What are your favorite Bad books?

My top choice is Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. The film clip pretty much gives you the lay of the land.

List of commonly banned books in the US via wikipedia.

  Sept. 25 to Oct. 1 is banned books week.

 Exercise your right to read freely.

Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is also one of my favorite bad books. And Kurt Vonneguts’s Slaughterhouse-Five is another dark keeper from the usual banned books suspects. I have to admit that unlike the other two books which make you laugh and cry, Slaughterhouse-Five seriously lacks in the laughs column. But it’s a powerful book about the horror of war.

So what books would you stand up for in the age of manipulative mind control?

 

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Looking for a horror story? Look no further: Blood in the Water by Heather Ann Thompson

Encountered Thompson’s work via Democracy Now! ‘s coverage of the anniversary of the uprising at Attica. I remember Attica If you don’t, you’re in for a bone chilling reality check.

I have not yet read Thompson’s work but there is an excellent review by Mark Oppenheimer:

NY Times Book Review 

 

Hello Online World

An interesting thing happens when you unplug from the world-wide web–time expands. Yes it does indeed. Time expands in the sense of all the things you can explore OFFline. Consider what happens when you forget your cellphone and you don’t feel the need to answer every ringtone like Pavlov’s puppies. Oh the freedom from the ring, from the keyboard connected to social media, and everything in the info universe. It can be very liberating–and you realize just how much energy, effort and time you’ve been putting into communication technology. Having been almost constantly online since BEFORE Facebook and twitter were even imagined I discovered a real big break from it all was in order. It’s been the kind of break where I’m on the verge of needing to upgrade my cellphone so that it will ‘work’. Aside from personal connections I have not missed the world-wide web much. I don’t enjoy reading books online–but I adore reading. Writing online has its pros and cons. I’ve discovered that the best way to deal with writer’s block is to actually write with a pen/pencil on paper. Yeah, it works. According the research I suspect it’s because more of your brain is stimulated by using your fine motor skills when using a pen than with using a keyboard. Oh and there’s never a problem with power outages or viruses or hitting the wrong key and sending everything into nowhere-land. Yes, being offline has been very good for my writing. It’s also been good for reading, exploring music, and cooking. Virtual cooking leads to virtual food and that’s inedible no matter what it does to your salivary glands.

When you’re exploring books offline in a library setting interesting things tend to happen–to me anyway. For example, an oversize book cover featuring Virginia Woolf’s profile draws your attention to Stefan Bollman’s Women Who Write, a book of profiles of women writers. Reading Francine Prose’s introduction raises the question of what other women have won the Nobel Prize in Literature since the book’s publication. The answer to this query leads to 2015 Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster. I currently do not know where else you can read anything like this in English. Which leads in turn to the translator, Keith Gessen who is the co-editor of City By City, Dispatches from the American Metropolis. The essays therein present diverse perspectives on the American urban landscape–and they’re anything but boring.

I heartily recommend all these books for your reading table or tablet. Warning: Voices from Chernobyl may break your heart with its love stories. What happens to people who know nothing about the downside of nuclear energy when things go terribly wrong? This is an intensely personal record of what happens. Considering the world in which we live we owe to these people to at least make ourselves aware and informed. Because Blue Skies do not mean all is hunky dory in the radioactive universe. Note: this is also a National Book Critics Circle Award winner for General Nonfiction.

Dots:
~Virginia Woolf’s profile
~Women Who Write by Stefan Bollman, Francine Prose
~Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich
~Translator Keith Gessen
~City By City, Dispatches from the American Metropolis edited by Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb

Please do feel free to share wherever these dots lead you.

Thanks for engaging here. Your time, energy and virtual presence is very much appreciated–more than ever before.

About Svetlana Alexievich:

http://alexievich.info/indexEN.html

Women Who Read Are Dangerous~~(select translation):

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/buecher/rezensionen/sachbuch/ein-buch-ersetzt-den-mann-im-haus-kuenstlerblicke-auf-lesende-frauen-1214751.html

Just when you thought fairytales were all out of face-lifts along comes Cinder.

🙂  Yeah, the television tubes have been flooded with retakes and remakes of fairytale galore in recent seasons. It’s been virtual Grimm’s gag-fest galore. Some results have been gleefully giddy good Grimm fun galore and others have been romantic soap operas deluxe.  Have you been suitably chastised about the perils of talking to strangers, wandering off in the woods, and greedy beanstalks? Some of us are awaiting the return of the modern Grimm Reapers complete with popcorn couch parties in the works.

