were My Friend Flicka, Fury (about a black stallion) and I adored National Velvet, the movie was made into a series for a short time. At this point, I don't want to own one, but I like this weekend when the ponies come to race in my town. Thanks to Ronnie Sarazin and his friend Stan, I learned enough about how to read the statistics in the program that I could instruct a few strangers today in the terminology but I don't really care about the gambling. The only reason I put my two dollars down on a race is to fit in with the crowd and to have a reason to cheer my horse.


My inbox is overflowing into the red zone with unread WODSU news but on the last weekend of summer, I just don't want to talk about it. There is one heart wrenching eulogy however, posted by Phillip S. Smith, Drug War Chronicle Editor, at DRC Net for his brother, that I want to leave you with. Bradley Brent Smith was 46 when he died in prison a few weeks short of release. He made some mistakes in life, but he did not deserve to die from the lack of proper medical attention.

Phil sums it up in his editorial, One Less Prisoner in America, a thoughtful look at what went wrong. I leave you with this excerpt:

And that is a true tragedy. I have been in prison myself -- on a marijuana charge -- and I have experienced for myself the mind-numbing sorrow, loneliness, and futility of prison life: the gradual falling away of girlfriends, wives, friends, and all too often, family; the severing of connections with any community; the despair, the depression, and hopelessness; the sheer cruel idiocy of prisons full of nonviolent offenders. In my case, I was old enough and mature enough emotionally and politically to turn the experience into one that steeled me instead of one that broke me. But too many other prisoners do not have those tools or life experiences. My brother certainly didn't when he went to prison at 18 over a bag of pot.

And that's the last word.


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