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1. Why art matters - Lily Hyde


They can’t put on plays in the evening in Donetsk, because of the curfew. They have had to hang a sign on the theatre entrance saying ‘Please don’t bring weapons with you’ – but not everyone obeys. The stage is not just their calling anymore; it is literally home. The actors are living in the playhouse, because their houses have been destroyed by shelling or are on the frontline. 

One recent Sunday afternoon they performed Chekhov. The sound of shelling roared from the suburbs, but inside the theatre a string quartet played Bach to the pre-performance crowd. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me down to lie in green pastures A frock-coated actor shepherded his flock into the darkened auditorium, leaving behind all the troubles and dread for two brief hours, two magical hours made of lighting and costume and make-believe – and words, words, Chekhov’s wry, witty, warmly humane war of words. That, to set against the real war outside.

Afterwards in the dressing rooms, where actors live now with their children in a world of mirrors and make-up, where jars of home-made gherkins jostle with tubes of facepaint, we drank to peace. And to art, to theatre and literature and music, all those hopelessly fragile, endlessly enduring things. 

         
 www.lilyhyde.com

 

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2. MaltaComicCon 2014

Best Convention on the Planet

Hi Folks,

Well, by the time you read this little promotional missive I shall be en route to the best convention known to mankind – MALTACOMICCON in the capital city of Vallettaon the beautiful Mediterranean island of Malta.

Over the past six years I have been invited out a total of seven times by some of the most wonderful people you could ever hope to meet. I feel extremely humbled and honoured to be in this very privileged position. I now look on the organisers as great friends whom I visit every year on the run up to Christmas.

Truth told, my continued involvement with the guys this year, with the passing of my Mum has given me the impetus to carry on and get back into working again – indeed it gave me back my deadlines. Although I am still a few days off completing the final pencils, something I had hoped to pull back in time for the convention, I have, however completed all the layouts onto the Bristol board and will be showing those as stats along with the completed pencils for the pages thus far. To all intents and purposes the second book’s storytelling (the most important thing for me) is complete at long last. I just wish Mum was here to share that with me.

I am looking forward to showcasing and launching 2 NEW products, which will go on general release upon my return to the UK.

The first is my second Sketchbook: “12 – The Witching Hour”


 The second is as yet a TOP SECRET, other than the Teaser Art below:


 I am excited, as always and cannot wait to meet everyone there.

The Venue has to be seen to be believed; a medieval fortress with walls so thick you could not span it with arms outstretched. Little wonder, Malta has never been successfully invaded and conquered.

With this year’s events, I was remiss in publishing the Blogs from my notes I created upon my return from last year’s event. They remain languishing in limbo, but at some point it would be nice to write them up properly. I will however be Blogging about this year’s event, again upon my return.

In the meantime, watch out Twitter Fans for my Tweets – @TimPWizardsKeep – that is, if I can find the time during the convention. There is so much for folks to see and do there, it’s finding the time to fit it all in.

Oh, well, I’m off now, but look forward to telling of my exploits on the island this time around, real soon…  

Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
November 27th 2014

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3. Day 27 - Crustaceans

studying crustaceans in my sketchbook

studying crustaceans in my sketchbook
Day 27
Topic - crustaceans

The past few days I've tried to go beyond my original challenge and show more finished illustrations instead of just studies. With all the visual research I've done the last month I'm starting to get quite a few fun ideas. I thought it would be more interesting to see the results of my research rather than the research itself. I was hoping to show another finished piece today but I underestimated how hard it is to come up with something finished every day. Anyway I hope you find something of value in seeing my studies.

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4. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing all of our U.S. readers a very happy Thanksgiving! Today, we are sharing which books we're the most thankful for this year. Tell us in the comments which book you would pick!

Photo credit: Benn Wolfe, Flickr


Martina Boone

What book am I thankful for today? Honestly? COMPULSION. I am thankful that so many people invested their time, talent, energy, and resources into this book. From my amazing critique partners, to my beta readers, fabulous editors and my agent, to every person at Simon Pulse who have all contributed to bring this book into the world. I'm also thankful for the authors who read early copies and said nice things about it, and the authors who have been generous in sharing their advice and expertise, here at Adventures, elsewhere on the web, and in person. But most of all, I am thankful for the readers, librarians, and booksellers who have so kindly embraced this book. I appreciate and love each and every one of you!


Becca Fowler

The book I'm most thankful for would have to be Harry Potter (I'm going to cheat a little, and use the whole series!), because I'm horrible at remembering what books shaped me into the person I am today without the Harry Potter novels overshadowing them. I adored those books growing up, and attended every single midnight release for them. To say I wasn't obsessed with Harry, Ron, and Hermione's adventures would be a vast understatement. My parents didn't understand it at the time (I'm still trying to convince my mom to read them), but those books are what opened me to reading. Without them, I'm not sure who I would be today. My best guess is probably someone who wouldn't have books stacked in every available place in my room and office. I think I speak for a lot of people when I talk about Harry Potter. For my generation, it was a huge gateway to reading and discovering new worlds in other books after our copies of Harry Potter started falling apart from too many rereads.


Lisa Gail Green

This month I’m most thankful for The Selection. Not because I read it, but because my daughter, AKA the reluctant reader, read it and demanded the rest of the series immediately under threat of believing I no longer encourage her to read. Probably the happiest moment this month for me was watching her remove the books from her bag in the car and start texting pics to her friends, saying, “Look what I got!” Wish I could’ve taken a picture of her at that moment. So thanks, Kiera Cass! You rock.


