Friday, February 27, 2015

Today In History

Enjoy History? Want to know some important things that happened today? We ALL do...


425-Theodosius effectively founds a university in Constantinople.

1531-German Protestants form the League of Schmalkalden to resist the power of the emperor.

1700-The Pacific Island of New Britain is discovered.

1814-Napoleon's Marshal Nicholas Oudinot is pushed back at Barsur-Aube by the Emperor's allied enemies shortly before his abdication.

1827-The first Mardi-Gras celebration is held in New Orleans.

1864-The first Union prisoners arrive at Andersonville Prison in Georgia.

1865-Confederate raider William Quantrill and his bushwackers attack Hickman, Kentucky, shooting women and children. 

1905-The Japanese push Russians back in Manchuria and cross the Sha River. 

1908-The forty-sixth star is added to the U.S. flag, signifying Oklahoma's admission to statehood. 

1920-The United States rejects a Soviet peace offer as propaganda. 

1925-Glacier Bay National Monument is dedicated in Alaska. 

1933-The burning down of the Reichstag building in Berlin gives the Nazis the opportunity to suspend personal liberty with increased power. 

1939-The Supreme Court outlaws sit-down strikes. 

1942-British Commandos raid a German radar station at Bruneval on the French coast. 

1953-F-84 Thunderjets raid North Korean base on Yalu River. 

1962-South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem is unharmed as two planes bomb the presidential palace in Saigon. 

1963-The Soviet Union says that 10,000 troops will remain in Cuba. 

1969-Thousands of students protest President Richard Nixon's arrival in Rome. 

1973-U.S. Supreme Court rules that a Virginia pool club can't bar residents because of color. 

1988-Debi Thomas becomes the first African American to win a medal at the Winter Olympics. 

1991-Coalition forces liberate Kuwait after seven months of occupation by the Iraqi army. 




Born on February 27

1807-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet. 

1886-Hugo Black, U.S. Supreme Court justice. 

1888-Lotte Lehmann, German opera singer. 

1891-David Sarnoff, RCA board chairman and a pioneer of U.S. television 

1897-Marian Anderson, singer. 

1902-John Steinbeck, American novelist (The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men). 

1904-James T. Farrel, author (Young Lonigan). 

1910-Peter De Vries, writer, poetry editor (Poetry Magazine, The New Yorker). 

1912-Lawrence Durrell, novelist (The Alexandria Quartet). 

1917-John Connally, Texas Governor, wounded in the assassination of President John Kennedy.

1930-Joanne Woodward, actress (Rachel, Rachel, The Three Faces of Eve). 

1932-Elizabeth Taylor, actress (Cleopatra, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?). 

1934-Ralph Nader, consumer advocate. 


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Little Known Dystopian Book List

Enjoy books like "The Hunger Games" and "Maze Runner" then check out this book list...



1) "Galactic Energies" by Luca Rossi

The artificial intelligences of DataCom are trying to save the planet... by exterminating the human race.
Aurelia finds her perfect man: a robot.
The space explorer Captain Arcot sacrifices his life for an impossible conquest, the heart of Vril the vampire queen.
A shape-shifting mutant ignites the erotic desires of the galactic police officer who's been tracking her down.
Alessio fights against corruption in a universe of his own creation.
An innocent man is forced to submit to the domination of a ruthless prison director.
A king who's forgotten his own past wanders through a magical dimension where he discovers his own history.
Two souls separated after one abandons the other meet again in another life.
In an exciting virtual reality game, the hunter of the fearsome black widow becomes her prey.


2) "Tent City" by Kelly Van Hull

After a devastating plague, introverted 17-year-old Dani Campbell and her family find themselves living in a very different America, one run by a cult-like leader, who forces children to move to "safety camps" designed to protect the human race. Encouraged to flee by her parents, Dani and her five-year-old brother seek refuge in the Black Hills of South Dakota. On the run with danger around every corner, Dani must fight to ensure their survival in this new world while trying to unmask the mystery of how it all came to be.


