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1. Portsong’s Tribute to the World Cup

Portsong will never host a World Cup. Our only stadium is open air, mowed by livestock, and has no bleachers.  It would take too long to mark Hargit’s Field and we simply aren’t prepared for the crush of humanity that such a tournament would bring. I’m not one of those Americans who hates soccer. I really have no problem with it and would be okay if it took hold. With all of the kids playing and international flavor in the U.S., it really is amazing that professional soccer can’t seem to get off the ground.Leon_Rugilo

So what’s the problem? Why does the average football or baseball fan have such a disregard for the sport? Some say it is too slow. Okay, I get that – we like things fast and instant. But nothing is slower than baseball. When you have the league itself changing rules to speed up the game, you know you are in the paint-drying business.

Last week, I watched a little bit of Ghana vs. Germany and think I stumbled on a few things.

First, what is the deal with the goaltender wearing a different uniform? What makes that guy special – either you are on the team or you’re not! If they do that so the ref can tell who gets to touch the ball with their hands, they need new refs. Can these guys not identify one guy quickly enough to call a handball? They usually wear Mickey Mouse gloves anyway, which kinda stand out. No, the refs aren’t the problem. There is clearly some socialistic motive behind the goalie’s garb.

Second, the flopping. It has become a big topic of conversation around here. I have never seen grown, athletic men act like such drama queens in all my days. It is crazy how when their shin gets touched, their arms fly up wildly before they flop, drop, and roll. Have you further noticed that each victim assumes the same paralyzed position holding their knee until they realize the call didn’t go their way? Then instantly, they pop back up and resume play at full speed as if a good, old-fashion faith healer has smacked them on the forehead and made them well. Hockey and Basketball have instituted rules to punish such behavior. Since they have yellow and red, maybe soccer could give a pink card for flopping.

Lastly, it’s the low scoring and the fact that a game can end in a tie. Nobody likes that. Ties are like whacking off the last five minutes of a movie and saying The End. Somebody has to win!

wcI’ve come to the rescue with a simple idea that kills all three objections. Here is what soccer should do. If a player flops, he has to stay face-down on the ground motionless like a kid playing freeze tag until the guy with the big gloves comes over and tags him. Think about that! Empty nets while the goalies run all over the field bringing players back to life means higher scores. Motionless players make for built-in impediments – therefore, more contact – which leads to additional flopping and more speed bumps. Soccer has just become a high-scoring, contact sport, with frozen men lying face down all over the field! Genius.

And if anyone shows up in a different uniform, they have to lay down in the center of the field and balance the ball on their lips as a tee for kick-off. That’ll teach him teamwork.

If I can get to someone with this idea, we’ll have a thirty team mega-league in the United States by 2016.

 

Photo credit: Leon Rugilo


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

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2. The Star-Spangled Banner and We the People for kids

Just in time for Independence Day, Doubleday Books for Young Readers (Random House Kids) has released two new titles by Caldecott Medalist, Peter Spier. He has taken the words of two of our nation's greatest symbols, the Constitution and "The Star-Spangled Banner," and created two sprightly illustrated, perusable picture books,

We the People: The Constitution of the United States and The Star-Spangled Banner.


In We the People, it is the preamble to the Constitution that creates the story.  Short phrases ("We the people of the United States") appear on each double-spread page, accompanied by many small pen and watercolor vignettes relating to the phrase.  On many pages, such as "promote the general Welfare," the small paintings contrast our past and future.  One set of images shows a man with a three-cornered hat delivering the post on horseback.  The facing image is that of a U.S. mail truck stopping at a line of rural mailboxes.We the People has a copy of the original document as its endpapers, and contains a brief history of the Constitution and its entire text in the back matter. Names and images of the Constitution's signers are also featured.


The Star-Spangled Banner features large, often double-spread paintings for each line in our national anthem. The illustrations depict the 1814 Battle of Baltimore which inspired the lyrics.  The first two verses comprise the illustrated story, while the remaining two verses, along with the sheet music are included in the back matter.  Also included is an image of the original hand-written poem, a receipt for the 30' x 40' flag that flew over Fort McHenry (made and sold by Mary Young Pickersgill for the sum $405.90), a photograph of the battered Fort McHenry flag when it arrived at the Smithsonian Museum in 1907, and of course, historical information regarding the flag and battle.  The endpapers feature "A Collection of Flags of the American Revolution and Those of the United States of America, Its Government, and Its Armed Forces."


At 48 pages each, and a sizeable 12.5" x 9", these books offer young readers plenty of opportunity to peruse their many small characters and details. Both books should have a place in every school.


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3. African American lives

February marks a month of remembrance for Black History in the United States. It is a time to reflect on the events that have enabled freedom and equality for African Americans, and a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions they have made to the nation.

Dr Carter Woodson, an advocate for black history studies, initially created “Negro History Week” between the birthdays of two great men who strived to influence the lives of African Americans: Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. This celebration was then expanded to the month of February and became Black History Month. Find out more about important African American lives with our quiz.

Rev. Ralph David Abernathy speaks at Nat’l. Press Club luncheon. Photo by Warren K. Leffler. 1968. Library of Congress.

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The landmark American National Biography offers portraits of more than 18,700 men & women — from all eras and walks of life — whose lives have shaped the nation. The American National Biography is the first biographical resource of this scope to be published in more than sixty years.

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4. Maggie Welcomes Thousands of Visitors Worldwide

Maggie Steele, the storybook heroine who vaults over the moon, has been attracting thousands of visitors from around the world. So many visitors, in fact, that she’s using a time zone map to keep track of them all.* People are … Continue reading

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5. Does torture really (still) matter?

By Rebecca Gordon


The US military involvement in Iraq has more or less ended, and the war in Afghanistan is limping to a conclusion. Don’t the problems of torture really belong to the bad old days of an earlier administration? Why bring it up again? Why keep harping on something that is over and done with? Because it’s not over, and it’s not done with.

Torture is still happening. Shortly after his first inauguration in 2009, President Obama issued an executive order forbidding the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” and closing the CIA’s so-called “black sites.” But the order didn’t end “extraordinary rendition”—the practice of sending prisoners to other countries to be tortured. (This is actually forbidden under the UN Convention against Torture, which the United States signed in 1994.) The president’s order didn’t close the prison at Guantánamo, where to this day, prisoners are held in solitary confinement. Periodic hunger strikes are met with brutal force feeding. Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel described the experience in a New York Times op-ed in April 2013:

I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before.

