Pakistan – The Forgotten Natural Disaster

In July, the worst floods in the nation's recorded history washed over Pakistan after unprecedented and unrelenting monsoonal rainfall. This serious natural disaster has exceeded the devastation and loss of the 2004 tsunami as well as the 2009 Haiti earthquake. 20 million Pakistanis are homeless and six million people are completely dependent on humanitarian assistance…

In July, the worst floods in the nation's recorded history washed over Pakistan after unprecedented and unrelenting monsoonal rainfall. This serious natural disaster has exceeded the devastation and loss of the 2004 tsunami as well as the 2009 Haiti earthquake. 20 million Pakistanis are homeless and six million people are completely dependent on humanitarian assistance for survival. Despite the unfathomable scale of this disaster, the international media response, monetary and aid treaties and public awareness and empathy for those affected has been significantly lower than that elicited from other natural disasters.

Why has the match of Pakistan failed to capture the attention of various governments and people from all over the world? The Red Cross' World Disasters Report 2005 found a direct correlation between the level of media coverage and the amount of disaster relief donated – a finding that rings true in relation to the recent Pakistani floods. For a disaster of this magnitude, media coverage worldwide has been minimal, which has equated into insufficient levels of aid reaching the flood stricken nation and its millions of displaced peoples.

Identifying the barriers to an appropriate international response to the crisis can help rectify the issue, and make sure that Pakistan receives the contributions it needs to rebuild its society. Here are some of the potential obstacles to public engagement with the crisis.

Slow nature of the disaster. The monsoonal rainfall and residual flooding that occurred in Pakistan happened over a period of days. Due to the drawn out nature of the disaster (as opposed to the immediacy of the Haiti earthquake), the devastation was not immediately apparent. Graphic pictures of destruction illicit a stronger response from international communities. Such pictures and coverage did not emerge, and as such, the disaster became peripheral news.

Suspicion of where the funds will go. Pakistan's political instability and the menaces of the Taliban insurgency have created suspicion over whether funded funds will be allocated appropriately. Reports have claimed that this mistrust of correct use of pledges has affected governments' willingness to contribute aid.

Portrayal of and prejudice against Pakistanis. Local interests drive media media and public empathy. Pakistanis, particularly in American media, are often portrayed as extremists, violent, or terrorists. Pakistan is a large and diverse population. After only a small subset of extremists and a majority of citizens – from farmers to lawyers – who wish to live in peace, this reality is often forgotten. Prejudice against civilistan Pakistanis, therefore, and the weariness with which they are viewed by the Western world has affected the public's willingness to donate funds.

It is crucial that the deficient pledges and assistance to Pakistan in the face of this catastrophe will be rectified. Americans were forty times more generous in their contributions to Haiti than they have been towards Pakistan, despite the higher level of destruction in the latter disaster. The level of destruction will mean a long and slow recovery for Pakistan. Any donations, whether through Pakistan Flood Donation funds or other traditional methods such as child sponsorship will help rebuild a devastated nation. While the disaster may not have been focused on by the media, it is worthy of international and government attention.

World Hunger Explained

In the developed Western world, very few people know the true meaning of the word starving. In the developing world, it's a reality that is faced every day. 16,000 children die daily as a result of food shortages. This unfathomable statistic – one child dying every five seconds – is hard to comprehend. At the…

In the developed Western world, very few people know the true meaning of the word starving. In the developing world, it's a reality that is faced every day. 16,000 children die daily as a result of food shortages. This unfathomable statistic – one child dying every five seconds – is hard to comprehend.

At the crux of world hunger is the issue of inequality (not a scarcity of food). Poor political decisions and unequal distribution of food are the primary causes of the hunger that cripples those living in developing countries. Correcting this inequality, therefore, and prompting political activism and accountability for this issue is crucial.

The vast scope of it and the sky-high statistics can make the issue of world hunger and food rights hard to understand, so here's a breakdown of the issue and tips on how to help:

Who is affected? Women and children are the main sufferers of hunger in the developing world. The statistics are staggering – 70% of the world's hungry are women, and 18 million children a year are born with preventable mental disorders due to dietary iodine deficiency. Although women grow over 60% of food in developing countries, they own less than one per cent of the land. Fixing the world hunger problem, therefore, will also involve correcting gender inequality to food access.

Causes of world hunger. There are both internal and external factors that influence it. For many of the world's poor access to land, water and seeds make it impossible to harvest the food necessary for survival. Women, particularly, are disadvantaged due to traditional land practices that privilege men.

