The Machine is Calling – The New York Review of Books

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Pushwager/New York Review ComicsA spread from Soft City by Pushwagner; click on image to enlarge

Soft City is something of a miracle. Not only for existing in the first place, but for surviving at all. Drawn between 1969 and 1975 by the Norwegian artist Hariton Pushwagner (now often just Pushwagner, though born Terje Brofos in 1940), it languished in obscurity for decades and was very nearly lost before finally being issued in book form by the Norwegian publishers No Comprendo in 2008, following a messy legal dispute involving the artist and his former dealer. Most pointedly, however, it is a miracle of its native medium—the comic strip—for its startling and disquieting vision in a form that had never before quite seen anything like it. Funny, or maybe not so funny, that it would take forty years for the rest of the world to realize it.

Its simple “plot,” one day in the life of one of a thousand families in an impersonal, oppressive, seemingly futuristic military-industrialized complex/city, has its precedents—Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World readily come to mind—but Pushwagner’s comic-strip dream book is unlike anything ever drawn, the sort of magical object one wakes up from seeing in the imagination only to fade within seconds of consciousness. Maybe it’s not surprising that it all begins with an awakening: a cinematic, reader-encompassing view of a sunrise over an impersonal wall of windows that looks more like a computer punchcard than habitable buildings, the reader “moving” in toward these windows to the close-up face of an infant behind the bars of a crib, a sunrise narratively conflated with the eyes of the baby, all of which inverts to reveal itself as the perceptions of the child within the crib. This is no ordinary comic strip, especially for 1969. 1969!

A spread from <em>Soft City</em> by Pushwagner; click on image to enlarge” width=”1600″ height=”1139″ srcset=”http://thedreambookcompany.com/lucid/uploads/2016/10/soft-city-page-56-57.jpg 1600w, http://www.nybooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/soft-city-page-56-57-125×89.jpg 125w, http://www.nybooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/soft-city-page-56-57-768×547.jpg 768w” sizes=”(max-width: 1600px) 100vw, 1600px”/></a><br />
<figcaption class=Pushwager/New York Review ComicsA spread from Soft City by Pushwagner; click on image to enlarge

Though it masquerades as a narrative, the term “graphic novel” seems inadequate to describe Soft City, especially for a book that existed before the term was even coined. It ends up where it starts, with the face of the baby—now in darkness and crying at the moon and, one assumes, at some vague inference of the fearful repetition and spiritual deadness of his existence.

Never taking the easy route out, Pushwagner surprises the reader at nearly every page turn, shifting narrative allegiances and avoiding mundane visual replication in these astonishing crowd scenes, where, if the reader looks carefully, individuals and personality quirks still survive despite the airless, inclined landscape of regulated humanity they inhabit.

His shaky ink line and quirky collaging of news clippings onto the original drawing also remind the reader-viewer that this is the work of an artist, not a craftsman covering his tracks with slick commercial tricks. The whole seems drawn entirely from the need to realize a consuming vision, a writer ruminating (“Where is the mind when the body is here?”) while his artist half looks on in horror. That both halves operate so well makes it a surprising, and lasting, work of art.

Shifting between the designated sex roles of the male and female preparing for, and then embarking on, their respective days out of the cells of their apartment beehive—the males marching off to work to dominate the planet, the women dropping their children at child care then shopping in endless receding spaces of consumption—the reader is left with no real person with whom to identify, no memories or “character” with which to empathize. The overall tone is best described as alien, veering between distant observation and close consciousness, the semi-poetic thoughts of its people like advertising slogans or self-satisfied sensations, infantile in their puerile comfort-revelation and intellectual simplicity: a mother uttering Joycean phrases such as “sweet radio grand prix” and the child thinking “how strange the world seems.” The seemingly endless vistas of commercialism ultimately result in a crushing dehumanization. In this, Pushwagner was not only narratively but also culturally prescient; one has to keep in mind that at the time this book was drawn, the supermarket was still a relatively humdrum neighborhood affair, nothing like the gaping, hungry superstores that swallow consumers in Soft City and in our own suburbs today. (The book could just as easily be retitled Costco, though that would lack a certain mellifluousness.)

Along these lines, the peculiar congruency of Pushwagner’s repeated use of the word “soft” with the current near-ubiquitousness of the word in our so-called Information Age left me as shaken as the first time I ever heard the word “software” as a kid; it made me think of meat, somehow made utilitarian. In Pushwagner’s book, everything is “soft”—the city, the television, and yes, even the meat. I find it disquieting that he, William Blake–style, somehow divined all of this, circa 1970. (In another scene, shifting the point of view from the workers to the “boss,” said CEO utters the words “Oracle Filter” through a giant television screen at his hundreds of workers.) Strangely, some of the more effective and affecting aspects of this book are the obvious anachronisms that leak through its surface, revealing the epoch in which it was drawn: the company men in hats, the 1960s cars, the reel-to-reel tape of the CEO’s computer.

In the art world of the 1960s comics were almost uniformly perceived as trash, nothing more than a stand-in for the vacuity of American consumer culture (see: Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol). Pushwagner’s underground cartoonist contemporaries Robert Crumb and Art Spiegelman embraced that trashiness, rubbing the establishment’s nose in a refreshing mélange of satire and sexual self-revelation, keeping the medium’s artistic potential alive and lively, but also without pointing to any ambitious long-form experimental fiction (Kim Deitch’s fine work being the standout, pioneering exception). Most curiously, Soft City falls into neither of these camps, either fine art- or underground comics-wise; ultimately, its tone feels dire and experimental; it wows visually but gets under one’s skin in an unfamiliar, uncompanionable manner, introducing the awkward revelations of 1960s experimental film, writing, and poetry to a medium at that point more popularly associated with superheroes. (Though to be fair, once Pushwagner finished it in 1975, it was only four years until the first RAW magazine—in which his pages, I think, it would have found a welcome aesthetic sympathy.)

