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47 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
You know, I'd almost be tempted to find this funny (in a decidedly satirical sort of way) if I wasn't so excruciatingly sobered by the thought that millions of rather bright children wallow in this stuff sure enough.
And it's all there for them to wallow right into.

I'm also tempted to ponder the shift across three little generations, that has caused our arrival upon these particular shores.
And tempted as well, to perhaps consider tossing just a little bit more understanding toward the absolutely desperate over-protectiveness that exists in modern parents in these times - especially the ones who live in societies affluent enough that their children can readily and easily access all this information.

And then I pause for a minute, and consider what I do.
Firstly of course, I completely ignore all forms of info-media, the sound bytes, the audio and video infotainment...the whole crazy cacaphony of crash and burn jazz that passes as "news."

And replace the whole damned mess with good books of my own personal choice written by good writers...stuff I can absorb at my ease in a rather calm and mellow sort of way (after which, digesting the stuff, consider its flavors and possible nutrient values.)
(Needless to say - a vast majority of these good books read like Agatha Christie "whodunnits" - but they are not simple little murder mysteries of the conventional sort - far from it.)
They are comfortable little windows looking into much of the folly of humans.
Fascinating stuff.

Which is an entirely different sort of thing than what kids will do.
And that's a damned shame.
Because of course, the stuff is overwhelming. And that's what intrigues me.
In a country made infamous for medicating (drugging) its children to a greater degree than all children on the rest of the planet -
perhaps I've missed the most salient point:
Yes, of course, they're value-added, and there's money in it, and corporate profit margins to consider, and shareholders to be beholden to, and all the rest of it....

But perhaps at the very core of the thing, is that we've created a world designed to drive kids mad.
(Unless they tune out, turn off - and just dive into mindless play with innocuous and ubiquitous teckie-toys.)
Which of course, many of them do. But not all the time.

If all this stuff had deluged upon my little self at a tender age - what would I have done with it, I wonder?
I had lousy nightmares over the Cold War, as it it was. (Which I've written about, in Ground Zero.)
But even that didn't overwhelm me. In most ways, I still had the good fortune to engage in what was more or less a "normal" childhood.

We like to think that children are resilient. And of course, they are.
To an amazing degree.
We want to believe that the 'full impact' of all these things can't possibly hit them. Not like it hits us.

I've often thought this: At my age, I've had 6 decades of developing no end of personal philosophies, coping mechanisms, a vibrant sense of humor (thank god!)
and a whole host of other tricks and treats that keep the beast at bay.
But what does a 10 or 11 year-old do? (Or younger - egad!)

Once again, my friend - you've provided some excellent and provocative food for thought.

Review of Delirium  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Bravely put, for all its stark realities.
Reads like Falkner's gloom, but all the better
for its abreviation.

The cadence of this - strikes me as a spontaneous vignette,
like a shorebird suddenly startled into flight
or a flash of sheet lightning
on a humid, static night

Like any moment looking inward
a self-knowledge believed
against the din and cry and racket
of all our social noise

(a quiet self-reflection)
left in just a breadth of motion
like a rocking chair, departed
upon a porch
the one we notice, walking by -
just after the screen door
has swung, shut.

Rated: E | (5.0)
Beautiful stories....makes me nostalgic.
And you saved the best for last. All the way through your collection of recollections, I kept thinking...what you're describing is gone forever.
Yet, it seems - the joys of childhood can in fact, re-invent themselves in modern times.
I'm glad for that.
Children do so need to engage with the real world - not only for their own benefit, but also to give that special balance that they possess...back into the community.
(Otherwise, our communties become sterile, empty lifeless things.)
Just as one small child can fill up an empty house with boundless joy of being - so too - do greater numbers of them do that for a whole town, neighborhood, community.

I've walked suburban streets completely devoid of this - the ugly starkness is as pervasive as a holocaust.
I hope your granddaughter finds Tinker Bell. Simple pleasures are the things children can teach all those who have forgotten (or never knew how.)

Your grandchildren are lucky - blessed, to have your memories to guide them into their futures.

Review of Sunstroke  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
I like this a lot. This scenario seen through your character's eyes and impressions, brings to life a story that engaged me from beginning to end.
And now I'll dispense with formal academia, and give you my take.

You've done a beautiful job of telling this story (I won't presume that this is first person non-fiction...but it could be.)
What you've managed to do is take me right inside the scene, through the senses and thoughts of a child. That is where the true power of the narrative lies.
It is (seemingly) just a simple everyday yarn - and yet it has a gripping quality...a sort of slow building suspense.

And your narrative unfolds in a way that takes me to exactly what she's thinking, feeling, seeing. Those precise tiny details (reminding me of the miriads of recollections I've heard, that survive from childhood all the way through life - memories.)

And in this way, a simple story becomes a universal description of the human condition.

What I'm left with at the end? Kids have secrets. And those secrets can be precious, powerful possessions.

Nicely done, Skinny Girl.

Review of Glimmer  
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Glimmer is such a perfect title for this.
(like a heat wave in a desert)
and only for the lack of water,
strange thirst can make one almost believe
that mirage really is a lake!