Alyssa Hamilton

I have two that my mind immediately jumps to. The first is OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon. It's not YA but it opened my reading up to adult historical fiction again, and I had been off it for a few years. OUTLANDER really reminded me of why I love it and i've devoured the entire series in a matter of months! The relationships, the decadent writing, the history and absolutely everything captivated me from the first word.

The second is Laurie Halse Anderson's THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY. This book was the first book I had ever read by LHA and it was absolutely brilliant. The story was heart breaking but so incredibly realistic. The characters reached me in a way not a lot often can. The romance wasn't the main focus but it became a pillar of strength for Hayley. The relationship between Hayley and her father Andy was heart wrenching, beautiful, frustrating, destructive and yet LHA was able to weave an underlying thread of hope that completely struck a match in my heart. My experience of reading this book has stuck with me for almost a year and I absolutely know it's one that I will be rereading soon and frequently.


Jocelyn Rish

The book I am most thankful for is KILLING RUBY ROSE because not only is it a fun and thrilling read, it also brought the fabulous Jessie Humphries into my life. The full story involves much rambling about the stars aligning the right way several times, but the short version is this: The incredibly talented Megan Miranda recommended I read KILLING RUBY ROSE because it had the mixture of humor and darkness I was striving for in my WIP. So I read it, loved it, and when I saw that Jessie Humphries was a #PitchWars mentor, I had to submit to her. To my happy-dancing delight, she picked me to be part of her team, and her feedback on my WIP has been very helpful in finding the right balance between laughter and horror. As I finish my revisions and prepare to query, I’m thankful for Megan and Jessie and the book that brought us all together.


Shelly Zevlever

I'm going to say that the book I'm thankful for this year is I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. The writing style is beautiful, the characters are easy to relate to and the plot itself is just weaved in perfectly within the two different point of views.

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5. BOBBEE BEE:Thanksgiving Touchdowns: From Columbus, Cowboys and Redskins


by Eric D.Graham

NORTH CAROLINA (BASN)—Every year, we engage in the European cult ritual known as Thanksgiving.

Not surprisingly, the NFL promotes this holiday with its Thanksgiving Classic, which is a series of games played during the Thanksgiving holiday since the league’s inception in 1920.

This year’s game, however, had a little more meaning.

Why? Because, while we were eating Turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce, the Dallas Cowboys played the Washington Redskins, which highlighted rookie sensation Robert Griffin III aganist Tony Romo..

Yes, the classic battle between Cowboys versus Indians, which is the premise of American’s violent culture, was showcased during this year’s so-called Thanksgiving Classic.

Plus, let’s not forget that psychologically the Dallas Cowboys are considered America’s team.
Believe me, this is not a coincidence.

And as much as I love a good conspiracy theory, this, however, is the reality of this sad situation. (Read my article I am dreaming of an all-white Christmas and an all-white team on BASN)

Yes, this so-called Thanksgiving classic, should have been called a game of genocide.



Why? Because, symbolically and subconsciously it represents the psyche reenactment of the American Holocaust, in which over 19 million Indigenous people were exterminated.

Good Indian; Dead Indian 

Remember, US Army General Phillip Sheridan said, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

This, however, wasn’t only Sheridan’s philosophy.

It was also the military strategy of the United States government, in which Thomas Jefferson was also an advocate of and openly admitted with his own words.

“They [Europeans] are nations of eternal war. All their energies are expended in the destruction of labor, property and lives of their people.”

Some people, however, might not see it that way.

But the truth, is the truth.

According to Dr.Tinga Apidta’s book The Hidden History of Massachusetts: A Guide for Black Folks,

Governor Joseph Dudley declared in 1704 a “General Thanksgiving”-not in celebration of the brotherhood of man-but for [God's] infinite Goodness to extend His Favors…In defeating and disappointing… the Expeditions of the Enemy [Indians] against us, And the good Success given us against them, by delivering so many of them into our hands…

Old-fashioned fable

Comedian Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, tried to make lite of the Day of Mourning for the Ingenious people by joking, I celebrate Thanksgiving an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”

Unfortunately, despite Stewart’s attempt to be funny, this was the real history of Thanksgiving, even though we continue believing in the fairy tale rendition of Pilgrims and Indians holding hands and praying together.



Why? Because, there is nothing hilarious about the Holocaust involving the death of 19 million First Nation people, through the methods of constant warfare, chemical warfare through smallpox filled blankets, disease, sterilization, the 1830 Indian Removal, assimilation through education, the slaughter of the Buffalo, colonization, starvation, and reservation.

The myth and the massacre

Despite all of this, every year through out America, elementary school teachers continue to dress up little children in these stupid black Pilgrims costumes with those big buckled shoes and place feathers on their innocent little heads as if it was a made for Disney movie version of Pocahontas and John Smith, while sitting down for a big dinner, singing “One Little, Two Little Indians” with a table filled with pumpkin pies and cranberry.

Glen Ford, the Executive editor of Black Agenda Report, wrote an excellent article entitled The end of Thanksgiving:A Cause for Universal Rejoicing which brilliantly dissembled this myth, which has become apart of the so-called American dream and lexicon.

