Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NY Times Best Sellers Got Something Right!

Down To You    Reviewed by Michala T.

          So last night I did a random Google of the New York Times Best Seller list to see if something would catch my eye. Truly, I don’t have time in my life to read but I love reading so much that I just have to sometimes tear myself away from everything: friends, writing, family, school. EVERYTHING. And I have to hunker down with a book and read. And I don’t mean read a chapter here and then tomorrow read another chapter. I rarely sit down without the intentions of reading an entire book. Um…I do not know what portion control is when it comes to reading. Okay, I do know what it is, I’ve tried it…and I don’t like it. Nope. I don’t take well to reading a chapter or two tonight before bed and then another two tomorrow night before bed. I’m not that type of girl. You should know this already!

Now You Have a Friend in the Diamond Business: My Top 5 Annoying Companies

By JccKeith

“Now you have a friend in the diamond business.” 

Anyone who knows this phrase knows the company it belongs to – that’s right, Shane Company. If I hear that line one more time I might just go crazy.  What is it with these companies today and their overkill with the advertising?  Can’t they come up with at least something interesting or new every once in a while?  I hate the Shane Co advertisements so much that I change the station whenever they come on.  I’m just that sick of hearing them. 

On my way to drop my kids off at school this morning I heard another one of my least favorites.  It was that woman from the radio station trying to convince people to go to Loving Laser because she went there and now has no unwanted hair problems.  Personally, I don’t care about her unwanted hair problems nor do I care where she found a solution.

So, no more complaining about the endless repetitive advertising drivel we are all forced to hear on the radio or see on billboards along the highways.  I’m going to do something about it.  Something important. Something groundbreaking. Stand back everyone! I’m making a top five list. 

Without further ado, my top five list of most annoying companies:

1.      Shane Co

2.      Genesis Diamonds

3.      Loving Laser

4.      Norton

5.      Clark Memorial

Now the last two are hospitals and normally would be exempt from such a list but their billboard advertisements are a little unnecessary.  I mean, who chooses a hospital based on their advertisements?  And do we really need so many billboards?

Someone should give companies such as these the message that more is not better.  More just makes people like me annoyed and likely to never use their store or product or whatever type of business.  Although, in the instance of an unforeseeable accident, I will go with whichever hospital the ambulance driver chooses.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Word of the day: Loupgarou

Come on in boys and girls. Oh do mind my dog, he is not quite feeling himself today. I think he might be a little loupgarou tonight. Anyways you came here for the...

Loupgrou (loup-ga-rou) \loo-ga-ROO\, noun;

1. A werewolf; lycanthrope

Run, save yourselves! Tell everybody about the louparou! And please leave us something down below.

The Tortoise and the Hare By: Aesop

By: WillseyeREview 
Today my friend I plan on tackling one of the great fables of all time. Aesop's The Tortoise and the Hare. We all know the tale, we have heard and seen many adaptation of this famous morality tale. While I had grown up having heard different version of this story, even the great Merrie Melodies version where the turtle out whits Bugs Bunny. I have never read it myself. I figured it was about time to do that, and what better reason than to review it. 

Tuesday Photo: Pennywise, pound foolish...

With Halloween being less than 24 hours away I thought I would post a photo of something that many people take much joy in, but for others not so much. For many people clowns are no laughing matter. In recent decades the term Coulrophobia has arisen to describe those people that are afraid of clowns.

While I am not myself afraid of clowns, Pennywise (pictured above) the clown from Stephen King miniseries does look frightening. As a child I probably would have been afraid of him. Tim Curry did an excellent as Pennywise. It was as if Bozo the Clown had been possessed by an evil demon.

On a side note I discover an interesting information pertaining to children and clowns. The University of Sheffield conducted study when a hospital was preparing for a redesign. The study found that children did not like clown decoration in the hospital or the Doctor's office. According to Dr. Penny Curtis "We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found the clown image to be quite frightening and unknowable.

Something to think about the next time you think of hiring a clown for you child's party.

Grease Your Elbows & Crack Your Knuckles

Are You Ready?  As the clock ticks closer to November 1st, there are many of us who are going to be hunkering down and readying ourselves for that ultimate 30 day battle of writing a 50Kword novel. Hundreds of thousands of people will participate in this Novembers NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month) I’m surprised even today that there are people who have never heard of this endeavor. Have I ever done it successfully? Nope. Have I tried? Half-heartedly. This year however I am going into it with more experience. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the past few years and I have equipped myself for this year’s intense November.
Some consider it insane. I mean what sane person would ever decide willingly to go into a project with a 30 day time frame where you are not allowed to write on the story except for the basic plotting and character ideas until November 1st? To continue for thirty days with minimal plotting, no room for editing, and basically hours and hours of feverish writing. Frantic writing. Oh and it does get frantic because there will be a day or two where you will get zero words and then you have all those words compounded onto the ones you already are expected to write…its nerve-racking!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Word of the Day: Eidolon

Halloween is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate it here on Word of the Day then by looking at "scary" words. From all manner of ghost, goblins, demons and other creatures that go bump in the night. I will bring you the words that best describe them. So get out you flashlights, duck underneath those covers and pray that the boogieman passes you by. Our first word will be eidolon, so let's see what has to say. 

Eidolon \ahy-DOH-luhn\, noun;

1. phantom; apparition

2. An ideal

If you can summon up the courage to get out from underneath the covers than make sure to tell all your friends what an eidolon is. And if you are brave enough please leave us something down below. Thank you.

