Nicole Xylouri Osborne

Maybe a couple of you have met my former student Nicole, who came with us to the Recovery on Water fundraiser a couple of years ago. Nicole studied fiction writing at Northwestern and then left Chicago to get a master's in education at U Penn, then returned to work in administration at the Illinois Institute of Technology and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
She got in touch when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I decorated her head when she was bald the first time. My mother visited her when she came to M.D. Anderson in Houston. (Her own mother embarrassed her, she said, by accosting young doctors who weren't wearing wedding rings in the hospital elevator and introducing them to Nicole, who invariably was wearing a hospital gown, ) Recently Nicole was on the comedy circuit: Breast cancer patient Nicole Osborne turns illness into punchline
A mutual friend just told me that Nicole died two days ago.

Now is the point where I should say something about lifting a pint and saying something or other. The best I can do: In her honor, tell a joke, a joke with a hard edge, one that acknowledges death peeking around the corner, but makes you laugh nevertheless. .

Another reason to think before you pink

For some reason the very nice post I posted here has disappeared so I will recap it very very quickly. Gregory Karp of the Trib reported that it's not worth it to get an affinity credit card with a pink ribbon or other charitable logo on it. It may make you feel good but the amount that is donated to the charity will not be much and it would be better to get a rewards card and make a (tax-deductible) donation from that. He got in touch with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which keeps trying to make us aware of breast cancer and is unthinkingly right-wing in its politics. "The cards are free to the consumer, and give them an opportunity to show their support for the breast cancer movement and generate a donation to Komen at no cost to them," Komen spokeswoman Andrea Rader said.
Those donations of 0.08 percent add up, generating more than $6 million since 2009 for investment in research and community outreach, she said.
Komen is better than it used to be--it does give money to research, but I remain skeptical of its community outreach. Especially because some of this outreach means to get cozy with fracking, strange as it may seem. Or you might decide you'd rather donate to the Bad Girls of Cancer, Breast Cancer Action.

The one line to keep on your typewriter

or computer.
I made L listen to me as I told him about the trouble I was having with my essay on Mixing. It's about:
-the use of the term "mix" in describing the missing Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney 50+ years ago; they were a "mix trio," meaning they were anti-segregationists
-a booklet that was published in 1864 on Miscegenation, advocating it and at the same time inventing the eponymous term,
-the nefariousness of the aforementioned booklet, which was written anonymously by two Democratic anti-Lincoln newspapermen who aimed to get Republican anti-slavery endorsements so that they could expose the Republicans as race mixers

-L's essay in high school about race, which advocated race mixing in order to extinguish racism, and the comment from his instructor: What if your daughter married one?
-the marriage of the daughter and the son to African-Americans, and a cute but important dialogue in which our grandson says he is mixed with pie, which his father interpreted as a mis-hearing of the term "bi"
-self-critical and raw statements by Toi Derricotte from "The Black Notebook"
-the electrocution of Willie McGee in Laurel, MS, for raping a white woman; they probably had a consensual relationship
-the charges against the white racists behind the triple murder, verdicts, and further verdicts
-and overall my snarky superiority to the racists, which is pretty easy and probably unfair because their actions were 50 and 150 years ago & I'm not talking about now very much & they are such easy targets

He asked me what the point of my book was and after some more talking I came up with this:
...that slavery and the Civil War are part of everything in present-day US, whether we're aware of this or not

So that is what your piece is about, he said, and again he recommended I read a book of his, White Over Black, and this time I listened to him. It traces the beliefs about and prejudices of Englishmen toward Africans from the mid-16th century through early 19th. The germ of current racism is there and I'm reading it with interest, lamenting how unschooled I am in this.Asking myself if I should get/ should have gotten a PhD in history a dozen or so years ago, but knowing that I would have been impatient with having to do work assigned by others.

My one line to remember/elevator pitch is not quite gainly or subtle but it captures broadly what I'm doing.