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March 2015 Release

ON THE EVE of International Woman's Day, Princess Fartalot's convention-defying adventures reminds us that in another world, another place, women continue to conform to a norm dictated by men.  Education should be fun, instead of a hit on the head with a drum, so although Princess Fartalot's fight is 'feminism light', we invite you to reading with bite.  Poopity~Poop! is available on Kindle, iBooks, and Kobo ~ and, until March 12, 2015, at the discounted launch price of $1.99
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My Mother, My Self

TODAY I thought I would talk about two books: American author Nancy Friday's My Mother, My Self ( and British author E.L. James' 50 Shades of Grey (no link provided because we want you to work to find your copy ^_~.)

What do these two have in common, you may ask. Well they are both concerned with sexuality but in Friday's case, her seminal work on the root cause of a lot of women's behaviours was directly attributed to the relationship each woman had with her Mother. Now I don't know how Friday did it, but her publisher has successfully hidden all the negative reviews that were once attached to her book (there were hundreds of them). Readers were vocal about their disdain of Friday's 'study', and negative approach to one of the key relationships we have in our lives.

On Oscar night, I watched with fascination as one of Nancy Friday's chapters came to life on camera. There the interviewer was yabbing on about the film adaptation of E.L. James' 50 Shades of Grey and how just every one had watched it ~ and here was Melanie Griffith, mother of the star of the film, saying: "I haven't" and "I won't."

In that second, the viewer understood ~ if not the interviewer ~ that the Mother had just stolen her daughter's limelight. But it was more than that: it showed a singular lack of support by the mother in her daughter's choices. It was, in fact, a very public slap in the face.

This brings us back to Friday's book and how Dakota Johnson needs to read it. Because you could tell from what was happening on the red carpet that all the money Shades of Grey ~the movie~ was making meant nothing to Dakota at that moment. All she wanted was for her mother to say the movie was good or, at the very least, she was proud of her daughter in having the courage to do it. But Melanie Griffith was doing the exact opposite. She was telling whoever was watching the little screen at that exact moment that she thought her daughter's choice of role was a poor one, embarrassing, and it was not something she would ever go and see; don't bother bringing it home and put it on in the home theatre either.

Perhaps it is proper decorum that no mother should have to watch their daughter in a sex act and say 'well done', but wouldn't a simple smile and a lot of silence have been better?
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Self-Censorship is Alive and Well

DID you know that when Animal Farm was first completed by George Orwell in 1943, no publisher would print it due to the fact that its criticism of the USSR might offend an important ally? That an adaptation of this book into a play was banned in Kenya in 1991 because it criticized corrupt leaders? That in 2002, it was banned in the schools of the United Arab Emirates because it contained text that goes against Islamic values, most notably the occurrence of an anthropomorphic, talking pig? That Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland was banned in the province of Hunan, China, in 1931 because censor General Ho Chien believed that attributing human language to animals was an insult to humans? (Wikipedia)

We are under pressure today, more than ever, to self-censor in order to appease one group or another. It has gotten to the stage where people feel entitled to complain if they are told: 'Merry Christmas.' Seriously. In Canada.

I used to wonder about my brother and his love for an oil he had purchased for some $10,000. The hues of pinks were lovely to be sure but it was still just a painting of a pig. The picture hung over his dining table ~ a space he liked to invite his cricket buddies to share, these buddies being, in the main, practicing Muslims....

It's probably obvious that my brother enjoyed getting a rise out of people, so it should be no surprise that, despite our prodding about a little more sensitivity to his guests, he refused to take his his pig painting down.

Ultimately his point was this: my house, my wall ~ I do as I please.

Charlie Hebdo probably takes the same position: our city, our publication, freedom of the press. Unlike my brother's guests, however, the attitude of the offended is that what happens in Paris means I can burn a church in Niger. Maybe even kill a person or two. If we take this defective logic to its ultimate conclusion: it means Charlie Hebdo is now being held responsible for any and all criminal behaviour that ensues, unless... it shuts up. And even then, I'm betting that someone, somewhere, is willing to argue that its previous publications had provided enough fuel.

We need to get a real grip.

