20 Feb 2020, 7:35am
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Kate’s 2¢: “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine

“Common Sense” by Thomas Paine

 

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

Who hasn’t heard “These are the times that try men’s souls.”? While “Common Sense” was written in the mid-1770’s, the reasoning is still sound today. No one can guaranteed that your ally today will be your ally tomorrow.

It was said that Britain was the father of America, but, Paine points out that our people came from all over, thus, Europe was the Father of America.

Our people still come from all over the globe; however, now it seems that the immigrants of today only want to make money to send back to their country of origin, instead of, striving to make America great.

I think it is important for all Americans to read and discuss pieces like “Common Sense”, the Constitution of the United States” and the other influential treatises to solidify each’s foundation in understanding our country and the principles upon which it was founded.

I also realize that each generation is going to have its own agenda (as well as make its own mistakes); however, working within the framework of our system of government and principles, will keep our Republic viable and successful.

 

From the Web:

Thomas Paine was an influential 18th-century writer of essays and pamphlets. Among them were “The Age of Reason,” regarding the place of religion in society; “Rights of Man,” a piece defending the French Revolution; and “Common Sense,” which was published during the American Revolution. “Common Sense,” Paine’s most influential piece, brought his ideas to a vast audience, swaying the otherwise undecided public opinion to the view that independence from the British was a necessity.

Paine was a pamphleteer whose “Common Sense” and other writings influenced the American Revolution, and helped pave the way for the Declaration of Independence.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

Common sense and The crisis DB19603

Paine, Thomas; Paine, Thomas. Reading time: 10 hours, 1 minute.

Read by David Horvitz. A production of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress.

 

Government and Politics

 

In “Common Sense,” first appearing in 1776, the American patriot sees the Declaration of Independence as America’s moral obligation to the world. In the thirteen “Crisis” papers, written during the Revolutionary War, he supports and encourages the patriotic struggle against Britain.

13 Feb 2020, 8:27am
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Chronicles of Spain, 1966 “American Passport”

Chronicles of Spain, 1966 “American Passport”

(bodhisattva connotes a being who is ‘bound for enlightenment’; a person whose aim is to become fully enlightened.)

American Passport

By Kate Chamberlin

 

Aloud tap on the Citreon’s driver’s window woke the four of us up from a sound sleep. We’d driven south until our eyes drooped, but, there was no inn or hostel in sight. We’d pulled over into, what was probably a scenic look-out spot, put our heads back, and slept.

La Guardia tapping on my window said we couldn’t spend the night there. An inn was about two miles ahead of us. We left and found clean beds to sleep in. The morning’s sunny view of a harbor, little boats, and greenery was picture postcard perfect.

I drove our little Estropizio  the rest of the way to the border of Gibraltar. We spent a few minutes atop the rock, posing with the little monkeys, who made their home there.

We boarded a boat and sailed through the Straights of Gibraltar to Algeciras, Morocco. The totally foreign sights of the garb people wore, smells of the exotic food, and crowds were intimidating. Adding to our fear was the dire warning to not take any photos of anything.

Once back on the mainland of Gibraltar, we relaxed in Estropizio and headed for the Spanish border. We happened to be behind a car of four British girls we’d met in Gibraltar. At the border, the gardarmes had them pull over to the side of the road and they all got out.

When we pulled up to the stop spot, he asked for our passports, looked at them, and waved us onward.  Apparently, relations between Spain and England over the ownership of “the rock”, was still a festering sore.

I was very appreciative of the positive influence of my American passport. My Mother, however, would have paled at any descriptions of my Arabian tales. So, I didn’t tell her.

 

I’m still on my journey toward bodhisattva and when I’ve achieved full enlightenment,

I will tell my Mother.

 

 

6 Feb 2020, 6:42am
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Chronicles of Spain, 1966 – Horse carriage ride

Chronicles of Spain, 1966 – Horse carriage ride

 

(bodhisattva connotes a being who is ‘bound for enlightenment’; a person whose aim is to become fully enlightened.)