Nor did Obama’s order address the abusive interrogation practices of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) which operates with considerably less oversight than the CIA. Jeremy Scahill has ably documented JSOC’s reign of terror in Iraq in Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. At JSOC’s Battlefield Interrogation Facility at Camp NAMA (which reportedly stood for “Nasty-Ass Military Area”) the motto—prominently displayed on posters around the camp—was “No blood, no foul.”

Torture also continues daily, hidden in plain sight, in US prisons. It is no accident that the Army reservists responsible for the outrages at Abu Ghraib worked as prison guards in civilian life. As Spec. Charles A. Graner wrote in an email about his work at Abu Ghraib, “The Christian in me says it’s wrong, but the corrections officer in me says, ‘I love to make a grown man piss himself.’” Solitary confinement and the ever-present threat of rape are just two forms of institutionalized torture suffered by the people who make up the world’s largest prison population. In fact, the latter is so common that on TV police procedurals like Law & Order, it is the staple threat interrogators use to prevent a “perp” from “lawyering up.”

We still don’t have a full, official accounting. As yet we have no official government accounting of how the United States has used torture in the “war on terror.” This is partly because so many different agencies, clandestine and otherwise, have been involved in one way or another. The Senate Intelligence Committee has written a 6,000-page report just on the CIA’s involvement, which has never been made public, although recent days have seen moves in this direction. Nor has the Committee been able to shake loose the CIA’s own report on its interrogation program. Most of what we do know is the result of leaks, and the dogged work of dedicated journalists and human rights lawyers. But we have nothing official, on the level, say, of the 1975 Church Committee report on the CIA’s activities in the Vietnam War.

Frustrated because both Congress and the Obama administration seemed unwilling to demand a full accounting, the Constitution Project convened a blue-ribbon bipartisan committee, which produced its own damning report. Members included former DEA head Asa Hutchinson, former FBI chief William Sessions, and former US Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering. The report reached two important conclusions: (1) “[I]t is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture,” and (2) “[T]he nation’s highest officials bear some responsibility for allowing and contributing to the spread of torture.”

No high-level officials have been held accountable for US torture. Only enlisted soldiers like Charles Graner and Lynndie England have done jail time for prisoner abuse in the “war on terror.” None of the “highest officials” mentioned in the Detainee Task Force report (people like Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush) have faced any consequences for their part in a program of institutionalized state torture. Early in his first administration, President Obama argued that “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past,” but this is not true. Laying blame for the past (and the present) is a precondition for preventing torture in the future, because it would represent a public repudiation of the practice. What “will be gained” is the possibility of developing a public consensus that the United States should not practice torture any longer. Such a consensus about torture does not exist today.

Tolerating torture corrupts the moral character of the nation. We tend to think of torture as a set of isolated actions—things desperate people do under desperate circumstances. But institutionalized state torture is not an action. It is an ongoing, socially-embedded practice. It requires an infrastructure and training. It has its own history, traditions, and rituals of initiation. And—importantly—it creates particular ethical habits in those who practice it, and in any democratic nation that allows it.

Since the brutal attacks of 9/11/2001, people in this country have been encouraged to be afraid. Knowing that our government has been forced to torture people in order to keep us safe confirms the belief that each of us must be in terrible danger—a danger from which only that same government can protect us. We have been encouraged to accept any cruelty done to others as the price of our personal survival. There is a word for the moral attitude that sets personal safety as its highest value: cowardice. If as a nation we do not act to end torture, if we do not demand a full accounting from and full accountability for those responsible, we ourselves are responsible. And we risk becoming a nation of cowards.

Rebecca Gordon received her B.A. from Reed College and her M.Div. and Ph.D. in Ethics and Social Theory from Graduate Theological Union. She teaches in the Department of Philosophy and for the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of Letters From NicaraguaCruel and Usual: How Welfare “Reform” Punishes Poor People, and Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States.

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6. Easter rites of initiation bring good news for American Catholics

By David Yamane


For many Catholics in America, waking up in the morning to find no news about the church is a relief. They won’t have to deal with stories about the lingering stench of the priest sexual abuse scandal, the consolidation of parishes and closing of schools, controversy over Catholic hospitals and the loss of Catholic youth, fewer and older nuns and more and younger “nones.”

But what if no news was not the only good news? What if Catholics turned on their TVs and opened their papers on Easter Sunday and heard some real good news instead?

Photo of family watching tv

Family watching television 1958. Image credit: CC 2.0 via Flickr.

At Easter Vigil Masses on Saturday night, 19 April, something truly remarkable will take place. Tens of thousands of adults in thousands of parishes across the United States became Catholic. For most of them, this rite of passage is the climax of a months- (and in some cases years-) long process of formation called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).

As I have written previously, the implementation of this modernized ancient process of initiation is an excellent example of the contemporary re-invention of rites of passage and a fruitful legacy of the Second Vatican Council. It is a Catholic success story.

Sign reserving pews for the Catechumens.

Sign reserving pews for the Catechumens. Photo by John Ragai. CC 2.0 via Flickr.

Although based on a single, universal ritual text, the way the RCIA process is implemented differs from parish to parish. We do well to remember a variant on Tip O’Neill’s quip that “all politics is local.” All Catholicism is local. In some parishes we find elaborate and beautiful rituals, rich with fragrant oils and soaring hymns and full body immersion in the waters of baptism. In some parishes, we see minimalistic ceremonies that strain the use of the term ritual.

Regardless of the quality of the celebration, however, through the sacraments of initiation—baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist—individuals become Catholic. When the officiating minister speaks the words and performs the actions of the sacraments—“I baptize you…” and “Be sealed…” and “Receive the Body of Christ”—from the perspective of the church, they have the intended effect. It does not matter if the priest says the words excitedly, sincerely, or in a monotone while yawning under his breath. It does not matter if a team of 20 catechists and thousands of parishioners welcome the new Catholic warmly and profusely, or if a single deacon rushes through a minimalistic ceremony while a few dozen assembled individuals wait impatiently for communion. It does not matter if the symbols of the initiation ceremony are rich or sparse. An individual who receives the sacraments of initiation in a Catholic Church is a Catholic. The individual now can check the “Catholic” box, join a parish, receive communion, get married in the church, and so on.

