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The Voice Over Practice Script Library

Script Genres > English Adult > Narration > Audiobook

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"Ordeal in Space "by Robert A. Heinlein

Maybe we should never have ventured out into space. Our race has but two basic, innate fears; noise, and the fear of falling. Those terrible heights—Why should any man in his right mind let himself be placed where he could fall…and fall…and fall—But all spacemen are crazy. Everyone knows that.

The Medicos had been very kind, he supposed. “You’re lucky. You want to remember that old fellow. You’re still young and your retired pay relieves you of all worry about your future. You’ve got both arms and legs and are in fine shape.”
“Fine shape!” His voice was unintentionally contemptuous. “No, I mean it,” the chief psychiatrist had persisted gently. “The little quirk you have does you no harm at all—except that you can’t go out into space again. I can’t honestly call acrophobia a neurosis; fear of falling is normal and sane. You’ve just got it a little more strongly than most—but that is not abnormal, in view of what you have been through.
The reminder sent him to shaking again. He closed his eyes and saw the stars wheeling below him again. He was falling…falling endlessly. The psychiatrist’s voice came back through to him and pulled him back. “Steady old man! Look around you.”
“Sorry.”
“Not at all. Now tell me, what do you plan to do?”
“I don’t know. Get a job I suppose.”
“The company will give you a job, you know.”
He shook his head. “I don’t want to hang around a spaceport. Wear a little button in his shirt to show the was once a man, be addressed by a courtesy title of captain, claim the privileges of the pilot’s lounge on the basis of what he used to be, hear the shop talk die down whenever he approached a group, wonder what they were saying behind his back—no thank you!
“I think you’re wise. Best to make a clean break, for a while at least, until you are feeling better.”
“You think I’ll get over it?”
The psychiatrist pursed his lips. “Possible. It’s functional you know. No Trauma.”
“But you don’t think so?”
“I didn’t say that. I honestly don’t know. We still know very little about what makes a man tick.”
“I see. Well I might as well be leaving.”
The psychiatrist stood up and shoved out his hand.
“Holler if you want anything. And comeback to see us in any case.”
“Thanks.”
“You’re going to be all right. I know it.”
But the psychiatrist shook his head as his patient walked out. The man did not walk like a spaceman. The easy, animal self-confidence was gone.
Only a small part of Great New York was roofed over in those days; he stayed underground until he was in that section, then sought out a passageway lined with bachelor rooms. He stuck a coin in the slot of the first one which displayed a lighted “vacant” sign, chucked his jump bag inside, and left. The monitor at the intersection gave him the address of the nearest placement office. He went there, seated himself at an interview desk, stamped in his finger prints, and started filling out forms. It gave him a curious back-to-the beginning feeling; he had not looked for a job since pre-cadet days.
He left filling in his name to the last and hesitated even then. He had had more than his bellyful of publicity; he did not want to be recognized; he certainly did not want to be throbbed over—and most of all he did not want anyone telling him he was a hero. Presently he printed in the name “William Saunders” and dropped the forms in the slot.
He was well into his third cigarette and getting ready to strike another when the screen in front of him at last lighted up. He found himself staring at a nice-looking brunette. “Mr. Saunders,” the image said, “will you come inside please? Door seventeen.”
The brunette in person was there to offer him a seat and a cigarette. “Make yourself comfortable Mr. Saunders. I’m Miss Joyce. I’d like to talk with you about your application.”
He settled himself and waited, without speaking.
When she saw that he did not intend to speak, she added, “Now take this name “William Saunders” which you have given us—we know who you are, of course, from your prints.”
“I suppose so.”
“Of course I know what everybody knows about you, but your action in calling yourself “William Saunders,” Mr.—“
“Saunders”
“—Mr. Saunders, caused me to query the files.” She held up a microfilm spool, turned so that he might read his own name on it. “I know quite a bit about you now—more than the public knows, and more than you saw fit to put into your application. It’s a good record, Mr. Saunders.”
“Thank you.”
“But I can't use it in placing you in a job. I can't even refer to it if you insist on designating yourself as Saunders.”
“The name is Saunders. His voice was flat, rather than emphatic.

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"Ordeal in Space "by Robert A. Heinlein - Abridged Version

Maybe we should never have ventured out into space. Our race has but two basic, innate fears; noise, and the fear of falling. Those terrible heights—Why should any man in his right mind let himself be placed where he could fall…and fall…and fall—But all spacemen are crazy. Everyone knows that.

The Medicos had been very kind, he supposed. “You’re lucky. You want to remember that old fellow. You’re still young and your retired pay relieves you of all worry about your future. You’ve got both arms and legs and are in fine shape.”

“Fine shape!” His voice was unintentionally contemptuous. “No, I mean it,” the chief psychiatrist had persisted gently. “The little quirk you have does you no harm at all—except that you can’t go out into space again. I can’t honestly call acrophobia a neurosis; fear of falling is normal and sane. You’ve just got it a little more strongly than most—but that is not abnormal, in view of what you have been through.

The reminder sent him to shaking again. He closed his eyes and saw the stars wheeling below him again. He was falling…falling endlessly. The psychiatrist’s voice came back through to him and pulled him back. “Steady old man! Look around you.”

“Sorry.”

“Not at all. Now tell me, what do you plan to do?”

“I don’t know. Get a job I suppose.”

“The company will give you a job, you know.”

He shook his head. “I don’t want to hang around a spaceport. Wear a little button in his shirt to show the was once a man, be addressed by a courtesy title of captain, claim the privileges of the pilot’s lounge on the basis of what he used to be, hear the shop talk die down whenever he approached a group, wonder what they were saying behind his back—no thank you!

“I think you’re wise. Best to make a clean break, for a while at least, until you are feeling better.”

“You think I’ll get over it?”

The psychiatrist pursed his lips. “Possible. It’s functional you know. No Trauma.”

“But you don’t think so?”

“I didn’t say that. I honestly don’t know. We still know very little about what makes a man tick.”

“I see. Well I might as well be leaving.”

The psychiatrist stood up and shoved out his hand.

“Holler if you want anything. And comeback to see us in any case.”

“Thanks.”

“You’re going to be all right. I know it.”

But the psychiatrist shook his head as his patient walked out. The man did not walk like a spaceman. The easy, animal self-confidence was gone.

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"Who Moved My Cheese" excerpt

Once, long ago, in a land far away, there lived four little characters who ran through a maze looking for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. Two were mice named “Sniff” and “Scurry” and two were little people; beings who were as small as mice but who looked and acted a lot like people today. Their names were “Hem” and “Haw”. Due to their small size, it would be easy not to notice what the four of them were doing but if you looked closely enough, you could discover the most amazing things. Every day the mice and the little people spent time in the maze looking for their own special cheese. The mice, “Sniff” and “Scurry”, possessing simple brains and good instincts, searched for the hard nibbling cheese they liked, as mice often do. The little people, “Hem” and “Haw” used their complex brains filled with many beliefs and emotions to search for a very different kind of cheese, with a capital C, which they believed which they believed would make them feel happy and successful.

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100 Years of Solitude

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point. Every year during the month of March a family of ragged gypsies would set up their tents near the village, and with a great uproar of pipes and kettledrums they would display new inventions. First they brought the magnet. A heavy gypsy with an untamed beard and sparrow hands, who introduced himself as Melquíades, put on a bold public demonstration of what he himself called the eighth wonder of the learned alchemists of Macedonia. He went from house to house dragging two metal ingots and everybody was amazed to see pots, pans, tongs and braziers tumble down from their places and beams creak from the desperation of nails and screws trying to emerge, and even objects that had been lost for a long time appeared from where they had been searched for most and went dragging along in turbulent confusion behind Melquíades' magical irons. 'Things have a life of their own,' the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent. 'It's simply a matter of waking up their souls.' José Arcadio Buendía, whose unbridled imagination always went beyond the genius of nature and even beyond miracles and magic, thought that it would be possible to make use of that useless invention to extract gold from the bowels of the earth. Melquíades, who was an honest man, warned him: 'It won't work for that.' But José Arcadio Buendía at that time did not believe in the honesty of gypsies, so he traded his mule and a pair of goats for the two magnetized ingots. Úrsula Iguarán, his wife, who relied on those animals to increase their poor domestic holdings, was unable to dissuade him. 'Very soon we'll have gold enough and more to pave the floors of the house,' her husband replied. For several months he worked hard to demonstrate the truth of his idea. He explored every inch of the region, even the riverbed, dragging the two iron ingots along and reciting Melquíades' incantation aloud. The only thing he succeeded in doing was to unearth a suit of fifteenth-century armour which had all of its pieces soldered together with rust and inside of which there was the hollow resonance of an enormous stone-filled gourd. When José Arcadio Buendía and the four men of his expedition managed to take the armour apart, they found inside a calcified skeleton with a copper locket containing a woman's hair around its neck.

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100 Years of Solitude (longer)

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point. Every year during the month of March a family of ragged gypsies would set up their tents near the village, and with a great uproar of pipes and kettledrums they would display new inventions. First they brought the magnet. A heavy gypsy with an untamed beard and sparrow hands, who introduced himself as Melquíades, put on a bold public demonstration of what he himself called the eighth wonder of the learned alchemists of Macedonia. He went from house to house dragging two metal ingots and everybody was amazed to see pots, pans, tongs and braziers tumble down from their places and beams creak from the desperation of nails and screws trying to emerge, and even objects that had been lost for a long time appeared from where they had been searched for most and went dragging along in turbulent confusion behind Melquíades' magical irons. 'Things have a life of their own,' the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent. 'It's simply a matter of waking up their souls.' José Arcadio Buendía, whose unbridled imagination always went beyond the genius of nature and even beyond miracles and magic, thought that it would be possible to make use of that useless invention to extract gold from the bowels of the earth. Melquíades, who was an honest man, warned him: 'It won't work for that.' But José Arcadio Buendía at that time did not believe in the honesty of gypsies, so he traded his mule and a pair of goats for the two magnetized ingots. Úrsula Iguarán, his wife, who relied on those animals to increase their poor domestic holdings, was unable to dissuade him. 'Very soon we'll have gold enough and more to pave the floors of the house,' her husband replied. For several months he worked hard to demonstrate the truth of his idea. He explored every inch of the region, even the riverbed, dragging the two iron ingots along and reciting Melquíades' incantation aloud. The only thing he succeeded in doing was to unearth a suit of fifteenth-century armour which had all of its pieces soldered together with rust and inside of which there was the hollow resonance of an enormous stone-filled gourd. When José Arcadio Buendía and the four men of his expedition managed to take the armour apart, they found inside a calcified skeleton with a copper locket containing a woman's hair around its neck.

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100 Years Of Solitude By Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time, Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point. Every year during the month of March a family of ragged gypsies would set up their tents near the village, and with a great uproar of pipes and kettledrums they would display new inventions.

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1st To Die By James Patterson (page 109)

Becky DeGeorge, in the bloom of her first full day as Michael's wife, walked out of the hotel lobby holding her husband's hand. She breathed in the cool night air, the first fresh air she had inhaled all day. In the brief span of their marriage, she and Michael had made love several times and taken two steamy showers together. They had poked their heads out for an obligatory but, at last, final brunt with the families. They had begged

off the trip to Opus One, scurried back upstairs, and popped a last bottle of champagne. Michael had put on a sex video and as they watched the film they played out some unusual and exciting roles. He seemed to have fantasies about wearing women's clothes.

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20000 Leagues Under the Sea

"What about master's live babirusa?"

"They'll feed it during our absence. Anyhow, we'll leave instructions
to ship the whole menagerie to France."

"Then we aren't returning to Paris?" Conseil asked.

"Yes, we are . . . certainly . . . ," I replied evasively,
"but after we make a detour."

"Whatever detour master wishes."

"Oh, it's nothing really! A route slightly less direct, that's all.
We're leaving on the Abraham Lincoln."

"As master thinks best," Conseil replied placidly.

"You see, my friend, it's an issue of the monster,
the notorious narwhale. We're going to rid the seas of it!
The author of a two-volume work, in quarto, on The Mysteries
of the Great Ocean Depths has no excuse for not setting sail
with Commander Farragut. It's a glorious mission but also a
dangerous one! We don't know where it will take us! These beasts
can be quite unpredictable! But we're going just the same!
We have a commander who's game for anything!"

"What master does, I'll do," Conseil replied.

"But think it over, because I don't want to hide anything from you.
This is one of those voyages from which people don't always come back!"

"As master wishes."

A quarter of an hour later, our trunks were ready. Conseil did
them in a flash, and I was sure the lad hadn't missed a thing,
because he classified shirts and suits as expertly as birds and mammals.

The hotel elevator dropped us off in the main vestibule on the mezzanine.
I went down a short stair leading to the ground floor.
I settled my bill at that huge counter that was always under siege
by a considerable crowd. I left instructions for shipping my containers
of stuffed animals and dried plants to Paris, France. I opened a line
of credit sufficient to cover the babirusa and, Conseil at my heels,
I jumped into a carriage.

For a fare of twenty francs, the vehicle went down Broadway
to Union Square, took Fourth Ave. to its junction with Bowery St.,
turned into Katrin St. and halted at Pier 34. There the Katrin ferry
transferred men, horses, and carriage to Brooklyn, that great New York
annex located on the left bank of the East River, and in a few
minutes we arrived at the wharf next to which the Abraham Lincoln
was vomiting torrents of black smoke from its two funnels.

Our baggage was immediately carried to the deck of the frigate.
I rushed aboard. I asked for Commander Farragut. One of the sailors led
me to the afterdeck, where I stood in the presence of a smart-looking
officer who extended his hand to me.

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20K Leagues Under the Sea

The Nautilus was floating in the midst of a phosphorescent layer which, in the semi-darkness, seemed extraordinarily bright. This effect was produced by myriads of tiny, luminous animals, whose glitter increased as they touched the submarine’s metal hull. I also saw flashes of light in the midst of these waters, looking like streams of melted lead in a blazing furnace, or metal brought to a red-white heat; they were such that by contrast some of the other luminous areas were like shadows in the fiery waters, from which all shadows should have disappeared. No, this was no longer the calm gleam of normal light! It was full of extraordinary intensity and movement! This light felt as if it were alive!

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A Child's Christmas in Wales

Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, "A fine Christmas!" and smacking at the smoke with a slipper.

"Call the fire brigade," cried Mrs. Prothero as she beat the gong.
"There won't be there," said Mr. Prothero, "it's Christmas."
There was no fire to be seen, only clouds of smoke and Mr. Prothero standing in the middle of them, waving his slipper as though he were conducting.
"Do something," he said. And we threw all our snowballs into the smoke - I think we missed Mr. Prothero - and ran out of the house to the telephone box.
"Let's call the police as well," Jim said. "And the ambulance."

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A Christmas Carol - Chapter One: Marley was Dead

Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

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A Clean, Well-Lighted Place – By Ernest Hemingway

It was very late and everyone had left the cafe except an old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light. In the day time the street was dusty, but at night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference. The two waiters inside the cafe knew that the old man was a little drunk, and while he was a good client they knew that if he became too drunk he would leave without paying, so they kept watch on him.

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A Heartbreaking Work Of A Staggering Genius By Dave Eggers

My mother’s hands are veiny and strong. Her neck has veins. Her back has freckles. She used to do a trick where it looked like she would be pulling off her thumb, when in fact she was not. Do you know this trick? Part of one’s right thumb is made to look like part of one’s left hand and then is slid up and down the index finger of the left finger – attached then detached. It’s an unsettling trick and more so when my mother used to do it because she did it in a way where her hands sort of shook, vibrated, her necks veins protruding with the strain plausibly attendant to pulling off one’s finger. As children we watched with both glee and terror.

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A Lesson Before Dying By Ernest J. Gaines

Maybe feeling my hands on her face would make her understand what I was trying to say to her. But as I moved toward her, I could see in her eyes that nothing I said was going to change anything. I left them at the table and went back home to my room.

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A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

I was not there, yet I was there. No, I did not go to the trial, I did not hear the verdict, because I knew all the time what it would be. Still, I was there. I was there as much as anyone else was there. Either I sat behnd my aunt and his godmother or I sat beside them. Both are large women, but his godmother is larger. She is of average height, five four, five five, but weighs nearly two hundred pounds. Once she and my aunt had found their places--two rows behind the table where he sat with he sat with his court-appointed attorney--his godmother became as immobile as a great stone or as one of our oak or cypress stumps. She never got up once to go get water or go to the bathroom down in the basement. She just sat there staring at the boy’s clean-cropped head where he sat at the front table with his lawyer. Even after he had gone to await the jurors’ verdict, her eyes remained in that one direction. She heard nothing said in that courtroom. Not by the prosecutor, not by the defense attorney, not by my aunt. (Oh, yes, she did hear one word-one word, for sure: “hog.”)

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A Salty Piece of Land - by Jimmy Buffett

A Salty Piece of Land
by Jimmy Buffett
Little, Brown, 2004

It all simply comes down to good guys and bad guys. As a kid, I wanted to be like Roy Rogers, the good-guy cowboy of all time. Roy and his horse, Trigger, would go riding through the movies, helping those in peril while never seeming to sweat, get a scratch, or wrinkle a pair of perfectly creased blue jeans. When the day was over, they would join the Sons of Pioneers by the campfire and sing the sun to sleep. Now that is what I called the perfect job.
One day, long ago in another place and another time, I was playing out my fantasy of being Roy with my childhood pals in the rolling hills above Heartache, Wyoming, where I was raised. We were racing our horses, bat-out-of-hell style, through the aspen grove that led to our little ranch. Like a true daredevil, I passed my friends in a wild sprint to the finish line, and once I had the lead, I turned around to admire my move as the leader of the pack. The next thing I remembered was waking up on the ground, my head covered with blood, my left arm pointing in the wrong direction, and pain - lots of pain - shooting through my young body. That's when I knew that life wasn't a movie.

Contributed by Richurd

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A sweet lesson on patience.Part 1

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.Let's go now'.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

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A sweet lesson on patience.Part 2

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.Let's go now'.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low
building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed
under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light..
Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost
in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that
woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his
shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then
driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

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A Tender Love Story with An O'Henry Twist

John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl with a rose on her lapel.
His interest in her had begun 13 months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf, he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell.
With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond. The next day he shipped overseas for service in World War II.
During the next 13 months, the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like.
When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting--at 7 p.m. at Grand Central Station in New York City.
"You'll recognize me," she wrote, "by the red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel."
So at 7 p.m., he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he'd never seen.
John himself tells the story from here:
A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears. Her eyes were as blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive.
I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small provocative smile curved her lips. "Going my way, sir?" she said.
Almost uncontrollably, I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the beautiful blonde girl. A woman well past 40, Hollis had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. A red rose was tucked in her lapel. She was more than plump, her thick-ankle feet thrust into low-heeled shoes.
The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away.
I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow the beautiful blonde, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own. And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle.
I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather book that had introduced me to Hollis and with which she would now identify me. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful.
I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment. "I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard," I said, "and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me. May I take you to dinner?"
The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile. "I don't know what this is about, son," she answered, "but the young lady in the green suit who just walked by begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should tell you that she is waiting for you in the restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!"
It's not difficult to understand and admire Hollis's wisdom: the true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive.
"Tell me whom you love," Arsene Houssaye wrote, "and I will tell you who you are."

Contributed by Richurd
Found on a blog with no reference to it's origin.

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Abigail's Plea

A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel. His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite.

While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. So he sent ten young men and said to them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name. Say to him: "Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!"

"Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them."

When David’s men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David’s name. Then they waited.

Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?”

David’s men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported every word. David said to his men , “Each of you strap on your sword!” So they did, and David strapped his on as well. About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies.

One of the servants told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. Night and day they were a wall around us the whole time we were herding our sheep near them. Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.”

Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. David had just said, “It’s been useless—all my watching over this fellow’s property in the wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good. May God deal with David, be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!”

When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. She fell at his feet and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool , and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. And now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal. And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you.

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Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture

For decades the Clovis culture has been our anchor to understanding the peopling of the New World. It has been a touchstone for archaeologists, a rare "truth" and comfort regarding the unknowable archaeological past. They have recognized who was first in the Americas and whence they came. Even so, the interest in just how they came to be and where they came from has driven Clovis research, which has resulted in questions challenging even our very basic beliefs. What is the evidence that has started to shake the foundations of this long-accepted theory? Could it be that there were people in the Americas before Clovis?

The amount of evidence for Clovis has grown at a relatively fast rate since the first discovery of this archaeological culture. Clovis points have been found throughout most of continental North America, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the plains of Alberta, Canada, into northern South America. The wealth of data provided by the excavation and analysis of Clovis sites is giving us a new understanding of Clovis culture. Although Clovis hunters killed now extinct ice age animals, a conservative view of radiocarbon dates indicates that these people first appeared in the New World some 13,000 years ago, and in less than 200 years they had explored, exploited, and inhabited the two continents of the Americas. By comparison, the historic European residence in the Americas began barely 500 years ago. If the actual tenure of Clovis is only 200 years, they achieved the most rapid terrestrial expansion and extensive colonization in the history of pre-literate people.

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ACX-Audible Audition -- The Game Player

… you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
—William Shakespeare

IN THE EARLY nineteen sixties I joined one of the most gratuitous and contemptible migrations in
history: the middle class deserting the cities for the suburbs. I was not a willing traveler. Indeed, I
thought my life (the loyal and charming affections I had won from my twelve-year-old city friends)
was forever lost. And the most bitter part of this destruction of my social life was that my parents
explained it as being for my benefit.

I thought they were lying, but as I stood on our lawn in front of the cumbersome, dreary house my
mother described as cute, and looked at the athletic types who had paused in their play to observe the
movement of our furniture inside, I couldn’t imagine what good this would do for them. Dad would
have to commute to work and Mom was separated from her friends and her sister—with whom she
was neurotically close.

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Aesops fables: the tortoise and the ducks

The Tortoise, you know, carries his house on his back. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot leave home. They say that Jupiter punished him so, because he was such a lazy stay-at-home that he would not go to Jupiter's wedding, even when especially invited. After many years, Tortoise began to wish he had gone to that wedding. When he saw how gaily the birds flew about and how the Hare and the Chipmunk and all the other animals ran nimbly by, always eager to see everything there was to be seen, the Tortoise felt very sad and discontented. He wanted to see the world too, and there he was with a house on his back and little short legs that could hardly drag him along. One day he met a pair of Ducks and told them all his trouble. "We can help you to see the world," said the Ducks. "Take hold of this stick with your teeth and we will carry you far up in the air where you can see the whole countryside. But keep quiet or you will be sorry." The Tortoise was very glad indeed. He seized the stick firmly with his teeth, the two Ducks took hold of it one at each end, and away they sailed up toward the clouds. Just then a Crow flew by. She was very much astonished at the strange sight and cried: "This must surely be the King of Tortoises!" "Why certainly——" began the Tortoise. But as he opened his mouth to say these foolish words he lost his hold on the stick, and down he fell to the ground, where he was dashed to pieces on a rock.

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All Things Bright And Beautiful By James Herriot

My present to Helen at the time of our marriage was a modest gold watch, and this had depleted my capital to the extent that a bank statement at the commencement of our married life revealed the sum of 25 shillings standing to my credit. Admittedly, I was a partner now, but when you start from scratch, it takes a long time to get your head above water. But we did need the essentials, like a table, chairs, cutlery, crockery, the odd rug and carpet, and Helen and I decided that it would be most sensible to pick up these things at house sales.

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Allan Quatermain - INTRODUCTION

'I have just buried my boy, my poor handsome boy of whom I was so proud, and my heart is broken. It is very hard having only one son to lose him thus, but God's will be done. Who am I that I should complain? The great wheel of Fate rolls on like a Juggernaut, and crushes us all in turn, some soon, some late -- it does not matter when, in the end, it crushes us all. We do not prostrate ourselves before it like the poor Indians; we fly hither and thither -- we cry for mercy; but it is of no use, the black Fate thunders on and in its season reduces us to powder.

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An adaptation from Would Like to Meet

Script:

As the bird's beak bit the seat of her pants, Laura let out an ear-piercing scream. The chicken's owner, Graham, was a step or two in front of her. He spun round alarmingly, "Hillary!" he shouted, "What happened? Are you OK?" Hillary is the offending chicken. "Well no! Laura got in my way ... again!"

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An adaptation From, Would Like To Meet. A story by Karen Holmes

An adaptation from, Would like to meet. A story by Karen Holmes...

When the chicken attacked her, ripping four inches of fabric out of her best trousers, she knew it was time to start telling the truth.

As the bird's beak made contact with the seat of her pants. she let out an ear-piercing scream. The chicken's owner Graham, was a step or two in front of her. He spun round alarmingly, "Hillary!" he shouted, "what happend? Are you OK?

Her name was Laura, Hillary is the offending chicken.
Graham pushed her aside in his haste to offer her comfort. He picked up the evil-eyed fowl and cradled her in his arms. "Poor baby!" he crooned. Then he looked at her accusingly. "You must be carful," he said. "She's a Copper Neck Maran. Hilary's French and very sensitive. Loud noises can put her off laying." "But she bit me!" wailed Laura. "Nonsense" retorted Graham. "There isn't a vicious bone in her body." There wouldn't be any bones in her body if I had my way, she thought to herself. She'd be reduced to chickent stock.

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Angel of Darkness by Caleb Carr

“Hey, Hickie!” I called, seeing his head bobbing up from under the surface. “You wanna die of pneumonia, you found the right way to do it!” He gave me a grin, showing a big gap in his front teeth what had been left by two cops. “What’re ya thayin’, Thtevie?” he answered, his s’s getting lost in the gap. “Ith a perfeck day for a thwim!”

“Come on out,” I answered. “I got a business proposition for you!” Whipping his black hair back on his head, he began to swim expertly, over to where I was sitting. “there’th thwimmin’, and then there’th buthineth,” he said, shooting up out of the water in a pale white flash and running over to his little pile of clothes. He dried himself off with a rag that might’ve been a towel once, then got dressed in a hurry.

"How’ve you been, Thtevie? I ain’t theed you around for a bit.”

“Ain’t been around,” I said, noticing that hickie’s voice had gotten lower. He was probably a year or two older than me, but small for his age. "Workin’. The legitimate life, you know, it tends to keep you busy.”

“And becauth of that, I thtay away from it,” Hickie said, now covered up in an old shirt, wool trousers, and suspenders. He pulled on a beat-up pair of shoes and shook hands with me, then slipped a miner’s cap onto his head so that it slouched over one eye. “If I couldn’t walk away for a thwim whenever I felt the urge, I wouldn’t thee the thenth in life. Whath on your mind, old thon?”

If you haven't read it, Angel of Darkness is set in NYC and upstate NY in the 1890's. The two boys are tough street kids who've become quite savvy at fending for themselves at a tough time and place. Stevie is black and Hickie is white. I'll let you take it from there.

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Anita Vizcarra

Anita Vizcarra kneels before her Rose bed. Her bare fingers rake the dead leaves from around the plants. She has cast off her gardening gloves! She loves the feel of the earth's awakening, the humid fertile smell of it.
Anita is thirty-five years old. She is slender and petite ... her face has high cheekbones with full, voluptuous lips... her hair is strait, medium black, with highlights that glimmer in the night’s sky. But, it it her eyes one remembers, her soft hazel eyes. When she reads a poem she loves, or when a student makes a perceptive comment, her face lights up!
She does not know that she is beautiful. Nor does she think of herself at all except in sensible, mundane terms ... teacher, gardener, friend ... her name is Anita. But on this day she is neither sensible nor mundane. As she rakes the Rose bed in her garden, all she can think about is Javier, whom she loves dearly.

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Annabel Lee by Edgar Alan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

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Ansel Adams - A Letter to Cedric

Dear Cedric. A strange thing happened to me today. I saw a big thundercloud move down over Half Dome, and it was so big and clear and brilliant that it made me see many things that were drifting around inside of me; things that relate to those who are loved and those who are real friends. For the first time I know what love is; what friends are; and what art should be. Love is a seeking for a way of life; the way that cannot be followed alone; the resonance of all spiritual and physical things...Friendship is another form of love -- more passive perhaps, but full of the transmitting and acceptances of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean granite of reality. Art is both love and friendship and understanding: the desire to give. It is not charity, which is the giving of things. It is more than kindness, which is the giving of self. It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light of the inner folds of the awareness of the spirit. It is a recreation on another plane of the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men, and of all the interrelations of these. Ansel.

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Ansel Adams - a letter to Virginia

March 29th, 1923. Dear Virginia. The desire to get into the mountains has grown very strong in me lately...-- how often I wish that the Valley could be now like it was forty years ago -- a pure wilderness, with only a wagon road through it, and no automobiles nor mobs. I long for the high places -- they are so clean and pure and untouched.

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Any Place I Hang My Hat By Susan Isaacs

Joan Murdoch helped me fill out the application. When we finished, I told her that if I were half as gifted as all my teachers raved I was, I had a shot. She agreed. Once Grandma Lil discovered she would still be my legal guardian and that my going away would not jeopardize her monthly income from the City of New York, she signed her name to my application in the rounded, overlarge letters of the semiliterate.

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Apache

It is my land, my home, my father's land, to which I now ask to be allowed to return. I want to spend my last days there, and be buried among those mountains.If this could be I might die in peace, feeling that my people, placed in their native homes, would increase in numbers, rather than diminish as at present, and that our name would not become extinct.

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At Arm's Length - Dead Men's Shoes

Mrs. Hazleton is one of these eminently respect- able personages. She has occupied the house in Lowther Street for the last ten years. She has gone to the sea-side every year of those ten, and at exactly the same period, has returned after the same inter-val, has given her great parties at the same seasons, and has lived a methodical and prosperous existence, with satis- faction to herself and her neighbours, and with considerable profit to the surrounding shopkeepers. When the London season is over, Mrs. Hazleton goes to the seaside not because she belongs to that flight of fashionable swallows, who follow pleasure's summer from clime to clime, but simply because London in August is unendurable,—baking pavements, scorched verdure, dust and grime on everything, and a sense of desertion in all those regions which the upper ten thousand and a consider- able portion of the lower million inhabit.

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Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

He did not know why he suddenly thought of the oak tree. Nothing had recalled it. But he thought of it---and of his summers on the Taggart Estate. He had spent most of his childhood with the Taggart children, and now he worked for them, as his father and grandfather had worked for their father and grandfather.

The great oak tree had stood on a hill over the Hudson, in a lonely spot on the Taggart estate. Eddie Willers, aged seven, liked to come and look at the tree. It had stood there for hundreds of years, and he thought it would always stand there. Its roots clutched the hill like a fist with fingers sunk in the soil, and he thought that if a giant were to seize it by the top, he would not be able to uproot it, but would swing the hill and the whole earth with it, like a ball at the end of a string. He felt safe in the oak tree's presence; it was a thing that nothing could change or threaten; it was his greatest symbol of strength.

One night, lightning struck the oak tree. Eddie saw it the next morning. It lay broken in half, and he looked into it's trunk as if into the mouth of a black tunnel. The trunk was only an empty shell; it's heart had rotted away long ago; there was nothing inside---just a thin gray dust that was being dispersed by the faintest wind. The living power had gone, and the shape it left had not been able to stand without it.

Years later, he heard it said that children should be protected from shock, from their first knowledge of death, pain or fear. But these had never scarred him; his shock came when he stood very quietly, looking into the black hole of the trunk. It was an immense betrayal---the more terrible because he could not grasp what it was that had been betrayed. It was not himself, he knew, nor his trust; it was something else. He stood there for a while, making no sound, then he walked back to the house. He never spoke about it to anyone, then or since.

Contributed by Richurd

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Audio-book

"What's the matter?" St. Nicholas asked "Oh, St. Nicholas," Harim said. "We aren't important enough for such a big occasion. Last year the Archangel made Heaven sparkle with gold and silver." "And the year before, the Heavenly Choir made Christmas with harps and trumpets, and hundreds of voices singing in a magnificent chorus. What could we do that would be good enough?" asked Petra, the Music Angel.