In some ways, the book’s power seems all the greater now for its mid-twentieth-century origins; in the 1960s, the looming threat of an oppressive urban architecture seemed more dire to the West than it does today, but in the wake of the recent forced relocation of agrarian families to high-rise apartments in China, Pushwagner’s book seems undeniably oracular. In 1970, 36 percent of the world’s population was living in urban areas, and the United Nations estimates that number will mushroom to 66 percent by 2050. Are we also headed for such a horizonless, walled existence? The workers in China who manufacture the bottomless chasms we carry in our pockets, and into which we stare for hours, every day, may have some idea.

A spread from <em>Soft City</em> by Pushwagner; click on image to enlarge” width=”1600″ height=”1139″ srcset=”http://thedreambookcompany.com/lucid/uploads/2016/10/soft-city-page-46-47.jpg 1600w, http://www.nybooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/soft-city-page-46-47-125×89.jpg 125w, http://www.nybooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/soft-city-page-46-47-768×547.jpg 768w” sizes=”(max-width: 1600px) 100vw, 1600px”/></a><br />
<figcaption class=Pushwager/New York Review ComicsA spread from Soft City by Pushwagner; click on image to enlarge

Adapted from Chris Ware’s introduction to Soft City by Hariton Pushwagner, which will be published by NYR Comics October 4.

Cuba Is A Dream That Doesn’t Let Go In ‘The Mortifications’ : NPR – NPR

There are books you read for the periods and books you read for the paragraphs — ones in which the action is discrete, punctuated and driving, moving you bodily and inexorably from line to line, and others that unfold at a lingering, more distracted pace. Some books are storms. Others are weather.

Derek Palacio’s debut novel, The Mortifications, is very much the latter. It is hot sun and cool rain, morning fog and the hum of a fan in the window. It ranges and roams, this book. When it settles onto a moment, it does so with the weight of ten butterflies.

It is the story of the Encarnacións — mother Soledad and twins Ulises and Isabel — who left their native Cuba during the Mariel boat-lift in 1980, bypassed the growing Cuban exile communities in Miami and continued on traveling north until they hit Hartford, Conn., where they stopped, settled and built a life. For the first half of the book, their experiences are balanced by the almost ghostly memories of the family patriarch, political rebel Uxbal, who refused to leave Cuba with his wife and children. Who, as a matter of fought quite hard to keep them from leaving.

“[Uxbal] was so certain of his position that he’d tried holding his daughter ransom, locking Isabel inside the country house with him. Soledad was able to retrieve the girl only by holding Ulises hostage in return. Sewing shears in hand and pressed to her son’s jugular, Soledad swore to Uxbal that unless Isabel walked out the front door, suitcase in hand, his bloodline would die.”

And that’s page one. A formative moment, absolutely. Dark, raw, cruel and practical, it sets down the relationship early, in stark terms, and then leaves it hanging like a cloud over the next hundred pages. Over every word, every action, every breath that Soledad, Ulises and Isabel take as they ease into their strange new world. Soledad becomes a court stenographer. She meets Henri Willems, a Dutch horticulturalist who grows tobacco in the hills — a history of cigars and death haunting him in ways that are both parallel to and opposite those memories of Uxbal that haunt the Encarnacións. Ulises excels in school, at Latin and in reading the classics. Isabel goes a different direction, into Catholic mysticism. Soledad grows distant (having asked so much of her children so young, she feels as though she cannot ask anything further of them).

And all of this is touched on so lightly, Palacio’s gaze settling here and there across a span of years and observing the quiet details that make up the roots of life’s narrative.

They are beautiful observations, too. Sometimes gentle, often gotten at sideways, through the lenses of experiences so native to the characters that not a word rings false. Like this, Ulises considering his relationship with Willems: “His logic was that he could scrape together a father, his old father, from bits of the Dutchman; he could resuscitate memories and eventually recall something of Uxbal besides the portrait lurking about his brain.” Or this point-blank accounting of Isabel’s youth: “By the time the twins finished high school, Ulises’s sister had witnessed ninety-eight deaths.”

About midway through, The Mortifications turns a corner. With the arrival of a letter from Uxbal — concrete proof of his reality, and the fact that he is still alive — the Encarnación family shatters. And suddenly, this ghost of a man who has lurked around the edges of a story absolutely full of ghosts becomes real. Not just a memory, but a man. An old man, a rebel still, living in a shack in the jungle, full of a power that comes solely from his long absence.

And the sections of the story set in Cuba are Palacio’s best, because Cuba — more than Hartford, more than Ulises’s school or Isabel’s convent — is a mythic place. The moments here (strung closer together than anything else in the book, a nearly day-to-day accounting) have a magic lingering in them only previously felt in Willems’s tobacco fields.

But at the same time, there’s a loss. Of that early weightlessness, primarily. Of that sense of Palacio hovering, somehow, a half-inch above all the action, the perfect disconnected observer. Cuba seems to give him ankle weights, pulling him down closer to the ground and the physical experiences of his characters even as the land itself grows more magical. Palacio’s Cuba is almost unreal — every hill, every flower, every young soldier and aging rebel existing like a dream which, eventually, draws home the entire Encarnación family and refuses to ever let them go.

Jason Sheehan is an ex-chef, a former restaurant critic and the current food editor of Philadelphia magazine. But when no one is looking, he spends his time writing books about spaceships, aliens, giant robots and ray guns. Tales From the Radiation Age is his latest book.