Just when the market seems saturated with all kinds of re-workings of cautionary and sleeping beauty tales along comes the ultimate Cinder-rella—a glorious human-cyborg teenage girl with attitude, smarts and guts like none other. She lives in New Beijing with her wicked stepmother and sisters. With a few twists of her screwdrivers she can replace an outgrown metal foot or carve her name into the heart of the sort of charming pin-up poster Prince Kai. But before there will be any hot kissy faces there’s a plague to fight, an evil auntie to dethrone, a mystery or two to unravel and friends to make along the way.

Oh the glories of teen fiction. 🙂

Marissa Meyer’s young adult spin gives the Cinderella story an overhaul like none other and I love it. The thing about writing for young adults is that you can’t miss a beat and expect your audience to stick along waiting for you to get back on board with the fun and games. Meyer’s never missteps in Cinder or in the other tomes that continue the story. Scarlet–Little Red Riding Hood has never been so full of piss and vinegar –and partial to the Big Bad-ass Wolf.  Going where Grandma has gone is a tad more risky than a walk in the woods, but that doesn’t stop single-minded Scarlet from going hunting with Wolf watching her back-side. And then there’s Cress—ha, this Rapunzel is a computer genius with her fingertips on the pulse of the universe. Big Brother move over cause little sis has things to do and secrets to secret for her own escape agenda.  Disney never will top this rendition of the long tressed girl in a tower. No way. Ever see a blind man rescue his lady in waiting? The brash, vain Captain  Carswell Thorne doesn’t let anything keep him down –ever. So he’s been blinded by crash landing into the Sahara–who cares? Crsss is MIA and he’s going after her –cane and overly ethical escort droid in hand.

Ahhhh three books are ready for reading NOW–and Winter is coming in 2015.  Snow White is clearly some kind of head case with teen angst to spare.  I don’t suggest leaving out any bread crumbs or candy–this crew is  too hungry for love and life to go backwards –ever.

Marissa Meyer ~ > http://www.marissameyer.com/books/

Go on, visit the cool author site.

It’s tricks and treats for everyone who craves some reading FUN.

Conclusion: There is NO pleasant history of humankind. So just get on with it and read Claudio Saunt’s West of the Revolution, An Uncommon History of 1776.

One minute book review:

Why is it that people on one side of the globe think they have a right to the land of the people living on the other side of the earth?

Oh right–they’re all a bunch of greedy egocentric egomaniacs who are only interested in how to turn a profit. Yeah, I knew that.

Of course there’s genocide, racism and missionaries spreading misery in spades–but, there’s also the beaver trade and the Cuban connection too in West of the Revolution wherein Claudio Saunt fills history buffers in on what was going on elsewhere in North America during that war for some colonies’ economic independence from merry old England. This is an darkly entertaining and easy read with odd maps, chapter notes notes and a very strange illustration depicting beavers in action on page 129.  Saunt offers some very disturbing stories about human behavior on the part of everyone and a decided lack of brotherly love. Yeah, forget all the first Thanksgiving propaganda, it’s a no go in Alaska with the Russians and Aleuts. And Jesus Christ, what is it with the damn priests and their bad habits on west coast and the southwest? Some things just never change no matter what century you’re digging around in. I suppose that’s because human behavior doesn’t seem to be evolving for the better anywhere. I could, and might do, an in-depth review of this recent new book–but right now I’m settling for two thumbs up review mind mode. Why? Because I learned a few things, like why the Creeks tried so hard to get some real trade going with Cuba. They understood their dire economic situation quite well.  As for the Indians doing business with the Hudson Bay Company and others ~~ well, they could teach Wall Street a thing or two about insider trading of a certain sort.

And then there are those beavers and their dams . . . .  

The Queen of Katwe ~ The Most Powerful Piece On The Board

Update: This is now a film. Yes!!!!!

 

 

The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers was a reading find on a recent expedition to my public library.  It’s one of those books that I’ve opened for some down time reading pleasure then spent the rest of the day reading until reaching the back cover. Tim Crothers traces the roots of several dots that come together to create Phiona Mutesi’s Ugandan world in Katwe. One very important “dot” is the life story of Robert Katende who brought chess to Katwe as part of a sports outreach program. Katende noticed that not every child wants to play soccer and decided to offer an alternative game, chess, for them. It is through Katende’s outreach efforts that Phiona discovers the inner mental and outter physical world of chess.  Tim Crothers presents Katende’s personal history of survival, endurance and talent in a manner that show the incredible impact of one person on the lives of others. One young man’s life decisions reverberate throughout his world in remarkable and unexpected ways. Without Robert Katende there would be no chess for Phiona Mutesi and the other children of Katwe.  In turn Phiona herself is having a positive impact on her personal world and the world of women in Uganda. Her story breaks out of the cycle of poverty and desperate struggle to survive for women and their children in places where living is far from easy. What’s at stake is creating a life based on choices rather than the need to eat and literally keep from drowning when it rains.  When a slum is built on/in a swamp things get dicey for everyone when water falls from the sky.