The fable (of Thanksgiving) attempts to glorify the indefensible, to enshrine an era and mission that represent the nation’s lowest moral denominators. Thanksgiving as framed in the mythology is, consequently, a drag on that which is potentially civilizing in the national character, a crippling, atavistic deformity. Defenders of the holiday will claim that the politically-corrected children’s version promotes brotherhood, but that is an impossibility – a bald excuse to prolong the worship of colonial “forefathers” and to erase the crimes they committed. Those bastards burned the Pequot women and children, and ushered in the multinational business of slavery. These are facts. The myth is an insidious diversion – and worse.

Ford was correct with assessment of this holiday which we shamefully celebrate as a day of thanks.

Why? Because there were no turkey, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie served on that day but there were about 700 Pequot Indians slaughtered and killed by a savage group of
Pilgrims.

William Bradford, who was the former Governor of Plymouth at that time, chronicled the event by giving his first hand account of the great massacre of 1637 that marked the beginning of what we know as Thanksgiving today:

Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire…horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy.”

Shockingly, this day of mass murderer was proclaimed by Governor John Winthrop of Massachusetts as a day of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Day, as a national celebration, in fact, was originally called for by George Washington, who was a slave owner and made a regular holiday later by Abraham Lincoln, who some considered a white suprmacist, right before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865, which did not free the slaves, when he assigned the fourth Thursday in November as the day of celebration. (Read my previous article on BASN entitled: The Political Football: Secession, Lincoln, and Obama)

The sacred made shameful

Unfortunately, we have forgotten the true history of this day, in order to applaud touchdowns, missed field goals, and bobbled snaps.

We have, in fact, rejected the natural and embraced the unnatural.

We have shamefully accepted the killing of beautiful people, the theft of beautiful lands, the contamination of beautiful oceans and the pollution of sacred skies in order to foolishly celebrate the festivities of a football game.

Matter of fact, we have reduced a sacred people into a few racists mascots and lousy logos like the
Cleveland Indians’Chief Wahoo and the Washington Redskins.

We sadly mock them by participation in Towahawk chops and chants during Atlanta Braves baseball games and Florida Seminoles football games, while some insensitive sports reporters write headlines like the Seminoles massacred the Gators.

This is, however shear insanity being paraded in front of the world to see.

Seriously, celebrating Thanksgiving is like Germany having a day of celebration for the Holocaust.

Let’s not forget that according to author John Toland’s The Autobiography of Adolph Hitler, Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history.

The North American Indian holocaust was also studied by South Africa for their apartheid program.

1492

And even though, we would like to cover our eyes to this bloody truth, and live in denial, we must as Princeton professor Dr Cornel West stated ” must always view the world through the lens of what took place on 1492….”

And if 1492 is our historical reference point, …”when Columbus sailed the ocean blue” in the NiZa, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, which would eventually be utilized as slave ships, we can’t forget the genocide of the Ingenious people, with eventually led to the African slave trade.

Therefore, in dispelling the myth of Thanksgiving, we also must shatter the myth of Christopher Columbus as well.

First of all, we must realize that Christopher Columbus never set foot in what is North America, or the United States. Matter of fact, Norwegian settlers preceded his arrival in America by some five hundred years. Second, instead of referring to him as an explorer, we should call him an exploiter, a gold digger, a mass murderous missionary, and a slave trader.

Honestly, in his quest to find India in the Caribbean, he mistaken called the inhabiants of Hispanola, now modern day Haiti, Indians, while thinking Cuba was Japan.

Christopher Columbus

Historian Dr.John Henrik Clark remained us that when Christopher Colon set foot on Samana Cay, in the Bahamian Islands, he, in fact, set in motion western racism, colonization, mis-education, distorted history, and the bogus concept of the chosen people through a Manifest Destiny philosophy, which promoted the divine white right to conquer, kill, and Christianized another people .

“In his mind, it was enslavement from the very beginning.” Clarke said.” His intention were not good.

Evidence of Columbus’s evil intentions were written in a letter to Spain’s Queen Isabella, when he wrote:

We can send from here, in the name of the Holy Trinity, all the slaves and Brazil wood which could be sold.”

Plus, he added these words, to remove all doubt about his intentions.

“We shall take you and your wives, and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault .”

With that in mind, consider the fact that with Columbus’ arrival to the New World, who himself, was a professional slave trader,he along with his Spanish conquistadors killed up 5 million Tainos, whom were mis-named “Indians” in the Caribbean, within three years, according to primary historian of the Colombian era and Catholic priest Father Bartolome’de las Casas, who was an eye-witness to the destruction. De las Casas, in fact, wrote about it in his multi-volume “History of the Indies,” which was published in 1875.

(The Spaniards) “thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades. They forced their way into native settlements, slaughtering everyone they found there, including small children, old men, pregnant women, and even women who had just given birth. They hacked them to pieces, slicing open their bellies with their swords as though they were sheep herded into a pen. They even laid wagers on whether they could manage to slice a man in two at a stroke, or cut an individual’s head from his body, or disembowel him with a single blow of their axes. They grabbed suckling infants by the feet and, ripping them from their mothers’ breasts, dashed them headlong against the rocks. Others, laughing and joking all the while, threw them over their shoulders into a river, shouting: ‘Wriggle, you little perisher.’ They slaughtered anyone on their path …”


Nothing worth celebrating

Despite these horrible facts, the United States of America still considers him to be a American hero worthy of celebration and praise.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, however, doesn’t think so.

There’s nothing to celebrate,” said the Venezuelan president, who in 2002 signed a decree to change the name of its Oct.12 Columbus Day to the Day of Indigenous Resistance.

