Conversation: Satisy your need to be entertained… In 200 words or less!

Quick…

Riddle me this:

You, through miraculous divine intervention, have obtained two (count ’em… TWO!) free hours in your day.  But how best to spend them?

Do you do chores? Pffft, get real bro.
Do you take a nap? Tempting…. but no.
Or, do you use these amazingly beautiful hours, to pursue the enjoyments found in  frivolous entertainments? Uh, yeah–Let’s go!

Duh.

But when it comes to the art of frivolous entertainments, what is your rathers?

You could always watch some TV…

[Source]

Or?

You could pursue entertainments that actually benefit you in some way…

While making the best of your time!

To what am I referring?

You could always read a book!

“Pffft,” you say. “No way could I read a book in the time it takes to watch a movie.”

Hmm.

There, my friends, you would be wrong…

Let me show you a few of the ways:

[via Buzzfeed]46 Brilliant Short Novels

Great reads under 200 pages. Mostly.

 

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Penguin / BuzzFeed

Orwell’s classic allegory is as sharp and biting as when it was first published nearly 70 years ago, and just as relevant. Well worth a reread.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Tor / BuzzFeed

If Monty Python had done science fiction it might have been like this. At once supremely silly, laugh-out-loud hilarious, and as British as dead-parrot jokes.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Ballentine / BuzzFeed

In a future America, books are outlawed and “firemen” burn any that are found. One of Bradbury’s best.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Houghton Mifflin / BuzzFeed

Explores similar themes to Fahrenheit 451, but written for young adults. Don’t let the recent film adaptation put you off.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Penguin / BuzzFeed

Although frequently challenged for its depiction of gang violence and youth drinking, The Outsiders is in fact a classic morality tale wrapped up in ’60s street gang culture.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Scribner’s

Nick Carraway encounters reclusive billionaire Jay Gatsby at a party. Jazz ensues. You may already know the story, but like one of Gatsby’s lavish soirées, Fitzgerald’s sparkling prose warrants revisiting.

[Read More – See ALL 46 Brilliant Short Novels]

 

Short.

Sweet.

And immensely satisfying!

Books do not have to be long, to satisfy your thirst to be entertained.

But?

They DO have to good.

And the ones in the above list, as well as many others NOT listed are that…

In fact?

Even more.

are you not entertained [Source]

Conversation: Nothing any good isn’t hard.

When it comes to crafting not just a good story, but a GREAT story…

What does it take?

Novelist Chimamanda Adichie, author and activist Isabel Allende, filmmaker Andrew Stanton, geek genius J.J. Abrams, Elif Shafak , and Scott McCloud might not have ALL the answers…

But they have some.

Check out all of these amazing videos on TED Talks: (Click the link below)

Storyteller [How to Tell A Story: TedTalks]

Or…

When it comes to writing a good story?

Read this amazing bit of advice from F. Scott Fitzgerald:

[via Brainpickings]

Nobody ever became a writer just by wanting to be one. If you have anything to say, anything you feel nobody has ever said before, you have got to feel it so desperately that you will find some way to say it that nobody has ever found before, so that the thing you have to say and the way of saying it blend as one matter—as indissolubly as if they were conceived together.

Let me preach again for one moment: I mean that what you have felt and thought will by itself invent a new style so that when people talk about style they are always a little astonished at the newness of it, because they think that is only style that they are talking about, when what they are talking about is the attempt to express a new idea with such force that it will have the originality of the thought. It is an awfully lonesome business, and as you know, I never wanted you to go into it, but if you are going into it at all I want you to go into it knowing the sort of things that took me years to learn.

[…]

Nothing any good isn’t hard.

…[Read More]

If it was easy?

Everyone would do it.

Not only that?

The would do it badly.

Writing a good story, a memorable story, a timeless story?

It’s hard.

Then again, that is why these stories are so precious to us, when we DO find them.

[via Bartleby]The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington IrvingExcerpt