Opinions\Rants\Raves: Your Dreams Edition

By: William G. Muir
I was wondering what I should do a post about today. For a good portion of the day nothing really appealed to me. I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but whenever I am trying to think of something that is when brain decides to dry up. But the more I did think of it, two things crossed my mind. One of them was from a conversation I had earlier today; the other came from a tweet I read. Those two things inspired me to write this post.

Let us start with the conversation. I was talking with a friend that was feeling rather down earlier. The two of us are working on the project and she found herself in a bit of a funky mood. My friend was questioning whether or not the project we are working is an good. I told her that what we are doing has every chance of being excellent. That she has created a story that is both unique and full of strong female characters. And compared to other works out there our story is much stronger.

What They Say: What was that Mr. Franklin?

By JccKeith

For all those saying,
 "That's not Benjamin Franklin!"
I was just testing you,
 this is Thomas Jefferson.
“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

Alright, this is technically not a mantra created by the collective ‘they.’  This is more ‘What He Said.”  In fact, I believe Benjamin Franklin said it and the rest of the world just repeated it.

Wow.  All the secrets of life revealed in one crystal clear statement.  You can be healthy, wealthy and wise and all you have to do is go to bed early and get up early.  It’s that simple people.  Or at least it seems simple enough, a basic recipe for happiness.

The problem is that Benjamin Franklin is like one of those people who gives directions but leaves out a turn or two.  Franklin gives us the secret to health, wealth and wisdom but leaves out some crucial details.  You know, those pesky little details about how going to bed early and getting up early rewards you with wealth.  

Testing you again,
Not Benjamin Franklin.  This
is Abraham Lincoln
  • The last time I checked, wealth was the result of work not sleep.

And how does going to bed early give you wisdom?
  • I’ve checked up on this and it would seem that the acquisition of wisdom is the result of study, experience, reading and learning.  Unless you are capable of those things in your sleep then I suggest visiting your local library or even your nearest internet connection.

What about all that health?
  • Health is the only thing I could honestly say may occur as the result of early bedtime and early rising.  Getting enough sleep is crucial for both mental and emotional wellbeing.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Photo: Zebras and Motorcycles

Not Today Pal!

By JccKeith [I did not take this picture or photoshop it, someone else did]

Being the wife of someone who owns and rides a motorcycle, let me offer some words of wisdom:

  • That Zebra should really be wearing a helmet.

  • Riding with a fellow motorcyclist increases the odds you won't be overlooked by other drivers on the road - the entire pack of Zebras should purchase motorcycles.

  • Using your motorcycle to outrun predators is not the greatest idea - that Zebra could get careless and it only takes one little mistake to cause an accident on a bike.

  • Popping a wheelie on a motorcycle is only for show-offs and is dangerous

  • I doubt this Zebra has a license to drive a motorcycle.  Driving without a license is illegal and very dangerous.

And last but not least I want to restate the warning to all motorists - Please, please be aware of everyone sharing the road, or grassy plain in this instance.  As the saying goes: 

  • Be aware, motorcycles are everywhere!

Word of the Day: Ad Hominem

Given the nature of Bite My Book it is important every once and while to give out advice on writing. Today's tip is something to avoid in your writing, the ad hominem attack. Ad hominem (latin for "to the person") is when you try to discredit an argument by making a personal attack against your opponent; an attack that has nothing to do with the argument at hand.

An example of this would be to accuse a supporter of Marriage Equality of being communist. Even if the claim was true, being a communist has nothing to do with the argument that everyone should have the right to get married. This is an attempt to poison the well against the argument by linking the issue to the character of the person and then destroying said persons character.

ad hominem (ad ho-mi-nem) \ad Hom-uh-num, -nem, ahd-\, adjective;

1. Appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect.

2. Marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made.

Hopefully this tip will help you construct a much strong argument in your writing. Instead of making using an ad hominem, personal attack, you can now focus your attention on meat and potatoes of your opponent's argument. Make sure to point out to your friends when they making this logical fallacy, and please leave us an example of an ad hominem attack. Thank you.

3-5-10: Halloween Books for Children

Among the things that can bring back childhood memory for, very few things do it the Halloween does. Lets face it, no matter how much we try to make Halloween a holiday for adults, it will always be a children's holiday. I guess that is why we try to hold onto it so hard as we get older. Halloween is one of the few times of years that we allow our inner child to come out and play. So today I will be listing ten Halloween books for children.

1. Room on the Broom - By: Julia Donaldson
2. The Night Before Halloween  - By: Natasha Wing
3. Big Pumpkin - By: Erica Silverman and S.D. Schindler
4. 30 Halloween & Other Stories/Free Games - By: MS Lee
5. Halloween Night - By: Marjorie Dennis Murray
6. Five Little Pumpkins - By: Dan Yaccarino
7. Ten Timid Ghost - By: Jennifer Barrett O'Connell
8. Halloween Tree - By: Ray Bradbury
9. Halloween Bugs: A Trick or Treat Pop Up Book - By: Davide A. Carter
10. Fancy Nancy: Halloween...or Bust - By: Robin Preiss Glasser


 By: Arlene Walsh

Just when you think you’re fairly articulate, along comes ekphrasis   or octic or limn and blows your confidence out of the water. But that’s OK. Words are a joy to me and new ones are the ultimate unearthed sunken treasure. Still, discovering how much you don’t know tends to rattle.

