Archive for October, 2009

There will be some who like Terrence Holt’s collection of short stories In The Valley Of The Kings.  They will like to read of dark and broody things, spacey, a bit medical, events and elements beyond the rules of history and physics.  They may even believe that words may carry not only their own story but the power to alter the present in ways best left in the void of light.

It is not known why W. W. Norton & Company did not publish the book with plain spine and black boards, no larger than 5 x 7″.  Charles Marlin

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trevor-395[1]The Irish writer, this being William Trevor specifically, knows how to live the stereotype.  He looks the part better than Hollywood casting.  He writes with the grace and confidence of a master artisan.  He handles travail as if were bread and butter.  He gives Irish life biblical aura.  He makes a book something to hold and keep.

In Love And Summer lives starved for love touch and are bruised.  The slackers seem to fare better than the kind and good, healing coming more slowly to some than to others.  Old bruises bring out empathy in some and dullness in others.  The reader will find himself in the small actions of the Dillahan farm and village of Rathmoye because the setting is not geopolitical Ireland but the land of your heart.

Oil the gears on the old bike and ride through the lives of Ellie Dillahan and her husband, too good to need a first name.  You will recognize the slackers for what they are immediately.  Charles Marlin

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flipflop3The World Funky Deviled Egg Plate 2010 Competition entry #09 from Vera Boone.

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A one day symposium to learn about the transfer of wealth study findings for individual western Pennsylvania counties and strategies to capture some of the wealth transfer will be held Friday, November 13th, from 10:30am to 3:30pm at the Seneca Hills Bible Conference campus.  Specific tactics covered will be how to create a legacy society, cultivating alumni for a local school endowment, and using local pride to create community endowments.  The symposium sponsors are Bridge Builders Community Foundations, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, and the Community Foundation for Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, and the Seneca Hills Bible Conference.

The symposium is designed to help nonprofits, schools, community foundations, and churches participate in the massive transfer of $193.38 billion in assets over the next ten years by retiring Pennsylvania baby boomers.  If you are motivated to help your community develop endowment funds, this is your time in the classroom.  The presenters will be Barry Denk, Director of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, Bob Potter, former Executive Director of Centre County Community Foundation and now executive of Potter Development Services, and Larry Haynes, Executive Director of the Community Foundation for Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.

You must register by Friday, November 6th, either by email at www.senecahills.org or by phone at (814) 432-3026.  Your cost is $10 per person to cover coffee and donuts in the morning and lunch.  Once registered, you may pay at the door on the day of the symposium.  The campus is not far from I-80 to the South and Franklin PA to the North.  The address is 276 Damascus Road, Polk PA.  Google a map so you don’t get lost in those hills.  Hopefully there will be Clarion Friends there.  Charles Marlin

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I have a feeling that Desert has been left behind on many airplane seats, beside the bed at motels, in the back of cars until someone accidently soaks it in melted snow, and under those stacks of magazines that grow on their own.  It is an easy book to put down.  Repetitive, not real enough to be believed, too snobbish to be welcoming, too other worldly to grasp, it is an effort to read.  As with the models and clothing in The New York Times Style Magazine, is there ever a time and place where they look like they belong?  Both book, fashions, models, and photographers are best indulged in a Salon.  I am not sure there is one near me.

Lucky for the author J. M. G. LeClezio, he won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature, and splits his time between Albuquerque, New Mexico, the island of Mauritius, and Nice, France.  My review can’t touch him.

If you have an obsession with any part of the North African desert, you may find my review off base.  He gives a lot of attention to the light and pain of the desert.  Better read about, it seems, than experienced.

It is translated from the French by C. Dickson.  Charles Marlin

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I have no explanation for the delay that now stretches over seven months.  The PayPal account remains gummed up.  Jeanne Best, our Associate Director, has done everything requested but without the result we hoped for.  She will try again.

There will be a small gratifying celebration when the Donation Page works.  Charles Marlin

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For the past eleven years the Clarion University Chapter of APSCURF, The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Retired Faculty, has awarded scholarships through the Clarion University Foundation honoring their deceased colleagues.  At their Fall Dinner and Meeting on October 15th the tradition was continued for its twelfth year.  The Memorial Resolution is as follows.

       Whereas, The Clarion University Chapter of APSCURF approved on April 21, 2005, two annual memorial scholarships of $1,000 each;

       Resolved, That the 2009-2010 scholarships be designated memorials for our deceased colleagues

Paul E. Beck  01/12/09  Chemistry

John B. Cliff, Jr.  11/25/08  Mathematics

Vincent J. Curran  08/05/09  Health and Physical Education, Athletics

Robert Dean Hobbs  06/19/09  Art

Kristin Linda Marshall  07/26/09  Mass Media Arts, Journalism, and Communication Studies

John M. McLean  10/07/09  Music

Suzanne Louis P-Jobb  05/23/09  Modern Languages and Cultures

Roy H. Schreffler  05/22/09  Special Education

Dana S. Still  07/23/09  English

Norman Tannehill  01/05/09  Computer Information Science

Silas Townsend  02/05/09  Library

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If you remember with fondness the days when reading a Nancy Drew mystery were the best and now that you are a bit more mature you still long for a girl detective heroine, look no further.  Janet Soskice has found the detective twins Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Smith Gibson, and she tells their rollicking story in The Sisters Of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered The Hidden Gospels.

