Friday, August 31, 2012

Reviews: Two Victorian Horror Stories

The Turn of the ScrewThe Turn of the Screw by Henry James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Victorian Ghost Story about the evils of men and the fear of the uncivilized... WE find a governess who is duty bound to protect the children in her charge from the things that go bump in the night. The story presents the isolation caused by a guarded Victorian rectified world. Eerie.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another story from this time period is Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, which shows the tight control of the
wildman that is burried deep within. The novella digs into the Psychological Battle between  the angelic man, made before the fall; and the dirty creatures, that lies in all humans.   The psychology developed and explained here is finely expressed, and gives light to what St. Paul wrote in Romans.

  If you are looking for a long read, this will not suffice. Insightful.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Etymology: Word History - Jade

 Jade was believed to have medicinal/magical powers and be effective on the kidneys.   Jades name in Spanish translates to "loin stone".  Jade also meant broken down horse, to be Jaded was to be broken down.  Jade also referred to a broken down woman of ill repute.  


A pretty girl at time o' gloaming Hath whispered me to go and meet her Without the city gate. I love her, but she tarries coming. Shall I return, or stay and greet her? I burn, and wait.
Truly she charmeth all beholders,
'Tis she hath given me this jewel, The jade of my delight; But this red jewel-jade that smoulders, To my desire doth add more fuel, New charms to-night.
She has gathered with her lily fingers A lily fair and rare to see. Oh! sweeter still the fragrance lingers From the warm hand that gave it me.
Ngram Popularity:
Jade was most popularly used between 1920 and 1940.

And Most Interesting Usage:
Popular Science in February 1923 reported a statue of a Maori Warrior carved out of Jade.  Read It Here. 

The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories ( Miriam Webster Inc., 1991), 492.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Poetry Museum- War

Poetry and Politics:

Poetry often acts as a catalyst for civil action. The poet hopes to  use the condensed wording to punch the hearer with a message full of  impact.  Abolitionist Thinkers of the 1850's utilized poetic forms to communicate their platform.  The enlightened poets of the 1850's felt that the Judges and great men and utilized poetry to move their stoney hearts.
 Herman Melville also used the impact of poetry to communicate his belief in the evil of slavery:

The Portent

By Herman Melville
Hanging from the beam,
      Slowly swaying (such the law),
Gaunt the shadow on your green,
The cut is on the crown
      (Lo, John Brown),
And the stabs shall heal no more.

Hidden in the cap
      Is the anguish none can draw;
So your future veils its face,
But the streaming beard is shown
      (Weird John Brown),
The meteor of the war.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Men Naked in the Woods:

Here lies A little explanation of Men Naked in the Woods.  Robert Bly, the poet and activist, inspired me to dig deep into what it means to be a man in the twenty-first century.    Men have become weak due to lack of mature role models in our society.   We are in an age where the man have become "half adults."  A society created by "half-adults" is problematic because it "lacks leadership, daring initiative, creativity, and deep care about others."*   I am not a professional psychologist.  All I can offer is my personal experience with growing up.   I hope to utilize myths as well as the bible to dig deeper and grow more into my adult role.   

Last Tuesday, on Facebook,  I responded to Proverbs 21:5:

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.

Here is the entry I hit my head with the door of the chill blaster at work. The reason was I was trying to go too fast. There is a difference between haste and timely executed. Haste often leads to unwanted results like a concussion or a band aid on the head. Diligence is due and of a proper time, not a time where you are so pumped up you cause mistakes. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Dinner

Image Found at Too Many Starbucks

The Lord told Noah to brew him some coffee coffee.

Hopefully, the coffee brewed was not Starbucks but was Kaladi Coffee.  Kalidi Coffee introduced me to the passion of roasters. Mark and Andy both dreamed of making the perfect bean.  The bean they created, is one of perfection.  The coffee is strong, but surprisingly smooth; smells of perfected acidity, and guaranteed to make a calm day jump.   I am thankful for the folks at Kaladi Coffee for invigorating my days.   I miss them here in Central Florida, and wish the days were dry and not so wet.  I look forward to visiting Colorado and tasting the succulent drips of Kaladi Coffee. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Interest of the Saturday Afternoon Club

A Picture of the Three Sister Fates holding our fates in their hands.

Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison actually said, "The United States constitution is a covenant with death and an agreement with the devil.  If the American union cannot be maintained except by immolating human freedom on the altar of tyranny, than let the American Union be consumed  by a living thunderbolt, and no tear be shed over its ashes."*pg 14.

1820 Johnson proved that the Tomato was not a poisonous food. The debate still lingers whether Tomatoes are a fruit or a vegetable.  I say a fruit.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "Let him not quit his belief that a popgun is a popgun, though the ancient and honorable of the earth affirm it to be the crack of doom." pg 22*

1837 Elijah Lovejoy was shot and killed by a Unionist Mob.  He was an abolitionist, while the majority of Northern Men felt Slavery a necessary tool to use in the the expansion of Northern Industry. *pg 15

*Menand, Louis The Metaphsical Club (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2001)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Extra: Review

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A short Novella that digs into the Psychology of the angelic man, made before the fall; and the dirty creatures, that lies in all humans.   The psychology developed and explained here is great.  If you are looking for a long read, this will not suffice.

View all my reviews


Heart-Shaped BoxHeart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A metal rock musician, Jude, is a collector of misbegotten things (e.g. girlfriends, horrible artifacts, and memories).  Then he buys a ghost from  an Ebay knock-off auction site, and finds that he has been attacked by the sister of his last girlfriend.  The sister sends Jude the ghost of her dead Stepfather.  A ghost now wants to hunt Jude down and bring him to hell.  Will the ghost succeed in killing Jude?
The book is a good study of the psychology of fear.   Jude collects the morbid because he wants to catalog his fears.  He hopes that cataloging the fears will allow him to control the shadows that go bump in the night.   A blanket laid on a chair is not a ghoul, but just a blanket?  A coat rack is not a man with a deformed back, but just a coat rack?  Joe Hill rationalizes our fears in order to open their effect on us (the reader).   Can we just dismiss the primal fears, or is fear of the supernatural something we must take seriously?

Joe Hill takes Jude on a wild ride.  The story overall was good and moved me enough to finish it.  
However, Jude seemed to exist in a blank room with no atmosphere.   I could not sense a difference between the setting in the North and the setting in Georgia, or even Louisiana.  Mr. Hill might have created this atmosphere to illustrate the idea of music and geometry. The geography of this book is as blank space with noise. The noise shapes the geometry of the stage.
The characters besides Jude were two dimensional and did not seem real.    The ending was forgettable because it did not bloom.  The continuous crackle of tension never stopped my breath, as good horror books should do.  The book was a decent beginning for a developing writer.

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Musical Notes

Music Mentioned in Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

The Dead Win when you quit singing and let them take you on down the road with them. 

pg 237

AC DC Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap...

AC DC If you want Blood.

Johnny Cash: Folsom City Blues

And in Homage to the debut book by Joe Hill, this song was never mentioned, but seems to be the most fitting.  Heaven and Hell by the Dio lead Black Sabbath

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Etymology: Word History


The word comes from the name of Venus. Venus, a god, whose name means love, charm, adorn, and to worship.  Venus was known for creating a love potion which she used to help Aeneas escape from the burning city of Troy.   She protected him from the enmity of Juno.  She made Dido, queen of Carthage, fall in love with him and grant him refuge at a time when Aeneas's had his back against the wall. Venom became malicious over time and became a word that means a malicious deadly drink.   As Edgar Allan Poe wrote:
And pride, what have I now with thee? Another brow may ev'n inherit The venom thou hast poured on me Be still my spirit!

The Google NGRAM viewer shows this word was most popular in  the period between 1910 and 1920.  

Interesting articles outside of the usual ones about Plants, Spiders, and Snakes was the Weekly World News which reported that Snake Venom could be used to prevent brain damage.   Read it here.

