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All about the ins and outs of writing

Apr
24

Stampede, WPA public mural at the Odessa, Texas post office by Tom Lea

 

 

 

Stampede Mesa

Somewhere in West Texas, there is a real place called Stampede Mesa. It is situated east of Lubbock,  along the Blanco River on a private ranch. There is a ghost story attached to this high spot of grass that many researchers belief is the origin for the song, Ghost Riders in the Sky. Furthermore, it is completely, plausible that the lively story might have traveled by word-of-mouth from West Texas to Arizona, where the author was born and raised.

Portrait of the singing park ranger, Stan Jones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost Riders in the Sky

The song was originally written in 1948 by a relatively unknown songwriter of the name, Stan Jones. At the time, Stan was a Death Valley National Park ranger, who wrote songs on the side. During his lifetime, he recorded over 100 songs with the Ghost Rider tune, being by far the most popular. Jones, who grew up on an Arizona ranch, claims to have heard the story while he was kid.

Burl Ives was the first major recording artist to pick up on the number. He did so in 1949, after being sent the song by Eden Ahbez, an iconic California folksinging character, who was best known for living under the grandiose Hollywood sign, before being discovered by Nat King Cole in 1947. Since its initial release, Ghost Riders has been performed by over 50 musicians. Styles vary from full out, loud rockin’ country as done by the Outlaws to a simple folksinger’s tale as Don Edwards does in the following video.

 

 

A Real Texas Ghost Story

The story of Stampede takes place back in the 19th century during the heyday of the cattle drives. According to legend, a band of cowboys were driving 1500 head of cattle from South Texas to Kansas. While traveling along the Blanco River in West Texas, the group approached a flat-topped mesa that overlooked the river.

Since there was good grazing on top, they drove their heard up on the small plateau, being careful not to get too close to the large cliff that overlooked the river. Much to their surprise they encountered an old man, who was camped out with his own small herd of about 50 steers. Without much discussion, the drovers from the South decided to share the mesa with the old man.

Unfortunately, this decision did not sit well with the old man, for sometime in the middle of the night, he arose and deliberately started a stampede that killed 1200 head of cattle and two cowboys. Then, he hightailed it away from the mesa, but the cowboys tracked him down and brought him back to camp.

For his callous crimes, the old man was blindfolded, placed on a horse and driven off the cliff. From that day on, the hallowed place has been known as Stampede Mesa. Not surprisingly, the land is believed to be haunted with strange sounds and apparitions of cattle stampeding being reported by those who travel along the Blanco River.

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Apr
23

An American Paint Horse at a horse show in the Czech Republic, photo by Karakal from Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Death of the Old West

Depending on who you talk to, rumors of the death of the Old West, may be somewhat exaggerated. Some say it died when the railroads started carrying beef on the hoof to places like Kansas City and Chicago. Others say it died when barbed wire was invented. Even today, there are those that infer that the Old West lasted until the automobile and paved roads became the norm for transportation. And finally, there are those that believe that the Old West may still exist in small pockets, where a few determined herders somehow manage to work what’s left of the open range.

The Search

Back during the Roaring Twenties, when speakeasies and Jazz music were the rage, Carl Sandburg went on a search. He was looking for genuine cowboy songs from the Old West. To do this properly, the young Midwesterner dropped out of college, crisscrossed the western mountains and prairies, looking for old remnants of years gone by. Somewhere in the high desert of New Mexico, he came across this beauty of a song.

What’s an Old Paint

First of all, an Old Paint is a type of horse common to the American West. Basically, it is a stock horse with a “pinto” pattern of color. The splotched color separates this breed from the solid, American quarter horse. Except for the color pattern, the two types of horses are similar in size, build and stock. Nonetheless, they are considered two separate breeds, which are both quite popular among American horsemen.

About the Song

Too many, “I Ride an Old Paint”, embodies the spirit of the Old West, as well as any folk song. There are many wonderful elements to the horseman’s tale, but perhaps the unusual method of burial is most telling about the special appeal for this Western lament. I seriously doubt that many (if any) cowhands were treated this way after leaving the world of the living. Yet still, there is a communion with the outdoor range, rarely expressed in Western music,when the corpse of the main character is tied to the back of his horse and then set loose into the bush.

Carl Sandburg at age 77

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Was Carl Sandburg?

Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois in 1878. After serving in the military in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War, Carl returned to the Midwest, where he worked a variety jobs before he began publishing his own poetry in 1916. As an offshoot of his poetry, he put out a recording of folk songs (1927), gathered from traditional sources. This landmark album included such noted American classics, as the “Sloop John B” and “I Ride an Old Paint”. Over the years, the Old Paint song has one of the most recorded songs in American music.

Apr
21

Earth Day began in 1970, when Richard Nixon was president.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Brief History of Earth Day

Earth Day was the idea of Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson, who came up with the idea in 1969, as a way to promote environmental awareness on a planetary level. In April 1970, the first celebration of Earth Day occurred with the majority of activities, occurring on college campuses and in large urban areas in the U.S. A year later, not only did President Nixon give Earth Day official recognition, but he made April 22 part of Earth Week.

Earth Day is still celebrated today, as over the years, the global challenges have changed and environmental legislation is nowhere as universally popular as it was back in the 70s.

The President and “the King” at the White House in 1970

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Nixon: Our Greenest President?

Richard Nixon was not much of a cowboy, but as an environmentalist, he did pretty good, signing 14 pieces of Environmental legislation during his tenure.This little known fact about our 37th president may come as a surprise to many political observers of that era, especially since he showed little or no interest in environmental issues before becoming president.

Nixon began his environmental legacy in 1969 by signing into law The National Environmental Policy Act, which created environmental impact statements.

Then in 1970, Nixon proposed and pushed through Congress the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, which was quickly followed by the Clean Air Act and the creation of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration}.

By the time Nixon resigned in 1974, he had also passed the Clean Water Act (1972), the Endangered Species Act (1973), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972) and the Safe Drinking Water Act (actually signed by Ford in 1974).

Yes, folks that’s quite a legacy.

Cowboys and Environmentalists

Today, the rancher (and the Cowboy) have their backs against the wall financially, as they face increasing pressure from a changing world to their way of life.  Loss of grazing land is just one challenge, as other threats can come from growing populations in the New West and the a new kind of activism arising from radical environmentalists.

Nonetheless, the Cowboy poets are thriving, as larger audiences thirst for the old storytelling skills of bygone eras. Even though these modern-day bards may be out of sync with the urban reality of rap and slam poetry, they have caught the attention of many, who have never saddled a horse or roped a calf.

Sometimes Cowgirls Don’t Get the Blues

Today, cowboys and cowboy poets are generally pictured as having a close relationship and understanding of the land. However, in today’s complex world, they do not seem to be overly concerned about global warming or climate change.

Perhaps, this attitude is best summarized by Nevada poet and rancher, Carolyn Duferrena.

A Cowgirl Contemplates Climate Change

by Carolyn Duferrena

I have to say it’s kinda nice
Not to spend the winter
Chopping ice,
And to tell you the truth
When I wake up in the morning
The last thing on my mind
Is global warming.
Apr
20

Cowboy Poetry Week occurs in April, which just happens to be National Poetry Month

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Kickoff

Today is not only Easter, but also the kickoff for Cowboy Poetry Week. Since the former event is well covered by the churches and press, I will devote the next seven days to the ridin’, ropin’ poets of the Old (and New) West.

If Jesus Was A Cowboy

The present calendar year presents a small dilemma and unique challenge for fans of the Cowboy poetry genre. Since the first day of the poetry week coincides with the Easter holiday, the question can be asked, “What if Jesus was a cowboy?” On a preliminary note, this sounds kind of fanciful, but in reality a variety of Country and Western singers have pondered the idea and over the years recorded tunes with similar titles. The short list includes Jesus was a Cowboy (Brady Wilson Band), Jesus Was A Country Boy (Clay Walker) and God Must Be a Cowboy (Chris Ladoux). All of these songs are find and dandy for a listen on Easter Sunday, but instead, I have chosen a sincere and thoughtful tune from an obscure singer/songwriter named Kevin Reid. Furthermore, the song is performed by David Glen Eisley, a California rocker of some note.

 

 

What Tomorrow Brings

Tomorrow is Earth Day and the second day of Cowboy Poetry Week, so I will be taking a look at how those two events line up, if they even do at all. And then for the rest of the week, I will delve into the nuts and bolt of Cowboy poetry and all its related art forms, including Cowgirl poetry.

