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All contents Copyright ÂŠ the individual authors and used with their permission. All rights reserved.
Christopher Ambler Interviewed by T.E. Hodden .................................................................................... 7
Rachael Wrightâ€”Interviewed by Hannah Howe .............................................. 39
Laughter is the Best Medicine! by Hannah Howe ............................................ 40
Off the Beaten Track Spooky Utah Road Trip by Melanie P. Smith ............ 10
Pink Passion by Susan DeCrescenzo.................................................................... 28
On Getting Older by Stan Phillips ....................................................................... 20
What Do Dogs Think About by Rhys (Age 12) ....................................................9 In the Whole Wide World by Jester (Age 17) .....................................................29
Get to know the Characters of Divergence by Melanie P. Smith .................. 25
Red Lentil Koftes by Ceri Bladen ......................................................................... 34 Basic Sugar Cookies by Poppy Flynn .................................................................. 45
A Day with Rusalki by Ronesa Aveela ............................................................... 16 Modern Classic: The Report by TE Hodden ...................................................... 21 Women of Courage: Alix Marrier d’Unienville by Hannah Howe ............... 26 A Year and a Day by Val Tobin ............................................................................ 30 Modern Classic: The Prestige by TE Hodden .................................................... 36
July: Things to Celebrate by Poppy Flynn ......................................................... 41 Little League Nightmare by Keith Guernsey ..................................................... 46 Summer Come and Gone by Cherime MacFarlane .......................................... 48 Collingwood Ingram by John Greeves ............................................................... 49
Kenfig by Hannah Howe ........................................................................................ 33
Black to Move—Supplied by Chess.com ............................................................ 19 Word Search by Mom’s Favorite Reads .............................................................. 47
Connections eMagazine ......................................................................................... 35 20% OFF First Book Promotion with the Fussy Librarian ............................... 44
Christopher Ambler: Concellation 2020 Interviewed by T.E. Hodden
(Craig G) just up and created the group, handed me the keys and said to run with it. I thought it would generate a few fun memes and burn out. A few days after its creation it passed 10,000 members. It’s now almost 35,000 “nonmembers.”
With much of the world passing through strange, and often scary times, many film, comic, and gaming conventions were cancelled. On Facebook, an imaginary convention, one that was supposedly cancelled before it could begin, flourished, with thirty four thousand virtual guests, growing virtual trade rooms, cosplay parades, games, jokes, and almost every other staple of the regular convention.
Were you expecting it grow across so many groups?
Oh, absolutely not
On behalf Mom’s Favorite Reads, I reached out to Christopher Ambler, the organiser with a few questions.
How do you manage the groups? With tens of thousands of attendees, has it been a handful to run fairly? Yes and no – there are a couple hundred posts per day, and many more that are gently curated out. The same new meme is often submitted scores of times a day. But Facebook moderation tools are pretty good at making it easy, and there are others who’ve volunteered to help. Fighting is almost non-existent, which is actually a pleasant surprise. Fans can be testy, but in this group, almost everyone is able to play well with others.
Hi Christopher, so how did the idea for Concellation 2020 come about? I’m a member of a Facebook group for conrunners, and after what felt like the hundredth post about a cancelled convention, I jokingly said, “We should cancel a con before we can announce it. We’ll call it Concellation.” I thought I was just making a joke, but then one member -7-
So, how long have you been attending conventions?
Your merchandise has helped some good causes, do you mind telling us about that?
My first was in 1977, when I was 10 years old. I have no idea which con it was, but William Shatner was the guest, so a friend took me. After the day, we went and saw Star Wars, which had just been released. Since then, I’ve been a pretty regular attendee, and then got into volunteering when I was in high school in the early 80s. Two years ago I had the honor and pleasure of being the IT dude for WorldCon 76.
The logo was done by my friend Matt, and we made shirts just because we thought it would be cool to have them. To my surprise, they’ve sold really well, and I thought it was most ethical to sequester profits (I like to say the filthy lucre) for charity. So we’ve given $1000 to Doctors Without Borders, $1000 to the Chicago Food Depository and $1000 to No Kid Hungry. We’ve passed another threshold, so we’re talking about the next beneficiary. We also made a Pride design, and those profits are going to go to The Trevor Project. We also gave away a bunch of Hugonominated novels and purchased them through a fan-run bookstore.
What do you think are the quintessential elements for a convention? Guests and panels if I’m being old-school. You want to see the characters you love, and you want to talk about them. After that? Parties ͦ
What have you learned from the experience?
Is there something special about being part of a fandom, beyond being simply a fan?
If anything, that fandom pulls together. But honestly, I somewhat knew that. Also, sometimes good things happen when you’re in the right place at the right time with the right idea. Luck plays a factor, but when the opportunity presents itself, one should just take it and run with it.
Everyone has a fandom. Everyone’s a fan. If not Science Fiction or Fantasy or Horror or whatever, it might be sports or sewing or cats. It’s all special. It’s a community where you can share your passion. What are you a fan of?
Do you have any further plans for the nonconvention?
My fandoms… For media, Star Trek. Logan’s Run. Space: 1999. Red Dwarf. For writing, Asimov, Heinlein, Niven, Ellison. But my fandoms also include Las Vegas, visiting historical sites around the world, space sciences and anything with Anne Hathaway in it (don’t judge). Oh, and donuts. Don’t forget donuts.
Let it run as long as it needs to – and after cons start up again, perhaps the group will become a gathering place for fans between cons. As long as people are having a good time and everyone is playing well with each other, I’m happy to put in the effort to keep it going.
Christopher, on behalf of all in the Mom’s community: Thank you!
T.E. Hodden trained iengineering and n works in a specialized role in the transport industry. He is a life long fan of comic books, science fiction, myths, legends, and history. In the past he has contributed to podcasts, blogs, and anthologies.
Discover more on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/t-e-hodden/ -8-
What Do Dogs Think About? Submitted by Poppy Flynn Written by Rhys Age 12
Hello, my name is Rhys. I was planning on writing a piece called ‘Why Mums Nag’, but my mum wouldn’t let me so I wrote this instead.
that they think it's food or does it mean that they are happy. The truth is that they get bored so as a form of exercise and entertainment they chase their tails.
What Do Dogs Think About? Lately I’ve been thinking what do dogs think about? They seem awfully excited when food’s around, but what do they think? Maybe they think their owner is a really good hunter because they always bring food home. And when dogs bark that probably means hurry up I’m hungry.
But what does it mean when dogs bark in their sleep? Does it mean they see something, does it mean they are having a nightmare or does it mean they are having a pleasant dream? Dogs are lovely, so I hope they are having a pleasant dream. I think dogs have two rules: if you can’t eat it, play with it, and if you can’t play with it, wee on it!
When dogs sniff around do they think this smells familiar or this smells interesting? They probably think it smells nice and they follow it until it stops. The truth is that they smell an odour and follow it to its source.
By the way, do you want to know why mums nag? I reckon my mum nags when she hasn’t drunk enough wine, and because she cares.
But when dogs chase their tails what does it mean? Does it mean excitement, does it mean
Spooky Utah Road Trip by Melanie P. Smith I have lived in Utah all my life. The more I explore, the more I realize just how many amazing secrets we have just a few miles away from my back door. In addition to five National Parks, vast dessert landscapes, and amazing mountainous terrain; we also have a few spooky mysteries. Do you love that spine-tingling feeling that only comes from a well told ghost story? Then, pack a lunch, hop in your car, and take a haunted road trip. Some of the scariest places in Utah can be found by taking a trip that is less than one-hundred-fifty miles long. The entire adventure would take over three hours nonstop. But, where’s the fun in that? I live just outside of Salt Lake City, so let me begin there.
woman wearing a dark purple hat and dress from the early 1900’s and is typically seen in the women’s bathroom or the balcony area. She was apparently killed at the depot when she got into a fight with her fiancé. He threw her ring onto the tracks and she was hit and killed by a train while trying to retrieve it. Heartbroken and lost, she is unable to leave this old building.
First stop, Rio Grande Depot. This building was completed in 1910 and remained operational until the late 1900’s. It was designed as a hub for the Denver and Rio Grande Depot in Grand Junction Colorado. At the height of operations, it included a barber shop, a restaurant, a telegraph office, a men’s smoking room and a women’s lounge. It is now the home of the Utah State Historical Society. It is also believed to be haunted by several spirits. The most famous and widely seen is the Purple Lady. She is rumored to be a beautiful Image rights Utah State Historical Society
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© MPSmith Publishing
Stop number two, the Salt Lake City Cemetery. The cemetery was established in 1848. It is one of the largest city-operated cemeteries in the United States and covers over 250 acres. Approximately 125,000 persons are buried here including Orrin Porter Rockwell, numerous religious leaders, and many politicians. It is also said to be the home of countless unhappy spirits who have failed to move on to the afterlife. Locals claim they can hear the ghost of a small child sobbing after dark. Some people have claimed to see a man walking along one of the roads late at night — don’t blink… he might disappear. There have been numerous reports of people wandering around the grounds wearing clothing from the 1800’s. One minute they are there… the next they are gone. Visitors have also claimed to hear strange sounds that follow them and some even report hearing ear-piercing screams.
The tale of “Emo” is still a favorite amongst high school kids and ghosts hunters from all around the world. This creepy fable started soon after the death of a man named Jacob E. Moritz (There’s no clear explanation on why Moritz is Emo. It may simply be a shortened version of an uncommon last name — Jacob E. Mo). Morwitz was a businessman, founder of the Salt Lake Brewery, and a local politician. He died in 1910 while traveling in Germany with his wife.
To investigate this tale, your first challenge is finding the mausoleum at night. Now the legend… First, you have to light a candle, then circle the crypt three times—walking backwards — while chanting “Emo, Emo, Emo” or “Rise Emo, Rise.” Then peer through the window and you will see the red glowing eyes of Emo staring back at you.
An interesting mystery is the headstone of Lilly E. Gray. Nobody really knows why her husband saw fit to inscribe “Victim of the Beast 666” on her final resting place. Some say he was simply eccentric, others insist he was insane. - 11 -
Fort Douglas was the site of several desertions, murders, and suicides between the years of 1896 and 1901. It is believed some of the spirits still haunt the grounds today. The ghost most often encountered is John Jackson who was nicknamed “Clem” by a group of Boy Scouts who saw his ghost years ago and the name stuck.
As the Crypt has changed, so has the legend. Vandals damaged the crypt inside and out. Early on, the urn was also damaged and removed to an undisclosed location. Today, the window has been replaced by a solid piece of metal and the door has been altered to prevent opening. Don’t worry, Emo will still appear if you call him. Just light a candle, circle the crypt calling for Emo but instead of appearing in the window, the door may glow red, open unexpectedly, or Emo’s spirit may actually appear next to you in the darkness. You can recognize him by his glowing red eyes.