“They executed an aboriginal every 10 minutes – the biggest genocide  registered in history”
Columbus Day, which was made a federal holiday in 1971, in fact, is one of only two holidays to honor a person by name, the other of course is Martin Luther King Jr.

Not surprisingly, in a speech in 1989, President George Bush proclaimed:

“Christopher Columbus not only opened the door to a New World, but also set an example for us all by showing what monumental feats can be accomplished through perseverance and faith.”

These words alone from the former President of the United States should put to rest all of this “New World Order” talk, because it is actually an Old World Order, which the West have been practicing since they came in contact with the First Nation People of the earth.

Records and recorded history

So, regardless, of how much we celebrate the laser precision passes thrown by Washington’s QB RGIII during their 38-31 victory against America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys, or how tender the turkey was, or how many times Tim Tebow is seen bending on one knee, we must keep the true meaning of this day always in our mines. (Read my previous article Testing the Testimony of Tebowism on BASN)


Why? Because, originally, football wasn’t America’s favorite sport.

It was the hunting and killing of “Indians”

And as a famous football coach once said, “You are, what your record says you are.”

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6. Chicanonautica: What Do You Want to Know?



2014 just wants to keep on running me ragged. Things keep happening (besides the riots and the racial strife). Not only is the new Digital Parchment Services/Strange Particle Press ebook of Cortez on Jupiterorderable, but the press release is available, so you can read about the impending soft-cover edition, find out where to write about getting review copies, and read quotes of wild praise for the book.

If that isn’t enough, Digital Parchment has started a new Ernest Hogan blog so they can promote their editions of my books. They also started an Ernest Hogan Tumblr. I’ll be posting stuff on both of them, so check ‘em out!

Which brings me to the main subject of this post . . . the writer Nalo Hopkinson, who teaches at UC Riverside, sent me a direct message on Twitter (most of my sales and gigs these days come through the social media) asking if I would be willing to lead a workshop “on writing Latino-focused SF/F/H,” because “The community has been asking for it.” Ever the professional, I asked if it was a paying job, and it is, so it looks like in February 2015 I’ll be teaching a  master class (hey! I’m an expert in the field!) as part of their Writer’s Week. I will provide more details as I get them.

2015 and February are coming at us fast. I need to think about it, and take some notes . . . I could fill the time with funny stories about my weird career, but since this is a university thing, I should probably ask the communitythat Nalo was talking about what theywant. I’m assuming that a lot of you aspiring Chicanonauts read La Bloga.


So, what would you like to know about writing Latino-focused speculative fiction/fantasy/horror? Are there specific questions you’d like answered? Just what can I do for you?

I’ll be waiting for your comments . . .

Ernest Hogan has accumulated a lot of ancient Chicano Sci-Fi wisdom over the years. He’s willing to share it. Especially for money. Or food. Or cerveza. Oh yeah, feliz Día de Los Guajolotes.

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7. You Just Don’t Get It

Do you ever feel like kids just aren’t getting “it?” You look at what they are doing but the “what” isn’t telling you anything. Try looking below the surface to the find the… Continue reading

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8. PAPERCHASE - boutigue

It is of course Thanksgiving Day today in the USA so lots of our American readers will be busy spending time with family. So its appropriate that my Paperchase post today features an american designer Anna Bond of the Rifle Paper Co. whose designs are stocked by Paperchase. The above card is taken from the Rifle website and the snaps below were from the boutique gift room at the Paperchase AW14

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9. Leonard Cohen and smoking in old age

Leonard Cohen’s decision to take up cigarettes again at 80 reveals a well kept secret about older age: you can finally live it up and stop worrying about the consequences shortening your life by much. Risk taking is not such a risk anymore, given the odds. Of course some take that more literally than others. I don’t plan to do a parachute jump when I turn 90, as President Bush #1 did. However, a new breath of freedom (and less worry) is an unexpected and pleasant benefit of older age that isn’t well known.

Research findings confirm this is true. In recent studies of many adults from many countries, people were asked to rate their level of well being on a scale of 1-10. Researchers found a fascinating relationship between age and well-being. 20 year olds start out pretty high, after which well-being consistently goes down with age, bottoming out around the early 50’s. What happens next came as a surprise to many: after this trough, well-being actually goes up with age, with 85-year-olds reporting slightly higher well-being than the 20-year-olds. These are known as the U-bend studies, because well-being through adult life takes the shape of a “U.”

One question we can ask is: how can elders feel better when they are much closer to death than younger people? My personal and clinical experiences suggest that we accept the reality of death, which helps us enjoy each day and its positives more, because we appreciate their preciousness. Pleasure in listening to music, seeing a beautiful sunrise or hearing early morning bird calls elicits more enjoyment than when we were younger.

We live in the “now”. One woman expressed it well in our support group for aging and illness: “My papers are in order, my will and all that. Only, I just got four chairs recovered in my apartment. I want to stick around at least to see how they look with the new covers.” Concerns about career are gone; elderly parents are gone and adult children are on their own (hopefully). Elders begin to see life from a broader perspective than their own personal being—we are concerned about the future of the planet and the fate of our children’s children’s children whom we may never see.

Leonard Cohen. Photo by Rama. CeCILL, CC BY-SA 2.0 FR via Wikimedia Commons.
Leonard Cohen. Photo by Rama. CeCILL, CC BY-SA 2.0 FR via Wikimedia Commons.