Apr
19

Imaginary friends come in all sizes, shapes and colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imaginary Friend

Sheila never goes anywhere without her imaginary friend with the black umbrella.

Apr
13

Bernie Sanders has again in 2019 declared himself as a candidate for President of the United States

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Sales and Presidential Politics

In recent years, there has been some speculation among cultural observers that book sales can help predict, who the next president will be. If this postulation is true, Bernie Sanders may well have a very good chance on becoming the 46th POTUS.

The reasoning here is based on the current political observation that it is damn near impossible to take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. without good book sales to pave the way. Just take a look at our last three presidents, Trump, Obama and G.W. Bush and you will find a highly successful author lurking in the background. While our current president, Donald J. Trump may be riding his earlier success of the Art of the Deal, his two predecessors both released hugely popular titles just a year or two before the won a national election.

Bernie’s Bibliography

Presently, Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders, has four non-fiction books under his belt. The first title, An Outsider in the White House, which he co-wrote with Huck Gutman in 1997, was recently released in 2015, just as Sanders began to emerge as a national political figure. In 2016, Senator Sanders followed with Our Revolution: A Future To Believe In. And then after losing his White House bid, Bernie has published two more books, Bernie Sanders’ Guide to Political Revolution and Where We Go from Here , both coming with sizable advances. The last two literary efforts have both become national bestsellers, out earning the advances by a substantial margin.

A Nouveau Millionaire

Book sales have made Bernie Sanders a reluctant millionaire. Before becoming a millionaire in 2016, Bernie ranked in the bottom third of senate incomes. (by the way this distinction has been equally shared by Republicans and Democrats) But since his unsuccessful run for the democratic nomination, Bernie has put out a new manuscript that came complete with a high, six figure advance. Since its debut, the book has sold well, more than exceeding the advance in the process.

during the Watergate era Nixon masks were quite popular

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Don’t Forget About Those Presidential Masks

According to Halloween costume retailers, the popularity of presidential costume masks are another possible way of predicting U.S. presidents. This is particularly convenient method because Halloween happens to fall just a few days before election day. So all one has to do is go out on All Hallows Eve and do a manual survey to determine who the next POTUS will be.

One notable proponent of such a method of predicting presidents is Bill Mitchell, San Diego radio host and Trump supporter. According to Mitchell, costume mask sales have successfully going all the way back to 1992 when Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush. Furthermore, Mitchell, has gone on record for predicting a Trump victory in 2016, based solely on the popularity of mask sales.

P.S. Already Bernie has a popular iconic image that by 2020 may well surpass Donald J’s famous hairdo. Just check out the cover of Bernie Sanders’ Guide To Political Revolution and you will see what I am talking about.

Bernie Sanders icon

Apr
11

Health is a clean glass (or bottle) of water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health

Chances are if that you are like most Americans (including yours truly), you don’t drink enough water. Instead, you get your daily liquid requirement from other sources such as milk, soda, beer, tea, coffee or fruit juice just to name a few. Even if you live in a place like Flint, water is still important, though you may have to rely on bottled water for your daily intake.

 

Mar
12

A tree is pictured along with underground abstraction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black and White

Black and white art mediums may some of the least understood method of making visual images. Hence, they are not used as often as color images, but still, in their own way, they can transmit a stark and powerful image.

Mar
08

Some fashion styles from the many Star Wars films

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion (Star Wars style)

Here’s a Star Wars Jedi Master pictured with Aayla Secura from the Clone Wars. The Jedi Master is very stylishly dressed, but he has to be careful. His female antagonist might take his head off.

Feb
15

Digital imagery lends itself well to the theme of “electronic”

Electronic

“Energy Made Visible” has often been a theme in modern abstract art, beginning with the Abstract Expressionists that emerged right after WWII

Jan
31

This penguin is enjoying the Antarctic summertime very much.

Antarctica In the News

Recently, (yesterday to be exact), the mainstream media was having a field day saying that temperatures in the frozen Midwest were so cold, that even the southernmost continent was warmer than places like Fargo, ND and International Falls, MN. This little known fact is actually no big deal, especially if you take into account that the Antarctic is know experiencing summer. And true to its extreme southern location, summer only lasts for two months, (January and February), and daytime temperatures on the coast (that’s where all the scientists and penguins live) do break the freezing mark (32 degrees Fahrenheit) on a regular basis.

