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Brewster’s Millions

Did you know this is an older book? And there’s an older movie, too (not the one with Richard Pryor)!

Here’s a part of a reader review from the original book; About all I’ll say in comparing the 2 versions is this: the one and only similarity is they both center around a man named Montgomery Brewster having to dispose of a certain sum of willed money within a specified time period, without telling anyone why, in order to be eligible for a larger fortune. That’s it. The novel’s amounts are different, Mr. Brewster’s profession and friends are different, and even the reason for the whole game is totally different – more complex and interesting in the novel, I thought. So it follows that Monty’s methods of spending his money and the adventures, setbacks, and romances he experiences along the way make the novel a completely different story. Without giving away the book’s ending, I will say that’s different too, but equally satisfying.

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The Upper Berth
by F. Marion Crawford

I can tell this isn’t my cup of tea- it’s a horror story, or a ghost story. But if you like that sort of thing, this is supposed to be very well done.

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An American Politician

From the first chapter: Mrs. Sam Wyndham was generally at home after five o’clock. The established custom whereby the ladies who live in Beacon Street all receive their friends on Monday afternoon did not seem to her satisfactory. She was willing to conform to the practice, but she reserved the right of seeing people on other days as well.

Mrs. Sam Wyndham was never very popular. That is to say, she was not one of those women who are seemingly never spoken ill of, and are invited as a matter of course, or rather as an element of success, to every dinner, musical party, and dance in the season.

Women did not all regard her with envy, all young men did not think she was capital fun, nor did all old men come and confide to her the weaknesses of their approaching second childhood. She was not invariably quoted as the standard authority on dress, classical music, and Boston literature, and it was not an unpardonable heresy to say that some other women might be, had been, or could be, more amusing in ordinary conversation. Nevertheless, Mrs. Sam Wyndham held a position in Boston which Boston acknowledged, and which Boston insisted that foreigners such as New Yorkers, Philadelphians and the like, should acknowledge also in that spirit of reverence which is justly due to a descent on both sides from several signers of the Declaration of Independence, and to the wife of one of the ruling financial spirits of the aristocratic part of Boston business.

As a matter of fact, Mrs. Wyndham was about forty years of age, as all her friends of course knew; for it is as easy for a Bostonian to conceal a question of age as for a crowned head. In a place where one half of society calls the other half cousin, and went to school with it, every one knows and accurately remembers just how old everybody else is.

From somewhere in the middle: They shook hands cordially, and John Harrington turned down Charles Street, while Vancouver pursued his way up the hill. He had been going in the opposite direction when he met Harrington, but he seemed to have changed his mind. He was not seen again that day until he went to dine with Mrs. Sam Wyndham.

There was no one there but Mr. Topeka and young John C. Hannibal, well-dressed men of five-and-thirty and five-and-twenty respectively, belonging to good families of immense fortune, and educated regardless of expense. No homely Boston phrase defiled their anglicized lips, their great collars stood up under their chins in an ecstasy of stiffness, and their shirt-fronts bore two buttons, avoiding the antiquity of three and the vulgarity of one. Well-bred Anglo-maniacs both, but gentlemen withal, and courteous to the ladies. Mr. Topeka was a widower, John C. Hannibal was understood to be looking for a wife.

They came, they dined, and they retired to Sam Wyndham’s rooms to don their boots and skating clothes. At nine o’clock the remaining ladies arrived, and then the whole party got into a great sleigh and were driven rapidly out of town over the smooth snow to Jamaica Pond. John Harrington had not come, and only three persons missed him–Joe Thorn, Mrs. Sam, and Pocock Vancouver.

The ice had been cut away in great quantities for storing and the thaw had kept the pond open for a day or two. Then came the sharpest frost of the winter, and in a few hours the water was covered with a broad sheet of black ice that would bear any weight. It was a rare piece of good fortune, but the fashion of skating had become so antiquated that no one took advantage of the opportunity; and as the party got out of the sleigh and made their way down the bank, they saw that there was but one skater before them, sweeping in vast solitary circles out in the middle of the pond, under the cold moonlight. The party sat on the bank in the shadow of some tall pine trees, preparing for the amusement, piling spare coats and shawls on the shoulders of a patient groom, and screwing and buckling their skates on their feet.

“What beautiful ice!” exclaimed Joe, when Vancouver had done his duty by the straps and fastenings. She tapped the steel blade twice or thrice on the hard black surface, still leaning on Vancouver’s arm, and then, without a word of warning, shot away in a long sweeping roll. The glorious vitality in her was all alive, and her blood thrilled and beat wildly in utter enjoyment. She did not go far at first, but seeing the others were long in their preparations, she turned and faced them, skating away backwards, leaning far over to right and left on each changing stroke, and listening with intense pleasure to the musical ring of the clanging steel on the clean ice. Some pride she felt, too, at showing the little knot of Bostonians how thoroughly at home she was in a sport they seemed to consider essentially American.

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Green Fancy

Reader Review: This story takes place during WW1 and it holds a great mystery but the book is more than that,it has I thought some of the funniest dialogue and funny scenes that I have seen in a long time,so download and read and enjoy.

Random Excerpt: “You must let me take you on to the Tavern in the car,” she said. “Turn about is fair play. I cannot allow you to—”

“Never mind about me,” he broke in cheerily. He had been wondering if she would make the offer, and he felt better now that she had done so. “I’m accustomed to roughing it. I don’t mind a soaking. I’ve had hundreds of ‘em.”

“Just the same, you shall not have one to-night,” she announced firmly. The car stopped beside them. “Get in behind. I shall sit with the driver.”

If any one had told him that this rattling, dilapidated automobile,—ten years old, at the very least, he would have sworn,—was capable of covering the mile in less than two minutes, he would have laughed in his face. Almost before he realised that they were on the way up the straight, dark road, the lights in the windows of Hart’s Tavern came into view. Once more the bounding, swaying car came to a stop under brakes, and he was relaxing after the strain of the most hair-raising ride he had ever experienced.

Not a word had been spoken during the trip. The front windows were lowered. The driver,—an old, hatchet-faced man,—had uttered a single word just before throwing in the clutch at the cross-roads in response to the young woman’s crisp command to drive to Hart’s Tavern. That word was uttered under his breath and it is not necessary to repeat it here.”

And here’s another:

“I see. My name is Jones, Putnam Jones. I run this place. My father an’ grandfather run it before me. Glad to meet you, Mr. Barnes. We used to have a hostler here named Barnes. What’s your idea fer footin’ it this time o’ the year?”

“I do something like this every spring. A month or six weeks of it puts me in fine shape for a vacation later on,” supplied Mr. Barnes whimsically.

Mr. Jones allowed a grin to steal over his seamed face. He re-inserted the corn-cob pipe and took a couple of pulls at it.

“I never been to New York, but it must be a heavenly place for a vacation, if a feller c’n judge by what some of my present boarders have to say about it. It’s a sort of play-actor’s paradise, ain’t it?”

“It is paradise to every actor who happens to be on the road, Mr. Jones,” said Barnes, slipping his big pack from his shoulders and letting it slide to the floor.

“Hear that feller in the tap-room talkin’? Well, he is one of the leading actors in New York,—in the world, for that matter. He’s been talkin’ about Broadway for nearly a week now, steady.”

“May I enquire what he is doing up here in the wilds?”

“At present he ain’t doing anything except talk. Last week he was treadin’ the boards, as he puts it himself. Busted. Up the flue. Showed last Saturday night in Hornville, eighteen mile north of here, and immediately after the performance him and his whole troupe started to walk back to New York, a good four hunderd mile. They started out the back way of the opery house and nobody missed ‘em till next mornin’ except the sheriff, and he didn’t miss ‘em till they’d got over the county line into our bailiwick. Four of ‘em are still stoppin’ here just because I ain’t got the heart to turn ‘em out ner the spare money to buy ‘em tickets to New York. Here comes one of ‘em now. Mr. Dillingford, will you show this gentleman to room eleven, and carry his baggage up fer him? And maybe he’ll want a pitcher of warm water to wash and shave in.” He turned to the new guest and smiled apologetically.”

