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Results 26 - 50 of 1,313
26. Trip to Ireland 2014

Spent some time in Ireland with my best travelling companion. We stopped to edit the final re-write of Bagger Island and spent a morning of total detachment overlooking the quiet water. What a magical place!

More later when we visit southern Spain.

 

Denis

photoDSCN6245DSCN6297

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27. The Family Tree: Talks with Writers on Ancestry, for Tin House

 

The Family Tree at Tin House

 

I’ve always been interested in the ways writers think about family history—and especially about echoes, or the lack thereof, through the generations—if they do, as they work. I’m grateful to Tin House for allowing me to indulge this curiosity in a new series of brief but wide-ranging interviews with authors about ancestry. First up, Christopher Beha:

Maud Newton: When we first met to talk about the essay I eventually ended up writing for Harper’s, you mentioned an ancestral house upstate where your family spends time every summer. Do you think visiting that old homestead has influenced your thinking about ancestry?

 

Christopher Beha: Without a doubt. The house was built by the first Behas of my line to come to America from Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century. They farmed for a couple of generations on land my family still owns, and members of the family continued to spend a lot of time there after my great-great grandmother moved the family down to New York City. So there’s a lot of family history there. There are still some Behas living in the area (though they pronounce the name differently than my family does), and there is a Beha Road not far from the house. I can walk a mile down the road to the churchyard and see the graves of Matthias and Theresa Beha, my great-great-great grandparents, who brought their family over 150 years ago. All of this has influenced my sense of ancestry as something that is still present in my world, even if it is often invisible.

The rest is here. Future interview subjects will include Laila Lalami, Emily Mandel, Celeste Ng, Saeed Jones, and Katherine Faw Morris.

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28. On our way to the THRIFT SHOP…

Today, Lew and I had an hour to kill, before we needed to pick Mose up from school. I decided to run some errands, and stopped home to pick up a big bag of clothes for the thrift shop, as well as a laundry basket full of books…


L
ew did NOT like my idea of donating the basket of books.

But then we drove by a Little Free Library, situated right at Lew’s old preschool, and he said he thought it might be okay to donate a few books to the Ormewood School.   So we did that.

Then we drove a little further down Woodland, and found…. THIS!

Wow, Lew was really impressed with the metalworking!  He rewarded the library with a few books.

We continued to head to the thrift shop, but guess what we ran into, right on that same street?

After that we dropped off the big bag of clothes, and it was time to head back to the school to get Mose.  But on our way we got a little sidetracked…

And then, at the elementary school itself, we simply couldn’t resist…

By now we only had about half the books left!  And when Mose heard what we’d be doing, he wanted in on the fun.  So we drive the 2 miles home verrrry slowly home, and we found…

&

&

&

All on our drive home from school!

Now we were down to four books (which someone insisted we could NOT give away). So we decided to go home for a snack.

But not without doubling back to one of our previous stops first.  Because, as Lew explained, “Mose, you have GOT to see the faucet.”

Faucet? What faucet?

Umm…

Man, I love my neighborhood.

4 Comments on On our way to the THRIFT SHOP…, last added: 9/15/2014
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29. WOMEN MAKE PICTURE BOOKS TOO: the 2014 edition…

Every year, about this time, we start to see lots of posts and comments online about the upcoming ALA awards.  It’s one of my favorite seasons for this very reason. I love following the blogs, engaging in discussions about the frontrunners, learning from what other people have to say.  I like to read prediction posts, and to hear about the mock Caldecott clubs around the country. I like to discover new books.

But every year I’m a little dismayed by how overwhelmingly women illustrators seem to get overlooked in early Caldecott conversations.

To be clear– I LOVE the books that win.  I love the men who (mostly) make the books that win. Many of these men are my friends, and I believe that they are talented and creative and brilliant and worthy of awards. ABSOLUTELY.  Last year, despite all my ranting about gender-bias, my own top pick for the medal was illustrated by  a man.

BUT.

I also believe women are worthy. Yet, somehow, when we start to generate buzz within our own little community, we PREDICT success for men.  Which creates a certain sense of inevitability.

How does it begin? I don’t know. Maybe there are more marketing dollars for dudes.  Maybe men are more inclined to illustrate.  Maybe we, the women who buy most of the books, simply adore dudes.  Maybe men are more inclined to make “Caldecott-style” illustrations. Or maybe MEN ARE SIMPLY BETTER AT ART THAN WOMEN AND I AM WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER SAID ON THE MATTER.

In any case, it happens.  Statistically.

So…

Last year I made this list of AMAZING PICTURE BOOKS CREATED BY WOMEN. It was great fun, and I heard from a lot of folks that they were introduced to books they hadn’t seen before. I know some folks even sold a few books via the list.

So I invite you to help me make a 2014 edition, by leaving a comment below, with your very favorite woman-illustrated picture book of the year.  Please don’t self-nominate or self-promote in this space.  If you’ve truly created something awesome, no doubt someone else will mention it for you!  Just link to your favorite book in a comment, and I’ll pull an image of the cover, and add it below.

And if you’re a list-maker yourself, a blogger or journalist or librarian who runs a mock Caldecott… and you find yourself with a dude-heavy list, consider adding a few women  to the mix. If women-illustrated titles don’t jump immediately to mind, you might want to ask yourself why that is…

I’ll kick things off myself, with a few favorites of my own:

A BOY AND A JAGUAR, by Alan Rabinowitz, illustrations by Catia Chien

LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT of EVERYTHING, by Maira Kalman

TELEPHONE, by Mac Barnett, illustrations by Jen Corace

NANA IN THE CITY, by Lauren Castillo

FIREFLY JULY, by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrations by Melissa Sweet

EXTRAORDINARY JANE, by Hannah E Harrison

AVIARY WONDERS, INC, by Kate Samworth

FLIGHT SCHOOL, by Lita Judge

VIVA FRIDAY, by Yuyi MOrales

FLASHLIGHT, by Lizi Boyd

A PIECE OF CAKE, by LeUyen Pham

10 Comments on WOMEN MAKE PICTURE BOOKS TOO: the 2014 edition…, last added: 9/15/2014
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30. Who in their Right Mind Would Be a Writer?

a-m-boyle Struggling WriterA writer buddy of mine phones up and tells me to meet him on the first tee in 45 minutes.