Clem was a First Sergeant that was shot and killed in 1899. He ordered Private Carter to groom his horse. Carter, who was known for his violent temper, shot him instead. Clem is rumored to be a short, stocky man with a beard wearing a Civil War-era uniform. Those who admit to seeing him, also report he seems happy but tends to startle the museum staff when he appears unexpectedly.
https://youtu.be/lhgGV8AuC8M https://youtu.be/T6DuOKJeq7A The next stop is Fort Douglas — also in Salt Lake City. Camp Douglas was established in October 1862 during the American Civil War. Its main function was to protect the overland mail route and telegraph lines along the Central Overland Route. Its secondary purpose was to keep an eye on the Mormons. In 1878, it was renamed Fort Douglas. It was officially closed in 1991 and today most of the buildings are used by the University of Utah, although a small section is still used by the US Army Reserve. - 12 -
We then leave the city and travel to the Park City Silver Mines Park City, Utah has a long history that dates back to the mid 1800’s. Prospecting soldiers founded the city, after discovering silver in the hills —which immediately became a major mining town. The town prospered for half a century, over $400 million in silver was extracted.
The Brigham Young Farmhouse, at This is the Place Monument will be the next stop on our trip. There are a lot of real haunted houses in Utah, but the Brigham Young Farmhouse is considered one of the most haunted. Over the years, many paranormal events and unexplained phenomenon have been linked to this structure. The home was originally built in 1863 and was just one of many Brigham Young had throughout the Utah territory. Brigham Young, an early LDS prophet, never actually lived here. It was primarily a dairy farm for his family, but they also grew sugar beets and alfalfa, and raised silkworms for the silk industry in Utah. The home was also a showcase for visiting dignitaries, musical performances, and dinner parties. It is said to be haunted by several spirits — including two of Brigham Young’s wives, Ann Eliza Webb and Lucy Ann Decker. Ann was not a happy polygamist. She particularly hated the noise that all the children made running around the porch. Those who claim to have seen her, report she shows up in one of the upper bedrooms. Brigham’s other wife who pays regular visits to her old family home is Lucy. She is rumored to be a happy woman who is often spotted in the kitchen. Staff and a few visitors also claim they have spotted Brigham Young himself inside the house. The most frequent visits come from children. Guests and staff members report the sounds of children playing, talking and laughing in a room called the “Ballroom”. This is where social gatherings for children occurred.
During the years when the mines were operating, there were several fires and mining accidents. A fire in 1898 caused by canyon winds was considered Utah’s biggest disaster with two -thirds of the town being destroyed. In 1902, a dynamite explosion caused poisonous gas to spread, killing many of the miners. Long abandoned and currently closed to the public, the mines near Park City are reported to be haunted by miners and their families who lost their lives in these tragic events.
Our next stop is the Heber City Cemetery. Visit this cemetery during the day or night and you might see something otherworldly. During the day, visitors see a little girl playing around the headstones. As they approach...she disappears. At night, footsteps and male laughter are heard amongst the trees. - 13 -
We leave Heber and head for the Timpanogos Cave.
very spine-chilling phenomena after hours and dare their colleagues to go inside, turn off their flashlights and wait ten full minutes. Strange occurrences such as hands touching their face, footsteps in the distance and voices whispering have been reported. One employee locked up one night, only to hear someone pounding from the inside. She opened the door to find no one was there. Visitors have reported feeling hot breath on the back of the neck when nobody was there.
Have you ever visited Timpanogos Cave for a tour? As part of the tour, they always turn off the lights for a minute to show you just how dark the cave is. Imagine if you saw floating orbs of light and heard moaning sounds? Park visitors and staff claim to have heard both inside this beautiful cave.
You donâ€™t have to wait to get to the cave to experience these strange phenomena. Visitors and park employees have experienced strange run-ins on their way up the trail. Some hear thundering footsteps, others hear laughter and whispers. Many have reported feeling a strange coldness even on days when the temperatures are in the nineties. Some visitors have reported seeing a young boy around four years of age who appears lost on the trail. When hikers approach, he runs back up the trail and disappears. A man stomping through the brush has been seen emerging from the foliage directly in front of hikers. After glaring at them, he vanishes.
The cave is said to be haunted by the ancient spirits of two young lovers. The story goes something like thisâ€Ś a Native American warrior fell in love with a princess. The warrior told the princess he was actually a God who could rescue her people from the terrible draught if she would marry him. She agreed. When she realized she had been tricked, she climbed to the top of the mountain and jumped from the cliff. Devastated, the warrior placed her body in the cave where her spirit remains. Ancient spirits arenâ€™t the only ones to haunt the caves. Park employees have reported some
The road leading to Timpanogos is also haunted. From encounters on the roadway to strange occurrences at the campground, American Fork Canyon is well-known for its paranormal activity. If you talk to anyone in Utah, you will find that American Fork Canyon is considered haunted by many, creepy by others. There is a cemetery halfway up the canyon that may contribute - 14 -
to some of the tales of visiting apparitions. The highway is dangerous and traffic accidents alone claim several lives annually.
guests claim to have seen him. As he walks across the dining room, he disappears right into the wall! Objects are often moved around after employees go home, and sometimes the chairs are even stacked neatly.
There is also an urban legend that most locals dismiss as too silly to try. The claim is that when you stay at Little Mill Campground, you can summon a ghost hearse. Once you climb behind the wheel, drive your vehicle in a circle three times in the parking lot. That’s it. The tale claims you will hear the roar of an engine as the old hearse fires up and pulls in behind you. Don’t try to escape, it will just chase you down the canyon shining its red lights all the way to the bottom. Some travelers have claimed to be chased by these daunting red lights with the three-circle ritual.
Our final destination is Silver Fork Lodge, located up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Guests report lights flickering the entire night, someone randomly whistling, items being moved or misplaced and an overall creepy feeling. Many guests claim the ghosts make themselves known by turning the lights and appliances on and off. Cold spots have been reported as well as moans in the middle of the night. Some actually claim to see the shadowy figures moving about during their stay.
Whatever you do, don't pick up a hitchhiker in this canyon. Two ghosts - one a young woman, and the other an older man, are said to wander the canyon at night, hitchhiking. After they get into your car, they'll have a short conversation with you before disappearing. Others traveling through the canyon at night have reported seeing someone walking down the canyon road. When the vehicle stops the individual is briefly illuminated in the headlights before they disappear. Our next stop is Porter’s Place
Big Cottonwood Canyon is also known to be haunted so when traveling to or from Silver Fork Lodge, be sure to watch for a ghostly hitchhiker who appears on the road after dark. She will walk directly toward you then disappear into what appears to be fog.
Decorated in an 1800’s old western style to honor the late Orrin Porter Rockwell, Porter’s Place is located on Main Street in Lehi and is rumored to be haunted by a male ghost wearing a long, leather coat. Both staff &
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, there’s a lot of history, great scenery, and spine-tingling fun to be had if you just take the time to find it. So, gas up the car, load up the snacks and start your haunted road trip… if you dare!
Long before she delved into the world of fantasy and suspense, Melanie P. Smith served nearly three decades in the Special Operations Division at her local sheriff’s office working with SWAT, Search & Rescue, K9, the Motor Unit, Investigations and the Child Abduction Response Team. She now uses that training and knowledge to create stories that are action-packed, gripping and realistic. When Melanie’s not writing, she can be found riding her Harley, exploring the wilderness or capturing that next great photo. Learn more about Melanie on Mom’s Favorite Reads website:
https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/melanie-p-smith - 15 -
A Day with Rusalki by Ronesa Aveela A Rusalka was a recent contestant on the Blurry Photos annual Miss Cryptid Contest. We are excited that we were asked to contribute material. You can find this information, and more, in our book A Study of Rusalki – Slavic Mermaids of Eastern Europe. Blurry Photos is a great site to check out if you love to “learn something weird.” The following is a condensed version of the submitted material. You can listen to the full podcast of the battle of the three finalist here: http://www.blurryphotos.org/miss-cryptid-2020roundup/
Water Nymph by Wilhelm Kotarbiński, before 1917
In case you’ve never heard of a Rusalka, she’s a Slavic mermaid. The plural of the word is Rusalki, but if you want to call them “Rusalkas,” go ahead. We’ll cringe, but we’ll know what you mean. She is most popular in eastern and southern Europe: Russia, Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine, in particular.
And… you can discover the winner of the Miss Cryptid 2020 contest here (go to 01:07:19):
She’s not your “Ariel” type of mermaid, because she has no tail. In fact, she was once a living, breathing human girl, but she died before she married—often the cause of her death was drowning. I know this sounds odd in today’s world, but the people who believed in them lived in a rural, farming society. Fertility of both the land and people was critical to them for survival. They believed if girls died before they married and had children, then that fertility was lost, and the girls became part of the “unclean dead,” that is, they were cursed. People did have many rituals, though, to entice the Rusalki to return that fertility to them.
Mankind’s fascination with the sea has sparked imagination since the first person beheld its mighty waters. Curiosity led people to invent the means to travel across the great oceans and eventually explore beneath them, trying to discover their secrets. Throughout the centuries, millennia in fact, people have created myths and legends about creatures living within the sea’s depths. One of the most alluring and formidable beings to inspire writers, artists, children, and adults is the mermaid, who has been forever immortalized in stories such as Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. But there’s more to this sea maiden than that story tells. In Slavic folklore, she’s called a Rusalka and lives mostly in fresh-water bodies or swamps, rather than the sea. Rusalka by Ivan Bilibin, 1934.
Not everyone can see Rusalki, but those who can will tell you they look like normal girls, except they are extremely pale, and they have long, green hair. They can also shape-shift into geese, swans, snakes, silver fish, or frogs. Or they can appear as birds, like the Sirens, and entice men with their songs. They don’t really eat anything, because they are … well, dead, or undead, after all. But some stories said they like wheat bread with salt, cheese, butter, and eggs. What they are more interested in is getting clothes. They were buried - 16 -
in wedding garments, even though they never married. That’s all part of the whole fertility mindset. So, eventually, those clothes wear out and the Rusalki are left wearing rags, or nothing at all. They beg girls to leave them even a small rag to cover themselves with. Rather sad to think about, really.
All right, stop laughing. Have you ever been tickled? If so, you know it can be quite painful, especially if prolonged. And a Rusalka most often was accompanied by other Rusalki, so you’re talking about several of these mermaids tickling you… When you consider that some stories say the Rusalki had iron-tipped breasts, well, just ouch. You wouldn’t want someone to tickle you that way. Okay, laugh if you want to, but I’m glad I’m not male (says Ronesa), so I wouldn’t have to endure that torture.