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Audiobook - Helpless

The moon was full, but it was completely hidden behind the ominous, dark clouds that covered the nighttime sky. As such, it did nothing to aid the small band of travelers as they slowly made their way along King’s Road – the dark, muddy track that wound its way northward from the squalid town of Ravenhill through miles of dense forest to their ultimate destination – Shadowfall. Along the way, the road would edge close to the mysterious, ancient Citadel at the forest’s eastern edge.
Shifting in his saddle, Garin Minori adjusted his cloak to better block the cold, biting wind that had blown steadily since they had left Ravenhill and entered the forest, and he thought back to the few townsfolk they had encountered earlier that day. A brooding, superstitious lot, they had repeatedly warned against traveling through the forest at night, and they had punctuated any mention of the Citadel with quickly muttered prayers. Sitting at the tavern’s rough-hewn table, Garin had put forth to his companions that they should take their chances with the unknown (and likely exaggerated) dangers lurking within the nighttime forest. This would allow them to avoid an almost certain daytime confrontation with the marauding packs of bandits who preyed on travelers within the forest with increasing frequency and violence. Bazil Wyze had expressed some concern over attempting to navigate the road through the forest in the dark, but they all understood the evil that would be unleashed if the ancient relic hidden within Garin’s pack were to be discovered before they could deliver it to Shadowfall. Garin and his companions had ridden out of Ravenhill through the ramshackle North Gate just after sundown.
Since entering the forest, the group had traveled in tense silence and near complete darkness – their feeble, flickering torches doing little to light their way. It hadn’t taken long for them to become accustomed to the steady thrum of the wind through the branches of the bare trees, but Gwendolyn Wolfchant – the only woman in the party – had cried out when a dead branch suddenly screeched in protest at losing its battle with the incessant wind and crashed to the ground somewhere just to their left. The mild ribbing she received – mostly from her twin brother Allister – lightened the mood for a few moments, but the tension and disquiet quickly returned under the ever-present press of the trees and the looming darkness.
At the bottom of a long hill, Bazil raised his right hand and silently brought the group to a halt. Ahead of them was a crossroad – a crossroad that appeared to be well-traveled but that did not exist on his map or any map he had seen. To their left, the unknown road made its way back into the trees, winding away westward to some unknown destination. To their right, the road appeared to lead eastward towards the Citadel, which could be made out as a hulking black shape in the distance, silhouetted against the dark gray of the clouds. Sirion Marku grumbled about demons and devils dwelling at crossroads. Gwendolyn looked briefly skyward and said a silent prayer while Allister shifted nervously in his saddle. Garin glanced left…then right… then impatiently nudged his horse forward, fully intent on continuing northward to Shadowfall. His horse snorted and hesitated, but a reassuring word – and a little extra pressure on the spurs – coaxed the animal forward.
Just as Garin’s horse reached the center of the intersection, the wind – which had blown steadily since they left Ravenhill – came to a complete and sudden stop. The silence that remained in the wind’s absence was nearly deafening. Garin quickly pulled back on the reins and brought his horse to a stop. He turned and looked back at his companions, but before anyone could speak a single word…

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Babel Fish

The Babel fish is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the known Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it, It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. The practical upshot of all this being that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language.

Now, it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some scholars have come to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. Their argument goes a little like like this : "I refuse to prove that I exist", says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

"But", says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead give-away isn't it? Nothing that useful could have evolved purely by chance. It proves you exist, therefore, by your own logic, you don't. QED."

"Oh dear", says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

"Oh that was easy" says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets killed at the next zebra crossing.

Most leading theologians claim that this theory is a load of dingo's kidneys, but that didn't stop Oolan Kuliphid from making a small fortune by using it as the central theme of his best selling novel: Well That About Wraps It Up For God

Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.

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Battle at Brazitos Christmas Day

Battle of Brazitos
Dec. 25, 1846 Col. Alexander Doniphan & 500 Soldiers.... confronted 1,200 Mexican Dragoons camped at Brazito, near Vado, NM.
The exhausted and demoralized Mexicans had stopped to rest and celebrate Christmas.
But, their celebration was cut short.....,when Mexican sentries seeing large dust clouds, assumed Doniphan cavalry reinforcements were coming from the north to join him.
When in reality, it was a large herd of sheep and supply wagons following behind Doniphan’s Troops.
Mexicans were so intimidated by the thought of more soldiers... that the battle lasted only 30 mins and Mexican survivors fled back to Chiuhaha....barely stopping long enough in El Paso del Norte for provisions.
More history, next time, on El Paso History Moments. I’m Melissa Sargent for the El Paso County Historical Commission.

Happy Holidays from El Paso History Moments
Sargent Home and Business Inventory services, El Paso Gold History videos and the Leon Metz Radio Show.

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Behind Japanese Lines: An American Guerrilla in the Philippines

When Bataan and Corregidor fell to the Japanese in the spring of 1942, all the U.S. and Philippine troops in the Philippine Islands were supposed to surrender to their conquerors. Many of them refused. Sometimes contrary to the orders of their commanding officers, sometimes with the connivance of those officers, sometimes entirely on their own, hundreds of them slipped into the mountains and jungles of various of the Philippine Islands. On Luzon their numbers were augmented by men who, in one way or another, managed to escape during the infamous Death March that followed the fall of Bataan.

Many of these men died soon of hunger or diseases, or they were captured by the enemy, or were murdered by bandit gangs. Of those who lived, some organized bands of guerrillas or attached themselves to such bodies.

These guerrillas were a forlorn lot. Most of them had no authorization from anyone to recruit troops of any sort for any purpose. They had no clear objectives. Common sense indicated that they should try to defend themselves, to collect information about the enemy, and to harass the
Japanese if they could, but essentially they were on their own. Their enemies were legion: the Japanese, Japanese spies, several Filipino organizations friendly to the Japanese; the Hukbalahaps, who were impartially hostile to both Japanese and Americans; and those remorseless enemies of partisan forces anywhere—hunger, privation, disease, danger, and discouragement.

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Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters

To say training at Toccoa was intense is an understatement. Colonel Sink insisted on extremely high standards. Since all personnel were handpicked and could easily be replaced, Sink was determined to create the most elite and best-trained unit in the U.S. Army. Within a week, each company in the regiment became proficient in close order drill , marching back and forth and practicing the manual of arms with our individual weapons. From my experience at Camp Croft and from OCS, close order drill became a pleasant distraction from the more rigorous training. Physical conditioning under realistic conditions proved more demanding. Ten-mile hikes gave way to twenty-five miles through the Georgia countryside. The first night march we made was eleven miles long. Lieutenant Sobel demanded that these endurance tests be accompanied by water discipline: no soldier being allowed to take a sip of water from his canteen until the march was over. In addition to field marches, Regular Army noncommissioned officers delivered lectures on weapons, tactics, and parachute training . One of the things that took some getting used to was bayonet training. The first time you went through the drill, it made you think. The thought of sticking a bayonet into a man was not something you took lightly. I had done a bit of wrestling before, so the thought of unarmed combat did not unsettle me, but the thought of thrusting a steel bayonet into someone— that took some adjustment.

Winters, Dick; Kingseed, Cole C. (2006-02-07). Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters

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Beyond The Top Of The World

There is a place beyond the top of the world
It sits patiently, waiting for lovers to unfold
Their hearts are drawn to this place, like rivers to the sea
Like the beams of sunlight seeking around the shadows
Of the vapor lifting into clouds that form letters of love
For the earthly longings to view from below.

There is a place I met you, and joined you.
And stopped for a brief moment in time to consider
the nature of where we were and are.
It is the mystery of you and me. The knowledge that falling
in was easy and out is not an option.
For the place was waiting, and whispering for us to come home.

Here beyond the top of the world.

And up here in the clear air, wisps of other lovers
Drift by our smiling faces, wondering and knowing
What took so long,
We were born together, in love, holding fast through time
and circumstance, knowing that we would someday dance

In this place beyond the top of the world.

And while we rest in arms foretold, we look below
the mountains, the hills, the rivers from whence we came
Forgetting nothing, needing nothing but you in me and i in you.
And only a butterfly was allowed to trace our journey

To this place beyond the top of the world.

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Bibles & Ball Bats by Israel Allen

Some of the seniors didn’t like that, guys who didn’t make the team and guys on the team whose buddies didn’t make it. They came for us in the locker room after practice, wet towels, athletic tape, and a couple of straight razors. The razors scared me, made me think they weren’t just playing a joke. I don’t know exactly what they had planned, but they made the mistake of catching us together. My granddad taught me two things: how to shoot skeet and how to box. The first was for fun, really. The second was because he knew I was a rich kid in a poor town, and I’d get picked on if I couldn’t take care of myself. Before that day in the locker room, I’d only been in three fights, but I’d won them because of what he taught me. It’s not hard to win a fight if you know how and the other guy doesn’t. I don’t know who taught Junk to fight. Maybe he just learned by trial and error. He’d been in one practically every week since first grade.
There were six of them and two of us, but we didn’t have to talk or think much. We understood each other. We got back to back and started punching. I was too scared to remember much, but it ended with all six of them out cold and Coach Graham and I tackling Junk to keep him from stomping someone to death. We’d have been kicked off the team, but when Coach saw the razors, he understood. It was the other boys who got kicked off the team.
Junk and I were real friends after that. Pretty soon, we were best friends.

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Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (non-fiction excerpt)

A tall African American man with no front teeth fell into step with me as I left the bleachers to go look for some lunch. He tugged on the sleeve of my sweater, and I looked up at him, and he handed me a Polaroid someone had taken of him and his friends that day. "Look at us," he said. His speech was difficult to understand, thick and slow as a warped record.

His two friends in the picture had Down's syndrome. All three of them looked extremely pleased with themselves. I admired the picture and then handed it back to him. He stopped, so I stopped, too. He pointed to his own image. "That," he said, "is one cool man."

And this was the image from which an article began forming, although I could not have told you exactly what the piece would end up being about. I just knew that something had started to emerge.

After lunch I wandered over to the auditorium, where it turned out a men's basketball game was in progress. The African American man with no front teeth was the star of the game. You could tell that he was because even though no one had made a basket yet, his teammates almost always passed him the ball. Even the people on the OTHER team passed him the ball a lot. In lieu of any scoring, the men stampeded in slow motion up and down the court, dribbling the ball thunderously. I had never heard such a loud game. It was all sort of crazily beautiful. I imagined describing the game for my article and then for my students: the loudness, the joy. I kept replaying the scene of the girl on crutches making her way up the track to the finish line--and all of the sudden my article began to appear out of the grayish green murk. And I could see that it was about tragedy transformed over the years into joy. It was about the beauty of sheer effort. I could see it almost as clearly as I could the photograph of that one cool man and his two friends.

The auditorium bleachers were packed. Then a few minutes later, still with no score on the board, the tall black man dribbled slowly from one end of the court to the other, and heaved the ball up into the air, and it dropped into the basket. The crown roared, and all the men on both teams looked up wide-eyed at the hoop, as if it had just burst into flames.

You would have loved it, I tell my students. You would have felt like you could write all day.

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Book of Isaiah, 8:23-9:3

First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the end he has glorified the seaward road, the land west of the Jordan, the District of the Gentiles.

Anguish has taken wing,
dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where
but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwell in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you
as at the harvest,
as people make merry when
dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.

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Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water By Peter H. Gleick

Think about where you are right now. How far away is the nearest faucet
with safe water? Probably not very far. Yet every second of every day
in the United States, a thousand people buy and open up a plastic
bottle of commercially produced water, and every second of every day in
the United States, a thousand plastic bottles are thrown away.
Eighty-five million bottles a day. More than thirty billion bottles a
year at a cost to consumers of tens of billions of dollars. And for
every bottle consumed in the U.S., another four are consumed around the
world.

Why do we buy bottled water? Where does it come from?
What's really in the bottles we buy? Is it as safe as tap water, or
even safer, as we are often told? What about the plastic? Where do those
bottles
go when we throw them out? What are the environmental and social
consequences of bottled water use for the planet? The beverage industry
tells us that bottled water is just a simple commodity
like any
other food product-a safe, well-regulated alternative to tap water. The
environmental community tells us bottled water is a corporate plot to
privatize a precious public resource and that it's even less safe than
our tap water. What is the truth?

I decided to write this book
in part to gain an idea of what the explosive growth of the bottled water
industry really means for us and for the future of drinking water. In
the course of writing it, I've interviewed people who have made a
business out of bottling and selling water, met with passionate
environmental
activists voh-sif-er-uhsly opposed to bottled water,
visited the factories where petroleum and raw water are turned into
neat little containers of a commercial product, and looked out over acres
of plastic waste and the landfills where that waste will end up lying intact for centuries.
I believe that bottled water is a symptom of a larger set of issues: the
long-term decay of our public water systems, inequitable access to safe
water around the world, our susceptibility to advertising and
marketing, and a society trained from birth to buy, consume, and throw
away. I believe that bottled water can only be understood within the
broader context of these phenomena.

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Breathing Lessons By Anne Tyler

Maggie and Ira Goldstein had to go to a funeral in Pennsylvania. Maggie’s girlhood friend had lost her husband. Deerlick lay on a narrow country road some 90 miles north of Baltimore, and the funeral was scheduled for 10:30 Saturday morning, so Ira figured they should start around 8. This made him grumpy. He was not an early morning kind of man. Also, Saturday was his busiest day at work, and he had no one to cover for him. Also, their car was in the body shop. It had needed extensive repairs, and Saturday morning at opening time, 8 o’clock exactly, was the soonest they could get it back. Maybe they’d just better not go, but Maggie said they had to, for she and Serena had been friends forever ... or nearly forever ...

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Bridget's Beret, by Tom Lichtenheld (Children's Literature)

Of course, Bridget had lots of art supplies, but her most important art supply wasn't something to draw or paint with. It was a hat. Not just any old hat, but a big black beret. The kind of hat that lots of Great Artists wear. Before Bridget made any kind of art, she'd put on her beret and adjust it until it looked just right. It had to have that certain je ne sais quoi. She had no idea what that meant, but she knew all Great Artists needed it to make art.

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Business Audiobook- Asking for authoritative read

WHEN I WAS a young boy, my father used to tell me stories about the great legends in business. He would talk about all their great accomplishments and the power and wealth they had accumulated. The legends included J. Paul Getty, T. Boone Pickens, Warren Buffet, and others. I felt as though I could sit and listen to the stories of these greats for hours. They had made a difference not only in their own lives, but also in the lives of others. I can recall being fascinated by the stories, but I believed that anyone could achieve greatness if they wanted to. These greats had accomplished what others could not. As a youth, I wondered why others did not achieve such success. In my simple mind, the reason they didn’t was because they must not have wanted to.
One of the greats was J. Paul Getty—a man who was able to accumulate a lot of wealth. When Mr. Getty passed, he donated his fortune to the J. Paul Getty Trust. One of the museums run from his trust is in Los Angeles, which has nearly 1.8 million visitors each year. The trust runs on a simple vision: “the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge” (The J. Paul Getty Trust, 2011). It amazes me that an entity can run off a single vision statement; only seven words drive the actions of the entity.

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Butterfly Forest

I saw the car coming slowly around the block, the Atlantic Ocean dark in the background, a strobe of distant heat lightning threading gold stitches through the clouds. I entered the alleyway, the smell of garbage pungent in the night air. I knew he personally wanted to turn my backbone into calcium powder. They were here to take me alive, take me back to their leader's hut. But, I wasn't going to comply. Come get me.

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Catcher in the Rye

"Where I want to start telling is the day I left Pencey Prep. Pencey Prep is this school that's in Agerstown, Pennsylvania. You probably heard of it. You've probably seen the ads, anyway. They advertise in about a thousand magazines, always showing some hotshot guy on a horse jumping over a fence. Like as if all you ever did at Pencey was play polo all the time. I never even once saw a horse anywhere near the place. And underneath the guy on the horse's picture, it always says: "Since 1888 we have been molding boys into splendid, clear-thinking young men." Strictly for the birds. They don't do any damn more molding at Pencey than they do at any other school. And I didn't know anybody there that was splendid and clear-thinking and all. Maybe two guys. If that many. And they probably came to Pencey that way."

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Central Station Synopsis By Walter Salles, Jr.

In the Brazilian film "Central Station", Dora is a retired schoolteacher who makes ends meet by sitting at the station writing letters for illiterate people. Suddenly, she has an opportunity to pocket $1,000. All she has to do is persuade a homeless 9 year old boy to follow her to an address she has been given. (She is told he will be adopted by wealthy foreigners.) She delivers the boy, gets the money, spends some of it on a television set, and settles down to enjoy her new acquisition. Her neighbor spoils the fun, however, by telling her that the boy was too old to be adopted _ he will be killed and his organs sold for transplantation. Perhaps Dora knew this all along, but after her neighbor’s plain speaking, she spends a troubled night. In the morning Dora resolves to take the boy back.

Suppose Dora had told her neighbor that it is a tough world, other people have nice new TVs too, and if selling the kid is the only way she can get one, well he was only a street kid. She then have become, in the eyes of the audience a monster. She reems herself only by being prepared to bear considerable risk to save the boy.

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Change Your Thinking by Changing your Inputs

Your brain is much like a complex computer. What you think about is based, largely, on what you put into that computer. Successful people are careful about the things they allow into that “computer.” With the right inputs, success is the result. So how can you go about changing your inputs? First be a knowledge seeker. Constantly be on the quest for new knowledge. Then, fill your mind with the thoughts of successful people. This means spending time talking to them, reading their writing, listening to recordings of them speaking, or anything else you can do to fill your mind with their thoughts.

Source: ACX audition script that has since been deleted so the authors name is unknown and could not be credited.

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Charity, By Len Deighton

A bloated vampire moon drained all life and color from the world. The snow-covered land came speeding past the train. It was gray and ill-defined, marked only by a few livid cottages and limitless black forest grizzled with snow. No roads; the railway did not follow any road, it cut through the land like a knife.

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Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health, and the Promise of Green Chemistry

It is late September 2008 and I'm standing in the lobby of a Manila hotel where I'm attending a meeting about occupational health, safety, and environmental issues for workers throughout Asia. On a television screen nearby, polar bears are diving off a small ice floe. Later in the day, I visit the National Museum of the Philippines where we tour an exhibit of prize winners in a 2007 Filipino art competition. One of the paintings shows a woman clad in a dress constructed of images of cars and smokestacks. She has her hands over her eyes in a gesture of despair and is up to her hips in water. In this tropical island nation, merely 15 degrees north of the equator, where many people live on the water's edge, disappearing polar bear habitat--a sign of global warming and harbinger of rising sea levels--has local relevance. Over the next several days I meet people who work in factories that make clothing, electronics, machinery, and other products. When asked to name their top concerns about their working conditions, leading the list are the impacts of chemicals to reproductive health and the health of future generations. When asked what they would do to improve workplace safety, all say, "Remove the chemical hazard. Substitute something safer."

This is, in essence, the story this book explores. Over the past century our reliance on petroleum and coal has made available a vast quantity of hydrocarbons. These byproducts of fuel refining have become the foundation for the overwhelming majority of our synthetic materials--manufactured substances that go into everything from computers to cosmetics. We've managed to create tens of thousands of such new materials--substances that exist nowhere in nature--and these materials now permeate every aspect of our lives. They have made possible the creation of countless useful and often ingenious products: the lightweight, shatter-proof, flame-resistant plastics used in electronics, aircrafts, sports gear, and motor vehicles; waterproof coatings for textiles; flexible plastics that go into medical tubing and children's toys; nonstick surfaces for food packaging; thin films that enable microchip etching; and polymers delicate enough to coat an eyelash, to name but a few. It's hard to imagine life without them. These materials were designed to make life easier, more efficient, more convenient, and in many ways, safer. And many do.

But many of these substances also behave in ways that make them hazardous to human health and the environment. A number of these synthetic chemicals, scientists are discovering, are capable of interfering with the biological mechanisms that determine the health of any living organism. These materials, it turns out, have been changing the world's chemistry, in some instances altering the most fundamental building blocks of life on earth. As a result, the entire chemistry of the planet--from the cellular level to entire ecosystems--is now different than at any other time in history.

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Circus by Allister McClean

“If you were a genuine Army Colonel” Pilgrim said, “instead of one of the most bogus and unconvincing frauds I’ve ever seen, you’d rate three stars for this. Excellently done, my dear Fawcett, excellently done.”

Pilgrim was the great-grandson of an English peer of the realm and it showed. Both in dress and in speech he was slightly foppish and distinctly Edwardian; subconsciously, almost, one looked for the missing monocle, the old Etonian tie. His exquisitely cut suits came from Savile Row, his shirts from Turnbull and Asher and his pair of matched shotguns, which at four thousand dollars he regarded as cheap at the price, came, inevitably, from Purdeys of the West End. The shoes, regrettably, were hand-made in Rome. To have him auditioned for the screen part of Sherlock Holmes would have been superfluous.

Fawcett did not react to the criticism, the praise or the under-stated sartorial splendor. His facial muscles seldom reacted to anything---which may have been due to the fact that his unlined face was so plump it was almost moon-shaped. His bucolic expression verged upon the bemused: large numbers of people languishing behind Federal bars had been heard to testify, frequently and with understandable bitterness, that the impression Fawcett conveyed was deceptive to the point of downright immorality.

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Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain
by Charles Frazier (Vintage)

The blind man twisted a square of newsprint up into a cone and then dipped with a riddly spoon into the pot and filled the cone with wet peanuts. He handed it to Inman and said, Come on, cite me one instance where you wished you were blind.

Where to begin? Inman wondered. Malvern Hill. Sharpsburg. Petersburg. Any would do admirably as example of unwelcome visions. But Fredericksburg was a day particularly lodged in his mind.

So he sat with his back to the oak and halved the wet peanut shells and thumbed the meats out into his mouth and told the blind man his tale, beginning with how the fog had lifted that morning to reveal a vast army marching uphill toward a stone wall, a sunken road.

Inman's regiment was called to join the men already behind the wall, and they had quickly formed up alongside the big white house at the top of Maryes Heights. Lee and Longstreet and befeathered Stuart stood right there on the lawn before the porch, taking turns glassing the far side of the river and talking.

Longstreet had a grey shawl of wool draped about his shoulders. Compared to the other two men, Longstreet looked like a stout hog drover. But from what Inman had seen of Lee's way of thinking, he'd any day rather have Longstreet backing him in a fight.

Dull as Longstreet looked, he had a mind that constantly sought ground configured so a man could hunker down and do a world of killing from a position of relative safety.

And that day at Fredericksburg was all in the form of fighting that Lee mistrusted and that Longstreet welcomed.

Contributed by Richurd

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D R A C U L A by Bram Stoker, CHAPTER I - JONATHAN HARKER’S JOURNAL

It was on the dark side of twilight when we got to Bistritz, which is a very interesting old place. Being practically on the frontier—for the Borgo Pass leads from it into Bukovina—it has had a very stormy existence, and it certainly shows marks of it. Fifty years ago a series of great fires took place, which made terrible havoc on five separate occasions. At the very beginning of the seventeenth century it underwent a siege of three weeks and lost 13,000 people, the casualties of war proper being assisted by famine and disease.
Count Dracula had directed me to go to the Golden Krone Hotel, which I found, to my great delight, to be thoroughly old-fashioned, for of course I wanted to see all I could of the ways of the country. I was evidently expected, for when I got near the door I faced a cheery-looking elderly woman in the usual peasant dress—white undergarment with long double apron, front, and back, of coloured stuff fitting almost too tight for modesty. When I came close she bowed and said, “The Herr Englishman?” “Yes,” I said, “Jonathan Harker.” She smiled, and gave some message to an elderly man in white shirt-sleeves, who had followed her to the door. He went, but immediately returned with a letter:—
“My Friend.—Welcome to the Carpathians. I am anxiously expecting you. Sleep well to-night. At three to-morrow the diligence will start for Bukovina; a place on it is kept for you. At the Borgo Pass my carriage will await you and will bring you to me. I trust that your journey from London has been a happy one, and that you will enjoy your stay in my beautiful land.
“Your friend,
“DRACULA.”

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Daddy Needs A Drink By Robert Wilder

p. 45

After months of very little repose, my wife and I grew irritable, barking at each other about everything from whose turn it was to sing, “I See the Moon” to our daughter at 3am to who – in our sleepwalking states, had placed the baby monitor in the fridge next to the long-forgotten bottle of white wine. We bought a crib from a couple we knew and tried to relocate our daughter from our bed into the new digs, but as soon as she saw her new gated community of one, she wailed like a banshee. Since my wife and I were both sleepy and cowardly, we moved her back in with us.

“Mamaaaaa,” our daughter yelled. We crouched down even lower, as if she had one of those thermal-imaging machines the cops use to see through the walls of homes rented by violent felons. She abandoned what little speech she possessed and regressed to primal screams and cries, the kind we hadn’t heard for months. Below the wails, we listened to her rattle the bars of her wooden cage. My wife, eyes closed, whispered softly to herself. Even though she was raised Catholic among Mormons in Utah, my wife is usually not someone who speaks freely to the Lord.

“Should I pray, too?” I asked her in what I believed what a spousal bonding moment.

She opened her eyes. “Pray? I’m swearing, you idiot,” she said, and I could recognize the mother tongue clearly now.

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Dangerous Women

"Hello, Auntie," I said in a level voice. "It isn't nice to sneak up behind me. Especially lately." She held my weight off of her with one arm, though it wasn't easy for her. There was a quality of strain to her melodic voice. "Child," she breathed. "You anticipated my approach. Had I not stopped thee, thou wouldst have driven cold iron into my flesh, causing me agonies untold. Thou wouldst have spilled my life's blood upon the ground." Her eyes widened. "Thou wouldst have killed me." "I wouldst," I agreed pleasantly. Her mouth spread into a wide smile, and her teeth were daintily pointed. "I have taught thee well." Then she twisted with a lithe and fluid grace, away from the blade and to her feet a good long step away from me. I watched her and lowered the knife-- but I didn't put it away. "I don't have time for lessons right now, Auntie Lea." "I am not here to teach thee, child."

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Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

I stood in the shadows of a deserted shop front across from The Blood and Brew Pub, trying not to be obvious as I tugged my black leather pants back up where they belonged. This is pathetic, I thought, eyeing the rain-emptied street. I was way too good for this. Apprehending unlicensed and black-art witches was my usual line of work, as it takes a witch to catch a witch. But the streets were quieter than usual this week. Everyone who could make it was at the West Coast for our yearly convention, leaving me with this gem of a run. A simple snag and drag. It was just the luck of the Turn that had put me here in the dark and rain. “Who am I kidding?” I whispered, pulling the strap of my bag farther up my shoulder. I hadn’t been sent to tag a witch in a month: unlicensed, white, dark, or otherwise. Bringing in the Mayor’s son for wereing outside of a full moon probably hadn’t been the best idea. A sleek car turned the corner, looking black in the buzz of the mercury streetlamp. This was the third time around the block for it. A grimace tightened my face as it approached, slowing. “Damn it,” I whispered. “I need a darker door front.” “He thinks you’re a hooker, Rachel,” my backup snickered into my ear. “I told you the red halter was slutty.” “Anyone ever tell you that you smell like a drunk bat, Jenks?” I muttered, my lips barely moving. Backup was unsettlingly close tonight, having perched himself on my earring. Big dangling thing—the earring, not the pixy. I’d found Jenks to be a pretentious snot with a bad attitude and a temper to match. But he knew what side of the garden his nectar came from. And apparently pixies were the best they’d let me take out since the frog incident. I would have sworn fairies were too big to fit into their mouths.

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Deck Of Cards By T. Texas Tyler

One evening, a platoon of soldiers arrived at a small village after a long hike. The next morning, being Sunday, several of the men went to church. A sergeant commanded the boys to kneel and after the chaplain had read the prayer, the text was taken up next. Those who had prayer books took them out, but this one soldier had only a deck of cards. So he spread them out. The Sergeant saw the cards and said, “Soldier, put away those cards!” After the services were over, the soldier was brought before the provost marshal. The marshal said, “Sergeant, why have you brought this man here?” “And what have you to say for yourself, son?” “Much sir,” replied the soldier. The marshal said, “I hope so, for if not, I will punish you quite severely.”

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DeSoto in Mabilia

On the morning of October 18, 1540, the entourage entered Mabila, a village located on a plain above a wide river. The town was surrounded by a palisade, and inside were eighty large houses fronting a square. Tascaluza disappeared inside a house, and the Indians began to dance and sing while the Spanish grew more suspicious and uneasy. Suddenly, the Indians attacked, shooting arrows from the houses and forcing the Spanish to flee the village, leaving some of their horses behind. The Indians promptly killed the feared animals. De Soto rallied his men for a counterattack and set fire to the village. The battle, most of it hand-to hand combat, lasted until nightfall.

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DeSoto in Mabilia

Mabila, a village located on a plain above a wide river. The
town was surrounded by a palisade, and inside were eighty
large houses fronting a square. Tascaluza disappeared inside a
house, and the Indians began to dance and sing while the
Spanish grew more suspicious and uneasy. Suddenly, the
Indians attacked, shooting arrows from the houses and forcing
the Spanish to flee the village, leaving some of their horses
behind. The Indians promptly killed the feared animals. De Soto
rallied his men for a counterattack and set fire to the village.
The battle, most of it hand-to hand combat, lasted until
nightfall.

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Determined to Survive

The cockroach paused in her tracks. She knew that she could go without eating for over a month, and that her ability to survive a nuclear war, long after humans have perished, would now help her rescue her offspring. Plus her ability to reproduce quickly, in large amounts, when compared to humans, would allow her and her babies to tolerate any amount of radiation.

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Disney's "Oceans" Opening

A boy comes running up and asks: "What is the ocean, what is the sea?" You could hit him with a lot of statistics and latin names, but the answer isn't something you'll find in a book. To know what the ocean is, you'll have to see it for yourself and taste it! You have to feel it's power...

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Dracula By Bram Stoker

A great bat came flapping into the room. It drove the weird women away. Poor Renfield fell down, fainting from fright. In an instant, the bat disappeared. In its place was the smiling figure of Count Dracula! He was ready to claim his victim! Once bitten by the vampire, Renfield became Dracula’s slave. The evil Count wanted to go to England. Coffins, filled with Transylvanian earth, were taken to a ship and loaded on board. One of the coffins contained something else as well as dirt. Renfield guarded it well. When the ship landed in England, the horrified people at the dock found that the entire crew was dead. Only Renfield, now a raving madman, was left alive.

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Dracula's monologue

Here I wait, in this damp carriage. I can do nothing now, but plan my journey back to my homeland, for I am now hunted - by men who are determined to frustrate my designs. I...Count Dracula...hunted! My ancestors hiss at their ignorance of my power, but in a country that is not my own, I am weakened. But now they pursue me and I run from them like a coward. She will do my bidding; come to my beckoning call and they will never be able to bring her back. You see, I've stolen her sweet blood and they can do nothing to subvert my cause. She will be my flesh and blood, my kin.

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Dubliners, chapter 1

There was no hope for him this time: it was the third stroke. Night after night I had passed the house (it was vacation time) and studied the lighted square of window: and night after night I had found it lighted in the same way, faintly and evenly. If he was dead, I thought, I would see the reflection of candles on the darkened blind for I knew that two candles must be set at the head of a corpse. He had often said to me: I am not long for this world, and I had thought his words idle. Now I knew they were true. Every night as I gazed up at the window I said softly to myself the word paralysis. It had always sounded strangely in my ears, like the word gnomon in the Euclid and the word simony in the Catechism. But now it sounded to me like the name of some maleficent and sinful being. It filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be nearer to it and to look upon its deadly work.

Old Cotter was sitting at the fire, smoking, when I came downstairs to supper. While my aunt was ladling out my stirabout he said, as if returning to some former remark of his:

– No, I wouldn’t say he was exactly … but there was something queer … there was something uncanny about him. I’ll tell you my opinion …

He began to puff at his pipe, no doubt arranging his opinion in his mind. Tiresome old fool! When we knew him first he used to be rather interesting, talking of faints and worms; but I soon grew tired of him and his endless stories about the distillery.

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Duel On Syrtis by Poul Anderson

The night whispered the message. Over the many miles of loneliness it was borne, carried on the wind, rustled by the half-sentient lichens and the dwarfed trees, murmured from one to another of the little creatures that huddled under crags, in caves, by shadowy dunes. In no words, but in a dim pulsing of dread which echoed through Kreega's brain, the warning ran—

They are hunting again.

Kreega shuddered in a sudden blast of wind. The night was enormous around him, above him, from the iron bitterness of the hills to the wheeling, glittering constellations light-years over his head. He reached out with his trembling perceptions, tuning himself to the brush and the wind and the small burrowing things underfoot, letting the night speak to him.

Alone, alone. There was not another Martian for a hundred miles of emptiness. There were only the tiny animals and the shivering brush and the thin, sad blowing of the wind.

The voiceless scream of dying traveled through the brush, from plant to plant, echoed by the fear-pulses of the animals and the ringingly reflecting cliffs. They were curling, shriveling and blackening as the rocket poured the glowing death down on them, and the withering veins and nerves cried to the stars.

Kreega huddled against a tall gaunt crag. His eyes were like yellow moons in the darkness, cold with terror and hate and a slowly gathering resolution. Grimly, he estimated that the death was being sprayed in a circle some ten miles across. And he was trapped in it, and soon the hunter would come after him.

He looked up to the indifferent glitter of stars, and a shudder went along his body. Then he sat down and began to think.

It had started a few days before, in the private office of the trader Wisby.

"I came to Mars," said Riordan, "to get me an owlie."

Wisby had learned the value of a poker face. He peered across the rim of his glass at the other man, estimating him.

Even in God-forsaken holes like Port Armstrong one had heard of Riordan. Heir to a million-dollar shipping firm which he himself had pyramided into a System-wide monster, he was equally well known as a big game hunter. From the firedrakes of Mercury to the ice crawlers of Pluto, he'd bagged them all. Except, of course, a Martian. That particular game was forbidden now.

He sprawled in his chair, big and strong and ruthless, still a young man. He dwarfed the unkempt room with his size and the hard-held dynamo strength in him, and his cold green gaze dominated the trader.

"It's illegal, you know," said Wisby. "It's a twenty-year sentence if you're caught at it."

"Bah! The Martian Commissioner is at Ares, halfway round the planet. If we go at it right, who's ever to know?" Riordan gulped at his drink. "I'm well aware that in another year or so they'll have tightened up enough to make it impossible. This is the last chance for any man to get an owlie. That's why I'm here."

Wisby hesitated, looking out the window. Port Armstrong was no more than a dusty huddle of domes, interconnected by tunnels, in a red waste of sand stretching to the near horizon. An Earthman in airsuit and transparent helmet was walking down the street and a couple of Martians were lounging against a wall. Otherwise nothing—a silent, deadly monotony brooding under the shrunken sun. Life on Mars was not especially pleasant for a human.