From the "still a dream" line
this takes a curious turn.........
from a bold toss
to a wafting flutter
like realizing the delicay of health
or that a robust notion
can ever precede a risk.

but of course it does.
The longest, hardest wrestling match
grapples with the difference
between the reality of a person.................out there
and the reality of them..................
in here.

Well done!
Rated: E | (5.0)
Nice job.
My first impression from this - is the details you notice because you're
not one of the city's denizens. (those details that are lost on the ones
rushing around preoccupied by their business) - instead of the business
of observation.
I like the journalistic style of this, with just enough personalized observation
to make it that much more interesting.
What really grabbed my eye and held it at attention, was the paragraph describing
the actual lunch. Nice bit of detail there - like I'm on the scene and witnessing it
And the last two paragraphs before the final line - calling to attention our abundance,
surrounding this curious character, followed by his response to your generosity...
- this piece has a rare and elegant sensitivity imbedded in it, that makes it a pleasure
to read.
Well done!

Review of If I....  
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is remarkably concise.
Neat, tidy -
I'm quite impressed.

Six little lines that tell a whole
story -
or invite a reader to fill in the blanks
and consider what the story might be.

Although the sentiment expressed here
suggests something almost - amoral
(the revenge part)
you've written it in such a way as to invite
the reader to stop and consider - what may be behind
the writer's point of view.

Structurally -
I like the first three lines switching from "I" to "you"
and then the reversal in line four...
from "you" to "I"
(and the fifth line is where all the punch is packed)
last line sounds off just like the final
click of a lock.

good stuff.
Rated: E | (4.5)
A nice poll.
That's a damned shame you get so few votes out of all those views....
(can people really be that shy?)

What I prefer in a review is pretty much the way I review.
No format
No academic approach
No assumption that the reviewer has something to teach me, or that I want to learn.
An honest response to what I've actually written.....(and a grateful bowing out by a reviewer for whom my piece just isn't their cup of tea)
Something that proves to me the reviewer actually read and understood what it was I was saying in the writing - or, if they didn't, questions.
The stars...............is actually the last thing I look at. Sometimes, I even forget!
and lastly - I don't think of a review as an actual critique - as much as .... feedback.

The very best reviews...........often start off a series of cascading emails back and forth.
A conversation - between writers - in print.
(I like it a lot when that happens) [wink]

enjoyed this!
Review of A Masterpiece  
Rated: E | (5.0)
(or just about...)
You might want to reconsider that "whoever's"....................weakens the line, and just doesn't dance with the same power and gracefulness as the rest of the piece.

Other than that - what you say here - is complete, tidy, and so very true.
Stated so naturally - like a breath.
..........the breath that brings the scent that stops you in your tracks
- that kind of breath.

Or, like a perfect little meal....the dessert is at the very end - and how sweet it is!
That sound - is truly a gift that never should be taken for granted.
Giggle fits, that always tell you one thing most important when you hear them...
that they're okay, and all is right with the world.
Then you can relax.

This piece brings back nice memories.........for all those reasons.

bravo to you.


Rated: ASR | (5.0)
This is a brilliant piece. Too bad it wasn't mandatory for site membership. It should be!
I'm impressed that you find so many good points to touch on, without even a hint of the
obvious one...lazy writing.
(which is a whole can of worms I won't open up now - suffice to say, my father was a writer,
and the whip-lashes still sting a bit...)

Your very last point is so important, I believe...I think that one single detail would make the difference
for a lot of people who wander in here. It takes time to become established in any community sense,
and there never was any one-size-fits-all in here!

I rather enjoy reviewing myself - I'm an easy marker, but very picky deciding what I will review....
and I must say, you write in such a manner that I'm sure you're a superb reviewer.
(and that WASN'T fishing for a review!!!!)



just let me laugh when it's funny
and when it's sad, let me cry
Review of Be Like The moon  
Rated: E | (5.0)
I like this a lot.
At first, as I began reading I was thinking...yeah well, the moon never was a person...
But on the other hand, we personify it a lot, don't we? - in cultures all over the world.

- a quote from a Leonard Cohen novel:

"The moon. His eye kept returning to it, pulled back again and again, like the returning glance
offered to a beautiful woman in a restaurant."

I like your list of what the moon is....it's a good list.
Someone with all those same qualities would be an awfully nice person.



Just let me laugh when it's funny
and when it's sad, let me cry
Rated: 13+ | N/A (Review only item.)
Ah, memories of grammar school...never as entertaining as this. (A few decades of song writing can destroy good grammar at the drop of a chorus.)
Still, what impresses me the most is your emphasis on clarity. I suppose there is the meaning in the method; in all the bravest attempts to dazzle with style and wit, instead, we arrive at a miserable failure of comprehension.
Doesn't an author just love it when a reader "gets" it?
Of all the wild rides in your midway, my favorite is the twister - followed by the snake pit.
Interestingly, as in real life, a twister can offer endless good fun, hilarity, scorn, shock, and pity.
Whereas the snake pit presents fear and loathing on a grand scale. (I have no great love for snakes, especially of the toxic kind.)
I must admit, I love adverbs and adjectives. They are truly the stylish adornments (without which the form can remain rather stark, drab and altogether lacking in entertainment.)

