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1. Health inequalities: what is to be done?

The research literature on health inequalities (health differences between different social groups) is growing almost every day. Within this burgeoning literature, it is generally agreed that the UK’s health inequalities (like those in many other advanced, capitalist economies) are substantial.

The post Health inequalities: what is to be done? appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Your Elevator Pitch

86538827You are standing in an elevator and have two minutes to tell someone about your book. Today we’re going to talk about crafting that one-sentence summary, also known as a logline, a hook, or a one-sentence (elevator) pitch. This is not your book’s tagline!

What: About 25 words that capture your novel, memoir, or non-fiction book.

Why: To get someone interested in reading your book.

When to use it: The start of a query, or anytime someone asks you, “What’s your book about?”

What it does: A one-sentence summary takes your complex book with multiple characters and plotlines and boils it down into a simple statement that can be quickly conveyed and understood, and generates interest in the book.

What it should include:
→ A character or two
→ Their choice, conflict, or goal
→ What’s at stake (may be implied)
→ Action that will get them to the goal
→ Setting (if important)

→ Keep it simple. One plotline, 1 or 2 characters.
→ Use the strongest nouns, verbs and adjectives.
→ Make the conflict clear but you don’t have to hint at the solution.

In your one-sentence summary, try not to pitch a theme. Pitch what happens. Examples of themes:

This book explores forgiveness.
This book looks at the thin line between right and wrong.
This book explores the meaning of independence, and asks if it’s really possible.

Here is Nathan Bransford’s simplified formula for a one-sentence pitch: “When [opening conflict] happens to [character(s)], they must [overcome conflict] to [complete their quest].”

Examples of one-sentence summaries:

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
• A boy wizard begins training and must battle for his life with the Dark Lord who murdered his parents. (Thanks Randy Ingermanson for this one.)

→ Character=boy wizard
→ Conflict=battling the Dark Lord
→ Stakes=his life
→ Setting=none
→ Action=http://www.rachellegardner.com/feed/wizard training; avoiding the same fate as his parents

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
• In the south in the 1960s, three women cross racial boundaries to begin a movement that will forever change their town and the way women view one another.

When Faith Awakes by Mike Duran
• Chaos is unleashed on a quiet coastal town when an unassuming crippled woman raises a young boy from the dead, unlocking a centuries-old curse.

Medical Error by Richard Mabry
• Identity theft becomes fatal for a patient and puts a young doctor’s reputation and medical practice in jeopardy.

Chasing Superwoman by Susan DiMickele
• A successful attorney and mother of three battles discrimination, exhaustion, and a clueless boss while balancing a career, a family, and a life of faith.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. Leave your one-sentence summary in the comments.

The post Your Elevator Pitch appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.

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3. Confirmation Of What I wrote (at last): Did Disney Deem Avengers: Age Of Ultron A Failure?

Ben Bussey, at Yahoo! Movies, wrote a piece that confirms exactly what I wrote a good while back and it's interesting to see confirmation. You doubted your Uncle terry!


I do, however, think that it is stretching things to believe that Disney are going to take artistic creativity more seriously.

Why? Look at the comics and the movie universe.  The movies are good, if nothing to do with the characters and comics that Disney bought.  But there is really only one thing Disney wants and likes and that is money.  The $ versus creativity.  Creativity loses every time.

Can a feature film really earn gross profits of just over $1.4 billion worldwide during its theatrical run - and still be considered a disappointment by its studio?

According to a report at Bleeding Cool, this has been the case for ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ at Marvel’s parent studio Disney.

BC’s sources tell them that “although the film made a lot of money and got okay reviews, it didn’t make enough money. Or get as good reviews as the first. People, basically, didn’t go back for seconds.”

It would seem Disney were hoping to see the superhero sequel break the record set by its 2012 predecessor, which was until recently the third biggest box office hit ever - until that record was broken earlier this year, not by ‘Age of Ultron’ but by Universal’s ‘Jurassic World.’