It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, heavy-hearted and crest-fallen, pursued his travel homewards, along the sides of the lofty hills which rise above Tarry Town, and which he had traversed so cheerily in the afternoon. The hour was dismal as himself. Far below him, the Tappan Zee spread its dusky and indistinct waste of waters, with here and there the tall mast of a sloop, riding quietly at anchor under the land. In the dead hush of midnight, he could even hear the barking of the watch dog from the opposite shore of the Hudson; but it was so vague and faint as only to give an idea of his distance from this faithful companion of man. Now and then, too, the long-drawn crowing of a cock, accidentally awakened, would sound far, far off from some farmhouse away among the hills—but it was like a dreaming sound in his ear. No signs of life occurred near him, but occasionally the melancholy chirp of a cricket, or perhaps the guttural twang of a bull-frog, from a neighboring marsh, as if sleeping uncomfortably, and turning suddenly in his bed.   58
  All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard in the afternoon, now came crowding upon his recollection. The night grew darker and darker; the stars seemed to sink deeper in the sky, and driving clouds occasionally hid them from his sight. He had never felt so lonely and dismal. He was, moreover, approaching the very place where many of the scenes of the ghost stories had been laid. In the centre of the road stood an enormous tulip-tree, which towered like a giant above all the other trees of the neighborhood, and formed a kind of landmark. Its limbs were gnarled, and fantastic, large enough to form trunks for ordinary trees, twisting down almost to the earth, and rising again into the air.   59
  It was connected with the tragical story of the unfortunate André, who had been taken prisoner hard by; and was universally known by the name of Major André’s tree. The common people regarded it with a mixture of respect and superstition, partly out of sympathy for the fate of its ill-starred namesake, and partly from the tales of strange sights and doleful lamentations told concerning it.   60
  As Ichabod approached this fearful tree, he began to whistle: he thought his whistle was answered—it was but a blast sweeping sharply through the dry branches. As he approached a little nearer, he thought he saw something white, hanging in the midst of the tree—he paused and ceased whistling; but on looking more narrowly, perceived that it was a place where the tree had been scathed by lightning, and the white wood laid bare. Suddenly he heard a groan—his teeth chattered and his knees smote against the saddle: it was but the rubbing of one huge bough upon another, as they were swayed about by the breeze. He passed the tree in safety, but new perils lay before him.   61
  About two hundred yards from the tree a small brook crossed the road, and ran into a marshy and thickly-wooded glen, known by the name of Wiley’s swamp. A few rough logs, laid side by side, served for a bridge over this stream. On that side of the road where the brook entered the wood, a group of oaks and chestnuts, matted thick with wild grapevines, threw a cavernous gloom over it. To pass this bridge was the severest trial. It was at this identical spot that the unfortunate André was captured, and under the covert of those chestnuts and vines were the sturdy yeomen concealed who surprised him. This has ever since been considered a haunted stream, and fearful are the feelings of the schoolboy who has to pass it alone after dark.   62
  As he approached the stream his heart began to thump; he summoned up, however, all his resolution, gave his horse half a score of kicks in the ribs, and attempted to dash briskly across the bridge; but instead of starting forward, the perverse old animal made a lateral movement, and ran broadside against the fence. Ichabod, whose fears increased with the delay, jerked the reins on the other side, and kicked lustily with the contrary foot: it was all in vain; his steed started, it is true, but it was only to plunge to the opposite side of the road into a thicket of brambles and alder bushes. The schoolmaster now bestowed both whip and heel upon the starveling ribs of old Gunpowder, who dashed forward, snuffling and snorting, but came to a stand just by the bridge, with a suddenness that had nearly sent his rider sprawling over his head. Just at this moment a plashy tramp by the side of the bridge caught the sensitive ear of Ichabod. In the dark shadow of the grove, on the margin of the brook, he beheld something huge, misshapen, black and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveller.   63
  The hair of the affrighted pedagogue rose upon his head with terror. What was to be done? To turn and fly was now too late; and besides, what chance was there of escaping ghost or goblin, if such it was, which could ride upon the wings of the wind? Summoning up, therefore, a show of courage, he demanded in stammering accents—“Who are you?” He received no reply. He repeated his demand in a still more agitated voice. Still there was no answer. Once more he cudgelled the sides of the inflexible Gunpowder, and, shutting his eyes, broke forth with involuntary fervor into a psalm tune. Just then the shadowy object of alarm put itself in motion, and, with a scramble and a bound, stood at once in the middle of the road. Though the night was dark and dismal, yet the form of the unknown might now in some degree be ascertained. He appeared to be a horseman of large dimensions, and mounted on a black horse of powerful frame. He made no offer of molestation or sociability, but kept aloof on one side of the road, jogging along on the blind side of old Gunpowder, who had now got over his fright and waywardness.   64
  Ichabod, who had no relish for this strange midnight companion, and bethought himself of the adventure of Brom Bones with the Galloping Hessian, now quickened his steed, in hopes of leaving him behind. The stranger, however, quickened his horse to an equal pace. Ichabod pulled up, and fell into a walk, thinking to lag behind—the other did the same. His heart began to sink within him; he endeavored to resume his psalm tune, but his parched tongue clove to the roof of his mouth, and he could not utter a stave. There was something in the moody and dogged silence of this pertinacious companion, that was mysterious and appalling. It was soon fearfully accounted for. On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow-traveller in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck, on perceiving that he was headless!—but his horror was still more increased, on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of the saddle; his terror rose to desperation; he rained a shower of kicks and blows upon Gunpowder; hoping, by a sudden movement, to give his companion the slip—but the spectre started full jump with him. Away then they dashed, through thick and thin; stones flying, and sparks flashing at every bound. Ichabod’s flimsy garments fluttered in the air, as he stretched his long lanky body away over his horse’s head, in the eagerness of his flight.   65
  They had now reached the road which turns off to Sleepy Hollow; but Gunpowder, who seemed possessed with a demon, instead of keeping up it, made an opposite turn, and plunged headlong down hill to the left. This road leads through a sandy hollow, shaded by trees for about a quarter of a mile, where it crosses the bridge famous in goblin story, and just beyond swells the green knoll on which stands the whitewashed church.   66
  As yet the panic of the steed had given his unskilful rider an apparent advantage in the chase; but just as he had got half way through the hollow, the girths of the saddle gave way, and he felt it slipping from under him. He seized it by the pommel, and endeavored to hold it firm, but in vain; and had just time to save himself by clasping old Gunpowder round the neck, when the saddle fell to the earth, and he heard it trampled under foot by his pursuer. For a moment the terror of Hans Van Ripper’s wrath passed across his mind—for it was his Sunday saddle; but this was no time for petty fears; the goblin was hard on his haunches; and (unskilful rider that he was!) he had much ado to maintain his seat; sometimes slipping on one side, sometimes on another, and sometimes jolted on the high ridge of his horse’s backbone, with a violence that he verily feared would cleave him asunder.   67
  An opening in the trees now cheered him with the hopes that the church bridge was at hand. The wavering reflection of a silver star in the bosom of the brook told him that he was not mistaken. He saw the walls of the church dimly glaring under the trees beyond. He recollected the place where Brom Bones’s ghostly competitor had disappeared. “If I can but reach that bridge,” thought Ichabod, “I am safe.” Just then he heard the black steed panting and blowing close behind him; he even fancied that he felt his hot breath. Another convulsive kick in the ribs, and old Gunpowder sprang upon the bridge; he thundered over the resounding planks; he gained the opposite side; and now Ichabod cast a look behind to see if his pursuer should vanish, according to rule, in a flash of fire and brimstone. Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, and in the very act of hurling his head at him. Ichabod endeavored to dodge the horrible missile, but too late. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous crash—he was tumbled headlong into the dust, and Gunpowder, the black steed, and the goblin rider, passed by like a whirlwind.   68
  The next morning the old horse was found without his saddle, and with the bridle under his feet, soberly cropping the grass at his master’s gate. Ichabod did not make his appearance at breakfast—dinner-hour came, but no Ichabod.

…[Read More]

 

I’m a working class kid… Turned blue-collar man!

I’ll always have this blue-collar connection. For every guy, there is an opportunity to be a lot better than he thought he could be. We can’t all be the star of the team, but we can be a star in our life.
~Sylvester Stallone

I'm a working-class kid

[Source]

My personality is that I’m a human being like everybody else, just a citizen and a blue collar guy.
~ Lee Greenwood

Conversation: Engage. Read. Imagine… ENJOY!

Do you want to get to reading, but have no idea where to start?

Given the sheer awesome magnitude of the books, not to mention other reading resources available…

I can understand how a beginners initial foray into reading might be a bit of an intimidating undertaking.

And because it is, sometimes it’s best to start small.

After all, sometimes the most wondrous of gifts, come in the smallest of packages.

So saying, might I introduce you to a very engaging story. Definitely one of my favorites: The Monkey’s Paw, by J.J. Jacobs.

It’s a eerie little tale, that pulls you in from the beginning, dragging you along to it’s end with a heart-quickening splendor!

Engage. Read. Imagine…

And most of all?

Enjoy!

[via American Literature]

The Monkey’s Paw

by W. W. Jacobs


An illustration for the story The Monkey's Paw by the author W. W. Jacobs

“Be careful what you wish for, you may receive it.”Anonymous

Part I

Without, the night was cold and wet, but in the small parlour of Laburnum villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly. Father and son were at chess; the former, who possessed ideas about the game involving radical chances, putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary perils that it even provoked comment from the white-haired old lady knitting placidly by the fire.

“Hark at the wind,” said Mr. White, who, having seen a fatal mistake after it was too late, was amiably desirous of preventing his son from seeing it.

“I’m listening,” said the latter grimly surveying the board as he stretched out his hand. “Check.”

“I should hardly think that he’s come tonight, ” said his father, with his hand poised over the board.

“Mate,” replied the son.

“That’s the worst of living so far out,” balled Mr. White with sudden and unlooked-for violence; “Of all the beastly, slushy, out of the way places to live in, this is the worst. Path’s a bog, and the road’s a torrent. I don’t know what people are thinking about. I suppose because only two houses in the road are let, they think it doesn’t matter.”

“Never mind, dear,” said his wife soothingly; “perhaps you’ll win the next one.”

Mr. White looked up sharply, just in time to intercept a knowing glance between mother and son. the words died away on his lips, and he hid a guilty grin in his thin grey beard.

“There he is,” said Herbert White as the gate banged to loudly and heavy footsteps came toward the door.

The old man rose with hospitable haste and opening the door, was heard condoling with the new arrival. The new arrival also condoled with himself, so that Mrs. White said, “Tut, tut!” and coughed gently as her husband entered the room followed by a tall, burly man, beady of eye and rubicund of visage.

“Sargeant-Major Morris, ” he said, introducing him.

The Sargeant-Major took hands and taking the proffered seat by the fire, watched contentedly as his host got out whiskey and tumblers and stood a small copper kettle on the fire.

At the third glass his eyes got brighter, and he began to talk, the little family circle regarding with eager interest this visitor from distant parts, as he squared his broad shoulders in the chair and spoke of wild scenes and doughty deeds; of wars and plagues and strange peoples.

“Twenty-one years of it,” said Mr. White, nodding at his wife and son. “When he went away he was a slip of a youth in the warehouse. Now look at him.”

“He don’t look to have taken much harm.” said Mrs. White politely.

“I’d like to go to India myself,” said the old man, just to look around a bit, you know.”

“Better where you are,” said the Sargeant-Major, shaking his head. He put down the empty glass and sighning softly, shook it again.

“I should like to see those old temples and fakirs and jugglers,” said the old man. “what was that that you started telling me the other day about a monkey’s paw or something, Morris?”