Crothers’ writing style is quick and engaging as he works with words to bring to life the physical landscape of the Katwe slum and Uganda. He creates a context that the people who can afford to buy his book–and read it with ease–may have some trouble relating to. This is a world of harsh poverty where women do what they must to stay alive and education is a luxury requiring payment.  Via Robert Katende’s story it’s clear that it’s not an easy world for boys and men either.  At first one wonders where Crothers is going –how far back in time–and how will we ever get to the story of the girl who dreams of being a Chess Grandmaster. Well, I assure you that by the time you are learning more about Phiona it will be very clear why Crothers pulls the narrative strings he does. In order to fully appreciate Phiona’s ongoing life story the daily context of her world is required.

Another dot Crothers connects is that of the importance of education–like the Sport’s Outreach program–Tim Crothers’ takes a holistic approach to presenting Phiona’s and Robert Katende’s stories. Education plays a vital role in dealing with people in poverty. Hence, Crothers pulls in the story line dot of Andrew Popp all the way from Santa Barbara, California. How does the suicide of a talented young man have anything to with the life of girl living in the slums of Uganda? The scholarship memorial fund created by Andrew’s parents is what enables Phiona to attend school.  Personally I think that’s a wonderful thing and an incredible part of Phiona’s story because education is essential to breaking the poverty cycle and the people in the slums know this fact.

Andrew Popp Scholarship Fund    http://sportsoutreach.net/projects/teaching/andrew-popp-scholarship-fund/

So if you’re looking for a great human interest story, one which is far from finished, then get a hold of The Queen of Katwe. Consider the power of one piece on a chess board and the powerful impact one person can have on the life of another. Get some inspirartion. some ideas about teaching from Robert Katende,  and perhaps some motivation. Perhaps most importantly get some HOPE.

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Author Tim Crothers’ site >>  http://www.timcrothers.net/

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Phiona Mutesi–so far– >>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phiona_Mutesi

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theKeithFurr

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Uploaded on Nov 9, 2011

This is a brief documentary on Fiona, a 15 year old Chess Prodigy from the slums of Kampala, Uganda who discovered Chess as a homeless child in search of food. I traveled to Uganda to cover this story through a non-profit organization called Silent Images. We were serving another non-profit called Sports Outreach, in which the chess coach discovered a special gift in Phiona for the game of Chess. I was accompanied by Tim Crothers of ESPN and David Johnson of Silent Images on the trip. Tim has now written a book on Phiona called “The Queen of Katwe” and Phiona has had recent top news stories on ESPN as well as CNN. Disney is currently planning to produce a movie on Phiona as well and I can’t wait to see Phiona’s dreams come true. She is a true underdog in every sense of the word and no person is more worthy of success in life than this special young woman.

Silent Images – http://www.silentimages.org
Sports Outreach Institute – http://www.sportsoutreach.net
Buy the Book – http://www.sportsoutreach.net/secure/…

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Indie film site >> http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/disney-developing-feature-based-on-ugandan-chess-prodigy-phiona-mutesi-w-mira-nair-directing