Outside effects also have a significant impact. Excessive fossil fuel consumption in rich countries has dire consequences for poor developing nations, which become more susceptible to frequent and serious droughts and floods. Corporate abuse – with big corporations controlling the global food chain, also makes it harder for smaller players to participate. The pressure from wealthier countries for the developing world to adopt free trade policies also makes it difficult for them to be competitive and protect their agricultural sector and population from unfair subsidies.

What can you do to help? There are a number of organizations and programs dedicated to rectifying the situation. Such organizations provide hunger relief and support, but also provide pressure needed for the political, government and legal action that is necessary to holistically address world hunger. There are also other avenues to address the issue. Child sponsorship programs, for example, ensure that children suffering from hunger have access to adequate food and nutrition.

No matter how much money or time to you have to devote to such initiatives, every bit helps towards addressing world hunger. Food rights are one of the most important humanitarian crises facing the world today, and whether you volunteer your time and money to organizations committed to correcting it, or sponsor a child, world hunger is not an insurmountable problem.

What can you do to help fight world hunger?

UK Pottery Guide – Where It All Began

The pottery business also had its own fair share of events and challenges before it had made a stable name. To understand the pottery per se, we also need to look back and be aware of its history in a short summary. The primary cause of the development of the pottery industry is the abundant…

The pottery business also had its own fair share of events and challenges before it had made a stable name. To understand the pottery per se, we also need to look back and be aware of its history in a short summary.

The primary cause of the development of the pottery industry is the abundant coal and clay in North Staffordshire. Long ago, pot makers were heavily reprimanded for getting clay from roads – an activity which covered the term “potholes”. High quality clays and coals can be obtained along the north-west up to south-east line which has a suitable geographical area.

In Burslem on the other hand, small factories were constructed by clay makers in the towns of Tunstall, Cobbridge, Shelton, Longton, Stoke, and Fenton. These towns are famously lined along the coal and clay belt areas, and had eventually become a city called Stoke-on Trent or the Potteries. The Potteries have accessible roads to and from the city center.

The City of Stoke-on-Trent

The pottery industry had started to rise around 1740 and by this time, the potters had learned to minimizeize clay usage. This is primarily because the clay makers wanted to produce the quality pottery made in China. The clay they used turn into red when placed in the kiln. As a result, white burning clays are imported to North Staffordshire. It was only in 1796 when Cornish stone and clay came into the city.

By this time, pottery business was now becoming very popular. In the Stoke-on-Trent city, more than half of the total population was now engaged in the making of clay pots. Because they had an abundance of coal, the materials from Cornwall and Devon are brought to the Potteries. To heat up one ton of earthenware, seven to ten tonnes of coal were required, and only the Potteries town had coal availability.

The clays were first transported via boats, ponies, or mainly transported by people. The roads to the potteries were only improved during the 18th century. In 1967, a canal was made which made transportation of raw resources and finished potteries very easy. In 1848, a railway was made which added to the many transportation possibilities coming and coming from town.

As time goes by, pottery making is constantly innovated, and new concepts were gradually developed. The pottery companies which were headed by old pottery masters that still continue to operate until today are Spode and Wedgewood.

Ceramics today has become more developed. Now, potteries from England are distributed around the world and the craftsmanship manifested in pottery making has improved more and more.

Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin

Murry Sidlin, conductor, lecturer, and Dean of Catholic University's Rome School of Music, is the force behind “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin.” The remarkable concert-drama is based on the true story of 16 performances of the Catholic Mass for the Dead at the Nazi concentration camp between 1943 and 1944. The first presentation of the…

Murry Sidlin, conductor, lecturer, and Dean of Catholic University's Rome School of Music, is the force behind “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin.” The remarkable concert-drama is based on the true story of 16 performances of the Catholic Mass for the Dead at the Nazi concentration camp between 1943 and 1944. The first presentation of the program in this country is at the Kennedy Center, but others are planned here and abroad, as well as on PBS-TV

While teaching at the University of Minnesota, Sidlin wandered into a second-hand book store and picked up a small book on the top of the pile. He was astounded to learn that many prominent Jewish musicians, composers, performers and scholars from Czechoslovakia were rounded up and sent to a single camp. Haunted by the story that conductor Raphael Schachter led the choir of Jewish prisoners in Catholic liturgy, he searched for more details.

In the middle of the night, he woke up wondering if the text meant something different to the prisoners. Hurrying downstairs, he read the text as if he were a prisoner and every line had a different meaning. It quickly became clear to him that was the case. For instance, the words 'deliver me' in the last section mean 'liberate me' to the prisoners. Others told him that was a great theory, but he had to prove it by finding primary sources. That meant locating people who had been there and experienced the performances.