As absurd as it may seem to look at box office takings of over a billion dollars as a failure, we might note last year’s ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ managed over $700 million worldwide, and was still deemed a series-killing flop.

However, it is important to note that the Hollywood studios tend to be particularly concerned with how well their films perform domestically, and ‘Age of Ultron’ grossed just shy of $478 million - less than a third of its overall takings - in the USA, whilst the original made just over $623 million.

‘Age of Ultron’ was also a more expensive film to make, with a production budget of $250 million - $30 million more than its predecessor. And that’s not taking into account marketing and distribution costs.

 Still, it might not all be about the money. Indeed, it’s quite encouraging to think this could be an indication that the top brass at Disney take the creative side as seriously as the profits.

After all, it is fair to acknowledge that, at the end of the day, ‘Age of Ultron’ just didn’t have the same cultural impact that the original ‘Avengers’ had.

Bleeding Cool’s report ties in closely with the recent revelations coming out of the Marvel/Disney camp that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has disbanded the Marvel Creative Comittee, considered instrumental both in shaping the MCU as it stands, but also driving many directors to despair with their micro-management.
‘Avengers’ writer-director Joss Whedon made little secret of the intense pressure he was under making the sequel, saying the experience “broke me a little.” This of course fueled his decision not to return for ‘Avengers: Infinity War.’

Most notoriously, the demands of the Marvel Creative Committee are believed to have driven Edgar Wright to drop out of ‘Ant-Man.’

With the Creative Committee seemingly held responsible for the (relative) disappointment of ‘Age of Ultron,’ does their dismissal bode well for future MCU filmmakers - notably Joe and Anthony Russo, directors tasked with ‘Captain America: Civli War’ and the two-volume ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ - being able to make their films with greater freedom and less external pressure?

Maybe so - but still, the notion of a film earning a ten figure sum at the box office yet being regarded a let-down certainly gives one pause for thought about the state of things in Hollywood.

Picture Credit: Marvel

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4. Poetry Friday: Wiseguy (A Found Poem)

Athlete of cross work

Lover of up-and-down

Word wonder 2 briefly

Not Done

My source for this found poem was Merl Reagle's last crossword for the Washington Post. I solved it with a heavy heart:

Read the Post's nicely done obituary. And don't miss the movie they mention, Word Play.  Bonus points if you can find the Simpsons episode Reagle starred in, as himself. 

All of my Poetry Sisters are in with Found Poetry today, too. Check them all out here:

Poetry Friday is hosted today by  

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5. Friday Linky List - September 4, 2015

From The New York Times (via PW): Whose Side Are You On? Maile Meloy on writing for children without having them.

From BBC News (via my PBAA board) Aphantasia: A life without mental images

From The Science of Us (via PW): What the Science Says About Kids and Gender-Labeled Toys

From the Huff Post (via Travis Jonker): When it Rains, it Pours: 50 More Picture Books for a Stellar 2015

My former student, Laurie Edwards, hosted Rebecca Colby on her blog, who talked about Writing Humorous Picture Books

At Notes from the Slushpile from Candy Gourley: What We Authors Can Learn from Jackie Chan - GREAT advice!

From The New York Times (via PW): Stephen King: Can a Novelist Be Too Prolific?

From The Business Insider: 10 Popular Grammar Myths Debunked by a Harvard Linguist

From The Telegraph: Authors Patrick Ness and John Green raise more than £18,000 for refugees in four hours

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6. Walk Like a Writer

Observational walking is useful for professional writers and it can be good for students too! This fall, head outside with your students for a walk around your school's neighborhood. But first, read ASK ME by Bernard Waver and Suzy Lee! (Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of this book.)

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7. BEDLINEN - 3suisses

Our next range of eye candy comes from French label 3Suisses where you will find not some nice bedding prints for children but some interesting designs for adults too. As spotted online here.

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8. "Octobriana: The Underground History" launches!

