Some great reading -Banned Books

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September 24th to September 30th is Banned Book Week. In 1966 I read all of the banned books I could find. They were some incredible books that I will celebrate later in the week. I have learned that most librarians when pushed may move a book to another section, but they generally are very pro-reading and anti-censorship when it comes to literature.

It has been an adventure this week looking at some great literature that bugged someone at some time. Often the reasoning is silly, like Charlotte’s Web for In 2003, the school’s head teacher said that all books featuring pigs should be removed because it could offend Muslim students and parents. However, Islamic leaders asked the school to drop the ban of the book.
In 2006, Parents from Kansas considered the book of talking animals profane and unnatural. They said that the spider dying was “inappropriate for a children’s book.” The parents also said “humans are the highest level of God’s creation and are the only creatures that can communicate vocally and is disrespectful to God.”
The Scarlet Letter was challenged on sexual grounds, and has been called ‘pornographic’ and ‘obscene’. There are no sex scenes at all in the book, and no sexual language.

Best of all The Merriam-Webster Dictionary for including a definition for oral sex.

We now have a new reading list!

www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks

INFLATION

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My grandmother earned $2 a week on her first job. I made $1 an hour and was the highest paid kid in the park district. Today minimum wage guarantees a daily struggle with little hope of relief. Last Saturday, I used my debit card for a matinee and paid $5 for a drink. I cannot help but reminisce about my parents sending all four children to a movie with a dollar and four dimes for candy. Today I bought a pack of gum on sale for a dollar.

Nevertheless, it is still a penny for a thought, which I consider a bargain.

1. I hope jeans never go out of style.
2. Was Levi Strauss related to Johan Strauss; they were close in age?
3. Would I be smarter if my brain wasn’t full of trivia?
4. Is Facebook an evil parasite set on world domination, and am I just a pawn?
5. Working at a bookstore is probably nothing like I imagine.
6. Is the Dali Lama a virgin? Is it required in his line of work or did he just never meet anyone?
7. Why do many religions consider women to be not only weak but also all that is evil when they bring 90% of the casseroles?
8. I love to write, why do I work so hard at avoiding it?
9. Can anyone spell questionnaire right the first time?
10. Do I have days, weeks or years left? I’m going to regret the hours on Facebook (see #4).
11. Are all the radio and electronic waves pulsing around our earth for my entertainment and phone reception, bouncing off me or trucking straight on through?
12. Where has compassion gone? Is it out of style, or replaced by judgment and fear?
13. How hungry was the first person who ate an oyster?
14. When you receive your first AARP letter, you are already overdue on shredding or donating your bikinis and speedos.
15. If reptiles had fur, would I like them better?
16. Do any of my old loves still think about me, positively?
17. Hate takes up so much energy when indifference is the real opposite of love.
18. I certainly think Joan Rivers stuck to a style of comedy too long.
19. I’m in the first generation raised on processed food; all genetic bets are off.
20. While on the subject, why are our food producers trying to kill us? That is not a sustainable business plan.
21. Even bad decisions often become historically important.
22. We should begin a class action suit against the person who invented traffic circles.
23. Is there a chemical in the brain that gives talent, or do the gifted utilize a part I neglected to activate?
24. Inspiration is just the coolest thing ever.
25. If you were a bird, would you fly high or just skitter around, keeping close to the earth?

You owe me two dimes and a nickel; payment can be made with in-kind ponderings or a direct deposit into my 401k.

July!!!

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July has knocked me silly, if that is a change. I took a geological vacation with my grandson and published two books of short stories, Detours and Destinations and Detours and Transformations. Plus marketing Mildred In Disguise With Diamonds, and writing the next one.

In my spare time I have volunteered to work with the new webseries, “The Sticks”.

Finally there is the Writers Cooperative of the Pacific Northwest, and the library presentations. Will be at the Darrington Library this Saturday.  Darn, you would think I’d be thinner.