Say no more.

I love hanging out with writers. I love their lack of common sense, their desperation, their vulnerability, their implausibility. Their impossibility!

Who in their right mind would be a writer?

I especially love watching movies about struggling writers.

Joe in Sunset Boulevard, and Roy in You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, and Henry in Factotum, and Charlie in Adaptation, and The Ghost Writer, and of course Miles (Paul Giamatti) in the film Sideways.

Miles (introvert, pessimistic, depressed) spends most of the story waiting to hear from his literary agent. The news won’t be good. Writers don’t show up in stories as symbols of success. They are setups for failure.

Someone should make a movie of my life.

Forget the first 40 years, they were altogether too glamorous. No, my life more truly started when my 13-year-old son called a meeting to say, “I’m in Grade Seven, Dad, and I’ve attended fifteen different schools.”

I said, “Wash your mouth out with soap,” but it turns out he wasn’t exaggerating.

“Pops, I want you to settle down,” he said.

So I quit shooting films, traded camera for keyboard, and decided that henceforth I was a writer. It was great. I soon became so broke that my son’s mother sent support payments from Hawaii.

Once, I forced my son to accompany me to the Welfare Office. They gave me so much money it was humiliating—rent, medical and dental care, bus passes, food vouchers, extra cash. I had to cut them off.

Though I soon acquired a stable of clients, every November it seemed I was scrambling to pay the rent. I sucked up my pride and hit the streets to sell door to door. Water filters, home insulation, sports videos, memberships, you name it, even vacuum cleaners.

I spent eight hours performing a demo for an Italian household. The extended family showed up to watch and applaud as my machine hoovered that mansion top to bottom. I thought they were going to adopt me. Alas, no sale.

I remember one cold, dark and stormy night somewhere out in Vacuumland huddling in a phone booth, demo machine in one hand and phone in the other as I listened to my agent promise me my script was all but sold. Alas, optioned three times, it’s yours, cheap.

One day the Revenue Department came snooping around to deny me my business expenses. It didn’t take her long to realize she couldn’t squeeze blood from a stone. Lost for words, she said, “Well, Mr. Reece…keep writing.”

Thank you, Ms. Klenck. And I did exactly that.

type-inI entered writing competitions—the 3-Day Novel Competition, Short Story Challenges, Screenplay Competitions, and Pitch-a-Plot workshops. But it is with special fondness that I remember the “24-Hour One-Act Play Competition”—all of us wannabe playwrights sequestered into one room.

Twelve hours into my scenario about a kid who is abducted off a golf course (well, they tell you to write what you know), I thought it would be wise to review what I’d written. I pushed back from my typewriter (that’s right, a typewriter!) and unenscrolled the paper from the rollers.

Typing on dot-matrix computer paperI was typing onto dot-matrix computer paper, you know, a continuous feed. I separated the sheets along the perforations and made a nice little stack which then fell to the floor. Thirty-five UN-NUMBERED sheets all helter-skelter.

I couldn’t organize the pages, couldn’t find the continuity, couldn’t put Humpty back together again. If I didn’t bolt from the room I was going to cry. It was 4:00 a.m.

Walking the streets, I was Miles and Roy and Henry and every fictional writer who ever agreed to let their creator thwart them to the point of despair and even self-loathing. Why weren’t the cameras rolling?

At a convenience store I suffocated my existential crisis with anchovy & garlic pizza. That I was a writer caused the proprietor to reflect on his own life, roads not taken, etc. Lamenting his lack of courage to lead an art-committed life, he said something along the lines of:

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

I knew there was a reason, besides my son’s ultimatum, why I was a writer.

At the same time I realized why I love movies about writers. As symbols of failure, writers depict Everyman at the brink of surrender. The struggling writer shows us what deep down we fear most—that the meaning of a life is to leave our old selves behind.

To be a writer is to have the courage to become unselved.

Spirits bolstered, I returned to the drama den—and damned if my abduction story didn’t win First Prize.

My words since then have earned me a million bucks, which, admittedly, spread over twenty years is a modest living. But I’m proud to count myself as someone struggling to bring forth what’s in him.

Who in their right mind would be a writer? I think that being a writer indicates nothing but right-mindedness.

But getting back to my son—I’d ring him for a golf game except the kid is doing so well that he’s off playing Pebble Beach. Last year it was The Old Course in St. Andrews. Next month Augusta National, it wouldn’t surprise me.

I might have to tell him to settle down.

PJ & son back then

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31. The book this post features—and therefore this post—is not safe for kids or work…

The book this post features—and therefore this post—is not safe for kids. It’s also not safe for work. The book’s about invaluable subject matter: grammar and punctuation. But it’s delivered in a far-from-the-traditionally-dry fashion. Penned by Chris Baker and Jacob Hansen, the co-authors of a similarly entitled blog The F*cking Word of the Day, The […]

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32. Stone Journey. (The Clare Poem)

Ireland April 2012 101.jpg 25 small

Stone Journey

(The Clare Poem)

 

What is it, Anu?

This water pouring across the plain

Of Desmond to the sea.

Down the limestone steps of karsted hills.

Through furrowed fields and into the wild Atlantic’s glare,

Below the sculpted cliffs of Clare.

Rushing now with meter in our steps.

Gunneling. Running, and forever onward.

Why me? Why did you love me back there?

Why did you hide our passion in your shawl?

