Making a Joyful Noise

goddessFor a holiday treat, my sweetheart and I went to a performance by the Oakland East Bay Symphony entitled “Let Us Break Bread Together: A Holiday Tribute to Pete Seeger.”

The program included music of the season along with a number of songs written by or associated with Pete Seeger, which is an agreeable combination for someone like me who associates peace and love with Seeger-type activism. It was held in the Paramount Theatre in downtown Oakland, one of those Art Deco-inspired theatres from the 1930s, now restored and a registered historical landmark.

(The pictured gold goddess is one of many similar pieces on the walls of the balcony lobby at the Paramount. I’m not sure who she is, but given that the concert was in honor of Pete Seeger, I’m thinking of her as Aphrodite as referenced in Seeger’s version of “Gimme That Old Time Religion” – “Let us pray to Aphrodite, she wears that see-through nightie ….”) Continue reading

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Posted in Culture, Education, Holidays/Holy Days, Music | Tagged , | 2 Comments

In Celebration of The Hobbit #3

by Brenda W. Clough

hobbit3_animated_onesheet The third and final Hobbit movie is out today! Holiday pressures force me to postpone seeing the movie for a while — when I do I will post a review. But to celebrate, I give you my final Tolkien/musical mashup! The first one is here, and the second here – collect the entire set.

(a song taught by Bilbo Baggins to hapless young hobbits when they come to tea at Bag End)

Away out east they don’t got holes

Not like here in the Shire

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Don’t Bite the Basketball

You’d think Serge Ibaka was trying to self-publish an ebook. via Daily Thunder

You’d think Serge Ibaka was trying to self-publish an ebook.
via Daily Thunder

Most authors these days are familiar with the challenges of self-publishing. The sheer number of tasks confronting your first indie ebook can boggle you. Once you’ve got those down, the do-list only gets longer. How’s your social media going? Can you afford a BookBub ad? Are you ready for box sets, producing your own audio editions, and managing a street team?

Yeah. Continue reading

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Words and Pictures

There are some illustrations that are so integral to my memory of books I read as a kid that to say the name of a book calls them immediately to mind.  Say “A Little Princess” and I think of Sara Crewe, pale little face framed by a cloud of dark hair, sitting disconsolate in her wretched attic, or a little more optimistically, of Sara, cracked bowl in hand, looking dreamily out over the London rooftops.  Both illustrations are from an edition of A Little Princess I did not own–we had it in my classroom in 4th grade.  I had the more prosaic Tasha Tudor edition at home (if the Tudor illustrations define your Sara Crewe, pardon my partiality) but for some reason these are the illustrations that hooked into my heart.  They are by Ethel Franklin Bett, and one of the things I love is that they capture Sara’s oddness–from the beginning of the book Frances Hodgson Burnett describes Sara as odd, “queer”, a serious little girl unlike the pink-and-white Victorian girls who populate her boarding school. Continue reading

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BVC Announces The Spirit Gate by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

The Spirit Gate by Maya Kaathryn BohnhoffThe Spirit Gate
by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

The magic of Polia is broken, the delicate connection between its male and female elements, sundered. Blame for this and other calamities both natural and political has long been laid at the feet of the White Mothers–rare adepts who can handle both male and female elements.
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The No Clothes Equation

_DSC3932-(ZF-4919-11231-2-001).SM“The emperor has no clothes” has never been a popular (or easy phrase) to utter. Not even in agility.  But it can be easier to talk about things in terms of agility than in terms of the whole of life, so…let’s start here.  By talking about those courses.

You know the courses I mean. During walk-through half the handlers are grimly unhappy and the other half are quite blithely and vocally certain that those who are unhappy would in fact be happy if they had only trained properly (or completely, or with the right system, or…).

To some extent, I, too, think this is usually true–even when I’m the one who’s grim. But I also think it’s just never that easy or that simple—and that because people like things to be easy and simple, they resist hearing the message of complexity (in ways that usually come back to bite those who offer it). Continue reading

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Story Excerpt Sunday: From “A Mere Scutcheon” in Conscientious Inconsistencies by Nancy Jane Moore

Conscientious InconsistenciesA Mere Scutcheon

from the collection

Conscientious Inconsistencies

by Nancy Jane Moore

“Our credit should still be good at the Café Maudite,” Asamir said, leaning toward the mirror to rearrange her blonde curls for the third time.

Anna d’Gart waited—with resignation rather than patience—while her fellow guardswoman primped. She had casually tied her own auburn hair back after training, but she was accustomed to Asamir’s vanity. “The King’s Guardsmen frequent the Maudite,” she said. “We might find some trouble there.”

“Do you have funds for dinner?” Asamir asked.

“No.” Continue reading

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Consider the Hand

(Picture from here.)

And I am back.

It’s been a rough month. I tore my biceps tendon in judo back in October and it had to be reattached. Which meant it had to be in a cast for a month. As keeping it in the thumbs up position is sort of counter productive, I’ve been working on moving it back to typing position for the last few weeks. Continue reading

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Our First Rescue Dog: Bear

BearInYardBear came into our lives when we were still mourning our beloved Golden Retriever Worf, who was our constant companion at home, out windsurfing, or hiking and snowshoeing in the mountains. He was our Hero Dog who showed us the trail when melting snow concealed our return paths in the forest. He was “Happy Dog,” as a little girl in a stroller named him when we were out for a walk, and Test Anxiety Counselor for Thor’s and my students at the university. Big paw-prints to fill!

As we started pondering a new dog to join the family, Thor was set on another Golden, as they generally have suchWorf&SaraInMountains great dispositions. So when our friend Brenda, who fosters rescue dogs for a local group that saves animals from “high kill” shelters, told us we had to meet Bear, an indeterminate Chow-possibly-black-Lab mix she was fostering, we were skeptical. Thor had heard that Chows tend to be aggressive, but Brenda assured us that Bear was a very mellow fellow who got along with all people and animals with the exception of squirrels….

We met Bear, who really is a big teddy bear – and when we took him for a hike in the forest, he looked like a mini bear emerging from the wild. We were surprised by how well-behaved and calm he is, especially for a youngster who’d been found wandering in Idaho and had spent time on “death row.” Thor took him to campus to see how he’d do as test-anxiety counselor, and the students went into a rapturous lovefest, which Bear lapped up. Thor also reports that it didn’t hurt when they got smiles from all the pretty gals as they crossed campus. Continue reading

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Interstellar: A Very Short Review

by Brenda W. Clough

InterstellarRecent events have shown that probably there will not be commercial space flight for a while. I accept that I will probably never make it into space; even if it becomes available in my lifetime I won’t be able to afford a ticket. And my health will no longer stand the stresses — getting older really sucks. Sometimes a bucket list is just a list.
However! There are movies, and by gosh, with modern effects and an IMAX screen some movies are nearly as good as going into space yourself. And tons cheaper! Last year we had Gravity, which was superbly realistic. This year’s Interstellar is not quite that realistic, but has different pleasures. Like scientifically accurate depictions of time dilation, black holes and singularities.

And the movie itself is a honey, hitting all the tropes that we have been playing with since SF was a pup — dystopian environmental failure, wormholes, searching for habitable planets, alien intelligences. Many of us have mined the emotional costs inherent in FTL, but I haven’t seen it on the screen before. A true hard SF movie, how rare is that? This is a big, grand movie, generous in heart and scope, spanning the galaxy with big heaping spoonfuls of Sensawunda. For all the readers of Astounding, all the Asimov and Clarke fans, this is your movie.

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Posted in Film, movies, Reviews, science fiction | Tagged , , | 1 Comment