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A Party for You Know Who! March 30, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Special Events, Writing & Writers.
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In honor of his Birthday and all the books he wrote . . .

2014-03-01 15-05-47_0017

A party was in order with a favorite poster quote . . .

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Small fans arrived in costume . . . as foxes, fishes, and a goat!

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They decor-ated cupcakes and left with belly bloat.

Aah . . . that’s better!

There’s no end to the things you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go. ~ Dr. Seuss

What’s your favorite Seussian book, character, word, rhyme or quote?


Breathing Life Into Characters February 26, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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Tim Dorsey knows how to breathe life into his characters.

In a single paragraph, he describes 7 characters using brief sketches, allowing readers to flesh in the rest:

* Major Fletcher ~ steady leader with blond hair, a close shave, and a square dependable jaw

* Lee Barnes ~ a crusty and foul-mouthed veteran with hangover stubble and a footlocker of vintage Playboys

* Milton “Bananas” Foster ~ a highly excitable yet gifted mechanical wizard

* Marilyn Sebastian ~ a plucky aerial reconnaissance officer, as tough as any man, but every bit a woman

* Pepe Miguelito ~ a forlorn youth with pencil mustaches and unending girl troubles

* “Tiny” Baxter ~ a massive country boy from Oklahoma with simple but strong values

* William Honeycutt ~ a former bantamweight champion

Dorsey provides enough detail to bring his characters to life . . . without beating them to death.

Sometimes a skeletal outline or quick sketch connects us to a character faster than too many extraneous details.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Explanations (Candid Impressions) * Two Writers Debate: Pantsing vs. Plotting (Eric John Baker) * The End is Never the End (Grannymar)

A Double “A Ha!” Moment February 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness.
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Mickey-OKYears ago, I cracked open a fortune cookie and pulled out a fortune:

“You will live a happy and peaceful life.”


I taped it to the top of my alarm clock where I would see it each morning as I smacked the Snooze Button into submission at the false start to another “peaceful day.”

Flash forward more than a dozen years . . .

This week, as I pondered the goal-setting advice in Do It!  Let’s Get Off Our Buts by Peter McWilliams, I had an epiphany ~ a double “a ha!” moment:

1.   I want a happy and peaceful life.  Contrary to evidence to the contrary, my desire for peace and quiet reflection is NOT holding me back from achieving my Dream(s) . . . my desire for peace IS my Dream!

2.  I am living my Dream.  When I act as captain of my ship, I am happy, peaceful, calm, relaxed, here, now, etc.  My life has balance.  It is only when I allow others to “steer my ship” that the waters get a bit choppy.

As I skimmed through exercises, advice, and a plethora of great quotes, I found this nugget on p. 457 of Do It!  Let’s Get Off Our Buts:

To fulfill our Dream, we need only examine our life and do two things:

1.  More of what works.
2.  Less of what doesn’t.


So, I’ve decided to “clear the decks.”  Anything that “doesn’t work” will be tossed overboard. Excepting the cat, of course.  Unnecessary ballast drags us down faster than a bloated anchor no matter how much wind fills our sails.   We travel best when we travel light.  

Once the extraneous has been cleared away, I’ll load the hull with more of what “does work” ~ laughter, joy, peace, calm awareness, compassion, kindness, exercise (walking, biking, swimming), inspirational books & movies (and blogs!), good food, chocolate, music, writing, simplicity, time for reflection and meditation, and anything else that sparks an interest.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Lack of motivation (to “get off our buts”) may stem from fear, guilt, anger, unworthiness, laziness, etc.  Or our lack of motivation might mean we are content where and how and who we are.

Eat when hungry, sleep when tired . . . move when restless.

Related Post:  Is It Really Important? (Awakening to Awareness)

Passing the Hat . . . to Write February 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Books & Movies, Writing & Writers.
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The internet has changed the writing landscape in many ways:

* Writers can start a blog to gain a fan base.
* Writers can create a platform on Facebook to discuss work in progress.
* Writers can tweet about their new or soon-to-be releases to build interest.

And . . . they can pass the hat to sell their promised words BEFORE they’ve even set them down in digital ink.

Wikipedia ~ Beggar (Public Domain)

Imagine if everyone could get paid for doing nothing.

* Would you pay a chef to create a meal that you might never get to taste?
* Would you pay a chauffeur to buy a car that you might never occupy?
* Would you pay an attorney for advice not yet proffered?

If not, why would you pay a writer (you’ve never met) to write a book you might never have a chance to read . . . because it hasn’t been written yet?

Internet Begging is BIG business.

There are hundreds of cyber begging sites designed to allow people to raise money to support the penchant for designer clothes, a desire for bigger boobs, or to create a fund of creative financing for creatives endeavoring to create creative endeavors before those endeavors have been created.

I’m all for supporting The Arts . . . but I’m not inclined to pay a writer for words not yet written.

* * *

What say you?  

When people “pass the hat” to finance unfulfilled desires, are you inclined to toss money into the pot?  Do you swing by Kickstarter on a regular basis to discover writing projects to support?  If so, there are 15,828 potential publishing projects on Kickstarter from which to choose.

Or, like me, would you rather support writers by buying books AFTER they’ve been written?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Mumbo Jumbo . . . and Sambo January 14, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, Humor, Spirit & Ego.
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You know you’ve grown in spirit . . . when external turmoil does not disturb the peace and tranquility you feel within.

You know you’ve grown in compassion . . . when angry words tossed your way make you want to alleviate the suffering of the person doing the tossing, without first wanting to defend your own position.

You know you’ve found your bliss and are headed the right way . . . when your spirit is soaring and work feels like play.

And that’s no Mumbo Jumbo!

