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This is the seat of a passionate love of books and all things, such as scraps of paper left behind in a keepsake box, that go into making them. The canoe symbolizes the comments box on my blog and all boxes that store memories. I hope you will browse around, follow the links above and leave a treasure of your own in the 'canoe'. My blog Cozy Book Basics explores the core connections between storytelling, reading, writing and having a good life. These last forever and give us reasons to rejoice. The vintage family pictures and Northrop Frye corner let me share gems that most inspire me. The e-book expertise of Doris Maria Heilmann will keep you up to date with the new ways of the publishing and reading worlds. Enjoy!

A Love Story in Pictures

See the true love story behind A Book of Kells & Kathleen's Cariole Ride in the pictures below.

Click on the center of each photo to read the caption.


Data-Driven Election: Beauty & the Beast

With  infallible timing, Beauty & the Beast opens as a family fantasy musical film in the UK this month. With each revival of this playful fairy tale, the details of plot and setting change. This time I think it applies to America and Trump.

Audiences interpret the tale in their own minds according to what they need to know to cope with life under current situations. In 2011, novelist Alex Flinn’s Beastly gave the plot a high school/narcissistic twist. In 1994 it was a Broadway musical,  in 1991 an animated Walt Disney film and  in 1946 a Jean Cocteau movie. Some say it is based on two 18th century French fairy tales, but this is not quite true. The Roman writer, Lucius Apuleius created it in the second century. It was a very long story called Cupid & Psyche inserted in the middle of his Metamorphoses (aka The Golden Ass.)

It is the third oldest fairy tale in the history of western literature. It influenced many other stories, such as Cinderella and Gulliver’s Travels. Florida resident and researcher Mari Ness advises that it is much too complex and long to read. She concluded that Apuleius’ theme, in the end, was about woman’s survival. Apuleius wrote at a time when the Roman empire was in upheaval due to the influx of Barbarians and the proliferation of popular new religions.

The promo for the ’17 variety of Beauty & the Beast says, “It looks behind the Beast’s hideous exterior, allowing Beauty to recognize the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside. The hunter, Gaston is on the loose to take Beauty for himself and hunt down the Beast at any cost.”

Really? Could a more authentic person be inside the data-driven clown and monster of the 2016 election campaign?

I decided to look up Trump's mother on the Internet and then I wrote in my blog: "He blew in as the brash, gigantic, orange-haired son of an immigrant pattern-maker mom and her rich Manhattan husband. Mary had been raised in a God-fearing Calvinist village in the Outer Hebrides. The peat-bog isle is a favorite retreat for literary figures. Donald grew up identifying with his father’s survival instincts as a real estate owner. He stood off to the side after knocking on a door to collect rent, in case a tenant shot him through the door. Donald boarded at New York Military Academy for his eighth grade and high school education; only they could discipline him. In the 1980’s, his older brother died from alcoholism. On his deathbed he made his kid brother, Donald,  promise never to touch a drop of drink.

"He worked ’round the clock, vowed to abstain from alcohol, tobacco, drugs and coffee, made a fortune and drilled the same habits into his four children. He settled into a stress-free marriage (his third) in 2005 with the wise and beautiful Melania who bore him a third son. She put him through the scrutiny of her Slovenian family and village before determining he was a gentleman and wedding him. Donald’s chal-lenge  was to become as good a husband as he was a father.

"At election-campaign time 2016 he declared himself the hero with the best vision for the future of country and expressed the confidence only he could make it great again. If you followed the news closely you might have heard some authentic comments at first. He said he had been greedy for himself all his life but now wanted to be greedy for America. He vowed to repeal Obamacare with the caveat, “We can’t let people die in the streets.” He tempered his Mexican immigrant remarks by saying many of them were good people and needed to be looked after. He  told the Gold Star father he was sorry for the death of his son and was trying to make sure such a thing couldn’t happen again.

Wanting to win, he listened to the statisticians and took careful aim with his act. Television picked up one outlandish comment after another to amplify in its echo chamber.

"He accepted the surprise news he had won by saying he would “unite the country” and be the “president of all the people”.  He said on 60 Minutes he would drop his business because it was “only real estate”, and the people deserved a “full-time president”. Henry Kissinger said the president-elect was the only man who had ever come into the office without any “baggage”. That is, he was the most free to act in the individual voters’ interests because of his financial independence. Kissinger said not to hold Trump too strictly to things he had said in the campaign because he should be given leeway to change his positions after learning more."

Now it comes to light that Trump had hired a UK firm called Cambridge Analytica which can identify peoples' tastes, based on information given voluntarily on social media. He knew exactly how he had to talk and act to get the needed electoral college votes. Clinton hired a firm too but not the same one and, obviously, not as effectively. This was the first really data-driven election but it won't be the last.

It’s time we all went out for a good night of magic spells, magic mirrors, romance and comedy at the theater. In this enchanting atmosphere, society regains its senses.

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