The Old Lie

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Please, in the name of the victims of the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, let us begin to do something to change the national insanity of gun deaths.

Stop with the old lie — “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” It is illogical, fallacious, wrong, and stupid. Guns are weapons and are designed to expel bullets that are intended to kill. That is their purpose. That is why they exist.

Guns kill people.

Guns are not used to make paintings; they are not used to drive screws into wood; they are not made to make omelets; they are not created to write letters; and they are not aimed at making sculptures.

Guns are made to kill. That is their purpose.

The United States has a history of gun ownership based on the 2nd Amendment. As  I would say to my students, please do a close reading, parse the language, and understate what it says. If you do, then the phrase “A well-regulated militia” is crucial to understand. The militia of today is the National Guard–that is the militia of the United States of America. If you believe in the 2nd Amendment, then you should enlist in the National Guard.

Guns do kill people. Let us never forget that. And let us stop accepting the old lie.

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Quotations on Character

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“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

                                                                     Maya Angelou

 

M0015415 Sophocles, from the bust in the Lateran, Rome.

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“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”

                                                                          Sophocles

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“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.”

                                                                          Bruce Lee

Quotations From Reading Lolita In Tehran: A Memoir in Books

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I have been reading an extraordinary memoir Reading Lolita In Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi. In this wonderful book, Nafisi writes about her experience as a Professor of English Literature in Iran and the women who were her students and whom she taught in secret. Her writing is honest, compelling, and a text that all teachers and professors should read. It is an educational inspiration. I give this excellent book a complete recommendation.

For this post, I want to highlight a few quotations from the book:

“what we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth.” (3)

“Don’t go chasing after the grand theme, the idea, I told my students, as if it is separate from the story itself. The idea or ideas behind the story must come to you through the experience of the novel and not as something tacked on to it.” (109)

“A novel is not an allegory, I said, as the period was about to come to the end. It is the sensual experience of another world. If you don’t enter that world, hold your breathe with the characters and become involved in their destiny, you won’t be able to empathize, and empathy is at the heart of the novel. That is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience.” (111)

 

Works Cited

Nafisi, Azar. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books. Random House. New York.

2004.

 

Favorite Christmas Movies: Part 1

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This is a post that I have used before, but given the season of the holidays, especially at a time when giving as opposed to greed should be happening (although that should always be  the case), I thought I would repost this series.

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There are so many aspects of this holiday season that are wonderful to me: getting together with loved ones, friends and family alike; the spirit of giving that I hope continues to grow; celebrations; the holiday music; and the memories of happy times.  Among the favorite memories I have are a few specific Christmas movies.

The movie I will talk about today is Scrooge with Albert Finney as the star; he does a magnificent job in his performance as the miserly and misanthropic loan-shark. This musical version of A Christmas Carol is one of the finest filmic adaptations of the classic Christmas Eve ghost story and morality tale.  This film follows  the story closely with Scrooge being visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, of Christmas Present, and of Christmas Future. Among the movies best songs are Scrooge singing “I Hate People” which clearly shows his despicable and greedy nature,  “Thank You Very Much” in which a tap dance is done on Scrooge’s coffin in the future, and “I Like Life” in which the ghost of Christmas Present teaches Scrooge about experiencing life as well as having empathy for others.

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This movie does an excellent job of showing Dickens’ critique of a greed based society and one that did little or nothing to help alleviate the enormous difficulties of the poor.  When first confronted by the ghost of his dead partner Marley, Scrooge tells him that he was always a good man of business.  Marley’s ghost responds, “Mankind should be our business.”  This is a sentiment that stands today.  We should be putting the good of humanity above the pursuit of greed.

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I was a teenager when this movie was first released in 1970, and I loved seeing it with two of my closest friends.  We were captivated by the music and the story, and it remains as powerful to me as when I first saw it. If you have never had the opportunity to see this particular film, I give it my highest recommendation.

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I also remind all of us, in paraphrasing the Master Charles Dickens, that we must always remember to make the good of others our business. That matters more than accumulation of wealth.

Quotations on Reading

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“Reading brings us unknown friends”

                                                                          Honore de Balzac

 

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“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”

                                                                          Joyce Carol Oates

 

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“One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.”

                                                                         Carl Sagan

 

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

Quotations on Kindness

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“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

                                                                                Plato

 

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“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

                                                                              Desmond Tutu

 

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“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

                                                                              Dalai Lama XIV

Quotations on Education

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“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

                                                                      Mahatma Gandhi

 

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“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

                                                                      Nelson Mandela

 

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“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”

                                                                     Margaret Mead