Amy Fleischer’s Somerville MA Art Exhibit, May 16-31, Review: Bringing Life to Landscapes and Memories

Art from Amy FleischerYou’ve only got a few more days to enjoy this simple but deep art exhibit from local artist Amy Fleischer.  My recommendation to Beck’s Cafe readers?  You should go :-)   I’ll give you more details below whilst you sip your morning coffee.

I met Amy whilst visiting her exhibit, Edge States: Inner Landscapes Outside at the Gallery at Washington Street in Somerville, MA.   Amy’s work is an excellent blend of watercolors, pen and ink and some block print work showing her evolving art.   While her art is wonderful by itself, what really sets it apart is the stories the art is based on.  She draws from her life experiences traveling to many countries.  Her art reflects the landscapes from her travels and living in places like Scotland, Norway, India and the United States.  But its more than just landscapes in this exhibition, its also her reflection of her sense for the landscapes.  Her art being not just a pictorial view of these places but an emotional and sense filling one too.  When you visit, linger over the paintings and you get a sense she’s spent time immersed in the landscape not just traveling through it.

Vistor’s may find themselves tempted to simply glance at some art pieces that look like books.  Resist the temptation.  Amy’s art includes binding and there are some books that show her art evolution using a book to display the art.  Amy has graciously labelled which books can be handled.  I did handle one and the art inside is as rich as the larger paintings on the gallery wall without.

Art in a Book by Amy FleischerOne of Amy’s pieces displayed in a book

The exhibit, which runs till May 31, has a special treat on Wednesday the 28th. Poets Anna Warrock and Lis Weiss will be reading on Wednesday at 7:30 pm.  Not to be missed in this excellent exhibit.

For more information see:

Fax Zero Helps Faxing Reach the Modern Era on the 50th Anniversary Year of the Fax

I introduced FaxZero to the wonderful readers of Beck’s Cafe back in 2009.   When I wrote, “Fax Zero A Terrific Web Based Fax Service for Free” I noted that:

What? Fax? Do they make those anymore?

The simple answer was that they did and they still do.   The year 2014 marks the 50 year anniversary of the fax.  A technology that has lasted for 50 years is no slouch.  There are a few reasons the fax is still viable, and here are the facts (see full article at PC World):

  • Doctor’s Need Them:  Thanks to the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), documents transmitted between various doctors, labs, and insurers have to be “secure.” The parlance of HIPAA is complex and poorly understood, but it requires only that doctors engage in “reasonable safeguards” when sending messages, regardless of the medium. Over time, this has been interpreted by most doctors to mean that faxes are okay, while email generally isn’t.
  • Lawyers Use Them According to one lawyer: “I usually send letters out via regular mail and fax. I still use a fax machine because I don’t have everyone’s email address. Directories will generally list phone and fax numbers, but not email addresses. With fax, I also get confirmation that the letter was sent and received, whereas, with email, the person may choose not to send a read-receipt when they open the message.
  • Sales and Marketing: An emailed sales pitch or press release is easily deleted with a single keystroke, but faxes require more effort to discard and may actually receive a glance en route to the garbage can.

So FaxZero has remained the stalwart friend of those of us who still need to use a fax.  And now, 5 years since posting my original article, FaxZero remains relevant on the iPhone.

That’s right!

I’ve successfully transmitted several faxes using FaxZero from my iPhone, making FaxZero that much more handy.  Its pretty easy, on an iPhone (or Android, Blackberry or Microsoft, if they have a good solid web browser) simple navigate to   From there you can send your fax message(s) for free.  FaxZero still has a retro feel about it but it works simply and easily.

But wait, there’s more….make it an icon on your phone (with iPhone anyway) so that the link appears as a button on your iPhone’s screen.  Just follow the nifty “how to” steps at Wiki How for iOS 6 or iOS 7.

Tonight May 22: Somerville City Hall Discussion and Possible Vote on Public Accommodation for Transgender People

Join the Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Coalition and area activists at Somerville, MA city hall for a discussion and possible vote on a non-discrimination ordinance that would protect transgender people in places of public accommodations.

If this passes, Somerville will be the 6th city or town in Massachusetts to have these protections.

The meeting will be at 7PM in the Aldermanic Chambers of Somerville City Hall.

If you have any questions or need more information please contact Andi at

Happy National Memo Day….what if they came alive?

