Should YA Books Have Parental Ratings?

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Here lately I’ve come across a few YA books that contained some content I thought might be inappropriate for young readers. With an eleven year old advanced reader, I’m reading more YA to be sure that the books are appropriate beforehand. YA can be directed at ages twelve on up to twenty-five which we all know is a broad range. Many of these books don’t come with an age rating at all and online research is needed, or the book must be screened beforehand.

Our library has become so strict with what children are able to check out. If they attempt to checkout an R-rated movie and they are under the age of eighteen, the computer will alert the library clerk and the movie will be put back on the shelf. However, they can check out any book they want. If a teen wants to buy a mature video game at Wal-Mart, the parent has to to buy it because they won’t allow him to.

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The problem with books is that many parents don’t have time to read and screen books before their kids read them. I’m sure plenty of parents don’t even like to read or just don’t feel the need to. Reading isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Now, I’ve read YA books that are perfect for my eleven year old and others that I’d never want her to read before she’s upper high school level. How wonderful it would be to open a book and read a short rating that stated: Strong use of language, sexual situations, suicide, incest. Then, you’d know right away whether a book is appropriate. Would that be too much of a spoiler? Maybe…

Earlier this year I read All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. I made the mistake of recommending the book to a few friends on GR. Needless to say, I lost a few friends over it and all because of the content. They told me that they never would’ve read the book had they known that a thirteen year old was having a sexual relationship with a young adult. They felt that the author was promoting this behavior and that it was child abuse. I didn’t feel that way, but it was at that moment that I realized people are sensitive to different things. What was I thinking when I recommended that book? I mean, it’s just a book, right? My thoughts were on the fact that Wavy,  at thirteen, was not like most other thirteen year olds, and that somehow that made the relationship okay. Others would say no, without a doubt, its wrong. It’s true that teens all have different maturity levels and can’t be pigeonholed, like in Wavy’s case. So saying that a book is for ages thirteen and up might not work for everyone.

I’ve also noticed that there are people who won’t read a book if it involves rape. Some people have triggers, and I’m talking about adult readers here. How would they feel about their kids reading books involving sexual situations, promiscuity, drug use, and sexual abuse when they don’t even like reading them?

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I’m getting off the YA topic here, but we as parents raise our children differently and I was thinking that ratings on YA books might be helpful to many. I personally would just like to see a short warning that stated the content where applicable, at least with YA. Like watching a movie trailer, the rating is exposed before the movie is even released. I’m not in any way claiming that the book’s content should be changed or stating that the content is bad, only that maybe it would be beneficial to have a short statement if the book contains controversial content for young readers.

Continue for my questions…

Continue reading “Should YA Books Have Parental Ratings?”

Lessons From Grandpa #3

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Me with my grandfather when I was about 1 year old.

When I was in 6th grade my grandmother received an unexpected diagnosis of cancer. It was a rare form of cancer and she had roughly 6 months to live because after watching her daughter (my aunt) suffer through chemotherapy treatments at the age of 28, she didn’t want to go through it herself. She knew it would only extend her life by a few months and didn’t want to be sick. She was very bitter about having the cancer and my grandfather was very sad. It hit everyone like a ton of bricks.

At one point, my grandmother was in the hospital for awhile and I was heading back and forth to the hospital with my grandfather to see her. It was a very eerie feeling for me being in the hospital and seeing my grandmother like that. My grandfather decided to take me to a family restaurant right across the street because we hadn’t eaten. I remember ordering mozzarella sticks and we sat at this little table together. As I sat there eating my cheese sticks this song came on the radio by Christopher Cross titled “Sailing.”

Every time I hear this song, it takes me back to that very day with my grandfather, when he sat at that table in the restaurant in tears and told me,

“Be sure to appreciate everything you have, especially your loved ones while they’re here.”

Later on that week, my grandmother became worse. She wasn’t going to be here much longer and I still wasn’t with it. I was simply too young and this would be the first death I would mourn. The situation with my grandmother was causing him a great deal of pain and I remember one day hearing him very upset in our basement. He was crying loudly, yelling at himself and throwing things around. He was saying over and over how much he was angry with himself for not telling my grandmother that he loved her enough. He felt that he hadn’t appreciated her like he should have. It really made me cry and I didn’t know how to help him. Around a month after that, she was gone.

A few years passed and my grandfather was back to golfing and living his life the best he could. I started spending more time out of the house, predominately at the roller skating rink in the next county over. I loved skating and because the rink was in a different county, I was able to meet new people from different schools. My main issue with skating was the fact that I had big feet and always had to wear these ugly men’s skates that made my feet hurt, until I came to know a girl by the name of Anne. Anne was there to mainly socialize with everyone else and because she was from that county, many of the kids there were her schoolmates. f85a1ed11c87e9aa7ca220c5d0007a53--quad-skates-speed-skates.jpgShe had these amazing black speed skates with shocking magenta wheels that were low-cut and my size! I was near a size 12 shoe at that point and it was hard for me to find anything to fit. She told me that I could borrow them if I wanted to and I took her up on the offer. They felt so smooth rolling on the ground. Every weekend we were there together I would use her skates and we came to know each other. We became best friends.