Grant. Michael and John Hazel Who's Who Classical Mythology  (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 141-142.

The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories ( Miriam Webster Inc., 1991), 492.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Poetry Museum

Silent Movie Art
Stephen King captures the essence of a scene in 13-16 words. He restates the simple phrase, The Picnic Basket, twice in the sixteen word paragraph.   The poetic form is 5 syllable, followed by 12 syllable, then concludes with 5 syllable. Then if you subtract the repeated words picnic basic and include that in place of the you find a Haiku, 5-7-5.  The haiku form creates a great tension between order and chaos, and makes us (the reader) take heed.   The words remind me of William Carlos Williams the Red Wheelbarrow.  

The picnic basket.
That damned red picnic basket full of her drawings.
How that haunts me.  

- Duma Key page 347.

The Red Wheelbarrow

William Carlos Williams

so much depends
upon a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Dinner

I found this beer in a completion of a quest for a refreshing beverage to put a smooth end to my night.   The search was spurred by a tiring night in closing down the kitchen at Publix.   I knew where to go, Sunoco.  A gas station?  Yes, the Sunoco, near my house on Cleveland Heights Blvd, has started to carry  Micro-Brews.

 The clerk stated, "When did we start carrying that crap!"

I smiled.   I am glad for the convenience.

 This Bok Beer seemed interesting and at the right price.   The alcohol content was 6.5%, so I knew that it was a good value at $8.99.  I also noticed that the beer company has been around for a while.  They have been brewing since 1899.

 The drink  did not disappoint.  The beer had a large head, and a good aroma.  The taste was smooth with a nice after taste.   The beer tasted like beer but was not overly bitter. 

This beer was perfect for punctuating a smooth night. 

See an entry on this beer at the Beer Advocate.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Interest of the Saturday Afternoon Club

The Attakapas, natives of Louisiana Iberia Bayou, name means Eater of Flesh.

Brazil's Flag owes it motto Ordem O Progresso to Auguste Comte and his Progressive Positivism.  Comte believed in humanities ability to rise above the chaos of the word by sheer optimistic progress.

Theodore Roosevelt could only speak two words in Portuguese.  Yet, was able to map the interior of Brazil.   The words were maes cnaja- more soup.    

Friday, August 17, 2012


The Freedom of Self-ForgetfulnessThe Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is short (48 pages) and profoundly challenging. The simplicity of the message will rattle around in the tombs of our soiled memories.
Tim Keller looks at our condition in this inflated/deflated world. The world is flat and black and white; while we perform in our shadowed reality. There is only one way to the truth and the light. We find ourselves off the beaten track and lost. Until, we are picked up for vagrancy.
We are then brought to a trial room with only the smiling mob and the Court Jester. Every day we wake to a trial, much like the trial of the main character in Franz Kafka's The Trial.
We find that all the jurors are pointing at us and laughing at our hopeless condition, because we still think we can save ourselves. We think that there is a way for us to justify our own actions. We cower at our reflected image and our ballooned ego lets out a gasp and we find ourselves thinner than Jack Sprat.
Where is your heart (insert your name here)? is the first question the Supreme Court Jester asks.
We say in response, "I played the game! I played by the rules! How can you accuse me of being a loser on my own?"
The Jester replies, "Who do you want to be son, than be that person."
We wake up and the trial resumes.
Keller shows us how to break out of this fun house and self delusion through the reliance of Christ. For Christ has already won the trial that we continually want to defend our sins by.  Court Jesters have no problem in enabling us to feel that we must wage a defense.  The battle wears us out.   Keller shows us a way out of this soul defeating routine.

Freedom of Self Forgetfulness must be read by anyone who struggles with depression or anxiety in the modern world.

