Monthly Archives: September, 2013

How to commit check fraud |It’s been too long since – TheReporterandTheGirlMINUSTheSuperMan!

fake check, check fraud, toni dove, the reporter and the girl, delta community credit union, scam, FTC, official check

How to commit check fraud

Unwittingly of course.

There was this job opportunity from where I applied for an administrative position. I received a response from someone, who goes by the name “Toni Dove,” and needed a personal assistant to help with some things for her art gallery.

Initially it looks legit, I googled Toni Dove and she is an artist in the city. As well as the job description sounded mundane: purchasing supplies for the studio, calling customers to collect payments, etc…

And all from home?!

So “Ms. Dove” mails me a packet which I received today, and inside contained a check, with her instructions to cash it and IMMEDIATELY deduct $500 for myself as a weekly payment then to wire the rest via Western Union to SOS Children’s Villages Yemen.

Oh no, blood money!

As you can see by the image posted, the check looks very real. But computers have come a long way since the 90′s; today anybody can print their own checks. So I call Delta Community Credit Union, where the check was supposedly issued.

I asked, ” Is there a way to verify a check issued by your bank? Whether the account number is valid…or maybe the check number?”

At first the lady said no, but after some more questions she transferred me to the credit union’s rep and I gave him the check number and the amount. He could not give me any private information, but said that the check ‘had been issued and cleared already, and that it was for a different amount.’

He couldn’t tell me more than that, but boy that was all I needed to know. And what YOU need to know is this: knowingly or not, if you cash a fraudulent check you are RESPONSIBLE for the money that the bank cleared. Meaning, paying back the bank for issuing the funds and even legal consequences (yes, you can be charged with a crime, even if you were scammed).

Nowadays, even bank tellers can’t know right away if a check is fake when they accept it for deposit. The appearance may be realistic, such as watermarks and the back for endorsement. The account/routing numbers may be real too, in fact the check may have even came directly from the bank’s drawers . BUT someone– ANYONE who saw the check, may have wrote down the check number and account number and then created a copy at home…or at the secret warehouse.

At least now the bank and the FTC know the check is stolen.

Get the Rest of the Story at How to commit check fraud | TheReporterandTheGirlMINUSTheSuperMan!.


Warren Shufelt and the #Lizard People | the world is dark without muscleheaded

Warren Shufelt and the Lizard People

A hidden labyrinth, containing the riches and history of a lost civilization, dating back 5000 years — could this treasure really be buried under the city of Los Angeles ?


Los Angeles has always been a strange place.

It’s not just the whole Hollywood scene that makes it that way, either.

If you believe the story of G. Warren Shufelt, it’s much, much weirder than anyone of us would believe.

In 1933, G. Warren Shufelt was just a run of the mill Los Angeles mining engineer searching the area for gold or oil with which to make his fortunes.

For this purpose, he had developed a ‘radio x-ray’ device, that could penetrate the ground and locate minerals and subterranean features.

He claimed that it worked using a principle of ‘emanations and gravitational factors’ upon matter which influenced the pendulum — he claimed to be able to trace someone by a single hair strand using it.

The gizmo was described in the Los Angeles Times this way:

” Shufelt’s radio device consists chiefly of a cylindrical glass case inside which a plummet attached to a copper wire held by the engineer sways continually, pointing, he asserts, toward minerals or tunnels below the surface of the ground, and then revolves when over the mineral or swings in prolongation of the tunnel when above the excavation. “

Now, to you, perhaps that thing sounds less like a radio xray device, and more like a dowsing device — well, boy, do you have a suspicious mind.

Because despite the lack of anything in the device even remotely like radio, or x-rays, Shufelt insisted that the magic box could, indeed, find all sorts of neat stuff, if he could just use it to scan the city….

The city fathers decided to let him have at it.

So he did…. he charted almost the entire downtown area using his device.

After several months work, he announced the amazing results of his survey:

He said he had found underground labyrinths spread out all over the city ( I should say — ‘under the city’ ) and GOLD — a whole mess of it.

“My radio x-ray pictures of tunnels and rooms, which are subsurface voids, and of gold pictures with perfect corners, sides and ends, are scientific proof of their existence,” Shufelt said.

Wow.. that really musta been advanced technology.

Who’s expect a weight attached to a copper string to be able to do all that?

All he needed to do was go get it.

There was, of course, a small problem.

Actually, two small problems.

One problem was that — very inconsiderately– somebody had built a rather large city right on top of Shufelt’s treasure.


It seems that the areas of real interest, as far as gold was concerned anyway, ran from Mount Washington to the LA Public Library, from Hill Street east to Spring Street , from Sunset to Broadway, and from Santa Monica, all the way to Pasadena.

There was a lotta things in the way, like buildings, cars, people and stuff.

Shufelt figured a way around that, though.

He would drill a shaft down into the ground over one of the gold stashes, and once he hit pay dirt, he’d show the city council he was right, and they’d be more than happy to move the city and share in the loot.

Problem one solved.

Problem two was a bit more….. well…, complicated .

You see, problem two was that the gold didn’t belong to him.

Those underground tunnels that he located with his radio x-ray gizmo weren’t built by the city , and the city didn’t know anything about any large deposits of refined gold, either.

Obviously they were put there — by who– I mean, …. whom ?

Nope, not whom , neither.

What .

You see, while Shufelt had been surveying the city, he met a guy who said he was a Hopi Indian, and called himself Little Chief Greenleaf.

And the Little Chief told Shufelt how the underground rooms, tunnels, and gold got there.

It seems that about 5000 years ago, there was this race of “Lizard People” living in LA at the time…

They had used a special chemical technology that would bore the tunnels without the necessity of digging, and had laid their underground city out in the shape of a lizard.

There had been 1000 Lizard People families altogther, and they had taken shelter in the caverns during a “great catastrophe” – described by Greenleaf as a huge tongue of fire, emanating “out of the Southwest, which threatened to destroy all life in it’s path“.

They had stashed their personal belongings in the underground labyrinths, and recorded all their history and technology onto large golden plates– 4 feet long by 14 inches wide.

The problem for Shufelt, of course, was that they were supposed to come back for it one day, and they’d be very disappointed if somebody made off with their goodies in the meantime.

Still, Little Chief reckoned, there wouldn’t be any harm just looking at the stuff, ya know….

4So, Shufelt and Chief Greenleaf obtained a vacant lot at 518 North Hill Street- directly above one of the larger caches, and applied for a permit to dig.

In exchange for 50% of everything recovered there, the city gave them permission to sink a shaft 50 feet deep.

And dig they did.

They got to fifty feet pretty quickly, but found nothing.

They went back to the city and got a permit for a deeper hole, and dug some more.

They got to 250 feet, and water started pouring into the hole.

They had reached the water table… and still no sign of the lizard king and his treasure.

At least that we, or the city of Los Angeles, is aware of , anyway.

In March, 1934, the dig was suddenly discontinued, the site abandoned, and the hole filled in.

No more was heard of the fabulous lost city, the gold, the Lizard People, or Shufelt.

Asked about it in 1947, the head of the LA Chamber of Commerce replied:

It is quite possible, of course, that the supposed labyrinth really exists. But in view of the fact that the overlaying area is the immediate Civic Center area where an important building program is to be carried out, including federal, state, and city building, there is little probability of any further excavations.

From time to time, interest in the tunnels –

… yes, there are tunnels under LA, called the “Banning Tunnels” after a mansion that sat near there in the 1880′s –

and the whole “Lizard People” myth is revived, but nothing of value as been so far found.