Pink Floyd album cover

Dark Side of the Moon album cover. Via pinkfloyd.com.

This fact reminds us that, at the same time that all Catholicism is local, we can also say that no Catholicism is only local. Without the universal church, there would be no RCIA process in local parishes. The Vatican II document Sacrosanctum Concilium (promulgated in 1963) led to the editio typica of the Ordo Initiationis Christianae Adultorum (issued in 1972), which led to the vernacular typical edition of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (published in 1988), which has gradually been implemented in US parishes. Understanding this movement from universal to local is important. I think of this as being like the image on the cover of Pink Floyd’s album, “Dark Side of the Moon.” The album cover shows a beam of white light hitting a triangular prism, which refracts it to create a rainbow of colors. The culture and resources of local parishes do act as prisms, but without the light, you have no rainbow.

With unprecedented opportunities to choose a religion (or no religion) and to choose how to practice that religion (or not practice), the fact that tens of thousands of people still voluntarily chose Catholicism again this year is indeed good news for American Catholics.

David Yamane teaches sociology at Wake Forest University and is author of Becoming Catholic: Finding Rome in the American Religious Landscape. He is currently exploring the phenomenon of armed citizenship in America as part of what has been called “Gun Culture 2.0″—a new group of individuals (including an increasing number of women) who have entered American gun culture through concealed carry and the shooting sports. He blogs about this at Gun Culture 2.0. Follow him on Twitter @gunculture2pt0.

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7. Discouraged and Disjointed

maths

maths (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

While I was on Facebook this morning, I read a short conversation that took place yesterday between two of my closer friends; one from years past and close to my heart, the other newly formed and also close enough to hear my heartbeat.

What struck me as interesting was the subject of their discussion. They talked about poetry. Not just any poetry, but about well-known Sufi poets, both those of many decades or more past, as well as those of more contemporary times.

That subject isn’t one you can find lying around the average library when seeking good reading material. It struck me as relevant, too, that my older friend hasn’t been reading from these poets for very long. He’d discovered them after taking a recommendation from a newer acquaintance. An early morning discussion of Sufi philosophy isn’t usual FB fare, but it happens sometimes between educated people.

I realize that this doesn’t seem significant to the average reader. What makes it significant is that it came on the heels of a report I read this past week on the Illiteracy Reality that was released recently. The numbers on that report would make anyone stand up and protest or sit down in total discouragement.

According to the latest and greatest research, the current number of American adults, classified as functionally illiterate increases by 2.25 million each year.

Stop and think about that for just one second. It equates to having an equivalent population to the city of St. Louis joining the ranks of those who’re reading below a 5th grade level. The number of people who are able to do routine math is even more dismal.

Here’s another factoid for you. When I worked corporate, albeit many years ago for one of the Fortune 500, I was asked to simplify my internal memos. Why? Because, my informant replied, the language structure accepted by upper echelon never exceeds 8th grade reading level. Everyone else, used 5th grade level to communicate.

I was stunned, to say the least. I suppose it comes from jargon needs. Jargon? Oh yeah. Every industry as its own jargon/language. Even fast food joints. This verbal shorthand makes communicating between employees faster, easier, and less likely to confuse the employees.

My question i

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8. Holiday Enjoyment

Happiness mind-map

Happiness mind-map (Photo credit: EEPaul)

This will be a short posting today. It is, after all the day before a large holiday weekend. To that end, I’m going to take most of today off to enjoy nature and see something besides the four walls of what I laughingly call my office.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who stops by this site. You read my words, and many take the chance to leave your own behind. The exchange is good for me, and I hope, for you as well.

Many of you are new to this neck of the woods. I’m glad you’ve decided to make this station a regular stop on your weekly sojourn around the cyber world. I’m also happy that I’ve provided material which has stirred conversation, discussion, debate and, for some, pleasure enough to click the “LIKE” button. In my book, you all deserve a medal.

THANK YOU, all of you.

Here’s hoping you all have a fantastic weekend of fun and family joys. I may take today off, but the rest of the weekend is a working holiday for me. Enjoy yourselves out there at the park, the lake, the beach and stay safe to return next week.

I’ll see you then. A bientot,

Claudsy

 


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9. Positive and Negative Perspectives

Satire on false perspective, showing all of th...

Satire on false perspective, showing all of the common mistakes artists make in perspective, by Hogarth, 1753 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People talk about attitudes every day. The subject is always revealing. This morning I came up against it yet again, but in a different way. Let me explain.

I was brushing my teeth a while ago when I heard the toilet flush. Ours is a split bath with the lavatory separate from tub and toilet. I was startled because I’d not noticed Sister moving past me, either going or coming back.

I immediately inquired if she’d done so, to which she said, “Of course!”

Color me surprised. I replied, “I must have been really focused, since I didn’t notice you walking past me.”

Her response was, “Oblivious would be a good choice of word, too.”

I’ll tell you what I told her. “I choose to take a positive stance on this one, rather than see it as negative.”

This whole exchange may sound silly, but it addresses an everyday choice we make as humans. I prefer to think of the episode as “being focused.” The opposite take is “being oblivious.” I was focused on what I was doing and what I was thinking at the time; which just happened to be what I was going to write for this blog post today.

Sister considered it as less aware. One the one hand, she’s correct. I was unaware of her presence behind me and of her proximate activity. From her perspective, what I was doing took little thought and, therefore, I should have noticed her movements.

At the same time, my perspective informs me of my concentrative ability to screen out irrelevant activity while working on the mental plane. This does not happen when I’m in unfamiliar terrain or in uncertain situations. I see it as indicative of how safe and secure I feel in my own home.

Different perspectives? Certainly. Different attitudes? Again, yes, though those attitudes are informed by expectations as well. My expectation was of safety in my home. Hers revolved around momentary awareness of my surroundings.

When we move around our world, we carry expectations, and perspectives based on them, with us and draw conclusions from those factors. Whether those conclusions are viewed as correct are, for wont of another explanation, dependent on how other individuals interpret those conclusions.