Black Country teacher realises book dream after shock brain tumour diagnosis – Dudley News

A BLACK Country teacher hit with a devastating brain tumour diagnosis has realised her dream of seeing her debut book in print – and could be on her way to becoming the next Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl.

Katie Smith, who worked in the English department at Dudley’s Holly Hall Academy for eight years, was crowned winner of children’s book writing competition Lorraine’s Top Tales live on TV in May and her debut story The Pumpkin Project hits book stores nationwide today (Thursday).

But the success is bittersweet for the 31-year-old from Stourbridge – who entered the competition on Lorraine Kelly’s ITV show after being told her condition is incurable and she has a 50/50 chance of making it to 40.

She told the News holding a copy of her book for the first time was “unbelievable” but she added: “As much as it’s wonderful – I’d give everything up to know that I’m healthy and could just live a normal life.”

Katie’s husband Luke, aged 32, who has been trying to come to terms with the shock diagnosis which came last autumn just weeks after the couple returned from a dream honeymoon in the United States, said the competition win had come just “at the right time” and he added: “With everything that’s happened it’s a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.”

He said a number of friends and family members have already snapped up pre-ordered copies of the book, about little girl Lottie who grows an enormous pumpkin for a school project, which has been described as “a lively, heart-warming adventure” with “definite hints of Roald Dahl in the story” on the lovereading4kids website.

Katie, a big fan of the legendary children’s author, said: “Just to be mentioned in the same line as Roald Dahl is amazing. I’ve just written something I’m really proud of which I hope children will fall in love with.”

She said she knew her story would have to be weird and wonderful to have a chance of selection and added: “I had a character and a couple of chapters and I knew it needed to grip children from page 1.”

Providing perfect inspiration for lead character Lottie was Katie’s young niece Lottie Parsons – a pupil at Brockmoor Primary School, Brierley Hill.

English and drama graduate Katie, who grew up in Pensnett and took A levels at Halesowen College, said: “The whole image of Lottie is based on her, she’s absolutely delighted.”

Meanwhile – Katie is hoping for her own little one to read to, despite her bleak prognosis.

She said: “We would like to have children and we have kind of agreed nobody knows what’s around the corner. You have to try and live your life as if you don’t know this is happening.”

Since undergoing brain surgery last November to remove the large tumour, Katie – whose mum has also been battling cancer – faces a lifetime of six-monthly scans and taking anti-seizure medication.

The condition has also robbed her of her driving licence and she is currently on sick leave from her job as head of English at Wyre Forest School, Kidderminster, which she had only taken up shortly before she started suffering terrible headaches.

Katie said: “It’s always there in the back of your mind as surgery can never eradicate it and we know it’s going to come back at some point – we just hope it won’t be for a good few years.”

Not keen on dwelling on her fate, she’s hoping to raise the profile and possibly funds for Brain Tumour Research.

According to the charity more people under 40 die of a brain tumour than any other cancer and brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of UK children.

And Hugh Adams, head of external affairs at Brain Tumour Research, said: “Sadly this devastating disease affects many young people, like Katie, and yet it has been allocated just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research.

“By speaking out about her experience Katie is helping many other families who find themselves in the same situation. For her to have achieved the publication of her first book during such an awful time is very inspiring.”

Anne McNeil, publisher at Hodder Children’s Books part of Hachette Children’s Group, said Katie’s story was “accomplished in its overall polish” and it was chosen by the judges – after being whittled down from 3,000 entries – because it had a “perfect mix of strong characterisation, a great story arc and a lovely moral”.

The Pumpkin Project – published by the team behind How To Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell – is available from High Street and online book sellers, priced £6.99.

To keep up-to-date with Katie Smith news follow her on Twitter @katiecake13 and for more information about Brain Tumour Research or to make a donation go to www.braintumourresearch.org

Famous sons unite to tell the story of Bobby Darin in Dream Lover – The Sydney Morning Herald

“Is it too windy for my hair piece?” jokes Dodd Darin, who clearly does not have a hair piece, unlike his famous pop star father Bobby Darin.

“My father had the worse hair pieces in show business,” Darin laughs. “Some of them looked like they came off a coconut.”

Dodd Darin with David Campbell, who plays Dodd's father Bobby in the musical <i>Dream Lover</i>.” title=”” src=”http://www.smh.com.au/content/dam/images/g/r/u/8/q/e/image.related.articleLeadwide.620×349.gruf6y.png/1475579887043.jpg”/><br />
<figcaption class= Dodd Darin with David Campbell, who plays Dodd’s father Bobby in the musical Dream LoverPhoto: Louie Douvis

Darin has flown in from Beverly Hills for the opening night of Dream Lover: The Bobby Darin Musical, the bio-musical starring David Campbell opening at the Lyric Theatre on October 6.

Co-created by Frank Howson and John-Michael Howson, the show includes all of Darin’s big hits – Splish Splash, Dream Lover and Mack the Knife – and lifts the curtain on the man behind the showbiz facade: the drama of his parentage (he grew up believing his mother Vanina was his older sister); his marriage to the troubled movie starlet Sandra Dee, and the lifelong health problems that led to his early death at 37.


Dodd Darin (right), pictured with David Campbell, says his father was no Elvis or Ricky Nelson: “He was this puffy little Italian guy and I can say that because I look like him.”  Photo: Louie Douvis

Darin says he saw the show within hours of landing and found it “very emotional”.

“This man,” he says, touching Campbell’s shoulder, “has done something very special. I’m overwhelmed. David has a connection with the material that only he can understand. It’s not just a gig for him. He really cares. My only complaint is that David is far too good-looking to play Bobby Darin!”