At 86, I heartily endorse Cohen’s decision to forego all the illness prevention and screening that made sense in his 50s but not in his 80s when it is not likely to prolong life. For me, that means enjoying the pleasures of food and drink as I choose. My modern vegetarian-ish children chide me for the red meat on the table and insist I should be serving kale smoothies and brown rice for dinner and drinking bottled water with lemon instead of alcohol. My husband of 89 and I enjoy beef and wine for dinner, and we have no plans to change that. As to more wholesome drinks, as a Texan, I have drunk Dr. Peppers since the age of 10. I could easily be a poster girl for its benefits, but I am warned about the dangers I run every day of their poisoning my brain by the artificial “everything” in them.

As to fall prevention, which is a big concern of our children, I understand their wishes to prevent a broken hip, but I love most of my rugs and they are part of the pleasure in my home. I will compromise just so far in taking them up. I will be prudent but not coerced into a life style my children feel is more appropriate for us. My colleague, Dr. Mindy Greenstein, is a psychologist who works with me in a geriatric research group, and with whom I compare notes on aging from our middle and old old age perspectives. I complain that my children act too “parental” at times and I remind her that at 91, if her father eats another latke beyond what his wife deems appropriate, is that really a make or break issue in his survival? Children want to help us oldsters to outsmart the Grim Reaper, and that is very tender. But eventually he wins. So why sweat the odds? We are lucky—and happy—to be here in our upper 80s.

The bottom line is that Cohen has it right about the freedom to do things we want over 80, but wrong about paying too much attention to calculating the prevention risk ratio. The best story to put this into perspective is the old man who went to his doctor and asked. “Doc, if I give up alcohol, cigarettes and women will I live longer?” The doctor replied, “No, but it will seem longer.”

The post Leonard Cohen and smoking in old age appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. GOBBLE GOBBLE MUTHA*****Z






(Yes, she's a chicken, not a turkey. Do not care.)

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11. Happy Thanksgiving



I'm profoundly grateful today for many things:

a job I love, in a city I love, with people I respect and admire;
the readers of and commenters on this blog who provide on-going enlightenment and entertainment;
health, happiness, and the friends to enjoy it with.

I hope you have a lovely holiday filled with the things that make you happy.

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12. PAPERCHASE - spora

Very different from the above Snackpackers comes this more sophisticated range from Paperchase called 'Spora'. This mushroom inspired range comes in black and white with shots of orange and features on stationery and homewares. Besides the main mushroom print there are two complimentary patterns of stripes and spots. All available now at Paperchase,

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13. Picture Book Month: The Great Thanksgiving Escape

The Great Thanksgiving Escape by Mark Fearing

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About the Book: What's a kid to do when it's another Thanksgiving at Grandma's full of relatives? Try to escape to the back yard and the swing set! Can they do it?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Escaping Thanksgiving family drama can be hard for anyone, especially if you're a kid. There are guard dogs, overly affectionate aunts, zombies, and the great hall of butts! Giving a kids-eye view of family gatherings, Gavin and his cousin Rhonda try to make a break for it through a family filled obstacle course.

These two kids who aren't babies anymore but are too old for the teenager table weave their way through family to find their place at Thanksgiving. It's a humorous take on surviving family gettogethers when you're that pesky in between age and can't seem to fit anywhere. Some of the humor I think will be understood more by adults than the kids but it's a silly book to enjoy together and a funny take on your usual Thanksgiving read.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from library copy

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14. French best of the year lists

       There's already been a flood of US/UK 'best of the year' (and the like) lists, but these aren't nearly as popular (or premature) abroad.
       One that's been around for a while is Lire's top twenty -- the best book in a variety of categories -- and they've now announced Le palmarès des 20 meilleurs livres de l'année selon la rédaction de Lire.
       Their book of the year is Limonov-author Emmanuel Carrère's Le Royaume (about which I continue to harbor doubts -- but it looks like I'll have to have a look at it, when/if I can get my hands on a copy; see also the P.O.L. publicity page).
       They named James Salter's All That Is the best foreign novel (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), and Nii Ayikwei Parkes' Tail of the Blue Bird was named best foreign first novel. A Tanizaki was named best audiobook ....

       Le Point is the other periodical out with a(n early) top-of-the-year list -- again headed by the Carrère: Le palmarès "Le Point" des 25 livres de l'année. Salter makes their top 25, too (as does Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch -- a best foreign novel finalist on Lire's list). Of course, Hillary Clinton's Mémoires make Le Point's top-25 too, so .... forget that ?

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15. Kim Visits Baldwin’s Book Barn

Hello, dear friends! Today I am coming at you with this most delightful of posts. I recently took a trip to Baldwin’s Book Barn in West Chester, PA. I actually discovered its existence when our own Wendy tweeted out this directory for independent bookstores and I discovered that I had this whimsical wonder practically in my own backyard! I knew I just had to take the trip. It was also featured in Buzzfeed’s list of the Great American Bookstores. I hope you can find similarly deserving treasures in your neighborhood!       The building itself was built in 1822 and was an actual farmhouse until it founds its new life as a bookstore in 1946. Book lovers have been flocking to it ever since.   This is the main entrance. It has a coal stove because of course it does. It’s a 19th century farm building. I was obviously and utterly... Read more »

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16. PAPERCHASE - snackpackers

Paperchase week continues today with a design range for the young and young at heart called 'Snackpackers'. This is one of the cute style collections that Paperchase do so well featuring kawaii style characters. A lion flies around the world in a balloon meeting animals and foods from different countries. Snackpackers is a full collection with lots of products including as you would imagine

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17. The Magic City (1910)

The Magic City. E. Nesbit. 1910. 212 pages. [Source: Bought]

Dare I say I have a new favorite-favorite Nesbit?! I loved, loved, LOVED The Magic City. I enjoyed The Enchanted Castle. I enjoyed it very much. But it doesn't come close to describing how I feel about The Magic City. I LOVE it so much! 