Why did we venture into the race?

Water and the speed of foam still fill our space.

What made us one within our wetness?

Ferdiad, and the hounds of love

Came bounding out of me and down the craggy slope.

I made it there with you.

We thunder downward and pour out into the plain below.

Anu and I. Loins locked together in the flow.

Karsts bear hard around us. They crack and crumble.

Crushing anything that ventures in their space.

But we have courage. We have the inner power,

Of mystery with the magic, now dark within the glens.

Together we take this solid sight.

And out-pour each other in the stoney forms of our delight.

Denis Hearn 2013

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33. Cats of Many Colors

I have been dabbling with different watercolor techniques recently. This is a sketch I created, then watercolored and inked. I used 150# watercolor paper,  Koh-i-noor watercolors, and a Micron india ink pen.

 

I really like the Koh-i-noor watercolors, as they gave me many options for color combos. Below is a photo of the finished product. I am still in the processing of completion of the new hard drive software, so I will upload it to my gallery when I am able to scan. I might also offer it for sale in my Etsy shop which you can find here. I will announce when I put some items up for sale, including a few coloring books for printing and downloading.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Cats of Many Colors

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34. NEW Ezzere Addition: The Cotter Dandelion Tank

NEW!! The Cotter Dandelion Tank
Exclusive design, quantities
will be limited…
don’t miss out!

dandelion tank movie

Pre-Order NOW!


Sizes




So I have some REALLY exciting news for you today, let me introduce you to the NEWEST addition to the Ezzere brand line!

This gorgeous Cotter-inspired tank channels the freedom and whimsey of the dandelion. Make your wishes, but ultimately follow your heart.

Ezzere teams up with Cotter Crunch for this new design, we bring you a one-of-a-kind design on a chic technical tank top.

This tank is running/fitness specific in cut and material, soft and made vibrant by colors.
ezzere dandelion tank
Pre-Order NOW!

• $38 + shipping
• Sweat wicking tech tee (90% poly/10% spandex blend)
• Sizes: small-large


Sizes




I also really love this latest design because I created it inspired by/for my amazing friend Lindsay of Cotter Crunch.

This begins my venture into adding more performance-based designs to the line. You already love the cozy, uber-soft Ezzere shirts that are great at wicking moisture…these sleek new shirts kick it up a notch. These babies are meant to REALLY do work…get you all the way to race day, toeing the line looking fierce and strong, motivate you to dig to the finish…then in true #SweatsintheCity style rock them the whole day after. ;)

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35. Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods- Persephone

 

Persephone_finalHere I would like to discuss one of my favorite paintings I created for Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods. The Abduction of Persephone.   The story goes like this: Hades wanted Persephone, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, to be his wife, so instead of doing the traditional “Hey, you’re cute, do you want to get hitched?”, Hades decides to just lure her away from the other maidens with pretty flowers. When she wanders off to pick them, he shoots up from the underworld, cracks open the earth and nabs her. Romantic, huh?

There have been many paintings over the centuries of this story, and many of them quite good, but almost all the paintings depict Hades in his chariot whisking Persephone away. I wanted to create a painting of the moment right before the abduction. I wanted to show the two different worlds (Hades Underworld and the earth above) and create the tension between the darkness below and the tranquility above. I was very much inspired by the works of Frazetta, N.C. Wyeth, Arthur Rackham and Maxfield Parrish.

Here are some of the images of the work in progress…

The pencil sketch

Persephone_pencil sketch

 

The painted sketch- to work out light values.

persephone_painted sketchThe final pencil drawing.

pencil

Detail of pencil drawing

pencil detail

Detail of final painting

detail

 

One of several watercolor textures I created for the painting. This one was used to show the roots and dirt below persephone.

texture

 

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36. The Blood Of Olympus- cover art

Here is the final cover art for The Blood of Olympus.  Can you wait until October 14th?  If not, I hope Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods will hold you over. (It has over 50 original paintings I did for it, and over 300 pages of Rick Riordan’s hilarious and exciting text! It comes out August 19th. )

BofO_final_02_flat

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37. Email from the Black Hole

While mucking around Africa in my last post, I ran into Dr. David Livingstone. He was dying as he lived, by the motto:

“I’ll go anywhere as long as it is forward.”

The mail poured in. Readers often tell me what they think of me—by email as much as through the Comments function on this blog.

Mu McGregor Mu McGregor

One such e-essay came from Douglas Mu McGregor, whom I know as an artist, songwriter, and above all an incorrigible truth-seeker. With McGregor’s permission, here’s what David Livingstone’s deathbed scene stirred up for him:

Back in 1982 I arrived in Vancouver by Greyhound bus after a harrowing adventure in Mexico. I had just ended a relationship, I was sick, broke, and miserable. As I got off the bus I saw a large sign on a brick wall on the other side of the road:

“You Can Never Go Back!”

This made me highly exhilarated and incredibly sad at the same time. Going back was my comfort food, my Kraft dinner, my go-to for relief from the pressure of the now. My exhilaration came from knowing I had a blank canvas in front of me—I could do anything!

But why would the Now have pressure? Is it because the Now requires my unwavering presence, and is therefore a lot of work?

Most of us have the same idea about past-present-future. But if you are a forward-moving entity, you have to throw the conventional model in the garbage. If you are in the Now, you aren’t in the past. You are certainly not in the future. But being in the Now is moving forward.

When a contemporary artist faces a large blank canvas, it is intimidating. He makes his first stroke—he adds to that stroke—and soon he has a painting that has never existed before. Einstein said that if he wanted to create something new, he would start from a place he had never been before. This is exciting stuff because it is all newness.

I know a woman who is about 65 years old, who, 40 years previously had belonged to a cutting edge community involved in advanced psychology and meditation. She says the years spent there were the most exciting time of her life. With a far off misty look in her eyes (an indication that one is not present) she would show me photographs and explain how much she loved this time and how happy and alive she was. This was infers that she no longer is.