“Stop it!” Campbell says.

“No, really,” Darin says. “My Dad wasn’t like Fabian or Ricky Nelson or Elvis. He was this puffy little Italian guy and I can say that because I look like him. He thought he was downright ugly and my mum didn’t help. She made fun of him. But when he went on stage, he was like, ‘I am Cary Grant. I feel 10 feet tall.’ That was who he was.”

Darin was born in 1961 at the height of his parents’ fame. In 1994 he released a warts-and-all book, Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee, chronicling his parents’ relationship, their divorce (when Dodd was six), and his mother’s struggle with anorexia and depression. After many years of ill health, Dee died in 2005, aged 62.

Bobby Darin died four days after his son’s 12th birthday but Dodd has strong memories of him.

“When you were around him, it was a buzz, an excitement,” he says. “He really loved life. He did all the celebrity stuff with me. I met Muhammad Ali and [baseball player] Willie Mays. But he never forgot where he came from and he was a great father.”

Darin, who manages his father’s estate, says Dream Lover is a tribute that has been a long time coming.

“My father was one of the greatest entertainers to walk the nightclub stage but he didn’t get the respect he deserved,” Darin says. “It was partly that he was arrogant. It wasn’t that he was – excuse my French – a prick.

“It was that he knew he didn’t have long to live so he didn’t suffer fools gladly. He was misunderstood. I think he deserves this acknowledgment. He would be happy with this show because he wanted to be remembered.”

Campbell says Bobby Darin has been a musical idol of his for years.

“His musicality was astounding,” he says. “He had a brash rock-and-rollness but he took that into swing. He wasn’t like the other crooners of the time. There was an edge to what Bobby did. His energy was right in your face, insisting you listen.

“But now, I also feel a real connection to Dodd. I am also him in this story. This could possibly happen to my dad [rock singer Jimmy Barnes] in the future. I might be watching some guy playing my dad in a musical. So I feel a real duty of care toward Dodd. As somebody who is also the child of someone famous, I know the road.”

Dream Lover: The Bobby Darin Musical opens at Sydney Lyric Theatre on October 6.

New book offers practical guide for translating the language of … – Stuff.co.nz

LAINE MOGER/FAIRFAX NZ

Margaret Bowater’s new book offers a practical guide to understanding dreams.

Dreams could hold the secret to solving one’s deepest conflicts in life.

It’s just a matter of being able to understand the language.

Healing the Nightmare, Freeing the Soul – A Practical Guide is a new book offering a translation guide for dream language.

Author Margaret Bowater says knowledge of dreams should be natural to everybody. “It’s a natural feedback system.”

READ MORE:
Common dreams and what they mean
Why sleeping naked is good for you
Dreaming of sleep…

For sceptics who think dream-reading is a bit wishy-washy, Bowater’s book is rooted in her vast practical knowledge and 30 years’ experience as a therapist.

“So many people think that dreams are just nonsense because they are in a ‘different language’,” Bowater says.

“But actually, they are really a metaphorical language because we dream in pictures and sounds. For example, being chased is a metaphor for trying to avoid something.

“All mammals dream, and human beings dreamed long before we had verbal language.  

“You need to think, put your conscious mind to work to sort out the problems the unconscious mind is telling you.”

“You need to go back to the dream and figure out how to fix it,” she says.

The book is split into three sections: groundwork, trauma dreaming, and spirituality. Exampled by an interrogation of over 80 nightmare examples.

Healing the Nightmare marks Bowater’s second published novel.

“I’ve always thought of myself as a writer and I’m happy to be publishing my book.”

“What is more important to me is that more of the public are educated, about the significance of dreams,” she says.

Healing the Nightmare, Freeing the Soul was published in September main bookshops, publisher Calico and Batemans.

Bowater will be attending the international book fair in Frankfurt this October 19 till October 23.

For more information about dream meanings visit dreamnetwork.org.nz.


 – Stuff

Evelyn Duesbury Pens Books on Meditation – Broadway World


PLATTEVILLE, Wis., Oct. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ Routledge published a second book for Author Evelyn Duesbury during July 2016. The title is A Dream-Guided Meditation Model and the Personalized Method for Interpreting Dreams.

Issues are that readers may have yet to find time for meditations or to work with their dreams. In our busy lives we are often pressed to find time for all our tasks at hand. How then could we find time to meditate or to study dreams? Even when readers embrace meditation as beneficial and are attracted to dreams, how, when, and where are they to meditate or to read books about dreams?

Though the new book’s meditation model came in a dream, readers are shown how to meditate without learning how to interpret their dreams. Thirty-five solutions or lessons are presented that readers can use to refocus their minds during meditation and move forward with efficiency.

One of the thirty-five solutions is “Take Time For Meditation: It Is Worth $1,000 In Calm Wisdom.” One night after the dreamer-writer Duesbury had become tense from pressing onward “to accomplish more work projects than is usual for me,” in a dream she was shown a brilliant way to have attained peace and inner calm so she could have accomplished the work. The brilliant way was to go to a quiet place and meditate. Another solution in the book is “Attempts to meditate without having practiced and without listening is like expecting to play beautiful music when you haven’t practiced.”

When to meditate includes before work, noontime, after work and whenever you feel the need. Where to meditate includes at home, traveling, in a nearby church or faraway meditation hall when you image being there.

As an American Counseling Association (ACA) counselor educator, Author Evelyn Duesbury teaches by writing about use of her researched and award-winning Personalized Method for Interpreting Dreams (PMID). The PMID model is also in the first book Routledge published for Duesbury, A Counselor’s Guide For Facilitating The Interpretation Of Dreams: Family and Other Relationship Systems Perspectives (2010).