3) "Breeder" by Casey Hays

Beyond the Village, nothing exists ... except devastation. A war waged by men and their hateful weapons long ago made it so, and my people--the women of the Village--are the only survivors. This is what our history lessons teach us, and this is what we are to believe. But I am sixteen now ... and I question everything. The Archer has spoken, but I have no desire to heed his command. I long for more.
In a world demolished by war and ruled by the hands of Fate, individual choices have become obsolete. Essentially, there is only one requirement: Bow the knee to the wisdom of the Council without question. Many of the women in the Village have acquiesced to this mandate, including some of Kate's closest friends. But Kate longs for something more; she hears the call of another life. On the day of her sixteenth birthday celebration, the reality of what this means invades her with a vengeance, and she is forced to contend with her own moral conscience. Kate's destiny has always been the Pit--the life of the breeder--which she is expected to embrace without complaint. Her rebel's heart, however, refuses to comply with Fate's demand, and what she finds in the Pit draws her one step closer to finding the truth about herself and the Village. And it changes the course of her destiny for all eternity. 


4) "Fire Country" By David Estes

In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer's even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely. Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn sixteen and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers. Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with. As the desert sands run out on her life's hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.


5) "Article 5" by Kristen Simmons

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. That life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.


6) "Defiance" by C.J. Redwine

While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel's father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city's brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father's apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.


7) "The Island" by Jen Minkman

'I walk toward the sea. The endless surface of the water extends to the horizon, whichever way I look.
Our world is small. We are on our own, and we only have ourselves to depend on. We rely on the Force deep within us, as taught to us by our forefathers.
If I were to walk westward from here, I would come across a barrier - the Wall. Behind it, there are Fools. At least, that's what everyone says. I have never seen one.'
Leia lives on the Island, a world in which children leave their parents to take care of themselves when they are ten years old. Across this Island runs a wall that no one has ever crossed. The Fools living behind it are not amenable to reason - they believe in illusions. That's what The Book says, the only thing left to the Eastern Islanders by their ancestors.
But when a strange man washes ashore and Leia meets a Fool face to face, her life will never be the same. Is what she and her friends believe about the Island really true?
Or is everyone in their world, in fact, a Fool?


8) "The Forever Ones" by Marjorie DeLuca

Paige is a forever, genetically altered to stay nineteen forever and live in the secret Iduna Corp compound, a place where age reversal and immortality has been perfected. Forevers are told to live for the moment.. Be what you want to be for a while and when you get sick of it – be something else. But when her friends start disappearing Paige suspects there’s a darker side to their luxurious prison. The official word is they’ve been kidnapped by criminals on the outside who want to use them as feeders. Feeders have a short and brutal life – kept in captivity and sucked dry of all their youth cells so the Crime Lords can enjoy eternal youth. Her friend Junius involves her in planning a daring escape from the compound so they can infiltrate the IdunaCorp organization and find out what’s really happening to their missing friends. They’re joined by the charismatic and musical Chale, a Keener whose attraction to Paige causes tension between her and Junius. What will they find on the outside? How has the quest for immortality changed humanity? The journey becomes so dangerous Paige is forced to push herself to the limits of her endurance and to make tough decisions about who she can trust – Junius or Chale?


9) "Outside" by Shalini Boland

A post-apocalyptic romance thriller. The future is divided by Perimeters: high-security gated communities where life goes on as normal. If you're inside you're lucky. If you're outside, life expectancy takes a nose dive.

Riley is fortunate to have been born on the right side of the fence. But her life of privilege comes crashing down when someone breaks through and murders her sister.

She forsakes her own safety to go in search of the killer. Luc decides to go with her otherwise she'll be dead before she's past the security gate. But what awaits her outside is more unbelievable than she ever imagined.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Growing Up Book List

Looking for something that either reminds you of your childhood or to help you while growing up? Don't worry and check out this book list...



1) "Seven Little Australians" by Ethel Turner

A captain who has lost his wife remarries a much younger woman to provide his six children with a new mother. Together, the couple had another child, making seven. The captain tries to run the family with stern discipline, but he is no match for the fun-loving children.