And one last bit:
“”I don’t mind having a cocktail. Will you join me?”

“As a matter of fact, I’m expected to,” confessed Mr. Dillingford. “We’ve been drawing quite a bit of custom to the tap-room. The rubes like to sit around and listen to conversation about Broadway and Bunker Hill and Old Point Comfort and other places, and then go home and tell the neighbours that they know quite a number of stage people. Human nature, I guess. I used to think that if I could ever meet an actress I’d be the happiest thing in the world. Well, I’ve met a lot of ‘em, and God knows I’m not as happy as I was when I was WISHING I could meet one of them.”

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Her Weight in Gold

A collection of short stories. Here’s the beginning of the first:

“Well the question is: how much does she weigh?” asked Eddie Ten Eyck with satirical good humour.

His somewhat flippant inquiry followed the heated remark of General Horatio Gamble, who, in desperation, had declared that his step-daughter, Martha, was worth her weight in gold.

The General was quite a figure in the town of Essex. He was the president of the Town and Country Club and, besides owning a splendid stud, was also the possessor of a genuine Gainsborough, picked up at the shop of an obscure dealer in antiques in New York City for a ridiculously low price (two hundred dollars, it has been said), and which, according to a rumour started by himself, was worth a hundred thousand if it was worth a dollar, although he contrived to keep the secret from the ears of the county tax collector. He had married late in life, after accumulating a fortune that no woman could despise, and of late years had taken to frequenting the Club with a far greater assiduity than is customary in most presidents.

Young Mr. Ten Eyck’s sarcasm was inspired by a mind’s-eye picture of Miss Martha Gamble. To quote Jo Grigsby, she was “so plain that all comparison began and ended with her.” Without desiring to appear ungallant, I may say that there were many homely young women in Essex; but each of them had the delicate satisfaction of knowing that Martha was incomparably her superior in that respect.

“I am not jesting, sir,” said the General with asperity. “Martha may not be as good-looking as—er—some girls that I’ve seen, but she is a jewel, just the same. The man who gets her for a wife will be a blamed sight luckier than the fellows who marry the brainless little fools we see trotting around like butterflies.” (It was the first time that Eddie had heard of trotting butterflies.)

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The Little City of Hope A Christmas Story


“Hope is very cheap. There’s always plenty of it about.”

“Fortunately for poor men. Good morning.”

With this mild retort and civil salutation John Henry Overholt rose and went towards the door, quite forgetting to shake hands with Mr. Burnside, though the latter made a motion to do so. Mr. Burnside always gave his hand in a friendly way, even when he had flatly refused to do what people had asked of him. It was cheap; so he gave it.

But he was not pleased when they did not take it, for whatever he chose to give seemed [2]of some value to him as soon as it was offered; even his hand. Therefore, when his visitor forgot to take it, out of pure absence of mind, he was offended, and spoke to him sharply before he had time to leave the private office.

“You need not go away like that, Mr. Overholt, without shaking hands.”

The visitor stopped and turned back at once. He was thin and rather shabbily dressed. I know many poor men who are fat, and some who dress very well; but this was not that kind of poor man.

“Excuse me,” he said mildly. “I didn’t mean to be rude. I quite forgot.”

He came back, and Mr. Burnside shook hands with becoming coldness, as having just given a lesson in manners. He was not a bad man, nor a miser, nor a Scrooge, but he was a great stickler for manners, especially with people who had nothing to give him. Besides, he had already lent Overholt money; or, to put it nicely, he had invested a little in his invention, and he did not see any reason why he should invest any more until it succeeded. Overholt called it selling shares, but Mr. Burnside called it borrowing money. Overholt was sure that if he could raise more [3]funds, not much more, he could make a success of the “Air-Motor”; Mr. Burnside was equally sure that nothing would ever come of it. They had been explaining their respective points of view to each other, and in sheer absence of mind Overholt had forgotten to shake hands.

Mr. Burnside had no head for mechanics, but Overholt had already made an invention which was considered very successful, though he had got little or nothing for it. The mechanic who had helped him in its construction had stolen his principal idea before the device was patented, and had taken out a patent for a cheap little article which every one at once used, and which made a fortune for him. Overholt’s instrument took its place in every laboratory in the world; but the mechanic’s labour-saving utensil took its place in every house. It was on the strength of the valuable tool of science that Mr. Burnside had invested two thousand dollars in the Air-Motor without really having the smallest idea whether it was to be a machine that would move the air, or was to be moved by it. A number of business men had done the same thing.
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The Lock and Key Library The most interesting stories of all nations: American

A collection of classic American short stories

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Ave Roma Immortalis, Vol. 1 Studies from the Chronicles of Rome
Extract: The story of Rome is the most splendid romance in all history. A few shepherds tend their flocks among volcanic hills, listening by day and night to the awful warnings of the subterranean voice,—born in danger, reared in peril, living their lives under perpetual menace of destruction, from generation to generation. Then, at last, the deep voice swells to thunder, roaring up from the earth’s heart, the lightning shoots madly round the mountain top, the ground rocks, and the air is darkened with ashes. The moment has come. One man is a leader, but not all will follow him. He leads his small band swiftly down from the[Pg 2] heights, and they drive a flock and a little herd before them, while each man carries his few belongings as best he can, and there are few women in the company. The rest would not be saved, and they perish among their huts before another day is over.

Down, always downwards, march the wanderers, rough, rugged, young with the terrible youth of those days, and wise only with the wisdom of nature. Down the steep mountain they go, down over the rich, rolling land, down through the deep forests, unhewn of man, down at last to the river, where seven low hills rise out of the wide plain. One of those hills the leader chooses, rounded and grassy; there they encamp, and they dig a trench and build huts. Pales, protectress of flocks, gives her name to the Palatine Hill. Rumon, the flowing river, names the village Rome, and Rome names the leader Romulus, the Man of the River, the Man of the Village by the River; and to our own time the twenty-first of April is kept and remembered, and even now honoured, for the very day on which the shepherds began to dig their trench on the Palatine, the date of the Foundation of Rome, from which seven hundred and fifty-four years were reckoned to the birth of Christ.

And the shepherds called their leader King, though his kingship was over but few men. Yet they were such men as begin history, and in the scant company there were all the seeds of empire. First the profound[Pg 3] faith of natural mankind, unquestioning, immovable, inseparable from every daily thought and action; then fierce strength, and courage, and love of life and of possession; last, obedience to the chosen leader, in clear liberty, when one should fail, to choose another. So the Romans began to win the world, and won it in about six hundred years.

By their camp-fires, by their firesides in their little huts, they told old tales of their race, and round the truth grew up romantic legend, ever dear to the fighting man and to the husbandman alike, with strange tales of their first leader’s birth, fit for poets, and woven to stir young hearts to daring, and young hands to smiting. Truth there was under their stories, but how much of it no man can tell: how Amulius of Alba Longa slew his sons, and slew also his daughter, loved of Mars, mother of twin sons left to die in the forest, like Œdipus, father-slayers, as Œdipus was, wolf-suckled, of whom one was born to kill the other and be the first King, and be taken up to Jupiter in storm and lightning at the last. The legend of wise Numa, next, taught by Egeria; her stony image still weeps trickling tears for her royal adept, and his earthen cup, jealously guarded, was worshipped for more than a thousand years; legends of the first Arval brotherhood, dim as the story of Melchisedec, King and priest, but lasting as Rome itself. Tales of King Tullus, when the three Horatii fought for Rome[Pg 4] against the three Curiatii, who smote for Alba and lost the day—Tullus Hostilius, grandson of that first Hostus who had fought against the Sabines; and always more legend, and more, and more, sometimes misty, sometimes clear and direct in action as a Greek tragedy. They hover upon the threshold of history, with faces of beauty or of terror, sublime, ridiculous, insignificant, some born of desperate, real deeds, many another, perhaps, first told by some black-haired shepherd mother to her wondering boys at evening, when the brazen pot simmered on the smouldering fire, and the father had not yet come home.

