Sunday, June 28, 2015

Booth Girls ~ by Joan Uda

Booth Girls: A Love Story ~ by Joan Uda, 2013, fiction (Iowa), 10/10
From the author's web site:  A very pregnant Mary, a graduate student at the University of Iowa, refuses to marry her live-in lover Kenny, a physics whiz, because she has career plans of her own.  Mary is a graduate student in Victorian literature and plans to build a career in that field, at a time when few women have successful careers and most women have difficulty being admitted to professional and most graduate schools.

Mary believes in herself, and is undaunted by her pregnancy, but she also loves Kenny, with whom she’s lived while she’s been in school for three years.  Kenny tells her repeatedly that he wants to marry her, but Mary knows that he is not faithful to her, though he almost always comes home sometime before dawn.  When Mary discovers that one of Kenny’s lovers is her best friend Callie, she decides to go to Booth Memorial Hospital, a home for unwed mothers, to have her baby there and give it up for adoption.

Kenny was reared by his mother to be a gentleman.  But he is furious with Mary for wanting to give away their baby.  He says she can give the child to him to rear, but Mary refuses.  She knows that in 1954 there is no available test that will prove his paternity, that therefore he has no rights where this child is concerned, and so she can do as she thinks best.  Kenny drives Mary to Booth in Des Moines, comes inside, but then takes off abruptly, leaving her behind, unable to contain his anger at what she is doing.

Mary settles in at Booth, meeting the Salvation Army officers who staff the home, and going to work for the hospital nurse who runs the hospital floor where the babies are delivered.  Mary makes new friends at Booth, including Dee, a black girl from Des Moines who is bent upon marrying the father of her baby, and Ruby, who is married to a Des Moines mobster with ties into the Chicago mob.  The action unfolds as each of the women works out her own destiny.

The Booth Memorial Homes existed in the United States and England, and possibly in other countries, until the mid-to-late 1970’s.  By then sexual mores had changed sufficiently that most unmarried pregnant woman were no longer expelled from their families or held up as objects of scorn.  But many of us born in the first half of the 20th Century remember vividly how things were back then.  Some of us, including me, even experienced it.  I leave it to the reader to decide which of the characters’ experiences most resemble mine.
Wow!  Once I started this story, I read straight through, picking it up again after falling asleep in the wee hours of the morning.  That's a 10/10 novel for me, one I couldn't put down until I finished, and even then wanting more, more, more!  Wanting it enough that I called my friend Joan Uda and insisted on reading her second novel, knowing she hasn't finished it yet.  I met Joan last fall, met and got to know her husband Lowell (also a published writer) before he died in December, and have been getting to know Joan ever since.  I know she has several published nonfiction books.  Because of Lowell's illness and death, Joan's writing on her second novel has been stalled.  As a former editor, I want to read her next novel enough that I volunteered to edit it for her!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Love of words ~ and word games