This is not forward-moving-ness.

My mom died last year. I celebrated her life and I loved her dearly, but if I were to continue poring sentimentally over old photographs and reminiscing about my poor old mom, I can hear her whispering loudly in my ear, “Get a life!”

Enter David Livingstone, who was quoted as saying, “Sympathy is no substitute for action”.

Forward movers are too busy to hang out in the twilight zone of what could have been, would have been, or should have been.

In the end, Livingstone was too busy meeting his maker to contemplate what could have been. Deeply religious, he was on his knees in direct communication with his God. He was in the action of the Now… or was he?

There is little sentiment in a forward mover. I like to say that forward moving is “progressive insurance for the now,” by which I mean that “forward!” is insurance against the morbidity of returning to sentiment and self-sympathy.

People in wartime often express forward-thinking. It’s hard to live in the past with bombs dropping on your head. You are too busy surviving the now to think about anything else. Interestingly, these same people will be forever reminiscing about their wartime experiences as the most alive time of their lives.

The key to being a forward-mover is to be busy as hell, to follow my passion and take no prisoners. And when I die and I meet my maker, with a straight face I can say: “God, I presume?”

That may sound like a good conclusion, but I’m not finished!

The question remains for me—was David Livingstone moving forward on his death bed? Alas, I suspect he was firmly tethered to his God. As for me, I confess to sitting out here in space tethered (umbilical-like) to the mother ship of my thoughts, feelings and emotions.

For me, an appropriate forward movement would be action arising in the black hole within me, from which no thought could escape. From the black hole, only the unthinkable is born…

A pair of scissors! Floating towards me through space!


I invite all readers of this blog to weigh in on my explorations and (often apocryphal) assertions. By email, or preferably in the COMMENTS section below.

 

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38. New Themes: Edin and Espresso

Check out Edin and Espresso — today’s spiffy new additions to our massive family of themes.

Edin

Edin: Front Page

Edin is a brand-new, free business theme designed by yours truly. It’s a modern and fully responsive theme that will help you create a strong — yet beautiful — online presence for your business. Edin offers multiple theme options and supports the recently launched Site Logo feature.

Espresso

png

Espresso is a responsive, content-centric premium theme designed by Justin Carroll that allows you to choose between two charming layouts. Go with a traditional post stream for your writing-based blog, or go grid-style for your photography blog. A fixed sidebar on the right keeps widgets, menus, and social links at the ready for visitors.


Edin is a free theme, and Espresso is a premium upgrade. Check out each theme’s showcase by clicking on its screenshot above, or preview it on your blog from Appearance → Themes.


Filed under: Themes

10 Comments on New Themes: Edin and Espresso, last added: 8/2/2014
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39. Inukshuks

 

 

Inukshuks

Rushing! Whizzing!

Cutting thru the rocky spine of Canada.

Speeding south and sun-bound.

Returning to humidity and hot nights.

Pure crystal clear skies live here

When stones align as little people.

They beckon us home.

Asking us to stay and share our spirits for a minute.

We rush south towards the chaos

And the concrete of Toronto.

A meeting place beside the lake.

Where our native friends called sacred.

Now a social magnet for the other world

To live and walkabout.

Under those hideous wires of so called progress.

We speed westward to the coolness of the vineyards,

Stretching away before us.

We pass below the cool, green maples,

Shifting slowly in the summer breeze.

We stop and smell the air, full of warmed ground.

Tasting the fruit of glacial soil.

We sip at the cup of plenty

And allow our senses

To see this beauty in taste and vision.

The French oak floors beneath our feet.

The sculptured gardens all around us.

We look across the widening lake

And see the mighty dynamo of Canada,

Poised ghostly on the rippling horizon.

Walking now under the majestic maples

Of main street.

 With melded voices

Seated at pavement cafes

We sip at the cup of magic

And meet new friends

With the tembre of Quebecois in their voices.

We walk, with soft hands together

Towards O’Neal at night, as his play

Unfolds beneath our feet.

We walk again and return to our home

On wheeled feet, now quiet for the night.

Softly, together we sleep

And pass another night in our Great Lake space.

The stones have shown us where to go.

Denis Hearn 2009

 

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40. Farewell, One Page Magazine

panda mask

Just about every week for more than two and a half years, I’ve contributed a tiny column about the meeting of history and the present day to the New York Times Magazine’s “One Page Magazine.” The constraints have been considerable — I usually operate in sixty to eighty words, or thereabouts, subject to the vagaries of column breaks and dictates of the stylebook — but within them my freedom has been enormous. When Jon Kelly invited me aboard in the fall of 2012, he said I could write about anything I chose, and he was true to his word. I was sometimes asked to give my draft a second pass, but my subject, no matter how idiosyncratic or obscure, was never vetoed. 

Since then I’ve mentioned essays from many of my favorite literary magazines (including Tin House, A Public Space, the Paris Review, and Granta), cultural websites (such as the Awl, the Millions, and the Los Angeles Review of Books), regional magazines (including two longtime favorites, Oxford American and Texas Monthly), and many, many books and writers, from the well-known to the, in today’s parlance, emerging.  I’ve written about language and religion and sex and depression — all favorite subjects — and about Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Muriel Spark, Ford Madox Ford, Helen Oyeyemi, Catherine Chung, Jeet Thayil, Muriel Spark, Zora Neale Hurston, Daphne Du Maurier, Sherlock, The Sandbaggers, and Doctor Who. Never once has the first person intruded, except in quotes from someone else or the occasional 6th Floor post.

It’s been an honor and a lot of fun to appear in the magazine so regularly, but I’m regretfully taking my leave of the page after yesterday’s issue to work on my book about the science and superstition of ancestry. Huge thanks to the magazine for having me aboard, and to everyone who’s followed my wide-ranging interests there all this time. My last column is about Elizabeth Bachner’s “How to Shake Hands With a Murderer,” from Spuyten Duyvil’s Wreckage of Reason II.