Rusalki weren’t always thought of as dead girls, though. They were once considered goddesses or nature spirits. Talk about your kick-ass heroines; they weren’t wimpy, sidekick-to-men-only goddesses, but powerful ones, who ruled the land. But then, the Orthodox Church intervened. They didn’t totally wipe the Rusalki out, but the Church authority repressed the role of these goddesses as much as it repressed the role women played in society. And Rusalki lost their goddess status. Oh, how the mighty have fallen! You can understand they probably didn’t care to much about this demotion. From goddesses to dead girls, and unclean, cursed dead girls at that. All because some supposedly holy men thought they weren’t worthy of the goddess status. So, they revolted and started their campaign of torturing men… especially any man who jilted them when they were alive, because it was men who decided Rusalki weren’t worthy of exalted status.
They also loved to dance, and would flatter … or force … a shepherd to play his kaval, a flutelike instrument, for them all night long. He was fortunate if he survived and only had holes in his shoes and blisters on his fingers. Geeze, you might ask, is there any hope to escape their attention? How could men protect themselves from these assaults? Well, the Russians would tell you to wear your baptismal cross, especially if you go into the forest or near water. You could also wear ferns in your hair when you go swimming; this prevents them from pulling you under. Magical chants are also useful to keep them away from you. Other methods are to prick the Rusalki with a pin or throw wormwood in their eyes. Be sure you DON’T carry anything that ATTRACTS Rusalki, like parsley, roses, birch, and especially not their favorite plant rosen (which is burning bush). You’re just asking for trouble if you do. They’ll think you WANT to be tickled.
Being dead really wasn’t so bad. If they had lived and married, the girls would have lost what the Russians called their “volia,” their freedom. As Rusalki, they could be wild and FREE of male dominance. They usually didn’t bother women or girls, unless they were jealous of their happy life. And they left children alone, unless they had an overwhelming desire to nurture a child, since they couldn’t have one of their own… they were DEAD after all, but still retained the feelings of the average rural girl. So men were their main targets. They would either drown them (typical mermaid fashion) or tickle them to death with their breasts… which, I forgot to mention earlier, were huge, even if they had been small during their lifetime. This was just another sign of their unused fertility.
Rusalki also love telling riddles. If you have the correct answer, they’ll leave you alone. But if you get it wrong… well, be prepared to be tickled to death. - 17 -
Rusalki by Jacek Malczewski, 1888.
As to whether or not they do any of this torture maliciously is up for debate. Some people say they are bent on destroying men. Other people claim they’re innocent maidens who are only trying to find the love they never had while alive…
Spassovden is a time for “impossible wishes” to come true. Each person there hopes the Rusalki will accept their gift and give them a cure. At midnight, as the Rusalki stir up a whirlwind in their frenzied flight, they bestow cures upon those below at their whim. To the crippled or maimed, they give new limbs; to the blind, they give sight, hearing to the deaf, speech to the mute; to the women who cannot conceive, they give fertility. It’s said that if any woman conceives on this miraculous night, it’s believed to have happened in a magical way and is not interpreted as scandalous behavior.
Even though they cause pain and death, they have a benevolent side. They’re magical healers. Every year, several weeks after Easter, on a holiday called Spassovden, or Ascension, they ride through the night sky in a golden chariot made of human bones. Their green hair sparkles in the moonlight, and their transparent clothes billow around them as they hasten their way to a field full of white, pink, or red rosen. They’re here to plunder the flower.
Does everyone receive a cure? Sadly, no. In the morning, people check to see what’s floating in their bowl of water. If it’s a green leaf or flower, the person will be healed. If the leaf is dry, or the water is filled with dirt, however, the person won’t be cured, and may even die soon. Regardless of the outcome of the Rusalki’s visit, everyone must leave the healing place in silence, to keep the Rusalki happy and make sure their wish will be granted to those who were favored by the mermaids.
Not only is this their favorite flower, it’s also magical and used by witches and healers, as well as Rusalki. It’s said that if a lit match is brought to the flowers in hot and sunny weather, a flame will explode in the air. Black smoke is released, but the plant remains unaffected by the fire. Below the Rusalki, in the field of rosen, lie the ill, the crippled, the maimed, the childless women. Each person lies on a white blanket. At their head, they put a white cotton towel, a bowl of water, and a ritual bread as a gift for the Rusalki.
Are they good? Or are they bad? I guess you’ll only ever truly know when you meet one for yourself.
Ronesa Aveela is “the creative power of two.” Two authors that is. The main force behind the work, the creative genius, was born in Bulgaria and moved to the US in the 1990s. She grew up with stories of wild Samodivi, Kikimora, the dragons Zmey and Lamia, Baba Yaga, and much more. Her writing partner was born and raised in the New England area. She has a background in writing and editing, as well as having a love of all things from different cultures. She’s learned so much about Bulgarian culture, folklore, and rituals, and writes to share that knowledge with others. https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/ronesa-aveela/ - 18 -
Chess Supplied by Chess.Com Black to move. This puzzle shows the power of the knight fork. There is an obvious fork in this position, but can you manoeuvre the pieces and create a better one?
Supplied by https://chess.com the #1 chess website. Used with permission. For more chess puzzles please visit https://chess.com You can find answers for this activity on the Momâ€™s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/magazines/activities/ - 19 -
On Getting Older by Stan Phillips
And there are brown spots appearing on the back of suddenly aged hands. Those laughter lines are no longer funny. . And you no longer make plans for next year in case it doesn't happen.
Being old is a strange feeling. You catch yourself sighing when you sit down. Groaning when you stand up. You can no longer climb stairs two at a time, You shuffle in carpet slippers across the room, rather than dance.
And, heaven help me, I look in the mirror to see my grandfather looking, rheumy eyed, wrinkled, and white whiskered, back out at me.
Oh yes, there are cold draughts, summer and winter, that seem to fill every corner of the room, which turn your feet to small, and these days, mis-shapen, blocks of ice. You can't run for buses anymore. Or walk up hills.
Stan Phillips ( who has just stood up and groaned) 2020
Stan Phillips is an 80 year old poet, musical podcast maker, part-time wannabe male model, and occasional stand up comedian. “I used to be a psychotherapist/counsellor when I had an honest job. I was born into prewar London, and attended 17 schools (my father believed they couldn’t hit a moving target) and I eventually finished up here in Ireland. Still wondering what I will be when I grow up — but enjoying writing my quirky poetry as I do so.” Discover more about Stan on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/stan-phillips - 20 -
Modern Movie Classic: The Report by T.E. Hodden A few months back, while working on an article in a previous issue, I was privileged to learn a very little about the good works of Medicinema, a wonderful charity who runs cinema facilities for British hospital patients, and how, for some people, the experience we all take for granted can be far, far more than just “watching a movie”. Indeed, I will never doubt that there is a certain power to being in the audience, in a cinema, that allows us to let go of the world around us in ways that can’t be replicated in your own home. Jokes seem funnier when you are laughing with the crowd. Danger can be more exciting when there is a frisson of electricity in the air, and when the whole audience goes still and quiet, sitting on the edge of their seats. In a small temporary venue by the Thames, during the BFI film festival in London, in a showing of The Report, before the general release, I felt a different kind of power. It was during the shot that I am going to discuss in more detail as Exhibit A, a very simple moment, unrelated to the dialogue on screen.
enhanced interrogation programme. Starting with Jones consulting a lawyer, facing twenty years in prison for “relocating” vital paperwork, we then cut back to witness his dogged pursuit of an increasingly difficult to handle truth.
The audience fell silent.
I contend, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that this film will be remembered as a modern classic.
Then slowly, moving through crowd like a wave, people drew sharp breaths, as it hit home what they were seeing inferred, what it meant. As they remembered that this was a true story, and, as the real Dan Jones, the investigator on whose report this movie is based, was going to remind us in his (all too brief) Q and A with the cast and crew after the movie: This was a story that we could all find online, in that report, one that we could check ourselves to see how close the movie followed the truth.
As always I will be discussing the film in detail, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to leave the article here, and come back after a quick hop to Amazon Prime, because there will be spoilers.
Exhibit A: The Wall
It is, I would suggest, a story that did not immediately suggest it would make a good movie, or could be filmed in a way tolerable by an audience, and yet… it did.
The film is beautifully filmed, and framed, often in a starkly matter-of-fact way, which gives it a terrible power. We see history written, not in the courts, or on the battlefield, but in offices, rooted in the everyday. For much of the film, the exception is not the Pentagon, or the Hill, but a secure location with a blunt, and imposing CIA
Written and directed by Scott Z Burns, The Report follows idealistic senate staffer, and former FBI agent Daniel J Jones (Adam Driver), as he is tasked with investigating the CIA’s - 21 -
facility, where Jones and his team scour documents and compile their report. When we first see this room it is all stark lines and harsh neon lighting, a largely empty space with an almost science fiction feel, but as the investigation proceeds, we grow accustomed the room, it becomes more lived in and cluttered, and seems more like any old office. It is the safe and familiar setting that is our refuge, between key interviews, and flashbacks to the few brutally believable glimpses we get of sleep deprivation, stressing positions, humiliation and waterboarding. Then later in the film, just as we have been lulled into complacency about the room, we get that shot. As Jones discusses an aspect of the investigation, the camera tracks one of his team, walking past the wall of the secure room, with a new print out of a face to add to the dossier of victims that has now consumed two sides of the room. We track past the wall of faces, a hundred and nineteen in total, and it hits you: The horrors we have but glimpsed, happened over, and over again. One hundred and nineteen times.
More than this, they continued to happen after the CIA knew they simply did not work. It is gut wrenching scene, that whips the carpet out from beneath your feet.
Exhibit B: Show Not Tell
The very grounded aesthetic and cinematography comes into its own in a scene where the outside contractors, a pair of psychologists, make their pitch to the CIAs counter terrorism branch. The pitch is a power point presentation, that might as well be Michael Scott selling paper for Dunder Mifflin. The discussion takes place in a boardroom, with impressive CIA operations visible in the background, but the foreground is held by executives talking dryly about the reverse engineering of Special Forces evasion exercises, to instil dread, and force dependence from the subject. Michael C Hall is magnetic and watchable as ever, but this doesn’t shock because he’s Michael C Hall is magnetic and watchable as ever, but this doesn’t shock because he’s playing it as “villainous” he’s playing it as “Tuesday”.
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This is the inevitable result of a gradual slide, of growing fears, and blurring lines, that we can understand if not condone. We see people starting on a path paved with good intentions, that brings them to this dark moment, but in future scenes we see the need to keep pushing for results to justify their choice, to show it wasn’t wrong, even after it becomes impossible to claim is right, after it is shown that no good, usable intelligence has come from the programme, and the torture does not encourage the truth, but convinces people to say anything that will make it stop.
Given Driver was himself a Marine, and has tirelessly championed charitable causes for serving members of the US armed forces, there are times I have been left wondering how close these topics struck to home for him. What we see, breaking through the performance time and again, is a powerless despair, of somebody digging up crimes after the fact, too late to ride to the rescue, to put them right. Seeing the report through, and putting it in the hands of the public becomes his mission, because it is all he can do. As Jones sits in the car, on the verge of leaking the report to the press, we don’t just see Driver choosing to step back from the brink and see this through in the senate because it is what he believes to be the right way, we also get to see why, written in the subtleties of the performance.