Anne was like the friend of a lifetime. She always had the right things to say and made me feel so good about myself. She was as tall as me and we had a lot in common. When I started driving, we would go places together and shop. She was a year or so younger than me, so getting my license was a huge plus for us. We had some of the same friends and It was because of her that I found my first boyfriend. She would come over often and she always enjoyed my grandfather’s company. He always had something funny to say to her. We played pool at the local pool hall, drove around listening to music, and swam in our friend Jen’s pool in the summer. Life was good. We were young without a care in the world.

One of the first things I did after graduating high school was graduating from cosmetology school. I started working in a salon right away and Anne loved it. Now she could have her hair and nails done whenever she wanted. She always said that I could create the best shaped acrylic nails she’d ever seen and loved the way I styled hair. It would be me that put her hair in an updo for her junior prom.

Another year went by and I was busy living life. I took a job managing a car dealership because it was more money, but continued doing cosmetology on the side. I got involved in a bad relationship and had made a few stupid choices, but I was okay. I wasn’t seeing Anne very much because I was just too busy for much of anything, or at least I thought I was. We sort of began to grow apart a little bit, but would occasionally hang out.

Anne was about to take a vacation to Florida with her family and really wanted me toflorida-beach-Medium.jpg give her a pedicure, manicure, hair style and the whole works. I thought it would be fun for us to catch up. I spent about 4 or 5 days heading back and forth to Anne’s house that week. She was showing me the summer outfits she bought to take on her vacation. It was a lot of fun. I can still remember sitting in her room on her super soft bed. I always loved Anne’s room. As we sat together she told me that she had a boyfriend. I was shocked! We had some real catching up to do. She told me all about how they met and I became confused. She proceeded to tell me that he was older than her and in prison. I was alarmed, but I didn’t want to say anything negative to her at this point. I asked her why he was in jail and what he did wrong, but she said it didn’t matter and that he would be getting out soon. Little did I know, this would be the last time I would see Anne.

About a month went by and Anne was back from vacation. I’d heard a rumor from a mutual friend that she was hanging out with the wrong crowd in a bad neighborhood. Her boyfriend was out of jail now and she began spending late nights with him where he was living. I tried calling her often, but her mom would always answer and tell me that she wasn’t home. She would tell me about their troubles and arguments. More than once she said that she couldn’t keep Anne home and away from these dangerous people. Anne was now 18 and able to make her own choices and she was taking some tremendous risks. We finally talked a time or two and I tried to convince her to come back home and to stay away from this group of people. She wouldn’t listen to me and at one point I felt like I’d really upset her. She said she loved this guy who was just out of jail and she didn’t think there was anything wrong with the decisions she was making. Who was I to judge? I was mainly concerned for her safety. The only time I could speak with her was when she was at home because it wasn’t common for teens to be running around with cell phones yet. Everything was different back then.

bright-hot-sun_1463106832514_1305923_ver1.0_640_360.jpgI was sitting at work a few weeks later. It was a slow day and the sun was baking me through the tall glass windows of the car dealership. It was such a hot summer that year. The phone rang and I answered it. It was my friend Michelle calling to ask me if I’d heard the news. Of course it was a ‘roll your eyes’ moment because Michelle always had stories to tell and she was the ultimate story ‘spicer’ which everyone knew. She proceeded to tell me that Anne was dead. I didn’t believe her and actually got a little mad and told her I’d call her back. There was just no way. I called Anne’s house and her mom answered the phone. Not long after my first words were spoken, I heard a dead silence on the phone. I can still remember sitting there with the phone in my hand as her mom was crying and not speaking a word. I stood up and couldn’t breath. It felt like my lungs weren’t functioning. I dropped the phone and began pacing around, out of my mind. I don’t even remember what my initial thoughts were. I just remember being in a total state of panic and denial. I got back on the phone with her mom and we both just cried on the phone together. She apologized for not calling me and told me that she couldn’t bring herself to tell me what had happened yet. Finally she told me the story.

Continue reading “Lessons From Grandpa #3”

Pets Rock – More Fun Than Fame Book Review

As soon as I saw the cover of Pets Rock, I had to get it. Who doesn’t want to see real dogs & cats dressed as some of the celebrities we know today? I noticed the Pulp Fiction dogs Vincent and Jules and couldn’t help but laugh as it was obvious who they were as they looked just like them, even if they were dogs dressed up.

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I had fun scrolling through the book and figuring out which celebrity each dog or cat depicted. The book doesn’t tell you, but gives you a little hint in the text. The world leaders were the most obvious.

I was planning on rating this a 4 star book as it’s a fun read, until I got to the pages with the dogs dressed as Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac, ironically next to each other. Tupac’s page was the one that made me stop and think with the sentence the author of the text uses, “ I got a shot… for the fleas.” I personally like Tupac and don’t find him being shot funny. Is that what the author of the text is saying, or is it a reference to All Eyes On Me? I realize it’s meant to be a joke book and perhaps I’m taking it too seriously and reading into it too much, but that’s just my opinion. Maybe someone else can shed some light on this…

My favorites were The Blues Brothers, Jules & Vincent, Bowie, Slash and Clint Eastwood. You can actually purchase some of these prints online.

I’m going to give it 3 stars because most of the book is funny and it’s a cool, cute, and entertaining concept.

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Continue reading “Pets Rock – More Fun Than Fame Book Review”

My Second Award This Week – The Entertainer Blogger

This is my second award this week and I was astonished to receive a nomination for The Entertainer Blogger Award. I’d like to thank James @ this-is-my-truth-now for nominating me. Be sure to check out his blog if you haven’t already because it’s mind-blowing. Every post is worth reading!