I don't see fundamentalist Christians grabbing their guns over the Charlie Hebdo cover of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost buggering each other. Probably because they know nobody is going to buy the argument that a drawing by a group of non-believers caused so much offense to God he withheld the sun, the moon, the stars. Rather, most religions that have one spiritual leader agree: your actions on earth will be judged by a higher order later ~ and if you believe: do good.

So we need to stop buying into the stories that those who kill in the name of religion are committed to some higher order. Short of an actual exorcism, where the individual that is about to be murdered has successfully levitated themselves and is spitting out green pea soup mixed with live snakes, AND there are a multitude of reliable, traumatised, witnesses to confirm the same ~ there is simply no justification.

I have read multiple accounts of how Charlie Hebdo committed the ultimate sacrilege because it actually depicted Allah, and the Koran says that is not allowed. I hate to point out the obvious to the writer of such pieces that Christian religion, too, has the same commandment ~ and that the images of a bearded young man associated with Christianity is not God but the son of. Could it be that underneath all the posturing about how one religion is greater than the other we are actually being passed down a Book that tells the story of just one individual ~ and everything else that has created the schism in this story is to do with the humans who passed the story down to the next generation?

Because if that is true ~ and I'm pretty sure those who make the study of religion their life's work see it ~ then all the killing isn't actually about some higher order at all but the sad reality that we are breeding an entire culture of sociopaths.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch got a lot of flack when he tweeted that moderate Muslims needed to be held accountable for the behaviour of the extremists. Author JK Rowling jumped in with this response: "I was born Christian... The Spanish Inquisition was my fault, as is all Christian fundamentalist violence. Oh, and Jim Bakker."

Since the violence in Niger, Rowling has not commented further. In fact, there's not that many celebrities out there saying any thing because even if we don't want to hold the moderates accountable for something they did not do ~ their fundamentalist brothers are burning churches and people, taking the view that anyone not Muslim is as equally offensive to Allah as Charlie Hebdo .

I actually get Murdoch's point: because the way we deal with Christian fundamentalists who offer bigoted, hate-mongering, and narrow world views is we shame them. We make sure they remain a minority, and the only power they have is freedom of speech.

The reverse happens within the Jewish faith. Those who speak of any atrocities that might be perpertrated by the Israeli government are told they should be ashamed. They are self-hating Jews who do not know their history.

I hate religions like that.

It's like the way the Anglican Church dealt with one of its almost-Bishops, who was accused of taking money from donations for himself. The promise of forgiveness and charity were sadly lacking from the top echelons of the Church. This 'Father' was defrocked, which led to a breakdown and a short stint in an asylum. At the end of the day, the accusation was proved in a court of law to be unfounded, but the damage had already been done.

How can you have faith in an Order that has been so corrupted by the corporeal? ~ this is the point where there is truth to be found in the simple cartoons of Charlie Hebdo .

I am not going to buy into the reports that Charlie Hebdo 's latest cover made Muslims burn churches in Niger for the simple and obvious fact: the churches had nothing to do with Charlie Hebdo. The press, in suggesting that a magazine cover could incite such violence, are setting themselves up for a major fall. And the self-censorship has already begun: the British broadsheet the Daily Telegraph "blurred the cover of a Charlie Hebdo paper in its live blog, then ultimately removed the image entirely" (Mashable…/charlie-hebdo-censorship-ca…); the New York Post did something similar, while CNN "sent an email to staff on Wednesday afternoon noting that the network will not be showing images of the cartoons and advising staff to avoid close-up shots of demonstrators holding up copies of the magazine that make the cartoons clearly legible." (Politico…/news-orgs-censor-charlie-hebdo-ca…).

An Iranian newspaper has been closed down because it ran a cover story about George Clooney ending his Cecil B DeMille award speech with "Je Suis Charlie." It also had Clooney as its cover picture, sporting the pin "Je Suis Charlie" ~ which was deemed offensive to the eye (BBC

Freedom of speech just got hammered again: by killers, rioters, looters, and those who want all and any opposing view to shut up.

How is that for progress?

Personal responsibility has been eroded to the point of non-existence: people who kill are being excused because what they really needed was some drugs; it was the work of Allah; they are the Chosen people... and now they can add to the list that a cartoon in Charlie Hebdo made them do it.

