Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Punking Teabaggers in Minneapolis

As teabaggers gathered for protests on Saturday, a young activist addressed a small crowd of 40 people in Minneapolis. Robert Erickson (an alias) called on the outspoken protesters to end illegal immigration and the problems associated with it: theft, murder and small pox.

Small pox?

In the video, the teabaggers–unaware of Erickson’s motives–cheer as he seeks to rid the U.S. of European immigrants. “I don’t care if they are Polish, Irish, English, Italian, or Norwegian! European immigrants are responsible for the most violent and heinous crimes in the history of the world, including genocide and slavery! It’s time to restore the sovereignty of people native to this land!”

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Filed under: immigration, social justice, , , , ,

Introverts Unite

The Atlantic features an article from its archives entitled “Caring for Your Introvert”–something that sounds more like a Chia Pet commercial than an exploration of the misanthrope in us.

As the author, Jonathan Rauch, notes:

Introverts may be common, but they are also among the most misunderstood and aggrieved groups in America, possibly the world.

Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially “on,” we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn’t antisocial. It isn’t a sign of depression. It does not call for medication.

So the next time you find yourself chiding someone for choosing to wash their hair on a Friday night, ask yourself: A party pooper, or an introvert?

Filed under: health, , ,

Compare/Contrast: Media Perspectives on Prison

First, the pithy. From Gawker, a blog post about criminals tweeting from jail, such as “The Hipster Grifter” Kari Ferrell:

In contrast, New York Times blogger Alison Leigh Cowan discusses one college working to educate inmates to lower rates of recidivism:

Cowan discusses the selective admission process for prisoners in Wesleyan’s program: 120 prisoners competed for 19 spots in the program. In addition to the 19 students at the penetentiary, students from the residential college visit the Cheshire prison for joint classes. The two-month old program began this fall with Composition and Sociology courses:

CHESHIRE, Conn. — In many ways it was just another day, another class of Wesleyan University, one of the more selective colleges in the Northeast. The topic was multiculturalism in schools. The discussion focused on methods of evaluating the rhetorical skills of various commentators, from Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. to Dinesh D’Souza.

I’m fascinated by this article because of a friend who began to educate me on the detrimental effects of prison several years ago. What’s the role of the prison industrial complex to the U.S.–a country that puts more of its citizens behind bars than any other nation? How do we fight recidivism? Who exactly are we sentencing, and what can we suss out from the demographics of race, gender, and socio-economic status?

As a means of introduction to prison conditions, one of the texts that I recommend is Malcolm Braly’s On the Yard, a fictional take on his years in San Quentin in the 60’s. I’ve been teaching it for years and my students love it. It’s useful not only for its social commentary, but for its mastery of literary craft. Braly has sharp turns in plot, a revolving third person point of view, and characters–from inmates and wardens to families and employees–that will make your heart ache.

Filed under: prison, social justice, , , , , , , ,

Think it’s strange here? Try Lincoln, Nebraska

Or New York City (ranked #1). Or Boston (#7).

It’s the list of strangest cities–and states–as ranked by Tableseed.com. The results come from analysis of 2,000 “strange news” reports from the Associated Press (itself a much-ballyhooed object after warning of layoffs in the near future).

Highlights of the 169 odd news stories from Florida, named the top strangest state:

  • “Florida lotto winner seeks to open a nude dude ranch” — Brooksville, FL
  • “Man wearing sleeping bag as cape attempts robbery” – Gainesville, FL
  • “Man allegedly flings jellyfish at teens at beach” – Madeira Beach, FL

Florida may be tops in stange states, but New York City topped the list of strange cities (no surprise) followed by Lincoln, Nebraska. I grew up in the midwest, and thought Lincoln was pretty normal but I must have failed to see its strange subculture.

Filed under: pop culture, , , ,

Damn Those Knotty (Naughty?) Earbuds

In the Department of Totally Useful Things, a quick tip from Hack College on how to avoid the kinks and twists in your earbuds. Nerds unite.

Filed under: technology, , , , ,

Publications

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
November 2009
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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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