“Nothing.” said the soldier hastily. “Leastways, nothing worth hearing.”

“Monkey’s paw?” said Mrs. White curiously.

“Well, it’s just a bit of what you might call magic, perhaps.” said the Sargeant-Major off-handedly.

His three listeners leaned forward eagerly. The visitor absent-mindedly put his empty glass to his lips and then set it down again. His host filled it for him again.

“To look at,” said the Sargeant-Major, fumbling in his pocket, “it’s just an ordinary little paw, dried to a mummy.”

He took something out of his pocket and proffered it. Mrs. White drew back with a grimace, but her son, taking it, examined it curiously.

“And what is there special about it?” inquired Mr. White as he took it from his son, and having examined it, placed it upon the table.

“It had a spell put on it by an old Fakir,” said the Sargeant-Major, “a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow. He put a spell on it so that three separate men could each have three wishes from it.”

His manners were so impressive that his hearers were conscious that their light laughter had jarred somewhat.

“Well, why don’t you have three, sir?” said Herbert White cleverly.

The soldier regarded him the way that middle age is wont to regard presumptuous youth.”I have,” he said quietly, and his blotchy face whitened.

“And did you really have the three wishes granted?” asked Mrs. White.

“I did,” said the seargent-major, and his glass tapped against his strong teeth.

“And has anybody else wished?” persisted the old lady.

“The first man had his three wishes. Yes, ” was the reply, “I don’t know what the first two were, but the third was for death. That’s how I got the paw.”

His tones were so grave that a hush fell upon the group.

“If you’ve had your three wishes it’s no good to you now then Morris,” said the old man at last. “What do you keep it for?”

The soldier shook his head. “Fancy I suppose,” he said slowly.” I did have some idea of selling it, but I don’t think I will. It has caused me enough mischief already. Besides, people won’t buy. They think it’s a fairy tale, some of them; and those who do think anything of it want to try it first and pay me afterward.”

“If you could have another three wishes,” said the old man, eyeing him keenly,” would you have them?”

“I don’t know,” said the other. “I don’t know.”

He took the paw, and dangling it between his forefinger and thumb, suddenly threw it upon the fire. White, with a slight cry, stooped down and snatched it off.

“Better let it burn,” said the soldier solemnly.

“If you don’t want it Morris,” said the other, “give it to me.”

“I won’t.” said his friend doggedly. “I threw it on the fire. If you keep it, don’t blame me for what happens. Pitch it on the fire like a sensible man.”

The other shook his head and examined his possession closely. “How do you do it?” he inquired.

“Hold it up in your right hand, and wish aloud,” said the Sargeant-Major, “But I warn you of the consequences.”

“Sounds like the ‘Arabian Nights'”, said Mrs. White, as she rose and began to set the supper. “Don’t you think you might wish for four pairs of hands for me.”

Her husband drew the talisman from his pocket, and all three burst into laughter as the Seargent-Major, with a look of alarm on his face, caught him by the arm.

“If you must wish,” he said gruffly, “Wish for something sensible.”

Mr. White dropped it back in his pocket, and placing chairs, motioned his friend to the table. In the business of supper the talisman was partly forgotten, and afterward the three sat listening in an enthralled fashion to a second installment of the soldier’s adventures in India.

“If the tale about the monkey’s paw is not more truthful than those he has been telling us,” said Herbert, as the door closed behind their guest, just in time to catch the last train, “we shan’t make much out of it.”

“Did you give anything for it, father?” inquired Mrs. White, regarding her husband closely.

“A trifle,” said he, colouring slightly, “He didn’t want it, but I made him take it. And he pressed me again to throw it away.”

“Likely,” said Herbert, with pretended horror. “Why, we’re going to be rich, and famous, and happy. Wish to be an emperor, father, to begin with; then you can’t be henpecked.”

He darted around the table, pursued by the maligned Mrs White armed with an antimacassar.

Mr. White took the paw from his pocket and eyed it dubiously. “I don’t know what to wish for, and that’s a fact,” he said slowly. It seems to me I’ve got all I want.”

“If you only cleared the house, you’d be quite happy, wouldn’t you!” said Herbert, with his hand on his shoulder. “Well, wish for two hundred pounds, then; that’ll just do it.”

His father, smiling shamefacedly at his own credulity, held up the talisman, as his son, with a solemn face, somewhat marred by a wink at his mother, sat down and struck a few impressive chords.

“I wish for two hundred pounds,” said the old man distinctly.

A fine crash from the piano greeted his words, interrupted by a shuddering cry from the old man. His wife and son ran toward him.

“It moved,” he cried, with a glance of disgust at the object as it lay on the floor. “As I wished, it twisted in my hand like a snake.”

“Well, I don’t see the money,” said his son, as he picked it up and placed it on the table, “and I bet I never shall.”

“It must have been your fancy, father,” said his wife, regarding him anxiously.

He shook his head. “Never mind, though; there’s no harm done, but it gave me a shock all the same.”

They sat down by the fire again while the two men finished their pipes. Outside, the wind was higher than ever, an the old man started nervously at the sound of a door banging upstairs. A silence unusual and depressing settled on all three, which lasted until the old couple rose to retire for the rest of the night.

“I expect you’ll find the cash tied up in a big bag in the middle of your bed,” said Herbert, as he bade them good night, ” and something horrible squatting on top of your wardrobe watching you as you pocket your ill-gotten gains.”

He sat alone in the darkness, gazing at the dying fire, and seeing faces in it. The last was so horrible and so simian that he gazed at it in amazement. It got so vivid that, with a little uneasy laugh, he felt on the table for a glass containing a little water to throw over it. His hand grasped the monkey’s paw, and with a little shiver he wiped his hand on his coat and went up to bed.

Part II

In the brightness of the wintry sun next morning as it streamed over the breakfast table he laughed at his fears. There was an air of prosaic wholesomeness about the room which it had lacked on the previous night, and the dirty, shriveled little paw was pitched on the side-board with a carelessness which betokened no great belief in its virtues.

“I suppose all old soldiers are the same,” said Mrs White. “The idea of our listening to such nonsense! How could wishes be granted in these days? And if they could, how could two hundred pounds hurt you, father?”

“Might drop on his head from the sky,” said the frivolous Herbert.

“Morris said the things happened so naturally,” said his father, “that you might if you so wished attribute it to coincidence.”

“Well don’t break into the money before I come back,” said Herbert as he rose from the table. “I’m afraid it’ll turn you into a mean, avaricious man, and we shall have to disown you.”

His mother laughed, and following him to the door, watched him down the road; and returning to the breakfast table, was very happy at the expense of her husband’s credulity. All of which did not prevent her from scurrying to the door at the postman’s knock, nor prevent her from referring somewhat shortly to retired Sargeant-Majors of bibulous habits when she found that the post brought a tailor’s bill.

“Herbert will have some more of his funny remarks, I expect, when he comes home,” she said as they sat at dinner.

“I dare say,” said Mr. White, pouring himself out some beer; “but for all that, the thing moved in my hand; that I’ll swear to.”

“You thought it did,” said the old lady soothingly.

“I say it did,” replied the other. “There was no thought about it; I had just – What’s the matter?”

His wife made no reply. She was watching the mysterious movements of a man outside, who, peering in an undecided fashion at the house, appeared to be trying to make up his mind to enter. In mental connexion with the two hundred pounds, she noticed that the stranger was well dressed, and wore a silk hat of glossy newness. Three times he paused at the gate, and then walked on again. The fourth time he stood with his hand upon it, and then with sudden resolution flung it open and walked up the path. Mrs White at the same moment placed her hands behind her, and hurriedly unfastening the strings of her apron, put that useful article of apparel beneath the cushion of her chair.