A Quick and Dirty Review of Deborah Meyler’s ~The Bookstore~

*Public Domain Photo by Alexandre Duret-Lutz

Seldom have I ever been so on the fence regarding a book I’ve selected for a spot of easy reading than I was, and still am, as I’ve been with The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler.  After reading several pages at a random opening, I checked this novel out of my wonderful public library~ (side note: Everything under human control in the library is wonderful, though the departments ruled by computer intelligence are quite questionable of late. Artificial Intelligence is driving the staff a tad mad due to its distinct lack of common sense regarding book culling. For example, who would remove the second book in a young adult fantasy thriller series thus leaving a gap between volume one and three? What sense does that make? All it does is discourage the would be reader because the story is now incomplete. Okay enough of this developing issue.) Yeah, I promised a quick review for everyone on the cyber-space run.  Let’s get to the good stuff first: This is an easy-going read writing wise–you will not have to work through any deviously poetic complex sentence structures. The supporting cast of characters connected to the bookstore are very engaging creations–and mainly male. You get a decent sense of New York City’s never sleeping city atmosphere. There are interesting references and allusions to great art and great books. There’s a slightly developed commentary on the demise of independent bookstores being put out of business by corporate run big box book retailers. This is a nice big plus because it supports the assertion that Esme, our thoroughly modern young woman on the academic art history move, has a decently educated mind in good working order–except when it comes to the entire concept of pregnancy. She’s clueless like so many young people these days when it comes to her biological nature beyond sex for fun.  But I won’t hold that against her.  She does have many good qualities along the tune of -> Yes, ladies it can be very cool to be well read, intelligent and interested in much more than the moron box taking center stage in many living rooms. For the most part I like Esme very much. Hang on to “for the most part” –the not most part when I don’t care for–or comprehend–Esme is part of what still has me on the fence regarding this book.

What’s got me on the fence? Esme’s love interest, Mitchell. For the life of me I can’t figure out what this young woman finds to love in this cold-hearted bastard.  Being handsome is not enough–statues, male models, actors and non-famous dudes on the street can be very good-looking–but women don’t fall for them just because of the outer packaging–or do they?  I guess some do. Maybe Esme is supposed to be one of those ladies? Perhaps it’s because she’s twenty-three and has a libido in good working order? I’m serious here, folks. if  Meyler had given Mitchell a character profile beyond handsome economics professor from a wealthy family –I’m sure some of you are arguing that’s plenty, but it’s not in this context. Esme has too much going for her to be picked up by a handsome sexual predator running amok in NYC. Or does she?  Maybe there’s something amiss with the young Miss? I’m still not sure after finishing the book–which I nearly gave up on several times because I had such serious trouble buying this particular woman and man connection.  All the good things, bookstore, homeless people, Stella, George, Luke etc. kept me reading though–and the hope that Esme might get a clue or two regarding the man using her for nothing more than satisfying his own very manipulative dysfunctional ego. It’s not like she doesn’t have plenty of other men to compare this asshole to in order to see the light.

Mitchell’s character is a cliché in the extreme. Hence, I dislike him immensely. Disliking him is probably what Meyler had in mind. Problem is, he’s so dislikeable that it’s hard comprehending why Esme loves him. There’s nothing even remotely loveable about this guy as he is portrayed. If there’s some unwritten or edited out part of this novel that is loitering with intent to explain Esme’s feelings for this man, then it needs to get edited into the novel. Yes, women–and men–fall for the wrong sort of people all the time. True enough. But stating this guy has charm and giving him none at any point in time makes Esme come off as a complete dunce.  It would help matters considerably if the reader got some glimpse of what lures Esme into loving this man. Yeah, the slam dunk sex foreplay in the women’s restroom fails to do that for me.  It works for sexual attraction, but not for emotional attachment and involvement. Hmm. Maybe that’s Meyler’s point–that people confuse physical sexual attraction with emotional love attraction? Maybe.  I’m not sure.

Oh–yes, Esme does have alternative love interest choices which appear to operate on a more positive level–or could. There are hints which I won’t spoil here for any interested might be readers.  In many ways this is story about dealing with such relationship scenario. Perhaps it’s a modernized version of a very old cautionary tale for young women.  It certainly works in that regard. Hmm, maybe this review is getting me off the fence as I air my concerns here. Maybe.

If anyone has run through The Bookstore’s very accessible pages and cares to comment on my fencing–please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts about any chapter or verse in the novel. So, was this quick and dirty enough? Oh a little short on the dirty–hmm–consider a toothbrush standing in for a vibrator. How’s that for a little dirty?

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Meyler’s author page at http://authors.simonandschuster.com/deborah-meyler/408315626

Breakfast Special, #37, “Coming Clean”

“Coming Clean”

Inhaling the earthy scents in the shower, Sarge watched the water play over his fight scarred hands. He thought about how he and Lily might create a warmer, more inviting living space on the second floor of Kozy’s warehouse, a space in which Lily would feel as welcome and comfortable in as he felt here in her apartment, a space comfortable enough to study in when it suited her, a space where she would feel comfortable enough to consider spending the night. Sarge shook his head under the shower with his last thought then stepped back and pushed his hair off his face. Consider? Just consider spending the night? Who am I kidding? I don’t want her to just consider it. I want her there, in my space, in my bed all night like I’ve been in hers for weeks now. Wait, that’s not quite being totally up front with yourself, is it, Sarge? He felt his hands tremble and held them palm open to the hot water streaming from the shower head. Yeah, I don’t want her in my bed like I’ve been in hers all this time, like I think it’s best keeping things like they have been until . . .. Until what, Sarge? Her name isn’t in that damn grey book or any other book like it. You know that. You know you wouldn’t be here right now if she hadn’t invited you in of her own accord. No one told her to invite you. No one paid her to do that or anything else since. Yeah, you know that if she wanted to, she’d kick you out to sleep with the generator, or over at Anton’s in one of the “sun rise” rooms they keep ready for people when their domestic or other problems get out of hand.

