Archive for November, 2010

Power up if you want to read Room by Emma Donoghue.  What you have heard others say about the book may be true for you but don’t count on it.  My suggestion is don’t listen to anyone.  Just try it.

Ma and Jack are imprisoned in a square space eleven by eleven feet.  It is hell for her, but for Jack she makes the space “Room.”  No sci-fi writer has ever made a more compelling other space than the one Ma makes for Jack.  You will believe, as Jack does, in the Room, and abhor, as she does, the space.  But there is a difference for the reader because you can always put the book down.  She could not.

The story is affirming in showing how an individual, wholly unprepared for what happened to her, survives and more than survives by creating good out of vile nothing.  The story is chilling in showing how cruel an individual can be toward others.  If you like a book to be memorable, you are in luck.  Look no further than Room.  Charles Marlin

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Everybody loves to shop for Christmas gifts.  Everybody loves the giving.  And most of us love the holiday decorating.  There are far fewer who enjoy the hassle of wrapping the gifts.

Well, cheer up my tired little friend for there is a serious reason all gifts must be wrapped.  It is practically a known scientific fact that a Christmas gift left unwrapped or even poorly wrapped with a torn corner or gaping seam will leak out the spirit of giving leaving the gift a hallow shell of itself.

The gifts that are impossible to wrap seem to have more capacity to retain the spirit of giving so they often do not suffer from the open exposure.

The extra expense of paper, ribbons, tape, and cards is well worth it.  How would you feel if someone holding one of your gifts said, “I don’t feel the spirit of giving in this gift.  It is just a social gesture.  Nothing more.”  Oh, that would be a sad moment for the giver and receiver.

With your gift to the Clarion County Community Foundation, you need have no fear.  We never leave a gift naked.  Go to the Donations page, then click on the web address that comes up.  From there you click on Donate and select Rare Gift.  PayPal does the rest for you.

We immediately wrap your gift in our loving arms.  Every gift is dressed in love.  You achieve all this without spending any time or money on gift wrapping.  It comes close to being a miracle.  Charles Marlin

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I love reading and thinking about ED.  I have a big appetite for ED scholarship.  Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries by Helen Vendler is a holiday feast followed by a present.  Outstanding, but not for everyone.

This analysis of the most difficult ED poems is not for the reader looking for light entertainment, or quiet repose before falling asleep.  This is not for the writer of sweet poems for family gatherings or memorial services.

If you are a person who thinks they are well above mediocrity in interpreting ED, then buy yourself a really big surprise.  If you know someone who works hard at this strangest of professions, then buy them the best gift they may get this decade.

Given the thousands of chances to slip up or make a big gaffe, Vendler comes through with only a couple of incidental scratches.

For #1593 He ate and drank the precious Words – Vendler consistently refers to priest when for ED it would have been minister.  She may have never seen a Catholic or Orthodox priest.

For #1742 In Winter in my Room Vendler comments the Worm is taken out of ED’s bedroom by ED and tied to something outside before Ed goes away.  When she returns the Worm turned snake is back in her bedroom trailing ED’s string.  Having ED calmly pick up the worm and take it down stairs and out into the cold, now that is kinky.

For #1771 ‘Twas here my summer paused Vendler writes, “The phallic implications of the ‘icicle,’ like those of the worm/snake of ‘In Winter in my Room’ (*1742), may seem evident to us, but they may not have been to Dickinson.”  I would call that a Vendler senior moment.  When was ED ever fuzzy in her scrutiny?  Charles Marlin

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1865  Illarion Mikhailovich Pryanishnikov (1840-1894)

You may want a fur coat but fear an attack by a single-cell person with dye or paint.  You may not feel comfortable with the idea of wearing fur unless of course the hide has been turned  into gorgeous shoes, a fantasy item, or your favorite belt.  You may have given the idea no thought at all.

Whether you are the fearful, the crazed, or the thoughtless, you live your good life because of the fur trade.  From before the beginning of European settlement of North America it has been the great mover of men and shaper of American policy and national boundaries.  Every American family has benefited from the fur trade, and worn furs frequently.  To get over your shock and apoplexy, you should read Eric Jay Dolin, Fur, Fortune, And Empire: The Epic History Of The Fur Trade In America.