 

 

Horse Carriage Ride

By Kate Chamberlin

 

 

While each Spanish town and city along our route with Estropezia, held special sights, sounds, and smells unique unto itself, Seville is one that stands out in my memory.

Arriving in the late-afternoon, we procured over-night accommodations in a youth hostel, then, toured the city. We stopped here and there to sample various local food vendor’s wares, toured several museums, and, eventually, needed a bathroom.

We entered one bar a little way down a side street, off the very busy main street, thinking what bar doesn’t have a rest room?

The bar room/restaurant had a few tables and numerous men seated at the bar. An ambiance of friendliness with the ubiquitous smell of stale wine and fried tapas in oil permeated the air. The vociferous chatter and laughter ceased as we stepped in. Small, dark eyes watched our every move as we approached the bar. In our uncertain Spanish, we asked where the ladies’ room was located. The bartender nodded, grinned, and indicated it was behind the building. We exited the building and went around to the back

We opened the door and gasped. The stench was thicker than the walls and stopped us in our tracks. Upon closer inspection, we saw two shoe prints painted on each side of a hole in the floor  of a 3-foot by 3-foot “closet. There were urine stains all over the floor and the very thin walls. We suddenly decided that we didn’t have to go THAT badly, especially if we would have to hold up our skirts to squat over the mess on the floor. We covered our mouths, held our noses and backed out of the “rest room”. There was an uproarious laughter from the men at the bar on the other side of the wall.  It occurred to us that there might have been a peep-hole providing entertainment for the locals.

Two of the girls wanted to return to the hostel to sleep; however, another girl and I weren’t quite ready to call it a night. They took the car back and we walked from club to bar to night spot until it was rather late. The hostel had a curfew, after which the gates to the property were locked.

We thought we should get there pronto, so, we walked up to a horse drawn carriage. It was a beautiful little carriage drawn by a handsome, brown horse about 12-hands high. I asked the grandfatherly driver, who was sitting with his teenage grandson at the reins, if I could pet the horse.

He said, “Si. Si, Senorita.”; which started a conversation where I explained how I used to ride my neighbor’s horses when I lived in Riverwoods/Deerfield, Illinois. He asked me if I’d like to ride his horse. Why not?

Fortunately, my full skirt provided ample coverage as the teenage son gave me a leg up onto the horses back. Quick as a wink, he vaulted up to sit right behind me.  His grandfather chuckled  as my friend sat in the carriage and the boy clicked to the horse and flicked the reins. We made it to our hostel just in time for curfew.

It was the exuberance of youth that made me do it, but, my unlady-like behavior would have thoroughly embarrassed my Mother. So, I didn’t tell her.

 

 

29 Jan 2020, 6:37pm
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Chronicles of Spain, 1966 Car Trip

Chronicles of Spain, 1966 Car Trip

(bodhisattva connotes a being who is ‘bound for enlightenment’; a person whose aim is to become fully enlightened.)

 

Car Trip

 

Three other girls and I decided to rent a Citreon during a summer break from college Classes at the Universadid de Valladolid, Spain. We nicknamed our little car Estropizio (say: ess-tro-peeth-ee-oh), because, it was such a little disaster right from the get-go.

Everyone seemed happy enough to let me do most of the driving, while who-ever sat in the passenger seat became the navigator. Now a days, we’d have used a GPS, but, in 1966, we were on a hard copy map.

At one point during our trek south, she directed me to “turn right”, so, I did. We promptly became lost in a maze of dusty roads in a small, seemingly abandoned village.

When I spotted a young, poorly dressed boy on a rickety bicycle, I stopped the car and called him over to ask if he knew how to get us to the main, paved road.  He obliged us by riding his bike in front of us until we were at the main highway.

I beckoned him over to my window and thanked him, handing him a shiny, American quarter for his help. His dirty face lit up with a smile that went all the way up into his wide eyes, showing wonderfully white teeth with one front tooth missing.

Many miles on down the lonely highway, we saw a hitch-hiker wanting to go our way. We talked about stopping for him or continue on. He looked to be about our age, relatively clean, and rather cute. We stopped.