The behavior of the world’s populace is based on these factors. Until consensus of perspective arises, there can be little hope for consensus of behavior. At least, that’s how I see it.

If one small action—my brushing my teeth and not noticing someone move behind me—creates a schism between positive and negative interpretation, how much more dramatic are divisions surrounding vast actions?

Give me your thoughts on this question. How do you see perspective and its role in the daily behavior of those two-legged creatures called humans? Leave a comment below and join the discussion.

Until then, a bientot,

Claudsy

10. Positive and Negative Perspectives

Satire on false perspective, showing all of th...

Satire on false perspective, showing all of the common mistakes artists make in perspective, by Hogarth, 1753 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People talk about attitudes every day. The subject is always revealing. This morning I came up against it yet again, but in a different way. Let me explain.

I was brushing my teeth a while ago when I heard the toilet flush. Ours is a split bath with the lavatory separate from tub and toilet. I was startled because I’d not noticed Sister moving past me, either going or coming back.

I immediately inquired if she’d done so, to which she said, “Of course!”

Color me surprised. I replied, “I must have been really focused, since I didn’t notice you walking past me.”

Her response was, “Oblivious would be a good choice of word, too.”

I’ll tell you what I told her. “I choose to take a positive stance on this one, rather than see it as negative.”

This whole exchange may sound silly, but it addresses an everyday choice we make as humans. I prefer to think of the episode as “being focused.” The opposite take is “being oblivious.” I was focused on what I was doing and what I was thinking at the time; which just happened to be what I was going to write for this blog post today.

Sister considered it as less aware. One the one hand, she’s correct. I was unaware of her presence behind me and of her proximate activity. From her perspective, what I was doing took little thought and, therefore, I should have noticed her movements.

At the same time, my perspective informs me of my concentrative ability to screen out irrelevant activity while working on the mental plane. This does not happen when I’m in unfamiliar terrain or in uncertain situations. I see it as indicative of how safe and secure I feel in my own home.

Different perspectives? Certainly. Different attitudes? Again, yes, though those attitudes are informed by expectations as well. My expectation was of safety in my home. Hers revolved around momentary awareness of my surroundings.

When we move around our world, we carry expectations, and perspectives based on them, with us and draw conclusions from those factors. Whether those conclusions are viewed as correct are, for wont of another explanation, dependent on how other individuals interpret those conclusions.

The behavior of the world’s populace is based on these factors. Until consensus of perspective arises, there can be little hope for consensus of behavior. At least, that’s how I see it.

If one small action—my brushing my teeth and not noticing someone move behind me—creates a schism between positive and negative interpretation, how much more dramatic are divisions surrounding vast actions?

Give me your thoughts on this question. How do you see perspective and its role in the daily behavior of those two-legged creatures called humans? Leave a comment below and join the discussion.

Until then, a bientot,

Claudsy

11. TP Authors: Amanda J Ward


Amanda says, “Thank you for having me on your blog today. I really appreciate it.
I guess when it comes to promoting myself, I am the woman in the corner of a room with a glass of fizz holding a bookmark, hoping someone will notice.
So here's my bookmark, and I'm drinking a mug of tea!
My name is Amanda J Ward and I am the author of The Thrilling Adventures of Pann Haggerty; a short story series about an Englishwoman of a 'certain' age who takes a year off to travel around America in an RV in search of new experiences and perhaps love. They are fun and quirky, and the best compliments I have had is that my mother, mother in law and daughter have read them. Which is really amazing.


I have a full length novel out in September called Without Saying A Word.
The good guy gets his girl! After being in love with his older neighbour Laura since they met a year ago, Rhean Tate, Viscount Kirkleigh seizes his chance to make her his, when her past reappears threatening her and her children’s safety. This thirty-four year old male virgin, whisks her into marriage vowing to protect and cherish Laura and her family, with his name and noble family connections.
Will Laura feel overwhelmed by Rhean and run away. Her abusive marriage left her with scars on the inside as well as on the outside, or will she allow her barriers to crumble and be the woman and wife they both deserve.
I live in England with my husband, our three young children and two mad cats called Arthur and Merlin. I write mostly romance, but am dipping my toes in a few uncertain waters such as a regency time-shift which is all planned out. This is the first story in the Fitzroyal novels set around three siblings and their widowed mother.
A couple of years ago I entered New Voices run by M&B. I also entered last year with Her Reverend Majesty, about a vicar who marries a king of a foreign country and has to choose between her vocation or love. Unfortunately, although a lot of people were complimentary, it didn't make the final. So, later on that year I joined NANO where Laura and Rhean's story was being written. I managed to finish it early this year and I had an R&R from one publisher. However, when I was asked by Trestle to submit, I got an immediate response that they could have it. Roll on September when Bonkers in Bostonand Without Saying a Wordcome out.
I'm by no means a regular writer. I don't have a set time of day when I can write. Each day in my home is completely different as to how, when and if I can get anything done. The past few weeks have been manic as the kids have been off school. It's only now in the week before they go back, that I am able to catch up and do reviews etc.
I am a HUGE reader. I have been reading since I can remember, and there were times when I am sure my mother despaired at me for hoarding books under my bed. Before my father died, we used to go to the library together every Saturday, with me trotting after him pulling the shopping trolley. He would fill it up with war books. My grandmother was a reader of romantic fiction. I found some in her spare room one day when I was eight and snooping. Since then I have been hooked. My favourite series is still the Temptationline of Harlequin books, but there are authors I am exceptionally loyal to. I adore historical fiction and royalty books. I have DVDs about them and biographies lining my bookcase. Phillippa Gregory, Anne O'Brien, Marguerite Kaye, Michelle Willingham and Sophie Perinot top my list there.
My influences writing wise come from my friends, and also what I like to read and watch. I am a HUGE Gilmore Girls, Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Sci Fi and Big Bang Theory fan.
When I write Pann, for some reason, I see it as a sitcom. I think that's the best way to describe the series, and I like working to a deadline for some reason. The worst thing about me is that I procrastinate like mad. It is really dreadful. Finding other things to do rather than sit in front of the screen and get words to appear on it from my head. For some reason I love working in peace and quiet. I guess it's because I talk to myself when I type and the looks I get from my children and husband, and the cats too are very offputting.  Yes, there are days when I feel I have no talent for writing and that what I do is absolute rubbish. How do I cope? I walk away from what I'm doing for a time.
Any advice? Don't give up.