She brought the stranger, who seemed ill at ease, into the room. He gazed at her furtively, and listened in a preoccupied fashion as the old lady apologized for the appearance of the room, and her husband’s coat, a garment which he usually reserved for the garden. She then waited as patiently as her sex would permit for him to broach his business, but he was at first strangely silent.

“I – was asked to call,” he said at last, and stooped and picked a piece of cotton from his trousers. “I come from ‘Maw and Meggins.’ “

The old lady started. “Is anything the matter?” she asked breathlessly. “Has anything happened to Herbert? What is it? What is it?

Her husband interposed. “There there mother,” he said hastily. “Sit down, and don’t jump to conclusions. You’ve not brought bad news, I’m sure sir,” and eyed the other wistfully.

“I’m sorry – ” began the visitor.

“Is he hurt?” demanded the mother wildly.

The visitor bowed in assent.”Badly hurt,” he said quietly, “but he is not in any pain.”

“Oh thank God!” said the old woman, clasping her hands. “Thank God for that! Thank – “

She broke off as the sinister meaning of the assurance dawned on her and she saw the awful confirmation of her fears in the others averted face. She caught her breath, and turning to her slower-witted husband, laid her trembling hand on his. There was a long silence.

“He was caught in the machinery,” said the visitor at length in a low voice.

“Caught in the machinery,” repeated Mr. White, in a dazed fashion,”yes.”

He sat staring out the window, and taking his wife’s hand between his own, pressed it as he had been wont to do in their old courting days nearly forty years before.

“He was the only one left to us,” he said, turning gently to the visitor. “It is hard.”

The other coughed, and rising, walked slowly to the window. ” The firm wishes me to convey their sincere sympathy with you in your great loss,” he said, without looking round. “I beg that you will understand I am only their servant and merely obeying orders.”

There was no reply; the old woman’s face was white, her eyes staring, and her breath inaudible; on the husband’s face was a look such as his friend the sargeant might have carried into his first action.

“I was to say that Maw and Meggins disclaim all responsibility,” continued the other. “They admit no liability at all, but in consideration of your son’s services, they wish to present you with a certain sum as compensation.”

Mr. White dropped his wife’s hand, and rising to his feet, gazed with a look of horror at his visitor. His dry lips shaped the words, “How much?”

“Two hundred pounds,” was the answer.

Unconscious of his wife’s shriek, the old man smiled faintly, put out his hands like a sightless man, and dropped, a senseless heap, to the floor.

Part III

In the huge new cemetery, some two miles distant, the old people buried their dead, and came back to the house steeped in shadows and silence. It was all over so quickly that at first they could hardly realize it, and remained in a state of expectation as though of something else to happen – something else which was to lighten this load, too heavy for old hearts to bear.

But the days passed, and expectations gave way to resignation – the hopeless resignation of the old, sometimes mis-called apathy. Sometimes they hardly exchanged a word, for now they had nothing to talk about, and their days were long to weariness.

It was a about a week after that the old man, waking suddenly in the night, stretched out his hand and found himself alone. The room was in darkness, and the sound of subdued weeping came from the window. He raised himself in bed and listened.

“Come back,” he said tenderly. “You will be cold.”

“It is colder for my son,” said the old woman, and wept afresh.

The sounds of her sobs died away on his ears. The bed was warm, and his eyes heavy with sleep. He dozed fitfully, and then slept until a sudden wild cry from his wife awoke him with a start.

“THE PAW!” she cried wildly. “THE MONKEY’S PAW!”

He started up in alarm. “Where? Where is it? What’s the matter?”

She came stumbling across the room toward him. “I want it,” she said quietly. “You’ve not destroyed it?”

“It’s in the parlour, on the bracket,” he replied, marveling. “Why?”

She cried and laughed together, and bending over, kissed his cheek.

“I only just thought of it,” she said hysterically. “Why didn’t I think of it before? Why didn’t you think of it?”

“Think of what?” he questioned.

“The other two wishes,” she replied rapidly. “We’ve only had one.”

“Was not that enough?” he demanded fiercely.

“No,” she cried triumphantly; “We’ll have one more. Go down and get it quickly, and wish our boy alive again.”

The man sat in bed and flung the bedclothes from his quaking limbs.”Good God, you are mad!” he cried aghast. “Get it,” she panted; “get it quickly, and wish – Oh my boy, my boy!”

Her husband struck a match and lit the candle. “Get back to bed he said unsteadily. “You don’t know what you are saying.”

“We had the first wish granted,” said the old woman, feverishly; “why not the second?”

“A coincidence,” stammered the old man.

“Go get it and wish,” cried his wife, quivering with excitement.

The old man turned and regarded her, and his voice shook. “He has been dead ten days, and besides he – I would not tell you else, but – I could only recognize him by his clothing. If he was too terrible for you to see then, how now?”

“Bring him back,” cried the old woman, and dragged him towards the door. “Do you think I fear the child I have nursed?”

He went down in the darkness, and felt his way to the parlour, and then to the mantlepiece. The talisman was in its place, and a horrible fear that the unspoken wish might bring his mutilated son before him ere he could escape from the room seized up on him, and he caught his breath as he found that he had lost the direction of the door. His brow cold with sweat, he felt his way round the table, and groped along the wall until he found himself in the small passage with the unwholesome thing in his hand.

Even his wife’s face seemed changed as he entered the room. It was white and expectant, and to his fears seemed to have an unnatural look upon it. He was afraid of her.

“WISH!” she cried in a strong voice.

“It is foolish and wicked,” he faltered.

“WISH!” repeated his wife.

He raised his hand. “I wish my son alive again.”

The talisman fell to the floor, and he regarded it fearfully. Then he sank trembling into a chair as the old woman, with burning eyes, walked to the window and raised the blind.

He sat until he was chilled with the cold, glancing occasionally at the figure of the old woman peering through the window. The candle-end, which had burned below the rim of the china candlestick, was throwing pulsating shadows on the ceiling and walls, until with a flicker larger than the rest, it expired. The old man, with an unspeakable sense of relief at the failure of the talisman, crept back back to his bed, and a minute afterward the old woman came silently and apathetically beside him.

Neither spoke, but lat silently listening to the ticking of the clock. A stair creaked, and a squeaky mouse scurried noisily through the wall. The darkness was oppressive, and after lying for some time screwing up his courage, he took the box of matches, and striking one, went downstairs for a candle.

At the foot of the stairs the match went out, and he paused to strike another; and at the same moment a knock came so quiet and stealthy as to be scarcely audible, sounded on the front door.

The matches fell from his hand and spilled in the passage. He stood motionless, his breath suspended until the knock was repeated. Then he turned and fled swiftly back to his room, and closed the door behind him. A third knock sounded through the house.

“WHAT’S THAT?” cried the old woman, starting up.

“A rat,” said the old man in shaking tones – “a rat. It passed me on the stairs.”

His wife sat up in bed listening. A loud knock resounded through the house.

“It’s Herbert!”

She ran to the door, but her husband was before her, and catching her by the arm, held her tightly.

“What are you going to do?” he whispered hoarsely.

“It’s my boy; it’s Herbert!” she cried, struggling mechanically. “I forgot it was two miles away. What are you holding me for? Let go. I must open the door.”

“For God’s sake don’t let it in,” cried the old man, trembling.

“You’re afraid of your own son,” she cried struggling. “Let me go. I’m coming, Herbert; I’m coming.”

There was another knock, and another. The old woman with a sudden wrench broke free and ran from the room. Her husband followed to the landing, and called after her appealingly as she hurried downstairs. He heard the chain rattle back and the bolt drawn slowly and stiffly from the socket. Then the old woman’s voice, strained and panting.

“The bolt,” she cried loudly. “Come down. I can’t reach it.”

But her husband was on his hands and knees groping wildly on the floor in search of the paw. If only he could find it before the thing outside got in. A perfect fusillade of knocks reverberated throgh the house, and he heard the scraping of a chair as his wife as his wife put it down in the passage against the door. He heard the creaking of the bolt as it came slowly back, and at the same moment he found the monkey’s paw, and frantically breathed his third and last wish.