Several writers have suggested that the Shufelt story is the basis of the more recent malarkey of a reptilean conspiracy secretly running the government….

If so, then at least one person- author David Icke– has profited from Little Chief Green Leaf’s Lizard People legend.

But then, as my Irish Uncle Tommy used to say:

Spin a good yarn, and they’ll follow you home every time “.

And he knew a good bit about the blarney, himself.


Cheers !!!

via Warren Shufelt and the Lizard People | muscleheaded.

Kicking your kid to the curb…Really??? « The Culture Monk

Really???Kicking your kid to the curb…Really???

its time to get serious.....really

by Kenneth Justice

~Last night as I was sipping coffee at one of my favorite café’s and the woman sitting next to me asked me to watch her laptop while she put more coins in the meter…..after she returned we ended up striking up a conversation for a bit. She is 29 years old and last month was the first time in more than three years that her parents allowed her to return home for dinner.

The young woman was raised in an Orthodox Jewish home and when she decided in her early twenties to dress more ‘modern’ and to wear unapproved body piercings….her parents excommunicated her from the family.

It’s gotta be pretty intense to be cut off from you family as an early-twenty something; no financial support, no place to live, and no family to come home to when you’ve had a tough day or week.

I don’t want to make it sound like this problem is only limited to Orthodox Jewish homes; I know of Protestant, Catholic, and other religious groups who have done the same thing to their adult children when certain behaviors occurred that were not allowable.

What goes through a parent’s mind when they kick their child out for not living up to their religious standards? Is that something you would do as a parent?

A relative of mine who grew up in an ultra-conservative Christian home was told she needed to move out at age 19 because she wanted to have a serious relationship with a boy….oh the horror! Her father did not approve of sex before marriage or any type of relationship in which he was not directly overseeing the young man who would be dating her daughter; so the father’s plan-of-action was to kick his daughter out!

The young woman I was talking to at coffee yesterday told me that her mother found a Rabbi who talked to the husband and explained, “Look, if you want to have any kind of relationship with your daughter you’ve got to look past her lifestyle and let her come home for dinner at least”. And thus, after three years of exile, the young woman was told by her father that she could come home for Rosh Hashanah and the slow road to reconciliation has begun.

Look, you don’t have to tell me what it means to be passionate about your faith; I am extremely passionate about my Christian faith……but that doesn’t mean I’m going to kick my family to the curb if they don’t agree with me! Any time a religion is practiced which causes children to be cut-off in the manner of the young woman….it causes me to wonder if it’s a religion I would really want to take seriously.

READ THE REST AT Kicking your kid to the curb…Really??? « The Culture Monk.

[Terry: Yeah, having parents who would kick you out for violating their rules would really suck. I’d have kicked out my kids if I had any…rules, that is.]

Love Is………. |CUP with helen midgley

Love Is……….

Posted by helen midgley on September 29, 2013


(Image from

Love is the touch that renders me still,

And Love is the hunger that I cannot fill,

Love is the kindling that feeds a wild fire,

And Love is the flame that reaches up higher.

Love is the scent of an apple blossom tree,

And love is the flower that you open in me,

Love is the daisy that is linked by a chain,

And love is the sunshine that comes before rain.

Love is the breath that is whispered on skin,

And love is the blood that simmers within,

Love is the heat of the passion beneath,

And love is the wanting that I cannot sheath.

Love is the melee that rages for peace,

And love is the prisoner that yearns for release,

Love is the conflict that fights as we mate,

And love is the soldier whose battle I sate.

Love is the essence of all that we share,

And love is my reason to think that you care,

Love is the words that still lay unspoken,

And love is the wish for just a small token.

Love is the ache that I carry inside,

And love is the struggle I have with my pride.

Love is the one thing I know you won’t give,

And love is the reason that makes me forgive.

via Love Is………. | helen midgley.

Kimmalee Jones #ROCKS |CUP – Poetry on a Roll

The Battle Is Not Mine

When I am troubled
and misery wants to be my friend.
All I have to do is open
myself up like a can of worms
and release everything
in prayer to The Lord.

Copyright © 2013 Kimalee Jones

via The Battle Is Not Mine | Poetry on a Roll.

Debbie Harry at the Supermarket : The New Yorker

Debbie Harry at the Supermarket

Posted by Wayne Koestenbaum

The following essay is an excerpt from Wayne Koestenbaum’s collection, “My 1980s & Other Essays,” which comes out today.

Debbie Harry Barbie Doll

In the late 1990s, I stood behind Debbie Harry in line at Sloan’s. We lived in the same apartment complex, a behemoth. Sloan’s, the unsavory supermarket around the block, was our common ground. One summer evening, a rat crawled past my flip-flop-clad feet while I waited in the checkout line. I vowed never again to wear flip-flops while food shopping. If this essay is an allegory, I’m the rat, scurrying along interpretive thoroughfares where my filth isn’t wanted.

In the late 1970s, I listened to Blondie with a fanaticism founded on my belief that Debbie Harry’s vocal delivery would give me tips on differentiating the genuine from the fake in the apocalyptic world of romantic love, where I was a befuddled amateur, working intermittently on my heterosexuality as if it were last Sunday’s crossword puzzle, a confusing grid of boxes I’d not given up trying to fill.

Taken at Maple Gardens, Toronto, Deborah Harry...

Every inflection of Harry’s voice I followed, memorized, sought to explain. Why did she approach a cry or a cheer, why did she flatten a vowel or slur a consonant, why did an aluminum aura complicate a phrase? Was she angry, infatuated, indifferent—or was she turning emotionality into an amusing diversion?

Blondie (Debbie Harry) in Dublin, december 2005

I admired her voice’s Lancelot edge, but also its indirection, its underworld willingness to grow tarnished and to sound unsentimentally street-schooled. Phrase by phrase, her voice switched sides. Momentarily, in her timbre, a metallic yet bubblegum inflection emerged—suggesting irony, wit, shininess, rage, and a fondness for things plastic and repeatable. Then, in a flash, she’d adopt a rueful, bluesy sound. She quoted mannerisms from other singers, other milieux; punk London warred with suburban New Jersey. She leapt between the borrowed and the original, the emotive and the shellacked.

Rush Rush (Debbie Harry song)

Even her physical beauty seemed ironic; she seemed to deploy it as an analytical torch, a secret agent, dismantling the stereotypes she cheerfully traversed. In the Polaroid snapshots that Andy Warhol took of her in 1980, she gazes at him—and at the viewer—from across the moat of received wisdom, whose toxicity can’t touch her; with us, she exchanges a complicit glance, as if to say, We understand the joke that gender is, and we understand how masterfully I embody its barbed glories. Like Edie Sedgwick, Harry seemed a cynical sylph with whom he could giddily unpack the fenced goods stuffed in gender’s suitcase.

MUCH MORE OF THIS GREAT ESSAY AT Debbie Harry at the Supermarket : The New Yorker.

The Most Moist Banana Bread | Welcome to a new friend: Mercedes

 Wishful Whisking

A girl living in Santa Barbara who finds joy in the kitchen, traveling the world, beautiful interiors, beauty, art and fashion!


Hello! I’m Mercedez!

Growing up with a baking, pink-loving, antique-obsessed Mother, I quickly acquired a deep love for beautiful details.

I have a passion for delicious food with quality ingredients, cooking for my boyfriend, interior design, restoring old things to new, fashion, beauty, hobnail dishes, and baking for people.