With this shift, I’m officially, formally, indefinitely and probably permanently retired from anything like regular writing about books. (I need all my brainpower for my own work, and I respectfully ask that everyone please, please, please discontinue sending unsolicited packages to me.)

I have to say, it feels wonderful to be reading novels, when I can find the time for novels, as a civilian again. The three new works of fiction I’ve loved most recently are Laila Lalami’s The Moor’s Account, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, and Christopher Beha’s Arts & Entertainments. All are suspenseful, philosophical but not ponderous, and gorgeously written, and all are books that might make you miss your stop on the train. I’m also reading Montaigne, and tons of books on heredity, and I’m re-reading Rebecca Skloot’s outstanding The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

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41. Making “Claddagh Pool” a movie.

My next edit for “Claddagh Pool” will be a screenplay. The movie rights will be available.

Main characters:

Anne: Claire Danes.

Conor: Colin Farrell.

What do you think?

 

Denis.

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42. All our books are now on Kindle Unlimited

beecover

Just announced today Amazon has a new subscription service for e-books called Kindle Unlimited.  For a flat monthly fee of $9.99 you can enroll and download up to ten e-books at one time.  When you are done, just return them and then you can download more.  We know young children can be voracious readers and we are excited about the opportunity to reach new readers with this program.  Now parents can download books for themselves and load up on some quality children’s books too for one low price.  There are over 600,000 titles currently available and they can be loaded onto any device.  What a bargain!

 

Try the new Kindle Unlimited FREE for 30 days HERE

 

MonstersHaveMommies


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43. Billy and the Monster Book Blast

Billy and the Monster Who Loved to Fart by David Chuka

About the Book

Title: Billy and The Monster Who Loved to Fart | Author: David Chuka | Publication Date: January 31, 2013 | Publisher: Pen-n-a-Pad Publishing | Pages: 34 | Recommended Ages: 3 to 8

Summary: In the first book in this epic tale, we discover that Billy loves Monster and Monster loves Billy. They play together. They have a bath together.They even go to school together. There’s just one thing that threatens to spoil their friendship.

Monster loves to Fart!…and everyone blames Billy for it!

Will Monster make Billy the uncoolest kid at school? Will Monster cause an irreparable hole in the Ozone layer? Will Monster and Billy both learn how to behave properly in a social environment?

Get your copy today and enjoy this funny book for kids (and also adults), that’s not just big on laughs but also teaches a valuable lesson for social situations.

 

* Get Your Copy for ~ FREE ~ *

* You can download an electronic copy of “Billy and the Monster Who Loved to Fart”for FREE on the following platforms! *

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords | Kobo | Scribd

 

The Buzz About the Book

“One of the aspects that makes the little children’s books by David Chuka so endearing is that he enters territory and vocabulary that in other circumstances would be either verboten or at least judged inappropriate. But instead of writing a story of questionable taste, Chuka creates some hilarious situations and then makes a point of allowing learning from them…Chuka’s drawings match the joy of his story and once again he has written a brave little book that will greatly appeal to kids – and to their parents! Very high quality work from David Chuka.” ~ 5 Star Review, Grady Harp, Top 100 Reviewer, Amazon

“Yes dear readers kids now have a new friend called the Fart Monster. A buddy that lets them off the hook big time. In this imaginative story by David Chuka your child’s imagination will leap to new bounds in giving kids cover for what comes so naturally. The great thing about this is you don’t have to hold your nose to enjoy a fun story that is sure to have you and child laughing out loud.” ~ 5 Star Review, StevieV, Amazon

“I laughed all the way through this story. I know that boys think farting is funny and I’m sure my grands will love this picture book. Of course us adults have to use some animation, so we can join in the fun. The pictures rock with this simple story, and there are some problem solving discussed and shared with another character. However, the overall problem is, ‘Billy is getting blamed for something you didn’t do’. In the end the problem is solved and the relationship is forever. Job well done. I’m still laughing. ” ~ 5 Star Review, Amazon Customer, Amazon

“This is a not too serious book for kids who love to LAUGH OUT LOUD. I bought it for my nephew and he laughed and laughed and I had to ask him twice to get my IPAD back. But anyway, The book is funny with lots of illustrations that kids love. The illustrations are really good and captivating for a young audience. Not only that the book also gives a moral story at the end of the book. It teaches kids discipline and manners, which is something very valuable in today’s society. Overall good book.” ~ 5 Star Review, Jomy K., Amazon

“THIS BOOK IS HILARIOUS! My 8 year old son stated. He highly recommends it, and also poses the age old question: “Why does Monster keep farting?” ” ~ 5 Star Review, Bkustom, Amazon

 

About the Author: David Chuka

David ChukaDavid Chuka lives in London with his lovely wife and two adorable children. His family are usually the first people to hear his funny and quirky tales. He was inspired to write his first book, ‘If You See a Doctor‘ after he struggled to find a book for his daughter who was a beginner reader.

He’s gone on to write more books including the popular ‘Billy and Monster‘ series, a funny set of books about a little boy and his Monster who get into all sorts of funny situations and learn about moderation, friendship, self control, bravery etc. Young children can relate to Billy and you’ll love sharing his adventures with your children, grandchildren and loved ones.

As a father himself, he has parents at heart when he writes. He recognizes that bedtime has to be one of the best parts of the day for parents and grandparents as it gives them the opportunity to bond with their little ones. He believes you’ll enjoy sharing his stories with your loved ones at bedtime.

In David Chuka’s books, you can stay rest assured that quality and captivating images will always complement the story to ensure your loved ones are spell-bound as you read to them. Beginner readers will also enjoy discovering new words as they read his books.