Soon after Sidlin posted a message on the Holocaust website asking for details about the Holocaust “Requiem,” a cryptic response came back from Israel wondering why he wanted to know about it. Having no specific plans at that stage, he responded with his belief that Maestro Schachter was a great hero who fortified hope and brave courage to the prisoners.

That response led him to Holocaust survivor Edgar Krasa staying in Newton, Massachusetts. Upon connecting with Krasa by telephone, Sidlin asked if the name Rafael Schachter meant anything to him The elderly gentleman replied that he and the conductor had roomed together at the camp for three years and he had named one of his sons after his friend.

Sidlin was astounded. Although he was resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony and living in Portland at the time, he flew to meet Krasa three days later and spent a day with him and his wife, Hannah, who also had been a prisoner. He learned that Krasa sang the “Requiem” all sixty times in the concentration camp and that the work came to mean something substantial to the prisoners.

He realized that this was a major story because this was an act of defiance or resistance that wave the prisoners hope, dignity and courage. Krasa said that Schahter told the prisoners, “We can sing to them what we can not say.”

Drasa's own story is remarkable. During a death march the winter of 1945, Krasa and a friend decided to escape. When a Nazi soldier spotted him, he tried to hide in a pile of dead bodies, but he was shot in the side and lay there until the soldiers left. Then he took off his shirt in the bitter cold to cover his wound and walked until he reached a Russian camp and was taken in.

Sidlin's concert-drama, told partially by actors and partly by video presentations of interviewees, unfolds between the sections of the Requiem. To honor their father, Krasa's sons Rafi and Dani will be members of the choir.

“I hope that those experiencing this program will listen to the Verdi Requiem differently the next time and remember what Schachter taught the prisoners and what it meant to them,” Sidlin said.

Writing a Biography Or Memoir You Should Refuse Be a Tabular Rasa

When writing a biography or memoir the biographer should lay aside all partnership and prejudice and proceed in the pure love of truth. Not that the biographer must become a tabular rasa [tabular rasa is a Latin phrase referring to someone whose mind is similar to a clean slate, meaning that the mind is free…

When writing a biography or memoir the biographer should lay aside all partnership and prejudice and proceed in the pure love of truth. Not that the biographer must become a tabular rasa [tabular rasa is a Latin phrase referring to someone whose mind is similar to a clean slate, meaning that the mind is free of misconceptions or previous notions].

No man or woman should attempt to cast off the life influences which made him or her what he or she is as a unique individual. By all means and by common consent most readers expect the biographer to sympathize with his or her subject, to choreograph a bit some of the defects a bit – but not over doing it. That is why a biographer that rubbish his / her subject does not get anywhere.

But having said that by all means the biographer or memoir writer should be guided by truthfulness and seek to remain close to true as possible to the objective fact. The biographer should do justice to every presentation and description of issues or events or affairs in the life of his or her subject. Quite the biographer or memoir writer should rise above to sees all points in the circumference.

A biography is not a hip of skeletons, but a painstaking intelligent construction of a living monument that people will relish reading and be illuminated – it should be that a person after reading a biography should feel empowered having learned from the mistakes and great principles in the life of a fellow human being. In short the reader should have a clear human picture that is based on the perspectives the biographer has provided from the facts collected. For this to be successfully achieved the biographer should be natural and not rob himself or herself by withholding his / her personal experiences in the name of objectivity.

While I was writing a biography of Eugen Weber we decided to title the book Eugen Weber the Greatest Historian of Our Times, many people who read the manuscript accused us of sculpting or fashioning an idol. We reasserted our views by indicating that we are humans and this is how we see the life and works of Eugen Weber. No, No; a biographer should resist being a tabular rasa, as long as whatever you say is backed up with facts you should not be afraid to state your views and convictions about your subject.

Writing a Biography Or Memoir You Need To Balance Issues

A biography is about human life – tracing the human life by going beyond the appearance and daily veils to bring to the surface principals that had driven an individual. I come from the premise that a biography should be about human development and progress. A biography therefore should serve as guideposts, making us understand…

A biography is about human life – tracing the human life by going beyond the appearance and daily veils to bring to the surface principals that had driven an individual. I come from the premise that a biography should be about human development and progress. A biography therefore should serve as guideposts, making us understand ourselves – it should study a life and show the characteristics of that life. Life is not accident. Everything is predestinated – our walk here on earth is guided by invisible forces.

The biographer there in studying sources and talking with people to getting to know more about his or her subject should be in the final analysis develop perspectives. Unfortunately most biographers present their subject as a lifeless – shoving facts, events, careers stages, businesses and affairs of their life without providing perspectives. In this case the biographer is simply a tabular rasa (Latin meaning clean slate). The tabular rasa biographer works out facts without first feeling their energy in his or her bosom. There is no perspective or meditative study of the facts and events. If there is any it is about biases – then further go further in the wrong direction. The biographer should lay all prejudice and party zeal and through virgin mind explore issues and place them in human contexts.