He managed to squeeze his lanky frame into the backseat between the two girls who were already there. He only spoke Spanish, so, we peppered him with all sorts of questions in our poor Spanish. It was more than he bargained for, and before long, he asked to be let out along the roadside. Adios, Muchacho!

In retrospect, I don’t know if our village guide smiled because he knew the value of the quarter or because it was so shiny. My mother, however, would have been horrified to know I’d ignored all her “stranger danger” lectures and picked up a hitch-hiker. So, I didn’t tell her.

 

23 Jan 2020, 6:15am
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Chronicles of Spain, 1966: Putting On Horns

Chronicles of Spain, 1966: Putting On Horns

(bodhisattva connotes a being who is ‘bound for enlightenment’; a person whose aim is to become fully enlightened.)

By Kate Chamberlin

Putting On Horns

Weighing in at 110 pounds, 5-feet 4-1/2-inches with naturally curly blonde hair, I was neither a petit nor queen-sized college student studying in Spain. To the Spaniards; however, I was a unique contrast to their average height, dark hair and swarthy skin tone. I was happy to chat with any and all of them to soak up as much Spanish culture as I could during my 6-months in their country.

Chacolo patiently listened to me butcher his Spanish language, discern what the heck I was trying to say, and tell me the correct version. He liked to walk with his arm around my waist and, since he was below average height, I’d rest my arm on his shoulder. The Señora of the family I lived with, who  had a two-year old daughter and was 7-months pregnant with their second child, said it looked like I was nursing him.

He had much simpatico and when my 21st birthday came around on July 20th, gifted me with a set of La Tuna serenading mariachis. Each inch-tall musician had a Spanish instrument in his hands with tiny ribbons streaming from their black capes.

The first young Spaniard my brunette college roommate met hit it off right from the start. Phyllis, a Spanish Major, and Miguel spoke only in Spanish unless I found myself in a muddle, at which point, they could both verbally bail me out in English. My major was Elementary Education with a Spanish Minor, so, I liked to try to talk with everyone I met.

Conrado’s dark, curly hair and swarthy skin with penetrating, mahogany eyes fit my stereotype of a Spaniard. His basso voice resonated inside me, though he wasn’t terribly patient about my poor Spanish. I felt happy and comfortable walking next to his tall, lean figure. I was flattered when he called me chata, until Miguel told me Conrado’s nickname for me meant “pointy nose”; the true definition of chata means pug nosed, but it also is a term of endearment that has nothing to do with the nose, just like calling someone honey.

One afternoon, Phyllis, Miguel, Conrado and I went to a local bodega (say: bo-DAY-ga) where several friends were getting together a fiesta in the party room of the bar. As we descended narrow stairs, the musty odor of the basement was liberally laced with scents of stale wine, beer, tobacco and cheap perfume along with music and laughter.

The scarred, trestle tables in the dimly lit basement room were laden with pitchers of wine, beer, fried pig ears, nuts, churros, and other snacks. Eight or ten people were already seated on the long, wooden benches on each side of the table.

The party was fun, loud, and we were all having such a merry time of it. Suddenly, a fellow wearing heavy boots hopped onto the table and began to do a dance by   stamping his feet in time to the loud music. We each grabbed our wine and a snack bowl as everything began to bounce up and down. I could see how the table had become so scarred, if this was the Spanish style of entertainment. To my amazement and amusement, the table dancer was Chacolo.

He had a very serious and fierce expression on his face as he put a fist with the pointer finger up on each side of his head. He stamped and fake ran at Conrado, as if Chacolo were an angry bull.   Everyone except Conrado and I yelled “olé!”, urging him on.

When I yelled into Conrado’s ear to be heard over the noise, I asked him why Chacolo was acting that way, he explained that, in Spain, when a man wins the other man’s girl’s favor, the looser has had “the horns put on him.

The party sort of lost its merriment for me after that. I felt awful for unknowingly hurting a young man that I didn’t realize cared for me that deeply in such a short time.

While this anecdote still gives me angst, my Mother would have been mortified to know I’d been so naïve as to not know what I’d done. So, I didn’t tell her.