"You're not falling into this owlie-loving that's corrupted all Earth?" demanded Riordan contemptuously.

"Oh, no," said Wisby. "I keep them in their place around my post. But times are changing. It can't be helped."

"There was a time when they were slaves," said Riordan. "Now those old women on Earth want to give 'em the vote." He snorted.

"Well, times are changing," repeated Wisby mildly. "When the first humans landed on Mars a hundred years ago, Earth had just gone through the Hemispheric Wars. The worst wars man had ever known. They damned near wrecked the old ideas of liberty and equality. People were suspicious and tough—they'd had to be, to survive. They weren't able to—to empathize the Martians, or whatever you call it. Not able to think of them as anything but intelligent animals. And Martians made such useful slaves—they need so little food or heat or oxygen, they can even live fifteen minutes or so without breathing at all. And the wild Martians made fine sport—intelligent game, that could get away as often as not, or even manage to kill the hunter."

"I know," said Riordan. "That's why I want to hunt one. It's no fun if the game doesn't have a chance."

"It's different now," went on Wisby. "Earth has been at peace for a long time. The liberals have gotten the upper hand. Naturally, one of their first reforms was to end Martian slavery."

Riordan swore. The forced repatriation of Martians working on his spaceships had cost him plenty. "I haven't time for your philosophizing," he said. "If you can arrange for me to get a Martian, I'll make it worth your while."

"How much worth it?" asked Wisby.

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Ebola K Audiobook Audition Script

Notes:
Samples are from different chapters, and were used to audition a narrator for Bobby Adair's Ebola K book, available on Amazon. Book is a free download, so if you wanted to practice with the entire book, check Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, or Barnes & Noble.

Characters
Austin is a college-aged American kid, on a study abroad in Africa.
Rashid is Austin's college-aged friend of Arabic descent (name pronounced "Rahsheed")
Salim is a Pakistani classmate of Austin, turned jihadist (pronounced "Sahleem")
Dr. Kassis and Najid are both mature and Arab ("Kassees" and "Nahjeed")
Olivia is 29 and American, Austin's sister
Dr. Wheeler is 40 and American, and works for the CDC as an expert in infectious diseases. He's kind of cocky.

Chapter 3
Forty minutes on the dusty, bumpy, red clay road was bad, but the single-track through the bush was worse.
The boda driver turned to yell over the whine of the engine, “Hold on.”
They bounced over a hump in the trail and Austin nearly went off the back.
Rashid looked over his shoulder at Austin. “Not so tight.”
“I don’t want to fall,” Austin told him.
Rashid sneezed.
“Damn, dude.” Austin wiped his face on Rashid’s shirt. “You got that all over me.”
“You should have let me ride in back.”
“What? You sneezed on me on purpose?”
Rashid sneezed again.
“Damn. Turn your head, Rashid.”
“I did!”
“Turn it the other way. I’m on your left.”
“Why didn’t you say so?”
The jungle on both sides of the trail closed in. Leaves big and small brushed Austin’s knees. Thin branches scraped. And it all grew thicker the higher up the side of the mountain the trail wound. The boda’s engine whined as it pulled the three young men up a particularly steep section of the trail, and the tires skidded down muddy tracks as the driver uselessly squeezed the brakes until the wheels locked. Miraculously, he kept the motorcycle upright.
More than once Austin wanted to pull his phone out of his pocket to check the time and see how much longer they had to risk breaking their bones on the trail, but feared that pulling one hand away from Rashid’s waist would result in him being bounced off the back of the bike.
They’d been on the trail for at least a half hour, maybe twice that long, when it smoothed out on a gentle upward slope. They were going slow enough by then that Austin figured he could have a conversation with Rashid and not have the words lost in the wind. “Hey, what do you think of this Ebola thing?”
Chapter 5
At first, Salim hated Pakistan. Every single thing about it was unlike America. Of course, he expected that. But after living nineteen of his twenty years in a Denver suburb, and only one year in Hyderabad, the romantic idea of Pakistani life—the basis for his expectations—was nothing like the reality.
From the moment he landed in Lahore and walked off the plane, it started. The air was pungent with the smell of curry, diesel fumes, a whole range of plant smells, and even a bit of rotting garbage. All the smells of a city that one gets used to and doesn’t even notice, until suddenly replaced by a whole different set of smells, becoming a constantly noticeable reminder of alien-ness.
But that was just the first thing.
The people spoke English with an accent that Salim had a hard time following. Of course, his parents spoke with a similar accent. However, they used good grammar in calm, slow, educated speech—not the rushed slang of people on the street.
Salim’s accent was distinctly American, and that earned him suspicious glances from everyone he spoke to. His sense of alienation made the suspicion feel like hate. Back on that day, as he waited three hours for his tardy contact to come forward and collect him, he sulked near a ticket counter, trying to figure out how to turn his meager cash into a ticket back to Denver.
In fact, he’d been looking at his watch as he sat there, and had picked the top of the upcoming hour as the time when he’d stop waiting and call his father to beg him for money to buy that ticket. But ten minutes before the hand reached twelve on the clock face, a man walked up to him. “Salim?” he asked.
From there, Salim and his bag were hurried out of the airport, rushed into a taxi, and dropped off on a crowded street. He was hustled through block after block of pushing and shoving people, and finally trundled off in a rickety white van. Five others, silent young men with worried faces, shared the rear seats of the van with Salim. A driver and the man in charge sat in front.
Chapter 23
Standing on the porch, evaluating his options, Najid waved his men away. “Dr. Kassis, stay up here with me.”
The other six men spread out by the Land Rovers and took to keeping lookout over what they could see of the village in the dark.
Najid turned to Dr. Kassis. “Do you think they are lying?”
“Who is to say? I was never good at reading other men’s hearts.”
“Always loathe to commit.” Najid’s derisiveness came through. He had respect for the doctor, for his skill and his loyalty, but deep down the man was never brave enough to speak his mind. “What they were saying about the virus being airborne. Does that make sense?”
The doctor looked back at the door they’d just come through. A ward full of dying townsfolk lay beyond. “I have no reason to believe they lied about the rapidity and seeming universal spread of the disease. If I accept that—” he looked back at the small collection of houses and businesses that made up Kapchorwa, and took a deep breath, “—I would have come to the same conclusion.”
“Would you be right?”
“Maybe,” the doctor replied.
“That is a guess even I could make. Tell me what you think the chances are.”
Dr. Kassis looked at the porch and used the toe of his rubber boot to grind something into the concrete while he thought. “Tomorrow’s reality—if this is an airborne strain of Ebola—is so horrific that it begs me to hope the evidence I seem to see here is wrong. But if these were our people, and this outbreak was in our homeland, I would say the same. I would beg for help from the WHO, even the Americans. I would beg you not to take Rashid out of here until I knew the disease was not airborne.”
“And how can I find out for sure?” Najid asked.
“That would be a long process with many tests and many specialized doctors, and he could die before we find out. Otherwise, we may not know for months.”
“But if it is airborne, that knowledge will come too late for these people, am I right?”
“You are correct.” Dr. Kassis nodded obsequiously. It was a habit of Kassis’s that irritated Najid endlessly.
Chapter 32
“Dr. Wheeler, may I come in?”
Dr. Wheeler looked up from his laptop.
Olivia walked into the conference room. “I was on my way to the cafeteria, and I saw you in here.”
“I should have closed the door.” Dr. Wheeler smiled widely enough to let her know he was joking. “CDC doctors have lots of groupies.”
“I’m Olivia Cooper.” She pointed in some direction she doubted meant anything to Dr. Wheeler. “I was in the seminar, in the small theater?”
Wheeler nodded. “I remember you.”
“Really?”
“No.” He smiled again. “There were a hundred people in there. But I can go on pretending, if you’d like.”
Olivia scooted a chair back and sat on the opposite side of the table. “Are you flirting with me?”
“I am, if you’re open to it, and won’t tell my wife.”
“You’re flirting with me, and you have a wife.”
“No, I’m divorced. But we both know I’m old enough to be your dad, and I don’t have a chance at getting anything out of this besides a sexual harassment complaint.” Dr. Wheeler made an expansive gesture at the building surrounding them. “I assume you work for the NSA.”
Olivia looked around the room and gestured at the walls. “This is their building.”
“Cagey.” Dr. Wheeler smiled again. It seemed to come very easy to him. “Okay, I assume you have questions about the Filovirus presentation. Since you appear to have made yourself comfortable, maybe you have a lot of them. What can I help you with?”
“I’m sorry.” Olivia started to stand. “If you don’t have time, I can—”
After motioning for Olivia to keep her seat, Dr. Wheeler pointed at his computer, “I’m just answering email. I rode out here from Atlanta with a coworker. He’s still in his meeting. I’ve got some time.”
Olivia lowered her weight back down on the chair and smiled. “I’m worried about my brother.”
Wheeler leaned back in his chair and looked over his reading glasses. “Because I have a genius-level IQ and I just gave a talk about Filoviruses, is it safe to assume that despite your blue eyes and blonde hair, your brother is an African bushman in Sierra Leone?”

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El Paso's Gold Rush Bonanza (Weekly 1 Minute History Moment Program on Local Radio)

There’s Gold in them thar hills!

January 24, 1848 Gold is discovered at Sutter’s Mill in California and the rush is on. People with “Gold Fever” from around the world head to California’s Mother Lode and have to pass right through El Paso on their way.

El Paso, known as Franklin then, was the midpoint and the southern most snow free route through the Rocky Mountains and offered gold seekers year round passage to California.

They came at first in a few pack trains, and then a large wave of gold seekers. Franklin was just a sleepy little border town and the supplies were low initially and then was overrun with as many as 4,000 travelers in 1500 wagons perched at the edge of the Rio Grande.

But, some very savvy business people saw a “Bonanza” that could be made right here from the gold seekers. Businesses started to spring up in Franklin. The following year Ft. Bliss was established and there was no turning back and soon Franklin grew into El Paso!

More El Paso History Moments next time, El Paso History Moments. I’m Melissa Sargent for the El Paso County Historical Commission.

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Excerpt Sophie's Choice by William Styron

“Excerpt”
Sophie’s Choice – by William Styron

Chapter One

In those days cheap apartments were almost impossible to find in Manhattan, so I had to move to Brooklyn. This was 1947, and one of the pleasant features of that summer which I so vividly remember was the weather, which was sunny and mild, flower-fragrant, almost as if the days had been arrested in a seemingly perpetual springtime. I was grateful for that if for nothing else, since my youth, I felt, was at its lowest ebb. At twenty-two, struggling to become some kind of writer, I found that the creative heat which at eighteen had nearly consumed me with its gorgeous, relentless flame had flickered out to a dim pilot light registering little more than a token glow in my breast, or wherever my hungriest aspirations once resided. It was not that I no longer wanted to write, I still yearned passionately to produce the novel which had been for so long captive in my brain. It was only that, having written down the first few fine paragraphs, I could not produce any others, or - to approximate Gertrude Stein’s remark about a lesser writer of the Lost Generation - I had the syrup but it wouldn’t pour. To make matters worse, I was out of a job and had very little money and was self-exiled to Flatbush - like others of my countrymen, another lean and lonesome young Southerner wandering among the Kingdom of the Jews.

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Excerpts from Dr. King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail

16 April 1963

My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

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Executive Coaching

Executive Coaching for Results: The Definitive Guide to Developing Organizational Leaders
By Brian O Underhill, Kimcee McAnally, John J Koriath
Narrated by Richard Dalke
Audition Script
The word coach derives from 15th-century Hungary, referring to the village of Kocs, where fine transportation coaches were first constructed. The purpose of a coach was to transport people from where they were to where they wanted to go.

Similarly, executive coaches facilitate the transportation of leaders to new levels of development and effectiveness. The optimal conditions for the journey include an integrated organizational system and human resources (HR) or leadership development (LD) practitioners to facilitate the journey, a coach trained and appropriate for the job, and a leader eager (or at least willing) to be transported somewhere.

A good place to start is to set the executive coaching foundation and build from there. What is coaching? Why do coaching? Who receives coaching? We'll take a further look into these basics in this chapter.

What Is Coaching?

Scroll through the academic, consulting, and other literature and you will find about as many definitions of executive coaching as there are coaches in the marketplace.

Here are a few examples:

The essence of executive coaching is helping leaders get unstuck from their dilemmas and assisting them to transfer their learning into results for the organization. Mary Beth O'Neil

Action coaching is a process that fosters self-awareness and that results in the motivation to change, as well as the guidance needed if change is to take place in ways that meet organizational needs.
-Dotlich and Cairo

A helping relationship formed between a client who has managerial authority and responsibility in an organization and a consultant who uses a wide variety of behavioral techniques and methods to help the client achieve a mutually identified set of goals to improve his or her professional performance and personal satisfaction and, consequently to improve the effectiveness of the client's organization within a formally defined coaching
agreement. -Kilberg

Executive Coaching is a one-on-one training and collaborative relationship between a certified or self-proclaimed coach and an executive interested in improving him- or herself primarily in career or business related skills.
-Wikipedia, today's leading “Web 2.0” resource for user-generated content

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Fatal Tide By Iris Johansen

Someone coming toward her. It was going to happen again. Helpless. Helpless. Helpless. The scream that tore from Melis's throat jarred her awake. She jerked upright in bed. She was shaking, her T-shirt soaked with sweat.

Only a dream. She wasn't helpless. She'd never be helpless again. She was strong now.

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Fishing with Frank

Fishing with Frank, A.K.A. “Termite” by David Knize
The note on my door read, “Gone fishin with my Step Dad Frank”
We called the fishing resort and confirmed our reservation like we’ve done every year. We packed our clothes checked our tackle and loaded our gear.
Just a mere eight hour drive to our favorite fishing hole. We gassed up the van and put the pedal to the metal! Breaking last year’s record was one of our goals.
It was mid-June and we assumed the weather would be just fine, but from Chicago to central Wisconsin the temperature dropped to thirty nine!
Frank said, “No big deal we’ll still catch fish, did you pack warm clothes for the trip?” I replied, “I wish.”
We put the boat in the water and bundled up. After four hours of casting with purple fingers and blue faces we decided it was time for a warm cup....of anything.
We happily headed to the bar for a much needed bite to eat, but we ended up drinking enough booze until we couldn’t see straight. We stumbled into the cabin and found to our concern, there was no heat, just an empty fireplace with nothing to burn.
Three days of fishing with temperatures twenty degrees below average, to which the locals replied, “Ya hey dare, ya should have been ere last week, da wedder was grate and da fish were biting on every bait!”
Well we caught a few nice ones, the trip wasn’t a bust. The next day was beautiful, sunny and warm, so I decided to take off my shirt and catch some rays. Frank advised, “Hey tomato face, put on some sun block.” To which I replied, “I don’t need it, what’s the fuss?”
The next morning was excruciating, I was suffering from second degree burns! I should have listened to Frank, maybe next time I’ll learn.
Before we knew it the time came to pack up and head south. It’s just an eight hour drive, but we’ll take turns behind the wheel, it’s only fair. Good Lord have mercy! With the itching blisters and boils on my back, the ride home turned into my worst nightmare!
So when you’re going on a fishing trip and are unsure of the conditions, do yourself a favor, and just listen to Frank.

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Frankenstein

My education was neglected, yet
I was passionately fond of reading. These volumes were my study day and night, and my
familiarity with them increased that regret which I had felt, as a child, on learning that my
father's dying injunction had forbidden my uncle to allow me to embark in a seafaring
life.

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Frankenstein

THE CREATURE: I expected this reception. All men hate the wretched. How, then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us. You purpose to kill me. How dare you sport thus with life? Do your duty toward me, and I will do mine toward you and the rest of mankind. If you will comply with my conditions, I will leave them and you at peace, but if you refuse I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends. Have I not suffered enough that you seek to increase my misery? Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it. Remember, thou hast made me more powerful than thyself. My height is superior to thine, my joints more supple. But I will not be tempted to set myself in opposition to thee. I am thy creature and I will be even mild and docile to my natural lord and king, if thou wilt also perform thy part, the which thou owest me. Oh, Frankenstein, be not equitable to every other and trample upon me alone, to whom thy justice, and even thy clemency and affection, is most due. Remember that I am thy creature, I ought to by thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. The desert mountains and dreary glaciers are my refuge. I have wandered here many days. The caves of ice, which I only do not fear, are a dwelling to me, and the only one which man does not grudge. These bleak skies I hail, for they are kinder to me than your fellow beings. If the multitude of mankind knew of my existence, they would do as you do and arm themselves for my destruction. Shall I not then hate them who abhor me? I will keep no terms with my enemies. I am miserable and they shall share my wretchedness. Yet it is in your power to recompense me, and deliver them from an evil which it only remains for you to make so great that not only you and your family, but thousands of others, shall be swallowed up in the whirlwinds of its rage. Let your compassion be moved and do not disdain me. I was benevolent and good. Misery made me a fiend. Make me happy and I shall again be virtuous. I have wandered through these mountains, I have ranged through their immense recesses, consumed by a burning passion which you alone can gratify. We may not part until you have promised to comply with my request. I am alone and miserable. Man will not associate with me, but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects. A female. This being you must create.

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Frankenstein

It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishments of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet.

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From Grendel by John Gardner Take Two

The old ram stands looking down over rockslides, stupidly triumphant. I blink. I stare in horror. “Scat!” I hiss. “Go back to your cave, go back to your cowshed—whatever.” He cocks his head like an elderly, slow-witted king, considers the angles, decides to ignore me. I stamp. I hammer the ground with my fists. I hurl a skull-size stone at him. He will not budge. I shake my two hairy fists at the sky and I let out a howl so unspeakable that the water at my feet turns sudden ice and even I myself am left uneasy. But the ram stays; the season is upon us. And so begins the twelfth year of my idiotic war.
The pain of it! The stupidity!
“Ah, well,” I sigh, and shrug, trudge back to the trees.
Do not think my brains are squeezed shut, like the ram’s, by the roots of horns. Flanks atremble, eyes like stones, he stares at as much of the world as he can see and feels it surging in him, filling his chest as the melting snow fills dried-out creek-beds, tickling his gross, lopsided balls and charging his brains with the same unrest that made him suffer last year at this time, and the year before, and the year before that. (He’s forgotten them all.) His hind parts shiver with the usual joyful, mindless ache to mount whatever happens near—the storm piling up black towers to the west, some rotting, docile stump, some spraddle-legged ewe. I cannot bear to look. “Why can’t these creatures discover a little dignity?” I ask the sky. The sky says nothing, predictably. I make a face, uplift a defiant middle finger, and give an obscene little kick. The sky ignores me, forever unimpressed. Him too I hate, the same as I hate these brainless budding trees, these brattling birds.

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Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield

“I was keenly conscious of the comrades-in-arms who had fallen with me. A bond surpassing by a hundredfold that which I had known in life bound me to them. I felt a sense of inexpressible relief and realized that I had feared, more than death, separation from them. I apprehended that excruciating war survivor’s torment, the sense of isolation and self-betrayal
experienced by those who had elected to cling yet to breath when their comrades had let loose their grip. That state which we call life was over. I was dead. And yet, titanic as was that sense of loss, there existed a keener one which I now experienced and felt my brothers-in-arms feeling with me.“

Pressfield, Steven (2007-01-30). Gates of Fire (Kindle Locations 152-155). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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Genesis Chapter 1:1 - 3

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

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Good Will Hunting - Park Scene

SEAN

And if I asked you about love I'd
get a sonnet, but you've never looked
at a woman and been truly vulnerable.
Known that someone could kill you
with a look. That someone could rescue
you from grief. That God had put an
angel on Earth just for you. And
you wouldn't know how it felt to be
her angel. To have the love be there
for her forever. Through anything,
through cancer. You wouldn't know
about sleeping sitting up in a
hospital room for two months holding
her hand and not leaving because the
doctors could see in your eyes that
the term "visiting hours" didn't
apply to you. And you wouldn't know
about real loss, because that only
occurs when you lose something you
love more than yourself, and you've
never dared to love anything that
much. I look at you and I don't see
an intelligent confident man, I don't
see a peer, and I don't see my equal.
I see a boy. Nobody could possibly
understand you, right Will? Yet you
presume to know so much about me
because of a painting you saw. You
must know everything about me. You're
an orphan, right?

Will nods quietly.

SEAN
Do you think I would presume to know
the first thing about who you are
because I read "Oliver Twist?" And I
don't buy the argument that you don't
want to be here, because I think you
like all the attention you're getting.
Personally, I don't care. There's
nothing you can tell me that I can't
read somewhere else. Unless we talk
about your life. But you won't do
that. Maybe you're afraid of what
you might say.

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Goodnite Moon

Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown

Script:

In the great green room
there was a telephone
And a red balloon
And a picture of--

The cow jumping over the moon

and there were three little bears, sitting on chairs

and two little kittens and a pair of mittens

and a little toy house and a young mouse

and a comb and a brush and bowl full of mush

and a quiet old lady who was whispering "hush"

Goodnight room

goodnight moon

goodnight cow jumping over the moon

goodnight light and the red balloon

goodnight bears goodnight chairs

goodnight kittens goodnight mittens

goodnight clocks and goodnight socks

goodnight little house and goodnight mouse

goodnight comb and goodnight brush

goodnight nobody goodnight mush

and goodnight to the old lady whispering "hush"

goodnight stars, goodnight air

goodnight noises everywhere.

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Grace by Jane Roberts Wood

Spring 1944
Chapter 1
Grace Gillian kneels before her hyacinth bed, her bare fingers raking the accumulation of decaying leaves from around the plants. She has long since shucked off her gardening gloves. She loves the feel of the earth’s awakening, the humid, fertile smell of it.

Grace is thirty-eight years old. Slender. High cheekbones. Generous mouth. Dark brown hair, almost auburn with the russet highlights around her face. But it is her eyes, soft gray eyes tilting up at the corners, that one remembers. When she reads a poem she loves or when a student makes a perceptive comment, her face lights up and her eyes become radiantly blue. But she does not know she is beautiful. And, although her name is Grace, neither does she think of herself at all, it is in sensible, nearly mundane terms—teacher, gardener, friend. But she is neither sensible nor mundane. And on this day, as she rakes the sodden leaves from the hyacinth bed, she is thinking of John, whom she loves beyond telling. My true, pure love. A love not fueled by desire. This is what she believes. She feels she has long since turned away from desire.

The pecan trees, arching high over her and over her tourquoise-colored house, have not yet leafed out. Nor has the elm by the front door. But the magnificent live oak is in full leaf. And a single wild plum and a domestic peach in the northwest corner of her garden are dizzily in bloom, infusing the blue air and the yellow grass with the colors and scents of spring.

A song from the kitchen radio drifts out into her garden. “I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places,” Jo Stafford sings tenderly. Since the War, all the songs are heartrendering to Grace. Looking closely at the hyacinth buds, she can faintly discern the color—purple or white—each will become. Colors of the mourning.

She, Grace, although not in mourning, is deeply sad. Anna, her next-door neighbor, is sick. Sick to death. When she thinks it again, sick to death, the phrase takes on its literal meaning. Anna is sick, and in a day or two she will go to her death. And then John will leave. He has told her this. “If something happens to Anna”—IF not WHEN said carefully—“I’m going to get into this War.” Raising an eyebrow, he smiled. “I’ll probably end up with a desk job. But if they’ll have me, I’m going.” Remembering, her eyes fill, and she sits back on her heel and with the sleeve of her sweater wipes the perspiration and tears from her face.

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Great Expectations

Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea. My first most vivid and broad impression of the identity of things seems to me to have been gained on a memorable raw afternoon towards evening. At such a time I found out for certain that this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard; and that Philip Pirrip, late of this parish, and also Georgiana wife of the above, were dead and buried; and that Alexander, Bartholomew, Abraham, Tobias, and Roger, infant children of the aforesaid, were also dead and buried; and that the dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dikes and mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes; and that the low leaden line beyond was the river; and that the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing was the sea; and that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry, was Pip.

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Guilty Pleasures- Laurell K. Hamilton

Willi McCoy had been a jerk before he died. His being dead didn't change that. He sat across from me, wearing a loud plaid sport jacket. The polyester pants were primary Crayola green. His short, black hair was slicked back from a thin, triangular face. He had always reminded me of a bit player from a gangster movie. The kind that sells information, runs errands, and is expendable.
Of course now that Willie was a vampire, the expendable part didn't count anymore. But he was still selling information and running errands. No, death hadn't changing him much. Bu just in case, I avoided looking directly into his eyes. It was standard policy for dealing with vampires. He was a slime bucket, but now he was an undead slime bucket. It was a new category for me.

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Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill-1

Heart Shaped Box - Chapter One
Jude had a private collection.

He had framed sketches of the Seven Dwarfs on the wall of his studio, in between his platinum records. John Wayne Gacy had drawn them while he was in jail and sent them to him. Gacy liked golden-age Disney almost as much as he liked molesting little kids; almost as much as he liked Jude's albums.

Jude had the skull of a peasant who had been trepanned in the sixteenth century, to let the demons out. He kept a collection of pens jammed into the hole in the center of the cranium.

He had a three-hundred-year-old confession, signed by a witch. "I did spake with a black dogge who sayd hee wouldst poison cows, drive horses mad and sicken children for me if I wouldst let him have my soule, and I sayd aye, and after did give him sucke at my breast." She was burned to death.

He had a stiff and worn noose that had been used to hang a man in England at the turn of the century, Aleister Crowley's childhood chessboard, and a snuff film. Of all the items in Jude's collection, this last was the thing he felt most uncomfortable about possessing. It had come to him by way of a police officer, a man who had worked security at some shows in L.A. The cop had said the video was diseased. He said it with some enthusiasm. Jude had watched it and felt that he was right. It was diseased. It had also, in an indirect way, helped hasten the end of Jude's marriage. Still he held onto it.

Many of the objects in his private collection of the grotesque and the bizarre were gifts sent to him by his fans. It was rare for him to actually buy something for the collection himself. But when Danny Wooten, his personal assistant, told him there was a ghost for sale on the Internet, and asked did he want to buy it, Jude didn't even need to think. It was like going out to eat, hearing the special, and deciding you wanted it without even looking at the menu. Some impulses required no consideration.

Danny's office occupied a relatively new addition, extending from the northeastern end of Jude's rambling, 110-year-old farmhouse. With its climate control, OfficeMax furniture, and coffee-and-cream industrial carpet, the office was coolly impersonal, nothing at all like the rest of the house. It might have been a dentist's waiting room, if not for the concert posters in stainless-steel frames. One of them showed a jar crammed with staring eyeballs, bloody knots of nerves dangling from the backs of them. That was for the All Eyes On You tour.
No sooner had the addition been built than Jude had come to regret it. He had not wanted to drive forty minutes from Piecliff to a rented office in Poughkeepsie to see to his business, but that would've probably been preferable to having Danny Wooten right here at the house. Here Danny and Danny's work were too close. When Jude was in the kitchen, he could hear the phones ringing in there, both of the office lines going off at once sometimes, and the sound was maddening to him. He had not recorded an album in years, had hardly worked since Jerome and Dizzy had died (and the band with them), but still the phones rang and rang. He felt crowded by the steady parade of petitioners for his time, and by the never-ending accumulation of legal and professional demands, agreements and contracts, promotions and appearances, the work of Judas Coyne Incorporated, which was never done, always ongoing. When he was home, he wanted to be himself, not a trademark.

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Heartbreaker By Julie Garwood

Laurent saw the barrel of the gun coming up, felt the madman tense against her. He was trying to lift her up with him as he shot Nicholas. Then she heard the screech of tires on the gravel outside the door. Was it Tommy? Oh, God no. Whoever came through the doorway was going to get killed.

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Hemingway Bio

As soon as it was safe for the boy to travel, they bore him away to the Northern Woods.

It was a long and complicated journey for a child only seven weeks old. From the
suburban town of Oak Park, Illinois, they took the train to Chicago, a horse cab to the pier on Lake Michigan, the steamer Manitou to Harbor Springs on Little Traverse bay, the
curving tracks of the small railroad to the depot in Petoskey, and even a small branch line to the foot of Bear Lake; and at last, a rowboat to the shorefront property that Doctor Ed. Hem had bought from Henry Bacon the summer before.

They were going to build a small cottage, and they had come to complete the arrangements.

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Her One Desire

Astride a stolen horse, encircled by the shackled arms of Broderick Maxwell, A Scottish spy escaping certain death in the Tower of London, Lisbeth Ives rides to the north, hidden by the darkness. By stealth and cunning, the daughter of the Lord High Executioner has undone her father's cruel work, compelled to save the innocent man with her. There is no turning back---for they are bound as one in his iron chains. Consumed by mortal fear, driven by passion, they disappear into the night...

A single raven follows them. Is it an omen? Or only the first of those who would capture them? They must ride on. If captured, they will face death together. But if they reach the Highlands, he will claim her for his own...forever.

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Higher Education In Transition 2: A History Of American Colleges And Universities By John Seiler Brubacher And Willis Rudy

The vast lands of the west attracted pioneers who brought new techniques of agriculture. People everywhere needed the products and services of an educated industrial nation. By 1870, there were 563 colleges and universities in the United States. By 1910, almost a thousand. The tradition of literacy established among colonial Americans raced to keep pace with the dynamics of progress. The teaching of science and engineering gave the nation vital technological ability.

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Higher Education In Transition: A History Of American Colleges And Universities By John Seiler Brubacher And Willis Rudy

The Century of Change is the story of Americans who combined their native skills with the growing torrent of new knowledge to improve the quality of life for themselves and their children. Like the sewing machine, countless other inventions and techniques appeared to help this determination become a reality. The story is not a routine report of smooth progress toward the perfection of life. There have been hardships, yes -- even injustice among Americans. The balance between laws and social progress is the critical element in George Washington’s “Great Experiment.” It is the people -- each new generation of Americans -- who must improve and maintain this balance within their Constitution.

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His Magick Touch

Keiran’s heart jumped against his ribs. “Bluidy-faugh!” He snapped his chin over his shoulder and ordered the MacNeil warriors again, “Heave! Heave!”
Two heartbeats later, the bowsprit broke through the thick mist. He pushed the falcon’s aerial view from his head and watched as Sorcha disappeared into the white waves.
Gasps issued overhead from the topmen perched like gulls in the rigging.
“Oh, Brigid, protect her,” Keiran begged the High Mother Goddess as he unsheathed his weapons—a broadsword, two daggers, and a sgian dubh—tossing them to the deck. His entire body shook as he heeled off his deerskin boots. He couldn’t let her die. Aside from being the queen of his clan, she’d held the key to his heart since she was but ten and six.
“Have ye lost your wits, mon?” Sileas stepped onto the prow, pulling a fur cap tighter over his bushy copper hair. “Ye cannot swim faster than they can row. Besides, you’ll freeze to death afore ye reach her.”
“If they keep rowing, the bow will splinter on the rock. Stop the starboard rowers and turn the Cerridwen around.” Keiran pulled his plaid over his head. “Send a long boat. I’m going after her.” He stepped up on the rail and dove headlong into the frigid water.
His eyes pinched tight. Tiny needles of ice pricked his body, seizing his muscles, but his spirit urged him on. He burst out of the water and spun in circles, searching for her, but could see naught through the mayhem of rolling foam. Tàiseal screeched overhead, and Keiran immediately tapped into the falcon’s vision.
Sorcha clung to the edge of a rock nigh ten feet away from him. A swell broke over her, mocking her efforts to survive, but she was alive.

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Holes read By Anthony Mack

Stanley was not a bad kid. He was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. He’d just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was all because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather! He smiled. It was family joke. Whenever anything went wrong, they always blamed Stanley’s no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!
Supposedly, he had a great-great-grandfather who had stolen a pig from a one-legged Gypsy, and she put a curse on him and all his descendants. Stanley and his parents didn’t believe in curses, of course, but whenever anything went wrong, it felt good to be able to blame someone. Things went wrong a lot. They always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Home Inspection Audiobook

No Good Surprises

Having now been involved in nearly 20,000 real estate
transactions, it has come to my attention that there are
no good surprises in real estate.
Surprisingly enough, not once has a buyer ever called
the office to say that, to their great and happy surprise,
the home has more bedrooms than what was told to
them by their agent!
Not once has a buyer called with delight to share that
while mowing the lawn for the first time they discovered
a crystal clear swimming pool!And not even once has someone called to announce
that upon the first opening of the garage, low and be-
hold, a free Ferrari!
Nope, wish as we will, surprises in real estate are al-
ways bad.
Back to those 20,000 deals. Having observed and
pondered at length who is happy and who is sad, I have
come to the conclusion that people are happy when
things turn out as well or better than expected; not nec-
essarily that they turned out well! People simply hate
surprises in real estate.
Since it is true that people hate surprises in real es-
tate, then each person involved in the real estate trans-
action should be given clear specifications of how to
avoid surprises!
The first goal of buyers and sellers should be to bring
to bear all information about the transaction. Another
goal of buyers and sellers should be to involve those pro-
fessionals along the path of the transaction that will aid
in keeping surprise at bay.The goal of each professional
participating along the way should be to educate buyers
and sellers to minimize the surprise in each and every
facet of the transaction.
Since houses come in many shapes, sizes, ages, and
price ranges, how are we to remove the surprise element?
And, by the way, buyers and sellers come in even more
varieties than houses! What IS a professional to do?