Readers Response/Reviews

Haiku for Duma Key by Stephen King

Haunted memories
channeled through oil pastels
kept on the Gulf.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Musical Notes

Girl and Ship of Duma Key #1

 Music mentioned in in Stephen King's Duma Key:
by Reba McEntire 

by Styx

Hair of the Dog
by Nazareth

Listen to the Radio Station mentioned in Duma Key: The Bone.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Etymology: Word Histories


Zodiac is an imaginary belt in the heavens.   The word comes from Greek for circle of the mythological signs, sign of the animal, the Greek word was the ancestor of English zoology, and related terms.   The best way to think about the word zodiac, is to think of a circle of little animals.  

Each week, by using the Generate Random Letters app./website, a new word will be selected and its history will be described for you.  

Miriam Webster New Book of Word Histories

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Poetry Museum

Stone Carved by Clark Ashton Smith
One of Theodore Roosevelt's favorite poets to read to his kids was Oliver Herford.  He mentions loving to read one of his poems in his memoirs of the River Doubt Experience.  

This poem comes from his collection, available at Gutenberg, Mythological Zoo


How did Medusa do her hair?
The question fills me with despair.
It must have caused her sore distress
That head of curling snakes to dress.
Whenever after endless toil
She coaxed it finally to coil,
The music of a passing band
Would cause each seperate hair to stand
On end and sway wand writhe and spit, -
She couldn't "do a thing with it."
And, being woman and aware
Of such disaster to her hair,
What could she do but petrify
All whom she met, with freezing eye.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Geography and Books

50 States of Reading:
Mumma Shana by Dana Wolf is my read for Pennsylvania.   Dana was born and raised in Philadelphia. Having written poems and short stories all of her life, she always aspired to writing a novel. Mumma Shana was actually handwritten as Dana commuted to and from her job as a paralegal in the city. After sitting on a shelf in her closet for some years, she said the manuscript began "yelling" at her to publish it.

Dana resides in Northwestern Pennsylvania with her husband and her fourfur babies.* She is an intuitive tarot reader and spiritual adviser who loves the company of nature. She is currently writing her second novel but is using a laptop this time!

The biography of Dana Wolf is courtesy of Goodreads. Become a fan of the author *Yes, I meant "fur" babies. They are my doggies :-) One is 90 lbs and her name is Trouble. She IS trouble and she acts like a big baby. :-) The other is my old girl, Onyx. When she was younger she wanted to rule the world - and she easily could have!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Reading Response

Some of Your BloodSome of Your Blood by Theodore Sturgeon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 Disturbing psychology of what makes a vampire a vampire. The novel presents as a case file of Dr. Philip Outerbridge. Dr Philip is terrified by the case of George and hopes to present his findings to the colonel who wants to know what made George so angry that he hit his commanding officer. The possibilities explored are tremendous.Some of your blood is a vampire psychological novel that examines the matriculation of evil from birth to the age of twenty three.
Theodore Sturgeon does a great job looking at developmental physiologically and especially keen observation o the Havelock Ellis Principal. The Havelock Ellis principle states:"That any mutual act - any one, providing only that it was not forced by one upon the other, and was an expression of love is moral." Sturgeon yields a command of psychology as a tool.
From the tool he asks the following terrorizing questions: Is it possible to create a vampire by defining social norms which would reward the blood sucking event? What would happen if love was connected to the harm of the giver? George learns to seek the comfort of blood because his mother sacrifices herself.
Sturgeon further examines: What if the social conditioning and the pain from punishment came with crimes or no crime committed, would this create a psychopath? What is role of punishment? What should punishment's role be in society? How do the first two years socially construct an individual? Is an individual beyond the ability to be reconditioned from a traumatic childhood? How much are we products of our parents and the environment we are born into?
The book was terrifying . The middle section, George's story, might get a reader bogged down, but blast through that part and you will find a blood red orange.
This was my first book by Theodore Sturgeon I have read, and am interested in reading more by the author.

View all my reviews

Friday, August 3, 2012

Read on Librivox

Theodore Roosevelt through the Brazilian Wilderness

We were bitten by the hosts of fire-ants, and by the mosquitoes, which we scarcely noticed where the fire-ants were found, (Kindle Locations 1293-1294).  I know that the fire ants are a problem here in Florida, and one must choose wisely where they sit, or even stand.

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