the state

– of real pola. by vastate
Friday, 29 May 2009, 17:44
Filed under: -of art, -of jhumphrey

recently, a friend was going on an epic alaskan journey and wanted to take some sweet polaroids to document the occasion.  i offered to lend her one of mine.  all was well.


she couldn’t find film.


usually, glen’s has a few dusty, expired boxes that suffice.  but not now.

so, i pointed her in the direction of the holy digital polaroid.  but it was a let down.  just not the same.

apparently, others feel the same desire for these imperfect pieces of instant gratification.


here’s a NY Times article about these cool art geeks.


some of our best family moments have been caught and developed via my vintage polaroid land camera.


here are some nice polaroids too look at.



– of pure gas. by vastate
Tuesday, 26 May 2009, 22:49
Filed under: -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey

i shouldn’t really like a gas station.

i feel a bit opposed to gas in general.  (you know the schitck.)

but i feel sort of friendly about my local pure gas station.

pure gas

they have nice staff people.  and new pumps that now take my card.  and a good sunday beer selection. (for when downtown wine & gourmet is closed.)  and jerky.

and i feel (and perhaps i’m quaintly misled) a little like i’m sticking it to the 7-eleven man up the street whenever i buy gas from this more local joint.

but, it’s still gas.  i know.  sigh.


– of dying in birth. by vastate
Tuesday, 26 May 2009, 22:38
Filed under: -of civil rights, -of health, -of human rights, -of jhumphrey, -of kiddos, -of politik

i cannot shake an image from last sunday’s new york times.

it is of a group of boldly clad women.  their hands reaching down to throw dirt on a small grave.  the grave of a stillborn infant.

see the amazing photos of beatrice de gea here.  the photo i describe above is the last in the slideshow.


A father holds his baby after his wife died in childbirth in Moshi, Tanzania. “Too many die, too young,” said a doctor worried about maternal deaths.

the UN and other international health organizations regularly use maternal and infant mortality rates to gage the general health of a nation.

maybe, somehow, we expect tanzania to be unhealthy.  we can read this story and cry a little.  but still feel happily detatched.

but what about us?  what about the united states?  women don’t die having babies here, right?

not so much.

in short, we suck.

despite the billion and billions we spend in healthcare dollars, we rate low (in infant mortality rates) among industrialized nations:

infant mortality chart

we also have major issues with maternal mortality.  last year, i was contacted by ina may gaskin to participate in a study by Amnesty International on maternal mortality.


i was interviewed regarding the pregnancy health of high risk ethnic populations.  here, womens’ health expert, christine northrup, md, discusses ina may’s research:

In the early 1990s, Ina May began to research maternal death rates in the U.S. She was concerned that with escalating hospital birth interventions, such as induced labors and planned C-sections, the rates of maternal deaths would rise dramatically despite the profound medical advances enjoyed by people in the United States. Her research shows that 41 countries have lower maternal death rates than the U.S.

It is well known that the maternal death rate in any given population is a very good indicator of the overall health status of that population. Same with infant mortality. Thus, it was especially shocking when Ina May found that the maternal death rate has actually doubled in the last 25 years. It was 7.5 per 100,000 live births in 1982. In 1999, that rate had risen to 13.2 deaths per 100,000 births. By 2005, it was up to 15.1 per 100,000 live births! In some New York City hospitals, it’s higher still. Moreover, Hispanic and Black women continue to have much higher maternal death rates—perhaps four times as high or higher.

sorry, did you get that?

if you are a hispanic or black woman you are 4 times more likely to die during childbirth than your white counterparts.  4 times.

and we really don’t have a plan to fix this issue.  we’ve been sitting on it since 1982.  here are the fact from ina may’s website:

  • At least 30 other countries have lower maternal death rates than the U.S.
  • There has been no reduction in the maternal death rate in the U.S. since 1982.
  • The CDC acknowledges that we have a massive problem of underreporting of maternal deaths in the U.S. and that our reported rate may be only 1/3 to 1/2 of the actual total number.
  • Maternal death rates are four times as high in the African-American community as in the Caucasian community.
  • There is no federal requirement that the states carry out a confidential review of all maternal deaths in order to be sure that all are counted, to analyze the principle causes of preventable deaths and to make policy recommendations to prevent such deaths in the future. In most countries with lower maternal death rates than ours, maternal deaths are systematically reviewed and there are lower levels of underreporting of such deaths than the CDC says we have in the U.S.


i am keeping those images close:  the stillborn babe.  the left behind new father.

how do we work on ourselves while also addressing the needs of the world beyond?

– of earthly urges. by vastate
Tuesday, 26 May 2009, 16:50
Filed under: - of shameless self-promo, -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey, -of localism, -of sound

5.22.09 blue nilein the beginning, there was jason cimon.  whistling.


then, order was formed.  and frantic.


followed by the word.  preacher.

and then auld lang syne was created.


and then, the cinnamon band.


and it was good.

(venture across the mountain to c’ville next friday for a transplant show.  preacher and the wolf gang at the tiny, but oh so sweet, blue moon cafe.  this venue regularly hosts these guys:


and it was real good.

– of economic stimulus. by vastate
Tuesday, 26 May 2009, 16:16
Filed under: -of deals, -of eats, -of jhumphrey


click for small print.

babies and mamas unite!

– of colleen’s tacos. by vastate
Saturday, 23 May 2009, 14:34
Filed under: - of restaurant review, -of deals, -of eats, -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey

a quick break from the action to ponder and celebrate a townie favorite:

colleen’s taco at the blue nile downstairs.

IMG_5305 IMG_5306

i wasn’t neat enough to get a photo at the show last night, but if anyone has an image, please forward it and i’ll post accordingly.

but here’s the description:

tortillas filled with sauteed portabella mushrooms, organic free range Polyface beef, or chicken with onions, green, red, and chili peppers.  served with a salsa and homemade guacamole.

can’t say enough about this little $6 gem, folks.

indulge next time you’re at the bar.

– of real men. editors. by vastate
Friday, 22 May 2009, 17:02
Filed under: -of civil rights, -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey

old school style.