Read excerpts and order the books at www.yourguidingdreams.com.

Media Contact:

Evelyn Duesbury

Email

608-348-5925

SOURCE Evelyn Duesbury

Evelyn Duesbury Pens Books on Meditation

Ridley Park author’s book tells story of two local baseball legends – Delco News Network

RIDLEY PARK>> When Bob McLaughlin of Ridley Park was only 9 or 10, he began to dream of someday writing a book. Even as a young boy, growing up in Chester, McLaughlin liked to write. He later became sports editor of his high school newspaper, “The Bark,” at Saint James High School in Chester. McLaughlin continued his education, graduating Widener University in 1977 and went on to a successful career in Engineering Construction, working for Bechtel Corp. and United Engineers in Philadelphia as a contract purchaser.  Along the way, McLaughlin also developed a fondness for sports, playing basketball and softball in Chester’s city leagues and later coaching Saint Madeline CYO, Ridley ABA and local men’s softball teams.

When he retired in 2012, McLaughlin tapped into his fondness for writing and for sports and combined the two, and added in his fascination and admiration for two local baseball heroes, Danny Murtaugh and Mickey Vernon.

In his very first book, Danny and Mickey, Ordinary Heroes, McLaughlin tells the story of the life-long friendship of Danny Murtaugh, Manager of the 1960 and 1971 World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, and Mickey Vernon, seven-time American League All Star first baseman, and AL batting champion in 1946 and 1953. Danny and Mickey were boys when they met in 1927 playing sandlot baseball in Chester, the same city where McLaughlin grew up.  Vernon and Murtaugh’s shared passion for the game of baseball drew them closer together as friends, teammates, rivals, and finally as champions.

The new book, published by Cloud 9 Publishing in Philadelphia and with a forward written by Philadelphia Sportswriter Hall of Famer Ray Didinger, actually evolved from a screenplay the author had written. McLaughlin said the story seems made for the big screen so he initially penned a screenplay. After he was done, he decided to also write a book on the subject. On the book’s cover, along with a photo of the two legendary players are these words describing the book, “It’s a story of America throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Set amidst one of the most turbulent times in American and world history, the boys struggle for their dreams like so many other ordinary Americans. They overcome obstacles and adversities to fulfill their boyhood promise to each other (getting to the World Series), and finally achieve together, side by side, their childhood dream and become world champions at the top of the baseball world. It is the story of the powerful partnership of the American spirit and the American dream. Their story shows us the best of what we can all be, Ordinary Heroes.”

The story took McLaughlin three years to write and he had many interviews with Danny’s son, Tim Murtaugh, SJHS Class of 1961, as well as conversations with Jim Vankoski, president of the Mickey Vernon Sports Museum. Additionally, McLaughlin said he read every sports article on the two legends and talked to everyone and anyone who knew anything about the pair.

“I identify with these two kids,” McLaughlin said, referring to the two baseball legends in their earlier years. “We all came from the same background, the same place and I feel a connected spirit with them. I appreciate the values we were all raised with and held onto through life’s ups and downs. I think others, too,  can relate  and will identify with Vernon and Murtaugh, in their earlier and later years.”

McLaughlin was all smiles during an interview last week. The retiree admitted that his work is cut out for him now in promoting Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes.

“The purpose of this book is to evangelize Danny and Mickey, and let people outside of this east coast area get to know who they are,” he explained. “These two absolutely should have been in the Hall of Fame and the only reason they weren’t is because not enough people outside of this immediate area know about them. I hope this book can help in some way to change that.”

Soon after Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes came out in print, McLaughlin had a book-signing party at his home on August 30. Dozens of friends, family members and neighbors attended. The party was intended as a celebration for all those who helped McLaughlin along the way to completing his first book. McLaughlin’s wife of 50 years, Dorothy, and his three children, Stephen McLaughlin of New Jersey, Bobby McLaughlin of Middletown Township and Dr. Laura Taddei of Ridley Park, were his greatest cheerleaders, he said, encouraging and reading excerpts every step along the way. Daughter-in-law Helene McKelvey-McLaughlin designed the book cover and grandson Kevin Taddei created the book’s website (dannyandmickey.com).

Other family members, as well as many friends and acquaintances also aided in various ways to the book to fruition, including Mike Milone, Rich Westcott, Gay Vernon (Mickey’s daughter), John Mooney, Frank Wujick, Pat Brough, Bill Smeck, John and Nancy Schmidt, Mike Taddei, Mike Blair, Chris West and Ben Wilson. Continued…

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes will be donated to all local public libraries and school libraries. The donor sent McLaughlin a check to cover the cost of the donated books with a letter saying, in part, “This book shows the power of the American spirit through the lives of two boys who become men amidst great desperation, hunger and war. Along with so many other men and women of their time, they become the ordinary heroes that inspire us. I hope everyone reads this story and finds their own proud place in the future chapters of America’s new century.”

McLaughlin said he will soon embark on a schedule of book-signings and will be happy to visit any groups to talk about the ordinary heroes and his new screenplay and book. He recently spoke at the St. James Class of ’57 luncheon at Duffers and he’ll speak Nov. 18 to the St. James Class of ’65 at the SJHS Doghouse.

McLaughlin also plans to have copies of his book available at the Sports Legends of Delaware County Museum’s “Danny Murtaugh’s History-Making Moments” gala, which will be held Oct. 8 at the Radnor Township Municipal Building, 301 Iven Avenue in Wayne. Bob Friend, who pitched for Murtaugh’s 1960 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates, and Bobby Shantz, a pitcher with the Pirates’ 1960 Series opponent, the New York Yankees, will be in attendance at the affair.