He would like to keep you updated on what he’s working on and any giveaways he currenty has on offer. Please subscribe to his newsletter at www.davidchuka.com and you’ll get a FREE Coloring and Activity book for your loved ones.

Make sure to watch the video trailers for his most popular books on this Amazon Page and you’ll get a little taste of why his books have garnered more than 300 glowing reviews.

He has so many stories to tell and can’t wait to share them with you and your loved ones.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Google+ | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page

 

* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: August 9, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, David Chuka and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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44. Question for Finbar, if he was still alive.

In my book, Claddagh Pool, Finbar has to make a choice and because he sees no alternative, his decision is final.

If he was still alive, how do you think he would react to this statement from Pope Francis?

Link: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/pope-francis-meets-abuse-victims-begs-forgiveness-church-n149491

 

Denis

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45. BOOK BLAST: A different kind of safari

I’m pleased to be contributing this review to the Small Fry Safari Readers Challenge 2014, hosted by The Bookshelf Gargoyle, specifically under the category “A book with something related to safari in the title”. Click HERE for more information.

 

A Different Kind of Safari Helen Hipp

About the Book

Title: A Different Kind of Safari | Author: Helen C. Hipp | Publication Date: March 19, 2013 | Publisher: A Different Kind of Safari LLC | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 5 to 10

Summary: What do you need to feel happy about being different? Based loosely on real life experiences, this heartwarming and powerful book illustrates how self-awareness, and courage help a young boy named Raymond learn the difference between seeing things as they appear to be and seeing things as they are. Feeling “different and lonely” Raymond befriends a hippo while on Safari in Africa. Unlike other grey hippos, this hippo is pink. Ray is soon carried into a world beyond labels and challenging assumptions. You will never guess what happens next!

 

The Inspiration Behind the Story by Helen Hipp

A Different Kind of Safari inside page

Inspired by real-life adventure, the story behind the story unfolded when I went on an African safari back in 2001. The trip was lead by my father whose dream was to share the safari experience with his family. Little did I know that this trip was going to incite me to write a children’s adventure book but it did.

The storyline made it appearance when my family spotted a pod of hippos and one was pink! My son Ray fourteen at the time immediately named her “Rosie”. Curious and wanting to learn more about this hippo we asked the guide many questions about hippos and hippo behavior. Specifically I wanted to know why the pink hippo stood so far outside of her pod. The familiarity of the guides answer took me by surprise, he explained that “Rosie” was tolerated but not necessarily accepted by the herd because of her differences. As a parent of a child with special needs I immediately felt a strong affiliation with Rosie’s situation as did my son Ray who has experienced his own challenges with acceptance. Inspired, I decided to share the story with the world by weaving them into a children’s adventure book that celebrates differences. The book is entitled “A Different Kind of Safari”. Find out what you can learn from Rosie the pink hippo, and how you can share those lessons with the children in your life.

 

Book Trailer

 

The Buzz About the Book

“A timeless book, that will speak to everyone. To be enjoyed over and over again! A fun, yet very thought provoking story for all ages. If books had a satisfaction guarantee, this one would be on the top of the list. ” ~ 5 Star Review, Adden B. Chrystie, Amazon

“A Different Kind of Safari is truly a different kind of children’s book! The beautiful artwork bring a very special story to life and I am excited the book is now available in audio format for an added bonus while driving kids around town! I particularly love the message of the book, which teaches us to celebrate our unique differences through Rosie the Pink Hippo rather than allow them to keep us from exploring our potentials. I highly recommend this book to all parents and special needs educators in particular. Thank you for writing this wonderful story!” ~ 5 Star Review, missladyjane, Barnes and Noble

“I really enjoyed this book. The illustrations were beautiful. I found this book to be very interesting and it was written from real life experiences. A Different Kind of Safari draws you in along with Ray on his journey to find his happiness and the answers to his questions. I recommend this book to children that are of grade school age but yet many younger children may enjoy the illustrations.” ~ 5 Star Review, Whittle House, Goodreads

“The book has a great story. The illustrations are amazing!!!!! Get this book! All children from the young to the old will love this book. ” ~ 5 Star Review, Mel, Amazon

“A Different Kind of Safari is not only a good book, but a great story! It is not only for caregivers, teachers and parents, but for anyone who has ever felt out of place. A pink hippo named “Rosie” and her friend “Ray” take a journey and explore their similarities and differences on the river of life. Self- acceptance and the acceptance of others is exquisitely conveyed in a fresh, FUN way through this sweet tail. It is a prize for all libraries!” ~ 5 Star Review, Anna Wood, Barnes and Noble

 

Purchase

Amazon (Hardcover) | Audible (Audiobook) | Barnes and Noble

 

About the Author: Helen C. Hipp

Helen C. Hipp, AuthorHelen Hipp’s experience raising a special needs child led her to an M.A. in clinical psychology and certification as a life coach. She began her career as a psychotherapist to help people find answers for their life problems. Her work eventually evolved into a coaching practice, WithinU Life Coaching, focusing on individuals with special needs and their families. Helen uses her 13+ years of counseling experience and 20+ years’ experience as a successful advocate for individuals with special needs by helping them reveal their innate ability to solve difficult situations. Her debut book ” A Different Kind of Safari” puts into words the essence of Helen’s teachings addressing the many questions life asks by offering up lighthearted, ever-changing perspectives that transform personal challenges into opportunities.

For more information, visit the books official website and to see a picture of the real Rosie the real life pink hippo that inspired this story, go to www.adifferentkindofsafari.com

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

* Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: August 6, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Helen Hipp and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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46. BOOK BLAST: The Maisy Files

 

Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for the first book in The Maisy Files mystery chapter book series by Elizabeth Woodrum, “Maisy and the Missing Mice”. Book 2 in the series, “Maisy and the Money Marauder” is coming August, 2014. If you haven’t checked out Book 1, you can grab a copy for only 99 cents from Amazon!