After yesterday's major downer I decided to read a book that had arrived and that I had been looking forward to. ....
John A. Short
Kult Creations http://kultcreations.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/october-fest-octobriana-underground.html
16 x 24 cms
Perfect bound
116 pages,
b&w and colour illustrations plus photographs
UK £9.99     Eur  £11.99  Outside Europe £13.99

'Octobriana: The Underground History' by John A. Short, published by Kult Creations is a numbered, signed, book - limited to just 300 copies... 120 PAGES LONG. LAVISHLY ILLUSTRATED. 

It contains the full story behind the original book that introduced the cult communist superheroine to the world. It also features a full breakdown of all her uses and appearances since - in comics, movies and audio drama... From 'The Adventures of Luther Arkwright' to the David Bowie and Billy Idol connections. 

NEW COMIC STRIP ACTION - written by J.A. Short & illustrated in full colour by GABRIELLE NOBLE (and containing the Devil Woman's full origin story.) And with bonus new Octobriana illustrations by NEIL EDWARDS, HUNT EMERSON and VINCE DANKS . Fully painted covers by SIMON BREEZE. It's going to be REVOLUTIONARY! 

Is the book what I thought it might be?  Well, to that I have to give a resounding "NO!"  As I read through it and looked at the art and images I realised that it was far better than I expected. 

Having looked at the photo of Petr Sadecky I realised that I had met him in the early 1980s at a UK Comic Art Convention. Bearded and full of what the comic scene in then Czechoslovakia held for us and I even got a couple of Czech comics.  I got an address in Germany and....that was it. Reading Short's book I think that sums up Sadecky.

What Short has managed to do is dig out old articles and gather information that lets him cut through the whole Sadecky-Octobriana story which has a lot of twists and turns.  And information on the real Octobriana (or "Amazona") artists and their part in this story.  There is even a stripography of Octobriana appearances in comic strip and film format and more.

Octobriana is a character shrouded in a lot of confusion and more than a few bad rumours.  Short has written a book that has to be seen as the ultimate source-book on the subject and proves people can still write interesting and original books about comics.

And then there is the full colour origin story which really could not be much better and is pure Octobriana from start to finish!

10 out of 10 and highly recommended

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9. Prix Goncourt longlist

       Despite its small payout -- all of € 10 -- the prix Goncourt is the most prestigious French book prize, and they've now announced the fifteen-title-strong longlist. (Unlike most literary prizes, the Goncourt actually has three rounds before announcing a winner -- long-, middle-, and short-list, if you will.)
       The Goncourt can (or should -- Romain Gary proved otherwise, by submitting a title under another name) only be won once -- hence books by previous winners, such as Houellebecq's Submission, were not eligible.
       The one big name/title whose omission surprises most this year is HHhH-author Laurent Binet, whose La septième fonction du langage -- Barthes' death re-imagined as murder-mystery (among other things) -- didn't make the cut; Le Figaro sums up the generally very positive media-reactions to it as "c'est Feydeau chez les «sex-addicts» !"; see also the Grasset publicity page.
       Quite a few of the authors with titles on the longlist have had books translated into English, including Mathias Enard (e.g. Zone), Jean Hatzfeld (e.g. Machete Season), Hédi Kaddour (Little Grey Lies), Simon Liberati (Anthology of Apparitions), Alain Mabanckou (Broken Glass), Boualem Sansal (The German Mujahid), and Delphine de Vigan (Underground Time).
       The most ... intriguing titles seem to be Liberati's Eva, which I wrote about at some length a month ago (and a copy of which I now have; I hope to get to it soon), and Sansal's Orwellian 2084 (subtitle: La fin du monde); see the Gallimard publicity page.
       (The Sansal and the Binet I expect we'll see in English soon (i.e. two or three years); the Liberati ... I'm not so sure, but given the French enthusiasm so far we may well, too.)

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10. Hypertension: more fatal than essential

Hypertension (or high blood pressure) is a common condition worldwide, and is known to be one of the most important risk factors for strokes, and heart attacks. It is considered to affect almost a third of all adults over the age of 18.

The post Hypertension: more fatal than essential appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. Best Selling Young Adult Books | August 2015

Check out our hand-picked list from the Best Selling Young Adult list from The New York Times.

