Quotations on Compassion

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“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

                                                                     Albert Einstein

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“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

                                                                    Dalai Lama

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“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

                                                                   Aesop

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“Compassion, and not brutality, is the true sign of strength.”

                                                                  Charles F. French

Martin Luther King, Jr Day — 2022

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Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and I would like to offer a few of this extraordinary American’s quotations as a tribute to him. He was one of the finest, most decent, and empathetic people in the history of the United States of America. We should all remember him and honor his teaching, his legacy, and his call for justice for everyone.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Some Quotations From A Christmas Carol

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“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”(62)

“This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.” (108)

“There are some upon this earth of yours,” returned the Spirit, “who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.” (92)

“‘God bless us every one!’ said Tiny Tim, the last of all.” (97)

 

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Works Cited

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens: The Christmas Books Volume I.

Penguin Classics. New York. 1985.

Grief Songs by Elizabeth Gauffreau–A Review

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Grief Songs by Elizabeth Gauffreau is a beautiful and compelling collection of poetry and photographs.

Gauffreau is a skilled story-teller, and her poetry and pictures create moving portraits of her family that draw the reader into her lovingly created images and remembrances.

Gauffreau uses the traditional Tanka form for her poetry, and she shows great skill in weaving her stories and memories together. For those who love poetry and family, this book will engage them and make them want to find their own family photos.

Grief Songs is an excellent book of poetry, it is lyrical and lovely, and I give it my complete recommendation. It will capture you and move you.

Beautifully done!

Grief Songs is available at Amazon

Please visit her wonderful website: lizgauffreau.com

5 stars

A New Poem by Robert Fillman

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I am very honored and pleased to announce that my friend and extraordinary poet, Robert Fillman has a new poem out. He will also have a new book of poetry, House Bird, out in 2022.

The poem appears in Sheila-Na-Gig online.

CONFIDENCE MAN

I am very honored and pleased to announce that my friend and extraordinary poet, Robert Fillman has a new poem out.

After tossing my duffel bag
on the bench, I cinch the drawstring
to my sweatpants. And that is when
I remember the locker room
at the college: the sting of bleach,
the rhythm of slamming metal
doors, guys stepping out of showers
in towels, that long wall of white
urinals, each man evenly
spaced, holding himself, head down, not
saying a word, the loud whooshing
spray from a flush, my big brother
stretching beside me in his loose
tank-top and knee-length tennis shorts.
I hear him snickering as he
elbows me in the ribs while I
bend at the hips, Hey, here he comes,
‘Naked Guy,’ and I look to see
his thick head of white hair, still wet,
that seemed to brag to us younger
guys, his whole body glistening
as he strides out from the shower
like some minor god. How I’d kill
to have such courage, every inch
exposed, my eyes trying not to
linger on his shape, the brown age-
spots, trying not to think about
how those wrinkles and slack skin lines
are more vivid, more distinctive
with every tense step, every slap
of foot against ceramic tile—

Robert Fillman

Robert Fillman is the author of the chapbook November Weather Spell (Main Street Rag, 2019). His poems have appeared in The Hollins Critic, Paterson Literary Review, Poet Lore, Salamander, Spoon River Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review,and others. His criticism has appeared in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, The College Language Association Journal, and The Explicator. He currently teaches at Kutztown University, where he is a member of the English and Professional Writing departments. His debut full-length collection, House Bird, will be published by Terrapin Books in 2022. www.robertfillman.com

Here is the cover of his upcoming book:

housebird robb fillman

Happy Thanksgiving–2021!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

2021, while better than 2020, has still been an extremely difficult year for many people, some much more than others, but this is still a time to find something to be thankful for.

Please remember to recognize the positives and the blessings in your lives.

And please remember to give thanks to those who help us in many ways. So many are away from home, friends, and family, and we should all give them a moment of thanks.

Please try to remember those who are less fortunate, and try to find some kindness and to continue to spread it throughout the year.

To my friends, including my many blogging friends, and family, –thank you! I am grateful for all of you.

I would also like to ask all of you:  For what are you thankful?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Please Honor Veterans Day

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Today is Veterans Day, and I simply wanted to offer my thank you to all the men and women who have served or are serving our country in the Armed Forces.