The twins fell in love with languages at a very young age.  For every language they learned their father would give them a trip to the country of their new language.  When he died leaving them at age twenty-three with a large fortune they were well armed and armored with the best Scottish Presbyterianism could give them.  There was no family to control the unwed sisters, not that they would have allowed anyone to do so, and they understood their large fortune was by the providence of God and that they must put it to the good use of God and man.

They began their adventures to the Holy Land on their own without the help of the Thomas Cook Company.  To secure their independence they began a study of the region’s languages present and past, especially the Syriac dialect of Aramaic spoken by Jesus and his disciples.  Despite cultural and social restraints others tried to put in their way, thievery, small-minded university faculty men who disrespected them and tried to steal credit from them, the girl detectives discovered, helped to preserve, and eventually translated a Syriac Gospels that brought the written record to within 150 years of the events in the gospels.

They lived a lively and good life, kept and grew their Presbyterian faith, and were finally recognized around the world as scholars, even if Cambridge University was too penile to give them honorary doctorates when they lived just off the Cambridge campus.

A reader can enjoy this book on many accounts whether they have Scotch-Irish ancestry, were raised Presbyterian, enjoy biblical scholarship and history, delight in travel adventures, identify with strong women moving out, feast on the Victorian era, or just love a mystery.  Photographs show the twins were definitely not lookers.  They were seekers, and very successful at it.  What’s not to love about two Victorian ladies in full skirt who would rather walk the sands of Sinai than ride a camel?  Even the Greek Orthodox monks of St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai thought they were special.  I think you will agree.  Charles Marlin

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For the final quarter of 2009 we feature the Rare Gift Endowment Fund on our Donation Page.  The idea behind this fund may be unique to the Clarion County Community Foundation.  I have not seen anything similar on other community foundation websites.  There is however a problem because the fund can not function unless it reaches a size to produce grants of $40,000 and perhaps more.

When the small, modest, and large donations eventually flesh out the fund it will be a great boon to the nonprofit organizations in Clarion County.  The fund will give a rare gift of $40,000 to a nonprofit randomly chosen to create their own dedicated endowment fund with CCCF.  In turn the nonprofit pledges to make five biennial contributions to their own fund.  The nonprofit agrees to a sunset provision if the nonprofit or its successor ceases to exist or reside in Clarion County the fund will be merged with the Rare Gift Fund.  At the end of the ten year period the fund is theirs with no further obligations to contribute.

It is the belief of CCCF that ten years of a cooperative and supportive relationship will be totally persuasive to the supporters and staff of the nonprofit, and that they will continue to work to build their endowment.

CCCF also believes the size of the rare gift will be a stimulus for nonprofits to become interested in an endowment when previously they had not shown an interest.

The Rare Gift Fund strengthens the nonprofit and the CCCF at the same time.  The nonprofit gains an endowment.  The community foundation gains a new fund and an active community partner.  The Rare Gift Fund remains strong and ready to repeat its accomplishment again and again.  The very long term interests of the community are protected by the sunset provision of the nonprofit’s endowment.

For small contributions to the Rare Gift Fund you may click on the Donation Page and use your PayPal account.  The administrative fee charged by PayPal is very reasonable.  If you are able to make a larger contribution, you may send a check to CCCF, P O Box 374, Oil City PA 16301.  This address is for the administrative office of Bridge Builders Community Foundations of which we are one of three affiliates.  Please mark the memo line of your check Clarion Friends and this will direct it to the Rare Gift Fund.

This is the quarter of holidays, family gatherings, and gifts to many.  These are the joys of a good life.  Please share.  Charles Marlin

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Finding out that our PayPal account and thus our Donation Page has been gummed up, not taking donations for months, put me in a blue funk.  I was alright thinking that readers had made personal choices to give elsewhere or even to not give at all.  I have never liked others setting themselves up to decide what I should or should not do, so when independent decisions remain the quiet business of individuals I applaud those individuals.

Finding out, however, that there may have been donors who wanted to give but were unable, that put the blue funk on me.  Better communication from PayPal should have been the order of the day but it was not.  Now I am told that our Donation Page will be fully operational in a day or two.

If you were frustrated by our Donation Page anytime in the past few months, I apologize.  I know it is not always easy selecting one cause from the many before you.

There is a clear pattern in charity appeals today in which certain causes are in and other causes are very out.  If a cause does not have photo appeal it is not placed on any of the preferred lists nor does it attract entertainment and athletic stars as spokespersons or sponsors.  Those stars certainly add something to the appeal that is very good, but at the same time they narrow our understanding of life in America.  More often than not, charities and nonprofits deal with unpleasant and exasperating problems and people who are their own worst abusers.  There is nothing pretty or uplifting than can be said of this work and so it goes unnoticed and underfunded.

As complex and changing as you understand your life to be, your life is no more so than the charity needs of your community.  Set the preferred lists aside for a while and quietly watch the people you pass each day.  The small, weak cries of need will become audible.  The bruises of abuse and inadequacy will begin to catch your eye.  Yes, these people are your neighbors and your community.  Charles Marlin

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