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How to Exercise - "Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade"

They say the devil makes work for idle hands. He also makes work for other parts of the body and this he calls exercise. By exercise we mean any kind of movement you wouldn’t normally make in everyday life. However, everyday movements can be converted into exercise by adding the ‘power’: hence ‘power walking,’, ‘power lifting’, and ‘power dressing’. There are two types of exercise—aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise is what you do in Lyrca, anything else is anaerobic.
Exercise is good for you in all sorts of ways. The fitter you are, the more you can do things like climb stairs and run for a bus—in other words, other forms of exercise. After a really strenuous workout, you get a great feeling of well-being. This is due to the release of endorphins into the bloodstream, which are the body’s natural smugness generators.
The best part of exercising is sweating. This cleans all the pores and allows you to use sports body wash instead of just soap. Sweating also makes you look like a great steaming mess and explains why exercise itself is very uncool and only becomes cool once you’ve cooled off, showered down and emerged with slightly wet hair.
It’s very easy to get addicted to exercise. You can become so fit that you push yourself to ever-greater extremes, one of which is death. People who are always out exercising generally carry a subliminal message on their sweatshirt: ‘rubbish relationship’.
Nowadays there are all sorts of machines that simulate exercise for you. For example, there are running machines, ski machines and rowing machines. Ideally, they would have a remote control so you could operate them while you sat on the sofa watching TV. Normally, exercise machines ten to end up in the spare room because that’s where you put stuff you don’t use.
Exercise is a great way to lose weight, principally because it’s hard to eat a tub of ice cream while you’re doing aqua-aerobics. Yoga devotees say it’s the toughest form of exercise in that you can lift the equivalent of half a ton just by clenching your buttock muscles. People who get really good at yoga can put their leg behind their head. However, it generally takes another year of practice before you can get it back.
One of the great benefits of regular exercise is that you develop a superb body. Ideally, this becomes a smoothly oiled love machine. Except for the fact that no one wants to sleep with anyone who breaks off to take on board high-energy liquids during lovemaking and has to do fifteen minutes of stretching before starting.

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How to Read Copy by Adrian Cronauer

“When you’ve finished reading this book you probably won’t HAVE all the skills needed to compete with professional voice-overs; that takes months, even years of practice. But you’ll KNOW what those skills ARE, and when you do practice you’ll know what you should be doing. More importantly, you’ll know what you SHOULDN’T be doing. That’s vital. Practice alone won’t accomplish much unless you know WHAT to practice. Practicing the WRONG things will certainly not lead to improvement. It will only serve to ingrain any bad habits you may already have. Study the principles outlined in this book, and you will have the foundation upon which to build your ability to take a piece of commercial copy, analyze it, wring as much meaning out of it as possible, and convey that meaning to a listener with naturalness, sincerity and believability.
“There is no single correct way to read a given piece of commercial copy. Each voice-over person will have a different way to approach the same spot. But there are a lot of universal rules that they all will follow. This book will tell you what these rules are and show you how to apply them.”

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How to Use a Changing Room - "Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade" by Guy Browning

A changing room is halfway between a meeting room and a bathroom. It’s the only place where you have to be businesslike and naked at the same time.
Communal showers have two temperatures: glacial or scalding. Standing at one side with your hand in the shower will not significantly alter the temperature either way. At the very least, you can tilt your head into the shower for two seconds, keeping your body well clear, in order to give your hair the just-showered look vital for the bar afterwards.
It’s important to wash your private bits in the shower, but they must only be given a brisk buffing. Anything more leisurely will be seen as indulgence bordering on wanton self-gratification. Once out of the shower you should dry yourself immediately. Promenading with arms akimbo is a big no-no. At the other extreme, some people do their best to dry themselves as much as possible inside their locker. Others wrap a towel round their waist and then try to pass all their clothes up underneath.
There are two places you are allowed to look in a changing room: the floor and the ceiling. You are also allowed to look in the mirror, but only to give your hair a once-through with a comb. Hours in front of the mirror bouffing up your hair up will undo any amount of heroic performance on the sports field/exercise bicycle.
In a communal shower you should not stand face-out as this would be considered grotesque exhibitionism, nor should you sand facing in as this suggests you have something to hide. You should stand 45-115 ̊ off –center and then lather yourself until you’re covered head to foot in a wall of suds. Take one bottle of body wash into the shower and one bottle only. Avoid bringing your own bar of soap from home in a plastic soap-dish. If you drop your soap at any time, leave it. Don’t go back for it. Simply rinse quickly and leave smartly.
It is imperative never to speak to anyone in the changing room ever, unless you have lost a limb or are attempting to evacuate the building. An occasional ‘Sorry’ is fine if you’ve accidentally put your shoes on someone’s bit of bench. Never follow up with ‘My goodness, you buttocks have left a big wet patch on the bench’.
Some changing rooms have communal baths where the whole teams can soak and have a chat. Remember, entry to a communal bath is by invitation only, so don’t attempt to slip in when there is a full team of rugby players already ensconced.

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Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes, age 14, was the worst driver in the history of the world. At least, that was what Bernice Edelman thought. Certainly, not the reclusive Howard Hughes known to Hollywood. It was Knappa, Oregon’s own.
Bernice worked at Hoffstetter’s grocery store, and part of her responsibilities was to deliver groceries in Mr. Hoffstetter’s car to patrons. It was a job that kept you hopping. Mr. Hoffstetter had to hire another high school student to fill in. That was Howard Hughes. (There were some terrible drivers in our day.)
I wanted to drive from the time I first knew about automobiles. I would watch Dad back up and drive ahead out of the driveway to parts unknown. When I was with him, I would pay particular attention to the way he used the pedals on the floor and the gearshift. I would listen for the sounds that indicated he needed to go from 1st gear to 2nd, and then to 3rd. I couldn’t wait to drive. Dad had a 1924 Chevrolet 4-door sedan that was pitch black.

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Humor Column – Jason Love

Why do we call it rush hour when no one goes anywhere? Like rush hour takes only one hour. Maybe we should have a slow hour -- 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. except weekends.
Last week, I merged into traffic so hairy that people were actually backing off the freeway. And while I, myself, suffer from gridlock claustrophobia, once you're physically on the freeway ... that's pretty much a done deal. Do not pass Go; do not collect $200.
"Freeway." Good place for a "rush hour." The only difference between a freeway and side streets is that the streets have a fast lane -- for bicyclists. I've sat on the 101 so long that we could have used a Las Vegas yo-yo girl...
"Cigarettes? Soda? Candy?"
For those of you in the market, these conga-line cars are the same ones that advertise "freeway miles only." So it goes.
Problem with gridlock is that people are overheating. Road rage is worst in Arizona, which is -- coincidentally, I'm sure -- the hottest place to live outside the surface of the sun. I've never understood why people move to Arizona. They always say the same thing: "My home was so cheap." Yes, but when you walk outside, YOU'RE IN ARIZONA.
I myself don't carry a car gun, but I can see it. Once you've breathed someone's fumes for an hour, you start to wonder why they're out in the first place. Is their reason good enough? During "rush hour," traffic should be limited to women whose water has broken. And me.
While awaiting legislation, we could phase in car horns that reflect varying degrees of emotion. The first horn will be polite, as in, "Hellooo? Excuse me." The second will be more condescending like a foghorn. "Jaaack-hole." Then, when someone really gets in our grill, we pull the chord and release the flatulent cargo vessel "HOOOOONK."
Or maybe we'll go with car-tones to match our cell phone ringtones. I've always wanted a horn on the back of my car to play this riff from C&C Music Factory: "Chill, baby, baby, baby, chill, baby, wait."
The point is that that something must be done to relieve gridlock tedium before we all go Arizonan. People everywhere are coming home and collapsing by their spouses...

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I Didn’t Speak Up, By Rev. Martin Niemoeller

“In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists... and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews... and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists... and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics... but I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me.”

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IF by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

–Rudyard Kipling

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Increasing Self-Esteem Will Make you More Desirable to Men

Because desirable things are the most difficult to obtain, giving him a chance to miss you will increase your desirability and he will think of you more often.
Desperate women feel they simply must have a man—any man—in their lives to be complete. This kind of dependent attitude is too eager and servile, and ultimately drives would-be partners away.
Men and women react to each other based on initial perceptions. Cultivating the thoughts that fuel desperation, such as "I will take what I can get. The first one to show affection, even" muddles your perceptions because you believe what you want to believe, see what you want to see, and hear what you want to hear. In your mind, maybe you are one hundred percent convinced that he wants you to always phone him, he has been trying to phone you all along but you were in the shower, and that he wants to be with you but couldn't because someone is holding him hostage or something. Our minds justify another's actions because we have already set the initial belief in stone.

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Iron Weed by William Kennedy

Riding up the winding road of Saint Agnes Cemetery in the back of a rattling old truck, Francis Phelan became aware that the dead, even more than the living, settled down in neighborhoods. The truck was suddenly surrounded by field of monuments and cenotaphs of kindred design and striking size, all guarding the privileged dead. But the truck moved on and the limits of mere privilege became visible, for here now came the acres of truly prestigious death: captains of life without diamonds, furs, carriages and limousines, but buried in pomp and glory, vaulted in great tombs built like heavenly safety deposit boxes, or parts of the Acropolis. And ah yes, here too, inevitably, came the flowing masses, row upon row of them under simple headstones and crosses. Here was the neighborhood of the Phelans.

Francis’s mother twitched nervously in her grave as the truck carried him nearer to her; and Francis’s father lit his pipe, smiled at his wife’s discomfort, and looked out from his own bit of sod to catch a glimpse of how much his son had changed since the train accident.

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Jewels: A Short History

In the ancient Cheddar Gorge of Somerset in England, there is a huge cavern. Since it was first discovered more than a century ago it has yielded many rare artifacts and bones from the ancient past, including even a complete seated skeleton, nine thousand years old. But in 1950 this place, named "Gough's Cave" after the Victorian sea captain who found it, also yielded what is perhaps the oldest piece of traded gem-type material ever discovered. It is dark red and rather dirty, like a scuffed piece of translucent toffee, and it is almost the size of a dozen credit cards stacked together. It is a piece of amber and it was traded at least 12,500 years ago. It looks an unlikely treasure, but treasure it is because it is possibly the first indication we have today of a human fascination with amber that has lasted since prehistoric times.

At the time of its discovery there was no way to ascertain where the amber in Gough's Cave had come from--whether from Britain (some rare pieces of native amber had been found on the Isle of Wight) or farther afield. However, fourteen years later a professor at Vassar College in New York came up with the answer. Using dental equipment designed for tooth fillings, he ground up a tiny fragment of the amber, and then observed how it absorbed infrared light. He determined that it was of Baltic origin and was therefore around forty million years old.

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Job and Career Change-Start With Yourself (10 Key Strategies for Success)

Over the past 20 years, as technology grew at a rapid pace to gave us the Internet, smartphones and instant connectivity, the resulting changes have forced us to re-examine our personal and professional lives, our goals and our careers.
As early as March 2002 a Wall Street Journal article described several manufacturers adopting an approach of continual cross-training and moving workers based on the needs of the company. Employees in those situations may have some amount of “employment security”, but since they are paid a different wage based on the job they do, this kind of transfer can seriously impact their finances, their day-to-day sense of security and well-being, and the “traditional” concept of moving up the career ladder.
More and more it becomes evident that although people used to change jobs every 7-10 years, now they change entire careers with the same or greater frequency. With our rapid technological advances, entire careers pop up or go away within a decade. Clearly, the days of working for the same employer for 30-40 years and then retiring are long gone.
In this age of being “free agents” it’s even more important for us to continually upgrade our skills since ultimately, we are the ones responsible for managing our careers. This may mean that we're continually looking for the next thing, or plotting what our next upward or sideways move will be.
Fortunately or unfortunately, many of the “old” rules are gone.
Today we have a world economy - we are no longer isolated in our commerce. All kinds of jobs have moved overseas, shifting to areas where the cost of labor is less. And it's across the board - manufacturing, development, even customer service have been affected.
With the tanking of the economy in the past several years, many people are now finding that they have to take jobs that are outside of their "normal" career path, and sometimes at lower salaries than they’re used to. And in some ways that means they’re lucky, because at least they have a job.
But even if this describes your current situation, it doesn’t mean you are stuck there forever. This series of books are designed to help you plan where to go from here.
These books are NOT about how to write a resume, or even how to interview for a job. There are several really good books already out there that can give you specialized information in these areas. However, as you go through the 10 Strategies, you'll complete several different processes to gather information that will help you when you do write your resume, or get called in for an interview.
Plus, you’ll find several other resources to assist with the more traditional aspects of your job search or career change.
Being downsized or laid off is not always a tragedy. It certainly gives you an opportunity to re-evaluate where you are at this moment. Sometimes you can take advantage of this kind of shift, expanding it to move into a career that is even more meaningful for you.
It’s all up to you, and what you want to make of it.
The 10 Strategies that make up this series are what you need to start with – they will help you figure out what’s really next for you. Regardless of where you’ve been, the future is wide open. And regardless of what it might seem like right now, you’re the one who gets to choose.

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Jurassic Park By Michael Crichton

The velociraptor sniffed. It jerked its head, and looked right at Tim; Tim nearly gasped with fright. Tim’s body was rigid, tense. He watched as the reptile eye moved, scanning the room. Another sniff. He’s got me, Tim thought. Then the head jerked back to look forward, and the animal went on, toward the fifth steak. Tim thought, Lex please don’t move, please don’t move, whatever you do, please don’t ... The velociraptor sniffed the steak, and moved on. It was now at the open door to the freezer. Tim could see the smoke billowing out, curling along the floor toward the animal’s feet. One big clawed foot lifted, then came down again, silently. The dinosaur hesitated. Too cold, Tim thought.

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Just Tell Me What to Say by Betsy Brown Braun

Tips and Scripts for Explaining an Untimely Death

Death is death, regardless of the age of the deceased. All of the same explanations about death hold true, but these situations are especially painful because no one expects a person to die before his time.

Be honest: "Sarah had a problem with her body. The doctors tried very hard to fix it, but they could not, and Sarah died. Her body could not work the way it needed to, and so she died." And then you add: "Usually this does not happen. Usually people live until they are very, very old."

Reassure the child about your well-being: "My body is just fine. Daddy's body is just fine. Your body is just fine. Your sister's body is just fine. We have no problems with our bodies."

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Lady Susan By Jane Austen

My dear mother, I am very sorry to tell you that it will not be in our power to keep our promise of spending the holiday with you, and we are prevented that happiness by a circumstance which is not likely to make us any amends. Lady Susan in a letter to her brother, has declared her intention to visiting us almost immediately, and as such a visit is in all probability merely an affair of convenience, it is impossible to conjecture its length. I was by no means prepared for such an event, nor can I now account for her Ladyship’s conduct. Langford appeared so exactly the place for her in every respect, as well from the elegant and expensive stile of living there.

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Lake Superior

I first laid eyes on Lake Superior and the big country around it more than a decade ago. I drowned myself in its pleasures: fishing for trout, hunting for mushrooms, picking berries in its pine-scented air.

On my frequent returns to the lake country, I have been heartened to find that it remains as I first knew it, uncommonly clear, still heavily forested, and bathed in exquisite stillness.

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Lake Superior ('13)

I first laid eyes on Lake Superior and the big country around it more than a decade ago. I drowned myself in its pleasures: fishing for trout, hunting for mushrooms, picking berries in its pine-scented air. On my frequent returns to the lake country, I have been heartened to find that it remains as I first knew it, uncommonly clear, still heavily forested, and bathed in exquisite stillness. You can hear a lynx scream, follow the tracks of wolves hunting deer, or sail along rock-strewn beaches without seeing a soul. And you may be awakened in the night, as I was in my sleeping bad, by a woodland caribou...

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Letters from God

From Letters to God, by M. Berger and E B White

Now and then a child, seeing how close to heaven the tall buildings ascend writes a letter to God and posts it “care of the Woolworth building” or “care of the Empire State Building.” Sometimes the letter gets as far as the building manager’s office; more often it is waylaid by a practical clerk in the Post Office taken to the basement and piously burned along with scurrilous and obscene letters that fall into the hands of the Department.

We questioned Mr. McDonald over at the Post Office about the propriety of this treatment. “Well”, he said, “when we get a letter addressed to God, we classify it as misdirected. Supposed it ‘s addressed to God, care of the Chrysler Building. Now we know God isn’t at that address, so we—

“How?” we interrupted

Mr. McDonald faltered—"of course one good reason most of it never gets delivered is that, as a rule, God mail lacks proper postage". Children believe that it will go through on faith alone.

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Little Bighorn

It might be argued that the Little Bighorn battlefield became an archaeological site the moment the battle ended, or perhaps when the burial parties left the field, leaving nature to take its course on the debris of war left behind from the fight. However, it seems unlikely that anyone in June 1876 or the remainder of the nineteenth century even remotely considered that possibility. That they were part of an event that had historical import was not lost on the participants, and some even used the distribution of the dead and clusters of fired cartridge cases to make deductions about what may have happened. Though the importance of physical evidence was not lost on these individuals, preservation of the debris of war and the context in which those artifacts were associated likely never entered their minds. It would take time and the evolution of the field of anthropological archaeology over the next hundred years before the necessary theoretical and methodological means were at hand to tease information from the context of the fight's debris to build an increased understanding of the multitude of individual actions that is the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
Interest in the physical evidence of the battle is not new. It began with the victorious warriors who took war trophies, with the soldiers who buried the dead and commandeered souvenirs, and with later visitors to the site who wished to have a tangible reminder of their sojourn on the hallowed ground.

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Little Women

As young readers like to know `how people look', we will take this moment to give them a little sketch of the four sisters, who sat knitting away in the twilight, while the December snow fell quietly without, and the fire crackled cheerfully within. It was a comfortable room,though the carpet was faded and the furniture very plain, for a good picture or two hung on the walls, books filled the recesses, chrysanthemums and Christmas roses bloomed in the windows, and a pleasant atmos- phere of home peace pervaded it.

Margaret, the eldest of the four, was sixteen, and very pretty, being plump and fair, with large eyes, plenty of soft brown hair, a sweet mouth, and white hands,of which she was rather vain. Fifteen- year-old Jo was very tall, thin, and brown, and reminded one of a colt, for she never seemed to know what to do with her long limbs, which were very much in her way. She had a decided mouth, a comical nose, and sharp, gray eyes, which appeared to see everything, and were by turns fierce,funny, or thoughtful. Her long, thick hair was her one beauty, but it was usually bundled into a net, to be out of her way. Round shoulders had Jo, big hands and feet, a fly- away look to her clothes, and the uncomfortable appearance of a girl who was rapidly shooting up into a woman and didn't like it.

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Long Horn, Big shaggy

The bullet chewed into the meat of Jonah Walker’s dust gray horse long before he heard the shot. Jonah kicked free of the stirrups as the horse dropped. He tried his hardest to land on his feet, but didn’t quite manage the trick. He hit the ground like a sack full of busted bricks, smack dab in front of parched out buffalo skull. His ankle twisted and his knee sang out like a freshly skinned Siamese cat.
He stared down at the buffalo skull.
Big ugly thing.
He could have sworn the dead hump bones were laughing at him.
“Shut up skull. You’re dead and I ain’t.”
If they were laughing, he was outnumbered. There was nothing out here but dead humps, as far as he could see.
Dead buffalo, blown down to nothing but shiny white bones.
Skulls and rib cages.
Whole damn skeletons.
Yes sir, the buffalo hunters had picked this range clean a long time ago. They had ridden through this country like a herd of gun toting locusts. They took the skins, and some of the bones that were close enough to the railroad tracks to sell for fertilizer. But way out here, this far from nowhere, in the shadow of the distant mountain that men call the Devil’s Anvil, they just shot the big humps dead and left them right where they fell. Which was probably what the booger that had just shot Jonah’s horse had in mind for him.
At least he was still alive.
The way he figured it, that put him way ahead of the hump skull.
At least for now.
He touched his knee, ginger-like. It felt spongy and warm. It was already swelling up, soft under his fingers, like the bone was wet and rotting. He didn’t think anything was broken. At least he sure hoped not. That horse wasn’t going anywhere too fast, and civilization was one hell of a long hobble-hop-walk away from where he was to.
The horse kicked at the air and snorted red foamy snot.
It wasn’t pretty.
Jonah touched it with a fingertip - a thick pink gumbo of tissue and blood and half breathed air.
Damn.
It was a lung shot. That meant slow death and no coming back. He ought to finish the dang thing off, but he didn’t have that many bullets left.
“I may need these last couple of bullets,” Jonah told the horse.
The horse snorted.
Kicked again.
More horse snot.
Maybe he could use his knife to open its throat. I could save on bullets. I wonder how long it’d take a horse to bleed out dry? Damn thing would probably kick him to death, halfway through dying.
The horse stared up at him with eyes as black and flat as Apache tears.
The damn thing was begging to die.
Shit fire and save on matches.
The beast had been a damn good horse. He’d stolen it three towns back. Horse stealing was pretty bad trouble, but need makes want when the devil rides for home, and at that time he’d needed a horse real bad.
This was all that fat old sheriff’s fault, damn it.

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Love Potions by Michelle M. Pillows

“It’s called a sporran,” Erik said.

“Huh?” Lydia pried her eyes away from his waist, horrified to discover that she’d been staring at the man’s crotch again.

Almost defensively, she said, “I wasn’t wondering what you wore under your kilt.”

“Ah, well that would be nothing at all, lassie,” Erik said, again winking at her, “but I was telling ya that the black bag you’re looking at is called a sporran.”

“Oh,” Lydia turned to the window, rolling her eyes as she mocked herself.

Great going, Lydia! Way to make him think you’re not a sex crazed whore. Wait. Did he just say he was naked under the kilt? She peeked at him, trying to determine if he was teasing her or not. Oh, great. It’s bad enough I can’t think straight around him, now he has to tell me he’s not wearing any underwear.

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Madame Bovary By Gustave Flaubert

They returned to Yonville along the river. The summer weather had reduced its flow and left uncovered the river walls and water steps of the gardens along its bank. It ran silently, swift and cold-looking; long fine grasses bent with the current, like masses of loose green hair streaming in its limpid depths. Here and there on the tip of a reed or on a water-lily pad a spidery-legged insect was poised or crawling. Sunbeams pierced the little blue air bubbles that kept forming and breaking on the ripples; branchless old willows mirrored their gray bark in the water in the distance the meadows seemed empty all around them.

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Madame Bovary By Gustave Flaubert 2

At the sudden impact of those words, crashing into her mind like a leaden bullet into a silver dish, Emma felt herself shudder; and she raised her head, straining to understand what he had meant by them. They looked at each other in silence, almost wonderstruck, each of them, to see that the other was there, so far apart had their thoughts carried them. Charles stared at her with the clouded gaze of a drunken man; motionless in his chair, he was listening to the screams that continued to come from the hotel.

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Making Money in Voice-Overs by Terri Apple

Introduction
Welcome to the wonderful, lucrative, challenging, and creative world of voice-overs.
If you’re reading this book, you’ve probably listened to voice-overs on television commercials or heard announcers or actors on radio spots and thought to yourself, “I could do that.”
Maybe you’ve even looked at some magazine advertisements and tried reading the text of the ad—what we call the copy—aloud. If you have, you’re already on the right track for the commercial voice-over world. Just being aware of the marketplace and listening to the different voice-overs styles used in various ad campaigns can help you begin to understand the nature of the business.
Voice-over work has become an extremely popular option for people considering what to do for a living. (Know many other jobs where you can make six figures and not have to dress up?) In fact, doing voice-overs has become such a popular career choice that many professionals in other fields have turned their part-time dabbling in voice-overs into full-time careers. (A doctor friend of mine recently gave up his medical practice because he made more money, and spent less time working, by doing voice-overs.) Yet as rewarding as this career can be, it’s also very challenging—and it can be tough to break into. Trying to make a go of it in voice-overs isn’t a decision you should make lightly. After all, doing voice-overs means doing a kind of acting. You can have a wonderful speaking voice, but succeeding in voice-overs requires you to know how to apply that God-given talent in professional situations.

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Making Our Democracy Work, A Judge's View, by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

Day after day I see Americans - of every race, religion, nationality, and point of view - trying to resolve their differences in the courtroom. It has not always been so. In earlier times, both here and abroad, individuals and communities settled their differences not in courtrooms under law but on the streets with violence. We Americans treasure the customs and institutions that have helped us find the better way. And we not only hope but also believe that in the future we will continue to resolve disputes under law, just as surely as we will continue to hold elections for president and Congress. Our beliefs reflect the strength of our Constitution and the institutions it has created.

The Constitution’s form and language have helped it endure. The document is short - seven articles and twenty-seven amendments. It focuses primarily on our government’s structure. Its provisions form a simple coherent whole, permitting readers without technical knowledge to understand the document and the government it creates. And it traces the government’s authority directly to a single source of legitimizing power - “We the People.”

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Marcus Tullius Cicero Address to the Senate

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.

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Martinsville Football Book

Prologue

This is a story that must be told. It is the story of a football program that achieved excellence and was ultimately punished for being too good. The competitive nature of our society makes it hard to conceive that a team could be called “too good,” but this actually happened to the Martinsville High School football program in Virginia during the fall of 1977. Try to imagine a group of young men, who had grown up idolizing a coach and a football program only to be told they could no longer compete.

This is the story of the 1979 Martinsville Bulldogs.

As I started to tell the story of our team, I realized this story was much bigger than our 1979 football team. The story involved two dominant high school programs and two legendary high school football coaches. It involves the influences they had on the lives of many young men. Most important, it brings to life the lessons we learned through the game of football.

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Memory by H.P. Lovecraft

In the valley of Nis the accursed waning moon shines thinly, tearing a path for its light with feeble horns through the lethal foliage of a great upas-tree.

And within the depths of the valley, where the light reaches not, move forms not meant to be beheld. Rank is the herbage on each slope, where evil vines and creeping plants crawl amidst the stones of ruined palaces, twining tightly about broken columns and strange monoliths, and heaving up marble pavements laid by forgotten hands.

And in trees that grow gigantic in crumbling courtyards leap little apes, while in and out of deep treasure-vaults writhe poison serpents and scaly things without a name.

Vast are the stones which sleep beneath coverlets of dank moss, and mighty were the walls from which they fell. For all time did their builders erect them, and in sooth they yet serve nobly, for beneath them the grey toad makes his habitation.

At the very bottom of the valley lies the river Than, whose waters are slimy and filled with weeds. From hidden springs it rises, and to subterranean grottoes it flows, so that the Daemon of the Valley knows not why its waters are red, nor whither they are bound.

The Genie that haunts the moonbeams spake to the Daemon of the Valley, saying, "I am old, and forget much. Tell me the deeds and aspect and name of them who built these things of Stone."

And the Daemon replied, "I am Memory, and am wise in lore of the past, but I too am old. These beings were like the waters of the river Than, not to be understood. Their deeds I recall not, for they were but of the moment. Their aspect I recall dimly, it was like to that of the little apes in the trees. Their name I recall clearly, for it rhymed with that of the river. These beings of yesterday were called Man."

So the Genie flew back to the thin horned moon, and the Daemon looked intently at a little ape in a tree that grew in a crumbling courtyard.

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Men With Blackwater Die By Beryl Markham

There is a feeling of absolute finality about the end of a flight through darkness. The whole scheme of things with which you have lived acutely, during hours of roaring sound in an element altogether detached from the world, ceases abruptly. The plane noses groundward, the wings strain to the firmer cushion of earthbound air, wheels touch, and the engine sighs into silence. The dream of flight is suddenly gone before the mundane realities of growing grass and swirling dust, the slow plodding of men and the enduring patience of rooted trees. Freedom escapes you again, and wings that were a moment ago no less than an eagle's, and swifter, are metal and wood once more, inert and heavy.

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Mirrors (flash fiction story)

I moved in here three weeks ago hoping I'll grow as a person. However, things didn't go at all like that.
Day, night, it doesn't matter when, two mirrors high atop a tower that's ten feet away from my apartment light me up.
Their brightness seeps through the window, shades, even cardboard stand, and burns me.
I've been to the hospital twice, to get a check-up. Health deteriorated between visits. Probably since then, too. I haven't had the money to go a third time. Eyes are shot.
Heard the last owner died.
Shotgun and shells are in closet. Better use

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Mom and Dad (a/k/a "What Makes Parents")

God took the strength of a mountain, the majesty of a tree, the warmth of a summer sun, the calm of a quiet sea, the generous soul of nature, the comforting arm of night, the wisdom of the ages, the power of the eagle's flight, the joy of a morning in spring, the faith of a mustard seed, the patience of eternity, the depth of a family's need. Then God combined these qualities. When there was nothing more to add, He knew his masterpiece complete. And so he called it "Mom and Dad".

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Monkey See, Monkey Do, Monkey Connect (Science Writing) by Frans de Waal

What intrigues me most about laughter is how it spreads. It’s
almost impossible not to laugh when everybody else is.
There have been laughing epidemics, in which no one could stop
and some even died in a prolonged fit. There are laughing churches
and laugh therapies based on the healing power of laughter. The
must-have toy of 1996—Tickle Me Elmo—laughed hysterically
after being squeezed three times in a row. All of this because we
love to laugh and can’t resist joining laughing around us. This is
why comedy shows on television have laugh tracks and why theater
audiences are sometimes sprinkled with “laugh plants”: people paid
to produce raucous laughing at any joke that comes along.
The infectiousness of laughter even works across species.
Below my office window at the Yerkes Primate Center, I often hear
my chimps laugh during rough-and-tumble games, and I cannot
suppress a chuckle myself. It’s such a happy sound. Tickling and
wrestling are the typical laugh triggers for apes, and probably
the original ones for humans. The fact that tickling oneself is
notoriously ineffective attests to its social significance. An when
young apes put on their play face, their friends join in with the
same expression as rapidly and easily as humans do with laughter.

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Monster by Jonathan Kellerman

Monster by Jonathan Kellerman

Chapter 11
William Swig said, "you think that means something?"

It was just after four P.M. and we were back in his office, Milo's unmarked was low on gas, so he left it at the park and I drove to Starkweather.

On the way, he made two calls on the cell phone. An attempt to reach the sheriff of Treadway, California, resulted in a rerouting to the voicemail system of a private security firm named Bunker Protection. Put on hold for several minutes, he finally got through. The brief conversation left him shaking his head.

"Gone," he said.

"The Sheriff?"

"The whole damn town. It's a retirement community now, called Fairway Ranch. Bunker does the policing. I talked to some robocop with an attitude: 'All questions of that nature must be referred to national headquarters in Chicago.' "

The call to Swig connected, but when we arrived at the hospital's front gate, the guard hadn't been informed. Phoning Swig's office again finally got us in, but we had to wait awhile before Frank Dollard showed up to walk us across the yard. This time he barely greeted us. Impending evening hadn't tamed the heat. Only three men were out on the yard, one of them Chet, waiving his huge hands wildly as he told stories to the sky.

The moment we passed through the end gate, Dollard stepped away and left us to enter the gray building alone. Swig was waiting just inside the door. He hurried us in to his office.

Now he tented his hands and rocked in his desk chair. "A box, eyes - this is obviously psychotic rambling. Why do you take it seriously, Doctor?"

"Even psychotics can have something to say," I said.

"Can they? I can't say I've found that to be the case."

"Maybe it's no big deal, sir," said Milo, "but it does bear follow-up."

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Monster Without Souls

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a monster at the bottom of a lake. This monster craved souls, and spent every waking hour outside the lake searching for one. However, this world was too big for a monster, so it split itself into two- one heading east and the other heading west both hoping to find something.

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Negotiate Like A Pro By Lisa Bertagnoli

Even in these enlightened days when women are CEOs and Cabinet Members, many still feel uncomfortable with blatant displays of power. Women are often afraid to ask for what they want because they tend to confuse assertion with aggression. Aggression implies violation. When you act aggressively, the other person will feel angry or taken advantage of. Assertion, on the other hand, means going after what you want without demeaning or intimidating the other person.

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Never Cry Wolf By Farley Mowat

I listened, but if a wolf was broadcasting from those hills he was not on my wavelength. George, who had been sleeping on the crest of the esker, suddenly sat up, cocked his ears forward and pointed his long muzzle toward the north. After a minute or two he threw back his head and howled; a long, quavering howl which started low and ended on the highest note my ears would register. Ootek grabbed my arm and broke into a delighted grin. “Caribou are coming; the wolf says so!”

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Nothing Less than War

“We are walking on quicksand,” wrote Woodrow Wilson to a cousin in September 1915. For over a year the president had sought to steer a neutral course during a conflict first known as the Great War, then as World War I. Costing 30 million casualties and 8 million dead, the event was sufficiently cataclysmic for diplomat and historian George Frost Kennan to designate it “the great seminal conflict of this century.”
During the past few months, one major power had confiscated huge amounts of American goods being shipped to Imperial Germany. Another leading belligerent had sunk the world’s largest ocean liner, in the process killing well over one hundred U.S. citizens.
That autumn the situation showed itself increasingly precarious. On one side of the massive struggle were the Central Powers, in August 1914 an alliance of Germany and Austria-Hungary but soon extending to the Ottoman Empire and close to a year later to Bulgaria.
On the other side were the Allies, also known as the Entente, a coalition of Britain, France, and Russia. Japan joined the Allies in late August 1914, Italy in May 1915, and Rumania in August 1916.