This day began with Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, which ended the First World War. Congress formalized Armistice Day as a national holiday in 1938. After World War II and The Korean War, the day was renamed Veterans Day, and it serves as a time to honor all of those who have served or are serving.

Please let it be a day of honor and thanks, not one of special sales deals. It is a day to recognize the commitment, duty, sacrifice, and service of the men and women who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces.

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Quotations on Intellectualism

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“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

                                                  Isaac Asimov

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“In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy.”

                                                   George Orwell

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“I’m tired of ignorance held up as inspiration, where vicious anti-intellectualism is considered a positive trait, and where uninformed opinion is displayed as fact.”

                                                      Phil Plait

“For democracy to survive, Americans must learn to embrace intellectualism, reject cult-like behavior, employ analysis, understand and use science, and think for themselves.”

                                                      Charles F. French

The Invisible Man–A New Entry for the U.L.S., The Underground Library Society, by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

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Thank you so much to Roberta Eaton Cheadle for creating another entry into the U. L. S., the Underground Library Society! The U. L. S. is an unofficial group of people who are dedicated to the preservation of books and in complete opposition to censorship. The idea is based on the Book People from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Background

The Invisible Man is a science fiction novel by H.G. Wells that was initially published as a series in 1897.

This book examines human nature and the temptations of immorality to humans. Essentially, the author explores how he believes people would behave if there were no consequences to their actions.

The story starts with a stranger arriving at Iping, a small town in the United Kingdom, and taking lodgings at the Coach and Horses Inn. Mrs. Hall, who runs the inn, is pleased to have the stranger’s unexpected business in the “off” season and gives the stranger, called Griffin, a set of rooms, despite his peculiar attire. Griffin is dressed in a heavy coat, gloves and a hat, and his face is entirely covered by bandages except for his nose. His eyes are hidden by large blue glasses. He doesn’t remove his coat or hat even after Mrs Hall lights a warm fire for him.

Griffin proves to be a rude and selfish guest, but Mrs. Hall tolerates him because of the money he is paying her. He breaks things and demands to be left alone in his rooms while he works with a set of chemicals and laboratory apparatus. He is also never seen without his coat and hat. Mrs Hall decides to ask him to leave as soon as the warmer weather arrives, and other paying guests start arriving.

Griffin continues to live at the Inn for a few months and becomes a topic of speculation by the local people. He is visited by the local doctor, Cuss, who is shocked when Griffin accidentally removes his hand from his pocket and his sleeve is completely empty.

Griffin runs out of money and is unable to settle his bill with Mrs. Hall. They have words and that evening the vicarage is burgled. The following day Griffin pays his bill and Mrs Hall is suspicious.

The villagers confront Griffin about the burglary, and he removes his bandages revealing a black cavity in place of his face. The local police constable attempts to arrest Griffin, but he escapes and starts on a rampage of theft and vengeful behaviour through the countryside. Griffin believes that as he is invisible, he cannot be caught, and he is free to do anything he pleases.

As Griffin descends further into his role as a ‘man on the role’ he becomes more and more aggressive and wild in his behaviour. He also comes to realise that he cannot achieve his dream of dominating other men on his own.

He seeks to gain assistance from firstly, a tramp called Thomas Marvel, and secondly, a doctor and fellow scientist from his days at University College London. Griffin reveals the story of his journey to invisibility to Dr Kemp, as well as his plan to impose a “Reign of Terror and to institute “the Epoch of the Invisible Man.” Dr Kemp is horrified by the level of immorality Griffin has sunk too.

Themes

I have selected a few quotations from the book to demonstrate the themes:

Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality:

“My mood, I say, was one of exaltation. I felt as a seeing man might do, with padded feet and noiseless clothes, in a city of the blind. I experienced a wild impulse to jest, to startle people, to clap men on the back, fling people’s hats astray, and generally revel in my extraordinary advantage.”

The future versus the past:

“And there it was, on a shabby bed in a tawdry, ill-lighted bedroom, surrounded by a crowd of ignorant and excited people, broken and wounded, betrayed and unpitied, that Griffin, the first of all men to make himself invisible, Griffin, the most gifted physicist the world has ever seen, ended in infinite disaster his strange and terrible career.”