 

17 Jan 2020, 5:54am
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Chronicles of Spain, 1966

Chronicles of Spain, 1966

(bodhisattva connotes a being who is ‘bound for enlightenment’; a person whose aim is to become fully enlightened.)

By Kate Chamberlin

 

  1. In A Grassy Field

The clouds scudded across the warm night sky, obliterating the starlight and silver quarter moon. My girlfriend and I had spent a fun-filled afternoon and evening visiting the families of several Spanish boys that had picked us up in the college city of Valladolid, Spain.

Before doing my practice teaching my senior year in college, I lived in Spain from mid-May to mid-December, 1966. Armed with a minor in Spanish, I wanted to immerse myself in as much of the Spanish culture, people, and language as I could. Phyllis, who had a major in Spanish, and I attended the Catholic Mass in Spanish and Latin every Sunday, accepted each invitation to tour the big city museums, take classes at the university, witness a bull fight, and experience las fiestas in small villages.

When several boys we’d seen on campus invited us to go with them to their pueblo’s fiesta honoring the town’s saint, we accepted. The afternoon and evening were lively with going from one home to another, each packed more fully with that family’s extended relatives. Everyone wanted to see las Americanas morena and rubia. Phyllis was a brunette and I was blonde.

Each family produced the best they could afford of fried pig ears, spicy sausages, breads, and of course, wines of varying quality.

Half-way back to the university in the middle of the night, all the wine we’d consumed, needed to be released. We saw no lights of a friendly inn, passed through no towns, and no homes were near-by. We were in the middle of no-where. The boys knew it wouldn’t be a problem for them, but, what to do with las gringas?

Eventually, they stopped the car on the side of the road. They were going to unbutton and go on the grass next to the car; however, Phyllis and I were a bit more modest and chose to cross the road and climb over the fence into a grassy field. We flipped up our skirts, slid down our panties, and squatted with the anticipation of relief.

It was then that I heard heavy breathing and, possibly, a snort behind us. I thought it was a crude joke for the boys to sneak up behind us like that, but, when I looked over my shoulder, my face blanched and I felt a horror I’d never felt before.

As the clouds briefly cleared from the face of the moon, I saw I was staring into the dark eyes of a very large, smelly bull, not five feet away. He snorted again and took a step toward us.

My urinating stopped on a drop and I took off for the fence with Phyllis right behind me. The boys couldn’t stop laughing, as they knew the bull lived in that field.

Fortunately for us, el toro was the Ferdinand type of bull, who was more curious than angry.

While this anecdote is funny now, my Mother would have been mortified to know I’d even thought about peeing in a field, instead of a proper bathroom! So, I didn’t tell her.

 

9 Jan 2020, 8:40am
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Chronicles of Spain, 1966

Chronicles of Spain, 1966

(bodhisattva connotes a being who is ‘bound for enlightenment’; a person whose aim is to become fully enlightened.)

By Kate Chamberlin

 

  1. Shipboard Costumes

The tiny tug boats nudged the huge Greek Line ship away from the crowded New York Harbor dock amidst much fanfare, horn blaring, tears, hugs, and hopes. Our group of college students were off to study in Spain for six months.

The young, Greek boys who staffed the ship, waiting on passengers every whim, set-up and served lavish meals for First Class passengers and sumptuous meals for the rest of us were very accommodating. Their good, but broken English, fascinated us. It didn’t hurt that all of them were handsome and about our age. We were always asking them what the Greek word is for Good Morning, Good Night, or this or that, and on and on.

The ship was also loaded with quite a variety of other young men and women, too. We met each other through the many activities available for our entertainment. Eating was the main event, but, the parties, dances, contests, and sports abounded at all times of the day and night.

One evening, a contest for the best costume was announced. We were to parade before the First-Class passengers after their dinner and they would judge our costumes and award prizes in various categories.

One young man in our new circle of acquaintances asked me if I’d partner with him as a Muslim couple. Why not? We wrapped up in separate sheets from his cabin. As we were about to enter the First-Class dining room, he admonished me to remember to walk behind him and keep my head  down with my eyes on the floor. Well okay, I played the part, even though we didn’t win anything.

