The people who come to our food pantry have no food left at home. Considering the expense of fresh produce, we are providing something they wouldn't have otherwise because they don't have the money to buy fresh produce.
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The people who come to our food pantry have no food left at home. Considering the expense of fresh produce, we are providing something they wouldn’t have otherwise because they don’t have the money to buy fresh produce.

-Robert Crandall

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And when spring comes to the City people notice one another in the road; notice the strangers with whom they share aisles and tables and the space where intimate garments are laundered. going in and out, in and out the same door, they handle the handle; on trolleys and park benches they settle thighs on a seat in which hundreds have done it too. Copper coins dropped in the palm have been swallowed by children and tested by gypsies, but it’s still money and people smile at that. It’s the time of year when the City urges contradiction most, encouraging you to buy street food when you have no appetite at all; giving you a taste for a single room occupied by you alone as well as a craving to share it with someone you passed in the street. Really there is no contradiction—rather it’s a condition; the range of what an artful City can do. What can beat bricks warming up to the sun? The return of awnings. The removal of blankets from horses’ backs. Tar softens under the heel and the darkness under bridges changes from gloom to cooling shade. After a light rain, when the leaves have come, tree limbs are like wet fingers playing in woolly green hair. Motor cars become black jet boxes gliding behind hoodlights weakened by mist. On sidewalks turned to satin figures move shoulder first, the crowns of their heads angled shields against the light buckshot that the raindrops are. The faces of children glimpsed at windows appear to be crying, but it is the glass pane dripping that makes it seem so.

-Toni Morrison

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Hardly had the light been extinguished, when a peculiar trembling beganto affect the netting under which the three children lay.It consisted of a multitude of dull scratches which produced a metallicsound, as if claws and teeth were gnawing at the copper wire. This wasaccompanied by all sorts of little piercing cries.The little five-year-old boy, on hearing this hubbub overhead, andchilled with terror, jogged his brother's elbow; but the elder brotherhad already shut his peepers, as Gavroche had ordered. Then the littleone, who could no longer control his terror, questioned Gavroche, but ina very low tone, and with bated breath:--"Sir?""Hey?" said Gavroche, who had just closed his eyes."What is that?""It's the rats," replied Gavroche.And he laid his head down on the mat again.The rats, in fact, who swarmed by thousands in the carcass of theelephant, and who were the living black spots which we have alreadymentioned, had been held in awe by the flame of the candle, so long asit had been lighted; but as soon as the cavern, which was the sameas their city, had returned to darkness, scenting what the goodstory-teller Perrault calls "fresh meat," they had hurled themselves inthrongs on Gavroche's tent, had climbed to the top of it, and had begunto bite the meshes as though seeking to pierce this new-fangled trap.Still the little one could not sleep."Sir?" he began again."Hey?" said Gavroche."What are rats?""They are mice."This explanation reassured the child a little. He had seen white mice inthe course of his life, and he was not afraid of them. Nevertheless, helifted up his voice once more."Sir?""Hey?" said Gavroche again."Why don't you have a cat?""I did have one," replied Gavroche, "I brought one here, but they ateher."This second explanation undid the work of the first, and the littlefellow began to tremble again.The dialogue between him and Gavroche began again for the fourth time:--"Monsieur?""Hey?""Who was it that was eaten?""The cat.""And who ate the cat?""The rats.""The mice?""Yes, the rats."The child, in consternation, dismayed at the thought of mice which atecats, pursued:--"Sir, would those mice eat us?""Wouldn't they just!" ejaculated Gavroche.The child's terror had reached its climax. But Gavroche added:--"Don't be afraid. They can't get in. And besides, I'm here! Here, catchhold of my hand. Hold your tongue and shut your peepers!

-Victor Hugo

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Psychologists have devised some ingenious ways to help unpack the human "now." Consider how we run those jerky movie frames together into a smooth and continuous stream. This is known as the "phi phenomenon." The essence of phi shows up in experiments in a darkened room where two small spots are briefly lit in quick succession, at slightly separated locations. What the subjects report seeing is not a succession of spots, but a single spot moving continuously back and forth. Typically, the spots are illuminated for 150 milliseconds separated by an interval of fifty milliseconds. Evidently the brain somehow "fills in" the fifty-millisecond gap. Presumably this "hallucination" or embellishment occurs after the event, because until the second light flashes the subject cannot know the light is "supposed" to move. This hints that the human now is not simultaneous with the visual stimulus, but a bit delayed, allowing time for the brain to reconstruct a plausible fiction of what has happened a few milliseconds before.In a fascinating refinement of the experiment, the first spot is colored red, the second green. This clearly presents the brain with a problem. How will it join together the two discontinuous experiences—red spot, green spot—smoothly? By blending the colors seamlessly into one another? Or something else? In fact, subjects report seeing the spot change color abruptly in the middle of the imagined trajectory, and are even able to indicate exactly where using a pointer. This result leaves us wondering how the subject can apparently experience the "correct" color sensation before the green spot lights up. Is it a type of precognition? Commenting on this eerie phenomenon, the philosopher Nelson Goodman wrote suggestively: "The intervening motion is produced retrospectively, built only after the second flash occurs and projected backwards in time." In his book Consciousness Explained, philosopher Daniel Dennett points out that the illusion of color switch cannot actually be created by the brain until after the green spot appears. "But if the second spot is already 'in conscious experience,' wouldn't it be too late to interpose the illusory content between the conscious experience of the red spot and the conscious experience of the green spot?

-Nelson Goodman

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I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

-Paddy Chayefsky

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