He swished the water in the tub, for which he’d closed the drain in order to save the hot water for soaking his feet for a time after showering. Dinner and dancing while making the coconut cookies had taken the edge off the chill that had set in from wading through the cold water in the basement of the building the Lings lived in. Even Little George’s insulated rubber boots hadn’t quite stood up against the extended amount of time he’d spent setting things to rights water-wise in the cold flooded basement. He turned off the shower and let the tub fill with enough hot water to make his feet happier. Flexing his toes, he sat on the edge of the tub with his chin in one hand. Enjoying the scented steamy warm air, he resumed his conversation with himself.  Yeah, I should have done this tub action for the feet right away. What is it with me and water lately? Ever since that first bath Lily made me take, I feel like I could live in a tub. Well, something a lot bigger than a tub. At least a lake or river. An ocean would be best. Oh Jeez, here I go on this bend again. It’s probably just that this bath thing is new and very cool. Especially with Lily’s home people scents added in. I can’t believe I never thought to try one on my own even after Kozy found that huge tub for the second floor. Lack of imagination, that’s what that lack is about, Sarge. Lack of imagination, that’s what does people in all the time. Is that my problem with Lily? Lack of imagination? Or just some old fear of imagining what sort of serious, meaningful relationship I want with a woman and screwing it up when it comes along? Wait, I’m not talking just any woman in general anymore. I’m talking about this one woman in particular. I’m talking about Lily.

Sarge turned the water back on and let the tub fill further while he eased himself down into the soothing heat.  Yeah, this is the ticket. Relax, take my time. Think things out. There’s no hurry. It’s started snowing again. Lily is having some time to herself out there and I’m having some time to myself in here. It’s all good. We both know having this sort of time alone by ourselves works for us. Well, except for the fact that she has access to those coconut cookies and I don’t unless I make wet tracks…. Cut it out, Sarge. Get back to this ‘until what’ question and answer it already. Yeah, so what concerns are on this table? Hmm, concern number one: while I have no legit reason to think of Lily being the sort of woman who wants to screw around with me in bed just for the sake of screwing, well, let’s face it, that’s a concern considering what I’m damn sure has been the case with all the women I’ve gone to bed with so far. It’s a mind fuck I’ve apparently not quite gotten past yet. That ball is entirely in my court and I’ve got to deal with it. How do I get to where I can trust my own instincts and thinking that this is not Lily’s agenda?

He slid down until his head was entirely under the hot water then surfaced gradually with a relieved gasp. That’s it, get some more blood moving in the feet and the head feels better too. Answer to question, I’m not quite sure yet. Sarge, you know it’s not a good thing when you don’t trust yourself. How are you going to trust her, if you don’t trust you? Hold on, wait, but I do trust Lily. Why? How do you know that you trust her? Sarge looked at the bathroom door. Why? Well, let’s see what matters in regard to concern number one? Okay, except for the bath to deal with the dead squirrel shit smell, she’s never come in here while I’m showering or taking a bath, and she’s never come in and tried to start playing sex games. She respects our spaces in the bed. She keeps to her side and I keep to mine. Old Reliable Jack is in residence on the floor on her side. I don’t need something like Jack to make a point about wanting to be left alone while sleeping. Neither of us goofs around in there. I don’t want her to get the wrong idea and she hasn’t said or done a damn thing to give me the wrong idea. It’s like we both know it’s too easy to mess things up by saying or doing the wrong things in that context, so we’re extra mindful of being polite. I know I am anyway.