Here is an teaser from Pann Haggerty Volume Three Bonkers In Boston.
Hope you enjoy it!.


When Joe came back to the meeting house for her less than half an hour later. He was laden down with bags. Hoping he got the right things for her, upon seeing the sight before him, stopped dead, lifted his face to the sky and whispered
"Oh Jeez not this. Not here. Not now"
For standing on the steps was Pann. She had a union jack cap on her head and and a frilly apron around her. She was handing out slices of cake and plastic cups of tea to anyone that would take it. A broad smile lit up her pixie like face and she was obviously having a fantastic time. Laughing and chatting to tourists and residents alike.
"What do you think you are doing Crazy Lady?" Joe said slowly.
"Well, duh" Pann mocked him. "What does it look like. I'm having a tea party. Where better to have one. Than here!" She announced taking a bow. Cutting a piece of sunken, lopsided cake, Pann put it on a napkin and handed it to Joe.
"I knew you were up to something" Joe muttered taking a bite of the cake. It tasted much better than it looked.
"You can't have a tea party without cake" Pann said stubbornly.
Joe took a deep breath.
"Wrong revolution darlin. That was the French one" He informed her.
"And the tea party?" asked Pann, totally confused by all the history being thrown at her.
"To do with taxing of tea. Crates of it were thrown overboard and into the river"
"What an absolute waste of perfectly good tea" Pann sniffed. She sat down with her own cup and munched on her cake.
Joe couldn't resist taking a photograph of her.
"Say Tea Party" he teased. Pann stuck her tongue out at him. Joe continued taking photographs anyway.  She pulled up her jeans at one point exposing red socks.
"Pann what are you wearing?"
"Red socks. You said Boston was the home of the red socks. So I am wearing them because I'm in Boston".
"Pann, you crazy Englishlady. When I said Boston was home to the red socks, I meant the Red Sox. A baseball team" Joe said slowly and carefully so she would understand.
"Baseball" Pann thought for a moment. "Is that like rounders?"
"You have to be kidding me! You've never heard of baseball?" Joe's voice was incredulous.
"Of course I have. You hit a ball with a round stick. Then run around the field and touch bases. That's rounders" The tone of her voice dared him to argue the toss.
"What about football?" Joe decided to open the can all the way.
"Rugby" Pann countered
"Soccer?"
"Football" Pann was evidently enjoying her banter with him.
He sat down on the steps and put his head in his hands.
"Save me from crazy Englishwomen" He pleaded to no-one in particular.
"Sorry pal. You're on your own" Came a retort from a passer by.
Pann sat down beside him and snuggled up. She gave a sigh of happiness.
"That was fun" She giggled girlishly sipping another cup of tea.


Well there you go. A sneak peek at what Pann is like. If you want to read more, you can catch up with Pann on these links.






My website, Kooks Nook: http://kooks-kooksnook.blogspot.co.uk/

And of course, email me at mrsajward@hotmail.com

Thanks for having me and hope to hear from readers soon!"

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12. Christmas at the White House

Today would have been Lady Bird Johnson’s 100th birthday. In honor of her and the season, we wanted to share one of Lady Bird’s Christmas recollections, as told to Michael Gillette in Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History.

ENTERTAINING AT THE RANCH

As the first Christmas at the ranch approached, it was wonderful in a way, but we really hadn’t gotten the house fixed up very much. But we put a wreath on the front gate. We had all the family, and Lyndon assumed the role of paterfamilias. I guess it was just a few days before Christmas that we got everybody out there. Of course, the queen of the occasion—for Lyndon and for me, too—was his mama, but from the remaining children of Lyndon’s father’s siblings, all of those that were still living were there. There were at least three generations there. I think there were twenty-one of us in all. Lyndon sat at the big table that had arrived. All the leaves were put in. We had rolls of pictures made.


Did this family gathering reminded him of earlier ones when he was a youth growing up?

Oh, you know it had to be, and I’m sure that was exactly why he wanted to do it. He remembered all of those, and he wanted to assume the role and gather the clan. I just wish I had done better by it and had had the house all aglow with flowers and fat, comfortable furniture. There was our rather bedraggled-looking Christmas tree, which the children and I actually decorated together. It didn’t profit too much from our inexpert fingers. Then we took pictures by the front door, which had a wreath on it, too. It was a big picture-taking session, and I cherish every one.

My own family came to spend Thanksgiving with us at the ranch in 1953. Daddy and his wife, Ruth; my brother Tommy; and Sarah, his wife. Tony, the one with whom I felt the closet affinity of all, and Matiana. There were our children, sitting down crossed-legged, on the grounds in front of us, in the front yard of the ranch. I’m a little bit too plump, which doesn’t speak well for me. There’s a warmth in looking back and seeing Tommy’s and Tony’s faces, even if it is the occasion of a great big deer hunt and they have their kill propped up in front of them, and in seeing Daddy with his three children by the fi replace. I’m glad they shared this old house with us some.

Michael L. Gillette directed the LBJ Library’s Oral History Program from 1976 to 1991. He later served as director of the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives and is currently the executive director of Humanities Texas in Austin. He is the author of Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History and Launching the War on Poverty: An Oral History.

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Image credit: From the Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History, Original in the LBJ Library. Public domain.

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13. What does the future hold for international arbitration?

How can we outline the discussion on the law and practice of international arbitration? What is the legal process for the drafting of the arbitration agreements or the enforcement of arbitral awards? Long-time international arbitrators Constantine Partasides, Alan Redfern, and Martin Hunters — co-authors of Redfern and Hunter on International Arbitration: Fifth Edition with Nigel Blackaby — sat down with the OUPblog to discuss the latest developments in their field. Watch the following videos to learn more about current views on international arbitration and what changes they expect to see in the future.

How did the idea of writing a book come about?

Click here to view the embedded video.

What challenges are arbitrators facing now?

Click here to view the embedded video.

How do you view the future of international commercial arbitration? 

Click here to view the embedded video.