I am convinced that happiness can be found in things such as: fresh flowers, a pair of incredible shoes, an effortless cat eye, finding something you love at an antique store, and a pie in the oven. It is all these little things combined that spark my creativity, bring me happiness and inspire me to be the best version of myself. I hope my perspective, trials, adventures, and ideas can inspire you to live the best life possible!


Simple things that make me, me.

I am 22 years old.

 I have a degree in business administration.

 I am addicted to Chipotle – I want it everyday no exceptions.

 I drink vanilla lattes and Diet Coke WAY more than water.

 My Mom is my best friend.

 I have a boyfriend. His name is Nathan and he is more than wonderful. He answers to: Chip, Bunny, Boo Boo, and Noodle.

 I collect hobnail glass, dishes and hoard cups.

 I watch terribly depressing TV shows like Intervention, Cops, and Law and Order SVU.

 I love baking pies.

 I have a Chihuahua. His real name is Laurent but he has not been called that since the day we got him. He has taken on the following names: Raunt, Raunty, Louis, Naked Louis, Lupus, Ronis, Roodie and Ronet. I am a freak but I believe one of my love languages is nick names.

 I spend hours doing my hair but always end up putting it in a top knot.

 I am obsessed with interior design, fashion, hair, and makeup.

The Most Moist Banana Bread | Wishful Whisking.

I just have to say that I am so over the lace crop top trend. It has been done far too often and, honestly, I am ready for the trend to expire. However, when lace is worn right, there is nothing better. I am a total sucker for clothes that remind me of the 60’s. Something about that period of fashion is so perfect and timeless to me. I love the poofy hair, cat eyes and bold florals that are so emblematic of the groovy era. Whenever I find clothing reminiscent of that time I pounce! I know this top is tame, but it’s the cut reminds me of the 60’s. The daisies are sweet and ladylike and the lace pattern is an interesting added detail. Did I mention I am also a TOTAL sucker for daisies? Another reason why I just love this shirt! For this look, pair it with simple skinny jeans, navy ankle boots, milk maid braids and a berry stained lip. This top is completely season neutral. It would be adorable with daisy dukes but also works perfectly for fall with these ankle boots! I hope you are all enjoying your Saturday!

Continue on to see my outfit of the day!

Chicken Soup with Avocado, Lime and Feta

 Almost nothing is better than a hearty bowl of soup on a cold fall day. I also happen to think that avocado, lime and feta cheese make any meal 100 times better. Combine these two simple truths and we get something truly divine. Chicken soup with lime, avocado and feta. Wow! It’s almost too good for words. Make the soup, enjoy the September breeze and you won’t regret it. Happy Sunday!

My Pop clearly loving it:


kinda outta luck |Welcome to a new friend: Raivo Polnijs

Raivo Polnijs


Hi, I am 15 years and I created this blog to show you my style and my interesting days of my life! My motto is: Closes the door to the past, if you want a happy future!

CAM00389 Picture 368

via About me | Raivo Polnijs.



kinda outta luck (edit photo) “my day”

kinda outta luck



snark punctuation – Google Search

snark punctuation – Google Search.

Read some of my stuff, comment, critique, praise, ignore, puzzle , or just do whatever you want. |Welcome to a new friend: yadadarcyyada

Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure

I have always been me and despite many attempts to make me not me, I still seem to manage to be me. That is not always a good thing.  Read some of my stuff, comment, critique, praise, ignore, puzzle , or just do whatever you want.

via Very Me | yadadarcyyada.


Barilla pasta President Guido Barilla set off a LGBT firestorm this week when he made comments on a radio show about never wanting to use a same-sex couple or a gay family in their advertising. Apparently, their advertising represents a traditional or classic family.pasta5

After people freaked, Guido Barilla tried to ‘apologize’. He doesn’t have a problem with gay people or gay marriage, just that: “In its advertising, Barilla represents the family — because it’s what welcomes everyone.”. 

Is this guy from Italy or 19th Century Italy?

pasat4Beyond the whatever moment of his statements, doesn’t this guy want to sell pasta?

So he only wants to represent traditional families? What exactly does that even mean?  In their commercials a guy spying on a woman as she’s cooking and two people who just met eating pasta à la Lady and the Tramp style. I guess creepy and trite represents traditional for Barilla.

According to this guy only sacral families suit their core values; the rest can still eat their pasta or try another brand.  Let’s see, going to guess many will go with, try another brand.

They should send this guy out more often for interviews, he’s a great salesman.

I wonder if pasta tastes as good with your foot in your mouth?pasta7



Are you the viewer drawn toward us?
To begin, take warning, we are far different from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in Walter White ideal?
Do you think it so easy to have become a Pinkman?
Do you think the familiarity of Hank would be unalloy’d satisfaction?
Do you look toward the Skyler when death is on the breath of life?
Do you see no further than a pink teddy bear façade, a smooth and tolerant manner?
Do you suppose money advancement toward a real heroic man would last?
Do you suggest the whities could have been tightier?
Have you no thought, O dreamer, that actions have consequences, this is all illusion breaking into bad?

With a little contravention of Walt Whitman I say adieu to Breaking Bad. Like any good morality play, the lessons were many. I bet you can easily figure out what each character personified.bb3

 Breaking Bad reinforced that two wrongs or many, many wrongs don’t make a right.

All actions have consequences, good and bad.

Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons still doesn’t make it right, right?

While we will miss the show, the cast is brilliant and already on the move:
Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle, X-Files, Family Guy, Seinfeld – ‘Hey Denty!’)
Anna Gunn (Deadwood, ER, Six Feet Under, Seinfeld)
Aaron Paul (X-Files, Big Love, Bones, Family Guy)
Dean Norris (Under The Dome, X-Files, Lost, Castle)
Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk,
Giancarlo Esposito, Jonathan Banks,
Laura Fraser, Jesse Plemons

Creating, writing, directing, and producing the AMC drama series Breaking Bad was a masterstroke from Vince Gilligan, X-Files (Note the cast).

Hard to believe it will soon go gently into TV history.

So long.bb2


So far Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is everything I was hoping for.

Cool tech, cheesy, super stuff and lots of the funny that we expect from Joss Whedon.

Did I miss Stan Lee or gasp, was he not in it?Image

[Terry: Of course, he was in it, ninny. Stan–who is going to live forever–was one of the Executive Producers. I’m sure he had a cameo–doesn’t he always?  What really frightens me is that I read all this stuff when it was NEW. I used to drop by on my motorcycle after I got off my shift at the gas station and browse the late-night drug store’s collection. Next to the Main Point in Bryn Mawr, for those locals.]

Why I like lesbians | Welcome to a new friend: Hugo Hamilton’s Porno Ponderings

Winston Churchill ponders

Winston Churchill ponders (Photo credit: amazing_podgirl)

Why I like lesbians | Hugo Hamilton’s Porno Ponderings.

[Terry: Sorry about that, Hugo. I love you dearly but I am not going to Ponder which Porno to Put on Hey Sweetheart. It’s a very good site–so go and visit it, folks.]

Welcome to a new friend: Aquileana| La Audacia de Aquiles

The Audacity of Achilles

Visible World is Just a Pretext



(Aquileana looks fascinating and insanely prolific–I blame myself for the inability to read Spanish

Which reminds me, why the hell did they teach us French and German in High School? The only time I’ve used French was to negotiate checkpoints in Beirut–and there it was a gamble since a lot of the checkpoints would shoot if you DID speak French.  C’est la vie. )

Buenaventura aquileana!. Welcome to this virtual space whose purpose is to make more bearable mediate our finitude … Let it be.

via Welcome | La Audacia de Aquiles.