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Nothing Less Than War - by Justus D. Doenecke

Chapter 5
Frustrating Times
August 1915–March 1916

On August 19, 1915, seventy miles off Queenstown, Ireland, at about three in the afternoon, the German submarine U-27 halted the British mule steamer Nicosian. Acting in accordance with the rules of international law, the U-boat was waiting for the Nicosian’s crew to evacuate, when a vessel that appeared to be a tramp steamer, flying the American flag, approached. Once the oncoming vessel reached within one hundred yards of the submarine, it hoisted the English flag, opened fire, and immediately sank it. In reality the supposed rescue craft was a British “Mystery Ship” or “Q-boat,” a decoy ship named Baralong. Eleven German sailors were shot as they floundered in the ocean and sought refuge on the Nicosian. The Nicosian’s crew murdered the U-boat captain in the water while his hands were raised in surrender. Within ten days, several of the forty-five American “muleteers” on board the Nico¬sian revealed what had transpired.

“Isn’t this one of the most unspeakable performances?” asked Wilson upon hearing the news. “It’s horrible.” Lansing ruled Britain’s behavior “shocking,” though he did not lodge a protest, claiming that the affidavits of the ten or so American muleteers conflicted in some details. Such use of the American flag, the State Department maintained, had occurred during previous wars; the United States had engaged in this practice.

London quickly defended the Baralong’s action. The ship, it said, was merely a defensively armed steamer, although it possessed twelve-pound guns and was commissioned in the British Navy. Foreign Secretary Grey curtly remarked: “The British Government does not think it necessary to make reply to the suggestion that the British navy has been guilty of inhumanity.” Britain did propose that an impartial tribunal of American naval officers investigate the affair. Such a probe, however, must include three other incidents as well, one being the Arabic, another involving a German destroyer alleged to have fired on the crew of a British submarine off the Danish coast. The German government rejected the proposal. To Berlin, “playing by the rules” had proven futile.

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Of Mice and Men by John Stienbeck

Of Mice and Men
George came quietly out of the brush.
George said quietly, “What the hell you yellin’ about?”
Lennie got up on his knees.
“You ain’t gonna leave me, are ya, George? I know you ain’t.”
George came stiffly near and sat down beside him. “No.”
“I knowed it,” Lennie cried. “You ain’t that kind.”
George was silent.
Lennie said, “George.”
“Yeah?”
“I done another bad thing.”
“It don’t make no difference,” George said, and he fell silent again.
Only the topmost ridges were in the sun now.
The shadow in the valley was blue and soft.
From the distance came the sound of men shouting to one another.
George turn his head and listened to the shouts.
Lennie said, “George.”
“Yeah?”
Ain’t you gonna give me hell?”
“Give ya hell?”
“Sure, like you always done before.
Like ‘If I di’n’t have you I’d take my fifty bucks –‘”
“Jesus Christ, Lennie! You can’t remember nothing that happens,
But you remember ever’ word I say.”
“Well, ain’t you gonna say it?”
George shook himself.
He said woodenly,
“If I was alone I could live so easy.”
His voice was monotonous, had no emphasis.
“I could get a job an’ not have no mess.”
He stopped.
“Go on,” said Lennie.
“An’ when the enda the month come--.”
“An’ when the enda the month come I could take my fifty bucks an’ go to a… cathouse…” He stopped again.
Lennie looked eagerly at him. “Go on George. Ain’t you gonna give me no more hell?”
“No” said George.
“Well, I can go away,” said Lennie.
“I’ll go right off in the hills an’ find a cave if you don’ want me.”
George shook himself again.
“No,” he said.
“I want you to stay with me here.”
Lennie said craftily --- “Tell me like you done before.”
“Tell you what?”
“ ‘Bout the other guys an’ about us.”
George said.
“Guys like us got no family. They make a little stake an’ then blow it in. They ain’t got nobody in the worl’ that give a hoot in hell about ‘em—“
“But not us,” Lennie cried happily. “Tell about us now.”
George was quiet for a moment. “But not us,” he said.
“Because –“
“Because I got you an’ --- “
“An’ I got you. We got each other, that’s what, that gives a hoot in hell about us,” Lennie cried in triumph.
The little evening breeze blew over the clearing and the leaves rustled and the wind waves flowed up the green pool. And the shouts of men sounded again, this time much closer than before.
George took off his hat.
He said shakily,
“Take off your hat, Lennie . The air feels fine.”
Lennie removed his hat dutifully and laid it on the ground in front of him. The shadow in the valley was bluer, and the evening came fast. On the wind the sound of crashing through the brush came to them.
Lennie said, “Tell how it’s gonna be.”
George had been listening to the distant sounds.
For the moment he was business-like.
“Look acrost the river, Lennie, an I’ll tell you so you can almost see it.”
Lennie turned his head and looked off across the pool and up the darkening slopes of the Gabilans.
“We gonna get a little place,” George began. He reached in his side pocket and brought out Carlson’s Luger; he snapped off the safety, and the hand and gun lay on the ground behind Lennie’s back. He looked at the back of Lennie’s head, at the place where the spine and skull were joined.
A man’s voice called from up the river, and another man answered.
“Go on,” said Lennie.
George raised the gun and his hand shook, and he dropped his hand to the ground again.
“Go on,” said Lennie.
“How’s it gonna be? We gonna get a little place.”

“We’ll have a cow,” said George.
“An’ we’ll have maybe a pig an’ chickens….
an’ down on the flat we’ll have a….
little piece of alfalfa—“
“For the Rabbits.” Lennie shouted.
“For the Rabbits.” George repeated.
“And I get to tend the rabbits.”
“An’ you get to tend the rabbits.”
Lennie giggled with happiness.
“An’ live on the fatta the lan’.”
“Yes.”
Lennie turned his head.
“No, Lennie. Look down there acrost the river, like you can almost see the place.”
Lennie obeyed him. George looked down at the gun.
There were crashing footsteps in the brush now. George turned and looked toward them.
“Go on, George. When we gonna do it?”
“Gonna do it soon.”
“Me an’ you.”
“You…. an’ me. Ever’body gonna be nice to you. Ain’t gonna be no more trouble. Nobody gonna hurt nobody nor steal from ‘em.”
Lennie said, “I thought you was mad at me, George.”
“No,” said George. “No Lennie. I ain’t mad. I never been mad, an I ain’t now. That’s the thing I want you to know.”
The voices came close now. George raised the gun and listened to the voices.
Lennie begged, “Le’s do it now. Le’s get that place now.”
“Sure, right now. I gotta. We gotta.”
And George raised the gun and steadied it, and he brought the muzzle of it close to the back of Lennie’s head. The hand shook violently, but his face set and his hand steadied. He pulled the trigger.
The crash of the shot rolled up the hills and down again. Lennie jarred, and then settled slowly forward to the sand, and he lay without quivering. George shivered and looked at the gun, and then he threw it from him, back up on the bank, by the old pile of ashes.
The brush seemed filled with cries and with the sound of running feet.
Slim’s voice shouted,
“George, where you at, George?”
But George sat stiffly on the bank and looked at his hand that had thrown the gun away. The group burst into the clearing, and Curly was ahead. He saw Lennie lying on the sand. “Got him, by God.” He went over and looked down at Lennie, and then he looked back at George. “Right in the back of the head,” he said softly.
Slim came directly to George and sat down beside him, sat very close to him.
“Never you mind,” said Slim. “A guy gotta sometimes.”
But Carlson was standing over George. “How’d you do it?” he asked.
“I just done it.” George said tiredly.
“Did he have my gun?”
“Yeah, He had your gun.”
“An’ you got it away from him and you took it an’ killed him?”
“Yeah, tha’s how.” George’s voice was almost a whisper. He looked steadily at his right hand that had held the gun.
Slim twitched George’s elbow.
“Come on, George. Me an’ you’ll go in an’ get a drink.”
George let himself be helped to his feet. “Yeah, a drink.”
Slim said, “You hadda, George. I swear you hadda. Come on with me.
He led George to entrance of the trail and up toward the highway.
Curly and Carlson looked after them. And Carlson said,
“Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin’ them two guys?”

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Omnivore's Dilemma...Second Day on the Farm

Omnivore’s Dilemma
Michael Pollan
excerpt, pages 212, 213
(whole excerpt runs about 1:50)

That day, my second on the farm, as Joel introduced me to each of his intricately layered enterprises, I began to understand just how radically different this sort of farming is from the industrial models I’d observed before, whether in an Iowa cornfield or an organic chicken farm in California. Indeed, it is so different that I found Polyface’s system difficult to describe to myself in an orderly way. Industrial processes follow a clear, linear, hierarchical logic that is fairly easy to put into words, probably because words follow a similar logic: First this, then that; put this in here, and then out comes that. But the relationship between cows and chickens on this farm (leaving aside for the moment the other creatures and relationships present here) takes the form of a loop rather than a line, and that makes it hard to know where to start, or how to distinguish between causes and effects, subjects and objects.

Is what I’m looking at in this pasture a system for producing exceptionally tasty eggs? If so, then the cattle and their manure are a means to an end. Or is it a system for producing grass-fed beef without the use of any chemicals, in which case the chickens, by fertilizing and sanitizing the cow pastures, comprise the means to that end. So does that make their eggs a product or a by-product? And is manure--theirs or the cattle’s--a waste product or a raw material? (And what should we call the fly larvae?) Depending on the point of view you take--that of the chicken, the cow, or even the grass--the relationship between subject and object, cause and effect, flips.

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One for the Money

ONE FOR THE MONEY - Janet Evanovich
THERE ARE SOME men who enter a woman’s life and screw
it up forever. Joseph Morelli did this to me—not forever,
but periodically.
Morelli and I were both born and raised in a blue-collar
chunk of Trenton called the Burg. Houses were attached
and narrow. Yards were small. Cars were American. The
people were mostly of Italian descent, with enough Hungarians
and Germans thrown in to offset inbreeding. It was
a good place to buy calzone or play the numbers. And, if
you had to live in Trenton anyway, it was an okay place to
raise a family.
When I was a kid I didn’t ordinarily play with Joseph
Morelli. He lived two blocks over and was two years older.
“Stay away from those Morelli boys,” my mother had
warned me. “They’re wild. I hear stories about the things
they do to girls when they get them alone.”
“What kind of things?” I’d eagerly asked.
“You don’t want to know,” my mother had answered.
“Terrible things. Things that aren’t nice.”
From that moment on, I viewed Joseph Morelli with a
combination of terror and prurient curiosity that bordered
on awe. Two weeks later, at the age of six, with quaking
knees and a squishy stomach, I followed Morelli into his
father’s garage on the promise of learning a new game.
The Morelli garage hunkered detached and snubbed at
the edge of their lot. It was a sorry affair, lit by a single
shaft of light filtering through a grime-coated window. Its
air was stagnant, smelling of corner must, discarded tires,
and jugs of used motor oil. Never destined to house the
Morelli cars, the garage served other purposes. Old Man
Morelli used the garage to take his belt to his sons, his sons
used the garage to take their hands to themselves, and
Joseph Morelli took me, Stephanie Plum, to the garage to
play train.
“What’s the name of this game?” I’d asked Joseph
Morelli.
“Choo-choo,” he’d said, down on his hands and knees,
crawling between my legs, his head trapped under my
short pink skirt. “You’re the tunnel, and I’m the train.”
I suppose this tells something about my personality. That I’m not especially good at taking advice. Or that I was
born with an overload of curiosity. Or maybe it’s about rebellion
or boredom or fate. At any rate, it was a one-shot
deal and darn disappointing, since I’d only gotten to be the
tunnel, and I’d really wanted to be the train.

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Ordeal in Space

Maybe we should never have ventured into space. Our race has two basic, innate fears; noise, and the fear of falling. Those terrible heights—Why should any man in his right mind let himself be placed where he could fall…and fall…and fall—But all spacemen are crazy. Everyone knows that.

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Ordeal in Space

Maybe we should never have ventured out into space. Our race has but two basic, innate fears; noise, and the fear of falling. Those terrible heights—Why should any man in his right mind let himself be placed where he could fall…and fall…and fall—But all spacemen are crazy. Everyone knows that.

The Medicos had been very kind, he supposed. “You’re lucky. You want to remember that old fellow. You’re still young and your retired pay relieves you of all worry about your future. You’ve got both arms and legs and are in fine shape.”
“Fine shape!” His voice was unintentionally contemptuous. “No, I mean it,” the chief psychiatrist had persisted gently. “The little quirk you have does you no harm at all—except that you can’t go out into space again. I can’t honestly call acrophobia a neurosis; fear of falling is normal and sane. You’ve just got it a little more strongly than most—but that is not abnormal, in view of what you have been through.
The reminder sent him to shaking again. He closed his eyes and saw the stars wheeling below him again. He was falling…falling endlessly. The psychiatrist’s voice came back through to him and pulled him back. “Steady old man! Look around you.”
“Sorry.”
“Not at all. Now tell me, what do you plan to do?”
“I don’t know. Get a job I suppose.”

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Ordeal in Space By Robert A. Heinlein

Maybe we should never have ventured out into space. Our race has but two basic, innate fears; noise, and the fear of falling. Those terrible heights—Why should any man in his right mind let himself be placed where he could fall…and fall…and fall—But all spacemen are crazy. Everyone knows that.

The Medicos had been very kind, he supposed. “You’re lucky. You want to remember that old fellow. You’re still young and your retired pay relieves you of all worry about your future. You’ve got both arms and legs and are in fine shape.”
“Fine shape!” His voice was unintentionally contemptuous. “No, I mean it,” the chief psychiatrist had persisted gently. “The little quirk you have does you no harm at all—except that you can’t go out into space again. I can’t honestly call acrophobia a neurosis; fear of falling is normal and sane. You’ve just got it a little more strongly than most—but that is not abnormal, in view of what you have been through.
The reminder sent him to shaking again. He closed his eyes and saw the stars wheeling below him again. He was falling…falling endlessly. The psychiatrist’s voice came back through to him and pulled him back. “Steady old man! Look around you.”
“Sorry.”
“Not at all. Now tell me, what do you plan to do?”
“I don’t know. Get a job I suppose.”
“The company will give you a job, you know.”
He shook his head. “I don’t want to hang around a spaceport. Wear a little button in his shirt to show the was once a man, be addressed by a courtesy title of captain, claim the privileges of the pilot’s lounge on the basis of what he used to be, hear the shop talk die down whenever he approached a group, wonder what they were saying behind his back—no thank you!
“I think you’re wise. Best to make a clean break, for a while at least, until you are feeling better.”
“You think I’ll get over it?”
The psychiatrist pursed his lips. “Possible. It’s functional you know. No Trauma.”
“But you don’t think so?”
“I didn’t say that. I honestly don’t know. We still know very little about what makes a man tick.”
“I see. Well I might as well be leaving.”
The psychiatrist stood up and shoved out his hand.
“Holler if you want anything. And comeback to see us in any case.”
“Thanks.”
“You’re going to be all right. I know it.”
But the psychiatrist shook his head as his patient walked out. The man did not walk like a spaceman. The easy, animal self-confidence was gone.
Only a small part of Great New York was roofed over in those days; he stayed underground until he was in that section, then sought out a passageway lined with bachelor rooms. He stuck a coin in the slot of the first one which displayed a lighted “vacant” sign, chucked his jump bag inside, and left. The monitor at the intersection gave him the address of the nearest placement office. He went there, seated himself at an interview desk, stamped in his finger prints, and started filling out forms. It gave him a curious back-to-the beginning feeling; he had not looked for a job since pre-cadet days.
He left filling in his name to the last and hesitated even then. He had had more than his bellyful of publicity; he did not want to be recognized; he certainly did not want to be throbbed over—and most of all he did not want anyone telling him he was a hero. Presently he printed in the name “William Saunders” and dropped the forms in the slot.
He was well into his third cigarette and getting ready to strike another when the screen in front of him at last lighted up. He found himself staring at a nice-looking brunette. “Mr. Saunders,” the image said, “will you come inside please? Door seventeen.”
The brunette in person was there to offer him a seat and a cigarette. “Make yourself comfortable Mr. Saunders. I’m Miss Joyce. I’d like to talk with you about your application.”
He settled himself and waited, without speaking.
When she saw that he did not intend to speak, she added, “Now take this name “William Saunders” which you have given us—we know who you are, of course, from your prints.”
“I suppose so.”
“Of course I know what everybody knows about you, but your action in calling yourself “William Saunders,” Mr.—“
“Saunders”
“—Mr. Saunders, caused me to query the files.” She held up a microfilm spool, turned so that he might read his own name on it. “I know quite a bit about you now—more than the public knows, and more than you saw fit to put into your application. It’s a good record, Mr. Saunders.”
“Thank you.”
“But I can't use it in placing you in a job. I can't even refer to it if you insist on designating yourself as Saunders.”
“The name is Saunders. His voice was flat, rather than emphatic

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Our Racoon Year, by Paul Theroux

Our Raccoon Year, by Paul Theroux

One winter day Pa’s chair creaked as he sat up straight. He had been sleeping but heard something: a car in the driveway. He squinted as though a raccoon was approaching and he eyed Ma slipping out of the car as he would have eyed an animal.

When she came inside the house he said, “Where’s your friend?”
“Away for various reasons,” she said. We hadn’t seen her for a year. She was wearing a warm fleece jacket that we recognized, and ski pants and sturdy shoes. But her face was sad and pale and she seemed uneasy. “What’s that funny smell?” “They have scent glands in their armpits” Pa said.
She hugged us, and when I felt her arms I could tell she was thinner. She pressed her head against us, as though in prayer, then said, “Let’s go outside.”
The day was still and cold, ice crusts on the brown grass, frozen dewdrops on the dead leaves, an animal smell in the windless air.
“We’ve got raccoons.”
“I wish I could help,” she said, but she looked nervous.
Pa had followed us out to the gravel path. He said, “Everyone’s got raccoons. You’d just make it worse.”

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Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

The first interesting thing about the Beatles for our purposes is how long they had already been together by the time they reached the United States. Lennon and McCartney first started playing together in 1957, seven years prior to landing in America. (Incidentally, the time that elapsed between their founding, and their arguably greatest artistic achievements – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beatles [White Album] – is ten years.) And if you look even more closely at those long years of preparation, you’ll find an experience that, in the context of hockey players and Bill Joy and world-class violinists, sounds awfully familiar. In 1960, while they were still just a struggling high school rock band, they were invited to play in Hamburg, Germany.
“Hamburg in those days did not have rock-and-roll music clubs. It had strip clubs,” says Philip Norman, who wrote the Beatles biography Shout! “There was one particular club owner called Bruno, who was originally a fairground showman. He had the idea of bringing rock groups to play in various clubs. They had this formula. It was a huge nonstop show, hour after hour, with a lot of people lurching in and the other lot lurching out. And the bands would play all the time to catch the passing traffic. In an American red-light district, they would call it nonstop striptease.
“Many of the bands that played in Hamburg were from Liverpool.” Norman went on. “It was an accident. Bruno went to London to look for bands. But he happened to meet an entrepreneur from Liverpool in Soho who was down in London by pure chance. And he arranged to send some bands over. That’s how the connection was established. And eventually the Beatles made a connection not just with Bruno but with other club owners as well. They kept going back because they got a lot of alcohol and a lot of sex.
What was so special about Hamburg? It wasn’t that it paid well. It didn’t. Or that the acoustics were fantastic. They weren’t. Or that the audiences were savvy and appreciative. They were anything but. It was the sheer amount of time the band was forced to play.

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Panic Room by David Koepp

I really screwed the pooch this time. I never did anything like this before. Break into somebody’s house? Not even close. Bad cards, Kid. I swear to God, I been on the wrong end of maybe six straight years of bad cards. House. Car. Wife. (snaps his fingers — gone) Those are some seriously bad cards. And still, every time I pick up a fresh hand I swear to God, the rush comes so hot and prickly I feel it right down to my toes because this time, this one time, it might be there, this time it might be that hand, that perfect hand, that monster hand. (shakes his head)And you thought you were sick.

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Pillars Of The Earth By Ken Follett

The small boys came early to the hanging.

It was still dark when the first three or four of them sidled out of the hovels, quiet as cats in their felt boots. A thick layer of fresh snow covered the little town like a new coat of paint, and theirs were the first footprints to blemish its perfect surface. They picked their way through the huddled wooden huts and along the streets of frozen mud to the silent marketplace, where the gallows stood waiting. The boys despised everything their elders valued. They scorned beauty and mocked goodness. They would hoot with laughter at the sight of a cripple, and if they saw a wounded animal they would stone it to death.

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Poetry by Dionne Irving

In high school, get pissed off at everyone and everything. Stay pissed off. This is what makes you a poet. Know that good poetry, the best poetry, comes from being angry. Write poems about violence, sex, and death. Read lots of Nietzsche. God is dead. Cut your hair short and spiky in the front, keep it long in the back, and keep it stiff with a combination of Dippity-Do and toothpaste. Ignore your parents when they ask you what you’re trying to prove.

One weekend, take the train into the city and go slam dancing in a room painted black. Chug Jack Daniels out of a bottle behind the club with your best friend. Minor Threat plays on the main stage. Pump your fist in the air, and enjoy the way your head swims. Someone slams into you hard and your teeth rattle. Take a few steps backward. Hear your friend yell, “Are you okay?” Say you’re fine.

The guy who hits you is apologetic. He pantomimes smoking a cigarette. Nod and let him take your hand and lead you toward the back of the room. Notice the tattoo on his wrist. Love it.

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Popping examples

Chapter 11 chapter 11 queens and Nightmares one lightly colored to the many servants and courtiers that approached. I could see that she had an intense affection for him. I was looking around for Chin. Each doorway had a thick cloth that could be rolled down from the top for privacy. She bit her lip and look behind her then held up both hands I nodded at the young girl that had been standing outside the bathroom the entire time. And she impatiently led me away we were all relieved when the flickering light we were all relieved when the flickering light. I had arranged to be quickly and quietly buried in a secret tomb known only to my closest. Close I didn't feel any particular leading and small gold nuggets I knew of this man I felt the leading and knew he was telling me the truth once we had helped our new friend I knew that only.

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Pride and prejudice

Mrs. Gardiner's caution to Elizabeth was punctually and kindly given on the first favorable
opportunity of speaking to her alone; after honestly telling her what she thought,
she thus went on:
"You are too sensible a girl, Lizzy, to fall in love merely because you are warned against
it; and, therefore, I am not afraid of speaking openly. Seriously, I would have you be on
your guard. Do not involve yourself or endeavor to involve him in an affection which the
want of fortune would make so very imprudent. I have nothing to say against him; he
is a most interesting young man; and if he had the fortune he ought to have, I should
think you could not do better. But as it is, you must not let your fancy run away with
you. You have sense, and we all expect you to use it. Your father would depend on
your resolution and good conduct, I am sure. You must not disappoint your father."
"My dear aunt, this is being serious indeed."
"Yes, and I hope to engage you to be serious likewise."
"Well, then, you need not be under any alarm. I will take care of myself, and of Mr.
Wickham too. He shall not be in love with me, if I can prevent it."
"Elizabeth, you are not serious now."
"I beg your pardon, I will try again. At present I am not in love with Mr. Wickham; no, I
certainly am not. But he is, beyond all comparison, the most agreeable man I ever
saw--and if he becomes really attached to me--I believe it will be better that he should
not. I see the imprudence of it. Oh! That abominable Mr. Darcy! My father's opinion of
me does me the greatest honor, and I should be miserable to forfeit it. My father, however,
is partial to Mr. Wickham. In short, my dear aunt, I should be very sorry to be the
means of making any of you unhappy; but since we see every day that where there is
affection, young people are seldom withheld by immediate want of fortune from entering
into engagements with each other, how can I promise to be wiser than so many of
my fellow-creatures if I am tempted, or how am I even to know that it would be wisdom
83
to resist? All that I can promise you, therefore, is not to be in a hurry. I will not be in a
hurry to believe myself his first object. When I am in company with him, I will not be
wishing. In short, I will do my best."
"Perhaps it will be as well if you discourage his coming here so very often. At least, you
should not remind you mother of inviting him."
"As I did the other day," said Elizabeth with a conscious smile:
"Very true, it will be wise in me to refrain from that. But do not imagine that he is always
here so often. It is on your account that he has been so frequently invited this week.
You know my mother's ideas as to the necessity of constant company for her friends.
But really, and upon my honor, I will try to do what I think to be the wisest; and now I
hope you are satisfied."
Her aunt assured her that she was, and Elizabeth having thanked her for the kindness
of her hints, they parted; a wonderful instance of advice being given on such a point,
without being resented.

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Pride and Prejudice - Excerpt from Chapter 1

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.
"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"
Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.
"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it."
Mr. Bennet made no answer.
"Do you not want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.
"You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it." This was invitation enough.
"Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Nether-
field is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take posses- sion before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week."
"What is his name?"
"Bingley."
"Is he married or single?"
"Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large for-
tune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!"

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R Is For Ricochet

R is for Ricochet
by Sue Grafton
Putnam, 2004

The basic question is this: given human nature, are any of us really capable of change? The mistakes other people make are usually patently obvious. Our own are tougher to recognize. In most cases, our path through life reflects a fundamental truth about who we are now and who we've been since birth. We're optimists or pessimists, joyful or depressed, gullible or cynical, inclined to seek adventure or to avoid all risks. Therapy might strengthen our assets or offset our liabilities, but in the main we do what we do because we've always done it that way, even when the outcome is bad...perhaps especially when the outcome is bad.
This is a story about romance-love gone right, love gone wrong, and matters somewhere in between.

Contributed by Richurd

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Ranger's Apprentice - The Ruins of Gorlan

It was long after midnight. The flickering torches around the castle yard, already replaced once, had begun to burn low again. Will had watched patiently for hours, waiting for this moment - when the light was uncertain and the guards were yawning, in the last hour of their shift. The day had been one of the worst he could remember. While his yearmates celebrated, enjoying their feast and then spending their time in lighthearted horseplay through the castle and the village, Will had slipped away to the silence of the forest, a kilometer or so from the castle walls. There, in the dim green coolness beneath the trees, he had spent the afternoon reflecting bitterly on the events of the Choosing, nursing the deep pain of disappointment and wondering what the Ranger's paper said. As the long day wore on, and the shadows began to lengthen in the open fields beside the forest, he came to a decision. He had to know what was on the paper. And he had to know tonight.

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Red, Hot, and Blue: A Smithsonian Tribute to the American Musical

Before movies and recordings gave musicals a degree of permanence, all that existed was live performance. People streamed into vaudeville houses, theaters, and concert halls for their musical entertainment. But by the late nineteenth century, a nascent mass entertainment industry was appearing. In 1877 Thomas Alva Edison invented a cylinder “talking machine,” advertising that “it talks, it laughs, it plays, it sings!” By 1889 he has devised a “kinetoscope,” a machine in which fifty feet of 35-mm positive film revolved on a spool: when a coin (a nickel) was dropped in a slot, an electric light flashed on the film; a tiny motor moved the film frame by frame so that a viewer looking through the peephole would see a cavalcade of images in motion. Musical performers were among the first filmed, their movements flickering across tiny screens.

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Reflections on Ice Breaking by Ogden Nash

Candy
Is Dandy
But liquor
Is quicker.

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Rethinking Money by Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne

"It's a slow day in the small town of Pumphandle and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living on credit.

A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night. As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op.

The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer "services" on credit.

The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off a room bill with the hotel owner.

The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill and leaves.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town now thinks that they are out of debt and there is a false atmosphere of optimism and glee."

This amusing anecdote, circulated around the internet, illustrates the effects of a stimulus package. Apparently the first iteration appeared during the Great Depression, when local stamp script currencies were created to address the crisis. In the earlier version, the kicker is when the salesman who deposited the $100.00 note on the desk picks it up and lights his cigar with it.

“Counterfeit,” he said, “A fake gift from a crazy friend.”
So what is money? What makes it real? Or perhaps more important, what makes it legal?

Despite its paramount role in our lives, ordinary people and experts alike seldom question or think about what money really is, which suggests that a deep collective blindness is at work.

Taken from: Rethinking Money by Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne
Contributed by Richurd

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Revelation Excerpt by Flannery O'Connor

"Do you have one of those cotton-picking machines?" the pleasant lady asked.

"No," Mrs. Turpin said, "they leave half the cotton in the field. We don't have much cotton anyway. If you want to make it farming now, you have to have a little of everything. We got a couple of acres of cotton and a few hogs and chickens and just enough white-face that Claud can look after them himself.

"One thang I don't want," the white-trash woman said, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. "Hogs. Nasty stinking things, a-gruntin and a-rootin all over the place."

Mrs. Turpin gave her the merest edge of her attention. "Our hogs are not dirty and they don't stink," she said. "They're cleaner than some children I've seen. Their feet never touch the ground. We have a pig-parlor- that's where you raise them on concrete," she explained to the pleasant lady, "and Claud scoots them down with the hose every afternoon and washes off the floor." Cleaner by far than that child right there, she thought. Poor nasty little thing. He had not moved except to put the thumb of his dirty hand into his mouth.

Mrs. Turpin gave her the merest edge of her attention. "Our hogs are not dirty and they don't stink," she said. "They're cleaner than some children I've seen. Their feet never touch the ground. We have a pig-parlor- that's where you raise them on concrete," she explained to the pleasant lady, "and Claud scoots them down with the hose every afternoon and washes off the floor." Cleaner by far than that child right there, she thought. Poor nasty little thing. He had not moved except to put the thumb of his dirty hand into his mouth.

The woman turned her face away from Mrs. Turpin. "I know I wouldn't scoot down no hog with no hose," she said to the wall.

You wouldn't have no hog to scoot down, Mrs. Turpin said to herself.

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Runes of Evolution - AUDITION

... but here is a book that is prepared to be heterodox, and not before time. So what is it all about?

Even among mammals, let alone the entire Tree of Life, humans represent one minute twig of a vast (and largely fossilized) arborescence. So, it would be very poor form were we to demand center stage. Nor is that my intension. Every living species is a linear descendant of an immense string of now-vanished ancestors, but evolution itself is the reverse of linear. Rather it is endlessly exploratory, probing the vast spaces of biological hyperspace. Indeed this book is a celebration of how our world is (and was) populated by a riot of forms, a coruscating tapestry of life.

...

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Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye...The island feels different without my dad. When we came here for our three weeks every summer, just the two of us, we'd stay in the little fishing shack right down by the water, curling up in sleeping bags on musty blown-up air mattresses...Every night, before we went to sleep, Dad and I would lie on our backs in the long sweet grass beside the shack and watch the sky, and he'd point out the constellations...This summer was my mom's idea. I didn't want to come, but she said it would make me feel less lonely for Dad...And you have a job to do there, she'd said with a stern look, as if I could ever forget what my dad had asked me to do.

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Science: It's Not Just Fair (miami Herald, February 11, 2007) By Dave Berry

So your school is having a science fair! Great! The science fair has long been a favorite educational tool in the American school system, and for a good reason: Your teachers hate you. Ha ha! No, seriously, although a science fair can seem like a big “pain,” it can help you understand important scientific principles, such as Newton’s First Law of Inertia, which states: “A body at rest will remain at rest until 8:45 p.m. The night before the science-fair project is due, at which point the body will come rushing to the body’s parents, who are already in their pajamas, and shout, “I just remembered the science fair is tomorrow and we gotta go to the store right now!”

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Script submitted by dave@clickproseo.com

His Magick Touch

Keiran’s heart jumped against his ribs. “Bluidy-faugh!” He snapped his chin over his shoulder and ordered the MacNeil warriors again, “Heave! Heave!”
Two heartbeats later, the bowsprit broke through the thick mist. He pushed the falcon’s aerial view from his head and watched as Sorcha disappeared into the white waves.
Gasps issued overhead from the topmen perched like gulls in the rigging.
“Oh, Brigid, protect her,” Keiran begged the High Mother Goddess as he unsheathed his weapons—a broadsword, two daggers, and a sgian dubh—tossing them to the deck. His entire body shook as he heeled off his deerskin boots. He couldn’t let her die. Aside from being the queen of his clan, she’d held the key to his heart since she was but ten and six.
“Have ye lost your wits, mon?” Sileas stepped onto the prow, pulling a fur cap tighter over his bushy copper hair. “Ye cannot swim faster than they can row. Besides, you’ll freeze to death afore ye reach her.”
“If they keep rowing, the bow will splinter on the rock. Stop the starboard rowers and turn the Cerridwen around.” Keiran pulled his plaid over his head. “Send a long boat. I’m going after her.” He stepped up on the rail and dove headlong into the frigid water.
His eyes pinched tight. Tiny needles of ice pricked his body, seizing his muscles, but his spirit urged him on. He burst out of the water and spun in circles, searching for her, but could see naught through the mayhem of rolling foam. Tàiseal screeched overhead, and Keiran immediately tapped into the falcon’s vision.
Sorcha clung to the edge of a rock nigh ten feet away from him. A swell broke over her, mocking her efforts to survive, but she was alive.