The dollars that opened North America to settlement and the displacement of Indians were all fur dollars.  It was first beaver, then sea otter, and finally buffalo.  To lesser extent you can add any fur-bearing animal native to North America.  Deer fell into the hide rather than fur category so the author does not stoop to cover hides.

If the United States could reclaim its heritage and invade countries solely to make money at the lowest cost possible, we would again be the Great States of America.  Manifest Destiny wore a fur coat and beaver hat.  Our current foreign involvement in the Near East needs a fur coat, armour be damned.  Fur coats as a symbol of American finesse, not a bad image.  And when the cost/risk exceeds a generous return, sell and move on.

John Jacob Astor would have made a great president, except for the bit about being foreign-born.  Charles Marlin

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21.  Mr?Man, what are component funds?

Mr?Man can not believe his eyes.  Component funds is the very topic he wanted to write about.  Component funds are individual memorial funds that together form a larger field-of-interest or restricted fund.  The combined funds are usually referred to as a trust or an endowment.  One fund contract sets the purpose, fund committee, and rules for all the present components as well as new ones added in the future.

22.  Don’t multiple names of the component funds and the overall trust name cause confusion?

No, not at all.  The name of the trust becomes the brand name used to build public awareness and loyalty from one year to the next.  The fund contract sets rules on low and when the memorial component names are used so that any news announcement or program for an event will list all the current memorial component names.  When new components are added, the list grows.

23.  What are the advantages of a trust with memorial component funds?

Mr?Man has already mentioned a trust name works best as a brand name for community loyalty.  The brand name should be one that is not easily forgotten. 

Another advantage is the combined effort avoids the minimum administrative fee that would adversely affect new or small memorial funds.  Only one administrative fee would be charged for the trust.

Each memorial fund is honored equally.

A small fund does not carry the full cost of a project, but shares with other funds, contributing as each is able.

Starting and growing a new memorial fund is easy and allows family and friends to build the fund gradually.

Because the memorial funds are always listed in a uniform fashion, a family or nonprofit can create a new memorial without feeling they have abandoned their earlier memorial.  Multiple memorials are encouraged.

24.  Can you outline a good example?

Yes.  Suppose a group of friends wanted to create a memorial for a woman who believed strongly in the role of women in public affairs and in public speaking, but they were concerned they could not on their own raise enough money to make an endowed fund effective.

The solution is a field-of-interest fund supporting important women speakers in their community.  The endowment is branded Women Speak Trust.  With this brand name there is an energy flow from the first word to the last word, from the last to the first, and a flow in both directions from the middle word.  It is an easy name to remember.

Component funds may go by a name only, as for example, Lillian Gish Memorial Fund, or Michelle Obama Fund; or by a name, banner, and photograph.  For example:

                                            Lillian Gish  –Actress, Blacklisted Activist

                   Michelle Obama  —Wife, Mother, Advocate for Health Children

The list is never completed.  Nor is there a rule against honoring a living woman.  Such a trust would be open to all groups and families.  Charles Marlin

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While reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen I took a couple of breaks and was surprised to discover his stardom.  This man is big.

He won a National Book Award in 2001.  Marion Ettlinger has photographed him.  He has been on the cover of Time.  He first stood up Oprah, then came back to kissyface with her.  He is such a thought-enriched man he often is unaware he has neither shaved nor combed his hair.

Usually writers are only seen talking, accepting awards, or pausing to pose, but here is a man photographed demonstrating life credentials.  He strides out birding, and confidently so because there is no bulge in his classic khakis to indicate he carries a field guide.

I fear I too have contributed to this star feasting for I have been seen entering Michelle’s late morning carrying the book.  On several days I have left it on my table uncovered.  It attracted two comments.

Even more newsworthy is the gift of Freedom President Obama accepted during his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.  Following this the author was seen leaving the White House in a “delighted” mood.  Since then there was the bizarre case of the kidnapping and attempted ransoming of his glasses.

If someone reading Clarion Friends has access to ask a personal question of Michelle Obama, then I would bet my Monday lunch money the President never finished Freedom.  Without clairvoyant vision I can only say I sense a full horizon of nodding heads.  Charles Marlin

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