Greed and self-interest:

“He is mad,” said Kemp; “inhuman. He is pure selfishness. He thinks of nothing but his own advantage, his own safety. I have listened to such a story this morning of brutal self-seeking…. He has wounded men. He will kill them unless we can prevent him. He will create a panic. Nothing can stop him. He is going out now — furious!”

Skepticism vs. Belief:

“I wish you’d keep your fingers out of my eye,” said the aerial voice, in a tone of savage expostulation. “The fact is, I’m all here:head, hands, legs, and all the rest of it, but it happens I’m invisible. It’s a confounded nuisance, but I am. That’s no reason why I should be poked to pieces by every stupid bumpkin in Iping, is it?

Humans, Science and Nature:

“I went over the heads of the things a man reckons desirable. No doubt invisibility made it possible to get them, but it made it impossible to enjoy them when they are got.”

Conclusion

The Invisible Man is an important book to preserve because it demonstrates that greed and self-interest become corruptive forces. Griffin goes from being a young and enthusiastic scientist with a scientific interest in the possibility of using light and optics to turn a living thing invisible, to someone who uses his invisibility for personal gain and power.

Given the greed and corruption that still blights humanity and human interaction, this book is useful in understanding the process of corruption and the degeneration of decency.

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Please be sure to visit Robbie at her wonderful blogs:

Robbie Cheadle Books/Poems/Reviews

Robbie’s inspiration

Thank you again to Robbie Cheadle for this post!

Favorite Horror Novels: 1–Dracula

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(Cover of 1897 edition)

I have read many books over the course of my life, and books have become a central part of who I am. I read books for pleasure, for study, and for examination. I teach books in my literature classes at Lehigh University and Muhlenberg College, I write about them in scholarly work, and I write novels. As I was considering the topic for this post, I started to think about what books I consider to be the most important horror novels. Certainly, I must begin this series with a book I consider to be of extraordinary literary value, a great horror novel, and a book that has influenced my life.

Dracula

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

So many come to mind and are possibilities for discussion, especially when I think of some of the books I read as a youngster in high school. Among these novels are DraculaThe War of the WorldsFrankensteinDr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and The Haunting of Hill House.  Certainly, there were many more books that I read at that time, and I have always been a voracious reader, but these books, in a variety of ways, help to shape my interests and some of my directions in life.

Now, I will focus on Dracula and what its influence on me was and is. This was the first Gothic novel I had read, and its power caught me immediately. I was drawn to the images of dark castles, terrible villains, and the supernatural. That I love Gothic is still clear, because not only do I teach Gothic literature, but also I write it.

Dracula, however, had a much deeper impact on me that simply the horror aspect; I was drawn to the idea of the need for good people to oppose evil.  It is a theme that, on the surface, might seem simplistic, but a person need only look at the history of the 20th Century into our contemporary time to see that evil does exist, especially in the form of people who would oppress, torment, exclude, and bully others. Of course, I am not making an argument that the supernatural evil in this novel exists, but that human evil certainly does.  The Nazis demonstrated that human horror in its full capacity.

In this book, a fellowship of human beings is created, and they decide to fight a creature that is far more powerful than anything they could have imagined, and they do so at the risk of their lives.  This act of defending others, even if the people do the battle are put at risk, became a central part of my ethos.  There will always be those who would bully and oppress others, and they must always be opposed.  While in early high school, Dracula helped to form that idea in my mind.

I was also highly influenced by the Gothic nature of the book, and when I first read this novel as a youngster, I was terrified by it. This book stands as the best and most important vampire novel that has been written. I am not arguing that other excellent books on vampires do not exist; certainly they do. I am saying, though, that Dracula is the best and the cornerstone of all of them.

In addition to being a deeply important book, Dracula is also the foundation for a myriad of movies. In fact, the characters of Dracula and Sherlock Holmes are the two most portrayed in TV, film, and theater.

I leave with this thought: if you enjoy horror, Halloween, and the Gothic, and you have not yet read Dracula, you certainly should. It is excellent.

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