Reading Again

Every year, I reread Atlas Shrugged and Stranger in a Strange Land. I don’t know why but it seems I can never read those two books enough.

What about you? What books do you read again and again? What about those books call to you?

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The Safety of the Bookternet for Women and other Compelling Reads This Week

walking_away

Been busy this week and didn’t have nearly enough time to read but the following were pretty damn compelling is you ask me.

 
Why I Quit GoodReads (or The Bookternet is Not Safe for Women). Is a compelling post by Brenna Clarke Grey dealing with the harassment and fallout of the ‘bookternet.’ Thought provoking read.

Online book shopping overtakes in-store for first time. Over at The BookSeller, they’ve got the 411 on online book sales versus offline book sales. Enlightening.

Controlling the Creatives. Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes a nice piece about ignoring in-fighting (what I call penis tossing), online battles and just writing what you write. I’m with her.

Goodreads has decided that there is no friendzone for authors and people. Nate Hoffelder writes about the now more confusing world of GoodReads, fans, followers and a weird gum-up that may send people away from GoodReads.

The New World of Writing: Pulp Speed. Dean Wesley Smith quite knowledgeable about pulp writers and writer, offers some awesome insight about writing fast. Warp speed fast. (H.T. Anne R. Allen)

Read, enjoy and have a great week. 🙂 WC

Christmas Fodder

christmas

Over the many years of this blog, I’ve written a lot of posts about Christmas. And this time of year, it seems people are interested in reading Christmas posts. So, following is a convenient linked list of popular Christmas blog posts for your amusement. I’ve grouped them into categories of a sort for better navigation.  Ho, ho, ho and jolly jolly. This post will remain “sticky” for the month of December.

WC

Lists

Weird Christmas Facts and Fun

More Little Known Christmas Facts

Ten Gripes About Christmas

You Know You Have Your Grinch on When…

Ten Signs You May be a Christmas Sap Like Me

What to do with a Dead Christmas Tree

Random Christmas Thoughts

Random Christmas Thought #56

You Might be a Christmas Addict if…

Naughty or Nice

Quizzes

What’s Your Christmas Personality?

I Can Name That Christmas Song In

What’s Your Christmas Elf Name?

Parodies

Christmas Can-Can

Fun with Christmas Parodies

The Bloggers 12 Days of Christmas

Christmas Bird

Money Saving

Shoe-String Christmas

Christmas on the Cheap

Food

Christmas Recipes,Tips and Tricks

Yummy Christmas Food

How to Tell if Your Christmas Eve Bash is a Success

Holiday Eating Tips from Zelda

Gifting

Ten Christmas Gifts You May Not Have Thought Of

The Weirdest Christmas Gift

To Re-Gift or Not to Re-Gift

iPhone/iPad New and Strange Christmas Apps

Stories

Christmas Eve – Theme Friday

The Last Christmas

In Honor of Christmas

Kindness

Christmas for the Troops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Moment of Thanks

Hi guys,

As most of you know the last few months have been a bit whacky for me and I wanted to take a moment and acknowledge some very nice things that I have received from many of you.

I want to thank Teeni for all the many awards she has bestowed upon me. I was touched by all of them even though, I didn’t post them on the blog – they meant a lot. Not to mention the lovely gift of the teddy bear and beautiful notepad carrier. Teens, you are simply one of the sweetest people I have ever encountered.

Cowgal for my funky award – and the endless stream of hysterical pictures and jokes she sends me.

Lolly for the wonderful books and just her sweet gentle voice in the blogosphere.

Free for all the whacky emails and wonderful advice.

Jess (her link is down right now) for her friendship, humor support – and again, how lucky am I that our paths have crossed?

Christine – for her wonderful words, unique perspective – that has shown me so many new ways to look at life and writing and her friendship.

Gracie for her reading, her friendship, passion and unrelenting grip on what matters.

If I’ve forgotten anyone, it wasn’t intentional – I appreciate all of you. Really, you all mean so much to me. I just wanted you to know.

And thank you.

WC

P.S. And Evyl, if you’re out there reading, be well – you’re in my prayers.

Timeless

One of the things that made this Christmas so wonderful for me was that I received a dvd of one of my all time favorite movies, To Kill a Mockingbird. Though admittedly, I hadn’t seen it for many, many years, it always remained in my heart as a story that was timeless and whose lessons could never die.

Last night, I popped it into the dvd player and sat back to re-experience this wonderful story. I’m sure most of you have seen it or have read the book – and I’m not going to detail the plot here but I wanted to just reiterate what really good fiction does.

Quite simply, it speaks to life. It is real. It immerses you in its world and does not release you until the story is told and sometimes holds you long after the story is done. The characters somehow endear themselves to you and become part of your lexicon and soul’s self. At least for me, that is what this story does.

