Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dubliners by James Joyce

James Joyce's Dubliners is a series of stories that explore every day life in the 1900's amidst the din of modern Dublin (Ireland).

Monday, March 29, 2010

5 Things Worth Clucking About 3/29/2010

Arts! Let Us Celebrate what is happening in Polk County around the Arts.  

1.  When Do We Eat?  A good movie, about a very dysfunctional family during a passover Cedar, and the events that wind and unwind their Exodus.

2. Polk Museum of Art Japanese Textiles and Prints April 10-June 27, 2010.

3. Polk Museum of Art  Functional Ceramics April 10-June 27, 2010.

4.  Platform #15: Art in Motion  April 10, 2010.  (906 East Rose Street Lakeland Florida)

5.  Harrison School of the Arts 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What I am listening during rush hour on I-75

I am enjoying listening to the USF Reading of "A Tale of Two Cities". The reading is well done, not one of those that sounds like a computer drone reading words; rather it is affective in getting to the content of the selection. I think y'all will enjoy one of the stories, offered free from Lit2Go (USF on ITUNES U). LIT 2 Go Stories are great to listen to while spending your time driving in rush hour. Imagine what thoughts, what great thoughts one may have parked in traffic on I-75.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Off the Grid

Off the Grid is a heartfelt film about a bunch of bumbles living in New Mexico, in the middle of the desert. The film shows the lives of people who live Off the Grid; 

Off the Grid is defined by Urban Dictionary as - 

 1) Living without using the services of public or private utility companies (grids) such as electric, gas, or water, by generating and providing for one's needs such as by using solar power, etc. 

2) One who disdains all recordable common forms of commerce, such as eschewing any form of credit extension, banking services or reportable payroll activities, using only cash so as to avoid any traceable transactions, e.g., living completely 'underground.'))  

It is easy to overlook or gossip about people who live in an alien community: 

"Look at what they are doing!"

"They can't do that!"

"You can't live there!"

"Look at those Dharma Bums!"

But what is needed to live freely is defined in different ways; some people want absolute freedom, to live like they want to live, and do what they want to do; these people find life is best lived "Off the Grid".  Some people need the solitude only a place off the grid can offer. Some people live off the grid because they enjoy shooting guns. Some find Off the Grid the safest place to protect themselves from their former dangerous lives.  Some live off the grid because they fear society will brain wash their kids.
There is danger in living off the grid. Drugs are common here. And the law is the law of the people, vigilante old west style.
But without a full portrait, we are left arrogant. Jeremy and Randy Stulberg do a fine job of presenting these people objectively.  The people of the mesa are given a fair space to share their free formed lives.  

8 turnips out of a possible 10

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Outline of the Republic Leads us to Rediscover Heart of Darkness

"The offing was barred by a bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky-seemed to lead into the heart of an immune darkness." (Conrad 158) So ends Conrad's heart of Darkness.   Sidhartha Deb ends his book with an allusion, an implicit reference, to the end of Conrad's Heart of Darkness.  "I turned left , knowing that if I kept going I would come to the river." (Deb 318)  Deb points us again to the place that holds the heart of darkness, once described by Conrad, and that this place still remains in the twenty first century.  We have failed to become a modernized utopia.  A utopia where  the river now flows to the heart of heal-able light.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Where we Stand? Open for Business

The United States is going through a period of change.  Change theory says that the first reaction will be shock; then the US reaction will move to denial; than the People will find blame in themselves; this period of Self Blame will be followed by acceptance.  Once we find acceptance and move from the river of denial we will than learn to experiment and find new ways of conducting ourselves in the United States and in the World at Large.

 The United States of America is slowly tilting to a change, a change, a change.  A change between the Old Guard watch dog conservatives, to a newer vision framed by a younger mind set.

  In a way we can blame the 1970's curriculum of "Free to Be You and Me" for the shift.  The new frame of America is shaped around acceptance of diversity, and a need to resolve all conflicts peacefully.   Their will be a battle between the old guard who desire self reliance, to the new guard who see possibility of unity in Big Government.   The important thing to do is to hold onto the rails, keep your hands and legs inside the cart, and get ready for the bumpy ride.

It is good to get informed.  It is good to comment as we will all be responsible for shaping the United States today.   Conservatives don't stop critiquing and editing the thoughts of well intentioned liberals.  For the liberals will dream and the conservatives will edit these dreams so that they are coherent to what the United States will publish to the world.

I do believe the United States will reshape itself into something we won't recognize today.  But don't fret to much,  for we (The People of the United States) will regain our footing and continue to set the tone for what it means to be a Freeman in the 21st Century.

Harlan Ellison Dreams of Sharp Teeth Eating Antisemitic Flesh

Check out the movie:  Harlan Ellison:  Dreams with Sharp Teeth

I loved watching this movie for its honest portrait of a writers life.  The movie shows the hard work of being a synthesizer of words, and how one's muse directs this synthesis.    A number of greats share with us the life of Mr. Ellison; including Robin Williams, Dan Simmons, Neil Gaimon, and Harlan Himself.   The movie deals with diverse subjects:  bullies, army, Judaism, antisemitism, atheism, anger,  and creativity.   

Unfathomably I have not read any of Harlan's books but I plan to.   I have made a month in my reading plan just to read him.   

I am thankful for incredible documentaries, on incredible people, with incredible hearts.   