 

About the Book

Maisy and the Missing MiceTitle: Maisy and the Missing Mice (The Maisy Files) | Author: Elizabeth Woodrum | Publication Date: September 24, 2013 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 75 | Recommended Ages: 6 to 10

Summary: Maisy Sawyer is not your average fourth grade student. She is a detective with a special skill for solving mysteries. She loves black and white mystery movies, cherry lollipops, and her dog, Reesie. When a thief known as The Black Boot steals the school’s mascots and her lollipops, Maisy sets out to solve the case. Can she help return the mice to their home in the science lab? Will she ever see her beloved lollipops again? Find out in the first book in The Maisy Files series.

 

 

 

Book Trailer

 

PURCHASE FOR 99 CENTS

amazon buy button

 

The Buzz About the Book

Maisy and the Missing Mice is a fun chapter book featuring a smart and sassy tween girl as the title character; a solid and interesting plot featuring age-appropriate intrigue and suspense; and some terrific writing that carries the reader on a journey as a detective uncovering clues and solving the mystery of who stole the missing mice. I highly recommend this book as a read aloud book for children between the ages of 6 and 10 or for independent readers between the ages of 7 and 12 who love to read mysteries.” ~ Renee, Mother Daughter Book Reviews

“Woodrum certainly knows her target audience and does a very nice job with the character development of Maisy. This is an incredibly kid-friendly story that makes a great introduction to the genre of mystery for newly independent readers. It’s a quick page turning read that encourages kids to think outside of the box.” ~ The Children’s Book Review

“The delights from this book start with the cover art and continue with a fun story that is well-written.” ~ 5 Star Review, R. Johnson, Amazon

“My name is Kat. I am 9 years old. I would rate this a five because I like everything about it, the mystery the most. It was fun to read. My favorite part was the mystery and the end. I love this book so much. I think other kids would love it too because it has mystery and most kids would like mystery books. Most mystery books have a good mystery. I would love to read the whole series.” ~ 5 Star Review, Heather A., Amazon

“What an Amazing book. I totally love it. I admire the author dedication for writing an incredible book. While reading this book, it was very clear that author understand kids. I’ve always been an avid reader and this book is one of the best books I have read in 2014. This book grabs my attention from the very start of the book and couldn’t put it aside till I finish it.” ~ 5 Star Review, KristinT, Amazon

“I knew I would love this book simply because I knew it would remind me of the mystery books I read in my childhood. I really love how much trust the teachers and community as a whole put in Maisy. She is well deserving of their admiration as the way she finds clues and finds the mascot for the school is well thought out. This is a story any child would love to read. I hope Maisy continues to solve mysteries…” ~ 5 Star Review, Josh, Amazon

 

About the Author: Elizabeth Woodrum

Elizabeth Woodrum

Elizabeth Woodrum

Elizabeth Woodrum is an elementary teacher in Ohio. She came to love writing when she was in elementary school, but more recently began writing material for use in her classroom. From that writing, grew the desire to write books for the general population of children and adults alike. The Maisy Files, a children’s series, is the first series that she has published.

As a reader, Elizabeth prefers the fantasy genre, but she enjoys realistic fiction as well. Some of her favorite authors include JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Rick Riordan, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, and Nicholas Sparks. Originally from Indiana, Elizabeth currently resides near Dayton, Ohio with her two pets: a cat named Butterscotch and a dog named Reese Cup.

 

Book Website | Author Blog | Twitter

Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

 

* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: August 7, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Elizabeth Woodrum and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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47. Cover design for Bagger Island

I am also in the process of designing the cover for Bagger Island. This is the fun part of the production of a book.

Color selection?

Type selection?

Should it be all graphic or a blend of visual and color wash?

Should the cover tell the story and put the reader in the location?

I will use a graphic artist to assist with the process.

The story is set on an island so water, rocks, caves, gold bullion and weather are players.

Just throwing this out there to see what attracts a reader  looking for a book online. It will be sold on Amazon.

 

Denis

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48. How Did We Get Here?

If, by the title, you are expecting to read a philosophical debate about the origin of man, you have come to the wrong place, my friend. Portsong isn’t that deep and neither am I. Being somewhat near the ocean, one cannot dig in our fair town without hitting marshy, useless saltwater. Likewise, if you dig into me, all you get is blank stares, a shrug of the shoulders, and an incoherent grunt or two.

I do like blogging, though. It’s freeform nature resonates with me. If someone stood over me and gave me specifics (AKA – school), my pen would quickly run dry. With my blog, I can do whatever I darn well please. Sometimes what I write strikes a chord with people and sometimes a piece stands on an island of loneliness – a masterpiece waiting to be read and appreciated (or not).

I don’t obsess with stats, but I have my favorite thing to check. I like seeing where people come from in the world and how they got here. Many times, the only listing is “unknown search terms”. But every once in a glorious while, I get to see what people Googled to get here… and I laugh at them.

It’s all in the title.

ob·fus·cate [ob-fuh-skeyt, ob-fuhs-keyt] verb (used with object)

  1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
  2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.

 

Everything in red is exactly as typed (misspellings and all)3892771349_0b8c6f5cc7_z

Take for instance some poor kid doing a report on the civil war. He typed: colonel and from yhe south and got to a post about Colonel Birdwhistle from my books.

One kid wanted to know if andrew jackson electable today and found out that I think Andrew Jackson was a presidential man’s man.

Women still Google Tom Selleck:                did tom selleck have curly hair & are there a lot of women who don’t like tom selleck?   I wonder what they thought about:  Tom Selleck owes me an Apology.