This morning, a friend forwarded me a wonderful "lexophilia" list, which claims lexophile is "a word used to describe those that have a love for words."  I could not, however, find a dictionary online that shows "lexophilia" or "lexophile" at all.  Wikipedia, I discovered, has deleted a "lexophilia" page, maybe because the correct words should be "logophilia."  A logophile is a lover of words (according to, and logophilia is the love of words and word games (according to Wiktionary).  The definition in my friend's email shows a new word ("lexophilia") trying to take over the definition of a perfectly good word we already use.  Below is a fun list for logophiles.  I think my favorite may be #103 about Charles Dickens.
  1. When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.
  2. A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
  3. When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.
  4. The dead batteries were given out free of charge.
  5. When a dentist and a manicurist married, they fought tooth and nail.
  6. A will is a dead giveaway.
  7. With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
  8. A boiled egg is hard to beat.
  9. When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.
  10. Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
  11. Did you hear about the fellow whose left side was cut off? He's all right now.
  12. A bicycle can't stand alone; it's just two tired.
  13. Alternate: A bicycle moves slowly because it is two tired.
  14. When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.
  15. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.
  16. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
  17. When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
  18. Acupuncture is a jab well done. That's the point of it.
  19. Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end.
  20. I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.
  21. Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.
  22. A pair of jumper cables were served in the local pub only after they promised not to start anything.
  23. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
  24. To write with a broken pencil is pointless.
  25. A will is a dead giveaway.
  26. A backward poet writes inverse.
  27. If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.
  28. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
  29. The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference.
  30. If you don’t pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.
  31. When the TV repairman got married, the reception was excellent.
  32. A woman’s swoon may be more feint than faint.
  33. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft, and I’ll show you A-flat miner.
  34. A short fortune-teller who escaped from prison is a small medium at large.
  35. When a grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France, it resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.
  36. You are stuck with your debt, if you can’t budge it.
  37. He broke into song because he couldn’t find the key.
  38. A plateau is a high form of flattery.
  39. A calendar’s days are numbered.
  40. Horses are alone in their class, because they are always out standing in their fields.
  41. There was once a cross-eyed teacher who couldn’t control his pupils.
  42. We will never run out of math teachers, because they always multiply.
  43. To some, marriage is a word; to others, it's a sentence.
  44. A thief who fell and broke his leg in wet cement became a hardened criminal.
  45. Thieves who steal corn from a garden should be charged with stalking.
  46. The grocery store clerk said you had to go to Office Depot to buy staples.
  47. Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
  48. The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.
  49. There was a slight paws before the dog ran off.
  50. A hangover is a wrath of grapes.
  51. When the buyer failed to make payment on the Golden dog he bought, the breeder had to retriever.
  52. The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.
  53. A man’s home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.
  54. If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.
  55. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
  56. Practice safe eating – always use condiments.
  57. In a democracy, it’s your vote that counts – in feudalism, it’s your Count that votes.
  58. She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still.
  59. A butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.
  60. A shotgun wedding is a case of wife or death.
  61. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.
  62. A man needs a mistress to break the monogamy.
  63. Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor-play.
  64. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
  65. Sea captains don’t like crew cuts.
  66. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
  67. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
  68. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
  69. Atheists won’t solve exponential equations because they don’t believe in higher powers.
  70. When the grape got stepped on, it let out a little whine.
  71. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his aunt telephoned to ask how he was, the nurse said, "No change yet."
  72. Don’t join dangerous cults – practice safe sects.
  73. When two egoists meet, it’s an I for an I.
  74. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One said to the other, "You stay here, and I’ll go on a head."
  75. It’s not that the man did not know how to juggle – he just didn’t have the balls to do it.
  76. What you get when you mate a shitzu and a bull dog is bullshit.
  77. A sign on the lawn of a drug rehab center says, "Keep of the grass."
  78. In school, the class trapeze artist with an attitude was always suspended.
  79. A cross-dresser is a guy who likes to eat, drink, and be Mary.
  80. Air pollution is a mist-demeanor.
  81. Six is afraid of seven because seven eight nine.
  82. For a while, Houdini used a lot of trap doors in his act, but he was just going through a stage.
  83. Editing is a re-wording activity.
  84. Two atoms are walking down the street, and one says to the other, "Are you all right?" "No, I lost an electron!" "Are you sure?" "Yes, I’m positive!"
  85. I couldn’t quite remember how to throw a boomerang, but eventually it came back to me.
  86. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
  87. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
  88. Reading while sunbathing makes you well-red.
  89. A lot of money is tainted – ‘taint yours and ‘taint mine.
  90. A prisoner’s favorite punctuation mark is the period, because it marks the end of his sentence.
  91. When William joined the army he disliked the phrase "fire at will."
  92. Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.
  93. Speaking of rights and lefts, you were right so I left.
  94. The poor guy fell into a glass grinding machine and made a spectacle of himself.
  95. Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of defeat.
  96. I’ve been to the dentist several times, so I know the drill.
  97. I got my large circumference from too much pi.
  98. Women who wear $200 perfume obviously have no common scents.
  99. To many women the word "marriage" has a nice ring to it.
  100. He dropped a computer on his toes and had megahertz.
  101. An egg in the monastery sighed and said, "From the frying pan into the friar."
  102. Nut screws washers and bolts.
  103. Charles Dickens walks into a bar and orders a martini. The bartender asks, "Olive or twist?"
Which one is your favorite?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Biocentrism ~ by Robert Lanza

Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe ~ by Robert Lanza and Bob Berman, 2009
Every now and then, a simple yet radical idea shakes the very foundations of knowledge. The startling discovery that the world was not flat challenged and ultimately changed the way people perceived themselves and their relationships with the world. “If the earth were really round,” it was argued, “Then the people at the bottom would fall off.” For most humans of the 15th century, the notion of Earth as ball of rock was nonsense. The whole of Western natural philosophy is undergoing a sea change again, forced upon us by the experimental findings of quantum theory. At the same time, these findings have increased our doubt and uncertainty about traditional physical explanations of the universe’s genesis and structure.

Biocentrism completes this shift in worldview, turning the planet upside down again with the revolutionary view that life creates the universe instead of the other way around. In this new paradigm, life is not just an accidental byproduct of the laws of physics.

Biocentrism takes the reader on a seemingly improbable but ultimately inescapable journey through a foreign universe — our own — from the viewpoints of an acclaimed biologist and a leading astronomer. Switching perspective from physics to biology unlocks the cages in which Western science has unwittingly managed to confine itself. Biocentrism shatters the reader’s ideas of life, time and space, and even death. At the same time, it releases us from the dull worldview that life is merely the activity of an admixture of carbon and a few other elements; it suggests the exhilarating possibility that life is fundamentally immortal.

The 21st century is predicted to be the century of biology, a shift from the previous century dominated by physics. It seems fitting, then, to turn the universe outside-in and unify the foundations of science with a simple idea discovered by one of the leading life-scientists of our age.  Biocentrism awakens in readers a new sense of possibility and is full of so many shocking new perspectives that the reader will never see reality the same way again.
Theory of Biocentricism ~ Part 1
Theory of Biocentricism ~ Part 2
Scientists Claim that Quantum Theory Proves Consciousness Moves to Another Universe at Death ~ January 2014
Lanza named one of the top 50 "World Thinkers"

Dr. Lanza was selected as one of Prospect Magazine’s “World Thinkers 2015.” The thinkers were chosen for “engaging in original and profound ways with the central questions of the world today,” as well as for their continuing significance for “this year’s biggest questions” (in economics, science, philosophy, cultural and social criticism and in politics).
— from Robert Lanza's web site

Monday, June 22, 2015

Time travel ~ now?