But down beneath the legend lies the fact, in hewn stones already far in the third thousand of their years. Digging for truth, searchers have come here and there upon the first walls and gates of the Palatine village, straight, strong and deeply founded. The men who made them meant to hold their own, and their own was whatsoever they were able to take from others by force. They built their walls round a four-sided space, wide enough for them, scarcely big enough a thousand years later for the houses of their children’s rulers, the palaces of the Cæsars of which so much still stands today.

Then came the man who built the first bridge across the river, of wooden piles and beams, bolted with bronze, because the Romans had no iron yet, and ever afterwards repaired with wood and bronze, for its sanctity, in perpetual veneration of Ancus Martius, fourth King of Rome. That was the bridge Horatius kept against Porsena of Clusium, while the fathers hewed it down behind him.

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A Roman Singer

Reader Review: This is the story of a rather ugly boy with a great voice. While still non-famous he falls in love with a Count’s daughter and pretends to be a professor to gain access to his lady love while tutoring.

One day, he goes on a “field trip ” with Hedwig, her father and another man to the Roman ruins at midnight so Hedwig can see the full moon through the hole in the ampitheater ceiling. While there, in the darkness he gets the urge to sing and does so but no one can tell where the voice is coming from. Nino says it’s his cousin who has now disappeared into the night.
Hedwig falls in love with the voice and keeps asking about his cousin…

Then the day of his debut arrives and Hedwig and her father are in the audience…

To cut a long story short, the Count refuses to allow his daughter to marry a phlebian musician and he takes his daughter away to an undisclosed castle location far in the mountains of Italy.

There’s a villain, and a love story, a great escape and a subtheme of opera. Add to that, the dialog has fantastic wit which makes it a winner in my books. (see my status updates for examples)

I took it down a star because I dislike someone else narrating the story. (in this case it was Nino’s adoptive father). You miss so much with explanations of “how I know what happened “.

But its a good fairytale like story and I enjoyed it.


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Excerpt: In the year 1865 Rome was still in a great measure its old self. It had not then acquired that modern air which is now beginning to pervade it. The Corso had not been widened and whitewashed; the Villa Aldobrandini had not been cut through to make the Via Nazionale; the south wing of the Palazzo Colonna still looked upon a narrow lane through which men hesitated to pass after dark; the Tiber’s course had not then been corrected below the Farnesina; the Farnesina itself was but just under repair; the iron bridge at the Ripetta was not dreamed of; and the Prati di Castello were still, as their name implies, a series of waste meadows. At the southern extremity of the city, the space between the fountain of Moses and the newly erected railway station, running past the Baths of Diocletian, was still an exercising-ground for the French cavalry. Even the people in the streets then presented an appearance very different from that which is now observed by the visitors and foreigners who come to Rome in the winter. French dragoons and hussars, French infantry and French officers, were everywhere to be seen in great numbers, mingled with a goodly sprinkling of the Papal Zouaves, whose grey Turco uniforms with bright red facings, red sashes, and short yellow gaiters, gave colour to any crowd. A fine corps of men they were, too; counting hundreds of gentlemen in their ranks, and officered by some of the best blood in France and Austria. In those days also were to be seen the great coaches of the cardinals, with their gorgeous footmen and magnificent black horses, the huge red umbrellas lying upon the top, while from the open windows the stately princes of the Church from time to time returned the salutations of the pedestrians in the street. And often in the afternoon there was heard the tramp of horse as a detachment of the noble guards trotted down the Corso on their great chargers, escorting the holy Father himself, while all who met him dropped upon one knee and uncovered their heads to receive the benediction of the mild-eyed old man with the beautiful features, the head of Church and State. Many a time, too, Pius IX. would descend from his coach and walk upon the Pincio, all clothed in white, stopping sometimes to talk with those who accompanied him, or to lay his gentle hand on the fair curls of some little English child that paused from its play in awe and admiration as the Pope went by. For he loved children well, and most of all, children with golden hair—angels, not Angles, as Gregory said.

Reader Review: This is a romance set in Rome in 1865-6. It’s about a prince who loves a duchess, but she’s married, and…if I say any more it’ll ruin the story for you since the plot isn’t very deep. It’s very well written and moves along at a good pace.

At the beginning and a couple times later in the book Crawford writes about European politics, and he does it so well that I wish that he did it more. He could have easily given Giovanni some sort of occupation and worked in some intrigue, but he preferred to write page after page about what a character is thinking or feeling.

This book is the first of a tetralogy, and at the end Crawford says that “to carry on the tale from this point would be to enter upon a new series of events more interesting than those herein detailed…,” so hopefully the succeeding books will have more to them. (The other books are Sant’Ilario, Don Orsino and Corleone.) This book is well worth reading, though, so I recommend it to anyone who likes romances, especially historic ones.

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The Wings of the Morning

reader review: A little mystery, adventure, and romance in a well written book. 2 people are shipwrecked on a deserted island and fall in love while trying to survive hardships. I had a hard time puting this book down.

Excerpt; The girl choked back her emotion, and sadly essayed the task of providing a meal which was hateful to her. In doing so she saw her Bible, lying where she had placed it that morning, the leaves still open at the 91st Psalm. She had indeed forgotten the promise it contained—

“For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

A few tears fell now and made little furrows down her soiled cheeks. But they were helpful tears, tears of resignation, not of despair. Although the “destruction that wasteth at noonday” was trying her sorely she again felt strong and sustained.

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Pushing to the Front

American writer and editor ORISON SWETT MARDEN (1850-1924) was born in New England and studied at Boston University and Andover Theological Seminary. In 1897, he founded Success Magazine.

Reader Review; Orison Swett Marden was the original editor-in-chief of the now defunct “Success” magazine. In fact, he probably rolled over in his grave when the magazine went out of publication. It was a time of mourning for me. In fact, I was just in the process of renewing my subscription when I found out…”Success” was no longer successful (how ironic).
This set of books is excellent. Most of the writing is examples of successful people from the past and present (1911). This type of motivational writing tends to get repetitive, however, there is a lot of advise tucked carefully between the many examples given. It was a very different world when the author wrote this book, but as I read it I noticed, the more things change, the more they stay the same. One difference I like is the chivalry and honesty exhibited from the time period. Even the highest standards of decency today are a far cry from that time. It was a lot of fun reading some of the examples from that era and knowing they were current events. These books are well worth the read, if you can find them.

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The Westerners

This is an old fashioned western written at the time when words like savage and half-breed were as common as the insensitivity that allowed people to use them ease.

Excerpt: Jim agreed to transport the three in his schooner, which was one point well settled. Billy suggested at least a dozen absurd methods of keeping the camp in ignorance until the start had actually been made, each one of which was laughed to scorn by the practical Jim.

“She might put on men’s clothes,” he concluded desperately.

“For the love of God, what for?” inquired Jim. “Stick to sense, Billy. Besides, there’s the kid.”

Billy tried once more.

“They might meet us ’bout a hundred mile out. He could take Jim’s schooner, here, and mosey out nor’-west, and then jest nat’rally pick us up after we gets good and started. That way, the camp thinks he palavers with Jim and us to get a schooner, and maybe they thinks Jim is a damn fool a whole lot, but Jim don’t mind that; do you, Jim?”

“No, I don’t mind that,” said Jim, “but yore scheme’s no good.”


“He wouldn’t get ten mile before somebody’d hold him up and lift his schooner off him. They’s a raft of bad men jest layin’ fer a chance like that to turn road agent.”

Billy turned a slow brick-red, and got up suddenly, overturning the coffee-pot. A dozen strides brought him to the camp of the Tennessee outfit. There he raised his voice to concert pitch.

“We aims to pull out day arter to-morrow,” he bellowed. “We also aims to take with us two tenderfeet, a woman, and a kid. Them that has objections can go to the devil.”

So saying, he turned abruptly on his heel and returned to his friends. Jim whistled; but Alfred smiled softly, and began to recap the nipples of his old-fashioned Colt’s revolvers. Alfred was at that time the best shot with a six-shooter in the middle West.