The knocking ceased suddenly, although the echoes of it were still in the house. He heard the chair drawn back, and the door opened. A cold wind rushed up the staircase, and a long loud wail of disappointment and misery from his wife gave him the courage to run down to her side, and then to the gate beyond. The street lamp flickering opposite shone on a quiet and deserted road.

[Read More]

So, as far as first reading experiences go…

The Monkey’s Paw was awesome, right?

Now, quickly, think of one thing, in the past 24 hours that you have watched on TV or read on the internet that even compares to such an amazing tale.

I would be willing to bet that you can’t.

[Source]

Conversation: Reading IS Love In Your Brain!

I have had a couple of “Conversation” posts regarding the importance of reading. (Conversation 1 & Conversation 2)

But…

Just how important IS it?

Biologically…

It is more important than you could ever imagine:

Reading is essential  to us…

And not only all we ever hope to be?

But reading remains imperative to all we could ever dream to accomplish:

Not a big reader…

No idea how to get started?

Quick, think of something you love.

Someone, somewhere, wrote a book on it. Pick one.

Now settle in, get comfortable and give reading a shot.

Chances are?

You will discover a new love, deeper than you have ever known.

reading is love [Source]

 

 

Conversation: Reading is the BEST option you have.

As mentioned in our earlier Conversation post

When it comes to reading a book, why have so many people turned away from it?

Is it because of the wealth of entertainment found in the alternatives?

Like say, in Social Media:

 

 

 

Hmm.

For most people, I am guessing that is probably a big ol’, “Nope!”

After all, you can only read so many times, all about your friend’s relationship problems and be entertained.

At least, for your sake?

I hope that’s true.

Otherwise?

You scary.

And in much, MUCH need of a life of your very own.

26 Problems Only Anxious People Will Understand [Source]

So, how about TV?

Surely, people are turning to TV instead of reading a good book…

Given how few people are reading these days.

That makes total sense.

Right?

The US television industry has just suffered the first decline in early advertising-buying since the recession. At this year’s upfront market – the summer sales process in which networks typically sell about two-thirds of their commercial inventory to big brands for the coming TV season – spending fell 6 per cent to $18.1bn, according to Media Dynamics estimates. This is the first annual drop in upfront ad sales across broadcast and cable networks since 2009.

Broadcast spending was hardest hit, down 7.7 per cent, while for cable the drop was 4.7 per cent. Industry executives attribute part of the fall to the new digital competitors that are starting to steal market share from TV.

…[Read More]

Exactly right.

PART of the fall in TV viewership is due to digital competitors.

But, what’s the other part?

Honestly, I am fairly certain the TV Bigwigs do NOT want to understand why people are fleeing TV in record numbers.

Much easier to think that its due to the “evils” of digital entertainment, than to accept the fact that it is largely due to their own stupid choices in programming.

I can sum up this record number of ‘viewership flight’ in a few simple words:

Stop it with the crap reality TV already… Sure, it’s cheap to make, but NO ONE IS WATCHING IT!

Jeez.

How people can prefer watching all the crap on TV today, to reading any of the thousands of excellent books out there?

Beyond my capacity to understand.

Really is.

GIF angry Im watching you nope Olivia Munn GIF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Source]

Music!

Oh, sweet music.

Surely MUSIC is the leading draw away from the complexity of actually having to READ books, right? Everyone loves music, and it is so much easier to listen…

(Pssst, plus it rhymes and everything.)

Than it is to actively read. After all, reading involves THINKING.

Makes sense, yes?

Well…

Huh.

It would.

If, that is, people were actually listening to popular music these days.

But apparently?

They aren’t doing much of that either:

[via NME]American album sales hit lowest weekly total since records began

Weekly album sales in the US have this week plummeted to their lowest since Nielson SoundScan began tracking data in 1991, reports Billboard.

GIF Beyonce Bitch please Beyonce Bitch Please Oh Please Are you serious Get the fuck out Get out GIF
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Source]

A total of 3.97million albums were sold in the US last week, which is the lowest weekly sum since records began in 1991. It’s also the first time weekly sales have dropped below four million. The chart-topping album, ‘Blacc Hollywood’ by Wiz Khalifa (pictured), sold 90,000 in its first week.

In the same week last year, 4.88million albums were sold. The dip is representative of a wider trend: average weekly sales in the first quarter were 4.75million units, followed by 4.55million in the second quarter and 4.2million in the first eight weeks of the third quarter. Overall, US album sales are down 14.6 per cent on last year.

…[Read More]

Of course given the very generic sound of popular music today?

One can easily understand WHY sales are down.

Hate to sound like my parents here, because I am afraid I’m about to, and my gawd, now I know exactly what they meant when they said,

“Music today sucks. You kids don’t know what real music is.”

Holy crap.

My parents weren’t wrong.

Quick…

NO one tell them I said that.

But with social media, TV and music out of the way, as concrete valid reasons as to WHY people are not reading these days?

What on Earth is left?

Oh…

Movies.

Of course.

[via Deadline]Can ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Help Rescue The Summer Box Office? ~By

This weekend’s domestic box office was off a whopping 28 percent, which has people wondering why. Could it be the quality is just not there?

GIF nod pleased agreeing approval  Nodding GIF

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Yeah, what the hell is going on, right?” said one distributor when I asked. “It’s content driven. We’re in a slump at the moment, but next year will be better. This year, I don’t think it’s any indication that problems are anything but the  content.” As in quality, or lack thereof, and I think that most Deadline readers would concur that though this summer has seen some gems (like The Fault in Our Stars, Apes, Heaven is For Real), they’ve wrapped around some real stinkers (A Million Ways to Die in the West, Moms Night Out).

…[Read More]

Movies are content driven.

When it comes to movies? We all pay (stupid, high ticket prices and an arm, and two legs, for a bucket of popcorn) to go see that which tantalizes our interests.

Stirs our souls.

Unfortunately for movies these days?

Unless the source material for the movie was previously a book? Chances are the movies that Hollywood’s producing are movies we DO NOT want to see.

So…

The most popular movies, the more successful movies, are movies that originate as books.

Hmmm.

Interesting.

An interesting fact that does bring a valid question to mind…

Question being: Why not JUST READ THE FREAKING BOOK?!

Reading.

Not hard at all, no matter what your friends might have said otherwise.

Seriously, try it.

Given all of your other options Social Networking, TV, Music, Movies…

When it comes to entertainment?

Reading is the BEST option you have.

When it comes to reading?

Try it…

Just once.

You will not regret it!

 

Reactionary Animated Gifs – Near-death experiences and your universe!

Whether you are a believer or not?

The fact is…

When it comes to NDEs (near death experiences)?

They make for a fascinating study.

Even if you are a cynic:

[via DailyMail]Is this proof near-death experiences ARE real? Extraordinary new book by intensive care nurse reveals dramatic evidence she says should banish our fear of dying ~By Penny Sartori

As a nurse, I’m always cheered when I see a patient who appears to be making a good recovery. That certainly seemed the case with 60-year-old Tom Kennard, who’d been suffering from sepsis after surgery for cancer.

After a couple weeks in the intensive care ward, he was well enough to be moved from his hospital bed to a chair. Moments later, however, he suddenly slumped into unconsciousness.

There was no doubt at all that he was out cold. He responded neither to my urgent questions nor to the painful pressure of my Biro on his fingernails.

Worse still, his skin became clammy, his oxygen levels dropped and his blood pressure plummeted — clear signs that his condition had become critical.

As I quickly gave him extra oxygen, I called out to the other nurses in the intensive care unit. Four of them immediately flocked to Tom’s bedside, and we gently helped return him to his bed as we called for a doctor urgently.