I didn’t think much about it at the time, but later, I marveled at how demeaning that was. And to add insult to injury, when he walked me back to the cabin I shared with my college friend, Phyllis, he shoved me up against the closed cabin door, insisting he was coming in with me for what he felt was his due. Apparently, one of the Greek staffers heard our scuffle and rounded the passageway corner causing my date to angrily stalk off to bother someone else. We avoided each other for the rest of our 7 day Atlantic crossing.

Decades later, I’m still embarrassed about the costume and angry about his assumption that I’d sleep with him; but, my mother would have been mortified to know her prudish, smart, feisty daughter had let herself get into that situation. So, I didn’t tell her.

 

31 Dec 2019, 10:07am
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Kate’s 2¢: “Lewis Carroll: a biography” by Morton Norton Cohen

Dear Readers,

Thank you for being with me this past year. In January, I’ll start a new series for six weeks, then, I’ll be back with my

2¢ about the books I’ve read.

Happy New Year!

 

 

“Lewis Carroll: a biography” by Morton Norton Cohen

 

“Lewis Carroll: a biography” by Morton Norton Cohen

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

I’ve been familiar with Carol’s stories for ages. I enjoyed reading the biography of his life and times. I’m not so sure I’d be so trusting of him with my little girls, although there is nothing documented about a problem. Maybe it’s the day and age we live in.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

Lewis Carroll: a biography DB42220

Cohen, Morton Norton. Reading time: 21 hours, 48 minutes.

Read by John Horton.

 

Literature

 

Literary biography of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ; and, Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There (DB 50842). Cohen provides insights to the enigmatic Victorian writer based on thirty years of studying Carroll and analysis of his diaries and letters. Carroll was an Oxford don, a mathematics instructor, and a master of wordplay. He was also friend to many young girls, including the real Alice.

 

Alice In Wonderland

Carroll, Lewis. Reading time: 6 hours, 10 minutes.

Read by Yvonne Fair Tessler.

 

Classics

Fantasy Fiction

 

Extraordinary things happen when a little girl falls down a rabbit hole and encounters the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and other unusual characters. Her second adventure takes her to a land with a peculiar back-to-front order in which everything is reversed. Alice meets the Red Queen and hears such nonsense verses as “Jabberwocky” and “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” For children of all ages and adults as well.

 

 

31 Dec 2019, 9:50am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: “Out Fox” by Sandra Brown

Kate’s 2¢: “Out Fox” by Sandra Brown

“Out Fox” by Sandra Brown

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

Right from the start, we know who the antagonist is, but is the protagonist really the good guy? In the end the good guy gets the perp, the girl and a bonus.

I enjoyed this fast moving story, but I’d be careful about whom I recommend read it.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

Outfox DB96376

Brown, Sandra. Reading time: 14 hours, 1 minute.

Read by Victor Slezak.

 

Romantic suspense fiction; Suspense Fiction; Mystery and Detective Stories; Bestsellers; Romance

 

FBI agent Drex Easton is determined to capture con man Weston Graham. Over the years Weston has assumed many names and countless disguises to lure eight wealthy women out of their fortunes before they disappeared without a trace. Drex believes he finally has the suspect in sight. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2019.

 

 

31 Dec 2019, 9:41am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: “Inside out: a memoir” by Dimi Moore

Kate’s 2¢: “Inside out: a memoir” by Dimi Moore

“Inside out: a memoir” by Dimi Moore

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

I doubt my memoir will be published, because I’ve led such a plain, vanilla life compared to Moore’s tumultuous life.

I liked listening to her reading her own story. I wish her well in the new year.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

Inside out: a memoir DB96990

Moore, Demi. Reading time: 6 hours, 33 minutes.

Read by Demi Moore.

 

Stage and Screen; Biography

 

Memoir of actress famous for roles in hit films such as Ghost and About Last Night. She describes her family, childhood trauma, rise to fame, battles with addiction, high-profile relationships, and struggles to balance raising a family with her career. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

 

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