 McLaughlin said as soon as the dust settles, he plans to get busy writing the next book that’s been swirling around in his head. In the meantime, he’s happy to take a small breather to relish in this new hat that he’s wearing as a published author.

“The book, Danny and Mickey and I all became close friends through this journey,” McLaughlin admitted. “I am passionate about the subject and I wanted to share their inspirational and triumphant story with America because the story is American through and through. I really hope someday this story will become a movie so that all of America, all of the world, can see how anyone who works hard and is persistent, can realize their dream.”

(Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes is available through Amazon, at local libraries and book stores and at www.dannyandmickey.com/.The author can be reached at [email protected]/ or for more information on Danny and Mickey, like “Danny and Mickey Baseball Heroes 1960 World Series” on Facebook.)

RIDLEY PARK>> When Bob McLaughlin of Ridley Park was only 9 or 10, he began to dream of someday writing a book. Even as a young boy, growing up in Chester, McLaughlin liked to write. He later became sports editor of his high school newspaper, “The Bark,” at Saint James High School in Chester. McLaughlin continued his education, graduating Widener University in 1977 and went on to a successful career in Engineering Construction, working for Bechtel Corp. and United Engineers in Philadelphia as a contract purchaser.  Along the way, McLaughlin also developed a fondness for sports, playing basketball and softball in Chester’s city leagues and later coaching Saint Madeline CYO, Ridley ABA and local men’s softball teams.

When he retired in 2012, McLaughlin tapped into his fondness for writing and for sports and combined the two, and added in his fascination and admiration for two local baseball heroes, Danny Murtaugh and Mickey Vernon.

In his very first book, Danny and Mickey, Ordinary Heroes, McLaughlin tells the story of the life-long friendship of Danny Murtaugh, Manager of the 1960 and 1971 World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, and Mickey Vernon, seven-time American League All Star first baseman, and AL batting champion in 1946 and 1953. Danny and Mickey were boys when they met in 1927 playing sandlot baseball in Chester, the same city where McLaughlin grew up.  Vernon and Murtaugh’s shared passion for the game of baseball drew them closer together as friends, teammates, rivals, and finally as champions.

The new book, published by Cloud 9 Publishing in Philadelphia and with a forward written by Philadelphia Sportswriter Hall of Famer Ray Didinger, actually evolved from a screenplay the author had written. McLaughlin said the story seems made for the big screen so he initially penned a screenplay. After he was done, he decided to also write a book on the subject. On the book’s cover, along with a photo of the two legendary players are these words describing the book, “It’s a story of America throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Set amidst one of the most turbulent times in American and world history, the boys struggle for their dreams like so many other ordinary Americans. They overcome obstacles and adversities to fulfill their boyhood promise to each other (getting to the World Series), and finally achieve together, side by side, their childhood dream and become world champions at the top of the baseball world. It is the story of the powerful partnership of the American spirit and the American dream. Their story shows us the best of what we can all be, Ordinary Heroes.”

The story took McLaughlin three years to write and he had many interviews with Danny’s son, Tim Murtaugh, SJHS Class of 1961, as well as conversations with Jim Vankoski, president of the Mickey Vernon Sports Museum. Additionally, McLaughlin said he read every sports article on the two legends and talked to everyone and anyone who knew anything about the pair.

“I identify with these two kids,” McLaughlin said, referring to the two baseball legends in their earlier years. “We all came from the same background, the same place and I feel a connected spirit with them. I appreciate the values we were all raised with and held onto through life’s ups and downs. I think others, too,  can relate  and will identify with Vernon and Murtaugh, in their earlier and later years.”

McLaughlin was all smiles during an interview last week. The retiree admitted that his work is cut out for him now in promoting Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes.

“The purpose of this book is to evangelize Danny and Mickey, and let people outside of this east coast area get to know who they are,” he explained. “These two absolutely should have been in the Hall of Fame and the only reason they weren’t is because not enough people outside of this immediate area know about them. I hope this book can help in some way to change that.”

Soon after Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes came out in print, McLaughlin had a book-signing party at his home on August 30. Dozens of friends, family members and neighbors attended. The party was intended as a celebration for all those who helped McLaughlin along the way to completing his first book. McLaughlin’s wife of 50 years, Dorothy, and his three children, Stephen McLaughlin of New Jersey, Bobby McLaughlin of Middletown Township and Dr. Laura Taddei of Ridley Park, were his greatest cheerleaders, he said, encouraging and reading excerpts every step along the way. Daughter-in-law Helene McKelvey-McLaughlin designed the book cover and grandson Kevin Taddei created the book’s website (dannyandmickey.com).

Other family members, as well as many friends and acquaintances also aided in various ways to the book to fruition, including Mike Milone, Rich Westcott, Gay Vernon (Mickey’s daughter), John Mooney, Frank Wujick, Pat Brough, Bill Smeck, John and Nancy Schmidt, Mike Taddei, Mike Blair, Chris West and Ben Wilson.

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes will be donated to all local public libraries and school libraries. The donor sent McLaughlin a check to cover the cost of the donated books with a letter saying, in part, “This book shows the power of the American spirit through the lives of two boys who become men amidst great desperation, hunger and war. Along with so many other men and women of their time, they become the ordinary heroes that inspire us. I hope everyone reads this story and finds their own proud place in the future chapters of America’s new century.”

McLaughlin said he will soon embark on a schedule of book-signings and will be happy to visit any groups to talk about the ordinary heroes and his new screenplay and book. He recently spoke at the St. James Class of ’57 luncheon at Duffers and he’ll speak Nov. 18 to the St. James Class of ’65 at the SJHS Doghouse.