 

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The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Add these rules to your post.
  • Answer all the questions below.
  • Display the award picture in your post.
  • Nominate 12 other bloggers who are funny, inspiring and most important of all ENTERTAINING!

 

Questions with my answers:

 

WHY DID YOU START A BLOG IN THE FIRST PLACE?

I originally started blogging because I love reviewing books and talking with authors. I thought it would be interesting to do some author interviews to share with other readers like me.  I feel like I have a lot to say and hopefully I can maintain an interesting blog that others will continue to enjoy. I was affiliated with another blog, but now I just have my personal blog here.

I also love connecting with people like you and learning about other people and their stories, music interests, what they like to read, etc.  I didn’t have a clue what I was doing when I first got started and had no idea what blogging was all about. I have to say, I’m happy to be here and to be a part of this wonderful blogging community.

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WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK?

Seriously? I can’t just pick one! I’m going with my favorite book of 2017, and that’s A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I was so attached to the characters in this book and I still get teary when I think about it. I love books that pull me in and don’t let me go. This one held on even after I was done reading it. This is the one that has stuck with me this year and I know I’ll never forget it.

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Continue reading “My Second Award This Week – The Entertainer Blogger”

Lessons from Grandpa #2

As Father’s Day approaches, I’m thinking about my grandfather and another lesson he taught me repeatedly when he was still here.

When I was a teen, my grandfather always told me,

“Love your father, he’s the only one you’re ever going to get.”

I heard it often, because I was upset about my father a lot. He’s an alcoholic and was consistently doing foolish things. My grandfather knew it, but because he was up in age, he began to forgive everyone for everything. Plus, there were so many things my grandfather didn’t know, things that he would never understand.

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Me with my brother and grandfather -1980 – My grandfather bought a vintage wire clock from a rummage sale and put this picture in it to cover the clock face. It hung on the wall into my adulthood.

Growing up, I was raised by my grandfather and he taught me everything he could. I would only visit my dad every other weekend (many of which were cancelled by him), and in all actuality was closer to my step-mom than him. My step-mom and I spent most of the weekend time together while my dad got wasted. There were plenty of times I didn’t belong with my dad when he was drunk-driving and many weekends I wished I would’ve just stayed home. It was hard for me and I didn’t understand why he wanted to do this to himself and to others. He would get violent and there were times when he hurt himself and others physically. As I got older, I understood why my mom couldn’t stay married to him, and also that if it weren’t for my father’s violence and stupidity, I would’ve had an older sister. My mom miscarried their first child related to his violence.

At one point in my childhood, my dad was in an institution for a few months. He’d gotten so wasted and decided he didn’t want to live anymore. He was listening to some really loud music and got it stuck in his head that he wanted to die. He started a fire in his house and tried to burn himself down with it. I don’t know who got there first, but there was considerable damage to the house and it needed many repairs. I know that my step-mother was fed up with him and she had issues of her own, including losing her young brother in an accident and an older brother in a separate truck accident. She wasn’t dealing with any of this well and began using drugs heavily. A few years later, she died from a drug overdose. Just before that, she sat me down along with my brother and told us that she was planning to divorce my dad, but that she would always love us. There were events like this that my grandfather didn’t know about and he didn’t know the pain my dad caused my step-mother or that she was using drugs. I don’t know if it would’ve changed his thoughts anyhow.  Continue reading “Lessons from Grandpa #2”

Surviving Straight, Inc. Q & A with Straight Survivor Christine Flannery

I recently read a book by Cyndy Drew Etler titled, The Dead Inside. The book is about Cyndy’s experience with Straight, Inc. I’d never even heard of Straight until I read this book. You can see my original post on The Dead Inside which will soon contain a Q&A with the author and  you can also see the trailer for the documentary/movie on Straight by clicking HERE.

I found this story to be incredibly disturbing and as I began searching online, I found countless cases regarding kids who were abused in this program. These programs at one point were supported by members of government including Nancy Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

After my research I met Christine Flannery, a Cincinnati Straight Survivor who was in the program from 1984-1986. You can read her story on her website by clicking HERE. I was able to speak with Christine about her experience at Straight. You can learn more about Straight and see the Q&A with Christine Flannery below.

What is Straight, Inc?

Straight, Inc. (1976-1993) publicly claimed to rehabilitate teenage drug users by using tough love and Alcoholics Anonymous principles. Straight, Inc. provided NO professional counseling: Straight, Inc.’s “treatment model” relied exclusively on “positive peer pressure” from unprofessional staff (program graduates) and from the teenage clients. Straight, Inc. claimed to have an astronomically high success rate and was supported by both the Reagan and Bush administrations. However, Straight, Inc. did not publicly reveal what many survivors will tell you. imagesi34er5667777zer.jpgThe REAL Straight, Inc. was a facility that used coercive thought reform (aka mind control, brainwashing), public humiliation, sleep & food deprivation, extremely harsh confrontational tactics, kidnapping, isolation and emotional, mental, psychological, verbal and physical abuse to forcibly break us down then remold us in the Straight, Inc. image. Straight, Inc. also operated in secrecy, just like a cult (Straight, Inc. has been listed on at least 2 cult expert websites). No outsiders were ever permitted to know what really went on. Straight’s rules and our fear of harsh punishment prevented us from talking to outsiders or from reporting abuses.- From Christine’s website

Here’s a video that Christine put together regarding Straight, Inc.