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Favorite Short Stories So Far…

The list is not in any particular order:

Work Title
Where Did I find the Story
James Joyce
Little Cloud

Jack London
To Build a Fire
Literature an Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama

Ernest Hemingway
The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber
Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway
The Horns of the Bull
Esquire Fiction

Dan Simmons
This Year's Class
The Living Dead

Lee K. Abbot
The Human Use of Inhuman Beings
All Things, All at Once

Steven Millhauser
Flying Carpets
The Knife Thrower

John Cheever
Death of Justina
Esquire Fiction

Rudyard Kipling
Rikki Tikki Tavi
Read All About It!
Edited by Jim Trelease

Robert Service
Cremation of Sam McGee (An Epic Poem)
Read All About It!
Edited by Jim Trelease

David Braly
Night Watchmen
Read All About It!
Edited by Jim Trelease
This list is not exhaustive and I plan to read many more short stories.  So remember the guide is definitive but reality is often inaccurate.  Yours, Gregorio Roth

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Review for: A Century Turns by William J. Bennett

William J. Bennett's new book, A Century Turns, is a fire proof suite, for someone who has been hit hard by the "Rocket of Change".

The book is a superb historical narrative of the last twenty years (1989-2009).

The book explores changing America. Obama said, "A Change, A Change, and A Change!" But what is the change he is discussing? William Bennett shows where we were and what is happening today in a clear conservative point of view. It is a critical book for those who were raised Liberal, in Blue States, and taught by teachers who loved their leather bound volumes of Marx.

Can you feel the hot flames from the after-burn of the plethora of multiple political pundits? Is your mind numb? Are you striving to be Ignorant of the entire historical hullabaloo coming from your television set? I am afraid to say that when the news comes on I often to turn it off.  This mental state is dangerous in a democracy. Democracies require educated people. This ignorant mental state of America is ripe for the power brokers to yield what they believe is best for the people.   William Bennett helps me desire to re-tune to the political spectrum without the effects of Future Shock.

(A note to Liberals) Even if you don't change your spots, you will be able to discuss the issues with a clearer perspective and have greater compassion for your conservative friends.

I recommend this book. 4.5/5 Stars. Clucking with Historical Precedent.

  Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Confessions of a Book Collecting Addict

Hi, my name is Greg and I am a book Collecting Addict!

You see it all started when I was in Kindergarten and I wanted to be a reader.   Not just a reader but one of the Blue Ribbon type of Readers.  I wanted to be considered a great reader, one that has read Mark Twain by the first grade.  One of my Childhood friends is a genius and when I was in classes with him, I wanted to be able to read what he read.   So I began to get myself to read more and more.

  But the problem was I am truly visual good cover is something that I cannot resist. A book in my hand makes me feel comfortable in all situations… 

Books gave me a sense of control, I could decide how much or how little I wanted to engage in a book. 

If I found my friends boring, I could always find a book with more interesting friends. I love my books each and every little one, and hope to one day find time to read them all.  Although dark thoughts arrest me and say, "Son, you will never have time to read them all! Why don't you bring them back to the library so that others may find them useful."

All of you Book Collecting Addicts out there; you are not alone.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Review of “A Far Country” by Daniel Mason

Nietzsche wrote, "In our sleep and in our dreams we pass through the whole thought of early humanity. I mean in the same way that man reasons in his dreams, he reasoned when in the waking state many thousands of years… the dreams carries us back into earlier states of human culture, and affords us a means of understanding it better."(Friedrich Nietzsche, Human all too Human Vol I.13)

The main character Isabel goes to the Modern City in search of her brother Isaias. Isabel brings with her the trappings of shamanistic culture and Santeria traditions. Her abilities are not matched well for the Urban Space she has decided to journey to.

The reader sees the differences between people's negative capabilities and their visible capabilities. A Far Country serves as a good study on the battle between past self and future self. The reader also comes away with a better understanding of what Joseph Campbell meant when he said; there is a power in ceremony.

The mythic space of A Far Country written by Daniel Mason is perfect for reflection. The book is a journey juxtaposed in a study of contrasts. The reflection takes us to look at the effects of others, especially the effect we have on the people we often overlook.

Where is the setting? Mason does not make this clear. He wants us to look at all points in between; all the points of overlooked people who are often displaced by "Modern Progress."

A great read and it encouraged me to check out his book The Piano Tuner.

Check out BSI Lakeland's Review of the Book.
Criteria is on Next Page...

Artistic Recycling of the Post Communist Block

A Far Country There is Hunger

"When they spoke of those hours, they said, We passed hunger.  As if it were a place, an outpost, on a lonely road.  Other times they said, Hunger passed through here.  As if something alive, pale hoofed creature, who tore though on bristling haunches or ambled out of the white forest with a worn suit, and a broken face, a monster or a devil."  (Mason page 5)

Soil: The Gits

Here's to the Ghost of Mia Zapata... she was true to the DIY Spirit but had a beautiful blues Girl voice.  I really enjoyed the movie about the GITS on Netflix, it made me bleed true again... a reminder of what life is... an honest exposure of our inner breath.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Customer: Can I have half a Cuban?
Deli Clerk: Did you ask the Cuban?
Change the Context, Change the setting; changes the meaning greatly.  
Check out the LOST Reading List... 

Hockey Redux?

How you like those Provinces? Okay you won in the end! 

 They used their loss to get hungrier for Gold than the US did.

 U.S. Beat Canada in Hockey in the Winter Olympics.  Canada was favored on paper, but they were paper tigers, folding under pressure.  You might think that we (the United States) would be uttering a wave of cheers, but static permeated the air,   a dead calm (how can a calm be dead?) on a great event.  
I wish I could have viewed "the game" but I was busy behind the Deli Counter.

Well it ain't over till the Fat Lady Sings!
 The Canadians truly deserve the Gold for they were more energized in winning it.  So Candadians wear your Maple Leaf, Cannuk, Nordiq, and other Canadian Hockey Jerseys to the next Tragically Hip Concert with pride.  

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