2) "The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas" by David Almond

Stanley Potts’s uncle Ernie has developed an over-the-top fascination with canning fish in the house, and life at 69 Fish Quay Lane has turned barmy. But there’s darkness in the madness, and when Uncle Ernie’s obsession takes an unexpectedly cruel turn, Stan has no choice but to leave. As he journeys away from the life he’s always known, he mingles with a carnival full of eccentric characters and meets the legendary Pancho Pirelli, the man who swims in a tank full of perilous piranhas. Will Stan be bold enough to dive in the churning waters himself and choose his own destiny?


3) "Maniac Magee" by Jerry Spinelli

Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn't made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run--and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.


4) "The Year of the Dog" by Grace Lin

It's the Chinese Year of the Dog, and as Pacy celebrates with her family, she finds out that this is the year she is supposed to "find herself." Universal themes of friendship, family, and finding one's passion in life make this novel appealing to readers of all backgrounds. This funny and profound book is a wonderful debut novel by a prolific picture book author and illustrator and has all the makings of a classic.


5) "Each Kindness" by Jacqueline Woodson

Chloe and her friends won't play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe's teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she'd shown a little kindness toward Maya.


6) "The Thing About Luck" by Cynthia Kabohata

There is bad luck, good luck, and making your own luck--which is exactly what Summer must do to save her family in this winner of the National Book Award by Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata.

Summer knows that kouun means "good luck" in Japanese, and this year her family has none of it. Just when she thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong, an emergency whisks her parents away to Japan--right before harvest season. Summer and her little brother are left in the care of their grandparents -- Obaachan and Jiichan -- who come out of retirement in order to harvest wheat and help pay the bills.

The thing about Obaachan and Jiichan is that they are old-fashioned and demanding, and between helping Obaachan cook for the workers, covering for her when her back pain worsens, and worrying about her lonely little brother, Summer just barely has time to notice the attentions of their boss's cute son. But notice she does, and what begins as a welcome distraction from the hard work soon turns into a mess of its own.

Having thoroughly disappointed her grandmother, Summer figures the bad luck must be finished--but then it gets worse. And when that happens, Summer has to figure out how to change it herself, even if it means further displeasing Obaachan. Because it might be the only way to save her family.


7) "Tell the Wolves I'm Home" by Carol Rifka Brunt

1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.

At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.

An emotionally charged coming-of-age novel, Tell the Wolves I’m Home is a tender story of love lost and found, an unforgettable portrait of the way compassion can make us whole again. 


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Best Feminist Book List Continued

Enjoy reading about feminine power? Want more? Check out this book list...



1) "The House of Spirits" by Isabel Allende

In one of the most important and beloved Latin American works of the twentieth century, Isabel Allende weaves a luminous tapestry of three generations of the Trueba family, revealing both triumphs and tragedies. Here is patriarch Esteban, whose wild desires and political machinations are tempered only by his love for his ethereal wife, Clara, a woman touched by an otherworldly hand. Their daughter, Blanca, whose forbidden love for a man Esteban has deemed unworthy infuriates her father, yet will produce his greatest joy: his granddaughter Alba, a beautiful, ambitious girl who will lead the family and their country into a revolutionary future.

The House of the Spirits is an enthralling saga that spans decades and lives, twining the personal and the political into an epic novel of love, magic, and fate.


2) "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel tells with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.

Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men's solicitude and the money that goes with it.

In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction—at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful—and completely unforgettable.


3) "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison

Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in.Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison’s virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.


4) "The Women's Room" by Marilyn French

The twenty-one-million copy bestseller-available again for a new generation of readers. Originally published in 1977, The Women's Room was a novel that-for the first time-expressed the inner lives of women who left education and professional advancement behind to marry in the 1950s, only to find themselves adrift and unable to support themselves after divorce in the 1970s. Some became destitute, a few went insane. But many went back to school in the heyday of the Women's Liberation movement, and were swept up in the promise of equality for both sexes. Marilyn French's characters represent this wide cross section of American women, and her wry and pointed voice gives depth and emotional intensity to this timeless book that remains controversial and completely relevant.