Seeing this, Billy’s frown relaxed into a grin.

“I’m thinkin’ that them that does object probably will go to the devil,” said he.

In half an hour the news was all over camp. When Michaïl Lafond heard of it, he left his dinner half eaten and went out to talk earnestly to a great variety of people.”

And here’s another:

“He was a queer man, the doctor, a pathetic little figure in the world’s progress—an outgrowth of it, in a certain way of thinking.

Born of good old New England stock, he spent his studious, hard-working boyhood on a farm. At sixteen he went to the high school, where he was adored by his teachers because he stood ninety-nine in algebra. Inconsequently, but inevitably, this rendered him shy in the presence of girls, and unwarrantably conscious of his hands and feet. So, when he went to college, he spent much time in the library, more in the laboratory, and none at all in the elemental little chaos of a world that can do so much for the wearers of queer clothes and queerer habits of thought. He graduated, a spectacled grind, bowed of shoulder, straight of hair, earnest of thought.

Much reading of abstract speculation had developed in him a reverence for the impractical that amounted almost to obsession. Given a bit of useless information and a chunk of solid wisdom, he would at once bestow his preference on the former, provided, always, it were theoretical enough. He knew the dips of strata from their premonitary surface wiggles to their final plunges into unknown and heated depths. He could deliver to you a cross-section of your pasture lot, streaked like the wind-clouds of early winter; and he could explain it in the most technical language. Nothing rock-ribbed and ancient escaped him in his frequent walks. He saw everything—except, perchance, the beauty that clothes the rock-ribbed and ancient as a delicate aura, invisible to the eye of science—and he labelled what he saw, and ticketed it away in the pigeon-holes of his many-chambered mind, where he could put his finger on it at any given moment in the easiest fashion in the world.

It is very pleasant to know where the Paleozoic has faulted, and how; or why the stratifications of the ice age do not show glacial scorings in certain New England localities. To verify in regard to lamination green volumes of obese proportions, or to recognize the projection into the geological physical world of the thought of a master, this is fine, is noble; this makes to glow the kindly light in spectacled blue eyes.

Adoniram Welch left college with many honors. He returned to his little New England village, and for a space was looked upon as a local celebrity. This is a bad thing for most youths, but Adoniram it affected not at all. It availed only to draw upon him, in sweet contemplation, another pair of blue eyes, womanly, serious blue eyes, under a tangle of curly golden hair.

And so, although Prue Welch was a homely name, and Prue Winterborne a beautiful one, when Adoniram accepted the chair of geology offered him by his alma mater, the owner of the blue eyes went with him, and the new professor’s thick spectacles somehow glowed with a kindly warmth, which even fine specimens of the finest fossils had never been able to kindle. He settled down into a little white house, in a little blossomy “yard,” under a very big, motherly elm, and gave his days to the earnest mental dissection of the cuticle of the globe. His wife attacked the problem of life on six hundred dollars a year.

Now, from this state of affairs sprang two results. The professor evolved a theory, and Mrs. Professor, although she did not in the least understand what it was all about, came to believe in it, to champion it, to consider it quite the most important affair of the age. The professor thought so, too; and so they were happy and united.”

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In the Bishop’s Carriage

Excerpt: When the thing was at its hottest, I bolted. Tom, like the darling he is—(Yes, you are, old fellow, you’re as precious to me as—as you are to the police—if they could only get their hands on you)—well, Tom drew off the crowd, having passed the old gentleman’s watch to me, and I made for the women’s rooms.

The station was crowded, as it always is in the afternoon, and in a minute I was strolling into the big, square room, saying slowly to myself to keep me steady:

“Nancy, you’re a college girl—just in from Bryn Mawr to meet your papa. Just see if your hat’s on straight.”

I did, going up to the big glass and looking beyond my excited face to the room behind me. There sat the woman who can never nurse her baby except where everybody can see her, in a railroad station. There was the woman who’s always hungry, nibbling chocolates out of a box; and the woman fallen asleep, with her hat on the side, and hairpins dropping out of her hair; and the woman who’s beside herself with fear that she’ll miss her train; and the woman who is taking notes about the other women’s rigs. And—

And I didn’t like the look of that man with the cap who opened the swinging door a bit and peeped in. The women’s waiting-room is no place for a man—nor for a girl who’s got somebody else’s watch inside her waist. Luckily, my back was toward him, but just as the door swung back he might have caught the reflection of my face in a mirror hanging opposite to the big one.

I retreated, going to an inner room where the ladies were having the maid brush their gowns, soiled from suburban travel and the dirty station.

The deuce is in it the way women stare. I took off my hat and jacket for a reason to stay there, and hung them up as leisurely as I could.

“Nance,” I said under my breath, to the alert-eyed, pug-nosed girl in the mirror, who gave a quick glance about the room as I bent to wash my hands, “women stare ’cause they’re women. There’s no meaning in their look. If they were men, now, you might twitter.”

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Happy reading!

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Stewed Pumpkin with Tomato

vintage pumpkin in field illustration I make something like the recipe below- or rather, I used to, when money was much tighter and I had more mouths to feed. I usually added garlic and some salted nuts or seeds to mine. I would use arrowroot and butter or ghee for the thickener instead of flour and margarine, and then it would be a Whole30 compliant meal.

I learned to make it from one of the sidebar comments in my old standby, the More with Less cookbook. It was an African dish.   The recipe below is taken from the 1920 Good housekeeping’s book of menus, recipes, and household discoveries (every recipe tested and approved!)

stewed pumpkin with tomato recipe

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Husband’s Lunch: Asian Goulash

I think I’ll call the noodles Asian goulash- lo mein noodles boiled with the dried squid jerky for lack of a better word- it’s different from the saki ika I usually buy ( This stuff (second picture)- is harder, really difficult to chew, I think because the skin is still on it. I love saki ika, but this stuff, not so much.

After boiling the noodles and the dried squid, I cut up the squid strips, which were now less like tree branches and more dried rubber, added green onions, garlic, red pepper threads, sriracha sauce, Thai peanut sauce, ghee, shrimp, calimari, and scallops, as well as mixed stir fry veggies from Trader Joes and fried it all up quickly.   My husband took a quick taste and said it was more than enough spicy stuff, thank-you. I topped it with Furikake ( Side dishes are simple- just a baby greens and baby kale salad and frozen blueberries with a spoonful of coconut cream.


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I have committed an act of cranial terrorism

…. against myself.

I’ve been picking individualized ring tones for each of my family members. Yes, I did this once before, but somehow I accidentally undid it yesterday so I had to repeat my efforts. I couldn’t remember for certain what I had chosen for everybody before.

Some of them are impossible to forget, of course. The Babies’ Uncle (see previous post) has Big Bang’s “I’m Still Alive”- see last year.

My husband is still Big Bang’s “Baby, I’m Not a Monster” for Reasons.

The Mop Top is Batman’s theme because he loves Batman.

JennyAnyDots, getting married in January, has ‘Going to the Chapel.’ (she also could have been the Gumbie Cat song from Cats).

One of the Progeny is nicknamed Bear. I chose a snatch of this as her ringtone:

You’re welcome.

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What the Dread Pirate Grasshopper Wants to Be When He Grows Up

Five Year Old Grandson: When I grow up I’m going to be like Uncle ___.
Me: Really? That’s cool. What do you want to do that your uncle does?
Five Year Old Grandson: I’m going to be The Babies’ Uncle!

I instantly shared this with all my friends and relations in my private FB acct and said, “Help! I’m melting and I can’t get up.”

I was also babysitting while the grandbabies’ mama packed for her upcoming move, and so I couldn’t stay melted for long. There were fractious arguments to referee, predicaments children needed to be extracted from (one involved a stool and the kitchen trashcan), and play dough to make. Y’all young mothers, my hat is off to you. Mothering is for the young, my dears, the young.

I told the Boy later that this was going to be his new nickname forever- The Babies Uncle.

He said he needed to go punch a wall just so he could feel more manly, and he also said that it was definitely better to be The Babies’ Uncle than a Baby’s Daddy right now, but he couldn’t stop grinning while he said all this.