Aah . . . that’s better!

When I googled “Mumbo Jumbo” to learn the origin of the expression, one of the links transported me back in time to . . . Mumbo, Jumbo, and Sambo.

The Story of Little Black Sambo is a children’s book written and illustrated by Helen Bannerman, first published by Grant Richards in October 1899 as one in a series of small-format books called The Dumpy Books for Children:

Sambo is a South Indian boy who encounters four hungry tigers, and surrenders his colourful new clothes, shoes, and umbrella so they will not eat him. The tigers are vain and each thinks he is better dressed than the others. They chase each other around a tree until they are reduced to a pool of melted butter. Sambo then recovers his clothes and his mother makes pancakes out of the butter.

The story has been retold a time or two in different settings with changed names.  For example, in “Little Kim,” a storybook and cassette as part of the Once Upon a Time Fairy Tale Series, Sambo is called “Kim,” his father Jumbo is “Tim,” and his mother Mumbo is “Sim.”

For more on the history and resurrection of Little Black Sambo ~ New Takes on an Old Story (L.A.Times, 9/8/96)

Know-It-Alls January 9, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, Joke, People, Poetry.
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Books, authors, words ~ how
vast the stacks. No know-it-all
ever knows it all.

And you can tell him I said so.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Do you know any know-it-alls?

Do you view them as a ready reference and reliable resource obviating the need for further research on your part?

Related posts:  Empty Your Cup * The Urge to Pontificate (Candid Impressions)

Wading Through Sot-Weeds January 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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My favorite thing about writing is its complete and utter autonomy:

* My book.
* My rules.
* My choice of characters.

Anyone who writes a book, play, or screenplay gets to choose the world, the setting, the time period, and the people populating center stage.

That said, readers do have a voice.

When following the threads of a story, I enjoy a sense of continuity.  Imagery and poetry in perpetuity are not enough for me.  I need something to hang my hat on or my attention wanes.

“Sot-Weed Factor” fan
proclaims it ~ “the best English
written novel yet”

Hopes high, I dove deep
where obscure digressions and
parodies parade

Wading through Sot-Weeds
grew cruelly tiresome, I
turned to other worlds

Reading a voluminous tome or treatise filled with esoteric references holds little appeal . . . when the whole forest is out there waiting to be explored.

That’s my favorite thing about reading ~ the complete and utter autonomy to choose whether to remain in an author’s audience or turn to other words and other worlds.

Aah . . . that’s better!

While writing this post, I learned I’m not alone in my unwillingness to wade through Barth’s laborious labors:

“John Barth’s “The Sot-Weed Factor” is a brilliantly specialized performance, so monstrously long that reading it seemed nearly as laborious as writing it. Obviously Barth (author previous of “The End of the Road” and “The Floating Opera”) believed he needed these approximately 500,000 words to achieve his effects. Few will agree with him, for though he abounds in excellent satirical devices he is addicted to repeating them.”

* * *

“Though it is not for all palates, it is possible that Barth’s book may be cherished by its true audience for some time to come.”

Fuller, Edmond, “The Joke is on Mankind,” NY Times, August 21, 1960.

Have you read The Sot-Weed Factor?  

Did you consume its 500,000 words in one gulp or spit it out before digesting its divergent digressions?

Related posts:  The Clean (Book)Plate Club *  Andrew Zimmern’s Picks Don’t Appeal

Blackfish December 7, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Amazing Animals, Animal Welfare, Books & Movies.
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Orcas belong in the wild, not in marine mammal parks like Sea World.

This well-received and eye-opening documentary, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, presents footage from Killer Whale trainers who have seen first hand the abuse and misuse of these magnificent creatures.

It lays to rest the PR spin surrounding the death of Tilikum’s trainer, Dawn Brancheau on February 24, 2010.

There are alternatives to keeping Killer Whales in bathtubs for decades.

We can set them FREE.

If you want to help captive Orcas, ask Sea World to retire Tilikum and other Killer Whales from circus acts.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Story:  SeaWorld Orlando closing Shamu Stadium until Spring 2014

Tin Foil Hats & Fruit Loops October 3, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Fun & Games, Humor.
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If you want to get out of jury duty, I suggest wearing a homemade hat in response to the summons . . . Tin foil works best.

Embellish it with straw antennae . . . so you can hear “them” but they can’t read your thoughts.

If anyone asks you about your hat, hold a finger to your mouth, then point to the sky and whisper, “shh . . . they’re listening.”

To complete the look . . .

Wear dark glasses and jewelry you’ve made yourself to brighten up your “hey, hey, you, you, stay out of my mind” outfit:


Nothing says “Fruitcake” faster than a necklace strung with Fruit Loops!

Just ask Aunt Glady . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!

Once you get out of Jury Duty, pop Home for the Holidays in your Digital Viewing Device and prepare to laugh your tin foil hat off!

Now You See Me September 22, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Fun & Games, Synchronicity & Mystery.
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Fantastic heist film with a fabulous twist at the end.

Will you have to suspend disbelief?

Yes, but we didn’t mind.  It’s fast-paced fun which doesn’t rely on sex, profanity, or extreme violence.

Just a single car chase . . . and crash.

Are there plot holes?

Yes, a few.  But nothing that can’t be overlooked until the final credits roll.

From Netflix:

Brainy magicians Atlas and Henley lead a troupe of illusionists who specialize in robbing from the rich, in the form of banks, and giving to the poor, their audiences, all while trying to outwit a team of FBI agents determined to bring them down.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you seen it?

Can you spell:  SE-QUEL?  Now You See Me is the next “Ocean’s 11″ . . . with a different band of merry magicians at the helm.


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