As many as 50,000 kids were in the Straight program, Straight, Inc.  is the biggest violator of human rights and civil liberties that this country has ever seen.  There are accounts of food and sleep deprivation, making kids soil their pants, beatings, spitting in kids faces, and marathon sessions where teenagers would be yelled at by many other kids for long periods of time.  Children were forbidden from reading any material including religious books.  Conditions were so deplorable that kids had to be watched 24/7, even as they wiped themselves on the toilet (reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps where Jews were made to defecate publicly like cats and dogs) to make sure they did not commit suicide.   Under such deplorable and humiliating conditions many kids resorted to carving on their bodies with a fingernail, piece of broken chair, or whatever else they could find just as a caged animal gnarls at an open sore. –From the Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network. 

Straight, Inc. was also renamed…

As Christine mentions on her website, Straight, Inc. became Kids Helping Kids, Pathway Family Center, Life, Growing Together, KIDS (of North Jersey, El Paso, etc.), SAFE, Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center (AARC), and others. Even though most of these spin offs have been shut down, there are still similar programs for troubled teens that follow the same tactics as Straight.

In this video below regarding KIDS, which is basically the same program renamed after Straight, you will see how teens that were once in the program themselves became the counselors working with kids that have been brought into the program. These kids themselves are considered the professional staff.

Here’s another one about SAFE, another renamed Straight program. The video is old, but worth watching…

-Part 2-

Continue reading to see the Q&A with Christine Flannery…

 

Continue reading “Surviving Straight, Inc. Q & A with Straight Survivor Christine Flannery”

TAG: The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

I was tagged yesterday by James from this-is-my-truth-now to do the Unpopular Opinions Book Tag. I’d like to say thanks to James for tagging me! Also, please check out his blog if you haven’t already. James puts a lot of work into his blog, so plan to get stuck there for some time because he has loads of content! Lots of fun. 😉

James was originally tagged by meltingpotsandothercalamities. Please check out this blog too. You can view the original TAG here as well.

This is my first tag and I’m going to give it my best shot!


TAG:

A POPULAR BOOK OR BOOK SERIES THAT YOU DIDN’T LIKE:

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I sort of consider myself a ‘high’ rater, so this one is a little difficult. In a way I feel like it takes a lot for me to dislike a book. I’ll cheat a little bit and chose a book by Allen Eskins titled The Heavens May Fall. I rated this one a generous 3 stars, but I really didn’t like it that much. It was written well, but I went in with high expectations and they weren’t met. The story had some twists, but just didn’t captivate me. I had just finished The Life We Bury and loved it-maybe this is why. Most of my friends rated The Heavens May Fall 4 and 5 stars…


A POPULAR BOOK OR BOOK SERIES THAT EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO HATE BUT YOU LOVE:

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I’m going with the Twilight Saga! I absolutely loved this series and I have friends who rated it 1 and 2 stars. My family actually calls it cheesearific because they think the story and the acting is totally cheesy. I have the “Twilight Forever” DVD set and watch it often. One of my friends actually labeled the books ‘trash.’ Huh?

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AN OTP (One True Pairing) THAT YOU DON’T LIKE:

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I may be cheating here, but I have to go with Kellen and Wavy from All The Ugly and Wonderful Things. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book, but this relationship was so difficult for me because of the age difference. 26 to 13… Even though Wavy wasn’t your typical 13 year old, it made it difficult at times because the relationship started before that…


A POPULAR BOOK GENRE THAT YOU HARDLY REACH FOR:

Sci-Fi!

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I have to admit that I’ve hardly read any books in this genre, but I’m reading Cyborg  this year if it’s the last thing I do!

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A POPULAR/BELOVED CHARACTER THAT YOU DO NOT LIKE:

-Gaston from Beauty and the Beast-

Well, Gaston may not be beloved, but Beauty and the Beast is a popular tale that later includes Gaston’s vain and arrogant character. Gaston wasn’t in the very first Beauty and the Beast book, but arrives in subsequent versions. Here’s one I read recently that includes Gaston.

He’s extremely annoying because he thinks he’s the most wonderful person on the planet. Not only that, he doesn’t think reading is important. Forget that!

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A POPULAR AUTHOR THAT YOU CAN’T SEEM TO GET INTO:

-James Patterson-

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Let’s talk about this author for a minute. He’s written over 100 books, right? I can’t even count on one hand how many books he’s written that have been made into movies or TV specials. I will say that I read one of them, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas. It had me in tears for days. I haven’t forgotten that book, but I can’t seem to get into any of his others.

I haven’t given up on him and plan to read some of his books in the future…


A POPULAR BOOK TROPE THAT YOU’RE TIRED OF SEEING:

-Love cures all-

I can’t stand it anymore. It’s so unrealistic when it comes to people who have serious mental disorders. They meet someone new and fall in love, and then they are miraculously cured! Seriously?

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Continue reading “TAG: The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag”

Chris Cornell: Thoughts on Suicide & Forgiveness

It’s been a little over a week since I awoke from sleep and learned that one of my favorite singers of all time had passed away. At the time I learned about it, nothing had been concluded on the details of how he died and all I could think about was the fact that he was gone. One of the first thoughts I had when I learned that Chris had died was that he would now be reunited with Andrew Wood, Layne Staley, Kurt Kobain, Scott Weiland, Mike Starr, Shannon Hoon, and others.