Damn, it’s too easy to hurt or get seriously hurt in this scenario. Well, there you have it, Sarge. You’re afraid of getting hurt again. If this doesn’t work you’re going to be hurt, and not like before. Even if it does work, you still are opening yourself up for some kind of hurt along the way. You know from talking things out with Anton that you already care enough about Lily to not want to hurt her, if you can possibly avoid it. Are you having some self-worth issues because of the names in that damn grey book? Maybe a few. But I’ve learned a lot in the last year or so by staying away from the ladies at the folks’ place. One major thing I’ve learned is that it’s not in the normal scheme of things for a guy to get set up with as many women as I’ve been by my family. That bullshit is definitely affecting me now. I can feel it. I can’t put words to it yet, but I feel it messing around in the back of my mind. I am well aware that Lily is not a set up. I know that inside and out. I’m concerned about that personal history I bring to this relationship. There’s no way around it. I’ve got to lay all the cards on the table as far I understand them for Lily. I wouldn’t want to be blindsided by someone with my history, so I’m not about to do that to her. I have no idea how she’ll react to any of it. I’m pretty sure that scares me. I understand what Anton says about her capacity to deal with dark shit, but still, in some very personal ways I’m a guy with a lot of trash trailing after him.

I also know I’ve got a lot to offer Lily that has nothing to do with sex. I figured that out by taking small chances with the ladies from the libraries and bookstores. I could see they weren’t right for me for a serious relationship and I wasn’t right for any of them. But it was also clear to me that all of them and me are right for someone. We all bring different things to a relationship table. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind getting some input from a couple of them, like maybe Diane and Elizabeth, regarding things with Lily. They’d be outside this context and see things differently than the people inside it. But right now that’s not happening. I’ve got me—and to an extent Anton to discuss things with. I’d call Kozy for a long chat if there was a phone somewhere with real privacy. But I haven’t seen one yet to ask about using for an hour or so. Yeah, a good long jawbreaker with Walter wouldn’t hurt one bit. Or maybe, what the hell, maybe I should just have a really long talk with Lily?

Sarge got out of the tub and put a towel to work drying his hair. I’m going to have to talk with her about my so-called past relationships at some point in time. Considering what we agreed upon today about living together, maybe sooner, as in now, is a lot better than later, even if I don’t yet have all the information I want about certain family matters. This way, if she decides to rethink things, no one else knows anything about it so she won’t be embarrassed or have to deal with questions she doesn’t want to answer. Yeah, thanks Diane for that tip about not embarrassing women with their friends by putting them on the hot seat concerning relationship issues unless you’re just itching to start a war.

He dressed while making a short list of the most important things he thought he needed to give Lily a heads up about. He knew he was on the right track when he finished buttoning his shirt, one of Little George’s loaned flannels, and realized his personal thermostat had retuned to normal.  Feeling phsyically balanced again, he shook his head to get rid of any lingering water in his hair. He had previously noted his hair apparently found Lily’s home people plants agreeable in some way that when he left it to finish drying uncombed it appeared much neater than when washed without them.  Even when he did comb it after a good washing with some of Lily’s herb mixtures, it looked like a nice neat tight mop rather than a ransacked squirrel haven as it had prior to Lily scent time. Though he admitted his take on this was totally biased because his nose was calling the shots in the home people land scents department. Lately his nose didn’t give a damn what his eyes had to say about anything.  After pushing his hair away from his face, a futile gesture if there ever was one as it immediately went right back to where it had been, Sarge turned to open the door and felt a keen thrill of emotional electricity flit through him. It was much the same as the feeling that he’d experienced when he’d exited Big Bob’s and caught sight of Lily working her way up the street then set off after her. He liked the way that move had turned out, so hopefully this was an indication that this move, as strange as it felt to him in several ways because of the nature of what he felt he needed to talk about, also might turn out to be to his liking. There was no way to know except to follow through on his decision.

He opened the bathroom door and walked down the short hall to the bookroom. Hearing Lily speaking in two different voices Sarge wondered if Marianna or another child from upstairs had come for a visit and was being entertained with a story.  This notion jumped right out the window as soon as he had sight of the back of the red velvet couch where Lily’s left foot was chasing her right across the top of the couch back. He stood listening to her switch from a falsetto to a something just below her normal voice speaking tone and realized there was a different voice for each foot which were being used in place of puppets for some adventure he couldn’t make heads or tails of because she wasn’t speaking in English. Recalling that he’d caught a glimpse of this same foot action when he’d returned after being doused with the garbage disposal refuse and that it had ceased as soon as she’d become of aware of his presence, Sarge kept quiet in order to satisfy  his curiosity by watching her feet and listening to the tones of her dual voice action. Only when the storyline seemed to have played itself out and her feet rested on her heels moving slowly sideways in one direction and then in the opposite, did he announce himself by speaking.

“Hey Lily, do you have some time for seriously serious talk?”

“Considering the fact that I’ve been having a conversation with my feet, what do you think, Funny Man? Hmm?” Lily pushed herself up from the couch seat cushions just far enough to peer at him over the back of the red couch. “What’s on your mind, Sarge?”          