Do you really believe that?
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The lack of ability to close things down emotionally is just exhausting," Sarah Bajc told CNN on Monday night. Her partner, Philip Woods, was on board Flight 370.

Here, we hope for closure for those who have held vigil, but know for many there will be none ~ too soon, too sudden, and too many things left unsaid. If tragedy reminds us of our mortality, it hopefully also reminds us: every day is a gift, and we need to put into it as much as we can, because no-one really knows what tomorrow will bring.
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Somebody Get Me A Hammer!! 2
by Hope Barrett

An excerpt:
 BUT BACK to slots.  The only way to beat the slots consistently is to be Tommy Glenn Carmichael, but since the casinos have figured out jail is not a deterrent,   they’ve changed the game: they’ve made Carmichael one of theirs.
      This leaves the slot player with only three potential strategies to beat the house: timing, stillness, and pumping a machine until it vomits. The latter, however, requires infinite resources, or as I was told one day: “nothing less than $10,000 before entering the Jade Room.” 
      In the Jade Room, which has been recently redecorated with knife-stabbing white lights, projecting the house’s attitude toward players who think nothing of sinking $100 on the Lotus Flower in the expectation of a ten-fold return, it is sometimes impossible to find a seat.  Not because every slot is taken, but because the rapacious have reserved entire banks of machines in order to ensure no-one else gets the jackpot when it is time for the piper to pay.
     The only satisfaction to be had in such a scenario is to hear the loud cursing when the bonus spin does not deliver the return expected but, instead, offers up something close to zippo.  Especially when the last five minutes has been an ostentatious display of excess, with every spin played at max’.


In search of the first book?  Go to and check out what you've been missing.
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WOKE up today and thought this is terrible: I have not successfully committed a sentence to any work in months. Months!   So I looked at all the open "to complete" files (horror!) and encountered Somebody Get Me A Hammer Too! This is from the "Crayzhee" chapter:

OVER lunch that invariably offered fish and chips on its menu, all discussion of fortune tellers and why Moon needed one disappeared. Instead, our entire focus was on how 'crayzhee' Great Canadian's View Royal Casino was making Moon, who had taken the very odd position that she would be able to quit as soon as she had successfully won a jackpot of substantial reward. Since the next thing she had to say was that she had lost over twenty five thousand dollars in three days (Nancy nodded her head, agreeing that was easy to do), it was clear to me —if not to the both of them— that the only jackpot substantial enough to get Moon to quit for six months would entail a maximum wager of ninety dollars on the Valhalla (™IGT), for that wager to happen to time itself at the moment the machine was going into a free spin bonus, and during those spins — five Viking ships would have to show up on the screen together at the same time, ensuring a minimum win of $133,333. Also known in the real world as 'next to impossible' or casino management’s usual out of 'machine malfunction.'

If you have not read book one, it is here (for the downloading in assorted formats ):
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Catching up with Katy Perry in Vancouver as she promotes her Prism album with flare.  The acrobatics, the costumes ~ a reminder of just how hard it is to sell a product these days...
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SOME ADAGES for you today: "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" and "Cutting off your nose to spite your face". The other day I received an email from Amazon asking for my support as a KDP author, as the titan continues its battle with Hachette and is now getting a lot of bad press as traditional authors such as Stephen King and James Patterson enter the fray in support of Hachette. Amazon's argument is that it is doing the literary world a big favour by lowering the cost of ebooks, comparing their work to the saturation of paperbacks....

Continued here:
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IF IT wasn't ugly enough before, it certainly is now. In the ring: Hachette and some big name authors, duking it out with Amazon who has flexed muscle by slowing delivery of Hachette books to readers to prove one thing: it has the power to do so. The indies who are making a reasonable living are siding with Amazon because they don't believe Amazon is capable of turning on them in the same way it has done to Hachette. Are they being overly naive or is Amazon really concerned about the reader? When Amazon makes it policy to deny you ~ the reader ~ access to a book simply because it chooses to, is it, still, about the reader?
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A mug with a quote by Jane Austen: "I am half agony, half hope."
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