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12. Poetry Friday -- Butterflies

by Avis Harley

The butterfly was there
before any human art was made.
Before cathedrals rose in prayer,
the butterfly was there.

It's been such an amazing experience to have monarch caterpillars, chrysalises and butterflies in our classroom for the past two weeks! They were given to us by one of our building's paraprofessionals, whose mother collected the caterpillars and hung the chrysalises in nifty solo cup viewers. The last of the caterpillars started to make its J today and I overheard one of my students say, "I could just sit here and watch all day!" Another student caught the caterpillar's last voracious eating on video on one of the iPads yesterday. We haven't stopped marveling at the beauty of the chrysalises. Why the gold dots? There seems to be no scientific explanation. Nature just goes out of its way to be beautiful!

If I'm understanding what I have read here, our butterflies might be fourth generation monarchs, the ones who will migrate to Mexico to hibernate for the winter before flying back to start the cycle all over again. This is as much of a miracle as the metamorphosis and the gold dots. What an amazing world this is!

Linda has the Poetry Friday roundup at TeacherDance.

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13. Putting some colours in my cheeks

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14. Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume, 376 pp, RL 4

I was nine when Judy Blume's only novel for kids set in the past was published. Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself debuted in 1977, sandwiched between Blume's better known novels for older readers, Forever and Wifey. Being just the right age in the 70s, I read the core cannon of Blume's books - Blubber, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Then Again, Maybe I Won't, Deenie and

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15. BEDDING - cotton on : kids

I seem to have been featuring plenty of children's bedlinen this week so I thought I would round things off with some Friday eye candy from Cotton On : Kids and 3 Suisses. We begin with the brand Cotton On : Kids which is a brand of Australian company Cotton On, who have stores all over the world. Here are some of their current designs that caught my eye with their bright colours and bold

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16. A Second Chance to Get it Right...

I've got another Skype rehearsal of my 'how to design picture book characters' workshop this afternoon. This time at least I have the chance to spend a bit of time going through it in advance, reading it aloud. It's amazing what a different that makes - lots of last minute jiggery-pokery is needed to make things flow naturally.

The Skype practices are a bit of a performance logistically. I have to use our laptop to deliver the face-to-face lesson, for my producer Clif, in Denver. I need prompt notes though, which will be on the main computer, by the side. So far so good, but I also regularly use examples of my finished illustrations (scans of which will ultimately be edited into the lessons, so the student will see them on screen). Trouble is, for me to see what I'm talking about during the rehearsal, each illustration needs to be brought up on the computer as I go along, squeezed in alongside the prompt notes. It doesn't make for easy, uninterrupted flow.

We haven't time to run though everything (7 lessons at 20-25 minutes each is a long time), so I will perform a single lesson, as a test, which will also give us an idea of how accurate my original timings were. I am either going to choose a lesson on facial expressions...

...or on creating movement, as those lessons refer less to my archive illustrations, which will definitely help. One other snag though, is that I will be drawing lots and lots of demonstration sketches (I also need to make room for paper, in front of 2 computers squeezed onto one desk), but Clif won't be able to see my sketching at all - just me talking away about what I am doing.

There's no way round that really, but Clif says he is mostly interested in the flow of me talking and the timing - he trusts that the drawing demo side will be fine. It's making the talking bit run quite naturally from one teaching point to another, as if I'm just chatting to a friend.  I've got to get good enough at it that I don't ramble, so we can see more clearly how long each lesson will take.

Better get back to it then!

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17. Compassionate law: Are gay rights ever really a ‘non-issue’?

On his recent visit to Kenya, President Obama addressed the subject of sexual liberty. At a press conference with the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, he spoke affectingly about the cause of gay rights, likening the plight of homosexuals to the anti-slavery and anti-segregation struggles in the United States.

The post Compassionate law: Are gay rights ever really a ‘non-issue’? appeared first on OUPblog.