This weekend, I visited my nephew in Massachusetts. It was raining when I arrived early Friday evening, growing dark, a sprinkling of house and street lights beginning to warm the gloom. We walked down to the beach in the gray mist, solo strollers enjoying nature’s flip side of beautiful weather. We talked non-stop as usual, being extremely close and completely comfortable with each other. Off in the distance a bridge connected our narrow peninsula with a small portion of the mainland. We headed towards it. Across the bay, a faint light here and there flickered in the darkness. I noted how melancholy it all felt. Dan said, “laymen’s terms please.”

Reaction to art or ekphrasis has a subjective component no matter how trained one is in the comprehension of visual art. One of my favorite paintings in our small collection contains a man and two women against a dark background, lit from above by a single, pale light. It almost looks like a room of interrogation. When we were buying it, I felt nothing until I learned the title: The End. Only then did I begin to look more deeply at the image. Only then did I notice that the blonde woman’s head hung down, her face partially covered by her hair giving her demeanor one of despair, hopelessness and possibly shame. I was hooked. But then the question comes: would I have felt the same, would I have looked more analytically were it not for the intriguing title? And if not, then what I’ve learned in art classes from the past holds true: entitling a piece of work leads the viewer to a conclusion intended by the artist, therefore denying the viewer a true interpretation.

3-5-10: Halloween Playlist Edition

Are you about to throw a kick-ass Halloween party? Before for your guest arrive let us double check the list to make sure we got everything to make this a kill party.  Silly decoration of cut out skeletons with a whimsical hat; jovial witch on her broom, a grinning spider suspend by a string? Check! Peeled grapes and cooked cold spaghetti? Check! Cooked pumpkin seeds, candied apples and cherry punch for refreshments? Check! Tunes? What, you are telling me you forgot the music. You can't have a kick-ass Halloween party without the right tunes. You are in luck my friend; I have put together a list of my top twenty Halloween songs. (In no particular order.)

1.Thriller - Michael Jackson
2. Black No. 1 - Type O Negative
3. Don't Fear the Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult
4. Godzilla - Blue Oyster Cult
5. Unholy - KISS
6.  Psycho Circus - KISS
7. Hellraiser - Motorhead/Ozzy Osbourne
8. Bark at the Moon - Ozzy Osbourne
9. Time Warp - Rocky Horror Picture Show
10. Monster Mash - Bobby "Boris" Pickett
11. Werewolf of London - Warren Zevon
12. Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden
13. I'm Your Boogieman - White Zombie
14. Dragula - Rob Zombie
15. Living Dead Girl - Rob Zombie
16. Hard Rock Hallelujah - Lordi
17. Welcome to my Nightmare - Alice Cooper
18. Highway to Hell - AC/DC
19. Hell's Bells AC/DC 
20. Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr.

If you have any songs you would like to suggest for our Halloween playlist; please list them down below. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Rant of the Day: Originality - Steal Some Today!

By JccKeith

Originality is the aspect of created or invented works as being new or novel, and thus can be distinguished from reproductions, clones, forgeries, or derivative works.  I stole that from Wikipedia to provide a proper definition of the word.

Originality is something you just can’t fake.  You can attempt to steal it from others or copy it to some extent but doing so only proves one point.  When you steal the work of another and pass it off as your own, eventually you will be discovered as a fraud.  Stealing the work of others says to the world that you have so little faith in your own abilities and creations that you felt the need to take someone else’s.

For those who truly do dislike their own thoughts and imagination because they are different – get a clue.  Being an original means your ideas are different than others.  No two people will think exactly alike nor will they process information in exactly the same way.  Our minds produce ideas and thoughts which are the result of our life experiences.  We are all unique it’s just that some of us turn those original thoughts into works of art.

Words to Live By
How we do that, how we put our ideas on paper and create masterpieces of literature is also unique to each of us.  We all write in different styles, all convey our views in slightly different ways.  You can of course steal the words of another, you can copy their style and mimic their views but you cannot really steal originality.  At best you will only be a pale comparison to the person you stole from, nothing more than their shadow.

So to all of the shady people out there, step out of the shadows and into the light.  Use your own imagination and perfect your own method.  There is no wrong way to be original other than being a copy.  Stop impersonating others and place a little trust in yourself.  Put your own ideas out there and create your own world of characters.

Whatever it is that occupies your thoughts, that thing you can’t get out of your head – take hold of it.  That’s it!  That is your passion.  That is where your work will begin, where your characters will originate.  It isn’t that hard to discover your own creativity.  It’s there within all of us you just have to stop hiding it behind the works of others.  Find your passion, find your voice and create your own works.  Before you know it, your originality will be stolen by others.

  • Then you’ll know you’ve made it because everybody knows you’re nobody until somebody copies you.

Word of the Day: Seminal

Ladies and gentlemen; boys and girls of all ages; and anyone one in between. It is my honor to welcome you to our humble blog. Here at Bite My Book we wish to cater to all your literary taste, wants, needs and desires. We hope to be your number one stop for all things having to do with the reading and writing process. I am also pleased to welcome you to our seminal series here on Bite My Book, The Word of the Day. So with out further delay let us get started.

Seminal (sem-i-nal) /SEM-uh-nl/, adjective;

1. of, relating to, or consisting of seed or semen.