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From the left: Scott Weiland, Shannon Hoon, Andrew Wood, Kurt Kobain, Layne Staley, and Mike Starr in the front.

Later on that day it was confirmed that Chris had committed suicide. I think some of the thoughts that people have when losing someone to suicide might be like those posted on the image above. I’ve had some of them myself. I lost my stepmother to drugs when I was a teen. It wasn’t a suicide, but a death caused by carelessness. I was angry over her choices and wondered why she didn’t care to live. It wasn’t until I got older and thought about the pain that she endured on Earth from losing two young brothers and then her parents not long after that finally helped me accept it. She truly never got over their deaths. I was just angry, sad and bitter. I wanted her here and mourned her death probably more than anyone else.

I got to talking with people about Chris and an anonymous person mentioned to me that it was possible that he would not be accepted into heaven because he committed suicide. It’s always been my personal thought that when we die, our soul goes to Heaven. This anonymous person then proceeded to tell me that when people commit suicide they are committing an unforgivable sin and are lost from God forever. As if Chris’s death wasn’t hard enough, this caused me to sob even more.

I was shocked. Could I really be this ignorant about what the Bible says about suicide? I was raised Orthodox and have spent the majority of my life in one Church or another, but I couldn’t say for sure and had no way to refute the statement. I began to ponder about it and started roaming the internet. I was questioning in my head whether Chris was a Christian. It’s no surprise that many of his lyrics highlight a troubled soul and it’s possible that he was tormented with his own thoughts. I do wonder if maybe he was searching for his own answers as he was an open thinker. I then reminded myself of all the songs that helped me believe what was in his heart. Even though I read that he possibly considered himself agnostic, I go back to the songs that give me insight to his beliefs.


Audioslave – Like a Stone

Lyrics:

On a cobweb afternoon
In a room full of emptiness
By a freeway I confess
I was lost in the pages
Of a book full of death
Reading how we’ll die alone
And if we’re good, we’ll lay to rest
Anywhere we want to go
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
On my deathbed I will pray
To the gods and the angels
Like a pagan to anyone
Who will take me to heaven
To a place I recall
I was there so long ago
The sky was bruised
The wine was bled
And there you led me on
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
Alone
And on I read
Until the day was gone
And I sat in regret
Of all the things I’ve done
For all that I’ve blessed
And all that I’ve wronged
In dreams until my death
I will wander on
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
Alone
When I first heard this song it almost seemed as if Chris was speaking directly in this song. What do you think the song means? There are many different thoughts on it. 

Audioslave – I Am The Highway

Lyrics:
Pearls and swine bereft of me
Long and weary my road has been
I was lost in the cities
Alone in the hills
No sorrow or pity for leaving I feel
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
Friends and liars don’t wait for me
I’ll get on all by myself
I put millions of miles
Under my heels
And still too close to you
I feel
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind
I am the lightning
I am not your autumn moon
I am the night
The night
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind
I am the lightning
I am not your autumn moon
I am the night
The night

When I listen to this song it makes me think of a person who is already gone, possibly in heaven, and doesn’t want to return. He’s now everything. What do you think? 

Continue reading “Chris Cornell: Thoughts on Suicide & Forgiveness”

Lessons from Grandpa #1

My grandfather was a very prominent figure in my life as I was growing up. He was a teacher, school principal, and father to five children. Everyday I learned something from him whether it be something I should eat, something I should do, how I should act, or how I should think. He always had something interesting to say.

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Me and GP just before my baptism

My grandfather was a serious conservative. He lived by the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and if it is, just put some duct tape on it!” I’m not even joking. Have you seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and witnessed how Toula’s father would put Windex on everything? Well, that’s my grandfather, except with him it was simply, “Put some duct tape on it.”

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I remember one day he came home from the golf course and when he pulled up in the driveway, his car was missing the driver’s side mirror. I asked him what happened and he told me, “I think I sideswiped a truck.” I couldn’t believe it and I know that if he had that mirror in his hand, he’d be duct taping it back on.

Another repair was on his left boot. He had visited a doctor for hip pain and learned that one of his legs was longer than the other. He brainstormed about how he could fix the issue without having to wear a brace of some sort. He wound up making a platform for the bottom of his boot and duct taped it on. Voila! When the zipper broke on one of his other shoes, he taped that too. He would put duct tape on vacuum hoses, tools, shoes, furniture, and even books. He didn’t care what anyone thought either. When I was a kid I thought it was silly. Now that I’m older, I love that he was like that and wish that I could be more carefree about what people think.

The one duct taped object that I have from my grandfather is his Bible. He read his Bible every day. Once the binding started to break down, he fixed it so that he could use it for many years to come.  It’s a large print and fairly big Bible. Here’s a picture of it here with his tape repairs.

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Continue reading “Lessons from Grandpa #1”

In Memory of Chris Cornell

I was shocked and saddened this morning to hear on the news that one of my favorite singers of all time, Chris Cornell, has passed away at the age of 52. One of the original architects that formed the grunge movement has been taken and has now joined other artists such as Andrew Wood, Layne Staley, Scott Weiland, Shannon Hoon, Kurt Kobain, and Mike Starr. It’s going to take me forever to get over this one…

This post may be a little choppy…

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Chris was the lead singer of Soundgarden, Audioslave and also Temple of the Dog, an album created in remembrance to Andrew Wood. He had a powerful and defining voice. Here’s a video of “Fell On Black Days.”