Philip, the hero, has been raised by his much older sister, Helen. When she marries a widower with a daughter, Lucy, around his own age, he is upset. He just knows that he will HATE Lucy. (It almost seems like he'd feel too guilty to hate his uncle--Helen's husband. But hating Lucy, well, it almost feels necessary.) Philip goes to his new home, and, his attitude could use some improvement. But if there is one thing that he doesn't hate about his new home is the nursery full of toys. At first, he's not allowed to touch anything--not even one toy! The nurse doesn't have permission from Lucy to allow Philip to play with her things. But the nurse in a brief moment of kindness changes her mind. Philip is allowed to play, to imagine. And he does. He builds, I believe, two wonderful cities. He builds them from toys--not just blocks, but all sorts of toys. He builds them from books. He builds with things he finds around the house. These cities are a work of an artist--a creator. But days later--I believe it is days--the nurse returns in a very bad mood. (She'd been called away for personal family business.) She is very angry. She yells. She threatens. She assures him that the cities will be torn down the very next day. By this point, his attitude has calmed down quite a bit. Most of the staff--the servants--like him if not love him now. In the middle of the night, he goes to see what his cities look like in the moonlight...and that decision changes everything. It is the beginning of the proper adventures!

I loved this one. I loved spending time with Philip and Lucy. I love how their relationship changes throughout the book. I loved meeting all the characters, or almost all the characters! I loved seeing the residents of the city. Particularly Mr. Noah and his son. The book is super-fun and just a joy to read. I loved the premise of this one too.
Philip drew a deep breath of satisfaction, went straight up to the nursery, took out all the toys, and examined every single one of them. It took him all the afternoon. The next day he looked at all the things again and longed to make something with them. He was accustomed to the joy that comes of making things. He and Helen had built many a city for the dream island out of his own two boxes of bricks and certain other things in the house — her Japanese cabinet, the dominoes and chessmen, cardboard boxes, books, the lids of kettles and teapots. But they had never had enough bricks. Lucy had enough bricks for anything. He began to build a city on the nursery table. But to build with bricks alone is poor work when you have been used to building with all sorts of other things. ‘It looks like a factory,’ said Philip discontentedly. He swept the building down and replaced the bricks in their different boxes. ‘There must be something downstairs that would come in useful,’ he told himself, ‘and she did say, “Take what you like.”’ By armfuls, two and three at a time, he carried down the boxes of bricks and the boxes of blocks, the draughts, the chessmen, and the box of dominoes. He took them into the long drawing-room where the crystal chandeliers were, and the chairs covered in brown holland — and the many long, light windows, and the cabinets and tables covered with the most interesting things. He cleared a big writing-table of such useless and unimportant objects as blotting-pad, silver inkstand, and red-backed books, and there was a clear space for his city.
And the city grew, till it covered the table. Philip, unwearied, set about to make another city on another table. This had for chief feature a great water-tower, with a fountain round its base; and now he stopped at nothing. He unhooked the crystal drops from the great chandeliers to make his fountains. This city was grander than the first. It had a grand tower made of a waste-paper basket and an astrologer’s tower that was a photograph-enlarging machine. The cities were really very beautiful. I wish I could describe them thoroughly to you. But it would take pages and pages. Besides all the things I have told of alone there were towers and turrets and grand staircases, pagodas and pavilions, canals made bright and water-like by strips of silver paper, and a lake with a boat on it. Philip put into his buildings all the things out of the doll’s house that seemed suitable. The wooden things-to-eat and dishes. The leaden tea-cups and goblets. He peopled the place with dominoes and pawns. The handsome chessmen were used for minarets. He made forts and garrisoned them with lead soldiers. He worked hard and he worked cleverly, and as the cities grew in beauty and interestingness he loved them more and more. He was happy now. There was no time to be unhappy in.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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18. BOBBEE BEE:I AM TOO TIED, TO BE TIED!!!

by Langston Hughes
I am so tired of waiting,
Aren’t you,
For the world to become good
And beautiful and kind?
Let us take a knife
And cut the world in two—
And see what worms are eating
At the rind. 
For Ferguson and us all.


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19. Selfie

It had been a while since I  did a self portait. So what better reason to do one, than a fresh hair cut?
Before going to the hair dresser, I sat down and treated myself to a cup of tea. And after returning home -with bangs- I took out a bic ballpoint pen, and started drawing a selfie. The top half actually has a pretty good resemblance. But the nose, mount and chin are a bit 'off'.