Exhibit C: Daniel J Jones
Adam Driver gives an engaging central performance, that offers layers of depth. As Jones is consumed by his quest, and is driven to some pretty dark places, we can see his despair, his outrage, and his struggles to hold his faith in the big ideals. This is a raw performance from Driver, every bit as all consuming as his turn in Marriage Story, but flowing from a very different place.
Exhibit D: Senator Feinstein
Anette Bening gives a wonderfully nuanced performance as Jones’ boss, gradually risking more to see her project through, as the partisan game of politics becomes less important than the growing weight of the events her employee has brought to her attention. We see nerves being frayed, and tempers tested, with arguments flaring between the Senator and Jones, not over what is right, but how to get there. We see her chiding Jones for putting a source at risk, and warning him that he will make himself a target, as much out of love than anger, a protective instinct, for the person as much as (or more than) the project.
The scene in which he is recognised and confronted by a member of the public, who scalds him that the CIA were doing their best to protect American servicemen and women, rings true. We can see a maelstrom of emotions, some less kind than others, washing over him, before he barely manages to restrain himself to shout back that he’s doing his job for the same reasons. Indeed, there ae times we have to wonder if what we are witnessing is a performance at all. This is a movie that lays bare why the issue has to be black and white, and why we can’t afford for there to be shades of grey when it comes to torture, discussing the potential consequences to American troops being captured, and how little the Geneva Conventions means, if America has, itself, crossed the line.
We see two great performances from Bening: the Senator presented to her peers, her tone measured, her mannerisms impeccable, every inch the venerable statesman addressing her peers in well rehearsed speeches, laying out the logic, pathos, and ethics of her arguments.
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But we also see her behind closed doors, away from the cameras, when she can let the mask
Hannah Howe. She recommended All The President’s Men (1976), directed by Alan Pakula and written by William Goldman. Starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, the film follows a pair of journalists investigating the web of conspiracies that spiral out from a break-in at the Watergate Hotel.
slip, and everything relatable and understandable is exposed, and vulnerable.
A powerful, sometimes painful, and sometimes difficult watch, this film is not only watchable, but follows in the best tradition of political thrillers by keeping you invested in the narrative and characters enough that you will be on the edge of your seat all the way through the final reel.
Hannah, why did you choose this film? “My companion movie to The Report is All the President’s Men, starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, another gritty film based on real-life political intrigue. Like The Report, All the President’s Men details a major event, a turning point in American history.
With an understated score, compelling script, and an artful eye for direction that fills Washington with dark corners and noir shadows, from which the secrets are dragged, but never in a way that does not feel natural or exaggerated, this is an earthy, grubby, little mystery, weathered around the edges and visually threadbare in a lived in kind of way that other films struggle to achieve.
Secret meetings in parking lots are central to both movies, imbuing them with a noir feel, along with the media, break-ins and cover ups. Culturally, All the President’s Men is an important film and if you are a fan of political thrillers a must-see.
The investigation requires a lot of exposition, but so much more is shown, rather than told, in the background, in the soundscape, in the actions and details, but above all else, in every single performance.
Incidentally, The Report had its world premiere at the Sundance Festival, thus providing another link to Robert Redford.”
Make Mine A Double:
If you wanted a double bill, which established classic should you pair with The Report? I approached Mom’s Classic Movie correspondent, T.E. Hodden trained in engineering and works in a specialized role in the transport industry. He is a life long fan of comic books, science fiction, myths, legends, and history. In the past he has contributed to podcasts, blogs, and anthologies. Discover more on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/t-e-hodden/
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Divergence Characters Interviewed by Mom’s Editorial Team We asked leading authors how their characters would respond to the Proust Questionnaire. Melanie P Smith replies on behalf of Beckett Prescott – The grandson of Poseidon from Divergence [the 1st book in her Immortal trilogy scheduled to be released July 2020] https://melaniepsmith.com/divergence/ What are your favourite qualities in a woman? Before I met Cassie, I was drawn to attractive socialites who could handle the prestige and social pressures of my demanding career. I now realize those relationships were superficial. Today, the qualities I cherish in a woman are strength, honesty; and pure, genuine, goodness. What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
Zander has taught me what true friendship really means. I appreciate his loyalty, devotion, unwavering love and allegiance. I also cherish his integrity, foresight, and discretion. I know he would sacrifice anything, including his own life, to protect me — the feeling is mutual. What is your main fault? I suppose that depends on who you ask. I am extremely stubborn, which complicates my personal life but helps me succeed in business. I am extremely independent and tend to be somewhat anti-social — which is a detriment in both my personal and professional lives. I am slow to trust and even slower to forgive.
And, Cassie Ashton – The great granddaughter of Zeus from Divergence [the 1st book in a new Immortals trilogy scheduled to be released June 2020] What are your favourite qualities in a man? I have always been attracted to strong, powerful men. Every girl wants an attractive partner. But the qualities I cherish the most in a man are strength, loyalty, honor and internal beauty and goodness.
What do you appreciate the most in your friends? Izzy and Zoey are the best friends a girl could have. We are all unique in our own special way. I love that they accept me for who I am, warts and all. They are also loyal, strong and independent. What is your main fault? I have a hard time accepting who and what I am. I tend to hide from my strengths, pretend they aren’t real, and run from things I can’t control. My parents and then my aunts suddenly died when I was young. My biggest fault is my fear of love. I worry that anyone I become close to will suddenly die a tragic death. - 25 -
Women of Courage of SOE by Hannah Howe
Alix Marrier d’Unienville
Alix Marrier d’Unienville was born on 8 May 1918 in Mauritius. Her parents, wealthy French aristocrats, moved back to France, to a chateau near Vannes, when she was six.
Gestapo arrested her in Paris. At Avenue Foch, where she was interrogated, the Gestapo found her cyanide pill.
In 1940, with her dual French and British citizenship, Alix escaped to Britain where she wrote propaganda leaflets in the Free French headquarters at Carlton Gardens, London.
Held in Fresnes Prison, in solitary confinement, Alix pretended to be mentally ill in the hope that the Gestapo would transfer her to Saint-Anne hospital. However, instead they transferred her to La Pitié a place known for its brutal atrocities. There, she continued her pretence, drawing inspiration from a family servant who had suffered from psychological problems. The secret, Alix reasoned, was never to look people in the eyes.
Recruited by the SOE, Alix began her training in June 1943. On 31 March 1944, she parachuted into Loir-et-Cher from a Halifax aircraft with millions of francs to distribute to the Resistance. Under the alias of Aline Bavelan, her cover story stated that she was born on the island of Réunion in 1922 (the SOE making her four years younger), moved to France in 1938 to study and now was the wife of a prisoner-of-war. Clandestinely, her main mission in France was to organise messages for the Free French in Paris.
Transferred again, to a prison camp at Romainville, Alix plotted her escape with another prisoner, Annie Hervé. Their plan was to escape over the prison walls using a rope made from black curtains.
Alix worked in Paris under the code names Myrtil and Marie-France. She was successful until 6 June 1944 when the
Alix abandoned her plan when the Gestapo deported Annie Hervé to Germany. - 26 -
Throughout her time in captivity, the Gestapo were deeply suspicious of Alix. Indeed, all the clues pointed to her being an agent, yet they never put all the pieces together. Although she existed in squalid conditions on merge rations, she remained physically and mentally strong, strong enough to continually outwit her enemy. On 15 August 1944, with the Allies approaching, Alix was in the last convoy travelling from Romainville to Germany when she reached Marne. There, the Allies had destroyed the railway bridge, so the Gestapo ordered the prisoners to cross a road bridge.
In the town square, the prisoners spied a fountain. They ran towards the fountain to drink while the guards ran after them to haul them back. Sensing her opportunity, Alix escaped. At first, she entered a house. The occupants were sympathetic and offered her temporary shelter. Later, she hid in a meadow and after that with a woodcutter and his family before the advancing Americans liberated her. Free, she returned in a jeep to Paris. After the war, Alix was employed as a war correspondent for US forces in south-east Asia. Then she worked as an air hostess for Air France. Putting her dramatic life experiences to good use, she became an accomplished writer of fiction and nonfiction producing several quality books. In keeping with many of the female SOE agents who survived the war, Alix lived into her nineties. She died in Paris on 10 November 2015, aged 97.
Hannah Howe is the author of the Sam Smith Mystery Series, the Ann's War Mystery Series and the #1 international bestseller Saving Grace. Hannah's books are published by Goylake Publishing and distributed through Gardners Books to over 300 outlets worldwide. Her books are available in print, as eBooks and audiobooks, and are being translated into ten languages. Discover more on Mom's Favorite Reads website:
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Pink Passions by Susan DeCrescenzo Before she spoke, Ray knew it was her. He could smell her Shalimar, hear her bangles jangling and her two little poodles yapping at her high heels as they clicked, clicked on the linoleum.
then peered around the side of the building. Parked under the lights was Mary’s 1967 Mustang Convertible.
“Oh Raymond, darling, are you closing”? In her day, Mary was a looker. Lola The Body, her show name, was a well-known exotic dancer who performed all over the US and Europe. However, when she returned to her hometown in NJ, Ray just knew her as Mary, a good neighbor and a regular customer at his pharmacy. And he always made sure to stock her favorite nail polish and matching lipstick, Pink Passion.
Mary said, do you like the new paint job? It’s Pink Passion. Don’t you think the guys at the body shop did a great job matching it to my lipstick and nail polish? Ray chuckled; then nodded yes.
Mary said, “Raymond, I have an idea. It’s a beautiful evening, want to go for a ride?” Ray shook his head no.
Now the harsh florescent lighting wasn’t so kind. To soften the glare, Ray turned off the rear overhead lights and started to close the store for the night.
“Oh, come on, live a little,” Mary teased. Ray sighed, “It’s late, I’m tired, and I still need to stop to get milk for the kids.”
“Almost closing time Mary, Ray replied, but as always, your prescriptions, perfume and makeup are ready for you.”
The warm breeze picked up, Mary’s perfume drifted his way. For a moment, he imagined what it would be like; the convertible top down, Mary at the wheel, her Mustang purring all in pink. Ray sighed and said again, “Thanks Mary, but no, the milk store will close soon.”
“Oh, you’re so good to me Ray. Mary cooed. Now take a minute Raymond, I want to show you something outside.” “Tell you what, Mary, Ray offered, why don’t we ring up your things; then I’ll close the store and I’ll be right there.”
“Au revoir, Raymond, darling,” Mary shrugged, as she and her puppies piled in the car. She blew him a kiss; then took off into the night!