On the other hand, the interior Antarctic is a very cold place, where even in the bright, summer sunshine, temperatures may not rise above 50 below (Fahrenheit). By the way, January and February are the months of the year, when those gigantic icebergs are known to break free and begin their journey north. These hunks of ice are so big that it may take several years for one to completely melt, though so far the biggest threat is a rise in sea levels that can be measured in millimeters.

Are You a Flat Earther?

If you think that when it is winter in Duluth, MN it is also winter in Antarctica, then you may be a Flat Earther. For indeed, if the earth was a flat disk flying around the sun, all parts of the planet would experience the same seasonal changes at the same. But because the earth is a globe and a sphere, citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Chile and South Africa celebrate Christmas just as the summer season is beginning. If you don’t believe me, go to Argentina at the end of December and check out the weather for yourself.

Jan
27

The recent discovery of the Whirled Peas Galaxy has set the scientific community abuzz

Galaxy

By recent estimates, there are approximately 2 trillion galaxies in the visible universe. Still, it comes as no small wonder that one of these galaxies is actually made of whirled peas.

Jan
22

Botannicals are an important part of everyone’s life.

Botannicals

The plant kingdom has provided us with some extraordinary specimens.

Jan
17

This Superhero enjoys his hero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Superhero and the Hero

A hero is defined by kitchn.com in this manner: “this sandwich variation hails from New York City, and is seemingly the most versatile. It uses a range of different fillings that span beyond meat and cheese, and can be served warm or cold. “

Obviously, this NYC superhero enjoys his hero very much.

Jan
11

The Milky Way is often viewed as a symbol of soul travel

Heaven and Hell

Are we going to heaven and hell? Everybody what’s to know, but not necessarily in the first person. Maybe, that’s why there are so many different ideas and philosophies, as to what happens to someone when they die. Following is a wildly humorous and satirical account given by John Prine, who is now in his seventh decade on the planet.

 

Need More Info

If you’re desiring more second-hand info on the subject at hand, you might want to check out this deeper exploration of the subject on Spinditty.

Jan
09

Art from a Russian postage stamp depicts a couple and child traveling in space.

The Golden Age of Space Stories

Outer space has always inspired storytellers. One of the great side effects of the Space Race between the U.S.A and the Soviet Union was a great, creative output from science fiction writers. This literary bonanza even spilled over to television and cinema, when epic adventures like Star Trek and Star Wars captured the imaginations of many Americans.

A Novelty Song Becomes a Big Hit

Along with the movies and TV programs of the 60s (and later years) came the music that was related to outer space and space exploration. At first the songs acted as spoofs or satires. This is most evident in the song, entitled The One-horned, One-Eyed, Flying Purple People Eater, which was released and then performed by Sheb Wooley on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. Surprisingly, the off-the-wall song hit the top of the Billboard charts for many weeks. Besides its unparalleled popularity, it may also the been the protege for many like-minded tunes to come in the years that followed. Here is the original version.

A Collection Of Sci-Fi Stories

If you want to check out some other musical Sci-Fi stories from the following decades, check out this article on Spinditty.

 

Jan
08

Ernest Hemingway with marlin. Havana Harbor, Cuba. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hemingway and Cuba

Ernest Hemingway was still married to Pauline Pfeifer, when he discovered the exquisite charm of pre-revolutionary Cuba in 1930. After achieving remarkable success as a writer, Ernest Hemingway, along with his third wife, Martha Gelhorn purchased a chic little hideaway outside of Havana in a small town called San Francisco de Paula.. Here at Finca Vigia (Lookout Farm), Ernest could retreat from the world, but it was also a place where he could sit back and write. During the fifties, Papa Doc as he was often called did just that, when he penned one of this most memorable novels, Old Man and the Sea. All total, Hemingway resided on the island nation for nearly 30 years, writing Islands in the Stream, portions of For Whom the Bells Toll and the Moveable Feast (a Paris memoir), besides the above mentioned Old Man and the Sea.

Hemingway in Music

The colorful life of Ernest Hemingway has inspired many writers and at least a few talented musicians. Beginning with the Hemingway inspired musicians, my recent article on Spinditty takes a brief look at ten musicians who have been inspired the culturally rich Caribbean isle. This brief musical sojourn ends with several musicians, who have always lived in Cuba.

Jan
03

 

Dedicated to those who play winter team sports outdoor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game On

This image is dedicated to all winter sports enthusiasts.