♣ Haruki Murakami: “Kafka en la Orilla”: Reseña Sinóptica:



Kafka Tamura leaves home the day turns fifteen. I take it the bad relations with his father-a famous sculptor convinced his son repeated the fateful but Oedipus and the vacuum produced by the absence of his mother will head south of the country, where you will find refuge in a peculiar library and meet the mysterious lady Saeki. His footsteps are crossed with another character, Satoru Nakata, upon whom tragedy has struck: a child, during the Second World War. On a school trip in the woods, he and his companions fell into a coma, but only came out with sequels Nakata, lost in a kind of self-forgetfulness, difficulty in expressing and communicating … except cats. At sixty years old, poor and lonely, leave Tokyo after an obscure incident and begins a journey that will take you to the library of Takamatsu. All the plot of the novel is of brazen, its structure was simply rigorous.



Caos: Lady Gaga: “Born This Way” / “Pushing Boundaries”.-

Caos: Lady Gaga: “Born This Way” / “Pushing Boundaries”:

Lady Gaga: “Born This Way… I´m a Superstar”.-


Lady Gaga is one of the music icons electro / pop now … I recently discovered Stefani Germanotta, more precisely on the occasion of the Monster Ball Tour At Madison Square Garden televised on HBO Plus.


Lady Gaga: “The Monster Ball Tour”. Trailer (HBO):


I was particularly caught by three songs from the show, namely: “So Happy I Could Die” (the opening of the concert), “Alejandro” (a classic ultrapegadizo mail and Lady Gaga) and the final version of “Born This Way”.


♠Lady Gaga: “Alejandro”:


I think from the first a little more personal approach broke with previous prejudices. I thought before Lady Gaga was a blonde blunt, plastic doll androgynous appearance sometimes quirky other, hollowly produced by a retinue of stylists and makeup artists, following directives of a Gangsta Manager …



Thunder -Love Walked In | Catching up with old friend Steve Fox

Thunder -Love Walked In

Check it out !

So tired of waiting, I walked an empty land
I was looking for something to help me understand
But bad luck kept turning my dreams into sand

I didn’t want pity, I had my share of friends
I wanted somebody more special than the rest
I was aching inside like I was approaching the end

Just about that moment the timing was so right
You appeared like a vision sent down to my life
I thought, I was dreaming when I saw you that night

That’s when love walked in through my door
That familiar feeling I had once before
Love walked in through my door and it felt so strange, ooh

It’s hard to remember being on my own
Ooh, that kind of loving makes a hard man lose control
But I sleep so much better, now I’m not alone

So promise me, baby, you’re always gonna stay
I don’t think I could take it, seeing you walk away
You don’t need to doubt it, I remember that day

That’s when love walked in through my door
I found just what I wanted but I got so much more
Love walked in through my door and it felt so strange

Like a long lost friend that hadn’t changed
Giving me hope again
Love walked in, love walked in, love

Ooh, just about that moment the timing was so right
You appeared like a vision sent down to my life
I thought, I was dreaming when I saw you that night

That’s when love walked in through my door
That familiar feeling I had once before
Love walked in through my door

Oh, love walked in through my door and it felt so strange
That familiar feeling I had once before
Love walked in through my door and it felt so strange

Like a long lost friend that hadn’t changed
Giving me hope again, ooh
Love walked in, ooh, love walked in, love
Love walked in, love walked in, oh

via Thunder -Love Walked In | SFoxWriting’s Blog.

Buy Terry Irving's The Last American Wizard or Anything Else & Help Hey Sweetheart Stay Alive CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR MY MAILING LIST AND BE ELIGIBLE FOR A FREE SIGNED COPY OF "COURIER" COMING FROM EXHIBIT A IN MAY 2014

Buy Terry Irving’s The Last American Wizard

or Anything Else & Help Hey Sweetheart Stay Alive





Work Of Art | Catching up with A Stairway To Fashion

Märta Mattsson’s Butterflies And Insects-

Butterflies, beetles and frightening and bizarre insects become works of art in the creations of young Swedish designer Märta Mattsson.

Märta Mattsson has always been able to see and create “beauty” from what others would consider frightening or even repulsive. Today she is considered a rising star in the world of contemporary jewelry. Born in Stockholm, Märta traveled a lot for her studies with experiences in Tokyo, the United States and the Royal College of Art in London. Her jewels, which feature beetles, butterflies and insects with colorful wings, are absolute expressions of her many experiences and her memories of childhood afternoons spent playing with insects and all different types of stuffed animals, and the effect this had on her creative sensibility.

Märta Mattsson got her BA from HDK – School of Design and Crafts Jewelry Art in Gothenburg. During university, she did exchanges in Providence, Rhode Island, and Tokyo where she took courses at the Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry. Here her creations were described by classmates as “KimoKawaii”, a combination of the words kawaii (gracious) and kimoi (disgusting). Since 2007, her works have been shown at various trade fairs and during solo shows. In 2012, her “Fossil” collection won the Talent Prize in Munich, which catapulted her to the top of the list of promising young stars in jewelry.

Märta Mattsson

Märta Mattsson

She is fascinated by things that people are scared of but at the same time can’t help staring at. Märta says that her jewels come about out of this tension between attraction and repulsion. Scary insects, beetles, moths and butterflies are lacquered and then trapped in elegant enclosures, cut, glued and adorned with cubic zirconia before being turned into brooches and necklaces, familiar objects that are shining and extraordinary.

In the  “Fossils”, “Beetle”, “Rebirth/Skin” and “Wallpaper” collections, these repulsive creatures are reinterpreted into things that become fascinating and charming to look at. These bizarre insects are immobile in their magnificent mounts created by the imaginative young designer. They shine with new life becoming ornaments and jewels able to evoke that amazement and attraction toward the things that scare us.

Brooch. Butterfly wings, cicada and moth, resin and silver.

Brooch. Butterfly wings, cicada and moth, resin and silver.

Necklace. Cicadas, crushed copper, glitter, resin, silver.

Necklace. Cicadas, crushed copper, glitter, resin, silver.

For MUCH MORE CLICK  Märta Mattsson’s Butterflies And Insects-Work Of Art | A Stairway To Fashion.

Abuja – Federal Capital Territory

Catching Up With Old Friends: Juju Films

Juju Films

Abuja - Federal Capital Territory by Jujufilms
Ushafa Village, a photo by Jujufilms on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Ushafa Village is popularly known as Bill Clinton Village after former US President Bill Clinton visited the village in 2000. He was given the traditional chieftaincy title of ‘Dan Masanin Ushafa’ meaning ‘the most educated man of Ushafa’ and citizenship of the village


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The Evolution of #streetart and #music | Welcome to a new friend: Modern Hieroglyphics

Banksy vs. King Robbo

Street Art vs. Graffiti

permalink. ·

Almost thirty years ago, in 1985, a London graffiti artist by the name of “King Robbo” threw this piece up in the Regent’s Canal tunnel in Camden. Little did he know that he would still be working on it decades later…

This is a picture of the exact same piece in 2006. It had been scribbled on, tagged, and painted over to the point that the original was almost completely cover up and barely visible.

Out of nowhere came infamous London street artist “Banksy” in 2009. In his signature stencil style, he painted a city worker covering the now grey walls with “graffiti wallpaper.” Banksy’s style is so unique and well-known that he oftentimes doesn’t even include a tag with his work. People started buzzing all over town; this had just sparked a battle between legends.