A few minutes later, Ray locked the front door;
Susan has a varied background in customer service, account management, technical writing, course development, and training. Her specialties are Team leadership, training, technical writing, and public relations. Connect with Susan via LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-j-decrescenzo-527148/
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In the Whole Wide World Submitted by Poppy Flynn Written by Jester Age 17
They’re nothing compared to the problems life eventually deals. We think of how mature we are, what common sense we boast.
And there lies the world. Do we realise, I wonder?
But will we be able to handle the situations we must host?
That soon we’ll be out there among the crowd. As we sit here staring out, daydreaming, pens in mouths,
As we make our single stand in a strange place, all on our own,
That one day it could be us under that cloud.
Will we be able to stand the pace and grow the seeds we’ve sown?
A cloud that’s back and gloomy, often raining; little sun,
If, somehow, tomorrow, all this should happen to one of you,
And under which we, here, may find it’s damp and not much fun.
Would you be the one to discover the world, or will The World discover you?
The cloud of unemployment, rising costs and easy crime.
Imagine yourself with screaming kids and a job that offers low pay,
What are the chances some of us may end up doing time?
And I imagine you’ll sometimes wish the world would go away.
Can’t wait to leave schooling, education’s such a bore.
We leave, we think we know it all, for at the moment it’s little concern,
Certificates just a formality and learning and awful chore.
But tomorrow we’ll find that the world is a school and we still have a lot to learn.
Complain of writing essays, building walls and three course meals.
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A Year and a Day by Val Tobin
The Pagan Handfasting Ceremony
A unique and beautiful ceremony, handfasting solidifies the spiritual commitment couples make. In the past, handfasting was not legally binding, but today it can be, depending on who performs the ceremony. It can even be used to renew marriage vows that were made using a different tradition.
Binding Magical Partners and Mates Through Multiple Lives
Handfasting again became legal in England in the 1950s when the witchcraft laws were repealed. The term came back into common use when Gerald Gardner, and others who triggered a resurgence in the popularity and acceptance of pagan and witchcraft practices, used it for the pagan rites they performed to bind couples together in marriage or magic. Gardner believed that handfastings should be done with magical partners and not as wedding rituals because it would bind partners to one another throughout lifetimes.
The History of Handfasting
According to the book Handfasting and Wedding Rituals by Raven Kaldera and Tannin Schwartzstein, handfasting originated in the British Isles. Jeff McQueen, a Wiccan priest who performs handfastings, says that handfasting possibly originated in the Scottish Highlands. Scotland has a long tradition of acceptance of handfastings, as, according to Caldera and Schwartzstein, when England made handfastings illegal in 1753, Scotland kept up the tradition until 1939.
Handfastings performed by McQueen typically are marriage ceremonies, and Jeff McQueen is legally credentialed to solemnize weddings in Ontario with All Seasons Weddings. The ritual script McQueen uses is based on rituals passed down from members of the Wiccan Church of Canada where he studied Wicca. Gardnerâ€™s suggestion that the union holds throughout multiple lifetimes is emphasized at the start of the script, where it warns that if the union fails, it must be ritually dissolved or the couple will be bound by their joint karma through this life and into the next.
Typically, handfastings were performed in villages where officials who could solemnize a marriage were unavailable, or if the couple belonged to the peasantry and had no estates to join together. It was akin to a common-law marriage. For upper classes, a handfasting was more of a betrothal. When handfastings were done for the purpose of uniting a couple until they could find a clergyman to make it official, the period of time allotted to this temporary marriage was a year and a day, during which time the marriage was made official or the couple parted ways. - 30 -
Material Symbols for Marriage, Fertility, and Prosperity
Much of the beauty of the handfasting ritual comes from the tools and materials used, all of which have symbolic meaning, mostly relating to love and spirituality, and all deeply profound. The priest ties the couple’s hands together to symbolize their union, their commitment to one another, and their unity. The bride and groom carefully select the colours of the ribbons for the cord to be used to bind their hands, as these symbolize qualities they wish to manifest in the marriage. Red, of course, symbolizes passion. Green represents fertility and new beginnings. Black can be used to demonstrate an understanding by a couple of the depth of their commitment.
Binding the Hands
Flowers and essential oils add scent, beauty, and symbolism to the rite. Ivy symbolizes bonds and inseparability, and in McQueen’s ritual, when the priest binds the couple’s hands together, he says, “That they shall truly know what it means for two to work as one, with cords of love and ivy, we bind their hands.”
Exchanging Tokens and Jumping the Broom
As in traditional weddings, the bride and groom exchange tokens during the ceremony. Before binding their hands, the priest presents the tokens the couple will exchange and reads a blessing over them. The exchanged tokens are not necessarily rings. They can be necklaces, bracelets, or anything else the couple wishes to give each other. They also state their vows, whether for a new marriage or as a renewal of previous vows. After the binding, a common practice is to have the couple run around the circle and jump over the broom. Handfasting is sometimes referred to as “jumping the broom,” but there is more to the process than that simple act. The priest also lays out a cauldron of herbs he lights on fire in the circle for the couple to jump over, and a bowl of water. The herbs represent long life, happiness and fertility, the Crone’s blessing for the couple as they grow old together, harmony, passion, adventure, happy memories, health, love, and devotion. They jump the fire so that they may leap obstacles as easily. They jump the water to bridge any gaps in understanding one another. Jumping the broom ensures fertility.
Three knots are tied into the cord: one for love and faithfulness, one for a long and happy life, and one for health and fertility. McQueen explains, “… handfasting is a literal term for what we’re actually doing. We’re tying the hands of the bride and groom together. Therefore, the two working as one, as they will have to in the years ahead. In some traditions, the couple remains [physically] tied together until their union has been consummated.”
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Summer Handfastings Popular
McQueen says he performs most handfastings during the summer, probably because they are typically held outside, and in northern climates, it makes more sense to have the ceremony when the weather is warmer and more conducive to outdoor activities. Some, however, like to hold it close to Beltane, which is a ritual that celebrates joy and fertility, and others prefer to have it during the winter, though winter ceremonies are most often held indoors. You don’t have to be a practicing pagan to have a handfasting. McQueen has performed handfasting ceremonies for people of other denominations— people who had attended a handfasting, loved the experience, and wanted their own wedding to be done in that tradition. Whether speaking their vows for the first time or renewing them after years of marriage, couples will find handfasting to be a beautiful and profound spiritual expression of their love—as well as a lot of fun.
References Image: Handfasting Celebration – Courtesy of Ian Cunningham Kaldera, Raven & Schwartzstein, Tannin, Handfasting and Wedding Rituals, Woodbury: Llewellyn Publications, 2010. Interview with Jeff McQueen, Priest, 1st degree, the Wiccan Church of Canada.
Val Tobin writes speculative fiction and searches the world over for the perfect butter tart. Her home is in Newmarket, Ontario, where she enjoys writing, reading, and talking about writing and reading. Discover more about Val on Mom’s Favorite Reads website:
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Kenfig by Hannah Howe
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Red Lentil Koftes Submitted by Ceri Bladen
Turkish Mercimek köftesi INGREDIENTS
1 cup of red lentils
Wash the lentils
3/4 cup of fine bulgur
Put in saucepan with the water
3 cups of water 1 medium onion, finely chopped
Bring to the boil with lid on
3 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp
Once boiling, simmer until the water is nearly all absorbed
3 tbsp tomato puree (salça) 1 tbsp cumin
Take off the heat
2 tsp medium hot paprika
Add the bulgur, stir, and put the lid back on
2 tsp salt
Leave to cool
1 tsp black pepper
Add 3tbsp of oil into frying pan
Juice of half a lemon
Sauté the onion for about 15 min until slightly golden
3 spring onions, finely chopped ½ large bunch of parsley, finely chopped
Add puree (şalca), spices, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes.
¼ bunch dill, finely chopped ¼ bunch of basil, finely chopped (optional)
Once lentil mix is cooled considerably, tip onto a tray with a lip Add the onions, puree (şalca) plus the remaining olive oil and knead into the lentils with your hand Once combined, add the chopped spring onions Knead again (this distributes the onion flavour) Add lemon juice, and remaining herbs
Combine Shape into köfte shapes or roll into rounds Serve with crispy lettuce, pomegranate (nar) sauce and pickles
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Voting is currently open for our annual Reader’s Choice Award. Be sure to visit our website and pick your favorite. There are some amazing books to choose from and the winners will be highlighted in the August issue of our eMagazine.
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Discover more about Connections eMagazine on their website here: https://melaniepsmith.com/emagazine-landing/ - 35 -
Modern Movie Classic: The Prestige by T.E. Hodden Based on Christopher Priest’s novel of the same name, Christopher Nolan’s atmospheric period piece is a gothic mystery, that plays its cards close to its chest, that changes on repeated viewings, pull masterful tricks that allow significant moments to take on entirely different flavours and meaning when viewed knowing the twists, turns and revelations. Written by Nolan, with his brother Jonathon Nolan, the film charts the growing rivalry between two Victorian stage magicians, Hugh Jackman’s Robert Angier, and Christian Bale’s Alfred Borden. Both begin as stooges in the audience, under the watchful eye of back-stage genius Cutter (Michael Caine). When Borden’s mistake causes a tragic accident, and kills his wife, Angier becomes obsessed with ruining Borden, and becomes obsessed with finding the secret behind his big trick, The Transported Man. Today I make the case that this wonderful and surprising little mystery is worthy of being considered a Modern Classic. Fair warning: As always, I will be discussing the movie in some detail, and spoiling the plot, so if you have not seen the film, you may want to come back when you have had a chance to watch it.
It is, in short, a book that works well, because it uses tricks and sleight of hand, that only work in its medium. Some parts of the story could not be told in other ways, at least without revealing too much at the wrong time. Adapting the story as a movie was always going to be a big ask.
Exhibit A: The Screenplay
That the Nolan’s wrote a film that works as a great movie in its own right, that neither requires, nor expects you to be familiar with the source material is amazing. That it also works as a wonderful adaption, is a bonus for anybody who happens to be familiar with the novel.
Before we discuss the movie, we should discuss the source material. Christopher Priest’s novel is a relatively short, but incredibly dense story, with elements of mystery, horror, and science fiction, told through journals and documents. With a present day storyline (completely missing from the film) and alternating viewpoints, there are many elements that only start to take on their true meaning as the story enters the final leg, and they pieces start to fix together.
The screenplay is perhaps the strongest from any Nolan film. With the narrative broken up by flashbacks, as Borden and Angiers read each other’s memoirs (at different times), trying to piece together each other’s secrets, it would have been easy to allow the audience to get lost, or tangled up in the narrative-withinnarrative structure, but the story paces itself well, and guides us well. - 36 -
This being a story of magicians, we quickly begin to realise we are being shown what one or the other lead wants us to see, and repeated viewings reveals hints and clues hidden in plain sight, for each of the big twists, if only we had known what them meant before. The flow of the story is organic, and although the big twists are all effective, they all work within the rules the story has set itself, and nothing feels inconsistent or jarring as we flutter back and forth across the long years that the story covers.