Dec
29

Despite the cheery seasonal facade at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. all is not well in the White House

 

Breakdown On the Potomac

To many citizens of this fair land, the current breakdown of a functional government in Washington may seem like a disaster unfolding. Unfortunately, this viewpoint may not be far off from what is going down in our nation’s capital. Things are not good right now and could possibly even get worse before they get better. Nonetheless, observers of the political scene should keep in mind that our nation and most specifically our government has been there before.

Winter in America

Back during the Watergate era, when the Vietnam War was still going strong, Gil Scott-Heron wrote this biting and inciting song about what was going down at the time (1974). The winter analogy worked well here because eventually, the war ended, Nixon did resign and things in Washington eventually returned to something resembling normal. Current observers of the political scene might do well to invoke the seasonal reference with a realization that a political Spring will arrive (sooner or later) and warmer weather will prevail (at least for a while).

Slipping Into Darkness

In many ways, our current resident of the White House seems to be slipping into darkness, much like his 1974 predecessor. However, there seems to be some things that much more disconcerting about our present situation than with happened back in 1974. Keep in mind these comments come from someone who was 22 years old when Nixon resigned, so I not completely reliant on news accounts for my perspective.

In essence what bothers me the most about our present predicament is the president’s callous disregard for any dissenting voice or argument.

 

Dec
27

Along with White Christmas’s come snowplows and travel headaches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Many White Christmas’s

I presently reside in Salt Lake City, where according to the local media, this place at the edge of the Wasatch Mountains, has experienced 7 out of the last 8 Christmas’s with snow. Of all American cities, this Utah city, along with Spokane, Washington, ranks as one of the two top prospects for experiencing a White Christmas. Hooray…Hooray…Hooray everybody loves a White Christmas.

This Year’s Dilemma

On Christmas Eve 2018 (just a few days ago) the weather forecasters predicted snow for Christmas Day. Hooray!!! Another White Christmas. However, when I awoke on Christmas Day, it was drizzling not snowing. (Those weather people were wrong again). The light rain continued all day long and then after night arrived, a funny thing happened. The rain turned to snow and the snow continued all night long leaving us with a five inch snow cover for Boxing Day (December 26). Alas another White Christmas.

Is It Really a White Christmas?

My question is, can this really be considered a White Christmas, especially since the majority of the white stuff did not come down till after the midnight hour. As you can well see, this is a very important question, since Salt Lake City is running neck and neck with Spokane as the White Christmas capital of America. My guess is that since a measurable amount of snow (about one inch) did fall within the 24 hour period, it will officially be declared a White Christmas. Yet, there is still the valid argument that since only rain fell during Christmas daytime hours, this cannot considered a White Christmas.

White Christmas by the Drifters

 

Irving Berlin’s Left Out Verse

And while we’re on the topic of White Christmas, it might be fun to look out the opening verse that got left out of the most popular song ever, when Bing Crosby first recorded the sweet tune back in the 40s. Nothing earth shaking here just a nifty insight to what Mr. Berlin was thinking when he wrote the song.

The sun is shining, the grass is green,
The orange and palm trees sway.
There’s never been such a day
in Beverly Hills, L.A.
But it’s December the twenty-fourth,—
And I am longing to be up North

 

Dec
26

Since King Wenceslas lived back in the tenth century, portraits of the popular saint vary widely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Duke Not A King

In real life King Wenceslas was actually a Duke, the Duke of Bohemia to be exact. Furthermore, he went by the name of Vaclav the Good. Only after his death at the hands of his brother, was the duke honored with the title of king. This privileged name was bestowed on the Duke by the Roman Emperor to honor the success that Wenceslas had had in spreading Christianity in pagan Central Europe.

Boxing Day and the Feast of Saint Stephen

In the song, the story of King Wenceslas helping a peasant takes place on the Feast of Saint Stephen, which occurs on the day after Christmas, December 26, also known as Boxing Day. Despite the antics of the four Irish Rovers, Boxing Day is a day of giving gifts (usually in boxes).

 

Dec
25

 Merry Christmas from the Blue Fox Cafe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Christmas Spider

In some parts of Europe, decorative spiders and spider webs can be found on the Christmas tree, as a symbol of good luck. In essence, spiders have a lot of good things going for them. Unlike fleas, mosquitoes, ticks and mites, they don’t carry diseases and the death rate from their bites is vastly overrated, as a spider bite rarely causes death. On the other, the biggest killer in the animal kingdom may be the meager, six-legged bee.