Scout, who is the narrator and from whose point of view the story is told – is the classic tomboy, free thinking, irrepressible and an unassuming hero who sees the world through a special and wonderful way. Her brother, Jem, is Scout’s confidant, protector and best friend. Atticus, Scout’s father, is her hero, a constant source of suprise and wonder to her. None of these characters make any attempt to be anything other than what they are – they just are. They all make you believe that being who you are is the best thing you could be and that living a life of value and community means something.

You cannot read this story and walk away unchanged. You cannot see this movie and feel the same as you did before you watched it. Personally, I wouldn’t want to. Secretly, I always wanted to be Scout. To have her courage and pluck – her own world view. And maybe in some small way I have – I hope so.

Good fiction, owns you – and really it shouldn’t be any other way.

WC

Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy…

For as long as I can remember one of my favorite songs was Summertime. Whether it was Lena Horne or Otis Redding, or anyone else who could belt one out, singing it. I think it’s one of the best songs ever written because it so thoroughly expresses the feeling of summertime. The hot days and mean summer sun – the fragrant balmy nights – the lazy, languid movements of sun-kissed skin. Oh yeah.

It’s been very hot in my little burg and though it drives most people inside to find the solace of air conditioning and bad television – it makes me smile. It makes me think of my dad and watermelon and eating giant beefsteak tomatoes on the front porch. Swatting away the flies and trying to catch the juice before it drips down your chin and onto your nice white tee shirt.

Of dangling toes in the cool comfort of a country lake. The symphony of butterflies, birds and bees that hover and dart in the garden, serenading and gliding – a cacaphony of color and songs piercing the cloudless blue sky. Of softie ice cream cones in the darkened livingroom, the fan rattling and television down low. Of sitting in the window when I should have been sleeping and listening to the crickets as they sing out the stars scattered across a darkening sky.

Of picnics and parties. Rollercoasters and cotton candy, apples dipped in sweet, chewy caramel and a sheen of oily sweat that never goes away until the weather breaks. The air so heavy with water that refuses to turn to rain.

Of my new keds, red and unblemished. Scraped elbows and new adventures along the railroad track, discovering rocks and trash that were treasures to us. Iced tea sweating and leaving a ring on the table, putting it to my forehead and how cool it felt there. Streaks of blonde hair glistening the mousey brown of winter.

It makes me think of all these things and more. I guess you could say I am a child of summer. I need the sunshine to live. I never want it to end.

WC

Finger Lickin’ Good!

Michael of Smoke & Mirrors has tagged me on a food meme. Imagine that, me and food – who’d a thunk? The deal is that I am supposed to list five of my fav eateries here in my neck of the woods, then I tag five more bloggers to do the same. So here goes:

Pink’s Hotdogs: Pink’s has been around forever in a day. Once you see the place, you definitely envision starlets and wannabe’s of the 1930’s & 1940’s standing around eating their dogs and sipping their creme soda. It’s clearly a Hollywood favorite, as evidenced by all the signed 8×10 glossies of Hollywood luminaries, that cover the walls inside the tiny dining area. But oh, my, God…they have the best chili dogs on the planet. And there is nothing quite so fun as running down there at midnight to stand on line to get a couple of these greasy, ooey, gooey, chili, onions,cheese dogs. 100% kosher beef dogs, on perfect squishy white buns, served by zophtic maidens. Get a Dr. Bonner’s Creme Soda to go with and you are set.

Barney’s: Barney’s is a fixture in Pasadena’s Old Town and has been there for quite a while. It’s a morph of an old-time saloon and a yuppie cafe. The food is good, hearty and reasonably priced, especially for its locale. My all time favorite dish is their toast-taco-salad. An enormous dish of fresh greens, topped with taco meat, shredded cheese, onions, sour creme and freshly made corn chips. Enough to feed three people unless you’re feeling really piggy. It’s served with a boatload of fresh salsa and vinegarette. Their potato salad is perfect. Burgers, great. Also have a mean kielbasa samich served with sourkraut on a big bakery bun. Have it with a diet coke, coffee or any one of the millions of brands of beers they serve. Afterwards, go for a stroll through Old Town, look in the shops, stop at the movies or just mill with the rest of the crowd.

