Presidential Quotations

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“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

                                                            George Washington

 

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“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”

                                                          Theodore Roosevelt

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“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

                                                          John F. Kennedy

 

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“Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it. Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”

                                                         Barack Obama

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Quotations on Courage

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I have focused on this theme before, but I believe it is always important.

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“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”    Edmund Burke

While today, we would say people instead of men, the importance of  the message remains. When evil or the potential for it exists, it must be opposed.

 

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“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”     Albert Einstein

Both men from very different times and different political and social backgrounds give a moral imperative to people to stand up to evil, that it cannot and should not be ignored.

Science-Fiction Films of the 1950s: The Day The Earth Stood Still

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The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) was a brilliant science-fiction film that set the standards, in many ways, for other following films.  One of the great strengths of the genre of science-fiction as well as horror and fantasy is its ability to comment on direct issues in contemporary society.  In this 20th Century Fox film, the director, Robert Wise uses the arrival of an alien spaceship on earth as a cautionary message about the potential of the human race to cause its own self-destruction through atomic warfare.

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https://en.wikipedia.org

The core plot element is that beings from advanced civilizations on other planets have found people on earth have developed both nuclear weapons and a space program. They have sent an emissary, Klaatu, played by Michael Rennie, to deliver a gift and a warning to the people of Earth.  The gift, a small box, was destroyed by a frightened soldier who thought it was a threat. In reality, it was a device that would have allowed humans to study the universe. With the gift gone, what is left is a warning that if human beings insist on bringing their atomic weapons and violence into space with them, then earth and its inhabitants will be destroyed utterly. This message is a quietly subversive challenge through what was seen as just a movie to the nuclear states of the world.

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A staple of science-fiction, both cinema and television is the robot.  This kind of machine will figure into film in many ways from the earliest days to recent film.  The Day The Earth Stood Still has such a machine in Gort, a robot that serves as an aide  to the alien Klaatu.  Earth people view it as a threat, as they do everything alien, which is yet another point to the movie.  Xenophobia and bigotry, unfortunate human capacities, were at the forefront of American society in the late 1940s and 1950s.  If someone was different from the so-called norm, then they were somehow bad and immoral.  This will be the main point of the next movie I will examine in this series: Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The Day The Earth Stood Still was a critical success and has been named by several film organizations as one of the most important films of American cinema.  If you have not yet seen this movie, and I am NOT talking about the remake, then I recommend it highly.

 

More Reading and Writing Quotations

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“Read a lot. Reading really helps. Read anything you can get your hands on.”                                    J. K. Rowling

 

“I always advise children who ask me for tips on being a writer to read as much as they possibly can. Jane Austen gave a young friend the same advice, so I’m in good company there.”                                         J. K. Rowling

 

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“Believe in yourself. Keep writing.”  Neil Gaiman

“Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you’ve never been. Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.”                                              Neil Gaiman

 

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“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”            Ray Bradbury

“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

                                                                  Ray Bradbury

The Spirit Animal Blog Award

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I was delighted to receive a nomination from Tadhg https://askateenageaspie.wordpress.com for The Spirit Animal Blog Award.  Thank you very much, Tadhg for thinking of me; I am deeply honored by your consideration.  If any of you have not seen his blog, please visit it, and discover a witty, artistic, and poetic young man.

The Rules of the Award:

1.) Thank the blogger who nominated you, and link back to that page.

2.) Post the award picture on your blog.

3.) Write a short paragraph about yourself and what your blog means to you.

4.) If you could be any animal, what would you be?

5.) Pick and notify ten nominees.

A Little About Me And What My Blog Means To Me:

I am a writer who has come to writing later in life and a college teacher for several decades. I am committed to an exploration of life and ideas. Reading has always been a crucial part of who I am, and I am blessed with being able to share that love of books in both my classes and now through my blog.  I hope to be able to share the work that I am producing through my novel writing and to connect with others who are exploring and discussing their ideas.  I feel very lucky to have made contact with so many wonderful people through this blog.

If I Were A Spirit Animal, I Would Be:

a wolf. I had to think very hard about this choice, because I have a deep affinity with several animals, but the wolf is loyal, brave, and adventurous. I realize many are afraid of these animals, but wolves do get a bad reputation from various horror movies, including some I have enjoyed and reviewed.  The true nature of the wolf, however, is strong and admirable, so I am always moved when I see photos of these beautiful animals; therefore, I hope I would be a spirit wolf.