Upon seeing Banksy’s alteration to his original piece, King Robbo was not happy. His work had not been seen in public for over a decade, yet he came out of retirement to strike back against Banksy. According to King Robbo, in an exclusive interview, “He broke a graff code of conduct and for a lawless community we have a lot of laws, so I had to come back. What people don’t realise is that he’d already gone over loads of my stuff before and I hadn’t bothered retaliating but this time it was just so deliberate, so cowardly. If you’ve got the hump about something, you send a message and discuss it like gentlemen, you don’t wipe out a piece of graffiti history. But that’s what he does, never expresses his own opinion, he puts something out and lets people fool themselves, he’s smart in that respect.”

This rebuttal piece was painted on Christmas day in 2009. King Robbo said of his piece, “it was actually pretty sloppy, I’d gone out Christmas morning, done it quickly and just thought ‘fuck it’. I didn’t even know how to post it on the Internet afterwards let alone think it would cause the fuss it did.” The media immediately jumped on this and all of London was talking about it. The street art vs. graffiti war had begun, and was now in full force. According to legend, there was an encounter in the late 90s between King Robbo and Banksy. King Robbo claims that he ran into Banksy at a party, and Banksy ”decided to get cocky and say ‘I’ve never heard of you,’ so I gave him a swift backhand and said ‘you may never have heard of me but you’ll never forget me’ and that was that.” King Robbo is convinced that Banksy’s attack on him was a deliberate retaliation for his disrespectful actions.

For MORE CLICK HERE= Banksy vs. King Robbo Street Art vs. Graffiti | Modern Hieroglyphics.

Interview with Jon Swartz of Black Ink

Last Wednesday, we invited Jon Swartz of Black Ink down to Richmond, Virginia to paint a mural at the RVA Street Art Festival. We had a wild weekend and found just enough time to squeeze in an interview.

Jon painting at the 2013 RVA Street Art Festival

Jon painting at the 2013 RVA Street Art Festival

Where are you originally from?
Rochester, New York. Moved to Philly when I was nine? Or eight? Something like that. Let’s just say I’m from Philly.


When you were a kid, what did you want to be? When did you know you’d end up being a professional artist?
When I was five years old, my dad gave me some watercolors and he let me do my thing. He said he saw something in it, so he immediately started pushing it, you know. I was with it… I really wanted to do it for some reason. I don’t even know what drove me to do it in the first place.


But after realizing I had something, I wanted to be a comic book artist. So I would just copy comic books, for hours and hours and hours. My mom saw me doing it, so she gave me an anatomy book. She saw me drawing muscles that looked ridiculous, so the book showed me the real way that they should look. I would study those, I would study comic books, and that’s kinda when I learned how to draw.


Interview with Moose, Inventor of “Reverse Graffiti”

I’ve always been a huge fan of traditional aerosol street art and graffiti, but I recently came across an artist who has been switching it up: instead of painting on walls, Paul Curtis (Moose) uses a powerwasher to remove dirt and grime off of walls, resulting in the creation of stunning images and patterns. The new art form is known as “reverse graffiti” or “clean tagging,” and is growing in popularity all over the world. This is the story of Moose.


How and when did the name Moose come about?
It was never meant to be an artist name, I never actually meant to be an artist… It was a nickname given to me one day after I’d spent a day walking around my art school. I was telling everybody that I was a warehouse, or a moose, or a Waldorf salad. I would say, “I’m a warehouse” and spread my arms wide as if to make a box. Luckily that one didn’t stick, and the next day my friend Damien remembered that I’d told him that I was a moose. So he said, “You’re a moose aren’t you?” with a group of friends around, and they all agreed. I was grateful to lose my real name, Paul, and I would have settled for almost anything in its place. I was nineteen at the time, so for nearly thirty years I’ve been Moose.

image copy 2

Where are you originally from and how has that brought you to where you are now?
Born in Manchester and grew up in Cheshire until I was 8, then moved South until I was 12, then up North to Leeds… So everytime I moved I had an accent from the wrong part of the country. I learned quickly how to change and fit in, and that was the start of a great ability that I have for being able to deal with most people on level terms. From the age of 14, when I started watching bands play live, I was fascinated by the people who came on stage and moved the equipment around. Almost as much as the bands themselves. That’s what lead me into working in music and events. After becoming one of those people… even though I still love that job… I started looking for something new.


The Last American Wizard (Part 1 of The New Abnormal)sweetheart rewrite COMBINE

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Some Novel News… | Nick Wale at Novel Ideas

Some Novel News…

Dear Friends,

I hope you have had a wonderful month. I just wanted to write and tell you why I have been absent from this site for a week or so… Things have been crazy over here at Novel Ideas, and I will be replying to all your emails and letters over the next few days. I was slightly shocked to find over ONE THOUSAND emails in my inbox… BUT I will work through them and I will respond to each and every one of you. The number one thing you have asked me is about the condition of the traditional publishing industry. There is no easy way to say this. Traditional publishing is dead, and it won’t be long until the burial. What used to be a relatively fair and decent industry has become a façade for money grabbing, small minded businessmen looking to make a few easy dollars. There is no budget to promote your book as far as they’re concerned. You are on your own… So… You might as well self-publish and control your own destiny. Remember, we are the drivers of the car that is this industry, and in the end, only we the people can direct where it’s heading. It’s time for us to start exploring new and uncharted territory. The self-publishing world is that uncharted territory, and it’s just waiting for you. Come and join the expedition and build your own niche, empire or cabin.

So, what has been going on with Novel Ideas?

Novel Ideas magazine hits number one“Novel Reads By Novel Ideas” hit the number one position in America at the beginning of the month. The success this magazine has seen was unprecedented and not expected in the least. Because of the magazine sales have been climbing all over, we have created several new number one novels this month. “Novel Reads By Novel Ideas” has become one of the most influential independent magazines overnight.

Hollywood movie star Alex Cord wrote to congratulate me on the magazine and this month we will be featuring a review of his bestselling novel Days of the Harbinger.” I am sure you will love the review and the book.

At the same time, I was approached to work on a brand new book from author Yveta Germano.Bring Me Back” is currently on its way to the top. This book is one of the best new teenage fiction books to be released. What could possibly go wrong when seventeen-year-old Aliana breaks into an old mansion to find out who was hiding behind the curtain of an attic room window? Everything. Aliana’s life is turned upside down when she meets eighteen-year-old Damon, a male clone, as she struggles to grasp not only the new reality around her, but also the meaning of life itself. Damon is a fierce, unbelievably handsome man on one hand, and a cold, wildly unpredictable scientific creation on the other. When Aliana finds herself in a situation where she must trust Damon with her own life, one answer to a nagging question can mean the difference between life and death – Does a clone have a conscience and a soul?

Novel Ideas has been retained by Denise Barry to promote her fantastic kids’ release “What Does The Tooth Fairy Do With Our Teeth?” This wonderful book will allow your kids to “take a sneaky peek” inside the Tooth Fairy’s world where you will be amazed and delighted by all of the fun, creative and magical things she might do with our teeth. But be warned, you may never look at the world in the same way again–not the snow, the stars, or even a chocolate chip cookie! Her first interview with Novel Ideas will appear in the next issue of “Novel Reads By Novel Ideas” due out the first week of October.

Cliff Roberts sales awards

Cliff Roberts holds two sale awards awarded for sales of his novels.