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18. second grade rocks

our school has a really big rock out in front
"Letter by letter, the bigger the better--
Great big words!"                                      --Michael Mark & Tom Chapin

And so a new school year begins, with a change from the tiniest full-timers at the school--the kindergarteners--to the not-very-much-bigger second-graders.  Looking back now at my consternation* over this change, I realize that I believed that 7-year-olds would be simultaneously* less innocent and more challenging* than 5-year-olds, less imaginative* and more conservative* than 5-year-olds, less new and sparkly and more ordinary*.

I must have had rocks in my head.  Second grade rocks, especially in the first week of school!  They do not consider themselves too grown-up to enjoy the same greetings and singing games as the 5's, but when you say "Please line up," they already know how to do it.  They were thrilled to climb all over the big rock, but they were able to stop climbing and thoughtfully describe it. And they are very into vocabulary* and learning great big words as well as different words for the same thing.  Just yesterday we compared vomit, puke, barf and throw up in our discussion of the very few things that might interrupt our work on Independent Reading Stamina.  (We reached 10 minutes by Thursday, without nausea* or emesis.*)  Perhaps "Magic Pebbles" would not be a wrong class name after all...thesey are small and shiny and smooth and powerful, just like Sylvester's Magic Pebble.

You'll understand why the following might be the first Poetry Friday poem for our Poetry Anthologies.  I found it in The Walker Book of Poetry for Children

Flint | Christina Rossetti

An emerald is as green as grass,
       A ruby red as blood;
A sapphire shines as blue as heaven;
      A flint lies in the mud.

A diamond is a brilliant stone,
     To catch the world's desire;
An opal holds a fiery spark;
     But a flint holds fire.

The round-up today is with Linda Baie at TeacherDance, one of the several Poetry Friday participants who generously contributed to my DonorsChoose project.  I'm thrilled and grateful to say that my request for 4 Kindle Fire HD tablets, intended for allowing kids to enjoy the ever-growing array of online read-aloud sites and apps, was fully funded in less than a week!  However, it's not too late to help,  Any additional donations will come to my classroom in the form of gift cards that I can use to purchase headphones and cases for the tablets.  Long live crowd-funding, and thanks!

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19. THE LOST GIRL by R. L. Stine \\ Oh the Nostalgia

Review by Jackie The Lost Girl  by R. L. Stine Series: Fear StreetHardcover: 272 pagesPublisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (September 29, 2015)Language: EnglishGoodreads | Amazon Generations of children and teens have grown up on R.L. Stine's bestselling and hugely popular horror series, Fear Street and Goosebumps. Now, the Fear Street series is back with a chilling new

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20. शिक्षक दिवस



modi ji by monica gupta

शिक्षक दिवस

शिक्षक दिवस और मोदी जी के मन की बात …
5 सितंबर को शिक्षक दिवस है और इस उपलक्ष्य पर एक दिन पहले दिल्ली के मानेकशॉ सेंटर में पीएम मोदी ने बच्चों के बीच अपनी बात रखी.बच्चों के साथ मोदी जी की बात चीत बहुत अच्छी लगी. जिन बच्चों ने आज मोदी जी से प्रश्न पूछे निसंदेह उनका आत्मविश्वास तो आज चरम पर होगा और जो बच्चे कुछ कर दिखाना चाह्ते हैं वो भी इस प्रयास मे जुट जाएगें कि अगली बार वो भी मोदी जी से रुबरु हो.

अब मेरे  मन की बात

मैं टीवी देख रही थी और सोचे जा रही थी कि निसंदेह प्रयास बहुत अच्छा है पर इसी के साथ साथ अगर राज्यों के गावों में शिक्षा का स्तर, अध्यापकों का स्तर, स्कूलों मे बैंच, कुर्सी, और सबसे ज्यादा जरुरी पढने के लिए किताबें भी आ जाए,मिड डे मील सुधर जाए, स्वच्छ पानी और स्वच्छ शौचालयों की भी व्यवस्था हो जाए तो सोने पर सुहागा हो जाएगा.