It’s also youth bow hunting season, a friend gave him some snazzy new arrows that light up for better tracking at night, and he got paid today. He’s having a very good day, is The Babies’ Uncle.

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1920 Interchurch Movement

This is an ad by the I found it in the 1920 publication of The Christian Advocate, Volume 95.  The ad is for/by a group called The Interchurch Movement

Highlighting is mine

Church ADvocacy ad 1920


The Christian Advocate, Volume 95, published in 1920

Several things caught my eye- the indication of the technological society Jacques Ellul wrote about, the confusion there seems to be between Christianity and a political ideology, the similarity between concerns about plague being brought in by foreigners then as now, the focus on self-interest- never mind the dying Indian children, help India to keep *our* children safe, for example.

I don’t know much about the Interchurch Movement- skimming through The Christian Advocate, it seems to begin with enthusiasm for the organization and end with bitter recriminations.

In April of 1920, there’s an article about their fund raising.  It was decided to collected funds from unchurched members of the communities where the organization canvassed, people who had associated themselves with no church congregation at all, but might be supposed to be of good will with general humanitarian impulses- these people were designated “Friendly Citizens” (a change from their first designation of ‘no man’s land,’ Friendly suitable, and “Wherever a community canvass is put on in the Interchurch Financial Compaign,  these Friendly Citizens will be visited and invited to give proof of their friendliness by subscribing to the fund.”

That sounds vaguely threatening, doesn’t it?  The article continues,

“Vigorous objection has been made to this feature of the Interchurch policy. The Continent (Presbyterian) condemns it as “reversing the apostolic ambition to get men to give first their own selves to the Lord.” The Sunday School Times makes it one of a number of counts in the harsh, and as we think, unfair indictment, which it brings against the Interchurch Movement, saying “It seems to be concerned not at all as to where the money comes from provided only the desired amount comes.”

I’m inclined to agree with the above criticisms on general principles.   And by December of 1920 the same paper was reporting that the Methodist board had agreed the Interchurch Movement was uanble to continue and should liquidate its assets and surrender its charter and dispurse the funds amongst the member groups.

In November, they published this:

Christian advocate interchurch movement failure

I found this from a Baptist site:

An ecumenical effort of about thirty denominations to combine their resources, cooperate in ministries at home, and parcel out their overseas efforts to avoid overlap and duplication. One motive was to assist in rebuilding war-torn Europe and reestablishing ties with European Christians. For all its worthy motives, most observers now concede that the Interchurch Movement was premature, poorly planned, and structurally flawed. For whatever reasons, it failed to enlist the necessary cooperation, and its failure almost pulled down the Baptists’ New World Movement in its wake. Northern Baptist reaction to linking the NWM to an ecumenical effort was so overwhelmingly negative that by 1920 the convention voted reluctantly to pull out of the Interchurch movement.

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Vintage Turkeys to Cut and Colour

vintage stand up turkeys

Print as desired. Then colour, and cut them out, folding on the dotted lines (down between the feet). Past the two sides together at the head and at the tail, but leave the feet unpasted, just folded. According to the teacher’s magazine where I got these, the turkeys should stand up.

Things you could do with these (if you want something to do):

Make a flock and use little dart guns, catapults, or rubber bands to have a ‘turkey shoot’

Write names on them to use as seat markers at the table.

Put numbers on them and have a door prize.

Hide them around the room and let the children hunt for them- again, you could put numbers inside them to correspond to little prizes, or you could write Bible verses on the inside, or assign stunts for each person to do (recite a poem, sing a song, hop on one foot, show us a dance step, quack like a duck, tell us three things you know about the origins of Thanksgiving, and so on).

Let me know if you come up with another idea, but again, just colouring is also fine.

Here are some other vintage craft projects:

vintage template pumpkin box

vintage stand up pumpkin

You colour them first. Then, with the first, you cut it out carefully, not cutting the dotted lines, and fold it along the dotted lines, pasting the corners (1) at (2) to make a little box. You can use as a table setting card, a decoration, and you can put a few nuts and raisins in it (which is what the teacher magazine suggests).

With the second, you fold the bottom tab on the pumpkin, slip into the slot on the leaf, and then unfold the tabs so that it stands up on its leaf.


six stand up turkeys to one page

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Thanksgiving Paper Dolls

Thanksgiving paper dolls

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Free Kindle Books

Amazon links are affiliate links. I will get somewhere between 4 and 7.5% if you buy things while you are at Amazon (not just for downloading free books, because even 100% of nothing is still nothing, and that’s okay)

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Debt Free Forever: The Ultimate Guide to “Knowing Nothing to Having Everything in Financial Freedom, Becoming a Millionaire, and Becoming Debt Free Forever” … Management, Finances, Financial Freedom)

Some reader reviews say this information is basic common sense that everybody knows. Other says it is a good book for beginners.

One reader says:
I’ve been looking for a book like this for quite awhile. If you’re deep in debt like I was, you’ll have to fight down to every tooth and nail just to make ends meet. This book comes with a simple, yet very straightforward and effective approach: get out of debt, stay out of debt, then be more stable with your finances. The latter two steps are crucially important – and what separate this book from other info available. I find that people, myself included, end up taking another nosedive in debt even after swearing never to be in heavy debt again. But that’s life; like this book suggests, there are so many pitfalls in life that end up crippling personal finances. And often times, it’s our fault too!

Great read. Get this one, hands down/

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80/20 Success Series on Effective Time Management and Productivity: Effective Time Management Tips and Skills to Increase Productivity and Save Time (80/20 … Time Management and Productivity Tips)
Reader Review: This book is incredibly helpful! Time management is something that a lot of people continuously have trouble doing. It’s based on the Pareto Principle which is about that approximately 80% of the effects (outputs) that come from 20% of the causes (inputs). In other description, these are activities you do in 20% that equate for the majority (the 80%) of your outcomes (can be successful or unsuccessful). ‘Really contains a lot of good ideas and ways to save time and be more productive that I found really interesting.

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80/20 Success Series on Public Speaking and Presentations: Overcome Fear and Give a Winning Presentation with These Public Speaking Tips (80/20 Success Public Speaking and Presentation Tips Book 1)

Reader Review: We all know how stressful public speaking experience could get. But this book is incredibly helpful! It is for everyone who is overwhelmed with public speaking and presentation. This book gives some great tips to use when you need to speak or present among people. A good read, well done, informative with clear communication.

A great find for anyone who needs to speak in front of a small or large group on regular basis or for any would-be speaker.

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Natural Cleaning Solutions: / Minimalist Budget Revealed – (2 Book Boxed Set) Discover How To Clean Your House Using Safe And Eco-Friendly Green Natural … Minimalism, Minimalist Lifestyle, Budget 1)

REader review; Natural Cleaning Solutions Made Easy:
Going green with many of our house hold products has been very important tour family. This book presents some “home-made” eco- friendly alternatives that we will definitely consider.
The author starts out with several justifications on why the reader shold consider going green. These reasons include toxic levels of store bought cleaners, saving money by making your own and the fact they are safe for your pets and the environment.
I liked that fact that these cleaners could be made with every day products already found in the home such as white vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice.
Many “recipes” are included to give step by step instruction on making many household cleaners. Home- made alcohol free hairspray will be a hit in my house for example.

Minimalist Budget Revealed:
Like many people, I like the idea of spending money where and when needed. The concept of minimalist thinking when it comes to money management is a great lesson for us all to embrace.
As the author describes, there is a difference between being a cheap minded person and being a minimalist. Smart money management along with a good budget is the key. Making decisions to have what you require without all the extras makes all the difference.
This is a great resource that covers much information without being long-winded as many other financial guides tend to be.