For those of us interested in time travel, here's a story about a homemade machine with a link to the site where we can watch it happen.  The event will be online this Friday.  A woman, known only as Anna from Exminster, posted an ad to find someone to go along with her.  That person has been chosen, and they plan to leave in 4 days, 2 hours, and 12 minutes.

If the video quits working here, view it on YouTube.  Just for fun, here are some more videos for you.  What do you think?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Five ~ now

Thanks to Jan in Texas, who provided today's Friday Five questions.

1.  Who do you think of for Father’s Day?
My son David is a wonderful father and grandfather.  The photo shows him coaching his 4-year-old grandson's ballgame in May.  I tell people, "My son's son had a son" — between the two generations pictured is my grandson, whose wife recently posted a picture on Facebook showing him mowing the lawn next door.  She wrote:  "This is one of the reasons I love this man.  He's mowing our neighbor's yard because the man broke his collar bone."  Therefore, I nominate my son for Father of the Year — because of the way he and his wife raised their children to be caring adults.  By the way, David's birthday is Sunday.  He'll be 52 years old, but he still looks like my little boy to me.
2.  What are you thinking about right now?
Rev. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw
I've been thinking about a new word I found while reading The Story of a Pioneer by Anna Howard Shaw, first published in 1915.  The author mentioned a man's "fimbriated face."  Fascinated by words since the age of two, I rarely run across a word that is totally new to me.  Two friends and I discussed the word over dinner at Applebee's last night, as they tried to help me figure out how to look up the word in the Oxford English Dictionary that came already installed on my new Kindle.  The word ˈfim brēˌātid means "having a fringe or border of hairlike or fingerlike projections."  I concluded that Anna Howard Shaw meant the man had a fringe of hair around his face, maybe a full beard that was continuous with his hair.
3.  What book are you reading or have just finished reading?
I'm also reading Discover the Power Within You by Eric Butterworth, 1968.  The author shares the greatest discovery of all time:  the ability to see the divine within us all.  Jesus saw this divine dimension in every human being, and Butterworth reveals this hidden and untapped resource to be a source of limitless abundance.  Exploring this "depth potential," Butterworth outlines ways in which we can release the power locked within us for better health, greater confidence, increased success, and inspired openness to let our "light shine" forth for others.
4.  What was the best movie you have seen in the past year?
I've seen only two or three movies in the past year, and the best was probably the one I watched a couple of weeks ago.  Still Alice is a 2014 drama based on Lisa Genova's 2007 bestselling novel of the same name.  I wanted to see this movie because my mother had Alzheimer's like the main character in the film.  Alice is very intelligent and tries to work around her own memory problems, but the disease makes things very difficult, thwarting her best efforts over and over.
5.  News in our world is overwhelming with politics, tragedy, dissension, and hope.  What current affairs are you thinking about?
I'm thinking about racism and violence, especially the madness of the terrorist who murdered nine people attending a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, shot because of the color of their skin.  I agree with Bernie Sanders, who said, "This senseless violence fills me with outrage, disgust, and a deep, deep sadness."  People all over the world are shocked at American violence and wonder why we think guns are going to solve anything.
This video of a prayer by the pastor who was killed also lists and shows all nine victims.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

BTT (#49) ~ vacation

Today's prompt from Booking Through Thursday:
"When you travel, do you bring one book with you?  Or a pile of them?  And, is that pile still a load of paper to lug around?  Or do you use an e-book reader like a Kindle or your iPad to help carry the load?  (Because, even if you prefer paper, it can get heavy when you’re traveling!)"
I haven't yet traveled with the Kindle I got recently, but I can report that I always take more than one book because (1) it would be terrible to finish a book and not have another on hand, and (2) it would be just as frustrating if I weren't in the mood for a particular book (say, nonfiction that I'm reading for a class) and really wanted to read another (say, light fiction because I'm tired).  It could also go the other way, that I don't want to focus on a story line, but want something short to read for a few minutes.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Beginning ~ in a tree house

Mailbox: A Scattershot Novel of Racing, Dares and Danger, Occasional Nakedness, and Faith ~ by Nancy Freund, 2015, young adult fiction
I'd never have been in the dark-dungeon tree house behind the church if the public school teachers hadn't gone on strike.
I'm very behind in getting this book read and mentioned on my blog, but I'm already enjoying the main character.  The first sentence draws me in, and the novel is off to a good start.  Here's a summary of the story from the copyright page:
In the aftermath of Nixon's controversial presidency, Sandy Drue is entering the great unknown of adolescence.  It's 1976.  The USA turns 200, while scrappy agnostic Sandy Drue turns 10, finds an electric typewriter in her father's office, and begins typing pages on the conflicting demands of burgeoning adolescence and her own quiet search for the meaning of life.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.