And I am not saying that this is easy by all means. Take for example the scores of biographies about the life of Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln was by common consent, the greatest American statesman man and how dare will a biographer bring to the readers something else other than greatness? It is as Michael Lind (the policy director of the Economic Growth Program at the New America Foundation and the co-author of “The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics.”), Use to say about Abraham Lincoln. Michael Lind says that even though, he knows about objectivity and believes in it, he finds it hard to read something critical of Abraham Lincoln.

This aspect of difficulty I felt at the personal level when I set myself to write the biography of Eugen Weber. With the biography I wanted to bring to the surface those great qualities of Eugen Weber, but I knew I have to also bring the other side of issues to bring balance. So as I wrote about Eugen Weber and now came to the time to write the critical part to balance things up, so to speak, I wrote;

“Great as Eugen Weber was when we see him as the gigantic polemic, yet he has defects. a subject that could be covered and that betrayed him into incidental prolixity and discursiveness, the absence of which would have made his works far more accessible and popular and far more useful …. he wants perspective in composition, and does not know the secret of touching on themes without laboriously going into the details to the breadth there and the length thereof … ”

When undertaking to write a biography it is important to bring those issues which may not be palatable to you – it is about responsibility and integrity.

The Responsibilities and Guidelines When Writing a Biography Or Memoir

The duty of a biographer is to provide perspectives on a life that was in most instances had salt – was valuable. In this context the biographer will seek to reveal those key issues which in the ultimate end will assist in human development in general and help us to know those individuals among us…

The duty of a biographer is to provide perspectives on a life that was in most instances had salt – was valuable. In this context the biographer will seek to reveal those key issues which in the ultimate end will assist in human development in general and help us to know those individuals among us who rose to great heights in their service to humanity.

To this regard the biographer should have clear perspectives about the life being investigated. The biographer must get around the nooks and crannies of the life he or she is writing about. The biographer must have sources that he or she must thoroughly and impartially examine to determine their genuineness and integrity, and the credibility and the capacity of the people the biographer is interviewing.

In many instances the sources might be many and it might be impossible to assimilate and digest them all. Take, sometimes the life of Princess Diana – if you will set yourself to write about her you will e confronted with scores of sources and people who has something to say. In this context as the biographer you should be guided by reliability and readability – utmost condensation of sources should be studied by a judicious selection of salient points in the history of a life being studied. The reader of a biography it is true should not get miniature pictures of history, but full comprehensive portraits. Yet much space may be gained by omitting the processes and unessential details and condense facts into a concise coherent system.

It was upon these guidelines that we set out to do a biography of Eugen Weber, the most reverent former chair of History Department at the University of California. Eugen Weber was familiar, charming presence to Americans who saw his acclaimed 52-part lecture series, “The Western Tradition,” produced by the Annenberg Foundation for PBS in 1989.

We were confronted with a lot of sources. There were past students of Eugen Weber to talk to in structured interviews, there were his peers and there was this vast reservoir – the internet full of reviews of the books Eugen Weber published. One thing was clear in our minds that we were not going to buckle down under peer pressure and resemble those biographers who write thick books about their subjects as if it is a testimony of the mighty things the subject did. We thought biographies can be effective and be read better if they are condense and made readable. There is no use writing thick books unless they are going to be read in their own not only parts. I am a big consumer of biographies but in most of them – especially the thick once I find myself satisfied with reading only a quarter of the whole book.

So as we do our research, our focus was to distill the information – focusing on those key aspects that we felt they will assist people to have a clear picture of Eugen Weber as the Greatest Historian of Our Times. We wanted to bring out those facts about his life that demonstrate that he belong to those individuals in the history of the human race who stand up to represent great principles.

American Actor: Bill Smitrovich

Birth Name: William Stanley “Bill” Smitrowicz Height: 6 '(1.83 m) Age: 63 Born: 16th May, 1947 Place: Bridgeport, Connecticut Bill Smitrovich is an American actor, who was born on 16th May, 1947 in Bridgeport, CT, United States. He is the son of the Stanley William, a die maker and tool maker and Anna. He completed…

Birth Name: William Stanley “Bill” Smitrowicz
Height: 6 '(1.83 m)
Age: 63
Born: 16th May, 1947
Place: Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bill Smitrovich is an American actor, who was born on 16th May, 1947 in Bridgeport, CT, United States. He is the son of the Stanley William, a die maker and tool maker and Anna. He completed his degree from University of Bridgeport. He then married Shaw Purnell and has a named daughter Maya Christina and a son named Alexander John. He appeared in several TV series. Bill Smitrovich first popular character was in the television series known as 'Crime Story' in which he appeared as “Det. Danny Krychek”. From 1989 to 1993, she appeared in drama television serious 'Life Goes On'. In the 1980s crime drama series he appeared in the Miami Vice.