He pointed at her feet as he came closer to the couch. “Well, first off, what’s that story with your feet about? I have to ask because your right foot really did a number on your left, but I have no idea why right foot beat the heck out of the left foot.”

Lily moved to sit cross-legged on the couch. “That’s not really what you want to talk about. You’re curious, but it’s not the headliner on your mind, Sarge.” She wiggled her toes. “Tell you what, I’ll go through the whole story in English for you, but only after we talk about whatever has you out of the bathroom after only half the time you usually spend in there. Deal?”

 “You promise to tell the whole story after we talk, no matter what we talk about?”

“I promise. No matter what we talk about first, I will give you whole blow-by-blow from start to finish afterwards.” She made a few lines across her chest then shrugged. “What’s that called where people seal their promises with all this finger action in front of their chests? Whatever that’s called that’s what I just did.”

“Oh, you mean like ‘cross my heart and hope to die if I lie’. Yeah. Hm.” Sarge looked at her and smiled a little. “Okay, I guess I’ll just have to trust you to keep your word about the story.”

“I’m warning you that it’s probably not quite what you might be thinking it is. As in, it’s not some quaint little home people fable.”

Sarge sat on the warm radiator facing the couch. “Okay, so what kind of story is it then?”

“It’s a way I have of dealing with a few things that I have issues with. You know some safe, self-contained, acting out play.”

“Oh yeah? Does it work?”

“Enough so that I stop chasing the dog’s tail in my head.”

Sarge thought about her statement for a moment then nodded. “Then it works. I’m going to hold you to your promise.” He rubbed his bare feet on the rug and contemplated stretching out on the floor.

Lily waited for Sarge to speak his mind. She watched him move to lay on his back on the rugs where he liked to read stretched out along the radiators so he could look up at the sky through the windows without any obstructions. He was quiet for so long that she considered gently prompting him into speaking instead she heeded the soft hushing of her vibes and made herself comfortable by stretching out over the length of the couch. Realizing something just as important as their new agreement must be on his talk agenda, she listened carefully to his silence while he was searching for a good opening while the sky darkened outside the windows. Knowing he, like she, enjoyed the room at night without the lights on and the shades open as they were now, Lily shut off the lamp then lay back on the couch with her hands interlocked behind her head.  Just after her eyes had fully adjusted to the change from lamp-light to moonlight he began quietly talking to her from the floor where he lay looking up at the night sky dotted with lightly falling snow.

*

Robert Snache

Breakfast Special, #31, “Mrs. Ling’s Office Supply Salvage Service at Your Disposal”

“Mrs. Ling’s Office Supply Salvage Service at Your Disposal”

*

*

DeeDee Ling was having another bonanza night regarding the treasures she was finding in nearly each and every office desk trash can on her floor this cleaning shift. This was her third red-letter trash find work shift this week. Usually the pickings were this good just maybe twice a month when payday rolled around for half the office workers. The neon green plastic recycle bag on her cart was overflowing with an abundance of reuseable office supplies running the gamut from several sheets of expensive high quality photography paper to a quarter full box of mini staples to the opened but full box of letter sized envelopes discarded, according to the writing on the box, since it could not be returned for a box of the desired envelopes because it was now a discontinued item.

DeeDee figured this was the universe’s way of repaying her for doing Rosa a good turn by letting her use the office machine she’d salvaged from the trash in order to make copies of the pages of a little grey book. Her own little home office supply shelves had been in serious need of replenishing on the day Rosa had come round asking about what her machine could do. Every work shift since Rosa’s visit had bought all sorts of excellent goodies DeeDee’s way. Her home office shelves were not only fully restocked with items salvaged from the office building’s trash bins, but there was overflow as well, an heretofore unknown state of affairs in her little workroom.

To insure more of this good fortune, DeeDee was giving serious consideration to the notion that it might be a good idea to inform Rosa that she was quite willing to provide any typing or other office service, including the use of the very versatile machine, for Rosa at no charge whenever she had need of it.  Finding not one, but two nearly full postage stamp dispensers, in the trash cans of two different offices, clinched the free deals for Rosa idea. Discovering unused stamps in the trash was as good as finding money straight up in DeeDee Ling’s mind. Two nearly full rolls inside two dispensers, one whose plastic casing had cracked in such a manner that prevented easy dispensing and removal of the roll, and the other one perfectly sound, giving DeeDee reason to think that it might simply have been the causality of some mindless autopilot desk cleaning, sealed the deal for her decision to provide Rosa with unlimited services and supplies. After all, there were nearly two hundred dollars in postage stamps sitting snug and neatly rolled inside a couple of cheap plastic holders. If this treasure find wasn’t a direct result of kindly sharing salvaged resources with neighborhood friends, then DeeDee Ling didn’t know what was.