He was still unresponsive when the doctor arrived, followed a few minutes later by a consultant.

Indeed, Tom didn’t regain full consciousness for another three hours.

Yet, during those three lost hours, he had apparently gone on a life-changing journey. His first sensation, he told me afterwards, was of ‘floating upwards to the top of the room. I looked down and I could see my body on the bed. It was lovely, so peaceful — and no pain at all.’

In the next moment, the hospital ward had disappeared and he’d entered a pink room, in which his father was standing next to a man with ‘long black scruffy hair and nice eyes.’ For a time, Tom talked telepathically with his father.

At some point, he became aware that something was touching him. Once again, he was back on the hospital ward ceiling — looking down at me and the doctor.

I was putting a lollipop-shaped instrument into his mouth to clean it, he recalled later.

He could also see a woman beyond the cubicle curtains, who kept twitching them to check on his condition.

Indeed, I can personally verify that everything Tom ‘saw’ while unconscious was 100 per cent accurate — down to the swab I used to moisten his mouth and the names of the consultant and of the physiotherapist lurking behind the curtains.

While all this was going on, Tom heard the man with the scruffy hair say: ‘He’s got to go back.’ This came as a blow: he remembers desperately wanting to stay.

Shortly after that, he told me, ‘I was floating backwards and went back into my body on the bed.’

His pain was excruciating, but he could still vividly recall how peaceful he had felt in that pink room. ‘Pen,’ he told me, ‘if that’s death, it’s wonderful.’

This near-death experience had two significant effects on his life. First, Tom says, it completely removed any fear of dying.

Even more extraordinary is what happened to his right hand, which had been frozen since birth into a claw-like ndesposition.

(This had been noted on his hospital admission form, and his sister has since signed a statement confirming it.)

Yet, in front of me, soon after his near-death experience, Tom opened and flexed that same hand. This should not have been physiologically possible, as the tendons had permanently contracted. What had caused this sudden, seemingly spontaneous healing? Even now, science has  no answers.

But when you study near-death experiences, as I have for the past couple of decades, you grow used to phenomena that defy all rational explanation.

Take, for instance, the case of Fred Williams, a Swansea pensioner in his 70s who was suffering from the final stages of a terminal heart problem.

One night in hospital, he lost consciousness and we feared he was about to die.

But he somehow managed to keep his faltering grip on life. And when he eventually came to, I noticed at once that he looked very happy. My colleagues also remarked on this.

By the following morning, Fred had recovered sufficiently to see his anxious relatives.

To their astonishment, he told them that he’d been visited — while unconscious — by his mother and grandmother, both of whom were dead, as well as by his (living) sister. They’d just stood by his bedside, keeping vigil.  ‘I couldn’t understand why  my sister was there as well,’  he remarked.

Unknown to him, his sister had actually died the week before.

Fearing the news might jeopardise his recovery, his family had kept it from him. Poor Fred never learned the truth, and died a week later.

But possibly the most extraordinary case I know of personally is that of a Moroccan woman in her late 30s, who ran a clothes business.

In November 2009, Rajaa Benamour had an anaesthetic injection for minor surgery, after which she found herself mentally scrolling through her entire life, right back to her birth. This was followed by what she could only describe as a rapid review of the creation of the universe. After being discharged from hospital, she started trying to find books about what she’d learned during her vision.

Eventually, she realised that she had somehow acquired an in-depth understanding of quantum physics — despite never having previously known anything about the subject.

This motivated her to study the subject at university level.

The professor in charge of her studies was astounded. The knowledge she’d already acquired, he said, could not have come either from studying student textbooks or taking a quick course.

Stranger still, he was puzzled by some of her scientific theories — yet they’ve since been confirmed by papers published in  physics journals.

As a staff nurse who’s worked in intensive care at British hospitals for 17 years, I’ve seen thousands of patients die.

Some were heavily drugged or hooked up to numerous machines; many were no longer able to speak.

Back in 1995, I began to wonder: is death so terrible that we must do everything in our power to delay it with powerful drugs and machines? What is death, anyway? What happens when we die? Why are we so afraid of it?

So I began reading about death — and eventually came across the concept of near-death experiences, or NDEs. People who’d experienced these strange and intense visions all seemed to be saying the same thing: death is nothing to fear. Could they be right? My scientific training told me that NDE’s were almost certain to be hallucinations. Or wishful thinking.

But, in the end, I decided to embark on a PhD on near-death experiences, while continuing to work in intensive care.

I began my eight-year study as a cynic. But by the time it  ended, I was convinced that near-death experiences are a genuine phenomenon.

…[Read More – Read The Whole Fascinating Article HERE!]

What IS the truth?

Pretty sure it is not one, we as individuals, will each fully know, grasp and acknowledge…

Until we take the great journey ourselves.

But one thing IS for sure, for those that have experienced NDEs…

They transform the people who have experienced them.

And because they do, maybe Science should scoff at them a little less…

While getting to the study of them a little more.

For there IS something there, something great…

[Source]

Something FANTASTIC to be discovered.

If we but just open ourselves…

A little bit more.

News Mash: Certain nightmares are common. Thank dog for this nightmare dream-catcher!

We all have ’em.

Nightmares.

And they SUCK!

But do you know, which nightmares…

Are the most common?

[via io9]What is the most common nightmare? ~Robert T. Gonzalez

Scientists have been investigating nightmares for over a century. Their work has resulted in some seriously bizarre findings, but nothing is more strange than the discovery of what people’s most common nightmares are.

The night aligns with eyes that see

A Strange Fact About Nightmares

Before we begin, it’s important to be clear about what we mean when we talk about “nightmares.” A true nightmare, as defined by sleep researchers and standard diagnostic texts, is a disturbing, emotionally intense dream that ends with the dreamer waking from sleep. It doesn’t matter if your psyche just cooked up the most metaphysically sublime dreamscape this side of a bad acid trip – if you don’t wake up, the experience is technically classified not as a nightmare, but as a “bad dream.” (Also not to be confused with nightmares: night terrors.)

In a study to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Sleep, clinical psychologist Antonio Zadra – a leader in the field of dream research at the University of Montreal – lists several reasons why a more comprehensive view of nightmare content has yet to take shape. Following a review of twelve studies that have examined nightmare content in adults since 1935 (including three co-authored by himself), Zadra concludes that such investigations tend to “vary greatly in the population examined… and in the instruments used to investigate nightmare content.” In the majority of the studies Zadra reviewed, the analysis of nightmare content was based on questionnaires and interviews. But the “gold standard” for the study of nightmares, he writes, is a log or journal, updated daily by a test subject. “Questionnaires or similar retrospective instruments can yield inaccurate dream reports due to the fragile nature of dreams’ long term recall,” he notes, “as well as memory and saliency biases.” Zadra later elaborates:

When asked to think of a nightmare, most subjects are likely to recall particularly intense, unusual, or otherwise salient nightmares rather than more typical experiences. This may explain why themes of falling and of being chased are among the most frequently reported themes in studies based on questionnaire or interview data while appearing much less frequently in prospective logs.

…[Read More]

Usually the ones…

Where you are either falling down, or some bast*ard, house-sized spider, is chasing you.

Oh.

The spider deal?

Just me then.

That’s cool.

For I too…

Have a nightmare guardian:

[via DailyMail] Puppies protect woman during bad dream by lying in bed with her

  • The dogs jump in bed with the woman as soon as they hear her having a bad dream
  • The video is one of over 1,700 uploaded to Charles and Alli Trippy’s video blog, which has been updated every day for five years
  • The blog went viral after it began chronicling the young couple dealing with Charles’ brain cancer diagnosis and surgeries

By Ryan Gorman

A video blog famous for filming a brain cancer surgery may have proof in a recent post that dogs can detect humans having nightmares.