Nigel Blackaby, Constantine Partasides, Alan Redfern, and Martin Hunter are the authors of Redfern and Hunter on International Arbitration: Fifth Edition. Nigel Blackaby is one of the partners of the international arbitration group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Washington, DC. Constantine Partasides is a one of the partners of the international arbitration group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London. Alan Redfern is the barrister and international arbitrator at One Essex Court Chambers in London. Martin Hunter is currently a barrister and international arbitrator at One Essex Court Chambers.

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14. Have conditions improved in Afghanistan since 2001?

CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen visited the Carnegie Council in New York City late last year to discuss Talibanistan, a collection he recently edited for Oxford University Press. Bergen, who produced the first television interview with Osama bin Laden in 1997, discussed the positive changes in Afghanistan over the past ten years: “Afghans have a sense that what is happening now is better than a lot of things they’ve lived through…”

Bergen was joined at the event by Anand Gopal, who wrote the first chapter in Talibanistan. Gopal recounts the story of Hajji Burget Khan, a leader in Kandahar who encouraged his fellow Afghans to support the Americans after the fall of the Taliban. But after US forces received bad intelligence, perceiving Hajji Burget Khan as a threat, he was killed in May 2002, which had a disastrous effect in the area, leading many to join the insurgency.

Peter Bergen on Afghanistan:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Anand Gopal on the tragic mistake made by the American military:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Peter Bergen is the director of the National Securities Studies Program at the New America Foundation, and is National Security Analyst at CNN. He is the author of Manhunt, The Longest War and The Osama Bin Laden I Know. Anand Gopal is a fellow at the New America Foundation and a journalist who has reported for the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, and other outlets on Afghanistan. Talibanistan: Negotiating the Borders Between Terror, Politics, and Religion was edited by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann and includes contributions from Anand Gopal.

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15. Poetry Friday: Emily Dickinson’s Letters to the World

With Jeanette Winter‘s Biblioburro selected as one of our new 2011 Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set, I have had a great time exploring more of her work. One little book that has delighted me is Emily Dickinson’s Letters to the World (Frances Foster Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002)

It tells the story of the poet’s life through her sister, and begins with, “My sister Emily was buried today.” We are shown Emily’s room, and get a glimpse of her reclusive lifestyle – and then, in the course of the up to now rather sad narration, make the wonderful discovery alongside the sister, of the drawers full of poetry that nobody knew about while Emily was alive. Beginning with “This is my letter to the world”, it is a delightful way for young readers to be introduced to her poetry ,both for the poems themselves and their context.

The final two thirds of the book are given over to extracts from Dickinson’s poetry, ending with her sister’s avowal that “the world will read your letter – your poems.”  And the whole book is a treat for anyone who loves Jeanette Winter’s illustrations. The poet’s voice is emphasised, with Emily Dickinson in her trademark white dress depicted in some way on almost every page.

Here’s the whole of one of those special poems:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Anastasia Suen at Picture Book of the Day – head on over…

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16. Once again, “the people” prepare to elect an American president

By Louis René Beres Apart from their obvious differences, all of the candidates, both Democrat (President Obama) and Republican, have one overriding chant in common. For each aspirant, every pitch is prefaced by sanctimonious appeals to "the people." Whether openly, or with a quiet nod to a presumably more subtle strategy, "I want to be the people's president" is always their conspicuously shared mantra. This is not hard to understand. To suggest otherwise

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17. Poetry Friday: p*tag compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

I’ve just bought my first e-book.  I realise that might fill some people with horror at how long it’s taken me to jump on the bandwagon, but it was always going to have to be something special that would propel me into action.  Perhaps if I spent more time on public transport, I might have succumbed to an e-reader by now, but as it is…  Anyway, I’ve just downloaded the free Kindle for PC and have taken the leap, tempted as I was by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong‘s e-book p*tag. It’s an exciting anthology of 31 poems newly written and published to coincide with National Teen Read Week this month in the US: “the first ever electronic poetry anthology of new poems by top poets for teens” – and wow, what a roll of poets it is: check it out here.

Following on from the success of their PoetryTagTime project of children’s poetry in April during the US’s national poetry month, this game of poetry tag includes some simple rules to connect the poems – each one had to include three words from the previous person’s poems.  And an added twist is that the poets chose an image from this selection of photographs taken by Sylvia Vardell, as the inspiration for their poem. Each poet then also provided a short introduction to their choice of photograph. All this makes for a very exciting, energetic mix of poetry that can be read and enjoyed in many ways. I loved the added dimension of the word tag used in the cover photograph and to good effect in Janet Wong’s own poem “p*tag” – it rounds off the collection beautifully.

What’s really great is that the conceit of the tagging in no way defines the quality of the individual poems. From Marilyn Singer’s opening reverso poem “Time and Water”, you know you’re in for a treat. The array of names included several I’ve “met” through Poetry Friday, and others who are new to me – what a wonderful way for teenagers to encounter poetry; and the interactive nature of the e-book invites readers to explore each poet’s work more deeply. I was intrigued by Arnold Adoff’s introduction (as much a poem as his actual poem): in it he invites readers to email him so he can send the “original” in its, well, I’d like to say real format, but I’m not sure he would allow the word “real” to slip by – and it’s already on shaky ground in a discussion of e-books. Hmmm! Let’s quote then:

“this poem is in a format to fit the machine you are using now…
but feel free to be in touch [...]
and i’ll send you the “original” and we can talk about:
style and substance an the poet’s hard(est) head….

I’d like to think there’ll be some young poets getting in touch…

With so many ways to find a route into the collection (photographs, the three linking words, each poet’s introduction), not to mention the variety of viewing possibilities for its e-format, these exciting poems touch on so many emotions. From humor to deep pondering, there’s something here for every teen – even the so-called “Reluctant Reader” (Jaime Adoff), and like the goose (or is it a swan?) in Julie Larios’ “Walking, Waiting”, there’s the possibility of ‘a wild honk or two / or three that might surprise y

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18. Lost States

Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It by Michael J. Trinklein Quirk Books 2010 What if the United States had accepted every proposal to form a new state? One really messed up flag, that's for sure!   Growing up in Southern California it is hard not to notice that there is a simmering animosity with neighbors to the north. It isn't so much

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19. Books at Bedtime: The Phantom Tollbooth

Right now for our bedtime reading, my daughter and I are revisiting an old classic — The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (illustrated by Jules Feiffer), Yearling Books, 1961.   I encountered this novel when I was in grade five;  it was recommended to me by a friend.  I remembered reading it and loving it.  It’s a witty and clever book by halves, and I don’t think I ‘got’ everything in it at the time I read it, but following the adventures of this idle and bored schoolboy protagonist Milo “who didn’t know what to do with himself — not just sometimes, but always”  was compelling.   In reading it now with my daughter, I am enjoying the story again with so much more gusto — this time getting, of course, all the many puns and double entendres throughout the book.  My daughter is less enthusiastic.  As she puts it herself, “I like listening to it because it puts me to sleep.”   (Mind you, this fact alone makes it a worthy bedtime read for the parent!)  But while she dozes off, I often continue reading aloud for the sheer pleasure of the story which speaks to the book’s attractive charm and longevity.