Exhibit B: Cutter
Michael Caine’s Cutter is the moral lynchpin of the story. In the aftermath of the opening tragedy, it is Cutter who approaches the grieving widower Angier, and proposes to thrust him into a starring role. Over the course of the movie, it is Cutter who struggles to keep Angier on the moral high ground, and to quit as his obsession grows towards its own kind of villainy. Caine’s performance is heartfelt, and at times heart breaking. Pay close attention to the small, telling, moments as he faces giving testimony in court, or his struggling not to fall apart during the revelations of the final act, when he realised that testimony was part of a greater plan. Cutter may have a very Victorian stiff upper lip, but there is a lot going on behind it, and we get to see it all.
Exhibit C: Nikolai Tesla
David Bowie’s Tesla is a mesmerising performance. Arriving later in the show, Bowie very much plays the mythical, wizard of electricity, with a charm, sophistication, and other-worldly presence. This is Tesla as a wizard, bending and shaping the world in ways stage magicians can only pretend to, but wise enough to know that being able to achieve something doesn’t always mean you should. As he prophesises the true cost of the New Transported Man, his words are warm and fatherly, but his eyes are ice cold, and we have a distinct feel that he is already haunted by regrets of where this will lead.
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Counterbalancing Tesla is Alley, his assistant, played with an amiable and enthusiastic aplomb by Andy Serkis, as somebody who has long suffered the toils of cleaning up after Tesla’s mess. The pair are a neat reflection of Angier and Cutter (or indeed Borden and his assistant Fallon) complete with their own rivalry in the form of the unseen Thomas Edison, that consumes their lives every bit as much as Angier’s bitter rivalry is growing to consume his heart.
Exhibit D: The Language of Magic
The fantastical elements of the film work well, because the narrative is deeply rooted in historical detail. Great care is taken to tie the legendary version of Tesla’s story to the very real showmanship and spectacle used to sell competing electrical systems, and much of the “behind the scenes” narrative of the magic show is inspired by real tricks, and real performers, from a prolific era of stage magic. Some of the explanations of tricks are real, others are wrapped in just enough details to feel real. It creates a reality just blurred enough to believe that something truly magical might exist in an otherwise mundane world, without feeling like the story has cheated us.
Exhibit E: Repeated Viewings
If you haven’t seen the film, and pressed on after my spoiler warning, this is your last chance to step away before I discuss the big twists without being coy… Still here? I have discussed in previous articles how some films don’t work for a second viewing because the big twist creates plot holes. This film has been careful to avoid such issues. Some of the heavy lifting had been taken care of by the details of the novel, but during the cuts, changes, and reordering of events to make it work in a new medium, the Nolan brothers have been at pains, not only to make sure everything is consistent, and to carefully thread hints and nods throughout the movie, but to take the time to ask how many of the scenes would work, with the big twists in mind.
Watch the film a second time, and of course, those cryptic opening shots of the hillside covered in hats, and the apparent death of Angier takes on a new light, but more importantly, you won’t just be looking out for signs that Bale was playing Borden and Fallon, but there are many moments where you can spot which of the pair is in which role for each scene, based on what they do, or don’t know, and many little signs between them and their wife.
Make Mine A Double:
I went to crime writer, and Mom’s resident classic movie buff Hannah Howe to ask her which genuine classic would make a great double bill with The Prestige, and she chose George Marshall’s epic biopic Houdini (1953). Starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, the film charts the life and death of Harry Houdini (or at least a version of the truth, as Houdini was somewhat slippery when it came to describing his own life) that captures the spectacle and legend of his life, with some wonderfully tender, intimate moments.
Taking the infamous Star Trek Transporter Paradox (that asks if the Captain Kirk who dissolves into energy when he is beamed up, is truly the Captain Kirk stitched together out of data aboard the Enterprise, of if each Kirk is destroyed, and replaced by a replica) to a darkly, logical conclusion, the film is smart enough to let us work out what must be happening to Angier each time he performs the trick, long before it shows us the warehouse full of dead Hugh Jackmans, floating in their water traps.
Those final shots, carry a hefty impact all of their own, that lingers long after the film stops rolling.
This is what Hannah had to say about it: “I believe Houdini (1953) is the ideal companion movie for The Prestige because it shares similar themes, most notably magicians, and because Harry Houdini was a leading magician/escape artist of the late Victorian era/early twentieth century, and therefore a cornerstone of the genre. Harry Houdini was a President of the Society of American Magicians and to fully appreciate movies like The Prestige it helps to understand their roots, which lie in the exploits of men like Harry Houdini.”
A gripping thriller, that not only withstands multiple viewings, but is full of details that demand close scrutiny, this perennial favourite also works as a loving adaption of the ultimate unfilmable novel, with powerful performances, and a mesmerising story, that I loved so much, I didn’t even have room to tell you how beautiful the cinematography, slick the editing, and perfect the sound design and lighting are. (If you don’t believe check out the iconic scene of Jackman taking his bow beneath the stage!)
T.E. Hodden trained in engineering and works in a specialized role in the transport industry. He is a life long fan of comic books, science fiction, myths, legends, and history. In the past he has contributed to podcasts, blogs, and anthologies. Discover more on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/t-e-hodden/
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Mom’s Favorite Reads Author Rachael Wright Rachael Wright is a Colorado native with degrees in Political Science and History from Colorado Mesa University. She is a devoted tea drinker, Manchester United fan, wife, and mother. She lives near Denver with her fantastic husband and daughter and very full bookshelves. Much of her writing is drawn from her experiences as a police wife, a life in politics, and the challenges of parenting. Rachael began her current series, based on the life of Captain Alexandros Savva of the Hellenic Police (Lesvos, Greece) in 2018. The series traces the experiences of Alexandros Savva as he deals with the murder of his only child and the crime on his small island. Likened by readers to the Armand Gamache novels.
Captain Savva Mystery series Mrs. Fitzroy: A Captain Savva Mystery (book 1) – Mystery, International “Wright is a wordsmith, painting pictures and immersing the reader into an emotionally wrenching story.” A Solitary Reaper (book 2) – Mystery, International “Secrets, lies, and pain lie under the beautiful and serene mask of the isle of Lesvos, Greece.”
The Clouds Aren’t White – Women’s Fiction “A wonderful, thoughtprovoking book really shows the grit in women as well as the tender side.”
Lives Paris Took – Women’s Fiction, International “This is a perfect period romantic novel for any reader that likes to soak in the ambiance of their surroundings and be transported through words that visually direct your vision.”
Rachael is available to speak at book clubs and events and can be reached on her website http://www.authorrachaelwright.com - 39 -
Contributions by Hannah Howe A stone walked into my consulting room looking very depressed. “Take a seat,” I said. “How can I help you?” “I’m lacking in self-esteem,” the stone said. “I’m lacking in confidence.” “Don’t worry,” I said, “we can address those issues. But before we do, tell me, what are your long-term aims?” “Well,” the stone sighed, “I just wish I could be a little bolder…”
My friend Sally invited me to a barbecue. She’s a terrible ditherer, she couldn’t decide what to eat…the meat, the salad or the sweet treats. While she was trying to decide, she sat down, mistaking the grill for a chair. Yep, you’ve guessed it, she walked away with hot cross buns.
I was shocked to discover that my cat was pregnant. I was double shocked to discover that she’d also eaten a ball of wool. But everything turned out all right. She gave birth to mittens.
Mr and Mrs Slug decided to go on holiday, camping, near the beach. “I’m so excited,” said Mrs Slug, “I can’t wait to taste an ice cream. Can’t you go any faster?”
The blue ribbon event at our village fete is the snail race. Sidney, my snail, had been in training for six months, putting in the hard yards, but not making any progress. So, I devised a cunning plan - I removed his shell. Sadly, this didn’t work. In fact, if anything he became more sluggish...
“All in good time,” said Mr Slug, “we’ll get there soon enough.”
I’m super excited! Last night, I wrote a song! About tortillas. Although, on reflection, maybe it’s a (w)rap…
Mr Slug sighed then glared at the snail. “Patience, dear,” he said, “I’ll go faster once we pass this caravan.”
Then, when they rounded the shed corner, they encountered a snail. “Oh, this is so frustrating,” complained Mrs Slug. “Can’t you go any faster?”
Good news, I’ve got a new job washing dishes and the pay is excellent. Bad news, it’s at a radar station… - 40 -
Things to Celebrate in July by Poppy Flynn Every day of month has some kind of official celebration and usually more than one! It might be big, it might be small…it might be wacky or downright bizarre!
For those of you in the rest of the world, it’s also Sidewalk Egg Frying Day. The theory is that it’s the middle of summer & hot enough to do this… but really, why would you want to?
There are over 1500 National Days throughout the year, here’s just one observance of the many for each day in July 2020.
July 5th – National Bikini Day: On this day in 1946, the modern bikini, designed by Louis Reard, was worn at the Piscine Molitor Swimming Pool in Paris, France. Models refused to wear the ‘indecent’ bikini at the show, so Micheline Bernadini, a Paris showgirl was hired to showcase it.
July 1st - International Joke Day: American author and graphic artist Wayne Reinagel, created this day in 1994. He made it July 1st because it was half way through the year and it was initially used to promote his joke books. So go on, tell someone a joke. July 2nd - World UFO Day: On July 2nd, 1947, rancher Mac Brazel discovered the wreckage of a strange object on his property near Roswell, New Mexico. The rest, dare I say it, is history. This day is dedicated to encouraging governments to admit to the existence of UFOs.
July 6th - International Kissing Day: There's all sorts of kisses, for all sorts of reasons and it’s not just confined to humans. Cats, dogs, dolphins and monkeys also kiss. Of course since we’re all still social distancing, the kissing needs to be contained to within the household, especially since it can transfer up to eighty million microbes of bacteria. July 7th – World Chocolate Day: Chocolate lovers will be pleased to know that there is more than one day celebrating all things chocolate, so plenty of excuses to eat it. (Like you needed one!) But to make yourself feel better after you’ve binged, remember, chocolate is a vegetable, originating from the Cacao tree found in tropical rain forests.
July 3rd - Disobedience Day: – So let’s make one thing clear first up, Disobedience Day does not mean you should go out and break the law or anything like that. It’s simply all about living a little, breaking free and doing your own thing for a change. It was created by people who had had enough of spending their whole life doing what someone else told them to. So let loose but keep it safe and legal! July 4th - Independence Day: Happy Birthday America! - 41 -
July 8th – Video Games Day: There are actually two Video Games Day, so all you gamers get to celebrate twice, today and September 12th. July 9th – National Sugar Cookie Day: The celebration of the basic cookie made from store cupboard ingredients that most people have on hand. Check out the recipe at the end of this article, to whip up your own batch.