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Script submitted by dave@clickproseo.com

His Magick Touch

“Oh, Brigid, protect her,” Keiran begged the High Mother Goddess as he unsheathed his weapons—a broadsword, two daggers, and a sgian dubh—tossing them to the deck. His entire body shook as he heeled off his deerskin boots. He couldn’t let her die. Aside from being the queen of his clan, she’d held the key to his heart since she was but ten and six.
“Have ye lost your wits, mon?” Sileas stepped onto the prow, pulling a fur cap tighter over his bushy copper hair. “Ye cannot swim faster than they can row. Besides, you’ll freeze to death afore ye reach her.”
“If they keep rowing, the bow will splinter on the rock. Stop the starboard rowers and turn the Cerridwen around.” Keiran pulled his plaid over his head. “Send a long boat. I’m going after her.” He stepped up on the rail and dove headlong into the frigid water.
His eyes pinched tight. Tiny needles of ice pricked his body, seizing his muscles, but his spirit urged him on. He burst out of the water and spun in circles, searching for her, but could see naught through the mayhem of rolling foam. Tàiseal screeched overhead, and Keiran immediately tapped into the falcon’s vision.
Sorcha clung to the edge of a rock nigh ten feet away from him. A swell broke over her, mocking her efforts to survive, but she was alive.

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Seabiscuit: An American Legend

“Charles Howard had the feel of a gigantic onrushing machine: You had to either climb on or leap out of the way. He would sweep into a room, working a cigarette in his fingers, and people would trail him like pilot fish. They couldn’t help themselves. Fifty-eight years old in 1935, Howard was a tall, glowing man in a big suit and a very big Buick. But it wasn’t his physical bearing that did it. He lived on a California ranch so huge that a man could take a wrong turn on it and be lost forever, but it wasn’t his circumstances either. Nor was it that he spoke loud or long; the surprise of the man was his understatement, the quiet and kindly intimacy of his acquaintance. What drew people to him was something intangible, an air about him. There was a certain inevitability to Charles Howard, an urgency radiating from him that made people believe that the world was always going to bend to his wishes.

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Sein Laguage By Jerry Seinfeld

p. 42

The suit is definitely the universal business outfit for men. There is nothing else that men like to wear when they’re doing business. I don’t know why it projects this image of power. Why is it intimidating?

“We’d better do what this guy says. His pants match his jacket.”

Men love the suit so much, we’ve actually styled our pajamas to look like a tiny suit. Our pajamas have little lapels, little cuffs, simulated breast pocket. Do you need a breast pocket on your pajamas? You put a pen in there, you roll over in the middle of the night, you kill yourself.

p. 70

People will kill each other for a parking space in New York because they think, “If I don’t get this one, I may never get a space. I’ll be searching for months until somebody goes out to the Hamptons.” Because everybody in New York City knows there’s way more cars than parking spaces. You see cars driving in New York all hours of the night. It’s like musical chairs except everybody sat down around 1964.

The problem is, while car manufacturers are building hundreds of thousands of new cars every year, they’re not making any new spaces. That’s what they should be working on. Wouldn’t that be great – you go to the auto show and they’ve got a big revolving turntable with nothing on it.

“New from Chrysler, a space.”

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Shadow by Edgar Allan Poe

SHADOW -- A PARABLE

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the Shadow:-- Psalm of David.

YE who read are still among the living; but I who write shall have
long since gone my way into the region of shadows. For indeed strange
things shall happen, and secret things be known, and many centuries
shall pass away, ere these memorials be seen of men. And, when seen,
there will be some to disbelieve, and some to doubt, and yet a few
who will find much to ponder upon in the characters here graven with
a stylus of iron.

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Slow Burn - A Leo Watterman Mystery by G. M. Ford

I never meant to break his thumb. All I wanted was a ride in the elevator . The burnished brass doors were no more than ten feet away when I was gently nudged toward the right.
“Pardon me…” I began.
He was a big beefy kid with a flattop, smelling of scented soap and Aramis. He kept pushing, his blue blazer now locked on my elbow, his big chest bending my path steadily toward the right, toward the stairs, away from the elevators.
I planted my right foot and swung back, only to find myself nose to nose with another one. African-American, this time; otherwise, same blazer, same size, same grimace.
“What’s the problem, fellas?”
“No problem,” said Flattop. “You just come along with us.”
I stood my ground. “What for?” I said with a smile.
He reached out and locked a big hand onto my upper arm , squeezing like a vise, sending a dull ache all the way to my fingertips. His hard little eyes searched my face for pain. “Listen , Mr. Private Dick…” he sneered. “You just…”
I took a slide step to the right, putting Flattop between me and his partner , jerked my arm free, grabbed his thumb with one hand, his wrist with the other, and commenced introductions. Something snapped like a Popsicle stick. His mouth formed a silent circle. When I let go, he reeled backward, stumbling hard into his buddy as he danced in circles, gasping for air and staring at his hand.
“Whoa, whoa,” his partner chanted.
“You want some too?”
He reached for the inside pocket of his blazer. I froze. He flipped open a black leather case. His picture over the name Lincoln Aimes.
“Hotel security,” he said quickly.
Flattop was still turning in small circles, eyes screwed shut, cradling his damaged hand, whistling “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” through his nose.
I shrugged. “All you had to do was say so, fellas.”
He rolled his eyes in the direction of his partner. “Lance wanted to,” he said with a sigh. “You know, he—”
His explanation was interrupted by a familiar voice rising from behind me.
“And what’s this?”
Marty Conlan had put in his twenty-five years with SPD and then gotten himself a steady job. He’d been the security chief for the Olympic Star Hotel for the better part of ten years now. Other than having an ass that was cinched up tighter than a frog’s, he wasn’t a half-bad guy. “These belong to you, Marty?”
He ignored me, glowering instead at the twirling Lance.
“Did he attack you?”
I don’t think Lance heard the question . He was otherwise occupied, making noises like a suckling pig and hopping about like a weevil.
Conlan turned his attention to Lincoln Aimes. “Well? Did he?”
Aimes thought it over. “Not exactly ,” he said.
“Did you identify yourselves?” “Not exactly,” Aimes repeated. “I thought I told you two—” This time, Aimes interrupted. “Lance wanted to…”he began.
Conlan waved him off, checking the lobby, whispering now. “Jesus Christ. Take him down to the staff room. Call him a doctor. I’ll be down as soon as I can.”
We stood in silence as the pair made their way around us, heading down the hall in the opposite direction from which they’d been trying to move me . “All they had to do was identify themselves,” I said.
“Yeah, Leo. I know . You’re famous for being the kind of guy who comes along quietly.” He heaved a sigh. “Come on up to the office for a few minutes, will ya? We need to talk.”

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Spirit Horses

Witnessing all this brought a smile to Shane’s face. He knew how important it was for these animals to grow up like this; being able to interact with each other in a large group was only natural for them. Providing this kind of environment helped them become secure in mind and strong in body, both of which would serve them well later on when they became work or show horses.
His business included training and selling the young horses he bred and raised, as well as training the ones his many clients sent him. All the horses he worked with were well pedigreed, expensive animals. Once they were finished and had proven themselves, these young potential champions would be given a life of envy. They were fed, groomed, and schooled on a daily basis, all of which cost their owners a substantial amount of money.
Shane sometimes joked about what aliens from another world might think if they were to observe a human’s relationship with his horse. Watching the care, time, and quality of life afforded these animals, it would probably appear to the aliens as if the horses were the masters and people were their beasts of burden.

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Spirit Of The Tundra By J. David Henry

I don’t know how long it had been observing me, but now it peered at me with some alarm. Then the little animal--only slightly larger than a house cat--threw back its head, gave a single, shrill bark, and disappeared in a trot over a ridge. I chased after it over the hummocky tundra, but when I got to the top of the ridge, the fox was nowhere to be seen. The polar desert stretched out for miles in front of me--no trees, no shrubs, no deep valleys, just the gently rolling land, tufts of arctic grasses, and scattered wildflowers. Yet the fox was gone.

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Splinter

Scene 4

Eve
“DID I SAY TILT IT BACK?” Dad roared. “ROLL IT, YOU IDIOT!”
My first instinct was to grab the shovel lying nearby and smash it repeatedly over his head until he crumpled on the ground bleeding, after which I would tie a rope around his body, throw him off a cliff, then bring him back up and, with much pleasure, throw him off again. But instead, I gritted my teeth and rolled the trolley while he held the heavy bag of fertilizer steady on the other end.
Hi, there. I should probably introduce myself because, as you’ll see, this story moves pretty quickly and we won’t have time for bonding or getting to know each other real well. So, let’s get to it. My name’s Eve. As you can probably guess, based on my intense hatred for my father, I am a teenager, and I live in the most boring town ever of Camas, Washington. Like, seriously. There is nothing to do here. But at least I don’t live in Arizona, right? Sorry, Arizonians.
I like staying up late at night reading under the covers with a flashlight, roaming the woods that lie not too far from my house, and wishing I was somewhere other than here. You’ll come to find that I’m a pretty complex and mysterious person. Just kidding, but I am a freak. Aren’t all protagonists these days? Anyway, we should probably get back to the story. It was nice conversing with you for a little while before everything goes to hell.
It was past midday and my stomach was rumbling, but Dad didn’t care. His first priority was getting work done so he could make money, and his second was (questionably) his family.
Dad often made me do hard, back-breaking chores in my spare time. So when I wasn’t getting an education, I was helping him on our family farm. He made me detest the idea of gardening so much that I wanted to run to the city, live in a crowded apartment with twenty other people, and use the corn stalks that we grew every summer as tobacco in a pipe. Sounds a bit overdramatic, I know. But one gets sick of repeated antagonism from an ass.
“OI!” Dad yelled. “DID I SAY YOU COULD STAND AROUND? GET TO WORK!”
Ass.
You didn’t say anything. You yelled.
Quietly I filled the pots with soil and fertilizer, and he planted. The only thing I could think about besides brutally killing him was food. Meat and potatoes with gravy, to be specific. Nothing sounded better.
A few hours later, we finished our work. Our hands were brown and scratchy from working in the dirt, and our clothes were pretty much the same. Mom hadn’t yet returned from the hospital. She often worked late.
Dad went off to do his own thing, so I decided, why not take a nice, long nap?
But it was later that night that I for some reason happened to wake up and look out of my window.
“And CUT!”

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Still Life With Woodpecker, chapter 2

Consider a certain night in August. Princess Leigh-Cheri was gazing out of her attic window. The moon was full. The moon was so bloated it was about to tip over. Imagine awakening to find the moon flat on its face on the bathroom floor, like the late Elvis Presley poisoned by banana splits. It was a moon that could stir wild passions in a moo cow. A moon that could bring out the devil in a bunny rabbit. A moon that could turn lug nuts into moonstones, turn Little Red Riding Hood into the big bad wolf. For more than an hour, Leigh-Cheri stared into the mandala of the sky. "Does the moon have a purpose?" she inquired of Prince Charming.
Prince Charming pretended that she had asked a silly question. Perhaps she had. The same query put to the Remington SL3 elicited this response:
Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not.
Tom Robbins wrote that the only serious question is whether time has a beginning and an end.
Camus clearly got up on the wrong side of bed, and Robbins must have forgotten to set the alarm. There is only one serious question. And that is:
Who knows how to make love stay?
Answer me that and I will tell you whether or not to kill yourself. Answer that and I will ease your mind about the beginning and the end of time. Answer me that and I will reveal to you the purpose of the moon.

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Stock Investing Audiobook

How would you like to own part of a company without having to sit down with a board of directors, other people within the business, financial advisor, or accountant? You can do this by purchasing stock through a broker or through the company directly, which is known as a direct stock purchase plan. Another benefit of owning part of a company is that you get a share of all the profits that the company makes. Stocks offer a part of the company which is known as a share.

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Stranger in the Mirror By Angus Gibson Part 1

The mirror reflects, but does not reveal. The soap washes my hands, but does not cleanse. The water rinses, but does not refresh. I don’t know who I see in the looking glass anymore. The widened eyes are a foreigner’s. My pupils shrink in the fluorescent light. My face is that of someone else. My chest rises and falls in frantic breaths. I can’t feel my arms…except for the burns on my wrists.

“God damn it!” The stranger says. I observe the reflection clutch his wrists while mine remain firmly clamped to the ceramic rim of the sink. My companion frantically rooted around the room beyond the glass and grasped the toilet paper, leaving distinct hand prints on the wall. Dumbly, the stranger wrapped layer after layer around the cuts on his wrists. After seeing the cuts bleed through the layers, the reflection cursed himself, whipping his head to and fro to find a suitable substitute.

My insides burn. Hatred in the color red spreads across my face. I grab the mirror and hurl it into the bathtub. The shattering, while horrifying, soothes the burning in my ears, but not in my face.

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Synopsis / Her One Desire

For His Love....

Astride a stolen horse, encircled by the shackled arms of Broderick Maxwell, A Scottish spy escaping certain death in the Tower of London, Lisbeth Ives rides to the north, hidden by the darkness. By stealth and cunning, the daughter of the Lord High Executioner has undone her father's cruel work, compelled to save the innocent man with her. There is no turning back---for they are bound as one in his iron chains. Consumed by mortal fear, driven by passion, they disappear into the night...
A single raven follows them. Is it an omen? Or only the first of those who would capture them? They must ride on. If captured, they will face death together. But if they reach the Highlands, he will claim her for his own...forever.

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Take Me Home for Christmas audio book

Sophia DeBussi’s husband was gone. As in...disappeared. Nowhere to be found. At ninety feet, the Legacy was a sizable yacht—Skip never bought anything except the very best—but not so sizable that a full-grown man could easily be overlooked. The six-member crew had just helped Sophia and her thirteen-year-old daughter scour every inch of the boat.
Other than his cell phone, which he wasn’t answering, Skip’s things were where they should be, but he was not.
Holding back her long hair, Sophia squinted against the sunshine glinting off the water, trying to see the coast of Brazil a few miles to starboard. Could her husband have gone for an early-morning swim and some- how reached land?

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Tarquin and the Eagle

This is a read I'm doing for Librivox for practice. First thing I've tried longer than a paragraph so I'm sure you'll have feedback for me!

(not recorded) "The Story of the Romans, by H. A. Guerber. Tarquin and the Eagle"

* start *

TARQUIN AND THE EAGLE

AS Tullus Hostilius was dead, the Romans wished to elect a new king; and they soon chose Ancus Martius, a grandson of the good and pious Numa Pompilius who had governed them so well. The new ruler was very wise and good. Although he could not keep peace with all his neighbors, as his grandfather had done, he never went to war except when compelled to do so.

There were now so many people in Rome that it was not easy to govern them as before. In fact, there were so many wrongdoers that Ancus was soon forced to build a prison, in which the criminals could be put while awaiting judgment. The prison was made as solid as possible, with thick stone walls. It was so strong that it still exists, and one can even now visit the deep and dark dungeons where the prisoners used to be kept more than six hundred years before Christ.

During the reign of Ancus Martius, as in those of the kings before him, many strangers came to settle in Rome. They were attracted thither by the rapid growth of the city, by the freedom which the citizens enjoyed, and by the chances offered to grow rich and powerful.

Among these strangers was a very wealthy Greek, who had lived for some time in a neighboring town called Tarquinii. This man is known in history as Tarquinius Priscus, or simply Tarquin, a name given him to remind people where he had lived before he came to Rome.

As Tarquin was rich, he did not come to Rome on foot, but rode in a chariot with his wife Tanaquil. As they were driving along, an eagle came into view, and, after circling for a while above them, suddenly swooped down and snatched Tarquin's cap off his head. A moment later it flew down again, and replaced the cap on Tarquin's head, without doing him any harm.

This was a very strange thing for an eagle to do, as you can see, and Tarquin wondered what it could mean. After thinking the matter over for a while, he asked his wife, Tanaquil, who knew a great deal about signs; and she said it meant that he would sometime be king of Rome. This prophecy pleased Tarquin very much, because he was ambitious and fond of ruling.

Tarquin and his wife were so rich and powerful that they were warmly welcomed by the Romans. They took up their abode in the city, spent their money freely, tried to make themselves as agreeable as possible, and soon made a number of friends among the patricians.

Ancus Martius became acquainted with Tarquin, and, finding him a good adviser, often sent for him to talk about the affairs of state. Little by little, the man grew more and more intimate with the king; and when Ancus died, after a reign of about twenty-four years, no one was surprised to hear that he had left his two young sons in Tarquin's care.

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Telling Lies for Fun & Profit: A Manual for Fiction Writers by Lawrence Block

Of course, I can’t look forward to a pension, and I have to pay my own medical insurance, and I don’t get any fringe benefits or sick leave or paid vacations. Nor am I guaranteed a day’s pay just by showing up for work in the morning; if I don’t produce anything, neither do I earn anything. I can generally accept all that, but not everybody can.

There’s another essential quality in the writer’s temperament, and it seems on the surface so obvious that I came close to overlooking it altogether. Quite simply, you have to like the work.

By this I don’t mean that the physical act of sitting at a typewriter has to be enjoyable in and of itself. Most writers hate the process, to one extent or the other, and everybody hates it now and then. This is an anomaly of writing, and an interesting one at that. Most of the painters I know enjoy the act of painting…but writers often hate writing.

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Textbook: Cellular Processes

Cellular respiration is the set of the metabolic reactions and processes that take place in
the cells of organisms to convert biochemical energyfrom nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP),and then release waste products. The reactions involved in respiration are catabolic reactions that involve the redox reaction (oxidation of one molecule and the reduction of another). Respiration is one of the key ways a cell gains useful energy to fuel cellular changes.
Nutrients that are commonly used by animal and plant cells in respiration include sugar, amino acids and fatty acids, and a common oxidizing agent (electron acceptor) is
molecular oxygen (O2). Bacteria and archaea can also be lithotrophs and these organisms may respire using a broad range of inorganic molecules as electron donors and acceptors, such as sulfur, metal ions, methane or hydrogen. Organisms that use oxygen as a final electron acceptor in respiration are described as aerobic, while those that do not are referred to as anaerobic.
The energy released in respiration is used to synthesize ATP to store this energy. The energy stored in ATP can then be used to drive processes requiring energy, including biosynthesis, locomotion or transportation of molecules across cell membranes.

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The Alienist by Caleb Carr

Sing Sing's main block ran parallel to the Hudson, with several outbuildings, shops, and the two-hundred-cell women's jail running perpendicular to it and toward the riverfront. A series of tall chimneys rose out of the various buildings on the grounds and completed the image of a very dreary factory, one whose principal product, by that point in history, was human misery. Convicts shared cells
originally designed for individual prisoners, and the little maintenance work that was done in the place was not enough to counteract the powerful forces of decrepitude: the sights and smells of decay were everywhere. Even before we passed through the main gate, Kreizler and I could hear the monotonous sound of marching feet echoing out of the yard, and while this unhappy tramp was no longer punctuated by the crack of the cat – lashing had been outlawed in 1847 – the ominous wooden clubs worn by the guards left no doubt about the primary method of maintaining discipline in the place.

Contributed by Richurd

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The Art of Voice Acting by J. Alburger excerpt 1

Chapter 9: Woodshedding and Script Analysis
Let Go Of Judgments and Inhibitions

An important part of the woodshedding process is to experiment with your choices out loud, exactly the way you intend to perform the lines. This means you can’t hold back just because you are afraid of what someone nearby might think. Always keep in mind that you are an actor, and as an actor, your job is to perform. And in order to create a great performance, you must rehearse the way you will be performing.

Be careful not to make the mistake of rehearsing and woodshedding silently or at a whisper. Unless you test your woodshedding and script analysis out loud, you can’t possibly know exactly what your performance will sound like. Your delivery might sound great in your head, but the minute you start performing on mic it will almost always come out of your mouth sounding completely different from what you had in mind.

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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

When the Franklins came to this country from England, they were Protestants due to the Reformation and continued the rest of their lives here with the Episcopal Church.
My elder brothers were all put apprentices to different trades. I was put to the grammar school at eight years of age, my father intending to devote me, as the tithe of his sons, to the service of the church. My early readiness in learning to read (which must have been very early, as I do not remember when I could not read), and the opinion of all his friends, that I should certainly make a good scholar, encouraged him in this purpose of his. My uncle Benjamin, too, approved of it, and proposed to give me all his short hand volumes of sermons, I suppose as a stock to set up with, if I would learn his character. I continued, however, at the grammar school not quite one year, though in that time I had risen gradually from the middle of the class of that year to be the head of it, and farther was removed into the next class above it, in order to go with that into the third at the end of the year. But my father, in the meantime, from the view of the expense of a college education for so large a family he could not well afford, altered his first intention, took me from the grammar school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a then famous man, Mr. George Brownell. Under him I acquired fair writing, but failed in the arithmetic.

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The Bear

ANIMALS AT PLAY

The end seemed very near for Hudson, a Canadian Eskimo dog tethered near the shore of Hudson Bay east of Churchill, Manitoba. A thousand-pound polar bear was lumbering toward the dog and about 40 others, the prized possessions of Brian Ladoon, a hunter and trapper. It was mid-November; ice had not yet formed on the bay, and the open water prevented bears from hunting their favorite prey, seals. So this bear had been virtually fasting for four months. Surely a dog was destined to become a meal. The bear closed in. Did Hudson howl in terror and try to flee? On the contrary. He wagged his tail, grinned, and actually bowed to the bear, as if in invitation. The bear responded with enthusiastic body language and nonaggressive facial signals. These two normally antagonistic species were speaking the same language: "Let’s play!" The romp was on. For several minutes dog and bear wrestled and cavorted. Once the bear completely wrapped himself around the dog like a friendly white cloud. Bear and dog then embraced, as if in sheer abandon. Overheated by his smaller playmate’s shenanigans, the bear lay down and called for a time-out. Every evening for more than a week the bear returned to play with one of the dogs. Finally, the ice formed and he set off for his winter habitat.

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The BFG by Road Dahl

Sophie couldn't Sleep. A brilliant moonbeam was slanting through the gap in the curtains. It was shinning right onto her pillow. The other children in her dormitory had been asleep for hours. Sophie closed her eyes and lay quite still. She tried very hard to doze off. It was no good. The moonbeam was like a silver blade slicing through the room onto her face. The house was absolutely silent. No voices came from downstairs. There were no footsteps on the floor above either. The window behind the curtain was wide open, but nobody was walking on the pavement outside. No cars went by on the street. Not the tiniest sound could be heard anywhere. Sophie had never known such silence.

Perhaps, she told herself, this was what they called the witching hour. The witching hour, somebody once whispered to her, was a special moment in the night when every child and every grown-up was in a deep deep deep sleep, and all the dark things came out from hiding and had the world to themselves.

The moonbeam was brighter than ever on Sophie's pillow. She decided to get out of bed and close the gap in the curtains. You got punished if you were caught out of bed after lights-out. Even if you had to go to the lavatory, that was not accepted as an excuse and they punished you just the same. But there was no one about now, Sophie was sure of that. She reached out for her glasses that lay on the chair beside her bed. They had steel rims and very thick lenses, and she could hardly see a thing without them. She put them on, then slipped out of bed and tiptoed over to the window.

When she reached the curtains, Sophie hesitated. She longed to duck underneath them and lean out of the window to see what the world looked like now that the witching hour was at hand. She listened again. Everywhere it was deathly still. The longing to look out became so strong she couldn't resist it. Quickly, she ducked under the curtains and leaned out the window. In the silvery moonlight, the village street she knew so well seemed completely different. The houses looked bent and crooked, like houses in a fairy tale. Everything was pale and ghostly and milky white. Across the road, she could see Mrs. Rances's shop, where you bought buttons and wool and bits of elastic. I didn't look real. There was something dim and misty about that too. Sophie allowed her eye to travel further and further down the street. Suddenly she froze.

There was something coming up the street on the opposite side.

It was something black...
Something tall and black...
Something very tall and very black and very thin.

Contributed by Richurd

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The Bluest Eye By Toni Morrison

The first twigs are thin, green, and supple. They bend into a complete circle, but will not break. Their delicate, showy hopefulness shooting from forsythia and lilac bushes meant only a change in whipping style. They beat us differently in the spring. Instead of the dull pain of a winter strap, there were these new green switches that lost their sting long after the whipping was over. There was a nervous meanness in these long twigs that made us long for the steady stroke of a strap or the firm but honest slap of a hairbrush. Even now spring for me is shot through with the remembered ache of switchings, and forsythia holds no cheer.

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The Bricklayer's Story

THE BRICKLAYER'S STORY
by
Gerard Hoffnung

A striking lesson in keeping the upper lip stiff is given in a recent number of the weekly bulletin of 'The Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors' that prints the following letter from a bricklayer in Golders Green to the firm for whom he works.

Respected sir,

When I got to the top of the building, I found that the hurricane had knocked some bricks off the top. So I rigged up a beam with a pulley at the top of the building and hoisted up a couple of barrels full of bricks.
When I had fixed the building, there was a lot of bricks left over.
I hoisted the barrel back up again and secured the line at the bottom and then went up and filled the barrel with extra bricks.
Then I went to the bottom and cast off the line.

Unfortunately, the barrel of bricks was heavier than I was and before I knew what was happening, the barrel started down, jerking me off the ground.
I decided to hang on, and halfway up, I met the barrel coming down and received a severe blow on the shoulder.
I then continued to the top, banging my head against the beam and getting my fingers jammed in the pulley.

When the barrel hit the ground, it burst its bottom, allowing all the bricks to spill out.
I was now heavier than the barrel and so started down again at high speed.
Halfway down I met the barrel coming up and received severe injury to my shins.
When I hit the ground I landed on the bricks, getting several painful cuts from the sharp edges!

At this point I must have lost my presence of mind because I let go the line.
The barrel then came down, giving me another heavy blow on the head and putting me in hospital!

I respectfully request sick leave.

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The Century of Change

The Century of Change is the story of Americans who combined their native skills with the growing torrent of new knowledge to improve the quality of life for themselves and their children. Like the sewing machine, countless other inventions and techniques appeared to help this determination become a reality. The story is not a routine report of smooth progress toward the perfection of life. There have been hardships, yes - even injustice among Americans. The balance between laws and social progress is the critical element in George Washington's Great Experiment. It is the people - each new generation of Americans - who must improve and maintain this balance within their constitution.

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The Classmate Murders - Bob Moats

The Classmate Murders by Bob Moats

Chapter One

Turning 40 and then 50 years old didn't really bother me, but turning 60 was something I just couldn't accept. I ignored it the day it happened, or tried my best to do so despite my family and friend's attempts to make sure I didn't forget. Damn them. I was now one month past 60, and it still bothered me. The only good thing about it, I was just one year and eleven months away from social security. I grumbled around my tiny room, tapping the keyboards on my computers, bringing them out of sleep mode, and wishing I had something better to do with my life. Actually, anything at all would have been better since I was now doing nothing in the present time of my life. I was unemployed due to the stupidity of my former employers, an age-old problem for most good workers, and the state unemployment agency decided I didn't qualify for benefits. Maybe it's the fact that I had quit my job because I really hated it; possibly that was the reason I was denied compensation. I wrote a nice letter in response to their request for more info. I explained that my former employers were jerks , that they were just abusing my good nature and forcing me to abuse my car in the duty of my job. I had spent the last 22 months as a security guard driving my car around a large suburban Detroit Cadillac dealership from 7 P.M. at night until 6 A.M. the next morning, guarding car tires that were the main goal for addicts and the poor to steal. They would steal them right off the cars. It amazed me that they would run a huge risk of being caught by hauling in a heavy hydraulic jack, tire irons and concrete blocks to remove about 2-4 tires that they would sell for a couple hundred dollars. I was a good little trooper and managed to stop two attempts at theft, being told by my employer that I would get a whole twenty dollars as a reward, which I never did receive. Not the first lie they told.

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The Country of Baseball

[The opening paragraph of Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball by Donald Hall, New York, 1976]

Baseball is a country all to itself. It is an old country, like Ruritania, northwest of Bohemia and its seacoast. Steam locomotives puff across trestles and through tunnels. It is a wrong-end-of the-telescope country, like the landscape people build for model trains, miniature with distance and old age. The citizens wear baggy pinstripes, knickers and caps. Seasons and teams shift, blur into each other, change radically or appear to change, and restore themselves to old ways again. Citizens retire to farms, in the country of baseball, smoke cigars and reminisce, and all at once they are young players again, lean and intense, running the base paths with filed spikes

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The Dark Side Of The Light Chasers By Debbie Ford

Any desire of the heart is there for you to discover and manifest. Whatever inspires you is an aspect of yourself. Be precise about what you admire in someone and find that part in yourself. If you have the aspiration to be something, it's because you have the potential to manifest what you are seeing.

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The Deep

The Deep by Anthony Doerr

Fourteen year-old Tom is walking along the lane thinking spring happens whether you’re paying attention or not; it happens beneath the snow, beyond the walls—spring happens while you dream—when Ruby Hornaday steps out from the weeds. She has a shriveled rubber hose coiled over her shoulder and a swim mask in one hand and a tire pump in the other.

Ruby pitches the far end of the hose into the water, with waxed cord she binds the other end to the pump. Then she fills her pockets with rocks. She wades out, looks back at Tom and reminds him You pump and puts the hose into her mouth The swim mask goes over her eyes; her face goes into the water. The marsh closes over Ruby’s back and the hose trends away from the bank. Tom begins to pump, one minute two minutes after four or five minutes underwater, Ruby comes up. A neon mat of algae clings to her hair and her bare feet are great boots of mud. Strings of saliva hang off her chin. Her lips are blue. "Incredible" pants Ruby, "frickin’ incredible!"

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The Door Through Space - Chapter 3

From the spaceport gates, exchanging brief greetings with the guards, I
took a last look at the Kharsa. For a minute I toyed with the notion of
just disappearing down one of those streets. It's not hard to disappear
on Wolf, if you know how. And I knew, or had known once. Loyalty to
Terra? What had Terra given me except a taste of color and adventure,
out there in the Dry-towns, and then taken it away again?

If an Earthman is very lucky and very careful, he lasts about ten years
in Intelligence. I had had two years more than my share. I still knew
enough to leave my Terran identity behind like a worn-out jacket. I
could seek out Rakhal, settle our blood-feud, see Juli again....

How could I see Juli again? As her husband's murderer? No other way.
Blood-feud on Wolf is a terrible and elaborate ritual of the code
duello. And once I stepped outside the borders of Terran law, sooner or
later Rakhal and I would meet. And one of us would die.

I looked back, just once, at the dark rambling streets away from the
square. Then I turned toward the blue-white lights that hurt my eyes,
and the starship that loomed, huge and hateful, before me.

A steward in white took my fingerprint and led me to a coffin-sized
chamber. He brought me coffee and sandwiches--I hadn't, after all, eaten
in the spaceport cafe--then got me into the skyhook and strapped me,
deftly and firmly, into the acceleration cushions, tugging at the
Garensen belts until I ached all over. A long needle went into my
arm--the narcotic that would keep me safely drowsy all through the
terrible tug of interstellar acceleration.

Doors clanged, buzzers vibrated lower down in the ship, men tramped the
corridors calling to one another in the language of the spaceports. I
understood one word in four. I shut my eyes, not caring. At the end of
the trip there would be another star, another world, another language.
Another life.

I had spent all my adult life on Wolf. Juli had been a child under the
red star. But it was a pair of wide crimson eyes and black hair combed
into ringlets like spun black glass that went down with me into the
bottomless pit of sleep....

* * * * *

Someone was shaking me.

"Ah, come on, Cargill. Wake up, man. Shake your boots!"

My mouth, foul-tasting and stiff, fumbled at the shapes of words. "Wha'
happened? Wha' y' want?" My eyes throbbed. When I got them open I saw
two men in black leathers bending over me. We were still inside gravity.

"Get out of the skyhook. You're coming with us."

"Wha'--" Even through the layers of the sedative, that got to me. Only a
criminal, under interstellar law, can be removed from a passage-paid
starship once he has formally checked in on board. I was legally, at
this moment, on my "planet of destination."

"I haven't been charged--"

"Did I say you had?" snapped one man.

"Shut up, he's doped," the other said hurriedly. "Look," he continued,
pronouncing every word loudly and distinctly, "get up now, and come with
us. The co-ordinator will hold up blastoff if we don't get off in three
minutes, and Operations will scream. Come on, please."

Then I was stumbling along the lighted, empty corridor, swaying between
the two men, foggily realizing the crew must think me a fugitive caught
trying to leave the planet.

The locks dilated. A uniformed spaceman watched us, fussily regarding a
chronometer. He fretted. "The dispatcher's office--"

"We're doing the best we can," the Spaceforce man said. "Can you walk,
Cargill?"

I could, though my feet were a little shaky on the ladders. The violet
moonlight had deepened to mauve, and gusty winds spun tendrils of grit
across my face. The Spaceforce men shepherded me, one on either side, to
the gateway.

"What the hell is all this? Is something wrong with my pass?"

The guard shook his head. "How would I know? Magnusson put out the
order, take it up with him."

"Believe me," I muttered, "I will."

They looked at each other. "Hell," said one, "he's not under arrest, we
don't have to haul him around like a convict. Can you walk all right
now, Cargill? You know where the Secret Service office is, don't you?
Floor 38. The Chief wants you, and make it fast."

I knew it made no sense to ask questions, they obviously knew no more
than I did. I asked anyhow.

"Are they holding the ship for me? I'm supposed to be leaving on it."

"Not that one," the guard answered, jerking his head toward the
spaceport. I looked back just in time to see the dust-dimmed ship leap
upward, briefly whitened in the field searchlights, and vanish into the
surging clouds above.

My head was clearing fast, and anger speeded up the process. The HQ
building was empty in the chill silence of just before dawn. I had to
rout out a dozing elevator operator, and as the lift swooped upward my
anger rose with it. I wasn't working for Magnusson any more. What right
had he, or anybody, to grab me off an outbound starship like a criminal?
By the time I barged into his office, I was spoiling for a fight.