The Phantom Tollbooth celebrated the 50th anniversary of its publication this year.   There’s a Youtube video I watched recently of Norton Juster and Jules Pfeiffer talking about the genesis of the book.   A commemorative annotated edition of the book is now available, and a  documentary film, The Phantom Tollbooth Turns 50, is currently being produced, set for release in 2012.   I didn’t discover all this information, until after I’d selected this book for our bedtime reading ritual, so I was quite surprised by the serendipity of my choice and hope that my daughter might remember this book fondly herself when she begins reading to her children in the future.  (If she doesn’t, Grandma certainly will!)

 

 

 

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20. Anti-Bullying Week is Just the Beginning…

Last week was Anti-Bullying Week in Canada and in the UK, where there is currently a move to make the focus on this important issue last for the whole of November.   But of course, the issues highlighted don’t disappear when you’re not looking at them – in fact, bullies are usually very clever at keeping their actions hidden.  The message still needs to be got across at all times that bullying is not acceptable.  We adults have a responibility for teaching respect for others and ourselves, both through formal education and in the example we set in our own behavior.

I have recently been reading two books in which young people tell of their experiences of bullying in their own words, accompanied with photographs and names in most cases.

The first, We Want You to Know: Kids Talk About Bullying is by Deborah Ellis (Coteau Books, 2010), who is well-known for drawing attention to the plight of children around the world caught up in mess caused by adults, both in her fiction (The Breadwinner Trilogy, set in Afghanistan; and the Cocalero novels, set in Bolivia), and in her non-fiction (Off To War: Voices of Soldiers’ Children; Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees).  We Want You to Know brings together the stories of young people aged 9-19 who have been bullied, who have bullied others, and who “have found strength within themselves to rise above their situations and to endure.”  They are all from Ellis’ “little corner of Southern Ontario” in Canada, following her involvement in a local Name It 2 Change It Community Campaign Against Bullying (and, indeed, royalties from the sale of this book go to the organization).  At the same time, interspersed with the longer accounts from the Canadian children are shorter highlighted statements from children across the world – Angola, Japan, Madagascar, South Korea, Uganda, the US.  Yes, bullying happens everywhere.

The book is divided into five main sections, You’re Not Good Enough, You’re Too Different, You’re It—Just Because, We Want to Crush You, and Redemption.  Each account has a couple of follow-up questions, asking “What Do You Think?”, and then there are discussion questions at the end of the sections.

The other book is Bullying and Me: Schoolyard Stories by Ouisie Shapiro with photographs by Steven Vote (Albert Whitman, 2010).  Again, it features first-hand accounts of young people who the introduction reminds us, “had a hard time reliving their experiences”, while recognising the importance of not remaining silent, to remind others who are bullied that “you’re not alone.  And it’s not your fault.”  Each account is followed by useful summarising statements from Dr Dorothy Espelage, a psychologist specializing in adolescent bullying.

Both these titles are aimed at young readers – but make no mistake, they are hard-hitting books that deliver a punc

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21. Measuring Time—the Real Purpose of a Clock

Writers measure time a bit differently than most people. At least that’s what I’ve found.

For instance, ask writers how long they worked that day and you might hear something like this—

“Let’s see. Well, I got those last three poems for my book done first thing this morning even before going to my inbox or Facebook. Then I finished doing the rewrite on a short story for one of the online literary mags. That was just before I grabbed some toast for breakfast. Once I got my stomach to quit growling, I worked on both blogs and the website for a couple of hours or so.

“Lunch was a quick cup of soup and a sandwich. I think that’s what I had. I don’t pay a lot of attention to food when my mind is working on an outline for a new storyline. Sometime in the afternoon I had to field a couple of calls from editors and then got back to the real work; social networking.

“I got a handle on the promotional announcements about the new book and a couple of speaking engagements so that I can send those out tomorrow. I also sent a couple of queries out and three submissions.”

Notice that there’s no mention of a real estimate of when the writer began work for the day or whether the work day was actually finished. Many times such considerations aren’t relevant to the profession. Deadlines, expectations, appointments make the grade for mental significance, but time spend working is just that—time spent. It doesn’t need to be counted or regulated.

This isn’t a nine to five career choice. It isn’t something that a writer quits thinking about at the end of the day. Something as simple as a new commercial on TV can trigger a flurry of creative activity. The writer’s mind is seldom quiet.

Perhaps that’s why clocks have importance to writers. It’s not to see how much time we’ve spent on a project that day. Instead, a clock tells us how little time we have left that day to work on what was planned for the docket.

And how do you measure time in a day’s schedule?

Until later, a bientot,

Claudsy


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22. Pursuits and Family Understanding

 

Before I finish out this month’s blog challenge, I’d like to take a few moments to talk about something to which most of us can relate.

When I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, my parents and grandparents taught us lessons. Some of those lessons came at the end of a parent’s arm, in the form of a solid hand landing on a padded behind. That was before the days when self-expression was encouraged and corporal punishment was banned as being barbaric and cruel.

I’m just making a point about the differences in society between then and now.

One of the big lessons taught in our household, and in many other homes as well, was that there were places in the world where people went hungry on a daily basis, and that we should be grateful for what was placed before us on the table.

I think everyone between the ages of 45 and 100 has echoing voices in your heads right now that testify to that piece of instruction.

My family was considered slightly poor by the standards of children raised in town, whose folks worked in a shop, for IBM, or the university. My dad was blue-collar, and we lived in the country. Those were big considerations back then, too. I didn’t know any of that until high school.