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My Nominees:

Zachary Paul Chopchinski http://zachchop.com/

Michelle Saul https://mythoughtsonwritingandreading.wordpress.com

Kelly Miles http://authorkellymiles.com

Mitch Teemley http://mitchteemley.com

Stehanae V. McCoy http://boldblindbeauty.com/

Yinglan https://yzhengblog.wordpress.com

Purpleanais http://arwenaragornstar.com

C.M. Blackwood https://cmblackwood.wordpress.com

Windmills of My Mind https://contemporaneousquixotic.wordpress.com

Amy Reese http://amyreesewrites.com

Once again, thank you very much to Tadhg https://askateenageaspie.wordpress.com

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A Conversation With Neil Gaiman

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I just returned from an event from the Living Writers series at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA called “A Conversation With Neil Gaiman.” Muhlenberg College is an excellent, small liberal arts college with a thriving English Department, and this event was featured in coordination with a class on Living Writers that is offered typically every 3 years.

I was delighted to find out about this event and to be able to attend it. I teach English Literature at the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College, which is the adult degree program.

Mr. Gaiman, sat in conversation which the host, Professor Francesca Coppa, and he spoke at length about his career as a writer and about writing itself. This talk offered something for a wide variety of people, including scholars of literature, writers, and readers of Mr. Gaiman’s work. I include myself in all three categories.

I was especially interested in his view on not being branded as one kind of writer. He has written fantasy, horror, children’s novels, graphic novels, and short stories, among others. He deals with a wide variety of topics and ideas in his works, and that appeals to me greatly as a writer.

Mr. Gaiman discussed his treatment of mythology and his refusal to be put into one box in his writing. I think this is a huge problem for writers today, because we are encouraged to brand ourselves for marketing so that readers know what to expect. I certainly understand the need for marketing, but it can potentially damage writers to be viewed as writing just one kind of work or restricting themselves to one specific genre or type.

I am a writer of speculative fiction, which really can be applied to all fiction. I am a writer of  horror, YA fantasy, and will be writing a romance novel, several historical novels, and a thriller.  These ideas are in my head, and I will explore them all. I hope being a diverse writer will be my brand.

Mr. Gaiman is certainly a talented, skilled, and accomplished writer of a wide range of material.  If you have never read his work, you should. My favorite work of his is American Gods, which I have taught in several classes. Among his other work is–Coraline, the Sandman Series, and The Ocean at  the End of the Lane. Read his work!

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Blogger Recognition Award!

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Thank you very much to A Not So Jaded Life, who has a wonderful blog that I enjoy reading very much.  Your blog is always interesting, and thank you again for this nomination. https://anotsojadedlife.wordpress.com

I began my blog over a year ago to write about my thoughts on reading, writing, and other literary issues. I also hoped to connect to people who shared similar thoughts and concerns. Along the way I have been fortunate to encounter many wonderful people with blogs about a myriad of ideas, themes, and issues. I enjoy not only writing about what my original ideas were but also new and more diverse topics.

Again, I have been very fortunate to meet many interesting people with wonderful blogs.

A piece of advice for other bloggers: Keep reading all you can, continue writing as much as you are able, and enjoy every day to the fullest possible–carpe diem!

Rules of the Blogger Recognition Award:

• Post an image of the award.
• Thank the person who nominated you and their blog, and link back to that blog.
• Explain briefly how you started your blog.
• Give a piece of advice to fellow bloggers.
• Nominate other bloggers for the award–as many as you wish, and notify them of their nomination.

My nominees:

Kate M. Colby http://katemcolby.com/blog/

Susanna Sturgis http://squattersspeakeasy.com/

Ula https://broccoliaddict.wordpress.com/

Running After 50 https://usabaker.wordpress.com/

Kat Kent https://writersback.wordpress.com/

Beverly A. Young http://ghosttalkblog.com

In My Cluttered Attic https://inmyclutteredattic.wordpress.com/

Russell J. Fellows http://russelljfellows.com/

Tricia http://neverlessthan.com/

Mitch Teemley http://mitchteemley.com/

Marc Valle https://mavtheauthor.wordpress.com/

Laura https://todaysdose.wordpress.com/

Wallace W. Cass Jr. https://wwcassjrblog.wordpress.com/

Spearfruit http://spearfruit.com/

Mitch Goldfarb https://mitchgoldfarbblog.wordpress.com/

Again, thank you to A Not So Jaded Life