McLaughlin also plans to have copies of his book available at the Sports Legends of Delaware County Museum’s “Danny Murtaugh’s History-Making Moments” gala, which will be held Oct. 8 at the Radnor Township Municipal Building, 301 Iven Avenue in Wayne. Bob Friend, who pitched for Murtaugh’s 1960 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates, and Bobby Shantz, a pitcher with the Pirates’ 1960 Series opponent, the New York Yankees, will be in attendance at the affair.

 McLaughlin said as soon as the dust settles, he plans to get busy writing the next book that’s been swirling around in his head. In the meantime, he’s happy to take a small breather to relish in this new hat that he’s wearing as a published author.

“The book, Danny and Mickey and I all became close friends through this journey,” McLaughlin admitted. “I am passionate about the subject and I wanted to share their inspirational and triumphant story with America because the story is American through and through. I really hope someday this story will become a movie so that all of America, all of the world, can see how anyone who works hard and is persistent, can realize their dream.”

(Danny and Mickey Ordinary Heroes is available through Amazon, at local libraries and book stores and at www.dannyandmickey.com/.The author can be reached at [email protected]/ or for more information on Danny and Mickey, like “Danny and Mickey Baseball Heroes 1960 World Series” on Facebook.)

Dare to dream differently, have crazy ideas, unlearn: author Ashwin Sanghi – YourStory.com

Hailed as the ‘Indian Dan Brown’ for his books The Rozabal Line and The Krishna Key, writer Aswin Sanghi is one of India’s bestselling conspiracy fiction writers, known for his books based on historical, theological and mythological themes. In his address at TechSparks 2016, the author took a largely tech audience on a mystical ride as he established unthought-of connects and stressed on the importance of unlearning to unleash creativity.

Ashwin began by quoting Hollywood actor Steve Jobs and said how creativity just happens by chance and that a creative person will not really have the answers for the wonders he has achieved.

According to Ashwin the process of creativity has four fundamental stages.

“It all starts with unlearning, which goes on to become connectivity and finally results in creativity.”

Recalling his childhood, Ashwin narrated how being born into a typical Marwari-Baniya family his tryst with business began quite early, at age 12, but there was also a strong creative influence.

“I went on business visits with my father and was given lessons in book-keeping by a munimji but what interested me more was the books my grandfather gave me. He sent me one book every week and gave me a total of 417 books in his lifetime.”

This introduced Ashwin to his creative side but convention was not far behind.

Munimji used to tell me how book-keeping is better than book-reading and the only book I should be reading is a Balance Sheet.

But Ashwin had decided he wanted to be a writer and confided in a friend who quoted the famous quote by W.Somerset Maugham:

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

Inspired, Ashwin thus began his writing journey. In the course of his 20-minute address Ashwin touched upon various instances and examples of how we have is a larger picture waiting to be seen provided we connected the dots. The instances included,

The concept of Hara and Hari

Mythological characters are a creation of larger mythical processes. The universe is ever expanding, refer to it as Vishnu; it is also continuously contracting, refer to it as Shiva (Hara) , this process of expansion and contraction creates the universe, or ‘Brahma’ as we know it. This can be applied to a lot of real-life activities.

Ashwin spoke about how real-life incidents influenced his style of writing. Recalling an instance of being awestruck on visiting a temple dedicated to Amitabh Bachchan in Kolkata, he took the audience on an imaginary ride to the future in a world where it would really be happening on a large scale.

“What if I told you most gods or things we believe in today really did exist a hundred thousand years ago and no one then knew they would be treated as gods? Believe in the power of imagination; what you think is impossible today may well happen tomorrow,” he quipped.

After going through several interesting connections from history and mythology, Ashwin concluded by saying,

We have about a 300 different types of Ramayana although only one is popularly known and followed. It is proof for how our country is famous for accepting multiple versions of something but celebrating only one. So don’t feel shy to have multiple ideas. Creativity is going beyond what is commonly explainable. Dare to dream different.

 


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In first memoir, Bruce Springsteen gets personal – Binghamton University Pipe Dream


Provided by Simon & Schuster Publishing

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Seven years after he began writing it, Bruce Springsteen released his autobiography, “Born to Run,” on Sept. 27. It’s easy to see the meditations of that near-decade within the pages of this 528-page book, and it is hard to think that it leaves any part of Springsteen’s story to the imagination. While not a tell-all in the gossipy sense of the word, “Born to Run” shares a significant amount of the artist’s life.

This is not Springsteen’s first shot at writing. He published “Bruce Springsteen: Songs,” a collection of all of his song lyrics to that point with commentary on them in 2001, and published a graphic novel “Outlaw Pete” in 2014. However, “Born to Run” is his most personal and comprehensive book by a landslide.

The book begins with the story of Springsteen’s early life in Freehold, New Jersey, growing up with two younger sisters and learning to play covers of songs on the cheapest guitar he could get his hands on. He details his family, his earliest performances with neighborhood kids and his experiences being bullied both at school by his peers and at home by his alcoholic father.

Springsteen explains that Catholicism has colored his career and informed much of his music, and the religion colors many of the stories in the book, too.

“… As I grew older, there were certain things about the way I thought, reacted, behaved,” he explains. “I came to ruefully and bemusedly understand that once you’re a Catholic, you’re always a Catholic.”

Some poignant parts of the memoir include those in which Springsteen is writing about the people he really loves. Sure, it’s interesting to see his writing and record-making process, but in the way he talks about his wife or his grandmother, the reader is shown the reflective and introspective nature of the man who has written songs about heartbreak and teen angst with equal critical and chart success.