5) "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See

In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, an “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s written a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on the fan and compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together they endure the agony of footbinding and reflect upon their arranged marriages, their loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace in their friendship, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their relationship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a captivating journey back to an era of Chinese history that is as deeply moving as it is sorrowful. Now in a deluxe paperback edition complete with an expanded Random House Reader’s Circle guide and an exclusive conversation between Lisa See and her mother, fellow writer Carolyn See, this lyrical and emotionally charged novel is, as the Seattle Times says, “a beautifully drawn portrait of female friendship and power.”


6) "The House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisheros

Acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero.

Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.


7) "Revolutionary Road" by Richard Yates

"A deft, ironic, beautiful novel that deserves to be a classic." —William Styron

From the moment of its publication in 1961, Revolutionary Road was hailed as a masterpiece of realistic fiction and as the most evocative portrayal of the opulent desolation of the American suburbs. It's the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright, beautiful, and talented couple who have lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner. With heartbreaking compassion and remorseless clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their spiritual birthright, betraying not only each other, but their best selves.

In his introduction to this edition, novelist Richard Ford pays homage to the lasting influence and enduring power of Revolutionary Road.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Top 100 Best Disney Movies Ever

Enjoy Disney movies? Not ashamed of watching them with your kids or by yourself? Don't worry we all do. So, check out some of the best made by Disney! 




1) Tangled

After receiving the healing powers from a magical flower, the baby Princess Rapunzel is kidnapped from the palace in the middle of the night by Mother Gothel. Mother Gothel knows that the flower's magical powers are now growing within the golden hair of Rapunzel, and to stay young, she must lock Rapunzel in her hidden tower. Rapunzel is now a teenager and her hair has grown to a length of 70-feet. The beautiful Rapunzel has been in the tower her entire life, and she is curious of the outside world. One day, the bandit Flynn Ryder scales the tower and is taken captive by Rapunzel. Rapunzel strikes a deal with the charming thief to act as her guide to travel to the place where the floating lights come from that she has seen every year on her birthday. Rapunzel is about to have the most exciting and magnificent journey of her life.

Directors: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
Writers: Dan Fogelman (screenplay), Jacob Grimm (fairy tale) (as the Brothers Grimm) , 3 more credits »
Stars: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy |See full cast and crew »
Released: 2010


2) The Princess and the Frog

A modern day retelling of the classic story The Frog Prince. The Princess and the Frog finds the lives of arrogant, carefree Prince Naveen and hardworking waitress Tiana crossing paths. Prince Naveen is transformed into a frog by a conniving voodoo magician and Tiana, following suit, upon kissing the amphibian royalty. With the help of a trumpet-playing alligator, a Cajun firefly, and an old blind lady who lives in a boat in a tree, Naveen and Tiana must race to break the spell and fulfill their dreams.

Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
Writers: Ron Clements (screenplay), John Musker(screenplay), 12 more credits »
Stars: Anika Noni Rose, Keith David, Oprah Winfrey |See full cast and crew »
Released: 2009


3) Beauty and the Beast

Belle is a girl who is dissatisfied with life in a small provincial French town, constantly trying to fend off the misplaced "affections" of conceited Gaston. The Beast is a prince who was placed under a spell because he could not love. A wrong turn taken by Maurice, Belle's father, causes the two to meet.

Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Writers: Linda Woolverton (animation screenplay), Roger Allers (story), 10 more credits »
Stars: Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1991


4) Monsters, Inc.

A city of monsters with no humans called Monstropolis centers around the city's power company, Monsters, Inc. The lovable, confident, tough, furry blue behemoth-like giant monster named James P. Sullivan (better known as Sulley) and his wisecracking best friend, short, green cyclops monster Mike Wazowski, discover what happens when the real world interacts with theirs in the form of a 2-year-old baby girl dubbed "Boo," who accidentally sneaks into the monster world with Sulley one night. And now it's up to Sulley and Mike to send Boo back in her door before anybody finds out, especially two evil villains such as Sulley's main rival as a scarer, chameleon-like Randall (a monster that Boo is very afraid of), who possesses the ability to change the color of his skin, and Mike and Sulley's boss Mr. Waternoose, the chairman and chief executive officer of Monsters, Inc.