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Her name was Bitter: A Memoir
The Discipline Miracle

Reader review: This review is from: Her name was Bitter: A Memoir (Kindle Edition)
The online synopsis’s of this book are inaccurate. One describes it as the saga of a fugitive on the run and the other as a story of a mother grieving for a child given up for adoption. Johnson was molested by a relative at the age of thirteen and did indeed have a child, but the story is more about her dysfunctional family and life. Her father was a brutal man who beat and raped women. He ran one scam after the next, leading his daughter into some shady enterprises. He then grabbed the profits. The kids were used in supermarket parking lots by a stepmother who begged shoppers for money, claiming the kids were starving. The money went to drugs. The kids washed windshields, much as is done in Mexico, to solicit money. They also did a candy selling scam, designed to play upon the buyers’ sympathies. Johnson then made bootleg CDs, which she claims netted her nearly a quarter of a million per year. Next, as a young adult, she worked for a man who was involved is some kind of advertising scam. He went to prison and she was given probation and ordered to pay restitution. She spent a while with some impoverished relatives in Texas. The characters are at times riveting and well portrayed in their Gothic creepiness,
Finally Johnson found Jesus while, get ready, she was having a bowel movement on the toilet. This she conveys as nonchalantly as though she were walking down a country road under a rainbow. The prose is often rough, occasionally raunchy and long winded, but at times highly entertaining. A good story of poverty in America that Johnson overcomes.

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The Discipline Miracle

I haven’t read this!

Blurb: While it may be a thankless task, being a good parent involves knowing how and when to administer discipline. The Discipline Miracle provides a unique framework for raising happy, well-adjusted children. The book is based on three fundamental principles:

– Be a safe harbor. Give the child a sense of security by being dependable, responsible, and emotionally available.
– Be a good boss. Insist on appropriate rules that will make children feel safe, and teach them to use self-control.
– Prepare kids for the real world. Give them what they need (boundaries, rules, and consequences), not just what they want.
Together, these principles add up to an overarching philosophy on discipline that helps you be the best parent you can be – and raise the best kids!
“Among the very best [books on discipline] are…The Discipline Miracle.” – Washington Post

Reader Review; It’s worth the read.
We were so desperate when we realized we had a “difficult” child. Our approach was not working, so we bought lots of books. My husband and I both read this book. This provided such a good foundation for discipline and child psychology. It helped me understand bad behavior by breaking it down to the basic needs of a child. We averted so many tantrums by giving hugs instead of lectures, and stopping myself before I lost my temper.

The only thing I didn’t like were some the key phrases, like “show me the goods.” She uses that phrase over and over. Everytime I read that line and I had to replace it in my head with “show me good behavior”

And she uses a REALLY long phrase that says “you didn’t show me respect, restraint, good self-control, behavior……etc” and basically you have to just delete what doesn’t apply to that situation, and fill in the blank with the appropriate word. Hard to explain, but you get the hang of it once you read the book.

And I don’t like referring to myself as “the boss” but the concept did help me accept that I need to do things in my kids best interest, not what they always want me to do.books black and white

Charting Your Way To Conception

Blurb: Charting Your Way to Conception will teach you how to identify your fertility signs, find out when you are fertile, see if and when you ovulate, and how to use your fertility signs to maximize your chances of conception.

It clearly explains the basics of fertility charting to achieve pregnancy, the relationship between your hormones and your fertility signs, how to observe and record primary and secondary fertility signs and how to interpret your fertility chart.

The current version has been expanded to include more frequently asked questions about fertility charting for conception and includes over 80 “real life” chart illustrations.

From members of

“I learned by charting that even though my cycles were very unpredictable, I could pinpoint when I was about to ovulate. It also showed that my luteal phase was too short which the doctor corrected…”

“I had no idea I wasn’t ovulating and when I started seeing that my temps weren’t following a pattern, I broached the subject with my gynecologist, who then did an ultrasound and found that I had PCOS. If it weren’t for charting it would have taken me a long time to realize there was a serious problem.”

“Knowing when I ovulate has been eye-opening for me. I feel much more in control of the trying to conceive process with this information.”

“I love charting! I feel like I am actually doing something to help us get pregnant when so much of it is out of my control. I have learned so much about how my body works and what is going on with me from charting.”

“WOW, this experience charting my fertility signs has helped me in so many ways. Not only am I more aware of what my body is telling me, but I have a sense of control over an uncertain time…”

“Charting taught me a tremendous amount about me and my body and how it works. It gave me hope when I needed it and it helped me communicate in a much more detailed way with my doctor.”

“I love knowing what my body is doing and why, and it made me much more confident and knowledgeable when talking with my OB.”

“Charting gave me such an insight into my cycle – before I was just flying blind. Without charting I don’t think that I would be 6 months pregnant now.”

Reader Review: I have been using Fertility Friend’s resources and charting online services for almost a year. The book is very knowledgeable and scientific- it definitely dispels many of the common myths out there about fertility. It teaches you how to chart using temperatures, OPK tests, and many other signs. It is very user friendly- you do not have to be perfect or do everything they recommend. You can tailor it to your needs. It helps you understand a lot more about the your cycle and how to maximize your chances. This is especially important for couples who are having difficulty getting pregnant due to certain risk factors.

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This sounded just outside of the norm enough to be interesting- basically, it seems to be about how culturally, witchcraft is used as a psychological weapon to keep some people enslaved.

Open Secrets: An Irish Perspective on Trafficking and Witchcraft

Reader Review; If you thought slavery and witches were from another era Open Secrets: An Irish Perspective on Trafficking & Witchcraft will dispel that myth! This book from Jennifer deWan and David Lohan is a must read for anyone trying to understand the problem of human trafficking. It combines academic research and first hand contact with migrants in Cois Tine a support Centre for migrants in Cork.
The book brings new insights into the role of witchcraft especially its role in the control of the victims of trafficking. Dr. deWan looks at how witchcraft in the African culture was a positive thing a `system of values that regulates human conduct’ but today it is often used as a weapon `where `adults and children are illegally traded like commodities’. She explains how magic and witchcraft are used as oaths to bind trafficked or smuggled people to their traffickers and ensure they will not try to escape. De Wan points out that `misunderstanding can cloud our understanding of the cultural, spiritual and historical context for witchcraft beliefs and practices especially regarding African witchcraft that is happening in Ireland.’ This book certainly brings new insights into the question of how the trafficker controls their victims who seem from the outside to be willing slaves i.e. labourers or prostitutes.
David Lohan looks at the situation of trafficking in Ireland and set it within the global problem of human trafficking which is estimated at 12.3 million victims. In Ireland there are about 1,000 women and girls working in prostitution at any one time charging 200 per hour. He reviews the legislation that is in place to deal with the problem. He highlights the link between prostitution, trafficking and money and concludes that it is with the’ financial rewards that the exploration commences.’ As well as case studies of victims Lohan shows a great empathy with the victims of sex trafficking and his chapter on Ungoing and Re-Doing the Self shows the complex needs of the victims well after they become free from their trafficker.
A welcome addition to our knowledge of the world inhabited by trafficked people in Ireland.

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Superheroes: The Best of Philosophy and Pop Culture

Blurb; Explore the philosophical depths of Batman, Superman, Captain America, and your other favorite superheroes—FOR FREE!
Behind the cool costumes, special powers, and unflagging determination to fight evil you’ll find fascinating philosophical questions and concerns deep in the hearts and minds of your favorite comic book heroes.

Why doesn’t Batman just kill the Joker and end everyone’s misery? Does Peter Parker have a good life? What can Iron Man teach us about the role of technology in society? Bringing together key chapters from books in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series, this free superhero sampler engages the intellectual might of big thinkers like Aristotle and Kant to answer these questions and many others, giving you new insights on everything from whether Superman is truly an American icon to whether Wolverine is the same person when he loses his memory.

Features exclusive bonus content: all-new chapters on Captain America and Thor
Gives you a sneak peek at upcoming books: Avengers and Philosophy, Spider-Man and Philosophy, and Superman and Philosophy
Includes superheroes from both the DC and Marvel universes: the Avengers, Batman, Captain America, Green Lantern, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Superman, Thor, Watchmen, and the X-Men
Gives you a perfect introduction to the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series
Whether you’re looking for answers or looking for fun, this classic compilation will save the day by helping you gain a deeper appreciation of your favorite comics with an introduction to basic philosophical principles.