Lyrics

Whatsoever I’ve feared has come to life
Whatsoever I’ve fought off became my life
Just when everyday seemed to greet me with a smile
Sunspots have faded and now I’m doing time
Now I’m doing time
‘Cause I fell on black days
I fell on black days

Whomsoever I’ve cured, I’ve sickened now
And whomsoever I’ve cradled, I’ve put you down
I’m a search light soul they say
But I can’t see it in the night

I’m only faking when I get it right
When I get it right

‘Cause I fell on black days
I fell on black days

How would I know
That this could be my fate?
How would I know
That this could be my fate? Yeah

Uh, uh, uh
Uh, uh, uh
Uh, uh, uh

So what you wanted to see good
Has made you blind
And what you wanted to be yours
Has made it mine

Don’t you lock up something
That you wanted to see fly
Hands are for shaking
No, not tying, no, not tying

I sure don’t mind a change
I sure don’t mind a change
Yeah, I sure don’t mind, sure don’t mind a change
I sure don’t mind a change

‘Cause I fell on black days
I fell on black days

How would I know
That this could be my fate?
How would I know
That this could be my fate?

How would I know
That this could be my fate?
How would I know
That this could be my fate?

I sure don’t mind a change


Recently I read Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge , a book about the grunge movement. I learned a lot about Chris that I didn’t know in this book. You can read my original post HERE.

Also, my original post on Temple of the Dog is HERE.

and my recent music haul featuring Temple of the Dog is HERE.

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Here are two great songs…

Show Me How to Live by Audioslave

Lyrics
And with the early dawn
Moving right along
I couldn’t buy and eyeful of sleep
And in the aching night under satellites
I was not received
Built with stolen parts
A telephone in my heart
Someone get me a priest
To put my mind to bed
This ringing in my head
Is this a cure or is this a disease
Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live
Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live
And in the after birth
On the quiet earth
Let the stains remind you
You thought you made a man
You better think again
Before my role defines you
Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live
Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live
And in your waiting hands
I will land
And roll out of my skin
And in your final hours I will stand
Ready to begin
Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live
Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live
Show me how to live

Burden in My Hand by Soundgarden

Lyrics

Follow me into the desert
As thirsty as you are
Crack a smile and cut your mouth
And drown in alcohol
‘Cause down below the truth is lying
Beneath the riverbed
So quench yourself and drink the water
That flows below her head

Oh no there she goes
Out in the sunshine the sun is mine

I shot my love today would you cry for me
I lost my head again would you lie for me
I left her in the sand just a burden in my hand
I lost my head again would you cry for me

Close your eyes and bow your head
I need a little sympathy
‘Cause fear is strong and love’s for everyone
Who isn’t me
So kill your health and kill yourself
And kill everything you love
And if you live you can fall to pieces
And suffer with my ghost
Just a burden in my hand
Just an anchor on my heart
Just a tumor in my head
And I’m in the dark

So follow me into the desert
As desperate as you are
Where the moon is glued to a picture of heaven
And all the little pigs have God


The one song that always gets to me, every time I hear it. This is one of the first grunge songs that I learned on my guitar and I would play it repeatedly. This one has probably been posted on my blog three times. It’s my favorite ever and also features Eddie Vedder, singer of Pearl Jam.

Hungar Strike – Temple of the Dog

Lyrics
I don’t mind stealing bread
From the mouth of decadence
But I can’t feed on the powerless
When my cup’s already over-filled
But it’s on the table.
The fire’s cooking.
And they’re farming babies
While the slaves are all working.
Blood is on the table.
The mouths are choking
And I’m going hungry
I’m going hungry [Repeat: x3]

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Chris Cornell with Andrew Wood

Together again…

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Rest in peace, Chris. I’ll never forget you…

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FREE Personality Test

A while back my friend Stephan on Goodreads brought his personality type to my attention. He has a rare personality type and I wanted to know more about what mine would be. I had never done one of these more specific tests and was fairly shocked at my results. It turns out that my personality is not very common (making up only 3% of the population) and after doing this test I understand a little more about myself and the way I am with people and life in general. You can do the test yourself here:

www.16personalities.com

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It’s a series of 50+ multiple choice questions. You have to answer honestly in order to get your accurate personality type. I did a test on another website which gave me similar results, but this website here seems to get more in depth. It’s free to find your type, but to get in depth advice on navigating through life with your personality, you have to upgrade to a premium profile. I haven’t done that and don’t intend to. The information given is enough to help you understand why you are the way you are and I found it very helpful. It’s interesting!

Once you complete the test you’ll get this information:

I’m sharing some of my results below…Keep in mind, you get way more information than this. This is just my introduction that discusses my personality type.


LOGICIAN PERSONALITY (INTP, -A/-T)

(Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perceiving) -T=Turbulent

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Albert Einstein

The Logician personality type is fairly rare, making up only three percent of the population, which is definitely a good thing for them, as there’s nothing they’d be more unhappy about than being “common”. Logicians pride themselves on their inventiveness and creativity, their unique perspective and vigorous intellect. Usually known as the philosopher, the architect, or the dreamy professor, Logicians have been responsible for many scientific discoveries throughout history.

The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living

Logicians are known for their brilliant theories and unrelenting logic – in fact, they are considered the most logically precise of all the personality types.