SHE IS OFF HER MEDICATION

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   The question began with a dinner for eleven women. One was struggling with a difficult personal loss, and it was suggested she try an antidepressant. Over the evening’s conversation it was discovered that nine of the eleven had been on antidepressants. This realization continues to nag years later.
Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the United States for people ages 15 to 44. Depression affects approximately 17.1 million American adults, or 8 percent of the population. Adults from households with an income of less than $20,000 experienced the highest rate, and no surprise, adults with a household income of $50,000 or more had the lowest rate. The ultra-successful were not included in the studies.
Since the third version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association was published in 1980 psychiatry relied primarily on a list of symptoms for its definition of depressive disorder. A person with five symptoms out of a list that includes depressed mood, loss of interest in usual activities, insomnia, fatigue, lessened appetite, an inability to concentrate, etc. for a period of two weeks is considered to have a depressive disorder. In reality most people will endure a betrayal, lose a job, be passed over for promotion, financial set-backs, or a serious illness. All of these events can cause symptoms that will endure for longer than two-weeks. Is it depression? Does it require medical treatment? The genuine depressive disorder seems diluted by life’s challenges.
Medical treatment is frequently antidepressant drugs. They come with their own list of complications and side-affects that should cause us to stop and ponder. There is an epidemic, but is it really depression or our need to simplify all problems with a pill? The majority of the studies are presented by drug companies and don’t supply any unbiased information. In one non-drug company report it stated B vitamins have been as successful as Valium and presents no side effects.
What in our societies has caused such an extraordinary development? The most obvious I, an untrained know it all, can see is diet and the search and a clamoring for immediacy. The baby boomers are the first generation raised on processed food, which also changes rules. Our modern society is constantly marketed quick fixes and short cuts. Even exercise has been packaged and sold to us as clubs and machines.
In an attempt to be healthier, buying a “fresh” apple is tricky. It may have been picked in Chile 2 weeks ago, gassed, shipped and ripened a container. Most grocery stores are now national chains with few if any local produce sections. Is Organic better? We don’t know all of the loop holes and processing, let alone the date it left the field.
Then we have “Big Pharma” another bad wolf. With massive profits of building long time customers being trumped by cures. They add to the complexity.
Fact, all disease is caused by some malfunction or toxicity of the body. Fact, depression has been a valid mental condition for centuries. Why has it become an epidemic? Do we fear the emotional costs of life? Have we lost all control of our food? There is something missing, and another band-aide won’t fix anything. I apologize for no answers, but it is all too complex for an under educated amateur addicted to the news.

Metaphor

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According to Faulkner, “Writing a first draft is like trying to build a house in a strong wind.” I am deep into a third novel, and I’m swept away. I’m stitching together five hundred word fictions into a complete narrative. I reorganize, write, rewrite, and wrestle Mildred into a story with a plot and a reasonable end. If I cover ten pages, it is a successful day, and I earn the cup of the good, English tea. This character lives with me, a woman older than myself, and she chatters during the day and late at night building her personal fiction.
Each night I beg the cosmos for inspiration, one clear thought. I doze and ponder a million possibilities. In the darkest hours, I awaken to throw my hands into the air speculating on what could be next scratching illegible notes on scraps of paper. What can she do to make the tale worth reading? A strangling fear arises, the story is improbable, and I’m stupid. Have I blundered in the wrong direction, wasting months and maybe years?
I work diligently, but in the past two weeks, the sun creeps into morning muttering a nagging list of three. I ignore the ideas, but they will neither fade nor quiet. I need an angle, a word, a twist of brilliance. I probe for anything to remove the clatter and release me to my manuscript.
Tonight, I must read for the writer’s group, and a vision dogs me. The unmeasurable stretch of plains with bison herds so large they disappear into the horizon. The massive heads are grazing and raggedy hides soaking up the sun, preparing for winter. The heavy hooves trample with no need for socks, no use for sandals, feet perfected by the environment. I see them plod on, rarely breaking into a stampede.
I present you with the apparition, and I feel released. I waste two more hours trying to understand trying to make the vision fit my story, and I realize it never will, and I plod on.

OF COURSE-RUM PUNCH

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OF COURSE  RUM PUNCH

 Yield: 18 Servings OR 2 if you are a true pirate spirit.

 1    cup  Lime or lemon juice (Sour)

2    cup  Grenadine Syrup (Sweet)

2    cup  Jamaican white rum (Strong)

1    cup  Light rum (Strong)

2    cup  Pineapple juice (Weak)

2    cup  Orange juice (Weak)

1/2  tsp  Grated nutmeg

 

The formula: 1 portion of sour, 2 portions of sweet, 3 portions of strong, 4 portions of weak.

Mix together ingredients at least 1 hour before serving.

This punch looks beautiful served in a punch bowl with a pretty ice ring layered with orange slices & cherry halves.  Not as lovely if served in an old bucket, but still flavorful.

Nice offering for invading forces.

 

Arrrrgh Jamaican Banana Bread

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BANANA BREAD – (Jamaican)

 

1 lb  butter (2 cups)

1 cup of sugar

1/2  tsp  baking soda

2 tsp  baking powder

4 ripe bananas

3  eggs

Preheat oven to 350º

Cream together bananas, sugar and butter.
Mix in the eggs.

Sift together the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda. and baking powder. Blend into mixture.

**You could add chopped nuts or chocolate chips if you like. Be creative kitchen pirates don’t let scurvy recipes stand in their way.

Pour into greased loaf tin and bake for approximately 1 ½  hours.

Serve hot or cold.  Yeah, like you would let this get cold.  It is best to make two loaves.  One to check for delicious and one for everyone else.

Jamaican Yam Casserole

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JAMAICAN YAM CASSEROLE

 2  Large Yams, sliced

1  med  Banana — thickly sliced

1/4   cup  Orange juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 Cup Pecans — coarsely chopped

1/8 Cup toasted flake coconut

Heat the oven to 350 F.

In a buttered a casserole baking dish, arrange yams, banana. Pour juice over all. Sprinkle with salt, pepper. Top with pecans and coconut. Bake, covered, 30 minutes.