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20. Happy Thanksgiving! Now Go Listen to a Podcast

Joyeux Turkey Day, my fellows!  Between bites of sweet potato and rolls, perhaps it might do the soul good to listen to a l’il ole podcast that’s actually a bit perfect for the day.  The “original” Thanksgiving was between Pilgrims and Native Americans, or so we were taught in grade school, yes?  Well perhaps we should do away with the myths and listen to some American Indians today in one of my Children’s Literary Salons.  Normally they’re not recorded but Cheryl Klein and her husband James Monohan turned one such Salon into a podcast.  Here’s Cheryl’s description of it:

In happier news, the recording of the Native American Young Adult literature panel at the New York Public Library is now available here: http://www.thenarrativebreakdown.com/archives/698. Joseph Bruchac (author of KILLER OF ENEMIES), Stacy Whitman, Eric Gansworth (author of IF I EVER GET OUT OF HERE), and I had a terrific conversation (moderated by Betsy Ramsey Bird) about finding Native authors, the editor-author relationship across cultural lines, creating authentic covers, and the many pleasures of Native YA books. Please listen! ‪#‎Weneeddiversebooks‬

Go!  Enjoy!  You’ll feel happy you did.  They were an impressive crew and kept me on my toes.

TheNarrativeBreakdown aPodcastforWriters Banner 500x194 Happy Thanksgiving!  Now Go Listen to a Podcast

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21. Happy Thanksgiving


Wishing you all a Blessed Thanksgiving. 

During this time (and every day) it is important
to reflect and appreciate our blessings...
Small and large.

For living your life with gratitude blessings will be plentiful!

God Bless!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Farvorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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22. The history of the newspaper

On 28th November 1814 The Times in London was printed by automatic, steam powered presses for the first time. These presses, built by the German inventors Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Friedrich Bauer, meant that newspapers were now available to a new mass audience, and by 1815 The Times had a circulation of approximately 5,000 people. Now, 200 years later, newspapers around the globe inform millions of people about hundreds of topics, from current events and local news, to sports results, opinion pieces, and comic strips. The Times, along with many other newspapers, is now available online, on desktops, mobile phones, and tablets, with a circulation of over 390,000 people. Newspapers themselves date back further than November 1814, to the early 17th century when printed periodicals started replacing hand-written newssheets and the term ‘newspaper’ began to make its way into common vernacular. These first newspapers are defined as such because they were printed and dated, had regular publication intervals, and contained many different types of news. As the technology of printing improved, the spread of newspapers to more and more people grew – it may be said that as the physical printing press was invented, ‘the press’ as an entity came into being.

To celebrate this milestone in newspapers and printing we’ve brought together a reading list of free content across our online resources. Below you can discover more about the history of printing, its influence on society, how computers are used in the newspaper industry today, and much more:

What News?’ in The Invention of the Newspaper: English Newsbooks 1641-1649 by Joad Raymond
How did we find out about news before the newspaper? Before the publication of the newsbooks, the inhabitants of early-modern Britain had to rely on gossip, hearsay, occasional printed pamphlets and word-of-mouth to get to grips with what was going on outside of their communities. When newsbooks, the precursors to the modern-day newspaper, began to be printed in Britain in the 1640s, this, however, began to change. This chapter examines not just the literary and historical merit of these publications, but also analyses what they reveal about a burgeoning, British print culture.

Koenig’s 1814 steam-powered printing press. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Printing and Printedness’ in The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern European History, Volume 1 (Forthcoming) by James Raven
From Gutenberg’s printed bibles in 1438 to the advent of newspaper printing in the 17th century, the social, economic, and political implications of newspaper production and circulation transformed early modern Europe into a more socially aware society. The introduction of new typographical styles allowed for a more accessible and inclusive written history, contributing to a rise in European literacy no longer restricted to the upper classes. Raven tracks the impact of this evolving “print culture” on job creation and industrialization, demographic variation and new literary forms, and geographical innovations resulting from periodical dissemination.

Uses of Computing in Print Media Industries: Book Publishing, Newspapers, Magazines’ in The Digital Hand: Volume II: How Computers Changed the Work of American Financial, Telecommunications, Media, and Entertainment Industries by James W. Cortada
The rise of the computer has been a relatively sudden and recent one, and yet has changed almost every facet of our daily lives – from how we entertain ourselves, to how we communicate with each other, and much more. One field in which computers have come to reign supreme is the workplace, and this chapter examines the huge impact they have had on the world of print media industries, including book, newspaper, and magazine publishing.

Gossip and Scandal: Scrutinizing Public Figures’ in Family Newspapers?: Sex, Private Life, and the British Popular Press 1918-1978 by Adrian Bingham
Our attitudes towards celebrities, and how they are reported in the news media, have changed drastically throughout the last century. During the time of Edward VIII’s affair with American socialite Wallis Simpson in the 1930s, the press – in marked contrast to how they would have reacted today – remained silent. Things began to change in the 1950s, however, as a market developed in Britain for sensational and scandalous stories featuring the celebrities of the era. This chapter then analyses the relevance of the Profumo Affair which broke in 1963, as an example of the increasing invasive investigations undertaken by the industry.

Murder is my meat: the ethics of journalism’ in Journalism: A Very Short Introduction by Ian Hargreaves
Journalism in all forms, including newspapers, must intrinsically be truthful and accurate. Without either of these the trust of the journalist or newspaper is undermined, so codes, laws, and standards have been put in place in order to eliminate serious misconduct. This chapter reflects on the UK phone-hacking scandal and considers the ethical issues that surround journalism today.

