Tortilla Flats Anniversary

Eighty years ago today John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flats was published.

778959Adopting the structure and themes of the Arthurian legend, Steinbeck created a “Camelot” on a shabby hillside above the town of Monterey,California and peopled it with a colorful band of knights. At the center of the tale is Danny, whose house, like Arthur’s castle, becomes a gathering place for men looking for adventure, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging. These “knights” are paisanos, men of mixed heritage, whose ancestors settled California hundreds of years before. Free of ties to jobs and other complications of the American way of life, they fiercely resist the corrupting tide of honest toil in the surrounding ocean of civil rectitude.

Sounds interesting. I’ve put it on my to read list. My husband doesn’t like Steinbeck because his writing is often depressing. I’d have to agree with that observation, but I can read most anything if it’s good writing. I’ll let you know once I read this one.

Published in: on May 28, 2015 at 11:26pm05  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Of Mice and Men Trivia

mice and menSeventy-eight years ago yesterday, John Steinbeck published his book “Of Mice and Men.”  Apparently, he would have published it sooner but his dog – Toby – ate part of the manuscript and set him back a couple months.

dog eating paper


Published in: on February 7, 2015 at 11:26pm02  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , ,

Auld Lang Syne not Old Ang Sine!

Yes, it’s Auld Lang Syne and it was written by a Scottish poet, Robert Burns, in 1788.

from wikipedia as is the translation

from wikipedia as is the translation

It is roughly translated to English as “Days Gone By”

This is the Scottish version:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne*?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin’ auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin’ auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.

Published in: on January 1, 2015 at 11:26am01  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Remembering the Real Winnie the Pooh

I don’t remember Winnie the Pooh with a chain around his neck!
Interesting bit of history, though.

Canadian Art Junkie

RYERSON EXHIBITIONIf you’re in Toronto before Dec. 7, don’t miss this.

An exhibit at the Ryerson Image Centre tells the story of Canadian soldier and veterinarian Harry Colebourn (1887–1947), who, at the onset of World War I, purchased a pet bear he named Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg. When his regiment shipped out, Harry took Winnie with him, depositing the bear in the London Zoo when he was called to the front. It is then that A.A. Milne and his son encountered the bear and the world-famous Winnie the Pooh books were born. Winnie turned 100 this year.

View original post 69 more words

A not so long ago significant moment in history

shotIt was on this day in 1954 that the first mass inoculations of school children with the new polio vaccine took place; 137 children at Arsenal Elementary school in Pittsburgh, PA. The vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk, a doctor at the University of Pittsburgh. In that first trial, he gave each inoculation personally in a lab he constructed in the school gym.

Who is 185 today?

I’ve got another famous birthday to share. Here’s his picture, but it’s when he’s young so most probably won’t recognize him.



I’ll give you a few hints via quotes.

“It’s amazing how complete the delusion that beauty is goodness.”  (That one’s a bit obscure so try this one.)

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” (I think he may be right on this, but I don’t necessarily like that he’s right – Oh! I’ve given away a clue: the person is a male. Well, I guess the picture gives that away, anyway!)

(I didn’t know about this one but I like it.) “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

(Are you getting closer? This one should give it away. It’s one of my favorites.)
“All, everything I understand, I understand  only because I love.”

Any idea yet?

Initials are: L. T.

He was Russian.

Okay, now you’ve got it. Yes, it’s Leo Tolstoy. tolstoy -Leo was born on Sept 9th, 1828 in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia. He died Nov. 20th, 1910.

I’m going to share one more I didn’t know of but I think is very apt for the time: “Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.”

Well said, Leo, well said.

(photo taken from

Statue of Liberty Birthday

On this day in 1885 the Statue of Liberty arrived in the New York Harbor, a gift from France to commemorate the new countries centennial and the friendship with their allies across the sea.

courtesy of

courtesy of

It  was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, created by Bartholdi,  Gustave EiffelRichard Morris Hunt. It came in 350 pieces and wouldn’t be erected for 6 months. It is quite the site. It is must see on any trip to the Big Apple. Such an amazing structure for the immigrants to gaze at on their way to Elise Island.

1984 in 1949

Example of a good opening line: “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”


On this day in 1949 the book, 1984 by Eric Arthur Blair, AKA George Orwell, was published. Orwell wrote the book while on an island in the Scottish Hebrides. He wanted to get way after his wife’s death and his success with Animal Farm. He had TB but continued to write, despite his illness (he also remarried – the marriage taking place in the hospital in October of 1949). Born June 23, 1903 in India. His mother moved the family to England when he was one. He died January 21, 1950 at the age of 49 in London.  orwell

Some of his other books are: The Clergyman’s Daughter, Burmese Days, Coming Up For Air, Down and Out in Paris and London, Keep the Aspidistra Flying (I have to look at this one just because of the title – What’s an aspidistra?!)

Famous Authors’ Handwritten Outlines for Great Works of Literature – Flavorwire

Want to see how some famous writers outline their work?  Check out this post from Emily Temple at and Amanda River at  Famous Authors’ Handwritten Outlines for Great Works of Literature – Flavorwire.

This is the outline for my latest book: Living in the House of Drugs.

LIHOD outline

Poe Anniversay

poe coverOn this date in 1841, (172 years ago!) Edgar Allan Poe published what is thought to be the first English-language contribution to the mystery genre, The Murders in the Rue Morgue. He introduced C. Auguste Dupin, a French eccentric who used deductive reasoning to solve crimes. Sound familiar?

He also published two other Dupin stories: The Mystery of Marie Roget, and The Purloined Letter, neither of which I have read. I think I’ll read these,  starting with the Rue Morgue, which a read a long time ago so I don’t remember, and let you know how it goes.