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The Dot By Peter Reynolds

Art class was over but Vashti sat glued to her chair. Her paper was empty.
Vashti’s teacher leaed over the blank paper. “Ah! A polar bear in a snowstorm!” she said. “Very funny!”, said Vashti. “I just CAN’T draw!”
Vashti thought for a moment. “Well, maybe I can’t draw, but I CAN sign my name.”

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The Fingerprint Of God By Dr. Hugh Ross

#1: Origin of Space and Time
From Einstein’s work on general relativity came the recognition that there must be an origin for matter and energy. From Penrose, Hawking, and Ellis’ work came the acknowledgement that there must be an origin for space and time, too. With the knowledge that time has a beginning, and a relatively recent beginning, at that, all age-lengthening attempts to push away the creation event, and thus the Creator become absurd. Moreover, the common origin of matter, energy, space, and time proves that the act(s) of creation must transcend the dimensions and substance of the universe -- a powerful argument for the biblical doctrine of a transcendent Creator.

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The Fingerprint Of God By Dr. Hugh Ross

#2: The Earth as a Fit Habitat

About a dozen more parameters, including several atmospheric characteristics, currently are being researched for their sensitivity in the support of life. However, the twenty listed in Table 12.1 in themselves lead safely to the conclusion that much fewer than a trillionth of a percent of all stars will have a planet capable of sustaining advanced life. Considering that the universe contains only about a trillion galaxies, each averaging a hundred billion stars, we can see that not even one planet would be expected, by natural processes alone, to possess the necessary conditions to sustain life. No wonder Robert Rood and James Trefil, among others, have surmised that intelligent physical life exists only on the earth. It seems abundantly clear that the earth, too, in addition to the universe, has experienced divine design.

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the five people you meet in heaven (exert) by Mitch Albom

At the time of his death, Eddie was a squat, white haired old man, with a short neck, a barrel chest, thick forearms, and a faded army tattoo on his right shoulder. His legs were thin and veined now, and his left knee, wounded in the war, was ruined by arthritis. He used a cane to get around. His face was broad and craggy from the sun, with salty whiskers and a lower jaw that protruded slightly, making him look prouder than he felt. He kept a cigarette behind his left ear and a ring of keys hooked to his belt. He wore rubber soled shoes. He wore an old linen cap. His pale brown uniform suggested a workingman, and a workingman he was.

Eddie's job was "maintaining" the rides, which really meant keeping them safe. Every afternoon, he walked the park, checking on each attraction, from the Tilt-A-Whirl to the Pipeline Plunge. He looked for broken boards, loose bolts, worn-out steel. Sometimes he would stop, his eyes glazing over, and people walking past thought something was wrong. But he was listening, that's all. After all these years he could hear trouble, he said, in the spits and stutters and thrumming of the equipment.

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The Five People You Meet in Heaven (intro) by Mitch Albom

This is a story about a man name Eddie and it begins at the end, with Eddie dying in the sun. It might seem strange to start a story with an ending. But all endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time.

The last hour of Eddie's life was spent, like most of the others, at Ruby Pier, an amusement park by a great gray ocean. The park had the usual attractions, a boardwalk, a Ferris wheel, roller coasters, bumper cars, a taffy stand, and an arcade where you could shoot streams of water into a clown's mouth. It also had a big new ride called Freddy's Free Fall, and this would be where Eddie would be killed, in an accident that would make newspapers around the state.

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The Frog Prince Excerpt 2

The princess went to her room and lay down on her bed. The slimy frog jumped on the bed and said "now you must kiss me good night" "yuck" thought the princess. She didn't want to kiss an ugly old frog.

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The Gilded Age, by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, Chapter 45

Mr. Buckstone had reported the bills from his committee, one by one, leaving the bill to the last. When the House had voted upon the acceptance or rejection of the report upon all but it, and the question now being upon its disposal--Mr. Buckstone begged that the House would give its attention to a few remarks which he desired to make. His committee had instructed him to report the bill favorably; he wished to explain the nature of the measure, and thus justify the committee's action; the hostility roused by the press would then disappear, and the bill would shine forth in its true and noble character. He said that its provisions were simple. It incorporated the Knobs Industrial University, locating it in East Tennessee, declaring it open to all persons without distinction of sex, color or religion, and committing its management to a board of perpetual trustees, with power to fill vacancies in their own number. It provided for the erection of certain buildings for the University, dormitories, lecture-halls, museums, libraries, laboratories, work-shops, furnaces, and mills. It provided also for the purchase of sixty-five thousand acres of land, (fully described) for the purposes of the University, in the Knobs of East Tennessee. And it appropriated [blank] dollars for the purchase of the Land, which should be the property of the national trustees in trust for the uses named.

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The Good Fight By Ralph Nader

"Freedom is participation in power," said the Roman orator Cicero. By this deep definition, freedom is in short supply for tens of millions of Americans, a scarcity with serious consequences. This absence of freedom breeds apathy. Average citizens do not fight for change, even about the conditions and causes that mean the most to them. Our lack of civic motivation is the greatest problem facing the country today. Our beloved country is being taken apart by large multinational commercial powers. Over two thousand years ago, in ancient Athens, a fledgling democracy challenged the longstanding plutocracy, using politics as it instrument.

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The Historian By Elizabeth Kostova 1

A faint interest dawned inside her gaze, as if the amber light had won out and was turned reluctantly on me. She slumped slightly in her chair, relaxed into something like masculine ease, without taking her hands off her book. “What are those letters, exactly?” she asked, in her quiet foreign voice.

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The Historian By Elizabeth Kostova 2

“Stoichev looked as if he had something else to say, but at that moment we heard vigorous footsteps on the stairs. He tried to rise, then shot me a pleading look. I snatched up the dragon folio and plunged into the next room with it, where I hid it as well as I could behind a box. I rejoined Stoichev and Helen in time to see Ranov open the door to the library.

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The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

This is the story of ‘The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy'. Perhaps the most remarkable, certainly the most successful book, ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor. More popular than ‘The Celestial Homecare Omnibus', better selling than ‘Fifty-Three More Things To Do In Zero Gravity', and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters: ‘Where God Went Wrong', ‘Some More Of God's Greatest Mistakes', and ‘Who Is This God Person Anyway?'. And in many of the more relaxed civilizations on the outer eastern rim of the galaxy, the ‘Hitch Hiker's Guide' has already supplanted the great ‘Encyclopaedia Galactica' as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom. Because although it has many omissions, contains much that is apocryphal - or at least wildly inaccurate - it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important ways: first, it is slightly cheaper, and second, it has the words ‘Don't Panic' inscribed in large, friendly letters on the cover. To tell the story of the book, it's best to tell the story of some of the minds behind it. A human, from the planet Earth, was one of them, though as our story opens, he no more knows his destiny than a tea-leaf knows the history of the East India Company. His name is Arthur Dent, he is a six-foot tall ape descendant, and someone is trying to drive a bypass through his home.

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The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy Intro

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of
the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded
yellow sun.

Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles
is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-
descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still
think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most
of the people on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time.
Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these
were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces
of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small
green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and
most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.

Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big
mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And
some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no
one should ever have left the oceans.

And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man
had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be
nice to people for a change, one girl sitting on her own in a
small cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that
had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the
world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was
right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to
anything.

Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone
about it, a terribly stupid catastrophe occurred, and the idea
was lost forever.

This is not her story.

But it is the story of that terrible stupid catastrophe and some
of its consequences.

It is also the story of a book, a book called The Hitch Hiker's
Guide to the Galaxy - not an Earth book, never published on
Earth, and until the terrible catastrophe occurred, never seen or
heard of by any Earthman.

Nevertheless, a wholly remarkable book.

It is, perhaps, the most remarkable book ever to come out
of the great publishing houses of Ursa Minor - of which no
Earthman had ever heard either.

Not only is it a wholly remarkable book, it is also a highly
successful one - more popular than the Celestial Home Care
Omnibus, better selling than Fifty More Things to do in Zero
Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid's trilogy of
philosophical blockbusters Where God Went Wrong, Some More of
God's Greatest Mistakes and Who is this God Person Anyway?

In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern
Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch Hiker's Guide has already supplanted
the great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of
all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and
contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate,
it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important
respects.

First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words
Don't Panic inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.

But the story of this terrible, stupid Thursday, the story of its
extraordinary consequences, and the story of how these
consequences are inextricably intertwined with this remarkable
book begins very simply.

It begins with a house.

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The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

“I am Mr. Bilbo Baggins. I have lost the dwarves
and I have lost the wizard, and I don’t know where I am;
and I don’t want to know, if only I can get away.”
“What’s he got in his handses?” said Gollum,
Looking at the sword, which he did not quite like.
“A sword, a blade which came out of Gondolin!”
“Ssss,” said Gollum, and became quite polite.
“Praps ye sits here and chats with it a bitsy, my preciousss.
It like riddles, praps it does, does it?”
He was anxious to appear friendly,
at any rate for the moment,
and until he found out more about the sword and the Hobbit,
whether he was quite alone really,
whether he was good to eat,
and whether Gollum was really hungry.
Riddles were all he could think of
asking them,
and sometimes guessing them,
had been the only game he had ever played
with other funny creatures
sitting in their holes in the long, long ago,
before he lost all his friends and was driven away,
alone and crept down, down,
Into the dark under the mountains.

“Very well,” said Bilbo, who was anxious to agree,
Until he found out more about the creature,
Whether he was quite alone,
Whether he was fierce or hungry,
And whether he was a friend of the goblins.

“You ask first,” he said,
Because he had not had time to think of a riddle.
“So Gollum hissed:
What has roots as nobody sees,
Is taller than trees,
Up, Up it goses,
And yet never grows?
“Easy!” said Bilbo.
“Mountain, I suppose.”
“Does it guess easy?
It must have a competition with us, my preciouss!
If precious asks, and it doesn’t answer,
Then we does what it wants, eh?
We shows it the way out , yes!”
“All right!” said Bilbo,
Not daring to disagree, and nearly bursting his brain
to think of riddles that could save him from being eaten.
Thirty white horses on a red hill,
First they champ,
Then they stamp,
Then they stand still.
That was all he could think of to ask ---
The idea of eating was rather on his mind.
It was rather an old one, too,
And Gollum knew the answer as well as you do.
“Chestnuts, chestnuts,” he hissed.
“Teeth! Teeth!
My preciousss; but we has only six!”
Then he asked his second:
Voiceless it cries,
Wingless flutters,
Toothless bites,
Mouthless mutters.
“Half a moment!” cried Bilbo, who was still thinking
Uncomfortably about eating.
Fortunately he had once heard something rather like this before,
And getting his wits back he thought of the answer.
“Wind, wind of course,” he said,
And he was so pleased that he made one up on the spot.
This’ll puzzle the nasty little underground creature,”
He thought:
An eye in a blue face
Saw an eye in a green face,
“That eye is to like this eye”
Said the first eye,
“But in low place,
Not in high place.”
“Ss, ss, ss,” said Gollum.
He had been underground a long long time,
And was forgetting this sort of thing.
But just as Bilbo was beginning to hope
The wretch would not answer,
Gollum brought up memories of ages and ages and ages before,
When he lived with his grandmother
In a hole in a bank by a river,
“Sss, sss, my Preciouss,” he said.
“Sun on the daisies it means, it does.”

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The Humorous Story an American Development - It's Difference from Comic and Witty Stories by Mark Twain

I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told, for I have been almost daily in the company of the most expert story-tellers for many years.

There are several kinds of stories, but only one difficult kind --the humorous. I will talk mainly about that one. The humorous story is American, the comic story is English, the witty story is French. The humorous story depends for its effect upon the manner of the telling; the comic story and the witty story upon the matter.

The humorous story may be spun out to great length, and may wander around as much as it pleases, and arrive nowhere in particular; but the comic and witty stories must be brief and end with a point. The humorous story bubbles gently along, the others burst.

The humorous story is strictly a work of art--high and delicate art --and only an artist can tell it; but no art is necessary in telling the comic and the witty story; anybody can do it. The art of telling a humorous story--understand, I mean by word of mouth, not print --was created in America, and has remained at home.

The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it; but the teller of the comic story tells you beforehand that it is one of the funniest things he has ever heard, then tells it with eager delight, and is the first person to laugh when he gets through.

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The Indian In The Cupboard

Chapter One:
Birthday Presents

It was not that Omri didn't appreciate Patrick's birthday present to him. Far from it. He was really very grateful--sort of. It was, without a doubt, very kind of Patrick to give Omri anything at all, let alone a secondhand plastic Indian that he himself had finished with.

The trouble was, though, that Omri was getting a little fed up with small plastic figures, of which he had loads. Biscuit tinsful, probably three or four if they were all put away at the same time, which they never were because most of the time they were scattered about in the bathroom, the loft, the kitchen, the breakfast room, not to mention Omri's bedroom and the garden. The compost heap was full of soldiers which, over several autumns, had been raked up with the leaves by Omri's mother, who was rather careless about such things.

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The Invisible Man By H.g. Wells

So ends the story of the strange and evil experience of the Invisible Man. And if you would learn more of him you must go to a little inn near Port Stowe and talk to the landlord. The sign of the inn is an empty board save for a hat and boots, and the name is the title of this story. The landlord is a short and corpulent little man with a nose of cylindrical protrusion, wiry hair, and a sporadic rosiness of visage. Drink generously, and he will tell you generously of all the things that happened to him after the time, and of how the lawyers tried to do him out of the treasure found upon him.

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The Kennedy Curse By Edward Klein

WHY TRAGEDY HAS HAUNTED AMERICA'S FIRST FAMILY FOR 150 YEARS: THE KENNEDY CURSE (Edward Klein, St. Martin's Press, July 8, 2003)

The marriage made front-page news everywhere, and a new Kennedy myth was born. The man who could have had any woman in the world had chosen as his bride one who was not rich or famous or ennobled by family background or distinguished by any professional accomplishment. What Carolyn had were certain charismatic qualities- exceptional beauty, a unique sense of style, and a shrewd, sharp, hard intelligence.

The media played the marriage as a Cinderella story, casting Carolyn as the commoner who had found true love with Prince Charming. But it turned out to be a doomed fairy tale, a nightmare of escalating domestic violence, sexual infidelity, and drugs - a union that seemed destined to end in one kind of disaster or another.

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The King of Torts - John Grisham

Thirty minutes later, the police received a call that a
young man matching the description of the one who had
wasted Pumpkin had been seen twice on Ninth Street
carrying a gun in open view and acting stranger than
most of the people on Ninth. He had tried to lure at least
one person into an abandoned lot, but the intended
victim had escaped and reported the incident.
The police found their man an hour later. His name
was Tequila Watson, black male, age twenty, with the
usual drug-related police record. No family to speak of.
No address. The last place he'd been sleeping was a
rehab unit on W Street. He'd managed to ditch the gun
somewhere, and if he'd robbed Pumpkin then he'd also
thrown away the cash or drugs or whatever the booty
was. His pockets were clean, as were his eyes. The cops
were certain Tequila was not under the influence of
anything when he was arrested. A quick and rough
5
interrogation took place on the street, then he was
handcuffed and shoved into the rear seat of a D.C. police
car.
They drove him back to Lamont Street, where they
arranged an impromptu encounter with the two
witnesses. Tequila was led into the alley where he'd left
Pumpkin. "Ever been here before?" a cop asked.
Tequila said nothing, just gawked at the puddle of
fresh blood on the dirty concrete. The two witnesses
were eased into the alley, then led quietly to a spot near
Tequila.
"That's him," both said at the same time.
"He's wearing the same clothes, same basketball
shoes, everything but the gun."
"That's him."
"No doubt about it."
Tequila was shoved into the car once again and taken
to jail. He was booked for murder and locked away with
no immediate chance of bail. Whether through
experience or just fear, Tequila never said a word to the
cops as they pried and cajoled and even threatened.
Nothing incriminating, nothing helpful. No indication of
why he would murder Pumpkin. No clue as to their
history, if one existed at all. A veteran detective made a
brief note in the file that the killing appeared a bit more
random than was customary.
No phone call was requested. No mention of a lawyer
or a bail bondsman. Tequila seemed dazed but content
to sit in a crowded cell and stare at the floor.

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The Last Angry Man By Gerald Green

Sam moved forward and reached for the young man’s forearms. He hoped to subdue him quickly without any fighting and escort him from the playground; there was no point in provoking a riot. The tormenter, all slum muscle and grace, recoiled; Sam had barely touched him. The playground instructor saw the white arms and dirtied fists spring into position; a second later it was as if someone had exploded an electric light-bulb in his face. He was stumbling backward on his heel, feeling a thousand needles stinging his offended chin. Numbness radiated through his teeth and cheeks, and a little bath of salty blood was forming inside his lower lip. He had not fallen, however, and as his head cleared he saw the gatecrasher bouncing professionally, fists in the classic boxer’s pose, the abysmal face aglow with hoodlum joy.

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The Lie By Chad Kultgen

When the lights disappeared, her hand went to the automatic she carried inside the belt of her slacks. She fingered its butt, trigger guard, and safety for perhaps the fifth time in the past half hour. It was the only visible sign of her nervousness. Their bedroom was directly ahead, the door open.

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The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving an F

In our society, Sorry! is used as shorthand for anything from "I'm not really sorry, I'm just saying that to smooth over whatever I just did to you" all the way to a nail-biting "Oh shit, what have I done?"

And not to put too fine a gender-biased point on it, but women, especially, tend to say it way too much in an attempt to preemptively or actively defend themselves against perceived slights in the workplace, among friends, or in relationships.

When you've actually behaved badly, you should be sorry and you should say so. And if you're about to behave badly and think that a quick Sorry is going to ameliorate it, you're wrong. Maybe stop being such as asshole for a change.

But if you've done nothing to be sorry about it, you can (a) stop feeling sorry and (b) stop telling people you are!

In other words, the NotSorry Method achieves eponymous results. Following it encourages and enables you to act in a way that doesn't require your saying - or being - sorry at all.

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The Lover By Marguerite Duras

The street was empty and it was a cold night, a light rain was falling where he was driving to, but I guessed we were going down all the time toward the lower city. In the end he pulled up in a little side street, stopped the engine and got out of the car, telling me to wait inside. He disappeared for a moment and then came back and told me to get out. I followed him and he seemed tense now, looking from side to side like a thief or something.

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The Motown Story

Berry Gordy, founder and CEO of Motown Records, had a notorious reputation for not allowing his artists to flex their creative muscle. This is not to say that Gordy was indifferent to the natural evolutionary process that most creative artist experience. Berry Gordy's often times unrelenting position to the hit-making machine that was Motown was, “if it ain't broke, don't fix it”.

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The Name Of The Rose By Umberto Eco

And I asked myself, frightened and rapt, who was she who rose before me like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, radiant as the sun. Then the creature came still closer to me, throwing into a corner the dark package she had ‘til then held pressed to her body; and she raised her hand to stroke my face, and repeated the words I had already heard. And while I did not know whether to flee from her or move even closer, while my head was throbbing as if the trumpets of Joshua were about to bring down the walls of Jericho, as I yearned and at once feared to touch her, she smiled with great joy, emitted a stifled moan of a pleased she-goat, and undid the strings that closed her dress over her bosom, slipped the dress from her body like a tunic, and stood before me as Eve must have appeared to Adam in the garden of Eden.

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The Nanny Diaries By Emma Mclaughlin & Nicola Kraus

…She wants to know what I study, what I plan to do in the future, what I think of private schools in Manhattan, what my parents do. I answer with as much filigree and insouciance as I can muster, trying to slightly cock my head like Snow White listening to the animals. She, in turn, is aiming for more of a Diane-Sawyer-pose, looking for answers which will confirm that I am not there to steal her husband, jewelry, friends, or child. In that order. Nanny Fact: in every one of my interviews, references are never checked. I am white. I speak French. My parents are college educated. I have no visible piercings and have been to Lincoln Center in the last two months. I’m hired.

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The Night Before Christmas

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
by Clement Clarke Moore
or Henry Livingston

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

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The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway

He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy’s parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky and the boy had gone at their orders in another boat which caught three good fish the first week. It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or the gaff and harpoon and the sail that was furled around the mast. The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled; it looked like the flag of permanent defeat.
The old man was thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck. The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea were on his cheeks. The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords. But none of these scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in a fishless desert
Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.

Contributed By Richurd

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The Omnivore's Dilemma

The Omnivore’s Dilemma
by Michael Pollan
Introduction: Our National Eating Disorder

*What should we have for dinner?*

This book is a long and fairly involved answer to this seemingly simple question. Along the way, it also tries to figure out how such a simple question could ever have gotten so complicated. As a culture we seem to have arrived at a place where whatever native wisdom we may once have possessed about eating has been replaced by confusion and anxiety. Somehow this most elemental of activities--figuring out what to eat--has come to require a remarkable amount of expert help. How did we ever get to a point where we need investigative journalists to tell us where our food comes from and nutritionists to determine the dinner menu?

For me the absurdity of the situation became inescapable in the fall of 2002, when one of the most ancient and venerable staples of human life abruptly disappeared from the American dinner table. I’m talking of course about bread.

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The Outsiders

The Outsiders

By S.E. Hinton

Chapter 1

When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home. I was wishing I looked like Paul Newman--- he looks tough and I don't--- but I guess my own looks aren't so bad. I have light-brown, almost-red hair and greenish-gray eyes. I wish they were more gray, because I hate most guys that have green eyes, but I have to be content with what I have. My hair is longer than a lot of boys wear theirs, squared off in back and long at the front and sides, but I am a greaser and most of my neighborhood rarely bothers to get a haircut. Besides, I look better with long hair.

I had a long walk home and no company, but I usually lone it anyway, for no reason except that I like to watch movies undisturbed so I can get into them and live them with the actors. When I see a movie with someone it's kind of uncomfortable, like having someone read your book over your shoulder. I'm different that way. I mean, my second­-oldest brother, Soda, who is sixteen-going-on-seventeen, never cracks a book at all, and my oldest brother, Darrel, who we call Darry, works too long and hard to be interested in a story or drawing a picture, so I'm not like them. And nobody in our gang digs movies and books the way I do. For a while there, I thought I was the only person in the world that did. So I loned it.

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The Queen’s Fool By Phillipa Gregory

Once again the queen learned that holding the throne was harder than winning it. She spent the days after the uprising struggling with her conscience, faced with the agonizing question of what should be done with the rebels who had come against her and been so dramatically defeated. Clearly, God would protect this Mary on her throne, but God was not to be mocked. Mary must also protect herself.

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The Raven

The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe First two verses

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

Originally submitted By Hubert Williams

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The Raven (Full Poem)

The Raven
By Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more."
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
This it is, and nothing more."
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"- here I opened wide the door;-
Darkness there, and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore!"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"-
Merely this, and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
'Tis the wind and nothing more."
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed
he;But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."
But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never- nevermore'."
But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee- by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!- prophet still, if bird or devil!-
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore-
Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil- prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting-
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted- nevermore!

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The Raven Original Version

Edgar Allan Poes

The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more."
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
This it is, and nothing more."
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"- here I opened wide the door;-
Darkness there, and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore!"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"-
Merely this, and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
'Tis the wind and nothing more."
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed
he;But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."
But the raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never- nevermore'."
But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee- by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!- prophet still, if bird or devil!-
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore-
Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil- prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting-
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted- nevermore!

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The Ridiculous Race

After a very late night in Nashville, which ended with me sleeping for a few hours just inside the door of my hotel room, I somehow piloted the rental car to Atlanta, where I finally dropped it off. Before returning the keys I ran my eyes across the now dusty Precision Red Impala and reflected on all we had experienced together. In nine days of driving I had put 4,525 miles on the car. To get an idea of how far that is, imagine driving one mile 4,525 times. I had driven across an entire continent for no real purpose, other than to observe it. I saw a bunch of stuff. Most of it was road. Some of that road was asphalt, some of it was concrete, none of it was edible. I had seen some interesting things, but nothing too exotic. It was time to change that.

As I rode the yellow Hertz shuttle to the main terminal, I decided to leave, in the Ridiculous Race, a picture of Mexico and the American South so complete that if the regions were to suddenly disappear from Earth they could be reconstructed out of my words. I think I succeeded quite nicely.

At 9:00 p.m., I boarded Delta flight 61 from Atlanta, Georgia, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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The Rogue and I by Eva Devon (excerpt from audition script)

“Send me anywhere, James,” Garret groaned. “Anywhere but here.” He turned towards his younger brother, Edward, as they strode towards the steps of the massive, new, Palladian mansion commissioned by the recently successful industrial revolutionary, George Trent, father of the bride.

“Edward,” he grabbed his brother’s shoulder, twisting the beautiful, fawn coat, and halted him on their path to their mutual doom, “you don’t need me here. You don’t.” He jerked his head in his older brother’s direction, his eyes wide with what he was sure appeared to be unmanly desperation. “You’ve got James here. And John is about somewhere.”

James, the eldest and now the Duke of Huntsdown, let out a beleaguered sigh and he stopped his confident, long stride. He glanced about the immense gravel drive. “Where the hell is John?”

“Rogering the nearest dairy maid no doubt,” Garret quipped, knowing it would only irritate the excessively proper and etiquette driven James. Although it was also probably true.

“A man after father’s heart,” Edward said, smiling like the marriage minded idiot he was.
After all, what else could you call a man who willingly put his head into the noose? Idiot was actually kind, considering some of the epithets Garret had in his vocabulary.

“Good God,” James huffed with the same affectation of a mother knowing her daughter was running full tilt at ruin, “you’d think, given his own bastardy, he’d be a bit more careful about siring more into this world.”

Garret snorted. “Please, that man will roger anything that stands still. I fear for the sheep in the area.”

Turning back to the youngest Hart, Garret took him firmly by the shoulders. Instilling all the elder brotherly importance he could bestow, he looked solidly into Edward’s eyes. “Now, listen to me carefully, Edward, and I will use very small sentences. It is too late for you. You have committed yourself to the dungeon of matrimony. But—I—hate—weddings.”

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The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Chapter 1

My dear Wormwood,
I note what you say about guiding your patient's reading and taking care that he sees a good deal of his materialist friend. But are you not being a trifle naive? It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy's clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons, we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to having a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn't think of doctrines as primarily "true" or "false," but as "academic" or "practical," "outworn" or "contemporary," "conventional" or "ruthless." Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don't waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong or stark or courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future. That's the sort of thing he cares about.
Remember, he is not, like you, a pure spirit. Never having been a human (oh, that abominable advantage of the Enemy's!) you don't realise how enslaved they are to the pressure of the ordinary. I once had a patient, a sound atheist, who used to read in the British Museum. One day, as he sat reading, I saw a train of thought in his mind beginning to go the wrong way. The Enemy, of course, was at his elbow in a moment. Before I knew where I was I saw my twenty years' work beginning to totter.
If I had lost my head and begun to attempt a defence by argument, I should have been undone. But I was not such a fool. I struck instantly at the part of the man which I had best under my control, and suggested that it was just about time he had some lunch. The Enemy presumably made the counter-suggestion (you know how one can never quite overhear what He says to them?) that this was more important than lunch. At least I think that must have been His line, for when I said, "Quite. In fact much too important to tackle at the end of a morning," the patient brightened up considerably; and by the time I had added "Much better come back after lunch and go into it with a fresh mind," he was already halfway to the door. Once he was in the street the battle was won. I showed him a newsboy shouting the midday paper, and a No. 73 bus going past, and before he reached the bottom of the steps I had got into him an unalterable conviction that, whatever odd ideas might come into a man's head when he was shut up alone with his books, a healthy dose of "real life" (by which he meant the bus and the newsboy) was enough to show him that all "that sort of thing" just couldn't be true. He knew he'd had a narrow escape, and in later years was fond of talking about "that inarticulate sense for actuality which is our ultimate safe guard against the aberrations of mere logic." He is now safe in Our Father's house.
Do remember you are there to fuddle him. From the way some of you young fiends talk, anyone would suppose it was our job to teach!
Your affectionate uncle
SCREWTAPE

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The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

The seeds Dickon and Mary had planted grew as if fairies had tended them. Satiny poppies of all tints danced in the breeze by the score, gaily defying flowers which had lived in the garden for years and which it might be confessed seemed rather to wonder how such new people had got there. And the roses--the roses! Rising out of the grass, tangled round the sun-dial, wreathing the tree trunks and hanging from their branches, climbing up the walls and spreading over them with long garlands falling in cascades --they came alive day by day, hour by hour. Fair fresh leaves, and buds--and buds--tiny at first but swelling and working Magic until they burst and uncurled into cups of scent delicately spilling themselves over their brims and filling the garden air.

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The Shawshank Redemption By Stephen King

I came to Shawshank when I was just twenty, and I am one of the few people in our happy little family who is willing to own up to what he did. I committed murder. I put a large insurance policy on my wife, who was three years older than I was, and then I fixed the brakes of the Chevrolet coupe her father had given us as a wedding present, except I hadn’t planned on her stopping to pick up the neighbour woman and the neighbour woman’s infant son on the way down Castle Hill and into town.

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The Shawshank Redemption By Stephen King 2

I’ve told you as well as I can how it is to be an institutionalized man. At first you can’t stand those four walls, then you get so you can abide them, then you get so you can accept them ... and then, as your body, and your mind and your spirit adjust to life on an HO scale, you get to love them. You are told when to eat, when you can write letters, when you can smoke. If you’re at work in the laundry or the plate-shop, you’re assigned five minutes of each hour when you can go to the bathroom.

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The Sign of Four (Excerpt) by Arthur Conan Doyle

By the time that I got out into the grounds Sherlock Holmes was on the roof, and I could see him like an enormous glow-worm crawling very slowly along the ridge. I lost sight of him behind a stack of chimneys, but he presently reappeared and then vanished once more upon the opposite side. When I made my way round there I found him seated at one of the corner eaves.

"That you, Watson?" he cried.

"Yes."

"This is the place. What is that black thing down there?"

"A water-barrel."

"Top on it?"

"Yes."

"No sign of a ladder?"

"No."

"Confound the fellow! It's a most breakneck place. I ought to be able to come down where he could climb up. The water-pipe feels pretty firm. Here goes, anyhow."

There was a scuffling of feet, and the lantern began to come steadily down the side of the wall. Then with a light spring he came on to the barrel, and from there to the earth.

"It was easy to follow him," he said, drawing on his stockings and boots. "Tiles were loosened the whole way along, and in his hurry he dropped this. It confirms my diagnosis, as you doctors express it."

The object which he held up to me was a small pocket or pouch woven out of coloured grasses and with a few tawdry beads strung round it. In shape and size it was not unlike a cigarette case. Inside were half a dozen spines of dark wood, sharp at one end and rounded at the other, like that which had struck Bartholomew Sholto.

"They are hellish things," said he. "Look out that you don't prick yourself. I'm delighted to have them, for the chances are that they are all he has. There is the less fear of you or me finding one in our skin before long. I would sooner face a Martini bullet, myself. Are you game for a six-mile trudge, Watson?"

"Certainly." I answered.

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The Size and Age of the Cosmos

The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends on how well we know this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.

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The Speckled Band

The little which I had yet to learn of the case was told me by Sherlock Holmes as we travelled back next day.
“I had come to these conclusions before ever I had entered his room. An inspection of his chair showed me that he had been in the habit of standing on it, which of course would be necessary in order that he should reach the ventilator. The sight of the safe, the saucer of milk, and the loop of whipcord were enough to finally dispel any doubts which may have remained. The metallic clang heard by Miss Stoner was obviously caused by her stepfather hastily closing the door of his safe upon its terrible occupant Having once made up my mind, you know the steps which I took in order to put the matter to the proof.
I heard the creature hiss as I have no doubt that you did also, and I instantly lit the light and attacked it.”
“With the result of driving it through the ventilator.”
“And also with the result of causing it to turn upon its master at the other side. Some of the blows of my cane came home and roused its snakish temper, so that it flew upon the first person it saw. In this way I am no doubt indirectly responsible for Dr.Grimesby Roylott’s death, and I cannot say that it is likely to weigh very heavily upon my conscience.”

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The Stainless Steel Rat

When the office door opened suddenly I knew the game was up. It had been a money-maker, but it was all over. As the cop walked in, I sat back in the chair and put on a happy grin. He had the same somber expression and heavy foot that they all have - and the same lack of humor. I almost knew to the word what he was going to say before he uttered a syllable.

"James Bolivar diGriz I arrest you on the charge-"

I was waiting for the word charge, I thought it made a nice touch that way. As he said it, I pressed the button that set off the charge of black powder in the ceiling. The crossbeam buckled and the three ton safe dropped through right on the top of the cop's head. He squashed very nicely, thank you. The cloud of plaster dust settled and all I could see of him was one hand, slightly crumpled. It twitched a bit and the index finger pointed at me accusingly. His voice was a little muffled by the safe and sounded a bit annoyed. In fact, he repeated himself a bit.

"-on the charge of illegal entry, theft, forgery-"

He ran on like that for quite a while. It was an impressive list, but i had heard it all before. I didn't let it interfere with my stuffing all the money from the desk drawers into my suitcase. The list ended with a new charge, and I would swear on a stack of thousand credit notes that high, that there was a hurt tone in his voice.

"In addition, the charge of assaulting a police robot will be added to your record. This was foolish since my bran and larynx are armored and in my midsection-"

"That I know well, George, but your little two-way radio is in the top of your pointed head and I don't want you reporting to your friends just yet."