Directors: Pete Docter, David Silverman, 1 more credit »
Writers: Pete Docter (original story by), Jill Culton(original story by), 7 more credits »
Stars: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Mary Gibbs |See full cast and crew »
Released: 2001


5) Aladdin

Aladdin is a street-urchin who lives in a large and busy town long ago with his faithful monkey friend Abu. When Princess Jasmine gets tired of being forced to remain in the palace that overlooks the city, she sneaks out to the marketplace, where she accidentally meets Aladdin. Under the orders of the evil Jafar (the sultan's advisor), Aladdin is thrown in jail and becomes caught up in Jafar's plot to rule the land with the aid of a mysterious lamp. Legend has it that only a person who is a "diamond in the rough" can retrieve the lamp from the Cave of Wonders. Aladdin might fit that description, but that's not enough to marry the princess, who must (by law) marry a prince.

Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
Writers: Ron Clements (screenplay), John Musker(screenplay), 18 more credits »
Stars: Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1992


6) Pocahontas

Capt. John Smith leads a rag-tag band of English sailors & soldiers to the New World to plunder its riches for England (or, more precisely, for Governor Ratcliffe, who comes along for the ride). Meanwhile, in this "New World," Chief Powhatan has pledged his daughter, Pocahontas, to be married to the village's greatest warrior. Pocahontas, however, has other ideas. She has seen a vision of a spinning arrow, a vision she believes tells her change is coming. Her life does indeed change when the English ship lands near her village. Between Ratcliffe, who believes the "savages" are hiding the gold he expected to be plentiful, and Powhatan, who believes these pale newcomers will destroy their land, Smith and Pocahontas have a difficult time preventing all-out war, and saving their love for each other.

Directors: Mike Gabriel, Eric Goldberg
Writers: Carl Binder, Susannah Grant, 26 more credits »
Stars: Mel Gibson, Linda Hunt, Christian Bale |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1995


7) Hercules

Hercules, son of the Greek God, Zeus, is turned into a half-god, half-mortal by evil Hades, God of the Underworld, who plans to overthrow Zeus. Hercules is raised on Earth and retains his god-like strength, but when he discovers his immortal heritage Zeus tells him that to return to Mount Olympus he must become a true hero. Hercules becomes a famous hero with the help of his friend Pegasus and his personal trainer, Phil the satyr. Hercules battles monsters, Hades and the Titans, but it is his self-sacrifice to rescue his love Meg which makes him a true hero.

Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
Writers: Ron Clements (animation screenplay), John Musker (animation screenplay), 15 more credits »
Stars: Tate Donovan, Susan Egan, James Woods |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1997


8) A Bug's Life

Every year, a bunch of grasshoppers come to the anthill and eat what the ants have gathered for them. The "offering", as the ants call the ritual, is a part of their fate. One day in spring, when the offering's preparation has just been finished, Flik, unliked inventor ant, accidentally drops the whole offered seeds into the river. The grasshoppers come and give the ants a second chance to collect food until fall. Flik sets off to find bugs that are willing to fight the grasshoppers (nobody expects him to succeed anyway) and, due to a double misinterpretation, returns with a circus crew, giving everybody new hope. When the misunderstanding finally gets cleared out, there is only little time left for a new plan, which has to work, or else...

Directors: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton
Writers: John Lasseter (original story by), Andrew Stanton(original story by), 9 more credits »
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Dave Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1998


9) Toy Story

A little boy named Andy loves to be in his room, playing with his toys, especially his doll named "Woody". But, what do the toys do when Andy is not with them, they come to life. Woody believes that he has life (as a toy) good. However, he must worry about Andy's family moving, and what Woody does not know is about Andy's birthday party. Woody does not realize that Andy's mother gave him an action figure known as Buzz Lightyear, who does not believe that he is a toy, and quickly becomes Andy's new favorite toy. Woody, who is now consumed with jealousy, tries to get rid of Buzz. Then, both Woody and Buzz are now lost. They must find a way to get back to Andy before he moves without them, but they will have to pass through a ruthless toy killer, Sid Phillips.