2. containing or contributing the seed of later development: CREATIVE, ORIGINAL

Make sure to tell everybody know that you were there from very beginning. Tell them that you witnessed the seeds being planted that would one day grown into a mighty force in the literary world. Makes sure to let them know you learned about the word seminal here. And that you left us something down bellow. Thank you.

Review: The Minister's Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne

By JccKeith

Minister's Black Veil
The story opens in 18th century Puritan New England on the steps of the meetinghouse with the sexton ringing the bell.  He is to ring the bell until Parson Hooper comes to start church but upon seeing Hooper, announces to the crowd there is something odd on the parson’s face.  All turn to look and behold in awe a black veil covering the top portion of Hooper’s face.  Hooper is introduced as a gentlemanly, cleanly dressed, mild mannered preacher.  The spectators are shocked by the simple black veil and feel terror at its sight. 

His sermon, due to the fear the veil instills, is more powerful and effective.  Afterwards, the townspeople immediately begin speculating on why Hooper is wearing the veil.  Suspicions center on his having committed some secret sin and feeling so guilty he now has to hide behind the veil.  The afternoon service occurs and Hooper is still wearing the veil.

The sight of him scares people
At a funeral, Hooper leans over the corpse of the dead woman and the onlookers swear the corpse shuddered at the sight of the veil.  They feel the veil added an even deeper gloom to the proceedings.  At a wedding, Hooper’s black veil adds a sense of gloom.  During the reception, when preparing to take a drink, Hooper catches a glimpse of his own reflection in the mirror and is so shocked he drops the wine on the floor and leaves.

None dare to ask Hooper what sin the veil conceals and leave this task to his girlfriend Elizabeth.  She takes Hooper aside and asks him to remove the veil for her alone and tell her why he wears it.  Hooper informs her he has vowed to never remove the veil for any mortal eyes, even hers.  Assuring her in eternity it will be removed, he abstinently refuses to remove it even for a moment in life.  Elizabeth at last becomes affected by the veil and leaves the preacher to suffer with it alone.

Mr. Hooper lives the remainder of his life wearing the veil.  Due to the effect of the veil, his sermons are known far and wide.  People travel from far away to come and hear him preach, and to see the fearful veil.  His life is lived honestly and he is irreproachable in conduct but completely isolated and alone.  When at last his time to die comes, Elizabeth returns to be with him in his final hours.  She has never married and retains affections for Hooper. 

As his final breaths occur, the Reverend Clark attempts to convince Hooper to remove the veil so that he may enter eternity without guilt and without secret sin.  Although, Hooper’s reason for wearing the veil are never revealed and no one knows if he has committed any sin to hide, it is assumed to be the case.  The Reverend tries to remove the veil in Hooper’s last moments but Hooper temporarily regains enough strength to stop him and to give an angry speech about how everyone wears a veil.  He says that everyone hides some sin from others, even their nearest and dearest. 

Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Minister’s Black Veil is typical of Hawthorne’s work.  The theme throughout is the isolation due to guilt and hidden secrets or sins that everyone feels.  He objectifies this in the black veil which separates Hooper from the rest of the world.  The veil, to all who see it, represents secret sin.  Onlookers are horrified at the sight because it reminds them of their own secret guilt.  They cannot bear the thought or feelings coming face to face with their own sins causes. 

Hawthorne illustrates the point with his statement of the saddest prison being the human heart.  Everyone bears secrets in their hearts that they will never reveal to others. These secrets isolate every individual from all others.  Hooper’s refusal to lift the veil, even for his beloved Elizabeth, perfectly exemplifies this message.
Hawthorne further emphasizes the nature of secret sin by never revealing the reason behind Hooper’s veil.  We as readers never find out if Hooper committed any sin which might explain the veil.  This secrecy behind the veil adds to its effect.

The message of the veil is summed up with:

“All through life that piece of crepe had hung between him and the world: it had separated him from cheerful brotherhood and woman’s love, and kept him in that saddest of all prisons, his own heart; and still it lay upon his face, as if to deepen the gloom of his darksome chamber, and shade him from the sunshine of eternity.”

Lyric Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

By JccKeith

I am not even going to pretend there is anyone out there who has not heard this song and at some point, sang along.  Now granted, most of us only know some of the words or at least only think we know all of the words.  As with all epic songs, we all sing along at some time and then think to ourselves, “I like that song. I’m going to look up the lyrics when I get home.”  And then life intervenes and we forget to do just that.  Then we hear it again and wonder, “What is this song about anyway?”

Let’s get started.  First off, the word Bohemian does not refer to a location rather it references the group of artists and musicians around a century ago who defied conventions and standards of the day.  They lived as they wanted not as society said they should.  The word Rhapsody means a piece of Classical music, usually with a theme, where certain sections are played as one movement.

The problem with this song is that neither Freddie Mercury nor his band mates would ever reveal exactly what this song was about.  In fact, in an interview after Mercury’s death Brian May said, “What is Bohemian Rhapsody about, well I don’t think we’ll ever know and if I knew I probably wouldn’t want to tell you anyway, because I certainly don’t tell people what my songs are about.  I find that it destroys them in a way because the great thing about a great song is that you relate it to your own personal experiences in your own life.”