July 10th – Teddy Bear Picnic Day: Pack a picnic, bring a teddy and treat your kids. July 11th – World Population Day: The precursor to this observation was ‘Five Billion Day’ on July 11, 1987. This was the date when the world population reached five billion people. In turn it inspired World Population Day. With estimates that the population will reach 9.7 billion people by 2050, World Population Day was established by the United Nations World Population Fund (UNFPA) to raise awareness of global population issues. It’s aims are to promote awareness of issues related to population growth, including the importance of family planning, reproductive choice, gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights and focusses on providing a better future for young people. July 12 – National Pecan Pie Day: Make this todays dessert. th
July 13th – National French Fries Day: Believe it or not, French Fries did not originate in France but in Belgium in the 17th century when fried potatoes were substituted in their winter diet while fish were scarce, and they were known as ‘Belgium Fries’. The French actually call them pomme frites. In the UK, they’re called Chips, and in Spain, patatas fritas. They are also known as finger chips and Flemish Fries.
July 14th – Shark Awareness Day: A day dedicated to debunking the myths surrounding sharks
July 15th – Be a Dork Day: This is actually a copyrighted observance created by Wellcat who provide quirky holidays. July 16th – World Snake Day: Okay, so maybe not everyone wants to pet a snake, but did you know that there are 3,500 species, but only about 600 are venomous.
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July 24th – Tell an Old Joke Day: Are the old ones the best? Try a few out and see what reaction you get and take a look at our ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’ feature.
July 17th – World Emoji Day: ‘Emoji’ is Japanese expression roughly translating to ‘picture word’. Emoji Day was established in 2014, by Jeremy Burge the founder of Emojipedia, a site which keeps track of the some 1800 emojis which are added to each year.
July 25th – National Day of the Cowboy: From 2005, the fourth Saturday in July has recognised the impact cowboys have had in history.
July 18th – National Caviar Day: If you can’t afford this pricey delicacy, then console yourself with the fact that they’re just salted fish eggs.
July 26th – National All or Nothing Day: We all have ambitions, dreams and projects we’ve held back from. Today is the day to throw caution to the wind, go for broke and take that first step to making them a reality.
July 19th – National Ice Cream Day: Now this has a lot more appeal that Caviar, I’m sure. The third Sunday of July was proclaimed by President Reagan as National Ice Cream Day. He also declared the month of July as National Ice Cream month, so go and choose your flavour.
July 27th – Scotch Whisky Day: Cheers! July 28th - Buffalo Soldiers Day: Commemorating the formation of the first regular Army regiments comprising African American soldiers in 1866.
July 20th – National Lollipop Day: No guesses for how to celebrate this. July 21st – National Junk Food Day: There’s a lot of food celebrated this month and most of it is not healthy! It’s thought that this day was created as a guilt free day to eat junk food.
July 29th – International Tiger Day: This originated after the plight of wild tigers was highlighted at The International Tiger Summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 2010 The tiger population dropped 97% during the last century and with only 3,000 tigers left in the wild, they are on the brink of extinction.
July 22nd – Hammock Day: Celebrated right in the middle of the ‘Dog Days of Summer’, Hammock Day was created by Bob Matthews, of Holiday Insights in 2008 to encourage people to relax from their normally hectic lives.
July 30th – International Day of Friendship: The origin of this day has roots as far back as 1919 but in 2011, the United Nations declared it an official international day, to be celebrated annually on July 30th. The aim is to promote friendship among different cultures and countries, encourage respect for others and celebrate diversity
July 23rd – Gorgeous Grandma Day: Created by Alice Solomon who recognized that the term ‘grandma’ was attributed to older females, irrespective of whether they were a grandmother or not and decided to embrace the term but with ‘gorgeous’ in front of it in an attempt to get rid of all of the typical stereotypes that surround older women.
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July 31st - National Mutt Day: (also known as National Mixed Breed Dog Day), was created in 2005 by Celebrity Pet & Lifestyle Expert Colleen Paige. Itâ€™s actually celebrated twice, first on July 31st and again on December 2nd. National Mutt Day is all about embracing, saving and celebrating mixed breed dogs. Finally as well as being National Ice Cream Month s mentioned above, July is also National Picnic Month.
Poppy Flynn was born in Buckinghamshire, UK and moved to Wales at eight years old with parents who wanted to live the 'self-sufficiency' lifestyle. Today she still lives in rural Wales and is married with six children. Poppy's love of reading and writing stemmed from her parents' encouragement and the fact that they didn't have a television in the house. "When you're surrounded by fields, cows and sheep, no neighbors, no TV and the closest tiny village is four miles away, there's a certain limit to your options, but with books your adventures and your horizons are endless." Discover more about Poppy on Mom's Favorite Reads website:
We are excited to announce that Goylake Publishing has teamed-up with the Fussy Librarian and in partnership we are offering you 20% off your first book promotion with the Fussy Librarian. To qualify for this promotion, your book must be either permafree or listed free during a special offer.
In our experience, the Fussy Librarian is the best book promoter in the business. When we promote with him, our free books always reach the top five of Amazonâ€™s genre charts, most often they reach the top three. We promote with the Fussy Librarian every month and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. Prices start from as low as $15, minus our special discount of 20%. Click here: https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake for full details. And, at the checkout, be sure to enter this code: goylake20 to claim your 20% discount. Thank you for your interest. And good luck with your promotion! - 44 -
Basic Sugar Cookies Submitted by Poppy Flynn July 9th is National Sugar Cookie Day. Celebrate with a fresh batch of cookies using this straightforward sugar cookie recipe using store cupboard ingredients that most people have in stock. For something a little different add chocolate chips or nuts or let the kids have fun decorating them. Ingredients •
225g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
340 g self-raising flour
Preparation:15 minutes ~ Cooking time:10 minutes ~ Preheat oven to 190 C / Gas 5.
For the best cookies always use equal parts butter and sugar
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Measure your flour carefully. Make sure your butter is soft, but not melted.
Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually mix in the flour. The dough should be thick, but not sticky.
Cream the butter and sugar until the butter is lighter in colour and very fluffy. A good indicator is that the sugar is no longer granular.
Roll rounded tablespoons of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased baking trays.
For a lighter cookie sift your dry ingredients. Roll the dough balls in extra sugar before cooking to create a crispy coating.
Bake for approximately 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until starting to turn golden.
The cookie dough will spread if left in balls, but if you want a more uniform shape for decorating, press them flat with the bottom of a drinking glass. Do not over-bake. When the edges look golden, remove from the oven and cool. Use parchment paper to stop your cookies from burning on the bottom. - 45 -
Little League Nightmare by Keith Guernsey This was my most embarrassing moment but surprisingly not by that much. In little league baseball there was a rule that everyone had to play. This made the coaches unhappy but the players (especially the lousy ones like me!) ecstatic. My coach sent me out to right field (told you I was the bench warmer money can buy) with a great deal of trepidation and the sincere hope that no one would actually hit the ball to me. If you are unfamiliar with LL ball, it is where the coaches put their worst players in hopes nothing too awful will take place. Unfortunately for him it did. One of the first batters that came up to bat after I went in the game lined one way over my head and hilarity ensued. I ran (waddled?) back after the ball when my cap flew off. Instead of continuing to pursue the ball, I stopped and went back after my lid. Only after retrieving my hat did I resume my pursuit of the ball. Suffice to say that by the time I retrieved the ball my opponent had long since circled the bases and I was unceremoniously yanked from the game. The only saving grace is that there was no AFV or YouTube to record this monumental faux pas.
Growing up 12 miles from Fenway baseball was a very big deal in Lexington and I was determined to give it my best shot. Opening day was a major event with a parade through the center of town and players from all the teams lining both baselines (think opening day at Fenway for all its pomp and circumstance and you wouldnâ€™t be far off). There is where it went from bad to worse. My shiny, new allwhite uniform had arrived in the mail. I was so excited to try it on and then so sad when the pants did not fit. My late mother, in her infinite wisdom, decided (glad you are not here to read this Ma) she could fix them; so I let her give it a shot, but all she had was gray material to use. So what ended up happening was that 100 Little League baseball players lined the first and third baselines at the Center Field in Lexington, and 99 had perfectly pressed sparkling white uniform pants. I had white pants with a large gray patch directly in the center of the posterior. With a last name of Guernsey (rhymes with cow) and being rotund in places where I shouldnâ€™t have been, the laughter and humiliation were complete.
For more, please visit us on the web at;
http://tinyurl.com/y6ut57ms Thank you for reading, Keith firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter=@thegurns https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Keith-D-Guernsey/e/B00PR51Q7Y - 46 -
Word Search By Momâ€™s Favorite Reads
You can find the answers for this activity on the Momâ€™s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/magazines/activities/ - 47 -
Summer Come and Gone by Cherime MacFarlane By the time you read this, summer will be on the way out. At least here in the high northern latitudes. We celebrate June 20th, the longest day of the year, as best we can. Those who work will often plan something for afterward as it’s the longest day of the year and no one wants all those daylight hours to go to waste. We all know we are now on the downhill side of the seasons. It’s a quick slide to fall. And we intend to make the most of it. The Fourth of July weekend is calling. A family road trip is in the offing. I doubt everyone can make it but those of us who can are planning to meet up in Valdez. Roughly 268 miles in one direction, it should satisfy the urge to go somewhere. We two old ladies are teaming up in her truck pulling her travel trailer. She has someone to feed her cats, I’m borrowing her programmable dry feeder. She wants company going through the mountains and I’m ready to supply what she needs.
Kerry and I have already done this before. We took my youngest daughter and flew over to Scotland. We rented a motorhome and drove all over the place on those narrow roads. They have upgraded the Glenn Highway, mostly; I remember when. The Southern end of the Richardson, not so much. To get to the small town, the terminus of the Alaska oil pipeline, we’ll go over two passes. The first, Eureka is easy these days, nothing like 40 or 50 years ago. The second, Thompson Pass, can still show teeth. And the downhill run to the bottom and Keystone Canyon is a steep grade. In winter it can be a hair-raising ride. It can be the same in summer under certain conditions we hope to avoid. Still, it should be fun. We’ll raise a glass to everyone when we get to Valdez. Here’s hoping you do something fun on summer’s last hurrah.
Cherime MacFarlane is an award-wining, bestselling, prolific multi-genre author. She has a broad range of interests that reflect her been there– done that life. Discover more about Cherime on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/cherime-macfarlane/
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Collingwood Ingram by John Greeves
How one Englishman helped to save the Japanese Blossom The cherry is first among flowers as the Samuri is first among men. Nothing quite heralds the end of winter than to see the exuberances of spring taking place. Harbingers like snowdrops, daffodils and blue bells gladden the heart, while the snowy white blossoms of the blackthorn seem unrestrained and burst forth along the hedgerows. The sight and smell of cherry trees in a riot of pale pinks, soft whites and delicate creams is yet another sign to lift our mood and enrich our spirits to this season of rebirth that is trumpeted in with so many colours, scents and hues. Whenever the Queen Mother returned home to Clarence House after celebrating Easter at Windsor Castle she would drive along Staveley Road in West London. The road would be lined on both sides with the vibrant purple-pink blossoms of cherry trees that captivated the Queen Mother and later her daughter.