I don't know how many times my father (a writer) chided me to simply re-read in order to spot the flaws.
One thinks nothing of the intense self-inspection it takes to produce a really close shave. Yet we'll play peekaboo time and again with our writings!

Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Delighfully entertaining article. A perfect topic for the conversational vernacular. And just the right length for a backlit read. Should do well in the contest, I would think...
"Drivethru" is a topic that will grab my attention every time. It's not just that people in cars seem to develop
severe brain cramp, or otherwise feel immune to any need for the commonest of courtesies...
it's more that automotive agoraphobia has somehow morphed social behavior into something that now resembles too much inhaled exhaust fumes. It might be fun if this just resulted in gasaholic highs...but I think
it more often resembles severe pollution of the common sensibles (not unlike enlarged adenoids).

A truly wonderful rant.

Review of "Quailty" is King  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)

Not a bad rant for a three year-old. (I mean the age of the piece!)
First of all......"Quailty" cannot be a king or even a royal footman - when it is misspelled like that! (a dangerous typo to display in a provocative title)
- brings in all the wrong kind of attention, don'tcha know! [wink]

But a fine piece here - you do a good job of covering related ground.
There are many reasons why we're in this boat; how we arrived here is an interesting story.
What the story ultimately means - is pretty fascinating, too.

A nation that gets rid of so much of its past, cannot remember where it's been, and often hasn't a clue where it's going.
A nation that doesn't build much of anything anymore, will rapidly forget how it's done - which is a shame.
Everyday useful items take on inconic significance, when a national brand can lend its name to that item.
That national brand isn't just a corporate entity. It is also a durable bridge between generations, at times a symbol of mythical proportions, and the complete sum total of all the work and effort that went into the conception, invention, design, manufacture and promotion - of whatever the item is.

Have you ever noticed - that this actual mythology seems to have diminished and been replaced by something quite different?
How can one compare - a Cooper-Weeks Black Diamond baseball glove / or a Dixie Flyer bicycle......with a BMW or a Louis Vitton handbag?

The first two names - captured the mythology I grew up with.
The quality - wasn't something worshipped - it was something that was acquired innocently and even obliviously, with the product.
The second two names - are breathed with religious fervor, but neither capture the essence of the first two.
Neither BMW or LV are (or ever were) built in America.

You see, we didn't just build quality.
We built into our products, some of the essential fabric of our collective selves.

That's a hell of a lot to throw away - for some corporate-globalized apologetic shame-faced bottom-lined, shareholdered, hedged and leveraged profit margin !


Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
A riveting read.

One of my best friends admires elephants very much,
and from him I have learned a great deal over the years about their habits...for instance, that they form a predominantly matriarchal society (which is fascinating in the animal world.

Alarming stories have come to us over the years about poaching here in Canada....about bear organs removed from poached animals and whisked away to Asia to be converted into powders and potions to ensure virility in sad aging men...(as likewise...Rhinocerous horns.)
Too bad....someone just couldn't decree that chicken livers and beef cattle horns would serve the same purpose!

I have recently read extensively the works of English authors Jeremy Seabrook and Susan George....who talk about third world agricultural societies following the western model....land use that switches from farming practice that adequately feeds the population....to the cash crop model.

Unfortunately...this model feeds the corporate appetite instead of the people. The people are often (if they are fortunate) forced to become wage slaves....emphasis entirely on "slaves"....whose pitiful wages hardly cover food costs.
This model has run rampant through central America (banana republics) and is now being applied in Asia and Africa.

The Egyptian author, Nawal El-Saadawi speaks of this in some of her non-fiction (though not enough!)
The Saadawi Reader, though written some time ago, touches on the plight of African economies, and their treatment by the developed countries of the world.

Brazil as well, has encouraged the decimation of the Amazon rainforest basin, which has alarming ecological repercussions....as well as its affect on the peasant population.
This trend.....that all over the world poor people have become dispossessed from the land....as if the master plan is to eventually urbanize them all, and from their numbers gather the wage slaves needed for cheap labour....the starving hands that create the baubles and trinkets for sale in first world deparment stores.

If "free" trade could ever be replaced by "fair" trade...that would be a huge plus...but still would not address the problem of displaced peasants and decimated animal populations.

I fear, as long as politicians keep corporate bedfellows, this trend will continue and only grow worse. It is sad, tragic, and criminal, that these societies are abused in this fashion.

Ivory...was once upon a time a kind of "white gold" in the European economy.
I'm a piano player...and care not a whit that the keys I love to jangle are now by decree...plastic.
The sound of the instrument rings no less true.
Any elephant can out-trumpet a Trump!
(and possesses a majesty that puts to shame our robed and crowned monarchs.)
All over the planet...from wolves to whales....the animal kingdom needs us to protect them....from ourselves.

(ed. note)
Your quote...(because some computers don't pick up colored fonts very well....you might want to consider using italics instead, to make it stand out from the main body of the article.) just a thought....

You have whetted my appetite to learn more about Zimbabwe...I'm looking forward to it!



just let me laugh when it's funny
and when it's sad, let me cry

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