Director: John Lasseter
Writers: John Lasseter (original story by), Pete Docter(original story by), 6 more credits »
Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1995


10) The Lion King

A young lion Prince is cast out of his pride by his cruel uncle, who claims he killed his father. While the uncle rules with an iron fist, the prince grows up beyond the savannah, living by a philosophy: No worries for the rest of your days. But when his past comes to haunt him, the young Prince must decide his fate: will he remain an outcast, or face his demons and become what he needs to be?

Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
Writers: Irene Mecchi (screenplay), Jonathan Roberts(screenplay), 27 more credits »
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones| See full cast and crew »
Released: 1994


Friday, February 20, 2015

Racism, Sexism, and Class Book List

Enjoy books that make you think? Want something to challenge your world view? Check out this book list...



1) "Black Like Me" by John Howard Griffin

In the Deep South of the 1950s, journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross the color line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity-that in this new millennium still has something important to say to every American.


2) "Women, Race, and Class" by Angela Y. Davis

A powerful study of the women's movement in the U.S. from abolitionist days to the present that demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders.


3) "Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools" by Jonathan Kozol

For two years, beginning in 1988, Jonathan Kozol visited schools in neighborhoods across the country, from Illinois to Washington D.C., and from New York to San Antonio. He spoke with teachers, principals, superintendents, and, most important, children. What he found was devastating. Not only were schools for rich and poor blatantly unequal, the gulf between the two extremes was widening—and it has widened since. The urban schools he visited were overcrowded and understaffed, and lacked the basic elements of learning—including books and, all too often, classrooms for the students. 

In Savage Inequalities, Kozol delivers a searing examination of the extremes of wealth and poverty and calls into question the reality of equal opportunity in our nation’s schools.


4) "Cunt: A Declaration of Independence" by Inga Muscio

An ancient title of respect for women, the word “cunt” long ago veered off this noble path. Inga Muscio traces the road from honor to expletive, giving women the motivation and tools to claim “cunt” as a positive and powerful force in their lives. In this fully revised edition, she explores, with candidness and humor, such traditional feminist issues as birth control, sexuality, jealousy between women, and prostitution with a fresh attitude for a new generation of women. Sending out a call for every woman to be the Cuntlovin’ Ruler of Her Sexual Universe, Muscio stands convention on its head by embracing all things cunt-related.


5) "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" by Michelle Alexander

Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as "brave and bold," this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a "call to action."


6) "Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape" by Jadyn Friedman

In this groundbreaking new look at rape edited by writer and activist Jaclyn Freidman and Full Frontal Feminism and He’s A Stud, She’s A Slut author Jessica Valenti, the way we view rape in our culture is finally dismantled and replaced with a genuine understanding and respect for female sexual pleasure. Feminist, political, and activist writers alike will present their ideas for a paradigm shift from the “No Means No” model—an approach that while necessary for where we were in 1974, needs an overhaul today.

Yes Means Yes will bring to the table a dazzling variety of perspectives and experiences focused on the theory that educating all people to value female sexuality and pleasure leads to viewing women differently, and ending rape. Yes Means Yes aims to have radical and far-reaching effects: from teaching men to treat women as collaborators and not conquests, encouraging men and women that women can enjoy sex instead of being shamed for it, and ultimately, that our children can inherit a world where rape is rare and swiftly punished. With commentary on public sex education, pornography, mass media, Yes Means Yes is a powerful and revolutionary anthology.


7) "The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America" by Jonathan Kozol

Since the early 1980s, when the federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, segregation of black children has reverted to its highest level since 1968. In many inner-city schools, a stick-and-carrot method of behavioral control traditionally used in prisons is now used with students. Meanwhile, as high-stakes testing takes on pathological and punitive dimensions, liberal education has been increasingly replaced by culturally barren and robotic methods of instruction that would be rejected out of hand by schools that serve the mainstream of society.