He's probably best remembered for his reintroduction of the Taihaku (the Great White Cherry) to Japan, a variety thought then to have become extinct. Born in 1880, Collingwood Ingram was the youngest child of Sir William James Ingram and Mary Eliza Collingwood Ingram. His father was the Liberal Party's Member of Parliament for Boston, Lincolnshire. He was also managing director of the Illustrated London News,one of Britain's most influential newspapers. William's eldest sons Herbert and Bruce attended Winchester College an elite boarding school, but Collingwood who was a sickly child was home educated in Westgate-on-Sea in Kent. Collingwood was tutored in the foundations of a traditional education but spent much of his time roaming the fields. As a privilege youth and young man he enjoyed a social calender that embraced horse racing at Epsom, boating at Henley, yachting at Cowes and cricket at Lords and the Oval but his primary obsession was always for the natural world.
In Japan cherry blossom is known as sakuru and it holds a very special place in people's hearts. Appreciating the sakura in Japan is called hanami or 'flower viewing' and people gather to celebrate this fleeting beauty by drinking and picnicking below the blossom heavy boughs. Little do people realise in Britain and even Japan, the part played by an Englishman, Collingwood Ingram in saving the Japanese cherry tree blossoms. Many of these inspiring sights we see today would never exist had it not been for his endeavours. Cherry Ingram, as he was known to his friends helped to introduce more than 50 cultivated varieties to Britain from Japan and was the first person in the world to create new varieties of cherries by artificial hybridization. Possibly Ingram's greatest achievement was saving many of the endangered varieties which were in danger of extinction in Japan.
As a young adult he worked in the ornithology department of the Natural History Museum where he was able to study and catalogue the bird skins which his father had engaged a William Stalker to collect in Australia and send to the museum in London. At 21 he was proposed as a member of the British Ornithologists' Union and in the same year he joined the British Ornithologists' Club. It was a bird-watching expedition which first took him to Japan in 1902 and again in 1907, a year after his marriage, when he embarked with his pregnant wife Florence (Flo) to Japan. - 49 -
For Ingram the trip was an overwhelming success. Departing alone on a three-week walking and collection trip, Ingram found seventy-four kinds of Japanese birds including a White's Thrush. For Flo, the experience was quite different, as she rested in Tokyo hotels, before the couple finally made their long way home arriving in Westgate-on- Sea in the summer of 1907. War was to affect many lives. In the First World War Ingram was first commissioned in the Kent Cyclist Battalion aged 30 and later became a Captain with the Royal Flying Corps and adjusted magnetic compasses in aircraft. He kept a journal in France and made notes about 170 different varieties of birds that he had observed in the area. He found the war traumatic. Not only was he outraged by the endless human suffering he observed but by the wholesale destruction of nature he encountered. His published war diaries are full of pencil sketches of birds, people and landscape.
The war brought about two major changes in Ingram's life. Ingram felt he was at a loose end and considered ornithology had become â€œa somewhat tired and exhausted Science.â€? One research paper he came across highlighted this growing dissatisfaction. It focused on the number of times a great tit defecated in 24 hours and finally decided Ingram to turn his attention away from birds to that of plants. His decision coincided with the family's move away from Westgate-on-Sea to a seven bedroom house called the Grange with his growing family of three sons and a daughter. This was surrounded by acquired land and located in a small village called Benenden in Kent. Ingram then determined to become a leading authority on the Japanese cherry. He read everything he could about the subject and at his large country house in Kent he started his own collection,
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from scions (cuttings) and seeds which he planted in a specially designed garden. Over time his collection would grow to include more than 120 varieties with it his reputation as a World expert in this field. For 2000 years, cherry trees in Japan had been symbols of life, cheerfulness, vigour and peace. In Japanese literature they were also associated with fleeting beauty and the transience of existence. From 10 wild species, more than 400 flowering varieties had been cultivated in in Japan over 1,200 years but society, politics and times were changing. Perhaps most crucial to Ingram's whole experience was his visit in 1926 to Japan when he was shocked to see the loss of local cherry diversity driven by modernisation, neglect and a dangerous imperialistic ideology. A cloned cherry the Somei-yoshino was taking over the landscape and becoming the new symbol of Japan's expansionist ambitions. Even today seven out of every ten species are of the same Someiyoshino variety and as clones all blossom at the same time in a particular location for about eight days. Ingram found that traditional cherry-filled gardens, once the cherished preserve of thedaimyo or aristocratic lords had been abandoned, while other areas which once grew these ancient varieties had been turned into tea and mulberry plantations with many varieties simply cut down or neglected. Year by year cherry trees in Japan were becoming less and less diverse. Everywhere he went he saw many neglected or dying trees, despite the best efforts of a small group of cherry experts and aficionados to save them. In addressing the Cherry Association in Japan he was asked to speak frankly about the state of the nation's cherries to an audience of royalty, business leaders and bureaucrats. Ingram raised the question (with due deference) why Japanese cherries appeared to grow better in England than Japan and summarised this was down to a number of reasons. He advised those present not to use the common practise of using a variety called Mazakura as a stock plant as it was 'feeble and weak' and encouraged them instead to make use of a wild cherry to propagate their varieties. He also advised against the planting of mature trees, rather than saplings, as the
mature trees were more susceptible to disease and insect attack. He also encouraged those interested in preserving these varieties to plant away from sites that had been used for hundreds, if not thousand of years for growing cherries as he considered the land to be 'cherry sick' and lacking the nutrients for good growth. Finally he issued a stark warning to the audience that unless something was done to improve varieties, many of them would face the serious possibility of extinction in the future. It was on this same visit Ingram was shown a painting of a beautiful white cherry, then thought to be extinct in Japan. He recognized it. In England, he had come across a moribund tree that had been introduced to a Sussex garden in 1870. It was the 'Taihaku' (the Great White Cherry) and he had taken cuttings to grow in his garden. From then on reintroducing the Taihaku' to Japan and saving other dying varieties became Ingram's priorities. Besides becoming a leading sakuru expert, he collected as many cherry varieties he could in his Benenden garden. Many scions or cuttings and seeds were sent to him from Japan including: IchiyĹ?, Komatsunagi, Bendono, Shirayuki Fukurokuju, Temari and Shogetsu. He usually placed a new cutting in moistened moss inside a lidless box. To propagate the plants, Ingram would graft the variety onto the native English Prunus avium (Wild Cherry species). By the early 1930s his garden was home to more than 79 varieties of cherry. Eventually his collection would grew to 120 varieties and Ingram would be recognised as possibly the world's foremost expert on cherries. It took three years and it wasn't until 1932 before the Taihaku cuttings survived the journey to Japan. In the successful attempt they were embedded into cut potatoes
to preserve moisture content and sent via the Trans-Siberian railway so avoiding the extremes of tropical heat. From that tiny nucleus of Taihaku at the Grange, tens of thousand would later be propagated world wide thanks to Ingram's intervention. In the Second World War, he was commander of his local Home Guard in Benenden Kent. After the war he published a seminal book entitled Ornamental Cherries which has become a standard text. Ingram was a colossus in his field, not only did he become a passionate advocate for blossoms but also a foremost authority on cherry varieties. He built the worldâ€™s biggest collection of cherrytree varieties outside Japan in his Kent garden and lived to a 100, knowing much of his life's work had been undertaken. His wider legacy was to spread a diverse cherry-tree culture across the British Isles and the world at large. This he achieved. In his lifetime, he gave away seeds, cuttings and saplings, always for free and ensured the longevity of the many cherry blossoms we marvel at today in gardens, parks and streets throughout Britain would become a legacy we could all learn to enjoy with each blossoming spring.
John Greeves is a creative writer who has published poetry, short stories, and magazine features. - 51 -
Editor In Chief—Hannah Howe The Editor-in-Chief is the key figure in every publication. Hannah Howe works closely with the editorial staff to ensure the success of each publication. She is the author of the Sam Smith Mystery Series, the Ann’s War Mystery Series and Saving Grace. Get to know more about Hannah, her projects and her work on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/hannah-howe/
Executive Editor | Graphic Designer—Melanie P. Smith The Executive Editor / Graphic Designer is responsible for developing the layout and design of MFR eMagazine. She also works hard to create new covers each month that captures the essence of each publication. In addition to the editorial staff of Mom’s Favorite Reads, Melanie P. Smith also produces Connections eMagazine. She is a multi-genre author of Criminal Suspense, Police Procedural, Paranormal and Romance novels. Get to know more about Melanie, her projects and her work on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/melanie-p-smith/
Managing Editor—Ronesa Aveela & Denise McCabe Our Managing Editors oversee the physical content of the magazine and coordinates the production schedule. There are two Managing Editors for Mom’s Favorite Reads; Ronesa Aveela and Denise McCabe. Get to know our Managing Editor’s on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: Ronesa Aveela— A freelance artist and author of mystery romance inspired by legends and tales. https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/ronesa-aveela/
Denise McCabe— A children's book author and blogger. https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/denise-mccabe/
Art Director & Copy Editor / Proofreader — Sylva Fae Sylva Fae—Mum of three, fairy woodland owner, and author of children’s books. Sylva is is responsible for the amazing graphics that appear throughout the publication each month. She works hard to ensure the images capture the spirit and message our author's convey in their articles and stories. In addition, As Copy Editor, Sylva works hard behind the scenes to correct any grammatical, typos and spelling errors throughout the magazine. https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/sylva-fae/
Feature Editor—T.E, Hodden As Feature Editor T.E. Hodden works diligently to provide content that is interesting, informative and professional. He is a trained engineer and a life-long fan of comic books, Sci-Fi, myths, legends and history. Get to know more about TE Hodden on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/t-e-hodden/
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Marketing Director—Grant Leishman Our Marketing Director, Grant Leishman, oversees marketing campaigns and social media engagement for our magazine. After an exciting career in accounting and journalism, he now focuses on his true calling—writing. Get to know more about Grant on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/grant-leishman/
Young Writer Content Editor—Poppy Flynn Poppy Flynn works hard each month to generate ideas, proofread submitted content, and provide stories, articles, poems and other pieces that are creative and relevant from young writers around the world. Get to know more about our Young Writer Content Editor on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/poppy-flynn/
General Content Editors and Contributors Our Content Editors are responsible for acquiring articles, short stories, etc. for the eMagazine. They work hard to make our magazine interesting and professional. Get to know our Content Editor’s on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: Rachael Wright—https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/rachael-wright/ Val Tobin — https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/val-tobin/ Stan Phillips — https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/stan-phillips/
Discover more amazing authors… https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/
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In this issue... Folklore Movies Poetry Recipes Young Writers Humour Puzzles Photography And so much more!