Cliff Roberts has been climbing higher and higher with his sales soaring. His new novel “Conch Republic” has been awarded sales awards already for its chart action. “As a writer he’s marginal at best, but as a crime fighter, he’s one of the best. Nate Nevwas is a big man who is old, fat, and handicapped, yet friendly and terminally curious.” Cliff Roberts was amazed that a book taking him away from the action adventure of the “Reprisal” series would be successful. Who were you trying to kid, Cliff? Cliff will be appearing on a major radio network in a few weeks to answer question upon question about his overnight success.

Mike Trahan has been busy writing his third memoir to follow up the success of “The Gift” and “The Gift Part Two: The Airforce Years.” Mike recently appeared on a hip internet radio show “The Weekly Book Webinar” to talk about his work. The result? Trahan book sales went through the roof. The third part of his series of memoirs will surely follow.

Author and charity fundraiser Tom Ufert has been working hard on the next step of his writing career. Tom has already had great success with his inspirational memoir “Adversity Builds Character” and his number one bestseller “On The Roll.” This month he has been hard at work raising money for his charities of choice. Tom will be celebrating 21 years of “overcoming adversity” later this week.

Boyd Lemon has recently announced that he will be releasing a fiction book by the end of this year. Sales for his Boyd Lemon final advertisement“Mad Men” style memoir “Digging Deep” have been exceptionally strong, and Boyd will be appearing in this month’s “Novel Reads By Novel Ideas” e-magazine to promote his upcoming release. You will not want to miss this one!

Hollywood writer RJ Smith recently gave copies of his bestselling novel “The Santa Claus Killer” away at the Emmy’s. RJ has been riding a tidal wave of success since his entry into the book world, and he has spent much of the year touring to promote “Killer.” There is news of a new RJ Smith release in the future, and it may be a very wet read.

“The bad boy of happiness,” Patrick Mcmillan, has announced that he will be releasing a new book this year. Hopefully a follow on from his successful “Happiness for Kids” volume.

Hitmaker Charlie Flowers has been busy this month with three of his books all racing to the top of the bestseller list. The biggest of the three could well be his first release “Hard Kill.” Charlie has been promoting this book all month and will be heading back to work on the fourth installment next month.

The next issue of “Novel Reads By Novel Ideas” will be released early next month. This month will see interviews, short stories and articles from all over the writing world. I think you will love it… I know I do.

Best wishes,

Nick Wale

via Some Novel News… | Novel Ideas.

The Last American Wizard (Part 1 of The New Abnormal)sweetheart rewrite COMBINE

Buy Terry Irving’s The Last American Wizard

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Goodreads | Carrie Vaughn’s Blog – What I’ve Learned About Writing an Ongoing Series – September 23, 2013 08:34


Falling Free

Falling Free (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Note:  my model and guide for learning to write a series has always been Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga.  I make references to it throughout.)

1. Make each book a stand-alone story in its own right. The goal here is to have someone be able to pick up any book in the series and still get hooked. Don’t make it harder for readers to get into the series by forcing them to figure out what order it goes in, or confusing them if they get it wrong. The first Miles book I read was Mirror Dance, which is not only in the middle of the series, but in the middle of a three-book story arc. I still loved it enough to rush out and read everything else — completely out of order. But I never felt lost. (It did result in a lot of “oh, that’s why that happened!” moments, but that’s okay.)

2. The main character has to grow and change. Writers are taught that a novel should have a character arc, that through the story the main character should learn something, should be changed somehow. That the main character is the one most affected by the story. This shouldn’t change just because it’s a series and the character continues across many books. The character still needs to be invested in the story, each and every time.

3. There’s a corollary to this: The main character needs to be the kind of person that lots of life-changing stuff happens to. Let’s face it, for one person to face a dozen life-changing character arcs over the course of a series might be pretty unbelievable. But not if that person is naturally that kind of person. Over the course of his series, Miles flunks out of the military academy physical exam, gets into the academy anyway, graduates, starts a military career, accidentally becomes admiral of a mercenary fleet, becomes a pan-galactic super spy, screws up so badly he destroys his career, has to find a way to pick up the pieces of his life and find a new career, and he does, as an investigator which takes him on all sorts of new adventures, and then he meets the love of his life, and then — you get the idea. Miles is the kind of person who will never run out of adventures.

So, the short version of this: don’t be afraid to have your characters grow up. Don’t be afraid to throw vast, life-changing problems at them. That will make the series more interesting, more realistic, more vivid, and will make your reader that much more invested in it.

Much More Click Here

via Goodreads | Carrie Vaughn’s Blog – What I’ve Learned About Writing an Ongoing Series – September 23, 2013 08:34.

Periodic table of storytelling [chart]

Periodic table of storytelling infographic

Periodic table of storytelling infographic

via Periodic table of storytelling [chart].

The Last American Wizard (Part 1 of The New Abnormal)sweetheart rewrite COMBINE

Buy Terry Irving’s The Last American Wizard

or Anything Else & Help Hey Sweetheart Stay Alive



From the Desk of Phylis Johnson: 7 Reasons Your Favorite Books Were Banned


7 Reasons Your Favorite Books Were Banned.

Risqué-averse readers, cover your ears. Sunday marked the beginning of this year’s National Banned Books Week, for which libraries and bookstores across the country will promote and celebrate commonly censored titles. The organization calls its cause a “celebration of the freedom to read.”

According to, 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982, when the event was launched. What constitutes a “banned” book, as opposed to a “challenged” book? The American Library Association explains:

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.

Last year’s most frequently challenged or banned titles included a mix of Young Adult books, literary classics and romance novels, such as “Gossip Girl,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

This year’s list includes a few stalwarts, such as Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” and Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed,” and a few titles that have recent or forthcoming film adaptations, such as Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” and Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

So why are these stories, many of which are venerated award-winners, being scorned, and in some cases, pulled from shelves? Here are some of the reasons that have been cited:

Offensive language
“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is one of the most frequently challenged books as of late, and the commonly aired complaint that Alexie uses profanity, including the “F-word” and “N-word.” You know who else used those words? Henry Miller and Mark Twain, respectively. Yes, vulgar language popping up in an academic setting can be jarring. But when a writer is discussing weighty topics, like the troubling state of schools on Indian reservations, jarring is a suitable approach.

Sexually explicit
According to the ALA, this is the No. 1 reason for banning books in the past decade. Margaret Atwood’s “A Handmaid’s Tale” was challenged by a North Carolina high school for being “sexually explicit,” because clearly high school students are mature enough for sex ed, but not for feminist literature. Ironically, the book discusses the issues with censorship.

“And Tango Makes Three” is an illustrated children’s book in which a zookeeper witnesses two male penguins performing mating rituals and gives the pair an egg to hatch. The result is Tango, a female chick. Sadly, this story has ranked among the top 10 most frequently challenged books for the last few years. Last year, it was marked for removal in a Davis, Utah, school district because “parents might find it objectionable.”

Books deemed “violent” are challenged about a third as often as books described as “sexually explicit,” but so-called violent stories have been spotlighted recently. Nixing gratuitous fighting is understandable, but many of the flagged books use violence as an allegory for, well, nonviolence. Richard Connell’s short story “The Most Dangerous Game” features two big game hunters who grow tired of their animal targets, eventually turning their aggression toward each other, but a Colorado school claimed it “only serves to promote school violence.”

Religious viewpoint
The Harry Potter books and the Twilight series aren’t the only ones targeted for their “ungodly” content, though they certainly are attacked often). Lauren Myracle‘s YA book, “ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r,” and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s “Dangerously Alice” are challenged for the same reason. Oddly enough, even Aldous Huxley’s dystopian critique of modern society, “Brave New World,” has been banned for its religious viewpoint.