Bill Smitrovich also starred in the final episode of popular series NYPD Blue. Bill Smitrovich also appeared in “The Henry Lee Project”. In the year 1996, he appeared in the American series Millennium. This series was produced and created by Chris Carter, who is the creator of the “X Files”. He is also well known for his role on the A & E television series A Nero Wolfe Mystery, in which he appeared as Inspector Cramer. He also appeared as Kenneth Walsh, an Assistant District Attorney on the ABC hit television series “The Practice”. He also appeared in many military roles in film and TV such as in 1996 Independence Day, 1997s Air Force One, 2000s Thirteen Days, 2008s Eagle Eye and 2000s Fail Safe.

He also made a numbers of guest appearance in TV series. He also week known for his roles in some of the most popular movies such as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, NUMB3RS, 24, Past Tense, Touched by an Angel, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and NYPD Blue. He also plays a lead role in the new NBC series The Event (the TV show).

The History Of Egyptian Glass

Years before the first production of glass, the Egyptians were using a glass-like material. The Egyptians were quite ahead of their time using a popular building called faience, which was used to produce amulets and small vessels, was a mixture of sand (quartz) mixed with an alkali binder. This material was molded and fired, which…

Years before the first production of glass, the Egyptians were using a glass-like material. The Egyptians were quite ahead of their time using a popular building called faience, which was used to produce amulets and small vessels, was a mixture of sand (quartz) mixed with an alkali binder. This material was molded and fired, which left them with a very bright glaze that came to the surface. This is a much easier process than the production of glass, which requires extreme temperatures. The Egyptians were way ahead of their time. It makes you wonder what they did back then for simple termite treatments. If they were so far ahead with their building materials, maybe we should look at what they were doing back then for basic things like pest control.

Around 1500BC, the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians introduced a method; this was called core-farming which was a major breakthrough in the production of glass and lead to this technique being used for over one thousand years to follow. They made glass vessels in many shapes. Although they were able to make glass, this was a very lengthy process, which meant that only nobility was able to purchase it due to its expense.

Another technique developed around the same time was called the Millefiori method. This stands for 'a thousand flowers' in Italian. Developed in Mesopotamia, it also required a large amount of man-hours to produce and therefore was also very costly. Again, allowing it only to be purchased by the nobility of the time due to its sheer high costs.

Around the middle of the first century BC, glass blowing made its debut. It was despite the best advancement in technology. It was apparently done from the very first century AD onwards. This was a much more speedy process and therefore mean that more than nobility could enjoy its benefits.

Soon this technique was to overtake the production of pottery and metalwork due to its haste in making and it is much better for storage.

The Roman Empire produced so much glass, which was used to store things in for shipping, including wine which was stored in glass jugs. Due to its mass production it could have enjoyed by all.

There are remnants of ancient Roman glass still around today, usually held by collectors and sometimes some museums for all to see. The most common glass was called unguent aria, tear bottles, in English. They are all different sizes though usually are seen with a bulbous base and a slender, long neck with a rim that is flat. They come in colors from green shades, no color at all and pale blue usually can be seen. And occasionally they have a pattern that is iridescent in nature. It was normally used for cosmetics, oils, perfumes.

If you have the opportunity to see some glass from around this time, you can now take with you a little bit of information about the history of this glass, to consider while you are viewing it.

The Portrait of a Lady – An Analysis of Identity in the Henry James Novel

Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady is a nineteenth-century novel with an intriguing heroine, Isabel Archer. The book raises the issue of identity, and its construction and style inevitably effects how these identities are realized. The following analysis looks closely at this issue, assessing the text in relation to genre, focusing specifically on the…

Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady is a nineteenth-century novel with an intriguing heroine, Isabel Archer. The book raises the issue of identity, and its construction and style inevitably effects how these identities are realized. The following analysis looks closely at this issue, assessing the text in relation to genre, focusing specifically on the presence of certain Gothic conventions within the narrative.

The theme of confinement is a prominant one within The Portrait of a Lady, as Isabel Archer is ostensibly incarcerated by Gilbert Osmond. The novel effectively reworks traditional Gothic conventions, such as those inaugurated within the fiction of Ann Radcliffe and others, in its depiction of confinement and Isabel's jailer.