Well, no offense to Mr. May but many of us want to know.  So where do we go for answers?  As it turns out, the answer begins with Tim Staffell.  Staffell was a college friend of Mercury in the 60’s and a member of the group Smile, the precursor to Queen.  Staffell gives us a little insight into the song by revealing that back then, in the 60s, the song was just a collection of bits and pieces that Freddie referred to as “That cowboy song.”  This is important since the staccato piano part of the Bohemian Rhapsody is the same as the piano music played along to the old silent black and white westerns.

There are several interpretations as to the meaning of Bohemian Rhapsody but one of the most common is that it is about a man who committed murder and is about to be put to death.  This theory goes well with Staffell’s statements about the song being originally referred to as “That cowboy song.” 

**Note** This song is NOT about AIDS.  There are some who think, because Mercury eventually contracted AIDS, that the song is about the disease and its complications/death/etc.  It is not.  I can definitively say this because the song was released on October 31, 1975.  Dr. Robert Gallo did not announce the discovery of AIDS until 1981.

Rights to the song are owned by Queen Music c/o EMI Music Publishing.

Back to the song.  Here we go, let’s break this beast down a few lines at a time:

Is this real life?

Is this fantasy? [Narrator is speaking and pondering how unreal this all seems]

Caught in... landslide

No escape... reality [There is no way out of this situation, no escape from the reality happening]

Open... eyes

Look up to the skies... [The Narrator refers to looking up to see his impending hanging for murder]

I’m just a poor boy... no sympathy [He is a nobody]

... easy come, easy go [Life in general is fleeting and ended easily]

Little high... low [Hanging reference, start out high before then drop low after]

Any way the wind blows, doesn’t really matter... [A hanged man does not care which way the wind blows]

... just killed a man

... gun against his head

... now he’s dead [Narrator is speaking of committing a murder and seems remorseful]

... life had just begun [Narrator is a young man]

... thrown it all away [Now he will be executed for murder]

... ooo [ooo just sounds really cool]

Didn’t mean... make you cry [He feels bad for committing the murder and making his mother cry over his crime and the fact that he will now be put to death]

If I’m not back... [Not sure if will be caught and hanged today but prepares her for the possibility]

Carry on... nothing really matters [Carry on without me]

Too late... time has come [Narrator is caught at last and set to be hanged]

... shivers down my spine [The thought is frightening]

Body’s aching... [It’s painful]

Goodbye... I’ve got to go

... leave you all behind and face the truth [Says goodbye to family/friends and accepts his fate]

Mama... (any way the wind blows) [Hanging reference and neat sounding phrase]

I don’t want... die [Regrets his fate]

I... wish I’d never been born at all [Feeling sorry for himself and his actions in life, sadness]

... see a little silhouetto of a man [People speaking are referencing a hanged man’s silhouette]

Scaramouch, Scaramouch... do the Fandango [Scaramouch is a boastful coward, as the bad guys in old westerns often were. Fandango is a dance.  Some people say prisoners do a ‘dance’ on their way to the hanging or other form of execution as they try to struggle against their captors and escape as the final realization sets in that their death is coming.  The people speaking are taunting the Narrator, calling him a Scaramouch and asking if he will ‘dance’ on his way to the hanging –a.k.a struggle]

Thunderbolt and lightening – ...very frightening me [Symbolic of increasing action and fear]


... Galileo,

Galileo... magnifico [Could be part of song Mercury said was just rhyming nonsense – although
Galileo was unfairly persecuted by authorities during his time, even threatened with torture at one time but the Narrator has confessed to murder so is not persecuted unfairly – maybe is being taunted unnecessarily as above lines illustrate]

... nobody loves me [He’s a nobody]

... just a poor boy from a poor family [Concurring he is just a nobody]

Spare him his life... this monstrosity [Show him mercy.  Spare him his life from a hanging, considered a monstrous display]

Easy come easy go – ... let me go [Life is fragile - narrator pleads for his life as the hanging draw nearer]

Bismillah! No –... will not let you go – let him go [Bismillah is opening line of Qu’ran and means In the Name of Allah.  This is followed by those desiring narrator’s death arguing with his supporters or at least those who want him shown mercy]

Bismillah! ...will not let you go – let him go

Bismillah! ... will not let you go – let me go

Will not let you go – let me go (never)

Never let you go – let me go

Never let me go – ooo

No, no, no, no, no, no, no [now narrator is pleading with those wishing to put him to death]

Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go [accepting fate again, telling his mother to let him go]

Beelzebub has... devil put aside for me [Beelzebub is another name for the Devil, narrator is saying he is going to Hell]

For me

For me

So you think you can stop me... spit in my eye [Narrator, who is probably a cowboy, is angry at someone for stopping him on his way to the execution and either spitting in his eye literally as a sign of disgust or just condemning him with words]

So you think you can love me... leave me to die [This person was a lover who has abandoned him now in his time of need]

Oh baby – can’t do this... me baby [Angry at lover]

Just gotta get out – just gotta get ... outta here [Referring to dying since now he has nothing left]

Ooh yeah, ooh yeah

Nothing really matters

Anyone can see

Nothing really matters

Nothing really matters to me

Any way ... wind blows… [Life has ended; he has been hanged so nothing matters to him anymore because he is dead]

There you have it folks, mystery solved.  Freddie Mercury was apparently a fan of the old black and white silent westerns.  This connection to a cowboy being hanged for murder would not have been possible without Tim Staffell’s comment on the original bits and pieces of the song.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Poetry Corner: Friends, Romans, Countrymen By: William Shakespeare

Julius Caesar, Act 3 Scene 2, Marc Anthony's speech
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest-
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men-
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man. 
I speak not to disprove what Brutus Spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beast,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

Word of the Day: Immure

Oh thank you so much for showing up. I couldn't even begin to tell you the last time I seen another human face. It has been a long time that I have felt the warm ray of the sun on my skin. I thought I would never know anything but this dark, dank tomb. But you have come along; no longer am I immured in my cell. Now I know the sweetness of freedom.