Al Read’s: Al Read’s is a little hole in the wall place a mere 1/4 mile from my house. It sits on a corner across from a liquor store and a grocery store. Nothing remarkable about the little white building it is housed in but wait til you go inside. The decor is early 1970’s with white walls and red vinyl booths. To your right a tiny bar that is always rocking and to your left the dining room. You slide into one of the booths, and are given a giant red menu to peruse. Steak, seafood and ribs. Man oh man, the ribs. The sauce is to die for and I’ve yet to wheedle the recipe out of any of them. My two favorite dishes: Fried clams – can’t get enough of them. And the prime rib – unbelievably huge (covers most of the plate) served with twice baked potatoes and hot cheesebread – for under $20. A-yup, that’s what I said. You can go in your sweats or your fancy duds, makes no difference to them. The food is to die for and the service is friendly, casual and you never feel like they are just waiting for you to leave. It’s like going to your Aunt Edna’s for dinner but the service is better and so is the food.

Da Franco’s: Da Franco’s is the classic neighborhood Italian restaurant. I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid there were always the family style neighborhood Eye-talian places that we would go to and gorge until we couldn’t move – and still have tons of leftovers to take home. That’s this place. Alfredo that is light, creamy, perfect. Marinara, home-made and garden fresh. They also have this chicken dish that is layer with cheese, ham and eggplant that is amazing and in ‘pink sauce’ – no idea what that is, but it melts in your mouth. Again, another casual, easy going place that serves the hell out of you. Oh and the cannolis can’t be beat. One other thing that I love, is that they serve you a basket of fresh soft bread sticks with marinara on the side, the minute your fanny hits the seat.

The Elephant Bar: The Elephant Bar is a cool kind of yuppy place in the heart of Burbank. The walls are painted in leopard print and zebra stripes, the waiters and waitresses likely all actors and actresses looking for their big break. They have a nice patio that faces the mountains and you can sip your iced tea or passion fruit iced tea as you watch the sun go down. Don’t worry about getting cold because they have those great big patio heaters that they will light on request. Everything on the menu is delicious. Everything. And the chef will alter dishes to your specs if you’re on a diet or want to swap one item out for another. They have everything from fried calamari, chinese chicken salad to pot roast. The portions are huge, you will be taking home leftovers. My favorite dish is the pot roast. Fork tender, in a perfect brown sauce that just melts in your mouth. Make sure to top it off with a huge slab of Chocolate Blackout Cake. And then call the paramedics, because you’ll have passed out by then.

And any time y’all want to come out to sunny California, I’d be pleased as punch to take you to any of these places.

Okay, that’s my five. Now, on with the tags…who shall it be??????

Jess
Christine
Ham
Puddlehead
MsCrankypants

Music To My Ears

 

La Flor of Mocha Buzz  has tagged me for a little meme.

It’s all about songs and one’s youth. LOL. Not sure I want to remember that far back, but I’m game. I’m also not sure I can get all nostalgic about the years of high school or even any of the songs during that time. But I did have some favorites that I managed to find:

Lean on Me – by Bill Withers – Aside from the fact that this was one of those sort of post-hippie songs and we were all into feeling the love for everyone (but dah man) – this is to me, a classic. It sounds as good today as it did then I think because it deals with the universal theme that we are not alone – we have friends, we have family and we can lean sometimes when we need to. I’ll admit, that I’m not much of a leaner and when I do, it usually feels a bit odd – but like the man says, ‘we all need somebody to lean on.’ Amen.

I Can See Clearly Now –  by Johnny Nash: There is something about this song that always gets me. It can mean so many things. But to me, it’s about revelations, whether personal or the big picture. It’s also a song of celebration – of being free from chains I guess, whether it be the chains of a love affair, small-mindedness, our own limiting thoughts. It’s all good. 

Let’s Stay Together – by Al Green: Ah, the Reverand Al Green, I could listen to this guy sing the phone book. Have you ever seen him perform? He takes such utter and complete joy in what he is doing, it makes you wish you could sing too. The song is a classic, about the common sense of staying in love, staying together, working it out. That things that are important are meant to last – and that making them last is worth the effort.

Heart of Gold – by Neil Young: I was never much of a Neil Young fan, aside from this song, the only other song of his I liked was Helpless. But again, a classic song that speaks to human frailty and the need to find love. For some reason, it always reminded me of my dad. Maybe it was the twangy voice of Young or the old fashioned theme of the song – but he definitely had a heart of gold.

 Without You – by Nilsson:  This song was so different from songs of its day – lots of big music, for such a little, simple song. And it was the perfect song to play when  your heart was broken. It fit so well with the teenaged angst I experienced most of  my young life and you could just scream your heart out as you sung along.

So… there you have it. The songs of my youth. Plus a cartoon that has absolutely nothing to do with this. 😉

I’m tagging:
Red
Reggie
Kenzie
Kathy
Michael

These are the rules:
1. Go to the Billboard #1 Hits listings (scroll down and you’ll seen them separated by decades on the left in the sidebar)
2. Pick a year you were in high school
3. Get yourself nostalgic over the songs of that year
4. Pick 5 songs and write something about how these songs affected you
5. Pass it on to 5 more people