कुछ ये भी कहा मोदी जी ने

शायद ही दुनिया में कोई ऐसा व्यक्ति हो, जो अपने जीवन में मां और शिक्षक के योगदान को नकार सकता हो। मां जन्म देती है, गुरु जीवन देता हैकल यानि 5 सितंबर को कृष्ण और राधाकृष्ण, दोनों का जन्मदिन है

शिक्षक कभी उम्र से बंधा नहीं रहता है, कभी रिटायर नहीं होता

विद्यार्थी अपने जीवन का एक बड़ा समय शिक्षक के साथ बताता है। डॉ. राधाकृष्‍णन ने अपने भीतर के शिक्षक को अमर बनाए रखा।
एपीजे अब्दुल कलाम हमारे लिए प्रेरणास्रोत हैं, उनसे जब पूछा गया कि आपको लोग कैसे याद रखें, तो उन्‍होंने कहा था कि लोग मुझे टीचर के तौर पर याद रखें।
विद्यार्थी और शिक्षक के जीवन में अपनत्‍व का भाव हमें जीवन जीने की कला भी सिखाती है।
जब मैं छोटा था तब हमारे गांव में टीचर सबसे अहम होता था।
लेखक मित्रों से अनुरोध है, अपने-अपने शिक्षकों के बारे में लिखें
शिक्षक कुम्हार की तरह हमारे जीवन की मिट्टी को संवारकर सही रूप देता है
शिक्षक की सिखाई बातें उम्र भर याद रहती हैं, हर सफल व्यक्ति के पीछे उसके शिक्षक का हाथ ज़रूर होता है।

शिक्षक दिवस की हार्दिक बधाई !!!

The post शिक्षक दिवस appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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21. ‘Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos’ Hopes to Crack Open the American Market This Weekend

Starting today, 'Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos' will screen in Spanish with English subtitles for the first two weeks of its U.S. run.

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22. Hunter: Review

Oh, Hunter. You had so much potential. A book in which all of the monsters of our nightmares, myths, and legends are real and a teenage girl has the magic to fight them? I’m in. A book that’s a sort of post-apocalyptic, futuristic dystopian, fantasy mash up.  How could I resist being immediately drawn in by a premise that promises battle with dragons, vampires, Fae, and all manner of legendary creatures all in one book? Yes, please. Sign me up. Unfortunately, the execution of this idea left much to be desired. In Joy’s world, it has been 200 some years since the Diseray, an apocalyptic event that unleashed the monsters of myth into our world. Society has had some time to recover and rebuild, and there is at least one major city, though if there are more I have no idea. World building isn’t really a strength here. Joy is... Read more »

The post Hunter: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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23. Found Poem in The Scarlet Letter

Our poetry project for this month, cats and kittens, is to create a "Found Poem". This type of poem is drawn from text you find, or stumble over, in any context, that strikes you as rich in potential. Sometimes one can find irony, or humor, or surprising wisdom. Sometimes it's just fun. I happened to run across an old copy of Norton's Anthology of American Literature, vol. 1 on the library Free

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24. Four myths about the status of women in the early church

There is a good deal of historical evidence for women’s leadership in the early church. But the references are often brief, and they’re scattered across centuries and locations. Two interpretations of the evidence have been common in the last forty years.

The post Four myths about the status of women in the early church appeared first on OUPblog.

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25. Erich-Maria-Remarque-Friedenspreis

       The biennial, €25,000 Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize -- awarded by the city of Osnabrück -- has a mixed but generally solid list of previous winners, and they've now announced that Syrian poet Adonis will get this year's prize (at the official ceremony in November).
       This choice has not gone over so well, as folks apparently don't think Adonis has been vocal, or vocal enough, about the situation in his homeland of Syria; indeed, as Kersten Knipp reports at Deutsche Welle: German peace prize for Syrian poet Adonis sparks outrage.
       The offical prize site already features a 'Stellungnahme' (official response) to the criticism on its main page .....
       It'll be interesting to see what follows. Oh, and I think it's safe to say you can strike Adonis from your Nobel-betting-form -- this should be sufficient to torpedo any chances he may have had.

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