Immure (im-mure) \ih-MYOOR\,verb;

1. a) to enclose within or as if within walls
    b) imprison

2. to build into a wall; especially: to entomb in a wall 

My good friend please do not take your freedom for granted. You too someday may be immured against your will. Do spread the word to all you know. And please leave us something down below. Thank you.

How is Your Fantasy Life?

By JccKeith

By fantasy life I don’t mean your delusional fantasies about some non-existent relationship with whatever hot celebrity of the day.  Fantasy life, in this context, means the world inside your head where all of your characters live and play every day.

All authors have a few.  When you’re working on a story, the characters fill your mind, or at least a part of it.  Their thoughts, their loves, their losses and their adventures occupy a great deal of your active thoughts.  You can’t help it.  You can’t escape them, can’t just leave them on the page and go about your life.  If you could ignore them easily, they probably aren’t very good characters.  Their interactions and possibilities should be as real to you as any live person otherwise they may be a little too one-dimensional. 

It’s a great test for just how appealing and compelling your characters are or aren’t.  Do you really care what happens to them?  Do you feel you understand their choices or even care to understand their choices?  Is their world detailed enough to make their adventures interesting?  Is there enough going on with these people, or whatever they may be, to make them worth thinking about?  Do you find yourself thinking about their lives frequently or do they disappear the moment you close the laptop or put down that pencil?

The same is true for characters you’re reading about in a great book.  These are the people whose world has now become a place you can see and visit in your mind.  The details of that world and all the people in it pull you in over and over again.  Captivating your thoughts for hours at a time, your fantasy life is a magical place where imagination is free to roam without bounds or restrictions of reality.

If you find yourself without one of these wonderful fantasy lives in your head – perhaps you are simply not a writer, not a reader or you could possibly be dead and not know it.  If you don’t have one, get one.  Everyone deserves a little escape from reality every now and then.  That is one of the things writing and reading offer.  The key then, as a writer, is to make your fantasy life detailed and compelling enough to pull in other people. 

More than just occupying your mind, as writers, you want it to occupy others.  You want other people to care about those characters who have taken up residence in your thoughts.  You want other people to become immersed in your fantasy life because it is that amazing. 

A question then should be, is it that amazing?  Is it worthy of sharing with others?  If not, use your gifted imagination and make it that way.  Create a little drama, add a little adventure and throw in a twist or two.
So as your characters play in your mind, I restate the question: How is your fantasy life?

FVF: Her Poetry Was Battle-listic

Who is your favorite poet?

Someone asked me that today and I gave it an honest thought. There are so many out there, you know? Some poem’s stand out and remain on the surface of your skin for decades. I mean if you don’t know any poem out there…and you read Twilight you know at least one. Robert Frost’s Fire and Ice poem. You laugh but it’s a good one.Oh and Edgar Allen Poe is basically a household name whether you've actually read his poetry or not. I liked his stories better myself. I liked  E.E. Cummings a lot in school because he experimented with form and punctuation which were always baffling for me. He was like “forget about it’ and I was like “um okay, sure!” During my days of depression I clung to Emily Dickenson for she wrote about death and immortality and what teen doesn’t like those two subjects! For whatever reasons, her poem “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” was ever and always one of my favorites. I even went so far as to name my first born after her.

FVF: Freckles You Recognize

This post was shared on a limited-time basis. Thanks for your continued support for all our guest bloggers! Watch for new and emerging poetry coming on during our Free-Verse-Fridays postings!

An Analysis of Adam's Curse

by: Michala T.

There is not a poem out there that recognizes and discusses the appreciation of how hard it is to create poetry as the poem by William Butler Yeats, “Adam’s Curse”.  But first, let’s quickly be schooled (just a bit) in Yeats himself. He was in love with his friend Maud Gonne. The only problem was she was married. He may have been writing about her. One never can truly know with poetry. We can beat a poem senseless with all our analysis and never really moved a full step towards the truth. And until we meet Yeats in the spirit world and ask him then, we will just have to make our assumptions.
The title “Adam’s Curse” is easy to understand. Adam as in man as in man’s curse refers to the biblical reference of his curse of hard labor. Men were cursed to labor and women were cursed to endure labor. Thus pain is the curse. In many cultures pain is considered a very holy and ritualistic element that is not to be overlooked.
The title sets up the stage. The first line sets the time...a close of a season.  Two endearing friends are together and are discussing poetry. They discuss how writing poetry is in itself laboring.  How hours can pass as they try to create a poem but no one cares of their hard efforts. It is better to do practical labor as everyone else because that is the only kind of labor that is appreciated. But they speak of their shared truth. The truth that is an understated grace.  They know that even though a poem seems natural and easy it is much more  painful  and complicated than you think. This stanza is all about the poetry itself.
Next Yeats writes on the beauty of poetry. A woman must do so much to keep her physical appearance. It is not easy for her. But the kind of inner beauty and the beauty of true love is not something that can be gotten from books. It too is something that is learned through labor. It too is painful. So too is poetry. You can go to classes and workshops that teach you how to write poetry but the real act of poetry must come from a laboring from within you. It must hurt, it must pull and tug and sometimes force starvation and sleeplessness upon you to create the poetry. If it is to beautiful that it.
Yeats writes of the moon. Moon is surely a metaphor for the effects of time. How does time affect human love? Remember he was writing this for his love Maud. It truly was not a poem for you or I. This poem was for her ears. She was his lover, if not his in bed surely in his heart. Strove is another word that means labor. When you strive for something you must labor for it. You must push yourself harder and harder until you attain it. He strove to love her in the ‘old high way’ of love. To me that is the most beautiful line of the poem and yet the saddest too. I truly cannot say what Yeats mean when he penned that line but to me…well, I think he meant that because he could not love her as he wanted he chose to love her the only way he could…through the labor of a poem…something that so many do not understand how difficult, how laboring, how terribly all-consuming it can be.
It is a beautiful poem but sad. Can you imagine having that one person beside you who you can write with, laugh with, talk with, and just understand each other but yet…not ever be able to have them completely?