When assessing the issue of female identity, it is beneficial to consider the author's own intentions for their work. James was already a very responsive critic before he turned to novel writing who had grand intentions for the novel as an art form. Such intentions are manifest in the Portrait of a Lady through what he called the 'international light', where characters of a certain nationality interact with those of other nations, an advantage bestowed upon James by his own expatriate status as an American living in England, and something that allowed him to explore issues of cultural and individual identity.

The Portrait of a Lady establishes characterization as its central focus. James is far more interested in creating a mixture atmosphere of implication that prompts his readers into contemplating the complexity of one woman's circumstances. His brother, the philosopher William James, once commented on how Henry always defied the convention of telling a story. The Portrait of a Lady is written in the third-person, a narrative choice which inevitably has an effect on the issue of identity.

It is arguable that The Portrait of a Lady has a 'center of consciousness' narrative, with other characters and broader issues being organized around the heroine. As the novel progresses, much of its drama and action actually takes place in Isabel's mind as opposed to accidents being act out externally. There is also a noticeable absence of overt narrative comment, such as that which Eliot employs to accompany the portrayal of her characters' thoughts in Middlemarch, a novel who heroine, Dorothea Brooke, James cites as an influence on his formation of Isabel Archer. Techniques such as internal monologue, free indirect discourses and focalization are frequently employed to achieve a variety of narrative effects. One of these being to portray events from the perspective of the characters themselves, and creating the impression of the author's opinions having been effaced in order to direct the reader's attention to the inner worlds of their characters. James was not overly interested in depicting extreme or sensational events, as these distracted from his study of individual consciousness, striving instead for 'economy' in fiction. Such author intentions inevitably exert an influence over the nature of his heroine identity, and consequentially Isabel is perceptive, introspective, and has a recognizable capacity for receiving impressions.

Our understanding of female identity in this narrative is also enhanced through an assessment of genre. The Portrait of a Lady belongs to James's highly particular brand of realist fiction. In James's novel, as in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, tradition Gothic trappings are reworked in the realm of the psychological.

Much of the tension in The Portrait of a Lady is evident in Isabel's own reactions to seemingly ordinary events. James's prose style is suggestive rather than direct, his sentences frequently abounding with interruptions and deferrals. One particular point in the novel in which the author himself identifies as being exceptionally important, in respect of his heroine's consciousness becoming the major site of drama and action, is the scene where Isabel first encounters Madame Merle. A sinister atmosphere is not invoked using obvious sensation strategies, but instead through subtitle details such as Madame Merle being separated with her “ample and well-dressed” (XVIII, p.193) back to Isabel at the piano “furthest removed from the door “(XVIII, p.192) in Gardencourt's drawing room -” an apartment of great distances “(XVIII, p.192). The reader is informed that Madame Merle plays the instrument “remarkably well”, with “skill”, “feeling”, and “a discretion of her own” (XVIII, p.193); her considerable musical dexterity is suggestive of her special powers in other areas, as she is later revealed to be dissembling and manipulative. After her introduction, Madame Merle continues to play while Isabel sets and listens, meanwhile James increases the ominous atmosphere with the following: “the shadows deepened in the room” (XVIII, p.194), describing the “autumn twilight” as gathering in , his heroine noticing the rain, “which had now begun in earnest” (XVIII, p. 94).

Isabel's identity is defined in part by other characters in the novel, particularly Gilbert Osmond. To a certain extent, Osmond's character is a more complex and refined eighth century Gothic villain. He poses a major threat not just to the heroine's freedom, but to her identity as well. Isabel is 'commodified' as a beautiful piece of art over which Osmond, as he has already achieved with his daughter Pansy, expects to exert complete control, depriving Isabel of her own identity by making her mind an extension of his. Osmond's grand palazzo functions effectively as a place of confinement for Isabel.

In choosing to finally return to Osmond however, Isabel asserts the stature of a tragic heroine, yet she asserts her own autonomy, not in innocence but in full knowledge of the world, the major interest of the novel having become moral rather than romantic.

Judith Sargent Murray’s Letter Books, a New Eyewitness Account of American History

In 1774, at the age of 23, Judith Sargent Stevens (Murray) of Gloucester, Massachusetts, decided to keep letter books – blank volumes into which she would make copies of the letters she was writing to her family and friends. This was not a haphazard decision; keeping letter books would have become part of her routine…

In 1774, at the age of 23, Judith Sargent Stevens (Murray) of Gloucester, Massachusetts, decided to keep letter books – blank volumes into which she would make copies of the letters she was writing to her family and friends. This was not a haphazard decision; keeping letter books would have become part of her routine for the rest of her life.