Here are some other funnies:

you like a pirate                     He’s a Pirate 

thou shalt now curse          Thou Shalt Not Curse at Missionaries

what dogs get fined when they get runned over              A story of my dog, Winston

leggings via brazil            Prospector Dances & Brazilians in Leggings

stuff under sink at hospital         Hospital 101 for the Incurably Immature

what is irony ice cream     Irony & Ice Cream

I find this one alarming: touching sleeping teen. If their intent was bad, I hope Don’t Poke a Sleeping Teen pacified them.

I have no idea where this person went: meat loaf progeny

By far, my two favorite were these:

This is one search, so I don’t know why the phrases were paired together:

“job physical” “prostate exam”   Either way, I’m sure he enjoyed Shaking Hands with your Urologist

And the chef d’oeuvre! A real gem! The Magnum Opus!

Yes someone got to my blog by typing:

youfart  

Although he hasn’t found the space bar, I feel like Can You Fart at Cotillion was written just for him.

 

 

Subterfuge? Prestidigitation?

I don’t know, I just like coming up witty titles.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Michael Keen

 

 

 


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

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49. Announcing “Editor in a Box”!

Editor in a BoxYou’ve finished the first draft of your children’s book or YA novel… now what?

Or… You’ve revised until you’re blue in the face, but it’s still not quite “there” yet. Maybe you’re considering hiring a freelance editor, but want to make the most of their time – and your money. You might even be ready to submit to agents or publishers… but you just don’t trust spell check.

Introducing my latest resource for children’s book authors… Editor in a Box! 

Whether you need help with any aspect of revision or are ready to put the final polish on your work, Editor in a Box contains everything you need to get your picture book, chapter book or middle grade or YA novel into the best possible shape for submission to agents, editors and publishers, including…

  • A comprehensive 6-step Revision Process, with specific recommendations for revising your story, as well as your storytelling – in video, print and checklist form.
  • A list of Weak, Overused, and Unnecessary Words
  • A “Grammer Crammer”- basic grammar and punctuation rules as well as common errors to watch out for
  • Manuscript formatting guidelines and recommendations
  • Guide to Finding, Hiring and Working with Freelance Editors
  • A complete Guide to Manuscript Submission, including information on queries, cover letters, finding an agent and more
  • Recordings, Transcripts and Takeaways from Interviews with esteemed professional children’s book editors

I created this kit because, as a freelance editor myself, I’m painfully aware of how often writers submit their work to editors, agents and publishers before their manuscripts are truly ready.

At best, this can cause a freelance editor to lose valuable time addressing careless and avoidable errors, rather than being able to focus on the more substantive issues of the work. At worst, it can increase the cost of a project, or even prompt a freelance editor to reject a job outright.

Even more importantly, you have only one chance to submit to a publisher or agent – don’t waste it by submitting work that isn’t 100% ready.

The kit comes in two versions: Editor in a Box for Picture Books, and Editor in a Box for Chapter Books and Middle Grade or YA Novels.

Before you hire a freelance editor, before you submit to an agent or publisher, put your manuscript through a soup-to-nuts revision process that will give you the tools and the confidence to make it sparkle.

Click here to find out more… http://emmawaltonhamilton.com/store

To your success!

0 Comments on Announcing “Editor in a Box”! as of 1/1/1900
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50. How Did We Get Here?

If, by the title, you are expecting to read a philosophical debate about the origin of man, you have come to the wrong place, my friend. Portsong isn’t that deep and neither am I. Being somewhat near the ocean, one cannot dig in our fair town without hitting marshy, useless saltwater. Likewise, if you dig into me, all you get is blank stares, a shrug of the shoulders, and an incoherent grunt or two.

I do like blogging, though. It’s freeform nature resonates with me. If someone stood over me and gave me specifics (AKA – school), my pen would quickly run dry. With my blog, I can do whatever I darn well please. Sometimes what I write strikes a chord with people and sometimes a piece stands on an island of loneliness – a masterpiece waiting to be read and appreciated (or not).

I don’t obsess with stats, but I have my favorite thing to check. I like seeing where people come from in the world and how they got here. Many times, the only listing is “unknown search terms”. But every once in a glorious while, I get to see what people Googled to get here… and I laugh at them.

It’s all in the title.

ob·fus·cate [ob-fuh-skeyt, ob-fuhs-keyt] verb (used with object)

  1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
  2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.

 

Everything in red is exactly as typed (misspellings and all)3892771349_0b8c6f5cc7_z

Take for instance some poor kid doing a report on the civil war. He typed: colonel and from yhe south and got to a post about Colonel Birdwhistle from my books.

One kid wanted to know if andrew jackson electable today and found out that I think Andrew Jackson was a presidential man’s man.

Women still Google Tom Selleck:                did tom selleck have curly hair & are there a lot of women who don’t like tom selleck?   I wonder what they thought about:  Tom Selleck owes me an Apology.

Here are some other funnies:

you like a pirate                     He’s a Pirate 

thou shalt now curse          Thou Shalt Not Curse at Missionaries

what dogs get fined when they get runned over              A story of my dog, Winston

leggings via brazil            Prospector Dances & Brazilians in Leggings

stuff under sink at hospital         Hospital 101 for the Incurably Immature

what is irony ice cream     Irony & Ice Cream

I find this one alarming: touching sleeping teen. If their intent was bad, I hope Don’t Poke a Sleeping Teen pacified them.

I have no idea where this person went: meat loaf progeny

By far, my two favorite were these:

This is one search, so I don’t know why the phrases were paired together:

“job physical” “prostate exam”   Either way, I’m sure he enjoyed Shaking Hands with your Urologist

And the chef d’oeuvre! A real gem! The Magnum Opus!

Yes someone got to my blog by typing:

youfart  

Although he hasn’t found the space bar, I feel like Can You Fart at Cotillion was written just for him.

 

 

Subterfuge? Prestidigitation?

I don’t know, I just like coming up witty titles.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Michael Keen

 

 

 


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

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