Archive for August, 2012


Ah, the wonderful hours spent with literary pigs, from the Three Little Pigs to Wilbur, and now to Toby, who has graced us with PYG: The Memoirs Of A Learned Pig.  A new printing, edited by Russell Potter, makes available a rare book absent from our lives.  The editor has wisely left in tact the early nineteenth century style of the original so the reader may take a gentle stroll through the English countryside with some mild adventure on the side so to speak.

If only parents had the foresight to begin immediately, even before their child can read on his own, to collect all the piggy books soon to be a part of their child’s life, what a fine display such a collection would make later in life.  Even now, it is not too late to begin.

I must add a post script as I am stressed by a David Streitfeld article The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy in The New York Times of Sunday, August 26, 2012.  Streitfeld quotes Bing Liu who, “estimates that about one-third of all consumer reviews on the Internet are false.”  Streitfeld claims many authors buy favorable reviews, lots of favorable reviews.  Well, I am taken aback.

I state on my honor, I have received neither links nor patties, not even a rasher, for this or any book review appearing on https://clarionfriends.wordpress.com  Charles Marlin

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To think Freddie de la Hay, the most famous Pimlico Terrier, would experience the horror of falling down a rabbit hole and fighting for his life, and when he comes out, being kidnapped.  I shall tell you no more other than to assure you Freddie shows no signs of post stress disorder.

His littermate, the very butch bitch Maggy de la That, hearing of his ordeal arranged to visit for a fortnight, which both enjoyed immensely.  As a memento of her visit, she gave Freddie this photo of her when she was in her second obedience school.  He gave her his photo used for Pimlico Terrier Alert, May 1, 2012, on this blog.

To learn more you will have to read the third book in the Corduroy Mansions Series, A Conspiracy Of Friends.   The people around Freddie are, as Mrs. Slocombe would say, “Weak as water, weak as water,” for they never seem to know when, how, or with whom to fall in love.  The good news is that reptilian Oedipus Snark has a road-to-Damascus experience, but can anything permanently imprint on Oedipus?  Do you suppose Alexander McCall Smith knows?

I need hardly tell you, kind reader, ignore all images of Freddie provided by the publisher, philistines one and all.  Charles Marlin

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Education, ah yes, the place where if you can’t inspire the young, you can certainly scare the hell out of them so they know life is never going to be easy.  Or, you can be an insightful teacher whose behavior and interaction set the young on a successful trajectory.  It’s not all that hard to be a good teacher and promoter of excellence; you just need to know how the brain works under stress.

Sian Beilock’s Choke: What The Secrets Of The Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To is a one book crash course on how to help yourself and others to reach peak performance whatever the challenge.  You may not want to use everything the author sets out, but you will find a lot of new things to put into practice.

The author cites studies and examples drawn from clinical practice, athletics, business, and education.  If you work with others, this book has some of your bad habits exposed.  You won’t need to apologize to your colleagues, clients, customers, patients, students, or family when you change for the better; you can quietly become better to their complete delight.  Someone may even give you a blue ribbon or gold star, or, heaven help us, increased respect.  Charles Marlin

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Many things have been tried for a mid-life crisis including a divorce, a charismatic preacher, voting Republican, an affair with a preacher, a red sports car, a cruise, oh, the list goes on; but I have an easy, very inexpensive cure.  Read Karl Pillermer’s 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans.  Admittedly, books with goofy titles such as this one are rarely good for anything other than a quick glance in the bookstore; but here is an exception, finally.

The author claims to have interviewed over a thousand elderly Americans about important lessons learned in life, what advice they have for the young, how they handle stress in old age, and what makes them happy now.  He did all of this while wearing a Nurse Ratched outfit, hairdo, and makeup.  No, I tell a falsehood.  He was not always in his Nurse Ratched persona when he interviewed.

He distilled his over-a-thousand interviews into thirty pithy lessons for those in a mid-life crisis or have concluded that not even the raccoons would eat their life if left out for them.  This book is neither profound or ground breaking; but it would not be a bad read if you are feeling down about your life.  There is some good advice in those thirty lessons.  Charles Marlin

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The Clarion County Community Foundation is proud to announce the Dave Bell Memorial Scholarship for graduating seniors of Keystone High School in Knox, Pennsylvania, of $2,000.  Financial need and pursuance of a major in the agriculture sciences are factors in determining who will receive the scholarship.

Dave Bell, for whom the scholarship is named, was born December 8, 1942, at Ft. Benning, Georgia, the son of Burnice and Carolyn Hill Bell.  He graduated from Pompano Beach High School in Pompano Beach, Florida.  He attended the University of Florida for his BA in 1965, and for his MA in Counseling a year later.  He returned to school at South Dakota State University where he earned a BS in Animal Science degree in 1979.

He married Patricia Ann Spragg on August 21, 1965, and together they had a daughter Mary Carol Bell who married Andrew Graddy, and a son Kenneth Andrew Bell who married Wanda Hicks.

He retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1999, when he and his wife, Patty, moved to their farm on Amsler Road, Knox.  He thought of his last ten years on the farm as the best of his life, giving him a chance to truly live a dream.  Together they grew a great abundance of food and made friends of all around them.  He died November 10, 2010.

Dave enjoyed a number of interests, including spinning, dyeing yarns, and weaving shawls and other items on his floor loom.  He also enjoyed knitting, making warm flannel lap-quilts, and growing and selling vegetables at the Knox Farmers’ Market.  He was the garlic and onion man.  He was very proud of his four beehives and the delicious honey he harvested.  He loved to hunt as well.

He and Patty enjoyed taking care of their goats and chickens, and supplying friends with fresh, tasty eggs.  Together they made many jams and jellies.

Students interested in the Dave Bell Memorial Scholarship should talk to the Keystone guidance counselor; and for details on applying go to www.bridgebuilderscommunityfoundations.org  Charles Marlin

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