After the birth of their son, Evan, Springsteen writes about his wife, ”Patti’s face is the weary, grace-filled face of my grammar school saints, her green eyes drifting upward, locked on something beyond me. It is final; this is my gal, bringing the rumble of life.”

“Born to Run” is an easy read, as Springsteen writes prose like he does his songs — with a story, but in the simplest words he can find. At times, particularly when the text becomes populated by words someone else is saying, the work becomes hard to follow. Still, it is not hard to understand the overall gist of the book. Springsteen is sharing his formative years and experiences with his audience, and the anecdotes in the book point to the content in his most popular songs.

Springsteen’s writing has a familiar appeal, even for those who haven’t listened to his music or don’t like it. Springsteen presents himself as one with his audience and as someone who went looking for fame rather than fame finding him. It is hard not to relate to and cheer for this scrappy Jersey-Shore kid, teased for his acne and femininity, who has grown into one of rock’s biggest stars and has fallen madly in love with his family. Despite its length, “Born to Run” is an accessible celebrity memoir worth reading for its honesty and encouragement.

The Lion King Is Getting the Live-Action Treatment! See Our Dream Cast List – People Magazine

09/28/2016 AT 03:45 PM EDT

We just can’t wait!

A brand-spanking new version of The Lion King is officially on the horizon. On Wednesday, Walt Disney Studios announced that the beloved 1994 animated film will be reimagined as a live-action (meaning CGI-filled) adventure lead by The Jungle Book director Jon Favreau.

The Lion King builds on Disney’s success of reimagining its classics for a contemporary audience with films like Maleficent, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book,” Disney said in a statement. “The upcoming Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as Belle, is already one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. Like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King will include songs from the animated film. Disney and Favreau are also in development on a sequel to The Jungle Book. No release date has been announced for either film.”

While the voice actors behind the impeccably cast 1994 original will always have a special place in our hearts, we can’t help but wonder who will be taking the reins in the latest iteration of the treasured tale. Naturally, we have a few opinions about who Disney should be sending to Pride Rock:

Adult Nala: Lupita Nyong’o


Audiences are sure to feel the love if Nyong’o takes over as the brave, loyal lioness. The Oscar winner proved she can bring fierce life to a four-legged creature as wolf Raksha in The Jungle Book. And if her turn as Maz Kanata in Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t enough to convince you she’s got the CGI thing down, well then we just can’t help you.

Adult Simba: John Boyega

David M. Benett / WireImage

As The Force Awakens‘ renegade Stormtrooper Finn, Boyega showed the world he can handle the pressure of a highly anticipated role and deliver a spot-on American accent to boot. We’re willing to bet Boyega could once again defy expectations as a key player in a cherished franchise.

Young Simba: Miles Brown

The Lion King Is Getting the Live-Action Treatment! See Our Dream Cast List| Walt Disney Productions, The Lion King, Walt Disney Company

Living up to the standards set by Jonathan Taylor Thomas won’t be easy, but we think the adorable black-ish star is up to the task. He’s been in the spotlight since becoming a 4-year-old hip-hop dance sensation and has since been flexing his comedic muscles on the Emmy-nominated sitcom.

Zazu: Hugh Laurie


Laurie has the perfect mix of dignified pomp and biting sarcasm to play Mufasa’s stressed-out right-hand man. Think about it: how great would it be to hear Dr. House sing about a lovely bunch of coconuts?

Rafiki: Forest Whitaker


We’d love to see what kind of spin The Last King of Scotland Oscar-winner would put on the wise baboon’s Jamaican-ish accent, and imbue Rafiki’s koans with the perfect mix of levity and gravitas.

Young Nala: Millie Bobby Brown

The Lion King Is Getting the Live-Action Treatment! See Our Dream Cast List| Walt Disney Productions, The Lion King, Walt Disney Company


The charming 12-year-old captured hearts as mysterious wonder girl Eleven in Stranger Things, so there’s no doubt she’d ease right into playing the pint-sized version of everyone’s favorite lioness. Apart from her undeniable acting prowess, Brown already has Nala’s playful spirit and instant lovability down pat.

Timon: H. Jon Benjamin


It’d be great to see a deadpan twist on the manic take Nathan Lane gave Timon. So we’ve picked the hilarious Archer and Bob’s Burgers lead, whose impassive drawl would act as a the perfect foil to …

Pumbaa: Patton Oswalt


Ratatouille pro Oswalt, who would flawlessly complete the warthog/meerkat duo. He’ll obviously bring the funny, and is dripping with likability to boot.

Scar: Idris Elba

The Lion King Is Getting the Live-Action Treatment! See Our Dream Cast List| Walt Disney Productions, The Lion King, Walt Disney Company

Mike Marsland / WireImage

Elba has taken on more than his fair share of villainous roles in films like Star Trek Beyond, and already has an “evil feline” role on his résumé (The Jungle Book). So the actor’s deep, intense voice would definitely make for a terrifying Scar, destined to haunt the dreams of a whole new generation.

Shenzi: Kristen Schaal

The Lion King Is Getting the Live-Action Treatment! See Our Dream Cast List| Walt Disney Productions, The Lion King, Walt Disney Company

Just imagine: a hyena with Louise Belcher’s always-on-10 voice. Schaal’s voiceover experience includes everything from Bob’s Burgers and Archer to Despicable Me 2, and her expertise would be an invaluable addition to the band of second rate evil-doers.

Mufasa: James Earl Jones


You can’t mess with perfection. To us, Jones will always be the voice of the ill-fated monarch-turned-mystical-cloud. Excuse us, we’re getting chills just thinking about it.