*

*

Little did DeeDee know that this line of reasoning was not only going to bring her considerably more good fortune in diverse and unexpected forms, but would also provide her with a great deal of personal entertainment and vindication while doing Rosa a favor. She would have the means to create what she deemed an appropriate vehichle for exacting more than a tad of personal revenge for a certain sort of rampant bigotry expressed via questionable humor running amok amongst the people who occupied the offices from nine to five pm daily Monday through Friday. While it was clear to Mrs. Ling that not everyone on the fifth floor found the crass stereotypical Asian cartoons and jokes amusing, she deduced from the prominent display for sharing and commentary in many offices that the majority of the employees were indeed heartily amused at the expense of her own cultural heritage. Her offended sensibilities would soon prompt her to quite willingly join Rosa in a little spontaneous brainstorming session involving more than the trash can resources at her fingertips five nights a week: copy machines, bulk postage mail codes, access to the outgoing mail depository, typewriters, and a few other handy office gadgets that were no worse for the wear after a little night shift break time employment.

In return, one of the boys in Rosa’s care drew a cartoon in line with DeeDee’s thinking regarding the base nature of bigots everywhere. DeeDee supplied the cutting satiric caption herself after receiving Miguel’s more than adequate artistic interpretation of her desired images.  Another sort of payload arrived on the day the fusebox in her building blew thereby alerting everyone to the presence of over a foot of icy cold water in the basement. Not only had the very tall white man Rosa sent to deal with the blown fusebox fixed that longstanding problem, but he’d put the leaking water pipes to rights and then managed to get the water draining out of the basement using several garden hoses Mr. Ling borrowed from the neighbors. All he requested in return for his time and labor was the recipe for her favorite cookie. Mrs. Ling made him a copy in under ten seconds then taped it to the Tupperware container stuffed full of her very own special Szechuan Shrimp Lo Mein which he accepted with a surprised smile and a rather becoming streak of blush on his cheeks. Mrs. Ling did not waste any time debating about sharing the information that the services of a new gringo handyman in the neighborhood could be had for a very modest trade fee of shrimp and a recipe song.

TheDinerMusicLibrary

~~~

Breakfast Special #32 https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/breakfast-special-32-hidden-talents-2/

No Trick, These Books Really are Free Treats From World Book Night Peeps.

Yes, you too can share and spread the joy of reading with free books from the wonderful people who run World Book Night.  What are you waiting for? Just fill out an application to be a Giver any time from now until January 5, 2014. Why wait? It’s not a scam. These are real books and we get to give them to real people.  It’s fun, it’s easy, it’ll make you smile. I guarantee it.

April 23rd Is World Book Night

World Book Night site –>> http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/

Browse the Books for 2014  —>> http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/books/2014

How it works:

Each year, 30- 35 books are chosen by an independent panel of librarians and booksellers. The authors of the books waive their royalties and the publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the specially-printed World Book Night U.S. editions. Bookstores and libraries sign up to be community host locations for the volunteer book givers.

After the book titles are announced, members of the public apply to personally hand out 20 copies of a particular title in their community. World Book Night U.S. vets the applications, and the givers are chosen based on their ability to reach light and non-readers. The selected givers choose a local participating bookstore or library from which to pick up the 20 copies of their book, and World Book Night U.S. delivers the books to these host locations.

Givers pick up their books in the week before World Book Night. On April 23rd, they give their books to those who don’t regularly read and/or people who don’t normally have access to printed books, for reasons of means or geography. 

WBN

wbnamerica

Book List for 2014

WBN

2014 Book List    

To download the list with ISBN’s please click here.

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie

The Ruins of Gorlan: The Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 1 by John Flanagan

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Large Print edition) by Jamie Ford

The Lighthouse Road by Peter Geye

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Pontoon by Garrison Keillor

Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan

Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee

Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan

Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

Cuando Era Puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Large Print edition) by Maria Semple

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff

100 Best-Loved Poems edited by Philip Smith

*

Yeah, right now Catch 22 is at the top of my short list of books I’d love to share. For 2013 I gave out 20 copies of The Phantom Tollbooth.  What about you?  What book from this list would you like to give someone to read? Join and give.

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