Filled with the passionate voices of children, principals, and teachers, and some of the most revered leaders in the black community, The Shame of the Nation pays tribute to those undefeated educators who persist against the odds, but directly challenges the chilling practices now being forced upon our urban systems. In their place, Kozol offers a humane, dramatic challenge to our nation to fulfill at last the promise made some 50 years ago to all our youngest citizens.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Different Takes on Religion and Spirituality Book List

Want a book that makes you question the ideas around you? Ever wonder how beliefs are formed? Check out this book list...




1) "The Secret Magdalene" by Ki Longfellow

Raised like sisters, Mariamne and Salome are indulged with riches, position, and learning-a rare thing for females in Jerusalem. But Mariamne has a further gift: an illness has left her with visions; she has the power of prophecy. It is her prophesying that drives the two girls to flee to Egypt, where they study philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy in the Great Library of Alexandria.

After seven years they return to a Judaea where many now believe John the Baptizer is the messiah. Salome too begins to believe, but Mariamne, now called Magdalene, is drawn to his cousin, Yeshu’a, a man touched by the divine in the same way she was during her days of illness. Together they speak of sharing their direct experience of God; but Yeshu’a unexpectedly gains a reputation as a healer, and as the ill and the troubled flock to him, he and Magdalene are forced to make a terrible decision.

This radical retelling of the greatest story ever told brings Mary Magdalene to life-not as a prostitute or demon-possessed-but as an educated woman who was truly the “apostle to the apostles.”


2) "The Power of Myth" by Joseph Campbell

Finally available in a popularly priced, non-illustrated, smaller-format edition, which is ideal for the college market and general reader alike, this extraordinary best-seller is a brilliant evocation of the noted scholar's teachings on mythology.


3) "The Invention of Religion" by Alexander Drake

In this book, the author explores the question of whether religions were invented by humans or given to us by some other means. It is a scientific look at how ancient humans made sense of the world and the phenomena they encountered around them. In the past, arguments against the existence of gods have mainly come in the form of scientific inquiries that attempt to show there is no evidence for their existence. The Invention of Religion, however, investigates the psychological mechanisms that cause religions to originate and it sets out to prove that when humans have neither science nor religion, these mechanisms cause them to invent new religions. It also investigates how the differences (like monotheism vs. pantheism) between religions arise and how probable these differences are.


4) "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal" by Christopher Moore

The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years -- except Biff, the Messiah's best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in the divinely hilarious yet heartfelt work "reminiscent of Vonnegut and Douglas Adams" (Philadelphia Inquirer).

Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior's pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But there's no one who loves Josh more -- except maybe "Maggie," Mary of Magdala -- and Biff isn't about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.


5) "Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor" by Joseph Campbell

Woven from Joseph Campbell’s previously unpublished work, this volume explores Judeo-Christian symbols and metaphors — and their misinterpretations — with the famed mythologist’s characteristic conversational warmth and accessible scholarship. Campbell’s insights highlight centuries of confusion between literal and metaphorical interpretations of Western religious symbols that are, he argues, perennially relevant keys to spiritual understanding and mystical revelation.


6) "Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul" by Jane Roberts

One of the most powerful of the Seth Books, this essential guide to conscious living clearly and powerfully articulates the furthest reaches of human potential, and the concept that we all create our own reality according to our individual beliefs. Having withstood the test of time, it is still considered one of the most dynamic and brilliant maps of inner reality available today.


7) "The Invention of Christianity" by Alexander Drake

The Invention of Christianity is an exploration of the influence that Hellenization had on the evolution of Judaism into Christianity. It investigates how the stories of Dionysus could have evolved into that of Jesus, how rituals of the Dionysian mysteries are now found in Christianity, and the evolution of the Greek conception of the afterlife into the current Christian conception of Heaven and Hell. This book utilizes many of the ideas put forth in Drake’s first book The Invention of Religion throughout its investigation. It also looks into whether the Bible really had a divine source or was invented by humans and contains two appendices charting the age of the world according to the bible and the stories contained in each of the synoptic gospels.


8) "The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature" by William James

The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature is a book by the Harvard psychologist and philosopher William James comprising 20 lectures given at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. These lectures concerned the nature of religion and the neglect of science, in James' view, in the academic study of religion. Soon after its publication, the book found its way into the canon of psychology and philosophy, and has remained in print for over a century.