Judith's world in 1774 was changing fast. Gloucester was a thriving seaport in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and there was talk of separation from Great Britain. Protests, port closings, the presence of troops in Boston – all of these events affected Gloucester and it was unclear how the conflict would be resolved. As a student of history, Judith knew how important it was to document what was going on – to provide a thoughtful, eyewitness account in real time to leave behind for future generations.

To begin her project, Judith purchased a small book of blank pages bound in soft brown leather and embossed with a decorative black border. On the first page of the volume she wrote a message to her readers, explaining that she had “committed to the flames” all of the letters she had written before 1765 as they were merely “a kind of history of [her] juvenile life” and could not be of interest to anyone. While Judith's intended audience was her direct descendant, we know from her plan to keep her correspondents “purposely involved in ambiguity” that she anticipated a wider readership. Ultimately, she wrote, she wished to “commend [her] volumes of letters to affectionate posterity.”

Following her opening statement, Judith initiated her recording system. She left the first few pages of the book blank and then copied what letters she had already written and saved, numbered each letter and every page. As tradition dictated, she included her return address in each of her letters, the date, a salutation, and an appropriate closing. When the book was full, Judith added an index to the empty opening pages, listing the recipient of each letter and the page on which that person's letter appeared.

After Judith's first volume of letters was complete she began work on Letter Book 2, not knowing how many she would complete in her lifetime. There would be twenty letter books in all, containing approximately 2,500 letters and spanning the years 1765 to 1818, from when Judith was 23 years old in Gloucester to age 67 in Boston.

She wrote all of this material by quill pen and by candlelight – a daunting, self-appointed task to be sure, especially for a wife, mother, professional essayist, poet, and playwright. But we know from Judith herself, through her letters, that she understood the historical value of what she was doing and even contemplated publishing the letter books herself.

Judith took the letter books with her when she moved from Boston to Natchez, Mississippi, in 1818 with her daughter, Julia Maria, who had married a Harvard student from Natchez. Judith died there soon after. For many generations, the letter books sat in the private library of an antebellum mansion called, “Arlington,” lovingly cared for by the owner but out of the public eye.

Those of us who tried to learn more about Judith Sargent Murray in the 1980s and earlier encountered the of-repeated “fact” first published in 1881 that her personal papers had been destroyed in Natchez. But in 1984, a Unitarian Universalist minister named Gordon Gibson, who was serving a congregation in the area, went searching for material anyway. At Arlington, he found the letter books – the treasure trove of information that Judith Sargent Murray had so painstakingly created for future generation.

The letter books have since been preserved and published on microfilm under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. They are housed at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History at Jackson – which is a lucky thing because Arlington's library was recently destroyed by fire.

Today, the letter books are being transcribed, indexed, and published to make the information more accessible. Two letter books are available in their own heritage, and two themed collections of the letters have been published.

What's in this new eyewitness account of American history? Briefly, they contain Judith's observations of:

• People (George Washington, John Adams, John Murray, Judith's husband and the “father” of organized Universalism in America)
• Places (towns, cities, and the countryside during her travels through New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania)
• Events (July 4, 1790 in Philadelphia, the laying of the cornerstone for the new state house in Boston in 1795)
• Attractions (museums, concerts, gardens, markets, public buildings)
• Daily life (meals, goods, clothing, medicine, weather, travel)

The letters also include Judith's thoughts on:

• female education
• women's political rights and female politicians
• the new American government
• Parenting
• Philanthropy
• Universalism

The letters document Judith's life as a daughter, wife, mother, friend, and loving aunt or adopted aunt to dozens of young people. They also document her career as an essayist, publisher, poet, and playwright – one of the earliest definers of a new American literature.

Finally, the letter books add color, depth, and insight to American history from the perspective of a woman and a professional writer.

In her opening statement in Letter Book 1, Judith tells her readers (us) that sheoped for affectionate posterity. She describes nothing less, and publishing her letter books is an important step in that direction.

Patriotism In America, Past and Present

The word patriotism is a word that unfortunately is seldom used in this modern day and age. This word derived more two centuries ago in the early 1700's when America was in it's earliest stages. The Merriam / Webster Dictionary describes the word patriotism as a noun, and it means is defined in the dictionary…

The word patriotism is a word that unfortunately is seldom used in this modern day and age. This word derived more two centuries ago in the early 1700's when America was in it's earliest stages. The Merriam / Webster Dictionary describes the word patriotism as a noun, and it means is defined in the dictionary as; love for or devotion to one's country.