In the video posted online, Charles Trippy says that whenever wife Alli Trippy has a bad dream, their two dogs jump on the bed and lay with her – one at her head and one at her feet. The video shows the two dogs laying on the bed as if to protect her.

nightmarer dream catcher [Source]

The couple’s video blog first became famous for filming his cancer surgery and has been viewed hundreds of millions of times.

CLICK LINK FOR VIDEO

…[Read More]

Gotta love those four-legged, furry friends.

For they protect us…

Even in our dreams.

News Mash: Watch this commercial & cry…Butterflies will love you for it!

Huh.

Chalk THIS (below) one up to…

‘Interesting facts to know and learn’

What am I talking about here?

Oh…

How about the fact that Amazonian butterflies & bees?

Drink tears:

[via io9]Amazonian butterflies and bees drink the tears of turtles ~Lauren Davis

It sounds poetic, but it’s apparently true: in the Amazon, bees and, more often, butterflies, flap around the heads of turtles to drink their salty, salty tears. It’s truly a sight to behold.

Really, I would recommend heading over to LiveScience to see some of the photographs of butterflies crowding the faces of turtles. The butterflies sometimes blind the turtles, sometimes making them oblivious to photographers and easier to capture on camera.

…[Read More]

The fact that they do?

Does inspire THIS ponderism:

Just how thirsty are Amazonian butterflies & bees?

They better be REAL thirsty!

Cause if you can watch THIS (below) video and not shed nary a one?

[via The Blaze]The Commercial Being Heralded as One of the Best in a While, and It’s For… ~

It’s not exactly a big secret that companies frequently use emotion to sell their products. However, this commercial for a cell phone company in Thailand may win the prize for being the best at causing a tear-filled reaction

“Giving,” the 3:03 commercial for Thailand’s True Move mobile phone service has generated more than three million views in less than five days. Why has this extra-large ad gone viral? It’s not because True Move is selling a revolutionary new piece of technology. This mini-movie has a simple but great lesson attached to it.

The story begins with a young boy getting caught stealing medicine for his sick mother.

we make a living by what we get

A small restaurant owner intercedes on the boy’s behalf, paying for the medicine and also giving the child some soup to take home to his ailing mom.

The story jumps ahead thirty years and finds the kind restauranteur is afflicted by a medical emergency that threatens his life and his family’s financial well being.

…[Read More]

Then?

No…

You do not deserve to have your tears drunk by butterflies.

Oh, yeah…

And you have no soul.

Just sayin’.

News Mash: Forget Putin…You should aspire greatness & exceptionalism!

The President of Russia, Vladamir Putin…

Thinks aspiring towards exceptionalism?

Not only a very BAD idea…

But a very dangerous one as well:

 

However THIS (below) kid?

With his fantastic list of ambitions…

Laughs (inadvertently) in the face of Vladamir Putin.

And good for him:

[via io9]If all kids were this ambitious, we’d probably have time travel by 2030 ~ by Robert T. Gonzalez

Redditor elbostonian’s son was asked to draw up a list of personal goals for his fourth year of primary school.

Aspire towards greatness

What he came up with was a check list that every one of us could probably stand to aspire to.

1. Learn the gases pushed from Hyper novas

2. Drink 1 gallon of milk in 1 day without going to the bathroom

3. find if you are sent in a worm hole or traveling in time When Entering a black hole

4. Play COd with Ethan and Matthew

5. become a nerd

6. Eat a rack of ribs that is coverd in bacon

7. learn How to

…[Read More]

Ignore the ramblings of dic [tators]…

(What – I added the “tator”)

Who are threatened by anyone different than themselves.

And to the point?

Where any difference is seen as a,  “OMG–D A N G E R !!!!!!!!”

And yes, by different?

I definitely DO refer to those far more exceptional than the ones b*tching about it.

Be WHO you are and do so proudly.

Be exceptional.

Just…

Be.

News Mash: Less manly men? Live longer and are better parents!

For men?

It’s a fair trade-off really.

Have smaller testicles?

Be a better parent:

[via ScienceBlog]Testicle size correlates with men’s involvement in toddler care

Smaller testicular volumes also correlate with more nurturing-related brain activity in fathers as they are looking at photos of their own children, the study shows.

“Our data suggest that the biology of human males reflects a trade-off between mating and parenting effort,” says Emory anthropologist James Rilling, whose lab conducted the research.

The goal of the research is to determine why some fathers invest more energy in parenting than others. “It’s an important question,” Rilling says, “because previous studies have shown that children with more involved fathers have better social, psychological and educational outcomes.”

Life History Theory holds that evolution optimizes the allocation of resources toward either mating or parenting to maximize fitness. “Our study is the first to investigate whether human anatomy and brain function explain this variance in parenting effort,” says Jennifer Mascaro, who led the study as a post-doctoral fellow in the Rilling lab.

While many economic, social and cultural factors likely influence a father’s level of caregiving, the researchers wanted to investigate possible biological links.

They knew that lower levels of testosterone in men have been correlated with greater paternal involvement, and that higher levels of the hormone predict divorce as well as polygamy.

…[Read More]

And if that isn’t enough to sway you guys…

That being less manly is really a good thing?

OK…

Then how about this:

[via DiscoverMagazine]More “feminine” men are less likely to die from heart disease. ~by Seriously Science

It’s well known that men have higher rates of heart disease than women. But is there a difference between “girlier” and “manlier” men when it comes to heart disease death rates? This study surveyed over 1500 men and women to determine whether femininity vs. masculinity was associated with risk of death from coronary heart disease. They found that men identified as “feminine” or “expressive” had a lower risk of death from heart disease than those who had a more stereotypically masculine self-image, suggesting that differences in heart disease death rates between men and women might not solely be physiological. Maybe the stereotypically masculine men are just too stubborn to go to the doctor?

Decreased risk of death from coronary heart disease amongst men with higher ‘femininity’ scores: a general population cohort study.

…[Read More]

Honestly, guys…

Don’t buck the Science.

Being a bit feminine, and in touch with the softer side of you, these days?

Never a bad thing…

Right?

Don't hate me
[Source – Sephora has the spirit of a warrior, which means fighting to always be the best]

In fact?

I think it’s rather beautiful.

So, come on guys…

Embrace the softer side of you.

It can only benefit you.

Both…

Inside and out.

News Mash: Bible Sequels Underway…So Keep Calm, For God Is Awesome!

Did you know…

The Bible is cool now.

No, really…

It’s totally a thing:

[via Gawker]America Will Now Be Entertained By Bible Sequels ~Ken Layne

All the good superheroes are used up, so the next fun entertainment for Americans will be various sequels and spinoffs from the Holy Bible. A lot of Americans still claim to believe in the Christian religion: 77 percent say they still follow the breakaway Jewish sect, which remains a huge demographic even if it’s down considerably from its 90 percent market penetration a half century ago.

The new show, Beyond the Bible, will follow some of the characters who weren’t killed off in the last miniseries. (The popular Jesus character will not return, unless the producers come up with some far-fetched gimmick like “it was all a dream.”)Meanwhile, Ridley Scott is doing a Gladiator-style take on the Book of Exodus (the one with Moses), and camp legend Russell Crowe is starring as Noah for another big-budget melodrama.

…[Read More]

The Word is making a resurgence!

And the fact that it is?

Apparently totally ticking atheists off…

People who have spent YEARS trying to make the Bible, and faith in general, LESS of a thing.

Though?

They have a difficult time explaining exactly WHY they believe just that:

Published on Aug 6, 2013

Like Us? http://www.facebook.com/EvolutionVsGo…
DVD purchases and downloadable Study Guide available at http://www.EvolutionVsGod.com

Hear expert testimony from leading evolutionary scientists from some of the world’s top universities:

• Peter Nonacs, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA
• Craig Stanford, Professor, Biological Sciences and Anthropology, USC
• PZ Myers, Associate Professor, Biology, University of Minnesota Morris
• Gail E. Kennedy, Associate Professor, Anthropology, UCLA

A study of the evidence of vestigial organs, natural selection, the fifth digit, the relevance of the stickleback, Darwin’s finches and Lenski’s bacteria—all under the microscope of the Scientific Method–observable evidence from the minds of experts. Prepare to have your faith shaken.