Bring out the free verse!

Written by: Michala T.

She hides from ruby snow

staining the mattress below her

Denies it so it will not drain her mind

of the innocence she clings to.

The scenery has changed forever

Indentions fade, the scars remain.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Word of the Day: Pontificate

Friends, Readers, Fellow Blogger, lend me your screens;
I come here to bury Google, not to praise it,
The evil that bloggers do remains long after they post;
The good is oft interred with their archives;
So let it be with Google. The noble Bite My Book
Hath told you The Word of the Day was ambitious:
If it were so, let it be pontificated.


Pontificate (pon-tif-i-cate) \pon-TIF-i-keyt\, noun;

1. the state, office, or term of office of a pontiff

intransitive verb;

1a. to officiate as a pontiff
1b. to celebrate pontifical mass

2. to speak or or express opinions in a pompous or dogmatic way

Oh blog post thou art fled to brutish commenters,
And blogger lost their reason. Bear with me;
My keyboard is in the trash can with Google,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

And go out and spread the news,
Do pontificate to those that may hear you speak;
And perchance you be agreeable folk,
Grace use down below,
With your poetic offerings.
Thank you.

How much is the story in the window?

Lessons from a Cracked Rear View Mirror

By Michala T.
This week I had a strange but enlightening thing occur to me. I was surfing through Stumbleupon and came across a website that caught my interest. I piddled around on it for a bit. It was a site where for $3.95 someone could upload a sample of their writing. The writing would then be read by others and if well-liked would advance. The more people liked it the further higher it would go until, if the writer was so fortunate, it made it a particular level where the site claimed agents and publishers read and frequently choose from. Then voila…you have a potential for a book to be published!
I was very leery about this but pressed on to see what they were looking for in a sample of writing. For your $3.95 you were to submit a 50 word synopsis of what your story was about. And they stated you could upload your first page. When I looked closer however, you were only able to upload 250 words. I had to do a double take on that one. 250 words is not much at all. I was quite taken aback by this. I mean you couldn’t give much at all for 250 words. And they had suggested in the line above the box that you wanted to give the best you had. Well, obviously you would want to give the best. I mean how else can you hook, line, and reel in an agent in only 50 words. NOW See that. When I wrote the word now, that was from start to finish…250 words. That is not a page!

My Rant 4 the Week: I'm Being Dissed By the Music Industry

by Michala T.

Boy bands! I bet today you are shaking your head and plugging your ears at just the thought of them. And if you are a mother of a preteen or teenager girl you are probably stuck with seeing them on their walls, on their IPhones, hearing them on the radio every time you turn around. I know...we are plum sick of hearing them. But there was a time you had a favorite boy band. Oh yes. Don’t shake your head at me. You’ve just forgotten. You’ve aged. You’ve put those things in the past. But there have been some pretty decent boy bands.
Of course, I won’t go all the way back to the beginning of history. I don’t have the time or space for that. But let’s look at the boy bands in of our pasts.
(Doing the Wayne’s World Flashback hand-jive with the crazy noise)

Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig

Reviewed by Michala T.   

“This might be the last chance to get off the ride. The Miriam Black Experience is about to depart the gate, and you’re either strapped in or left behind. Time to commit, Miss Wiz. The lady or the tiger.”

In Chuck Wendig’s second installment Mockinbirds, Miriam is definitely in a pissy mood. She is totally exhausted of trying to live the normal life that Louis is hoping they can live together. In fact, this ‘living the rat-wheel life’ of working at a shitty store dealing with tourists day in and day out is pushing her over the edge.

The book opens up, introducing the readers to Miriam. A stand-alone novel, the average reader does not have to know the Miriam we loved in Blackbird. This Miriam is wearing black gloves; stifling the visions but is living a numbness sort of life that she hates. She is trying to be normal but Miriam isn’t normal. And having a job and a home address does not a normal person make. And she is tired of faking it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Classic Corner: Shakespeare

by JccKeith

Still Cool Shakespeare
For those who have never had the joy of really reading any of Shakespeare’s work, and by that I mean not just memorizing what you were told in English or Literature class, but actually reading for yourself, this is for you.  Of course there is always the doubt of who Shakespeare really was and all that nonsense.  No, none of his plays were original.  All were borrowed, as were most plays of the time, from old works and myths.  His stories were however, written in his own words which is what makes them so remarkable. 
Wordsmith that he was, Shakespeare has given us many, many famous lines which people still repeat today in modern media.  We’ve all heard the “To be or not to be, that is the question,” and “All the world’s a stage.” 