Reader Reviews: Inspired me to spend a few hours on Wikipedia not only investigating the philosophy that was written about, but also the gaps in superhero knowledge I have. I don’t think I’ll be able to think about Wolverine the same way again, that’s for sure…
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magnifying our struggles March 20, 2013
By Tom Terrific
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My older sister once asked me with a look of amused condescension why I liked superhero comics. I was about 10 at the time. I told her it was because the conflicts were big, the stakes high (I’m sure I didn’t say it that well). Later I learned how close to the truth I was.

Superheroes may have super powers, but they fight super villains. And in those magnified conflicts we intuitively internalize the metaphor and apply it to our own struggles. That is the insight this book (for free) seeks to bring to our attention and clarify. Not the superhero battles, but the struggles to find meaning and purpose and even happiness, even as they battle to save the world.

I especially liked the connection of the particular superhero’s moral and philosophical struggles with the particular philosopher who dealt with that question. Iron man with Descartes over the power and meaning of technology and Spider-Man with Thomas Aquinas and what does it mean to live a Good Life were two of my favorites.

Comic book readers have always been smarter than the critics of comic books have ever admitted (and smarter than the critics, too). This book and the series it is promoting understand that fact and give us comic lovers more of the meat of understanding we were perhaps looking for as boys and teens.

I own two of the books in this series (Matrix and House) and while not every article tickles my tummy I definitely enjoyed both books and this book, too.

Download now for Pete’s sake. It’s Free!

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CK-12 Middle School Math Grade 6, Volume 2 Of 2

CK-12′s Middle School Math Grade 6 covers the fundamentals of fractions, decimals, and geometry. Also explored are units of measurement, graphing concepts, and strategies for utilizing the book’s content in practical situations. Volume 2 includes the last 6 chapters.

Here’s the first volume: CK-12 Middle School Math Grade 6, Volume 1 Of 2

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An Inconvenient Year

It is a book that deals with the social side of cancer, as a parent, a lover and a friend. It is a story of coping with uncertainty, the reactions of others and living with them too. It documents the total shock and utter fear that a diagnosis brings and the hopelessness of surrendering to a treatment that brings its own baggage yet ultimately insures life. It talks about confronting hair loss along with discovering the more covert assault on all things feminine. Yet at the very root of the book, ahead of the fear and anger, there is humour and laughter. Though the story of cancer has been told before, it has not been told like this”

Reader reviews are confusing. My conclusion- whether this book is for you or not is deeply personal and depends on how much you need to read a positive breast cancer story right now.

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Marked (Soul Guardians Book 1)

Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Kara Nightingale is unpopular, awkward and positively ordinary—that is until one day she is struck by a bus and dies…Within moments her life changes from ordinary to extraordinary as she wakes up in a mysterious world with a new career—as a rookie for the Guardian Angel Legion, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons and sworn protectors of mortal souls. But with her new job comes dangers of the supernatural kind and things quickly change from bad to worse. Kara is shunned by the Legion, and for reasons unknown demons seem to be following her. Nevertheless she must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil and save the mortal world—if she can survive the encounter…

Wildly positive reader review; The first chapter got me hooked. I wanted to know more about Kara. Kim creates a world I would love to be in, a world full of angels. Kara is a rookie who learns the ropes through David, her mentor. David is so much fun to be around; it’s hard for Kara not to have these feelings toward him. Their task is to save a person’s life, but they find themselves fighting demons instead, and unable to fulfill their assignment successfully. Later, they found out that Kara has been marked from both sides. The twist and turns of the story captivated me that I couldn’t put the book down. The ending was unique and different. I was pleasantly surprised. I hope there will be a book two because I enjoyed the chemistry between the two main characters. This well-written, entertaining, original story was so much fun to read, I would recommend it to all readers.

Negative reader review: I think..not,
Kara dies and gets to Heaven where she becomes a guardian angel. She does not know anything about this, the guy charged with taking care of her is very enthusiastic and does not explain much……the whole story feels like a roller-coaster ride where it’s an absolute miracle Kara survives. And in the end we also find out she is kind of special. I did not like the style, the information was not sufficient, the characters not believable.

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Second Chances

Blurb: Even as a child, Rachel had her whole life mapped out – study teaching, marry the perfect guy, have some kids and be a stay at home mum. With two different guys after her attention, Rachel must make a choice – will she choose rebellious single dad Nate or sensible youth leader Steven?

Meanwhile, Hannah is on top of the world, engaged to be married to the love of her life, until a chance encounter with someone from her past threatens to take away her happiness. Will her relationship survive when the secret she has been keeping for so many years is uncovered?

As these best friends lean on God and each other through different trials, they both experience God’s forgiveness and his provision of ‘second chances’.

Reader Reviews- many suggested this was more suitable for young readers and it didn’t have a lot of depth, it was too simple.

Sometimes that’s what we want, isn’t it? Something we don’t have to think about.

I have no idea if that is this book for you.

Here’s a positive reader review: This was a simple story, but I really enjoyed how Rachel had to lay aside her desires and let God give her what she wanted. In life, sometimes we think we know what is best, but God knows what we need. When the time came for Rachel to let go, she was able to do it with the help of God. I liked Hannah because sometimes things happen in our lives and we just bury it, but God has a way of dealing with it. Hannah thought because she finally shared what she had buried, it was not having the outcome she thought. Through patience and the grace of God she received a second chance and so did Rachel. I would recommend this book to any person that may be struggling with trusting God about their future and those that have so many secrets buried. God loves you so much and cares about your future. Great book.

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Hearts Awakening (Hearts Along the River Series, Book 1)

Blurb; With no means to support herself, Ellie Kilmer agrees to work as a housekeeper for the young widower who lives on Dillon Island, hopeful she can obtain a proper reference. But Jackson Smith quickly realizes that Ellie’s presence may solve his own problems–both the rearing of his young boys and the scandal that surrounds his first marriage.

When a marriage of convenience is offered, Ellie is initially humiliated. Though she is past the age most women marry, she has more pride than to agree to his outlandish suggestion. Yet what options does she have? To marry would mean a home and stability. So despite the rumors circling Jackson and his first wife, Ellie accepts this unlikely proposal…

Reader Review; “Every wrong should be made right, and no right should be forgotten.” (Gram, page 97)

Oh, my!! Oh, my! Oh, my!! I love, love, love it when a book sweeps me away and carries me into the heart of a thoughtful, realistic, heart-struggling faith and then tenderly shows me the Father’s hand in the midst of the trial. Heart’s Awakening is a precious, tender historical romance that reveals the true meaning of forgiveness and grace, and I am so very happy to recommend it to you!

Ellie Kilmer is a character your heart aches for the moment you meet her as she is struggling through the woods. When you learn of her true circumstances, you just want to hug the poor woman to your heart and take care of her. Well, then you add a handsome, wounded man with two precocious children to the picture, throw in a dash of scandal, a pinch of gossip and finish with a sprinkle of a long-ago first love you have the recipe for an unforgettable historical romance that will leave you full and satisfied! You’ll have to pardon all the talk of recipes, and you’ll have to read the story to discover a very unusual challenge Ellie faces in her kitchen, and most of all, you just have to have to read this book! You will love it!!

I think what spoke to me most clearly and honestly was Ellie’s faith. Her unwavering ability to go to the Father even when her feelings were crushed, her determination to cling to Him when her faith felt incredibly fragile, and the utter completeness and calmness with which she spoke directly to the heart of whatever emotional challenge faced her within very unusual and uncertain circumstances was powerful! She quickly became a hero of the faith in my eyes, because she understood and offered forgiveness and unconditional affection even when she didn’t have to.

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Inescapable (Road to Kingdom Book #1)

Page-Turning Romantic Suspense Set Against the Backdrop of a Small Mennonite Town

Lizzie Engel is used to running away. At eighteen, she left her Mennonite hometown, her family, and her faith with plans never to return. Five years later, Lizzie finds she’ll have to run again. False accusations at her job, a stalker, and a string of anonymous threatening letters have left her with no other options. This time, however, her escape is back to Kingdom, her hometown.