Faith.

You see?

No matter the side, we all have it in some small way.

Though one side these days?

Far more popular than others.

Keep Calm God Is Awesome

News Mash: No need to be a Christian to find happiness on social networks…Enter: Happier.com!

Socialization should not be a bad thing…

Or should it be something to be looked at in a negative fashion.

However, as anyone knows who frequents the internet?

Oh, it often is.

At least that is the case, when comes to numerous social networking sites, such as Twitter.

Unless you are Christian.

Then?

It’s not such a bad thing after all:

Christian people post happier tweets on Twitter!

[via eScience]Study: Christians tweet more happily, less analytically than atheists

A computer analysis of nearly 2 million text messages (tweets) on the online social network Twitter found that Christians use more positive words, fewer negative words and engage in less analytical thinking than atheists. Christians also were more likely than atheists to tweet about their social relationships, the researchers found. The findings are reported in the journal Social Psychological & Personality Science.

“Whether religious people experience more or less happiness is an important question in itself,” the authors of the new analysis wrote. “But to truly understand how religion and happiness are related we must also understand why the two may be related.”

To identify Christian and atheist Twitter users, the researchers studied the tweets of more than 16,000 followers of a few prominent Christian and atheist personalities on Twitter. They analyzed the tweets for their emotional content (the use of more positive or negative words), the frequency of words (such as “friend” and “brother”) that are related to social processes, and the frequency of their use of words (such as “because” and “think”) that are associated with an analytical thinking style.

Overall, tweets by Christians had more positive and less negative content than tweets by atheists, the researchers report. A less analytical thinking style among Christians and more frequent use of social words were correlated with the use of words indicating positive emotions, the researchers also said.

“If religious people are indeed happier than nonreligious people, differences in social support and thinking style may help to explain why,” said University of Illinois graduate student Ryan Ritter, who conducted the research with U. of I. psychology professor Jesse Preston and graduate student Ivan Hernandez.

The findings are also in line with other studies linking greater levels of social connectedness to higher well-being, Ritter said.

“Religious communities are very social. Just being a member of a religious group connects people to others, and it may be this social connection that can make people happier,” Preston said.

…[Read More]

As any Christian will tell you, “Happy is hard.”

It takes a lot of work to remain positive, in an often very UN-positive world (See: Any major news report going today).

In fact it is much easier to devolve into lazy negativity.

But happy, BEING happy, has so many benefits and if you can ever achieve that frame of mind?

It is worth every bit of hard work, to seek out those both little and big precious moments of happiness, in order to fully achieve it.

Thankfully, when it comes to social networking sites, one BRILLIANT lady has indeed figured that out:

[via Bizjournals]Boston startup Happier: Why life isn’t always good — but can always be better ~Kyle Alspachbe happier

Something you should know about Nataly Kogan: While she is the founder of a new social network focused entirely on the happy moments of life, she isn’t an unstoppably upbeat person.

But after finding herself complaining about the rainy weather a few weeks ago, for instance, she discovered an antidote on the site of her Boston startup, Happier; someone had posted about loving the sound of the rain pounding their window.

And it made Kogan think: Hey, things aren’t actually that bad — I’m inside and warm. “It really made me appreciate my own moment,” she said.

Happier, backed by $2.4 million in venture funding, has gained more than 100,000 users since its site went live in February. Kogan describes it this way: “We’re building this community of people who make each other happy by posting happy things — who also get a lot of happy feelings when they read others.”

…[Read More]

Good for her.

A social networking site called, “Happier“, seriously?

Oh, honey…

Consider me there!

And thank you, Nataly Kogan, for being so awesome.

News Mash: Although you may not believe, others do.

Is it possible for the belief in evolution and the belief in God to co-exist?

Apparently.

Because, people today?

Believe that a Higher power has played some part…

In evolution.

[via WashingtonCBSLocal]Poll: Majority Of Americans Believe God Played Role In Human Evolution

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — A new poll finds that a majority of Americans believe that God played a part in the evolution of humans.

YouGov survey shows that 62 percent of Americans believe God helped create humans. Thirty-seven percent of those believe God created human beings in their present form within the last 10,000 years while 25 percent believe human beings evolved from lesser life forms over millions of years but God guided the process. Only 21 percent believe that God did not play a part in human evolution.

Seventeen percent of those polled were not sure if God played a part in the existence of humans.

YouGov found that more people favored having creationism taught in schools than those that opposed. Forty percent of those polled believe that intelligent design – the belief that God created the universe – should be taught in public schools, while 32 percent opposed such teachings. Twenty-nine percent of Americans were not sure if creationism should be taught.

The poll also found that those who say God played no part in human evolution rose from 13 percent in 2004 to 21 percent in 2013, an 8 percent increase.

…[Read More]

For all you out there who scoff at the very idea that there does indeed exist SOMETHING out there, which most people refer to as God (though the definition vastly depends on individual belief systems), that remains undefined by science?

Just know that there are those who exist who have had undefined, unexplained experiences which reaffirm the belief…

In the “otherworldly” (for lack of a better term):

[via TheBlaze]Daughter Who Lived in Real-Life ‘Conjuring’ House Gives TheBlaze the Most Terrifying, do you believeGhostly Details That Didn’t Make the Movie ~Billy Hallowell

The Conjuring” was a box office smash over the weekend, bringing in a total of $41.5 million. And it’s no surprise, as the creepy plot, stirring trailers and rampant media coverage have created quite a bit of intrigue.

Last week, TheBlaze brought you a review of the movie and we also profiled Chad and Carey Hayes, the brothers who penned the script. This week, we spoke with Andrea Perron, 55, one of the daughters who is depicted in the film, who lived in the farmhouse for a decade and who says it was haunted.

Perron, who was 12-years-old when her family moved into the home in Burrillville, Rhode Island, told TheBlaze about some of the real-life details that weren’t included in the movie. She also clarified a few of the differences between what she claims actually happened and the movie’s depiction of various events.

Perron’s Experience in the Home

Appearances of spirits were allegedly rampant inside the house. In fact, Perron claims that she and her sisters saw a ghost on the first day they arrived. As they were bringing boxes into the home, she recalls seeing a man standing inside the dining room.

“I saw my first full-body apparition at the age of 12 on the day that we moved into the farm,” she said, noting that she, at first, assumed he was an actual person. “He looked totally mortal … I just said good morning and kept walking.”

And from there, the situation intensified. Perron said that she began using a journal to document the bizarre experiences as they unfolded.

Despite the horrifying events shown in the film and the creepy nature of the story, itself, Perron said that she doesn’t have any fear today. Ironically, she calls the 10 years that her family spent in the home “the most enlightening decade” of her life.

“I learned from the tender age of 12 to live fearlessly, because I know that we are all essentially spirit,” she said, also describing herself as a “spiritual” person. “The thing that’s most important to me is to know that there’s something beyond our mortal experience.”

But while living in the home showed Perron that a spiritual world exists beyond what we see immediately in front of our eyes, that doesn’t mean that the experience wasn’t terrifying. In fact, it was so jarring that she claims it took her and her family 30 years to prepare themselves to come forward and share the details — an act that she said was also dependent on how ready the world was to hear their harrowing tale.

…[Read More]

People believe.

People will ALWAYS believe, in one way or another.

It only comes down to the individual definitions which are in debate.

Or should be.

Though sadly, despite experiences?

That is seldom the case to the hardcore advocates (on both sides) who, unfortunately?

Make the topic, no matter your stance, miserable for everyone.

What a shame.