….. then you’d have to deal with this :-)

Frees Slaves, Leads War Time Raids, Nurse, Spy and Suffragette

I didn’t know Harriett Tubman’s 100th birthday had passed until my bike activist and astronomical friend had posted up this link on Facebook.  If you can see it the read is worth the time for sure, but in case you can’t, the post on FB commemorates Harriett Tubman’s 100th birthday.  That got me thinking and doing some reading about Ms. Tubman.

There are too many sources to come close to doing any justice to her here, so I’ll point my readers to some of them with hot links in the bullets below.  Here are are some facts about this amazing woman:

  • She had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from being hit in the head with a 2 lb weight when she was 12.  That happened as a result of her disobeying an order to tie up another slave who was going to be whipped for trying to escape.  Her TBI resulted in long term headaches and narcolepsy.
  • Many of use are aware of her work on the Underground Railroad leading slaves to freedom the first time; what is more amazing is she went back multiple times, at personal risk, to free as many as she could.
  • She was asked to be a spy by the North during the U.S. Civil War.   Think of it.  She escapes slavery and is known in her circle but somehow the U.S. Gov’t learns of her and asks her to be a spy.  Pretty big honor!
  • She was a warrior.  Yep you read that right dear reader.  In fact she led a military raid, the Combahee River Raid, during the Civil War.
  • After the war, she lived in Auburn, New York, eventually married and adopted a child.
  • While in New York, she became a community activist, humanitarian, and suffragist. In addition to providing a home for numerous friends and relatives, she also worked to raise money for the Freedmen’s Bureau, which had been established to provide education and relief to millions of newly liberated slaves.

I thought about her life and wonder what lessons I could take away, here are my thoughts:

  • Sometimes, when lives are at stake, making sure as few people get left behind as possible is worth the risk
  • Sometimes you have to press on through life’s pains to do something bigger in life.
  • Challenges are everywhere just look around and you’ll see small and large places you can contribute to in order to improve other people’s lives.

Why Teach Women in Nigeria When You Can Kidnap Them?

This is horrendous ….

“Two weeks ago, 234 Nigerian school girls between the ages of 16 and 18 were snatched from their dorm beds in the town of Chibok and forced into trucks at gunpoint by what is believed to a group of radical militants who oppose the education of women.

Fifty of the young women are said to have escaped capture, but more than 220 are unaccounted for — and many believe that they are in great danger.” (see full report @CBC here: )

The BBC has an excellent report as well, though from 5-2-14, still, it provides more clarity around the issue and the difficulty local law enforcement is having

From Reports: Kidnapped teens forced to marry: (3:45 video)

Follow the storey on Twitter:  #bringbackourgirls

Update 5/3/14 5:45PM

The Vanguard, a Nigerian news organization has posted the following report at this link:

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday set up a  fact- finding committee comprising of security agencies and international organizations to assist in the possible rescue of 276 abducted female students in Chibok area of Borno State.

The comments for the Vanguard story are well worth reading. They tell a particularly interesting part of the story, filling in with the visceral outrage parents and citizens in Nigeria feel about this incident and the Nigerian government in general.

Temptress Lead Singer, Jessica Garabedian Passes Away

I was stunned when I got the call.  I was snuggled blissfully on RH.  We were “mustering” the motivation to do stuff we had to do to keep life moving forward and slowing losing our musterability to a nap….. then my phone rang and I got the news.  Jessica had passed away.

Checking her FB page confirmed news I didn’t really need confirming but still was not really grasping.  She was dead.  Checking more FB posts of my friends and others I knew only spread the reality like the spreading of moss up an old oak tree.  She collapsed at her home in NH on the 19th and was rushed to the hospital. She didn’t make it.  See more from RadioBDC DJ Henry Santoro’s FB page here.

I met Jessica in 2011 when I learned about her band Temptress, then had a chance to get to know her and be friends.  She always impressed me as being cool, matter of fact, fun and she had a great bullshit meter.  I really appreciated that about her.  I saw her band play in 2012.  If you liked rock music you’d love her band.  High energy, clear and ironic lyrics, and powerfully guitar driven, it was a very fun concert.    Just recently, she had played at the Boston Aids Walk on February 26th.

She was talented, fun and beautiful. I’m so sorry she is gone. My prayers to her family. Rock On Girl.

I don’t know how long the following web site will be up, but here is her band Temptress and here is her YouTube Channel.

See you on the other side Jessica.


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