What many may fail to realize is that Shakespeare’s themes and characters are still used today in movies and television.  One popular theme is the old, ‘guy loves a girl but she is in love with someone else’ or ‘girl loves a guy but he is in love with someone else.’  This may sound overly simplified, but it really is that simple.  Many of his plays are about love and the comedy that ensues when people fall in love with one another. 
If you read such plays as Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like it, you’ll also find a lot of typical human pettiness.  People banishing people due to circumstances beyond their control such as another person falling in love with them are common.  You’ll see guys getting upset when their wives or girlfriends don’t do what they want.  People get upset and jealous when their love is not returned.

Besides this standard human drama, there are more serious themes in Shakespeare’s work such as familial love and devotion, questions about the meaning of life and the purpose of the individual.  You will find people forced to deal with the guilt of their actions such as Lady Macbeth in Macbeth.  Lady Macbeth lusts for power and coerces her husband to kill the king so that they may become the king and queen.  Later she suffers such guilt she eventually takes her own life.  She speaks of the blood being on her hands, another phrase you might recognize.  In the story she tries to wash it off but can still see it, feel it.

Another main theme of Shakespeare’s works is that of the family not approving of/not liking a girl’s boyfriend.  The father or the family want her to marry someone they choose and she of course, falls in love with someone else.  This theme is so common you see it over and over again in movies.  It doesn’t matter why the family doesn’t approve of the suitor just that they don’t.  Usually, the girl and the guy end up together although the method is usually what makes the story.  Sometimes the family comes to realize the value of the suitor, sometimes the lovers kill themselves, sometimes they just elope and sometimes there is a little murder involved.

I could go on and on but I’m certain you get the point.  Shakespeare is just as relevant today as he was way back when.  The people and places may be from the late 1500s and early 1600s but their trials and tribulations are just as relevant to us as they were to those people.  Love, jealousy, greed… any of these sounding familiar?  How many romantic comedies can they make about these same themes?  It would seem an infinite amount as we are still producing them today. 

Before you write Shakespeare off as all gloom and doom due to the plays like Macbeth that you were forced fed in high school – give the man a chance.  Pick up a copy of another play and overlook the outdated fluffy language and you might just have a laugh or two.

Job Hunting Hurts... Resumes Help

Part 2 of How to Get A Job You Want Series
by Michala T.

If you haven't completed part one...please stop here! Go back to Start! Do not pass Go!

Now that you have your list of ten places you want to work its time to get your resume going.
Do not use personal pronouns. Don’t say, “I worked the switchboards.” Be Specific and quick. “Switchboard Operator.” Do not use numbers or pictures on your resume. Always nclude your email and phone information but don’t bother with your address. Do you think they are going to mail you something? They just need to be able to get in touch with you.

Desires of the Dead By Kimberly Derting

By Michala T.

I must first admit that I got this audio book without the knowledge that it was part of a series. Having learned that there was a book before this one helped me to make sense of a few things that I was a little confused about. However having said this I do believe this could be a stand alone novel because Derting does a fine job of including key details about the main protagonist’s past events.

Desires of the dead opens up with Violet and her school peers at school talking about the new kids in town. To me the conversations of the high schoolers as well as their behaviors were a bit off for some reason. (This may be because I’m no longer anywhere near that age.) The reader learns a bit later that she has the ability to sense the ‘echoes’ of those who have died. Those who have been murdered have a unique echo and the murderer shares the same ‘echo’ which links them together.

Violet does not give out this information to many people; not even her best girl friend. (This too seems odd to me because if you can’t trust your bestie…who can you trust?) Violet has her best friend which is also now her boyfriend. So she isn’t altogether alone. However, from recent past events Violet questions how much their relationship has changed and their exists a certain uncomfortable change (at least in her mind).

Violet soon senses a new echo and she later goes off to find out what or who is producing the echo. With disturbing dreams and a penetrating echo that refuses to leave her alone, Violet searches for the echo in hopes of bringing closure. In her attempt to do so, Violet draws the attention of the FBI. Violet is terrified that her secret ‘ability’ will become public knowledge and makes some hard choices trying to keep her life normal, or as normal as one can be with such powers.

While she attempts to ‘handle’ things Violet is also becoming aware of how her boyfriend is spending more time with the new boy in school and the new boy’s sister seems to have a huge crush on Jay…a dangerous crush even? With all kinds of time to think about things Violet begins imagining, or is she, crazy scenarios about Jay and this other girl. These new kids have brought some secrets of their own.

While listening to this audio book I was at times very interested but found myself being let down frequently. I thought there were some strong scenes that could have offered me more. One character left me wanting more for sure. HOWEVER, after recently learning that this was part of a series, I also learned that the character I wanted more from and of is returning and I am surely going to read if only to get more of that one person.

I don’t normally do this but I will say that if this had been a book by itself I would have rated it differently than I am going to rate it. Knowing that it’s part of a series, and learning what the next book is about has improved my opinion of the book by a lot.
So I am offering two scores for this book (Which I’ve never done before)

B4 knowing this book was part of a series: 6
After knowing: 7.5

Will I read the next book? Most Definitely!