Clicking on What’s Interesting, Emailing What’s Bizarre or Useful, and Commenting on What’s Controversial’ in The News Gap: When the Information Preferences of the Media and the Public Diverge edited by Pablo J. Boczkowski and Eugenia Mitchelstein
With the advent of the internet and mobile devices, how does society now read newspapers? With the increasing digitisation of news content, we are starting to consume and interact with news stories in different, complex ways. Taking a closer look at the data behind our interaction with online news content, this chapter analyses what might make us click on an article, and why we might comment on one, whilst emailing another to friends or family.

Headline image credit: Newspaper stack. Image by Ivy Dawned. CC-BY-SA 4.0 via Flickr.

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23. Thank you: musicians recall special ways their parents helped them blossom

“My thanks to my parents is vast,” says Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboist with the Imani Winds woodwind quintet. “Without their help, I would never have become a musician.”

Many professional musicians I’ve interviewed have responded as Ms. Spellman-Diaz did, saying that their parents helped in so many ways: from locating good music teachers, schools, and summer programs, to getting them to lessons, rehearsals and performances on time, while also figuring out how to pay for it all. In addition, there are those reminders (often not well received) that parents tend to give about not forgetting to practice. Ms. Spellman-Diaz received her share of reminders, noting that “at some points, I didn’t feel like practicing. Dad’s going to be thrilled that I’ve admitted that it helped that he nagged me to practice. For decades he has been bugging me to admit that.”

But beyond these basics, when I ask musicians to recall something especially mhelpful that they’re thankful to their parents for in terms of furthering their musical development, the responses tend to focus on how a parent helped them find their own musical way.

Toyin Spellman-Diaz
Toyin Spellman-Diaz as a teenager, during a summer she spent at the Interlochen Arts Academy. Courtesy, Interlochen Arts Academy.

Toyin-Spellman Diaz: The non-musical goal her parents had while looking for a good private flute teacher for their daughter during elementary school had a profound effect on Ms. Spellman-Diaz’s musical future. “They wanted an African-American teacher so I could see a classical musician who looked like me, to show me that there were African-American classical musicians out there,” she says. Her second flute teacher was also black, as was one of the three oboe teachers she had during high school, after she switched instruments. “It absolutely made an impact and is partly why I play in the Imani Winds.” This woodwind quintet of African American musicians was started in 1997 with much the same goal her parents had: to show the changing face of classical music. However, one of her flute teachers was also into jazz. “I think my parents were trying to steer me toward jazz. They would have been really excited if I became a jazz flutist,” she says. But classical music won out, and that was fine, too. “With my parents, it was knowing when to let go and let me find my own voice, my own passion for it.”

Jonathan Biss: This pianist credits his parents with creating an “atmosphere that I didn’t feel I was doing it to please them or because it was good for me. I was doing it because I loved music.” When he was young, he too sometimes needed practice reminders. “But if they said, ‘Go practice,’ which wasn’t often, it was always accompanied by ‘if you want to do this.’ Their point was that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, but if you choose to do it, you have to do it well.”

Paula Robison: After she started flute at age eleven, her father realized that she had a special flair for it and “saw a possible life for me as a musician,” says Ms. Robison. He knew regular practice was essential, but he didn’t want to become an overbearing, nagging parent. So when she was twelve, they shook hands on an agreement: she promised to practice at a certain time every day and if she didn’t, it would be all right with her for him to remind her. That went well until one day during her early teens when she was “lounging around on the couch” during the hour she was supposed to practice. He reminded her of their agreement. She says she angrily “stomped up the stairs” to practice and “whirled around and shouted, ‘Someday I’m going to thank you for this!’” And she has. “I thank my father every time I pick up the flute.”

Liang Wang: When asked what he was most grateful to his parents for, this New York Philharmonic principal oboist says, “They allowed me to be what I wanted to be. A lot of parents want their kid to fit into what they think the kid should do. Oboe was an unusual choice. There aren’t many Chinese oboe players.” But he fell in love with the sound of the oboe. They supported him in his choice. He notes that his mother “wanted me to pursue my dream.”

Mark Inouye: When asked about the best musical advice he received as a young musician, Mark Inouye recalls something his father said to him at about age eleven, after a particularly disappointing Little League baseball game “in which I had played poorly,” says this principal trumpet with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. The pep talk his father gave him carried over to his beginning efforts on trumpet, too. He says his father told him, “You may not be the one with the most talent, but if you are the one who works the hardest, you will succeed.”

Sarah Chang: “Mom understood I had enough music teachers in my life. The best thing she did was leave the music part to everyone else and be a mom,” says violinist Sarah Chang, who started performing professionally at age eight. “Bugging me about taking my vitamins, eating my vegetables, fussing about the dresses I wore in concerts. . . She was always encouraging, my number-one supporter.”

Headline image credit: Classical Music. Notes. Via CC0 Public Domain.

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24. A look at Thanksgiving favorites

What started as a simple festival celebrating the year’s bountiful harvest has turned into an archetypal American holiday, with grand dinners featuring savory and sweet dishes alike. Thanksgiving foods have changed over the years, but there are still some iconic favorites that have withstood time. Hover over each food below in this interactive image and find out more about their role in this day of feasting:

What are your favorite Thanksgiving dishes? Let us know in the comments below!

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25. Daily Doodles

I've been neglecting my poor blog lately because I've been so super busy on some very exciting (but top secret) book projects. More info to follow... So I thought I'd post a few of the daily doodles I've been doing. Unfortunately I haven't been able to post these on the @Daily_Doodle twitter account for some technical reason that I can't fathom, so they are having an outing here instead.

My pet crocodile

 My pet sloth

 Tropical Turkey

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