So maybe it is time to appreciate the spider, especially since their webs trap large number of insects.

In Central and Eastern Europe, ornaments like this spider and web may be found hanging from a Christmas evergreen

Dec
23

Christmas is a great time for telling ghost stories and listening to whacked out Christmas music

Christmas Is a Great Time for Self-expression

Christmas only rolls around once a year and whether you just celebrate December 25th or all 12 days of Christmastide, this Christian holiday has a way of encompassing many types of free expression. Nowhere is this more evident than with the ridiculously large number Christmas tunes that are released at the end of each calendar year. Following are a few worth noting.

Remember the Twist

I think it was Chubby Checker that broke out with the twist, but hats off to Si Cranstoun for coming up with this spicy version. Chubby rarely had it so good.

 

Father Christmas

Charles Dickens really let loose on British Society, when he wrote the Christmas Carol. Though not as widely disseminated as Dickens classic, this Kinks story put to song is sure to raise a few eyebrows.

The Season’s Upon Us

Think you have a dysfunctional family. Then maybe you should check out this video by the Dropkick Murphys and all of a sudden your loved ones will seem quite normal and well-adjusted.

Christmas Lights by Coldplay

Do you live in a place, where it seldom snows at Christmas time? Then you might enjoy this contemporary song by Coldplay.

Christmas from Outer Space

What if the angel, Gabriel, was a space traveler from afar. Sounds farfetched but Chris de Burgh makes it sound possible in this very unusual, but beautifully rendered Christmas tale. Well worth the listen.

Must Be Santa

Bob Dylan has never been one to shy away from his appreciation of Christian beliefs. Despite his enormous monetary success, Dylan has frequently released Christmas-inspired songs, as the winter season approaches. This video, titled Must Be Santa, puts one of those tunes into the visual realm.

 

Dec
20

This winter house appears to be cozy and warm.

Dec
12

One of the better known chefs around the world is this guy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chef

Here is the Swedish Chef showing off one of his masterful creations.

Dec
05

Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, is selling quite well.

The Memoir

Michelle’s Obama’s memoir begins with her childhood, growing up on the gritty, south side of Chicago and as we all know, ends with her eight year residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the District of Columbia. The theme of the book is how her unexpected rise in position came about and also how her Cinderella-like story can inspire others to improve their own lot.

Tracking Sales

No matter how you look at it, sales figures for Michelle Obama are going through the roof. After just 15 days on the market, Becoming, the memoir of former First Lady, Michelle Obama, has sold over two million books in Canada and the U.S., thus making it the most successful non-fiction title of 2018. And just think, sales figures for this narrative have nowhere to go but up, for Christmas is just around the corner and it is safe to assume that many copies of this story will somehow find their way under the Christmas tree.

Michelle and Barack Obama meet Queen Elizabeth, wikipedia photo by Pete Souza. Reportedly, the Queen advised the American First Lady that royal protocol is all rubbish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Better Half of the Equation

When Barrack Obama became an ex-president, one of his first orders of business was to nail down a book contract. However, much to the delight of readers, all around the globe, President Obama had a co-conspirator in this post-presidential ritual. And that would be none other than his wife and former First Lady, Michelle Obama.

As negotiations between the publishers and the Obamas continued, it became clear that the major publishing companies (also known as the Big Five) were just as interested in Michelle’s story, as they were in the president’s. In fact, some sources suggest that the First Lady was the big ticket and not the President. Early book sales suggest that the publishers knew their business very well, even with a 65 million dollar price tag, attached to the two literary releases.

Nov
01

The water witch of the forest, drawing by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Witch

All Saints Day is a great time to honor the water witch For not only does she find us fresh water for our homes, but she protects the rivers, streams, brooks, lakes and ponds for us to enjoy.

Oct
25

A ghost in the house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost

The nights are getting colder and longer, perfect time for a good ghost story.

Oct
18

This magical island with a church that is only accessible by boat really does exist, drawing by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magical

This small, Eastern European island with the rather large church really does exist, It is a popular place to attend mass and get married.

Oct
11

Too Close for Comfort, a picture of a tiger in the grass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat

This big cat is way too close for comfort.

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