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The Stone Diaries by C. Shields

"What kind of a man was your father- in- law , Mrs Flett" Lewis posed this question in a social voice, while spreading butter on a floury scone
"Well I'm not quite sure"
"But you must have some kind of impression
"An unhappy man .Aggrieved. His wife left him, you see
"Aha" Teasing " one of those old – fashioned happy families"
"His three sons took their mother's part. They refused to see their father. They would have nothing do with him"
"And this made him Bitter?
"It drove him back here" She swept a hand toward the window, taking in the drenched dark street, the black clouds,
"When he was sixty-five years old. I can only think he must have been bitter"
"But you don't know for sure"
"Actually"
"Yes?"
"Actually I never met my father-in -law"
"I see" Clearly he was taken a back.
"We never met, no. And I've always felt sorry about that.That we never met in his lifetime. I've almost thought ...well
"What?"
"That we might have things" she paused "to say to each other"

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The Switch By Anthony Horowitz

She rolled over and blinked him into focus. "What?, Who?" "The FBI Guys." She threw back the covers, scrambled from the bed and lunged toward the window, all in one motion. She raised a louver and peered through the blinds. A navy blue sedan was parked at the curb. Two suited men, one black, one white, were alighting. Turning back into the room, she looked at the clock on the nightstand. She had set her alarm for 8:30. It was 8:25. "They're early."

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The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

We have arrived at the girls' gym. We walk into the locker room and abracadabra! all the girls stop talking. Then there's a low ripple of talk that fills the silence. Helen and I have our lockers in the same bay. I open mine and take out my gym suit and shoes. I have thought about what I am going to do. I take off my shoes and stockings, strip down to my undershirt and panties. I'm not wearing a bra because it hurt too much.

"Hey, Helen," I say. I peel off my shirt, and Helen turns.

"Jesus Christ, Clare!" The bruises look even worse than they did yesterday. Some of them are greenish. There are welts on my thighs from Jason's belt. "Oh, Clare." Helen walks to me, and puts her arms around me, carefully. The room is silent, and I look over Helen's shoulder and see that all the girls have gathered around us, and they are all looking. Helen straightens up, and looks back at them, and says, "Well?" and someone in the back starts to clap, and they are all clapping, and laughing, and talking, and cheering, and I feel light, light as air.

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The Women Of Brewster Place By Gloria Naylor

As the late November winds cut across her legs and blew under her coat, Mattie shivered violently and realized that she had rushed from the house without any slip or stockings. She pulled her tweed coat closer to her neck to cut off the wind and stop her body from trembling with cold, and moved on toward the police precinct. The brick and glass building threw out a ghostly light against the thin morning air. She paused a moment to catch her breath before the iron lettering engraved over the door, and then pushed the slanted metal bar and went in.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston

The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall. Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.

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They Burned the Books by Stephen Vincent Benét

We can destroy houses with bombs and people with starvation, outflank defensive lines and tramp ahead.

We can destroy the spirit of a nation with poisoned doubts and fears, erase its history, blot out its past, sully its famous names and substitute our words for all the words of liberty.

But while there is a single man alive, hidden or starving, who somehow remembers the vows of freedom, the undying words that spoke for man's free mind, though they were said a thousand years ago, our conquest is not perfect.

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Think And Grow Rich by Napolean Hill

There is a difference between WISHING for a thing and being READY to receive it. No one is ready for a thing, until he believes he can acquire it. The state of mind must be BELIEF, not mere hope or wish. Open-mindedness is essential for belief. Closed minds do not inspire faith, courage, and belief.
Remember, no more effort is required to aim high in life, to demand abundance and prosperity, than is required to accept misery and poverty. A great poet has correctly stated this universal truth through these lines:
"I bargained with Life for a penny,
  And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
  When I counted my scanty store.
"For Life is a just employer,
  He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
  Why, you must bear the task.
"I worked for a menial's hire,
  Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
  Life would have willingly paid."

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Through the Looking Glass

'O Tiger-lily,' said Alice, addressing herself to one that was waving
gracefully about in the wind, 'I WISH you could talk!'

'We CAN talk,' said the Tiger-lily: 'when there's anybody worth talking
to.'

Alice was so astonished that she could not speak for a minute: it quite
seemed to take her breath away. At length, as the Tiger-lily only went
on waving about, she spoke again, in a timid voice--almost in a whisper.
'And can ALL the flowers talk?'

'As well as YOU can,' said the Tiger-lily. 'And a great deal louder.'
'It isn't manners for us to begin, you know,' said the Rose, 'and I
really was wondering when you'd speak! Said I to myself, "Her face has
got SOME sense in it, though it's not a clever one!" Still, you're the
right colour, and that goes a long way.'

'I don't care about the colour,' the Tiger-lily remarked. 'If only her
petals curled up a little more, she'd be all right.'

Alice didn't like being criticised, so she began asking questions.
'Aren't you sometimes frightened at being planted out here, with nobody
to take care of you?'

'There's the tree in the middle,' said the Rose: 'what else is it good
for?'

'But what could it do, if any danger came?' Alice asked.

'It says "Bough-wough!"' cried a Daisy: 'that's why its branches are
called boughs!'

'Didn't you know THAT?' cried another Daisy, and here they all began
shouting together, till the air seemed quite full of little shrill
voices. 'Silence, every one of you!' cried the Tiger-lily, waving itself
passionately from side to side, and trembling with excitement. 'They
know I can't get at them!' it panted, bending its quivering head towards
Alice, 'or they wouldn't dare to do it!'

'Never mind!' Alice said in a soothing tone, and stooping down to the
daisies, who were just beginning again, she whispered, 'If you don't
hold your tongues, I'll pick you!'

There was silence in a moment, and several of the pink daisies turned
white.

'That's right!' said the Tiger-lily. 'The daisies are worst of all. When
one speaks, they all begin together, and it's enough to make one wither
to hear the way they go on!'

'How is it you can all talk so nicely?' Alice said, hoping to get it
into a better temper by a compliment. 'I've been in many gardens before,
but none of the flowers could talk.'

'Put your hand down, and feel the ground,' said the Tiger-lily. 'Then
you'll know why.'

Alice did so. 'It's very hard,' she said, 'but I don't see what that has
to do with it.'

'In most gardens,' the Tiger-lily said, 'they make the beds too soft--so
that the flowers are always asleep.'
This sounded a very good reason, and Alice was quite pleased to know it.
'I never thought of that before!' she said.

'It's MY opinion that you never think AT ALL,' the Rose said in a rather
severe tone.

'I never saw anybody that looked stupider,' a Violet said, so suddenly,
that Alice quite jumped; for it hadn't spoken before.

'Hold YOUR tongue!' cried the Tiger-lily. 'As if YOU ever saw anybody!
You keep your head under the leaves, and snore away there, till you know
no more what's going on in the world, than if you were a bud!'

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Time Line By Michael Crichton

The wind whined. A few leaves blew, scraping across the floor. The air was damp and cold. They stood silently.

“I wonder if he thought of us.” Chris said, looking at the stone face. “I wonder if he ever missed us.”

“Of course he did,” the professor said. “Don’t you miss him?”

Chris nodded. Kate sniffed, and blew her nose.

“I do,” Johnson said.

They went back outside. They walked down the hill to the car. By now the rain had entirely stopped. But the clouds had remained dark and heavy, hanging low over the distant hills.

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Time, Love, Memory, chapter 1

In the seventeenth century, the French philosopher Blaise Pascal looked up at the night sky and then looked down at a mite, picturing "legs with joints, veins in its legs, blood in the veins, humors in the blood, drops in the humors, vapors in the drops," and onward and downward to the atoms. "The eternal silence of these infinite spaces fills me with dread," he wrote. He meant two infinite spaces, which he called the two infinites of science, one above and around him, the other below and inside him. Of the two infinites, the space that frightened him more was the space that he could not begin to see, the stardust of atoms that made up his very thoughts and fears and moved the fingers around his pen. "Anyone who considers himself in this way will be terrified at himself."

The twentieth century was a long spiral inward on Pascal's path, beginning with a single mutant fly in a milk bottle in the century's first years, and reaching the atoms that Pascal dreaded to see near the century's close. If the spiral leads where it now promises or threatens to lead, this may be remembered as one of the most significant series of discoveries since science began, matching the discoveries of twentieth-century physics. In the universe above and around us, physics opened new views of space and time; in the universe below and inside us, biology opened first glimpses of the foundation stones of experience: time, love, and memory.

What are the connections, the physical connections, between genes and behavior? What is the chain of reactions that leads from a single gene to a bark, or a laugh, or a song, or a thought, or a memory, or a glimpse of red, or a turn toward a light, or a raised hand, or a raised wing? The first scientists to look seriously at this question were the revolutionaries who figured out what genes are made of atom by atom--the founders of the science now known as molecular biology. Seymour Benzer was one of those revolutionaries, and he and his students took the enterprise farthest. Benzer's work on the problem was quiet, his students' work was quiet, and their story has never been told. But to a large extent the hard science of genes and behavior came out of their fly bottles. In this sense the fly bottle is one of the most significant legacies that the science of the twentieth century bequeaths to the twenty-first, a great gift and disturbance that human knowledge conveys to the night thoughts and day-to-day life of the third millennium. Pascal quoted Saint Augustine: "The way in which minds are attached to bodies is beyond our understanding, and yet this is what we are."

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To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Preface
Lawyers, I suppose, were children once. --- Charles Lamb

Chapter 1
When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh. He couldn’t have cared less as long as he could pass or punt.

When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of Boo Radley come out.
I said if he wanted to take a broad view of the thing, it really began with Andrew Jackson. If General Jackson hadn’t run the Creeks up the creek, Simon Finch would never have paddled up the Alabama, and where would we be if he hadn’t?

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To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Preface
Lawyers, I suppose, were children once. --- Charles Lamb

Chapter 1
When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh. He couldn’t have cared less as long as he could pass or punt.

When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of Boo Radley come out.
I said if he wanted to take a broad view of the thing, it really began with Andrew Jackson. If General Jackson hadn’t run the Creeks up the creek, Simon Finch would never have paddled up the Alabama, and where would we be if he hadn’t?

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Toad Heaven by Morris Gleitzman

Toad Heaven by Morris Gleitzman
Chapter 1
Limpy stuck his head out of the grass and peered up and down the highway. He felt his crook leg twitching and his warts tingling like they always did when he was excited.
And scared.
All clear. No headlights speeding out of the darkness. No trucks, cars, buses, or caravans thundering down the highway. No humans on wheels looking for cane toads to squash.
“Let’s do it.” Said Limpy.
“Do what?” said Goliath.
Limpy sighed. He told himself to stay calm. He told himself not to even think about whacking Goliath round the head with a lump of possum poo.
“Goliath,” said Limpy, “try to concentrate.”
“I ain’t had any dinner yet,” grumbled Goliath.
“I’m so hungry I could eat a human’s hairbrush.”
Limpy gripped his cousin's big arms.
"We've got a plan, remember?" said Limpy. "If it works, it'll improve the lives of cane toads everywhere."
"What?" sneered a nearby bull ant. "Even the ones that are already flat?"
Limpy ignored the bull ant.
In the glow from the railway-crossing light, he saw that Goliath was frowning.
"This plan," said Goliath. "I still don't get it."
"Do exactly what I told you," said Limpy, "and you will."
Goliath nodded uncertainly.
"It'll never work," sneered the bull ant. "You cane toads are losers."
Limpy didn't eat the bull ant. What he and Goliath were about to do was too important to waste time having a snack.
"Good luck, Goliath," said Limpy.
His cousin didn't reply. Limpy could see that a frown was still creasing Goliath's big warty face.
Poor thing, thought Limpy. Probably as tense as me. Or else he's got a stink beetle stuck in his throat.

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Travels with Charley - Montana

Travels with Charley - Montana Script: Travels with Charley: In Search of America is a travelogue written by American author John Steinbeck. It recounts tales of a 1960 road trip around the United State with his French standard poodle, Charley. The next passage in my journey is a love affair. I am in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection, but with Montana it is love, and it's difficult to analyze love when you are in it. Once, when I raptured in a violet glow given off by the Queen of the World, my father asked me why, and I thought he was crazy not to see. Of course I now know she was a mouse-haired, freckle-nosed, scabby-kneed little girl with a voice like a bat and the loving kindness of a gila monster, but then she lighted up the landscape and me. It seems to me that Montana is a great splash of grandeur. The scale is huge but not overpowering. The land is rich with grass and color, and the mountains are the kind I would create if mountains were ever put on my agenda. Montana seems to me to be what a small boy would think Texas is like from hearing Texans. Here for the first time I heard a definite regional accent unaffected by TV, a slow-paced warm speech. It seemed to me that the frantic bustle of America was not in Montana. Its people did not seem afraid of shadows in a John Birch Society sense. The calm of the mountains and the rolling grasslands had got into the inhabitants. It was hunting season when I drove through the state. The men I talked to seemed to me not moved to a riot of seasonal slaughter but simply to be going out to kill edible meat. Again my attitude may be informed by love, but it seemed to me that the towns were places to live in rather than nervous hives. People had time to pause in their occupations to undertake the passing art of neighborliness.

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Twas The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
or Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas
by
Major Henry Livingston Jr. (1748-1828)
(previously believed to be by Clement Clarke Moore)

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the crust of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his reindeers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves in a wild hurricane fly,
With the wind behind them, shoot toward the sky,
So up to the house-top the reindeer they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
"MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!"

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Two Years Before The Mast by Richard Henry Dana

First Impressions
The first day we passed at sea was Sunday. As we were just from port, and there was a great deal to be done on board, we were kept at work all day, and at night the watches were set, and everything was put into sea order. When we were called aft to be divided into watches, I had a good specimen of the manner of a sea captain. After the division had been made, he gave a short characteristic speech, walking the quarterdeck with a cigar in his mouth, and dropping the words between the puffs.
“Now , my men, we have begun a long voyage. If we get along well together, we shall have a comfortable time; if we don’t, we shall have hell afloat. All you have got to do is to obey your orders, and do your duty like men, then you will fare well enough; if you don’t, you will fare hard enough, I can tell you. If we pull together, you will find me a clever fellow; if we don’t, you will find me a bloody rascal. That’s all I’ve got to say. Go below, the larboard watch!”

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Under The Andes by Rex Stout

The scene was not exactly new to me. Moved by the spirit of adventure, or by an excess of ennui which overtakes me at times, I had several times visited the gaudy establishment of Mercer, on the fashionable side of Fifth Avenue in the Fifties. In either case I had found disappointment; where the stake is a matter of indifference there can be no excitement; and besides, I had always been in luck.

But on this occasion I had a real purpose before me, though not an important one, and I surrendered my hat and coat to the servant at the door with a feeling of satisfaction.

At the entrance to the main room I met Bob Garforth, leaving. There was a scowl on his face and his hand trembled as he held it forth to take mine.

"Harry is inside. What a rotten hole," said he, and passed on. I smiled at his remark—it was being whispered about that Garforth had lost a quarter of a million at Mercer's within the month—and passed inside.

Gaudy, I have said it was, and it needs no other word. Not in its elements, but in their arrangement.

The rugs and pictures and hangings testified to the taste of the man who had selected them; but they were abominably disposed, and there were too many of them.

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Voiceovers by Janet Wilcox

When a movie star walks down the street he is likely to be followed by an entourage, fans, and the paparazzi. An equally talented voice-over artist, on the other hand, usually remains invisible, no matter how successful she’s been. However, once people discover that she’s a voice-over artist, she’s in the limelight.
“What kind of jobs do you do?”
“Do I have the right kind of voice to do it?”
“How much money do you make?”
These are the questions that are likely to follow.
I discovered voice acting on my first production job at HBO. I was hooked after my initial recording in the booth. I studied, acted, and booked everything from spots to shows. These shows have included
E! Network’s Hollywood & Divine, Beauty Secrets Revealed. I was also the voice of Lifetime TV’s Billboards. This experience and my academic background were a perfect match for University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Extension.
Once I started teaching at UCLA Extension, I was surprised that so many people told me they were interested in pursuing voice-overs or taking my class.

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Wealth

This book is my very first book and publication to the masses. It is about my personal story and journey as a premature baby, who was only given 30 days to live, born into a rural, low-middle class family in Tennessee to become a College Graduate, Father, Husband, Loyal Friend, Established Engineer and Manager of the largest ice cream manufacturing facility in the world, Entrepreneur, Financial Coach, Motivational Speaker, Author and Publishing Company Owner.
As I have matured and unknowingly become an inspiration to others, it is evident to me that everyone has a story and a journey to share with others that will make a difference in the world. Regardless of your circumstances, you can overcome. You can be as successful and as happy as you desire by walking in your purpose. While doing so, you will create unlimited financial wins and have continuous residual income and profits as you share your journey and story with others. The only requirement is that you believe in yourself. Once you believe in you and your purpose, you will become rich and wealthy beyond your wildest dreams.

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When Frank Met Rosie, from Headed for Trouble, by Suzanne Brockmann

Rosie looked up into the deluge and just laughed. She must’ve been even more drunk than Frank had thought, so he grabbed her by the hand and pulled her, and together they ran for the shelter.

It was pointless--they were already soaked--running wouldn’t keep them from getting any more wet. Still, the sound of her laughter made him smile, and--go figure--he was laughing, too, when she finally pulled him into a narrow doorway.

She was breathless and soaked. Her face wasn’t all that was glistening wet, but her smile was so damn infectious as they stood there, squeezed together in a space where he’d have barely fit on his own. She was warm and soft against him, the neckline of that clingy top truly amazing from his vantage point.

“This seems like a good time for introductions,” she told him. “I’m Rosie Marchado. I’m from Hartford. In Connecticut.”

“Frank O’Leary,” he said. He couldn’t look down into her face without getting an eyeful of her sonnet-worthy cleavage. Sweet Jesus, he loved full-figured women.

“Do you want to…,” she started, then stopped. She made an embarrassed face. “God, I’ve never done this before. You’re going to think that I’m…” She took a deep breath, which completely renewed his faith in a higher power. “I really never, ever do this, but do you want to…”

She didn’t hesitate for more than a second or two, but that was all the time Frank needed to fill in the blank.

Have sex, right here in this shadowy doorway. He would kiss her, his hands sweeping her skirt up, her leg wrapping around him as they strained to get closer, even closer…

She was going to ask him for it, and he was going to have to turn her down because she was drunk, except, he couldn't think of anything or anyone he’d rather do.

But then she finished her question with, “Maybe go get some coffee? With me?”

At first her words just didn't make sense.

She wanted hot, steaming…

Coffee.

She was looking up at him, her lower lip caught between her perfect teeth. She was feeling trepidation both at the fact that she’d been so bold as to suggest to a near stranger that they go get coffee, and because she thought he might actually say no.

Frank started to laugh. “I know a place we can go.”

He took her by the hand, and once again pulled her out with him, into the rain.

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When Frank Met Rosie, from _Headed for Trouble_, Suzanne Brockmann

Rosie looked up into the deluge and just laughed. She must’ve been even more drunk than Frank had thought, so he grabbed her by the hand and pulled her, and together they ran for the shelter.

It was pointless--they were already soaked--running wouldn’t keep them from getting any more wet. Still, the sound of her laughter made him smile, and--go figure--he was laughing, too, when she finally pulled him into a narrow doorway.

She was breathless and soaked. Her face wasn’t all that was glistening wet, but her smile was so damn infectious as they stood there, squeezed together in a space where he’d have barely fit on his own. She was warm and soft against him, the neckline of that clingy top truly amazing from his vantage point.

“This seems like a good time for introductions,” she told him. “I’m Rosie Marchado. I’m from Hartford. In Connecticut.”

“Frank O’Leary,” he said. He couldn’t look down into her face without getting an eyeful of her sonnet-worthy cleavage. Sweet Jesus, he loved full-figured women.

“Do you want to…,” she started, then stopped. She made an embarrassed face. “God, I’ve never done this before. You’re going to think that I’m…” She took a deep breath, which completely renewed his faith in a higher power. “I really never, ever do this, but do you want to…”

She didn’t hesitate for more than a second or two, but that was all the time Frank needed to fill in the blank.

(Italics) Have sex, right here in this shadowy doorway. (end italics) He would kiss her, his hands sweeping her skirt up, her leg wrapping around him as they strained to get closer, even closer…

She was going to ask him for it, and he was going to have to turn her down because she was drunk, except, he couldn’t think of anything or anyone he’d rather do.

But then she finished her question with, “Maybe go get some coffee? With me?”

At first her words just didn’t make sense.

She wanted hot, steaming…

Coffee.

She was looking up at him, her lower lip caught between her perfect teeth. She was feeling trepidation both at the fact that she’d been so bold as to suggest to a near stranger that they go get coffee, and because she thought he might actually say no.

Frank started to laugh. “I know a place we can go.”

He took her by the hand, and once again pulled her out with him, into the rain.

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When in Rome, by Patricia Highsmith

Isabella had wrapped her face, her neck, and was beginning to relax in the spray of deliciously warm water over her body when suddenly -- there he was again! An ugly grinning face peered at her not a meter away from her own face, with one big fist gripping an iron bar, so he could raise himself to her level.

"Swine!" Isabella said between her teeth, ducking at the same time.
"Slut!" came his retort. "Ha,ha!'

This must have been the third intrusion by the same creep! Isabella, still stooped, got out of the shower and reached for the plastic bottle of yellow shampoo, shot some into a bowl which held a cake of soap (she removed the soap), let some hot water into the bowl and agitated the water until the suds rose, thick and sweet smelling. She set the bowl within easy reach on the rim of the tub and climbed back under the shower, breathing harder with her fury.

Just let him try it again! Defiantly erect, she soaped her facecloth, washed her thighs. The square recessed window was just to the left of her head, and there was a square of emptiness, stone-lined, between the blue-and-white tiled bathroom walls and the great iron bars, each as thick as her wrist, on the street side.

"Signora?" came the mocking voice again.

Isabella reached for the bowl, Now he had both hands on the bars. and his face was between them, unshaven, his black eyes intense, his loose mouth smiling. Isabella flung the suds, holding the bowl with fingers spread wide on its underside.

"Oof!" The head disappeared.

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Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

Novalee Nation, seventeen, seven months pregnant, thirty-seven pounds overweight—and superstitious about sevens—shifted uncomfortably in the seat of the old Plymouth and ran her hands down the curve of her belly.

For most people, sevens were lucky. But not for her. She’d had a bad history with them, starting with her seventh birthday, the day Mama Nell ran away with a baseball umpire named Fred. Then, when Novalee was in the seventh grade, Ronda Thalley, stole an ice cream truck for her boyfriend and sent to the Tennessee State School for Girls in Tullahoma.

By then, Novalee knew there was something screwy about sevens, so she tried to stay clear of them. But sometimes, she thought, you just can’t see things coming at you.

And that’s how she got stabbed. She just didn’t see it coming.
It happened right after she dropped out of school and started waiting tables at Red’s, a job that didn’t have anything to do with sevens.

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Where the wild things are by Maurice Sendak

Where The Wild Things Are
by
Maurice Sendak

The night wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind
and another
and another
his mother called him “WILD THING!”
and Max said “I’LL EAT YOU UP!”
so he was sent to bed without eating anything.
That very night in Max’s room a forest grew
and grewand
grew until his ceiling hung with vines
and the walls became the world all around
and an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max
and he sailed off through night and day
and in and out of weeks
and almost over a year
to where the wild things are.
And when he came to the place where the wild things are
they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth
and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws
till Max said “BE STILL!”
and tamed with the magic trick
of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once
and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all
and made him king of all wild things.
“And now,” cried Max, “let the wild rumpus start!”
“Now stop!” Max said and sent the wild things off to bed without their supper.
And Max the king of all wild things was lonely and wanted to be where
someone loved him best of all.
Then all around from far away across the world
he smelled good things to eat
so he gave up being king of where the wild things are.
But the wild things cried, “Oh please don’t gowe’ll
eat you up-we love you so!”
And Max said, “No!”
The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth
and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws
but Max stepped into his private boat and waved good-bye
and sailed back over a year
and in and out of weeks
and through a day
and into the night of his very own room
where he found his supper waiting for him
and it was still hot.

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White Fang

White Fang
by Jack London
First Paragraph

Dark spruce forest frowned on either side the frozen waterway. The trees had been stripped by a recent wind of their white covering of frost, and they seemed to lean toward each other, black and ominous, in the fading light. A vast silence reigned over the land. The land itself was a desolation, lifeless, without movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that of sadness. There was a hint in it of laughter, but of a laughter more terrible than any sadness - a laughter that was mirthless as the smile of the Sphinx, a laughter cold as the frost and partaking of the grimness of infallibility. It was the masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life. It was the Wild, the savage, frozenhearted Northland Wild.

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Why There Is No God

Religion, particularly organized religion, provides many people with a sense of purpose
and community. As we discussed in Chapter 12, religious communities can have many
beneficial effects and often sit at the core of a person’s cultural identity, but that does
not make the claims of those religions true. In reality, religion itself does not assign
meaning to an individual’s life. Instead, individuals choose to give their lives meaning
through the activities they pursue and the convictions they hold. Meaning can be found
outside of religion, and seeking one’s own meaning in life can be far more fulfilling than
following the rules of an outside religious authority.

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Why We Need Fathers By Dan Davenport

From Better Homes and Gardens

In 1960, 5.8 million American kids lived in single-parent families. Today, that number has more than tripled, to an astonishing 18 million. Another figure is equally startling: nearly 40 percent of our children don't live in the same home as their biological father. Today, the number of kids whose parents are divorced is nearly equaled by the number of children in homes where there never has been a dad. One out of three babies in America today are born to unmarried women--a 600 percent increase since 1960. "Children need both a mom and a dad." Why both? In his recently published book, Life Without Father, Rutgers University sociologist David Popenoe details the unique yin and yang generated by a woman-man parenting team. "Mothers tend to be responsive and fathers firm. Mothers stress emotional security and relationships while fathers stress competition and risk-taking. Mothers typically express more concern for the child's immediate well-being, while fathers concentrate on a child's long-term autonomy and independence," Popenoe says.

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Wind In The Willows - Mole

The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home.

First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms.
Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.

It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said `Bother!' and `O blow!' and also `Hang spring-cleaning!' and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat.

Something up above was calling him imperiously, and he made for the steep little tunnel which answered in his case to the gravelled carriage-drive owned by animals whose residences are nearer to the sun and air.

So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, `Up we go! Up we go!' till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow.

`This is fine!' he said to himself. `This is better than whitewashing!'

The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout.

Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow till he reached the hedge on the further side.

Contributed by Richurd

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With Friends Like These - Dorothy Rowe

We value friends, but the path of friendship, like love, rarely
runs smooth. We may feel jealous of a friend’s achievements
when we want to feel happy for her. We might find it hard to give
friends objective advice, unrelated to the person we want them to
be. We can be reluctant to allow each other to change, sometimes
falling out in a way that is painful for all involved. And yet, friendships are vitally important; central to our enjoyment of life.
More fundamentally, friendships are essential to our sense of
who we are. Neuroscientists have shown that our brain does not
reveal to us the world as it is, but rather as possible interpretations
of what is going on around us, drawn from our past experience.
Since no two people ever have exactly the same experience, no two
people ever see anything in exactly the same way.

Most of our brain’s constructions are unconscious. Early in our
life our stream of conscious and unconscious constructions create,
like a real stream, a kind of whirlpool that quickly becomes our
most precious possession, that is, our sense of being a person, what
we call “I,” “me,” “myself.” Like a whirlpool, our sense of being a
person cannot exist separately from the stream that created it.
Because we cannot see reality directly, all our ideas are guesses
about what is going on. Thus our sense of being a person is made
up of these guesses. All the time we are creating ideas about who we are, what is happening now, what has happened in our world, and what our future will be. When these ideas are shown by events to be reasonably accurate, that is, our ideas are validated, we feel secure in ourselves, but when they are proved wrong, we feel that we are falling apart.

Friends are central to this all-important sense of validation.
When a friend confirms to us that the world is as we see it, we feel
safer, reassured. On the other hand, when we say, “I’m shattered,”
or “I’m losing my grip,” we might not be using clichés to describe
a bad day but talking about something quite terrifying that we
are experiencing: our sense of who we are is being challenged. So
terrifying is this experience that we develop many different tactics
aimed at warding off invalidation and defending ourselves against
being annihilated as a person.
30
safer, reassured. On the other hand, when we say, “I’m shattered,”
or “I’m losing my grip,” we might not be using clichés to describe
a bad day but talking about something quite terrifying that we
are experiencing: our sense of who we are is being challenged. So
terrifying is this experience that we develop many different tactics
aimed at warding off invalidation and defending ourselves against
being annihilated as a person.

We are constantly assessing how safe our sense of being a person is. Our assessments are those interpretations we call emotions. All our emotions relate to the degree of safety or danger our sense of being a person is experiencing. So important are these interpretations to our survival that we do not need to put them into words, although of course we can. Our positive emotions are interpretations to do with safety, while the multitude of negative emotions define the particular kind of danger and its degree. Joy is: “Everything is the way I want it to be”; jealousy is: “How dare that person have something that is rightly mine.” We can be invalidated by events such as the bankruptcy of the firm that employs us, but most frequently we are invalidated by other people.

A friend told me how her husband had used her password and
pin to drain her bank account and fund his secret gambling habit.
Losing her savings was a terrible blow, but far worse was her loss of
trust in the person she saw as her best friend. When she described herself as falling apart, I assured her that what was falling apart were some of her ideas. All she had to do was to endure a period of uncertainty until she could construct ideas that better reflected her situation.

Friendship can be rewarding but, like all relationships, it can
also be risky. Other people can let us down, insult or humiliate
us, leading us to feel diminished and in danger. Yet we need other
people to tell us when we have got our guesses right, and, when
we get things wrong, to help us make more accurate assessments.
Live completely on your own and your guesses will get further and
further away from reality.

The degree of risk we perceive from our friends relates directly to the degree of self-confidence we feel. When confident of ourselves, we feel that we can deal with being invalidated; when lacking self-confidence, we often see danger where no danger need exist. Take jealousy, for example. Feeling self-confident, we can rejoice in our friend’s success at a new job; feeling inferior, we see danger and try to defend ourselves with: “It’s not fair.” We can fail to see that our friendship should be more important to us than our injured pride.

Our levels of confidence also relate to how ready we are to
accept change, and how able we are to allow our friends to change.
To feel secure in ourselves, we need to be able to predict events
reasonably accurately. We think we know our friends well, and
so can predict what they will do. We create a mental image of our
friends, and we want to keep them within the bounds of that image.
Our need to do this can override our ability to see our friends in the
way they see themselves. We do not want them to change because
then we would have to change our image of them. Change creates
uncertainty, and uncertainty can be frightening.

However, an inability to allow change can lead to the end of a
friendship. Falling out with a friend shows us that our image of
them, from which we derive our predictions about that friend, is wrong; and if that is the case, our sense of being a person is threatened.

If we lose a friend, we have to change how we see ourselves and
our life. Each of us lives in our own individual world of meaning.
We need to find friends whose individual world is somewhat
similar to our own so that we are able to communicate with one
another.

The people who can validate us best are those we can see
as equals, and with whom there can be mutual affection, trust,
loyalty and acceptance. Such people give us the kind of validation
that builds a lasting self-confidence despite the difficulties we
encounter. These are our true friends.

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Writing That Works By Kenneth Roman & Joel Raphaelson

By itself, good writing is no guarantee of success. But words are more than words and business writing does not exist in a vacuum. What you write will always have a purpose and if you write well you are more likely to achieve it, and to succeed.

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Yeah, Dave's Livin in the Moment

From: Yeah Dave’s Guide to Livin’ the Moment, by David Romanelli

Feeling and finding the spirit might not smooth out your wrinkles or tone your thighs but who ever said drinking from the fountain of youth was cosmetic surgery or an eight-week workout? Drinking is the key word here. Next time you drink a glass of wine, particularly a wine with some age, know that your greatest knowledge about wine is not the flavor or the region or the varietal or the olfactory notes. Your greatest knowledge of wine is that it ages well. If you can recall that message in every sip, you will be the ultimate aficionado, not of wine, but of life!

Examine the ultimate symbol of youth, a little baby and you’ll see the baby is free from doubt, fear and despair. Such negativity rusts our joints and erodes our dreams. The little baby is born as an advanced yogi with no effects from life’s friction. She can lift her foot to her mouth or cross her legs in the most flexible manner. Look in the baby’s eyes—they are strikingly similar to the eyes of a vibrant one-hundred-year-old man or a jubilant fifty-seven-year-old woman. What they share is enthusiasm: Enthusiasm to taste. Enthusiasm to seek. Enthusiasm to dream. And as John Barrymore said, “ You don’t age until your regrets outnumber your dreams.”

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Zoo Story By Edward Albee

ALL RIGHT. THE STORY OF JERRY AND THE DOG! What I am going to tell you has something to do with how sometimes it's necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly; or maybe I only think that it has something to do with that. But, it's why I went to the zoo today, and why I walked north ... northerly, rather... until I came here.

All right. The dog, I think I told you, is a black monster of a beast: an oversized head, tiny, tiny ears, and eyes ... bloodshot eyes, infected, maybe; and body you can see the ribs through the skin. The dog is black, all black; all black except for the bloodshot eyes, and yes... and an open sore on it's .... right forepaw; that's red, too. And, oh yes; the poor monster, and I do believe it's an old dog.......

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