As Lizzie becomes reacquainted with Kingdom, she realizes she may not have left her Mennonite roots and her faith as firmly in the past as she thought. She draws on the support of Noah Housler, an old friend, as she hides out and attempts to plan her next steps.

When it becomes painfully clear that the danger has followed Lizzie to Kingdom, suspicions and tensions run high, and she no longer knows who to trust. With her life and the lives of those she loves at risk, Lizzie will have to run one last time–to a Father whose love is inescapable.

Reader Review: My first Nancy Mehl book and I am now a huge fan! Nancy knows how to wrap your heartstrings around her characters, such as Lizzie and her 6 year old daughter Charity and the town of Kingdom and will keep you guessing what will come next.

Lizzie felt she would never be forgiven by the towns people or her father, an elder in the Mennonite church, for being an unwed mother. So, one night she left the town of Kingdom to make a new home for herself and her daughter Charity in Kansas City. After receiving threatening letters and being stalked, Lizzie begins to think the safest place for her and her daughter, might be the place she never thought she would return to–Kingdom. When Lizzie is falsely accused of stealing from her company and fired, she decides that despite the possible reactions by the people in Kingdom, she needed to do what would be best for her daughter, and return to Kingdom.

Just as Lizzie and Charity are adjusting to their new life back in Kingdom, and begin to feel a sense of forgiveness and security, Lizzie spots the man she had seen stalking her in Kansas City and realizes she and Charity are still not safe. Now what should she do? Should she run away again?

Just as you begin to think that you have things figured out, Nancy Mehl throws in another twist! I loved the way she drew me into the story and I didn’t want to put the book down until I was finished. Then I couldn’t wait to get the second book, so I could read more about the interesting people, who lived in Kingdom. I will gladly grab any other books written by Ms. Mehl!

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Clean Eating On A Budget: How To Avoid GMO’s And Processed Foods To Achieve A Healthier Lifestyle (Healthy Living Book 4)

Reader Review: Many peoples attitude to food is far from ideal and the result is a multitude of health problems that could easily be avoided. I’ve been guilty of consuming a less than ideal diet myself in the past but recently I have been making a real effort to change. Whilst browsing Amazon this book really stood out for me, it seemed to be exactly what I needed so I decided to give it a read.

It’s definitely an eye opener, I found it extremely alarming to learn about the dangers genetically modified foods have. This section of the book was great for educating myself and it certainly cemented my desire to change my eating habits. Plenty of much healthier alternate foods are provided and I thought the inclusion of an “Eating Clean On A Budget” section was a really helpful touch by the author. It ensures that even if people struggle with money they can still reap the benefits of much healthier food.

Overall I really feel books like this should be read by all families. Few even realize the harm they are doing to themselves. This definitely deserves 5 stars and I would not hesitate to recommend it to others.

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My husband’s lunches, November

I may have posted one of these before, I’m not sure. As you can seeI’ve escheewed the more twee and fancy versions I used to do. Now I mainly focus on getting it done, plus:
Filling him up
A varied colour palette, and thus, nutritious
Variety in general
And, to be honest about myself, sometimes I look for just that one little extra touch that will make his co-workers eyes bug out just a bit. They are natives of the most stick in the mud place I have ever lived when it comes to food- although it’s not in these particular pictures, that’s often been seaweed, kimchi, or sushi/kimbap. A couple of them tried seaweed for the first time this week. They didn’t like it, but that’s okay. Most of them wouldn’t even try it.

So, here we are:

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Brownies, pear, tiny sweet peppers with horseradish in a couple of them, roast beef, I *think* potato salad and cucumbers.  Nothing really out of the ordinary here, except horseradish.

Right now I can buy a really quality roast beef lunchmeat at the deli with nothing in it but roast beef and salt- for 9.99 a pound (Dietz & Watson brand).  OR I can buy a roast for 3.49 a lb, cook it and slice it as desired.  So I went to the store yesterday and stocked up on roast beef and pork loin roasts, because they are extra tasty when you put one of each in the crockpot together.

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Cuban Meatballs- with walnuts, green olives, garlic, raisins cinnamon, and other goodies.

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Hmm.  I think this was spinach & mushroom crepes  with more cheese, then some home-made Amish spice cakes, and a salad.

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Sourdough Focaccia bread with green olives and dried tomatoes, grated cheese on the side; mandarin orange, trail mix, dried dates; a salad.

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Butternut squash soup to die for (my mom made it)

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Let’s see…. sliced peppers, baked butternut squash mashed with butter and salt, kit kat bars, and in the tortillas, I do not recall.  Might have been chicken with salsa and cheese.

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Spinach and kale baby salad, olive sourdough focaccia, raw broccoli,and I think that’s shrimp in a white sauce over pasta.  Dressing is in the center ring.  This is technically not a lunch container- it’s a relish tray.  But I was reduced to using it when the other lunch containers had not been brought back home.

What to put the dressing in is a conundrum.  He doesn’t want it on his salad until the last minute, because the salad gets soggy.  I sometimes have used medicine cups- you know, the dosage cups that come with liquid OTC medicines (which we use for the Cherub because she doesn’t swallow pills, she chews them), but the medicine cups almost always get thrown out and don’t come back home, so then I am back to square one.  Lately, I’ve been hollowing out a large radish and using that, but it’s not as stable as the medicine cups, even if I slice a bit off the bottom to make it flat.  But at least it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t come back home.

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Gypsy soup, sourdough wholegrain bread topped with mildly curried chicken spread, horseradish, w/green onions, broccoli, radishes, with dressing in one radish, raisin gingerbread pudding with more raisins than a raisin fruitcake

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Steamed cruciferous veggies topped with furikake, mango chunks, whole wheat sourdough bread with cream cheese and radishes, black bean sausage soup in the jar.

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spinach and kale salad, Shelton’s turkey sausage (no nitrates, no added sugars, just meat and spices) on two slices of freshly made sourdough wholewheat bread along with a green onion,baked sweet potato and radishes.

I would have buttered the bread because I think it would be better that way, but somebody else is afraid of cholesterol so I didn’t.

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This is one I didn’t take a picture of in the container- just Gypsy Soup with sausage instead of chickpeas, crockpot pumpkin custard, and some sourdough molasses bread.

I’ve been posting them to my private FB account and tagging him.  A friend asked me today why I did that.  Here are some of the reasons:

1. He doesn’t like surprises. He wants to know what’s in the lunch before he gets it. But I don’t always finish making them before he goes to bed. In fact, I most often make them at 1 a.m. when I get up to let the dog out.  Now he knows without asking, and asking would usually require waking me up, so that’s a good thing.

2. We have a discrepancy in our memories. I remember that he has a history of often forgetting his lunches and I find this discouraging so I quit making them for a while, and he thinks he almost never forgot them, I just didn’t make them. So I post public reminders. It’s a win-win for me- if he forgets I can say gotcha, and if he remembers then we save money because he’s not buying his lunches, and either way, people think he has a nice wife. (Now if I would just remember to take a picture every time)

3. I like to write about food.

4. Sometimes, like when there’s a jar of soup that goes with it, he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to take (again, I often make them at 1 in the morning when Ronan makes me let him out) I could leave a note, but he might not see it, and I am not nice enough to get up at 4 a.m. to give him his lunch and blow him kisses out the door, especially when I’ve been up at 1 letting the dog out.  So this way he knows if there’s more to his lunch than the usual lunch container.

I’ve been asked this a couple of times- what does he do about reheating, since I pack things that would typically be eaten cold in the same container with things most people would eat hot?

Short answer- I don’t know, and I keep forgetting to ask.

But…. I would assume he eats the cold stuff first, and then reheats. That’s what I’d do. Or, since he is a teacher and he’s eating at school, he could easily move the hot stuff to a school plate and reheat it that way.

He might just eat them all cold- I know he has sometimes done that in the past at other jobs, because I did previously ask him if I should leave the salads out so he could reheat everything more easily and he said, no, he didn’t bother reheating at all and he wanted salad. I would not enjoy that at all.

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