They love patterns, and spotting discrepancies between statements could almost be described as a hobby, making it a bad idea to lie to a Logician. This makes it ironic that Logicians’ word should always be taken with a grain of salt – it’s not that they are dishonest, but people with the Logician personality type tend to share thoughts that are not fully developed, using others as a sounding board for ideas and theories in a debate against themselves rather than as actual conversation partners.

This may make them appear unreliable, but in reality no one is more enthusiastic and capable of spotting a problem, drilling through the endless factors and details that encompass the issue and developing a unique and viable solution than Logicians – just don’t expect punctual progress reports. People who share the Logician personality type aren’t interested in practical, day-to-day activities and maintenance, but when they find an environment where their creative genius and potential can be expressed, there is no limit to the time and energy Logicians will expend in developing an insightful and unbiased solution.

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Wisdom Begins in Wonder

Continue reading “FREE Personality Test”

Last Week’s Music Haul

Last week I visited some of my first sales of the year. One of them was a church sale in my local town-I always love these. You just never know what you’re going to find as there are people donating from all over the place and you can find many treasures. With this particular sale I was able to find a load of children’s chapter books, a set of children’s encyclopedias and a handful of some of my favorite music CD’s from the 80’s and 90’s. You can see some of the music I picked up below as well as some of my favorite songs from each CD…

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The Smashing Pumpkins – Adore

I can still remember seeing Billy Corgan in Chicago before they became so huge. My absolute favorite song on this album is “Perfect” which is track 3. You can click on the upper left hand corner to toggle tracks.


Lifehouse – No Name Face

This album isn’t one of my favorites because there’s literally only one song on it that love. “Hanging By A Moment” Track 1.


Days of the New

I love this album. Travis Meeks has such a powerful voice. My overall favorite song is “Shelf In The Room.”


Creed – My Own Prison

Creed for me will never be forgotten. Scott Stapp is *positively* one of my most favorite singers of all time and I have a serious emotional connection to this album. This is definitely one of my favorite CD’s from this entire music haul and it’s hard for me to pick one song from this album, but it has to be Track 9 “What’s This Life For.” You can toggle tracks in the upper left corner.

Scott Stapp has definitely struggled and you can read about him online. He wrote a book that I’m looking forward to reading titled “Sinner’s Creed.” You can add it on Goodreads by clicking the book below.

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Blurb

Sinner’s Creed is the uncensored memoir of Scott Stapp, Grammy Award-winning leader of the multiplatinum rock band CREED. Raised by an abusive stepfather, Scott was always aware of God’s presence in his life, but it wasn’t until years later, amid a life punctuated by sex, drugs, and rock ’n roll that Scott began to feel a need for God in his life.

During CREED’s decade of dominance and in the years following the band’s breakup, Scott struggled with drugs and alcohol, which led not only to a divorce, but also to a much-publicized suicide attempt in 2006. Now clean, sober, and in the midst of a highly successful solo career, Scott has finally come full circle-a turnaround he credits to his renewed relationship with Jesus Christ.

In Sinner’s Creed, Scott shares his story for the first time, from his fundamentalist upbringing, the rise and fall of CREED, and his ongoing battle with addiction, to his recommitment to Christ and the launch of his solo career. The result is a gripping memoir that is proof positive that God is always present in our lives, despite the colossal mess we sometimes make of them. Continue reading “Last Week’s Music Haul”

The Happiest Mom You Know by Genevieve Shaw Brown

 

The Happiest Mommy You Know

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The Happiest Mommy You Know by Genevieve Shaw Brown is a book about motherhood and putting yourself before your kids.

I’m going to start by saying that I nearly hated this book. It didn’t resonate with me at all. There were a few parts that I agreed with as far as eating healthy and getting exercise, but the majority of it was the author talking about taking exotic trips and vacations, having nights out with college friends, clothes shopping, and scheduling. I’m not a schedule freak and if I had to live like that I would be gone from a stress induced death.

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Putting my kids first has always made me happy and I’m just not the type of mom that doesn’t breastfeed my babies because I want sleep. I have never programmed a baby to sleep for 12 hours and I don’t want to. I think the author is missing a key fact-what’s good for one person isn’t necessarily good for another.

I think this would be a good book for SOME moms. I don’t think the book is horrible as it did contain some health advice and it’s written well. I don’t want to be negative about the book, but it just didn’t work for me. It may be good for other moms.

Btw, I’m keeping my leggings and yoga pants…

2 stars

2-stars


Continue reading “The Happiest Mom You Know by Genevieve Shaw Brown”

Please Check My Blog with Wilbur Sargunaraj

Since I started blogging I sometimes hear that I spend too much time on the computer blogging. Even though I spend some time on Goodreads, it seems to be all lumped together as my family’s favorite term “Blogging.” It’s become a common joke around the house and last night they decided to get online and search for a blog song that they could sing to me. Funny right?

It just so happens that the first thing they found was a video by Wilbur Sargunaraj called “The Blog Song.” It was first published on YouTube in 2007, so many of you are probably already aware of it. I’m sort of a dinosaur when it comes to being caught up with online content obviously!

Here’s the video:

The Blog Song

Lyrics:

It’s a place where I share my pictures and thoughts
It’s a place where I like to go lots and lots
It’s a place where many people have some fun
It’s a place where we tell the world of what we have done!