Books advocating the use of drugs are, of course, frequently censored titles; But even books that serve as warning signs against the dangers of drugs have been removed from school libraries. A prime example is “Go Ask Alice,” by Anonymous. Written in the ’70s, it’s been banned in schools from Texas to Michigan. But the protagonist and her friends do not make drug use look fun. On the contrary, their partying ruins their grades, and their lives, in almost propagandistic, “Reefer Madness”-style prose.

Descriptions of nudity is cited as a separate reason from sexually explicit content, because apparently teens can attend an art museum or read a biology book, but not experience fictional naked bodies. Last year, Dori Hillestad Butler’s “My Mom’s Having A Baby!: A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide” was one of the most banned books. Although the book is an instructional guide to what happens when a woman is pregnant, it has been challenged for including nudity.

If you’re interested in doing your part to promote non-restrictive reading, head over to the ALA’s site. The New York Times also has a nifty list of creative ways to celebrate.


8 Punctuation Marks That Are No Longer Used | Keith Houston

English: gnaborretni ("⸘" U+2E18, tu...

English: gnaborretni (“⸘” U+2E18, turned interrobang) for use in Spanish, Asturian and Galician Deutsch: Gnaborretni (“⸘” U+2E18, auf dem Kopf stehendes Interrobang) für Spanisch, Asturisch und Galicisch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The "SarcMark" is used to e...

English: The “SarcMark” is used to emphasis sarcasm in a medium where tone of voice is not evident. Similar marks have been proposed, such as the File:Irony mark full.svg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exclamation comma

Exclamation comma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: irony mark – a punctuation mark...

English: irony mark – a punctuation mark to indicate irony (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The pilcrow (¶) is the poster child of abandoned punctuation marks. With roots in ancient Greece, the pilcrow started life during the fourth century BC as the paragraphos, a horizontal line drawn in the margin of many a papyrus scroll to indicate that something of interest lay in the corresponding line. The reader was left to determine precisely what that something was.


Tironian et

A modern writer seeking to abbreviate the word “and” will doubtless reach for the ampersand (&). Things were not always thus, however, and for much of its two-thousand-year existence the ampersand was up against a rival mark boasting a conspicuously elevated pedigree. The 7-shaped “Tironian et” was the brainchild of Tiro, secretary to the famed first century BC orator Marcus Tullius Cicero.

tironian et


Buoncompagno da Signa, a twelfth century man of letters, took a stab at creating a system of punctuation comprising only two marks: a slash (/) for short pauses and a horizontal line (-) for longer pauses. Da Signa called his marks virgulae, from the Latin virga, meaning “rod,” “staff,” or even “penis.”



For centuries after its invention, punctuation was the province of the reader, not the writer. The average ancient Greek or Roman struggled through texts devoid of commas, periods, and even word spaces, punctuating as they went to help pick apart the words and their meaning. Well into the medieval ages, even after punctuation had been established as the writer’s responsibility, readers continued to annotate their books with symbols to help index and recall the information therein. The manicule (☞)–or, if you prefer, the hand, hand director, pointing hand, pointing finger, pointer, digit, index, or indicator–was a favorite of Renaissance scholars, inked into the margin as a bookmark or aide-mémoire.


Percontation Mark

When punctuation was first invented by Aristophanes, librarian at Alexandria in the 4th century BC, he suggested that readers could use middle (·), low (.), and high points (˙) to punctuate writing according to the rules of rhetoric. Despite this, it took another two millennia before the eponymous rhetorical question got its own mark of punctuation. Worried that his readers would not catch such a subtle figure of speech, in the late sixteenth century the English printer Henry Denham created the percontation mark–a reversed question mark–to address the problem.





Don Draper has nothing on Martin K. Speckter. The head of his own advertising agency, and with the Wall Street Journal on the books, in 1962 Speckter tried to sell the world a new mark of punctuation. Writing in “Type Talks,” Madison Avenue’s journal of typography, Speckter described the “interrobang” (‽) as a combination of a question mark and an exclamation point (or “bang,” as printers called it) and said that it should be used to punctuate an excited or rhetorical question.




The need to punctuate irony–whether a rhetorical question that is not a question at all, or a common-or-garden sarcastic quip–runs deep in the veins of writers and typophiles.



Perhaps the most convincing modern irony mark is a European invention. Commissioned in 2007 for the Dutch national book festival, the ironieteken was created by Bas Jacobs at the type foundry Underware. His graceful zig-zag exclamation mark was designed to blend in with existing marks of punctuation and to be easily written by hand.



Keith Houston is the author of the new book Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks.

For the Entire Story Click Here 8 Punctuation Marks That Are No Longer Used | Keith Houston.

What Happens to Us | Welcome to a new friend: David Grove

[Terry:  This guy is fascinating. Every blog item is a new story. Plus he’s a bit chubby and wears Hawaiian shirts–what’s not to like?]

When you choose a career, it’s not always a straight line.

In my case, I started out at age 7 wanting to be an astronaut or a baseball player.

My father had always wanted something else for me.

“Be a dentist,” he said.  “You get as much money as a doctor, but no one wakes you up at night and says you have to come into the hospital to fix a toothache.”

But by senior year in college, I was on a straight line: I wanted to become a novelist.  I pretty quickly published my first short story, in an august journal called North American Review, which Hemingway and Twain had also published in.

“I pay for four years of tuition at UCLA,” my father complained to my mother, “and he wants to become a novelist?!”

He never told me about his complaint, though.  He was too decent to say it out loud to me.  I learned about it only years later from my mother.

After graduation, I didn’t find any companies who wanted to hire someone as a full-time novelist, so I started doing journalism, small-time at first, but within six years, was publishing in Mademoiselle, McCall’s, Harper’s Bazaar, and a host of other glamorous and glitzy publications.  I was flying in to New York twice a year to meet with editors.  I had bylines galore.

But I wasn’t glitzy by nature.  I still wanted to be a novelist and I had no time for it.  When Joe Weider offered me a full-time editor’s job in his fitness empire, I answered, “Oh no, I’m sorry, I’m working on a novel.”  I was still under the delusion that freelance writing might allow me some free time to work on fiction.  It didn’t.

When I finally realized that freelancing had failed me, I jumped ship and became a full-time magician.  I had heard that cruise-ship magicians worked only two hours a week, got paid a couple thousand a week, and had lots of free time.  That was the job for me.  I would travel the world and write my novels for 38 hours a week.  But in the meantime, I had to become a master salesman, selling my show to cold-call customers, which once again took all my time.

The only thing that gave me enough time to write my novel, finally, was poverty.  Just giving it all up and writing.  Not worrying about jobs, not worrying about getting new things, not worrying about going without health insurance, not worrying about what people think, and they think some pretty bad things, believe me.

Cover What Happens 1a smallerNot worrying: It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

I started writing the novel six years ago, after thinking about it for 24.  I wrote much of it at night, when I had insomnia.  It would calm me to write on it, chip away at it.  There are so many different parts of a novel that it’s like a whole country, and you work to create that geography, climate, and culture.  It was compulsive.  It was the one thing I knew how to do.  I didn’t know how to be happy, exactly, or worldly successful, but I did know how to write.  You scribble a first draft, go away from it for a few days, thinking about it, and then ideas come to you in the shower, on the bikepath, before going to sleep.  If you’re smart, you write down those ideas when they come to you.