We didn’t go without food, clothing, shelter, fun, a good car, or the rest of the material things that “mattered.” Most of those living in the country had as many or, in come cases, more of their needs taken care of, than those in town, without our mothers having to work outside the home.

We knew we had it good. It was understood. We learned by example when Mom took the time and effort to feed those who came to the door and asked for food and something to drink. Hobos were common in those days.

Our country culture demanded that we provide sustenance to those in need. It never occurred to her to turn someone away without at least a meal and clean, cold water to drink. Usually she gave them iced tea and whatever was leftover from dinner the evening before.

All of which brings us back to the question of that hunger lesson. I know that there are thousands of children all over the U.S. who go to bed knowing real hunger. I was never one of them, thank God, but I’ve known my share of them over the years.

I got to thinking about that this afternoon, and the admonition drilled into children to this day at the dinner table. Children cannot relate to something they’ve never experienced or seen first-hand. Unless the child who lives in the well-kept house, with all the toys scattered unthinkingly throughout, actually sees the consequences of hunger, it’s impossible to get the lesson across.

I’m tempted to wager that the majority middle-class and upper-lower-class citizens have never known hunger in this country. They haven’t gone a few days without something to eat and decent water to drink. If they had experienced real hunger on a regular basis, I doubt it would not exist in the country for long.

The realization of this difference between my generation and those coming up blazed

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23. Winding Down Only to Gear Up

 

February’s blog challenge has come to an end here at the last hour. Tomorrow, March issues its own challenge. The prompt for March is “Whether.” This looks to be a marvelous opportunity to try all sorts of new topics.

Whether I take to this challenge as eagerly as the last, I intend to give it my best shot. I plan to make this a writer’s month of technique aspects, personal challenges, and thoughts on what other writers have to say about the business and the markets.

I encourage everyone who has been kind enough to stop by Claudsy’s Blog this month to continue to drop in to see what’s on the conversational board during March. Come in and give your two cents’ worth.

Until then, a bientot,

Claudsy


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24. Poetry Friday: The World is Round by Gertrude Stein

The World is Round  (illustrated by Clement Hurd, North Point Press, 1988) is technically not a poetry book, per se, although its author, Gertrude Stein, might argue otherwise.  I discovered it through a post a friend linked me to on the most excellent blog, Brain Pickings.  Now some of you might wonder how Gertrude Stein came to write a children’s book in the first place, and the story has much to do with the early development of children’s book publishing in the U.S. in the 1930′s.  Stein was asked by the youthful start-up publishing company of Young Scott Books (founded in 1938) whose mandate was to publish illustrated childrens’ books to submit a manuscript for their consideration.  Stein submitted The World is Round, a story of a girl named Rose (of course!) and her cousin Willie.  Rose was based on a child who was the daughter of Gertrude Stein’s neighbor in Bilignin, a small farming community located in the French alps.

The World is Round contains the story of Rose and Willie in 32 micro-chapters of the kind of lilting and somewhat nonsensical poetic like prose that is distinctively Stein.   Who cannot help but recognize Stein’s playful existentialism in such lines as “I am a little girl and my name is Rose, Rose is my name./  Why am I a little girl/And why is my name Rose/And when am I a little girl/And when is my name Rose/And where am I little girl/And where is my name Rose … “  Granted, this may not be your child’s cup of tea when it comes to bedtime reading, but sometimes I like to throw in a little twist of lemon to give a bit of complexity to the flavors of narrative one gives to one’s child.  My daughter liked the early chapters of this book, probably because they had to do with dogs, but has not warmed to it much since.  But she doesn’t mind my continuing with this book so I shall go on with it til the end.   As one reviewer said, “It is meant to be read aloud, a little at a time, and the adult who does so will find himself saying, ‘I remember thinking like this,’ and succumbing to the seductive quality of phrases, which will make it probably the most quotable book of the season.’  My edition has a lengthy but informative afterword that also contains information about the illustrator Clement Hurd and the artwork he did for the book.

Poetry Friday this Good Friday is hosted by Robyn at Read Write Howl.

 

 

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25. Food: Taking Poetry by the Throat

The Kappe Arabhatta inscription of 7th century...

When Robert Lee Brewer handed out his challenge assignment this morning on Poetic Asides, I imagine his grin and his thoughts. “They’re gonna be all over this one. I can see it now.”

He was right, you know. We did stomp all over this prompt-of-the-day. Food is right up my alley, as my backside can attest. He wanted us to write about regional cuisine—either the food itself or some aspect pertaining to it. This was my response.

Granny’s Guarded Secret

It sits, having conquered gravity

To reign over table and diners.

Six layers of diabetes, waiting

For consumption by the sliver.

Who’d’ve expected one pie

To feed twenty sugar addicts?

We wait, breathe held, for slicing

To begin so that we can let

Our portion melt, slither, find

Our centers to give that rush

To bodies needing Pilates more

Than three kinds of caramel in

Six stacked shells of doughy goodness.

© Claudette J. Young 2012

Meanwhile, over at Poetic Bloomings. I found In-Form Poet proceedings for the day. Poet Jan Turner invented a new form not long ago, which puts limits on some areas of form, while leaving others untouched. It goes like this.

Write a Tri-Fall poem:

  • Three stanzas of six lines each
  • Rhyme scheme of a,b,c,a,b,c
  • Syllable count for each stanza: 6-3-8-6-3-8
  • No specific meter
  • Little to no punctuation
  • Any subject will do

Since I was already subject oriented from the Poetic Asides prompt, I stayed on the subject of regional food, parked myself at Granny’s table, and wrote about what had been placed before me. My goal was to write a story in this poem. I’m hoping to capture a memory. You’ll have to tell me if I succeeded in telling the story.

Sunday Lunch

Table long, groaning now

under weight

of platters, dishes, and elbows.

Ham, chops, eggs galore vow

to stay late

just to erase dieter’s woes.

 

Clasping hands for prayer

waiting now

‘til men get theirs and kids do too.

Smells so good this home fare

“Where’s the cow?”

Utters late-comer with “moo.”

 

“Stayed outside,” replies Gran

“Sit and eat.”

all bowls cleaned, platters empty too.

Belt loose on a lone man

children sleep

in laps of soft-talking moms.

© Claudette J. Young 2012

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