Please check my blog (8 times)

It’s a place where you can write philosophy
It’s a place where you can learn all about me
There are so many funny videos
But why we laugh at them nobody knows!

Please check my blog (8 times)

1,2,3,4….

If you want a blog we can get you one
You will be on computers having so much fun
But there is one little phrase that the blogger should know
Send it to your friends and here is how it goes!

Please check my blog (8 times)… Continue reading “Please Check My Blog with Wilbur Sargunaraj”

Summer Reading Loss

giphy.gifThis morning it’s still pretty cold outside and as I hang by the fire reading, I’m left to wonder how much reading loss I’ll experience this summer. Let’s face it, most people spend more time outside in the summer, right? There are outdoor activities like hiking, gardening, cook-outs, and swimming that remind me of why I welcome summer.

I can hear the chickadees and woodpeckers outside and very active this morning. I love nature, but this year I’m sort of dreading summer. I’m thinking about how much I read this past winter and how I’ll be reading much less this summer. Continue reading “Summer Reading Loss”

The Six Million Dollar Man Featuring Bionic Bigfoot

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There was this show called The Six Million Dollar Man which was created before I was born in the mid 1970’s, but thanks to re-runs, I was able to watch a few as a kid. The show starred Lee Majors, Richard Anderson and Stefanie Powers to name a few. The main character, Colonel Steve Austin, was played by Lee Majors.

Not long after that came Bionic Woman which I was more familiar with. Back then, my family only had local channels, so we watched shows like The Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, Incredible Hulk, and Batman & Robin to name a few.


20150813_114446.jpgAnyhow, I was at this rummage sale not too long ago and I came across this bigfoot toy that looked so familiar to me, but I couldn’t put my finger on where I’d seen it. It’s this really large plastic doll type toy with bendable legs and arms. The woman couldn’t tell me much about it, but remembered her dad buying it for her when she was young. I just kept staring at it and trying to figure out where I’d seen it. It felt familiar to me and I finally decided to grab it. She wanted $3 for it and I figured I might be able to turn around and sell it for something on eBay if I decided to.

The toy looked old and it almost seemed like it was missing something. Here are pictures of him after bringing him home.

It had this removable plate on the front of it’s body and there was just this hole there.

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You would press this square button and the front plate would pop off.

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I brought it home and started checking it out online. It didn’t take long to realize exactly where this this “Bionic Bigfoot, The Sasquatch Beast” came from – The Six Million Dollar Man!

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Finally!

Here’s the video below…

These episodes are so amazing to me, and that bigfoot is Andre the Giant, one of my favorite wrestlers of all time. Continue reading “The Six Million Dollar Man Featuring Bionic Bigfoot”

Why I Love Book Sales…

There’s something about book sales. I’m so addicted to used books and love visiting rummage sales that include books. Chances are, they’re super cheap, and you never know what you might find. I recently visited an awesome sale which prompted me to reflect on some of the reasons why I love attending book sales and buying used books.

Here are some reasons why I love book sales:

1. You can meet cool people who love to read, just like you. I recently went to a book sale and met a super nice lady who’s been reading since she was a child-just like me! She was destashing a bunch of books because she literally had thousands and wanted to gain some extra Christmas money. She was such a kind lady, and because she was from my general area, we had things to talk about. I even learned interesting things I didn’t know. I loved her sale because all of the books were .50 cents each, and she had tons of vintage children’s books which is right up my alley! She used to attend auctions and had some very rare books too. Continue reading “Why I Love Book Sales…”

Mad Season “River of Deceit”

As a teen in the 90’s, grunge music became my escape. Some of my favorites were: Faith No More, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, Temple of the Dog, Screaming Trees, and of course – Mad Season.

Mad Season formed in Seattle, Washington in 1994 by members of Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Screaming Trees. They released only one album, Above, which became one of my favorite grunge albums of all time. Things started falling apart not long after due to Layne Staley’s problems with substance abuse. Even though they tried to get together again, the band crashed following the death of bassist John Baker Saunders in 1999. Layne Staley died three years later of a drug overdose.

Band members included: 

  • Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees) – drums
  • Mike McCready (Pearl Jam) – lead guitar
  • John Baker Saunders (The Walkabouts)
  • Layne Staley (Alice in Chains) – vocals, rhythm guitar

Additional members

  • Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age) – vocals
  • Skerik – saxophone, percussion
  • Chris Cornell – vocals
  • Duff McKagan – Bass

 

“River of Deceit” is one of my favorite songs on the album. Next to “Nutshell”, probably one of my favorite songs by Layne Staley. “River of Deceit” means a lot to me, but mainly it reminds me to be myself and to not let anyone tell me who to be. 

 

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

The_Prophet_Cover.jpgThe lyrics of “River of Deceit” were inspired by a combination of The Prophet by Khalil Gibran, which Staley read during the making of the album, and also Layne’s drug addiction which eventually lead to his death on April 5, 2002.

The blurb for the book: Kahlil Gibran’s masterpiece, The Prophet, is one of the most beloved classics of our time. Published in 1923, it has been translated into more than twenty languages, and the American editions alone have sold more than nine million copies.

The Prophet
is a collection of poetic essays that are philosophical, spiritual, and, above all, inspirational. Gibran’s musings are divided into twenty-eight chapters covering such sprawling topics as love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, housing, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.

My rating for this book is:

stars

Continue reading for the music video…

Continue reading “Mad Season “River of Deceit””