But at the end of that path, which is a long one, I can assure you, winding and endless, you have something solid and real that you’ve been hoping for all your life.  You sit in front of the computer and smile.  You read the last couple chapters to your girlfriend and she cries.  Sometimes, you even choke up reading it.  You give it to your girlfriend to read aloud because you know you can’t do it yourself.  There are gorgeous sentences that sparkle as if they were pure sunlight.  There are characters who have lived in your heart for years.  There are turns of phrase that only appear after the 80th draft.  There’s a plot that fits together like a Mitrokhin puzzle.  And there’s a dream that you’ve finally fulfilled, rather than letting it die.

And that’s why you should buy my novel, if only to support someone who’s had a dream.

The No Trespassing No Sidewalk No Road Shoulder Blues

I’m heading to Kansas in a couple days, and am remembering something that I often discover about the red states: that there are political differences between them and my native California.

I’m not just talking about the obvious factors, such as people looking askance at men holding hands with each other, or at women dressing more skimpily, or people in general looking older, even though they may not be.  I’m talking about looking up the bus fares for Hutchinson and discovering to my shock that it costs $4 compared to the $1.50 fare in Los Angeles.  Not only that, but I’ll have to walk 1.2 miles just to get to the bus stop.  Kansans don’t believe in tax money being spent on frivolous things like poor people’s transportation needs.  They believe in what they call “self-sufficiency”–that is, every man for himself, period.

I’ll be doing some genealogical research while I’m in Hutch, and discovered another red-blue split: The state government doesn’t believe in transparency.  While birth and death records are public in California and many other states, they aren’t in Kansas.  They are available only to immediate family and “anyone who can prove a direct interest.”  The red-state mentality is authoritarian rather than transparent, as explained in the fine book, Don’t Think of an Elephant, by George Lakoff.

Charles S. Groves

Charles S. Groves

I’ve run into this in other red states, too.  While I was in the Carolinas in the late 1990s, I noticed that their state and local governments don’t spend much money on infrastructure.  I tried to bicycle in Charleston, for example, and discovered that there were virtually no bikepaths, few sidewalks, and very little or crumbling road shoulder.  Get out of historic Charleston and it was dangerous just to walk down the street, with cars whizzing by so close to you.  You had to trudge through the weeds and brambles just to keep from getting hit.  The city is designed, it seems, for the convenience of those in Cadillacs and limousines, and not for those who have to walk to their destinations.

Carmel beach scene 9 12 a 2 pix together 1 smaller

While driving from Charleston to Raleigh, too, I noticed a definite red-state complexion.  I wanted to stop along the way and walk onto the beach, take off my shoes, squish my toes in the sand, feel the salt air on my face.  But in the Carolinas, there are miles upon miles upon miles of seaside mansion estates that preclude any public use.  In 1971, California passed The Coastal Initiative that codified into law the idea that the beach (such as Carmel Beach, above) belongs to the public, and that no more private or commercial building would be allowed there.  Obviously, that is too radical an idea for the Carolinas.

People often throw up their hands at politics, saying their vote makes no difference.  But here, that concept is disproven.  Not only does politics have an impact on the large issues, such as war and who’s going to chair the Fed, but also, on the issues that affect us every day, such as sidewalks, streets, and beaches.  And so I head off towards a red state, hoping for the best.

via Accidentally Famous on the Street | What Happens to Us.

Accidentally Famous on the Street

Last August, I performed street magic for two weeks on Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey.  I had a good time and polished my Linking Rings routine.  When summer ended, I left.  Last week, I returned.  Within the first ten minutes, a homeless guy called over to me.

“Hey, I know you!  Welcome back!”


He was big and smiley and had wild hair and a booming voice that filled the waterfront.

Then another homeless guy called over a big hello, too, even repeating some of my joke lines back to me, saying that he had appropriated them for his own show.

“Reach into your pockets and take out a 5-dollar bill.  Keep that for yourself and give the rest to me!”

I didn’t begrudge him stealing the line from me; I had stolen it myself.

Playing the street is an on and off thing for me.  I started busking in 1994, when I was trying to get good at stage magic.  In 1998, I published a book called Be a Street Magician!: A How-To Guide (Aha! Press,, which made me semifamous in a niche audience, magicians.

These days, the vast majority of my business consists of big-paying inside gigs.  But when business is slow, I like to road-test my new material by performing on the street for an endless stream of new audiences.  Last week, I happened to get hired to perform for a couple of fancy parties at the classic-car show in Carmel, so while I was up here, I decided to play the wharf.

My first day back on the wharf, I did well.  I was even approached by a couple who saw my show and wanted me to come to their 6-year-old daughter Jasmine’s birthday party the next evening.  We negotiated on the spot.  They wanted me to go down $50 on the price.  I said I would do that if they bought my newly published enovel, What Happens to Us,, and got five of their friends to do so, as well.  I didn’t tell them that I hadn’t brought all my best kids’ show props–the die box, for example (see video).

The next day, a Sunday, I went back out to the wharf to get in a couple hours of busking before the party.  A man walked up to me with his kid.

“I’m glad you’re here!” he said.  “I saw you yesterday, and I liked it so much that I brought my boy to see you!”

It was strange to make such an imprint on this community without even trying much.  I felt like I was becoming accidentally famous.

In one of my audiences was an 18-year-old guy with the wild hair of an intellectual.  He said his name was Forrest.

“Man, you must get all the damn Gump jokes,” I said.

“Stupid is as stupid does,” he said, grinning.

During the show, I ended up casting aspersions on Forrest’s wealth because he lived in Seaside.  Everybody laughed.  Later, when I held out my hat for tips, Forrest came up and dropped in a $20 bill.

“Not all people in Seaside are poor,” he said.

I couldn’t believe I had benefited financially by making Forrest feel insecure.  It seemed to be against my philosophy of life, which is that being relentlessly positive is the way to happiness and wealth.  Still, I didn’t give him the twenty back.

Come evening, I did the kids’ show at the park and kicked ass.  Afterwards, two separate guys came up and asked me if they could have my card.

“I live in Los Angeles,” I said, handing it over, but then warned him.  “I’d have to charge a lot more for the show.”

“How much?”

“Like $1,200 at least.”

“That’s okay.”

IMG_3849It was a good weekend at the wharf.  Tomorrow, I’m going to try to play the local Farmer’s Market (see photograph above), which is so packed and busy that it looks promising.

Studio Ghibli Art Nouveau-Inspired Art [Pics] | Geeks are Sexy Technology News

Studio Ghibli Art Nouveau-Inspired Art [Pics]2 13 0 Share15Beautiful, detailed drawings of Miyazaki classics by marlboro!


via Studio Ghibli Art Nouveau-Inspired Art [Pics] | Geeks are Sexy Technology News.

Photos of the Monopoly Properties in Real Life

Photos of the Monopoly Properties in Real Life

By EDW Lynch on September 23, 2013

operties in Real Life

Photos of actual Monopoly properties

If you’ve ever wondered what Boardwalk from the Monopoly board game looks like, Nick Carr of Scouting NY visited Atlantic City, New Jersey and tracked down the actual streets and locations that inspired the game’s properties.

Photos of actual Monopoly properties

Photos of actual Monopoly properties

via Photos of the Monopoly Properties in Real Life.

Today’s Vintage Pin Up Post: Earl Moran |Catching up with muscleheaded

Today’s Vintage Pin Up Post: Earl Moran

Today’s Vintage Pin Up Post: Earl Moran


via Today’s Vintage Pin Up Post: Earl Moran | muscleheaded.

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