A historical act of true patriotism was when Patrick Henry proclaimed his timeless cry “Give me liberty or give me death.” Henry was a true American patriot who faced losing freedom in his beloved America, while it failed against England's rule in this new land. America was the hope for freedom and without reservation or fear Patrick Henry would rather be put to death then not live free in his beloved America.

Throughout the centuries patriotism remained strong in America as it's people united with their commander in chief through America's many trials and wars such as, the Civil War, the Spanish American war, World Wars I and World War II. During those difficult times in America all Americans banded together and stand strong in unity and in their love for their country. In those tough times and the many wars that were gone, many of our patriotic songs were written and sung with ones right hand over their heart. Some age old patriotic songs that were sung often by Americans for generations are; My Country 'Tis of Thee, You're A Grand Old Flag, God Bless America, and America the Beautiful. These heartfelt songs portray and tell a story of what patriotism is all about, and the words to the songs proclaim a deep love and devotion for America.

Patriotic songs were once popular and were often sung in schools, churches, and sporting events, they were a part of everyday life in America, until the mid 1960's when they slowly and very gradually started to disappear from our society. It is on rare occasion in the year 2010 that one will hear or sing any of the patriotic songs listed above.

Proclaiming love for America, despite what the world says is patriotism. Standing with our troops in times of war, is patriotism. Looking out for the greater good of this nation and not ones own personal gain is patriotism. Being a unified nation and standing strong in unity against anything or anyone who threatens the freedoms that Americans have held dear since the birth of this great nation, is patriotism.

Somewhere over the last few decades patriotism seems to have disappeared from everyday lives of Americans. No longer do we start our day with the Plede of Allegiance, or with patriotic songs. No longer do American start their day in their schools or at their jobs with prayer to bless this great nation. It seems as though Americans do not remember that it was with patriotism that our forefathers, our grandfathers, our fathers, our brothers and our sons have forguted for and given their lives for freedoms sake, to keep America free.

We have come to a time and place in history where it is no longer politically correct to be patriotic and to support our brave, patriotic armed forces who are still fighting for our freedom today. Many people in this great land are against our military being involved in fighting wars for our freedom. Those who are against our involvement in wars that keep us safe and free, are basically against patriotism and because of the lack of patriotism and unity in America today, our freedoms are sadly, quickly, slipping away from us right before our very eyes.

Eagles Are Part of Traditional Native American Imagery As Well As Modern American Iconograpy

Many Native American tribes see the bald eagle as a sacred bird, and the animals often play a large role in many of their spiritual customs and religions. Although it varies from tribe to tribe, the bald eagle is often regarded as a spiritual messenger between humans and gods. In modern America, the bald eagle…

Many Native American tribes see the bald eagle as a sacred bird, and the animals often play a large role in many of their spiritual customs and religions. Although it varies from tribe to tribe, the bald eagle is often regarded as a spiritual messenger between humans and gods.

In modern America, the bald eagle is the United State's national bird, giving a tip of the hat to the Imperial Roman Republic, where eagle imagery was prominently featured.

Although bald eagles start out life with their heads covered with downy feathers that later turn brown, they ever develop their striking white tail and head feathers as they age. Eagles can fly up to forty-three miles per hour, taking advantage of thermal convection currents, and they eat fish as a primary source of food. While you may or may not live in an area of ​​the country that is home to bald eagle populations, you can enjoy them anytime you like when you buy eagle figurines for your home. Eagle sculpture is available in several appealing looks from which you may select your favorites.

Eagle sculptures will vary in design based upon the individual artist's sensitivities to the subject matter. Several of the eagle statues available in the marketplace today feature realistic-looking bases that depict mountainsides with rocks and streams or waterfalls, reminiscent of the habitat in which the bald eagle resides in the United States and Canada.

Some artists combineicate glass artwork in with the ceramic design of the eagle statues. Since the bald eagle is seen as a patriotic symbol in the United States, the eagle designs will often center around delicate glass work that might depict an American flag in bright red, white and blue, sometimes combined with another American icon of freedom, the Statue of Liberty. These can be seen, in certain eagle sculpture examples, on the wings of the eagle, so that when you place them in a window where light shines on them, the colors in the glass become a dazzling reminder of all that the eagle symbolizes.

The best way to discover what is available in terms of eagle figurines is to visit a figurine merchant online. In the comfort of your home, you can take your time to look at each figurine, read about it in detail, and compare prices, in order to find the ones that particularly appealing to you.

Love in the Age of Darkness

In writing about the Shoah (Holocaust), I was forcified to examine human behavior during the most appalling genocide in history. How could possibly normal people become butchers of innocent families? What could drive Germans and their allies to believe that all members of a religion should be dead? What precipitated a perfect storm of blind…

In writing about the Shoah (Holocaust), I was forcified to examine human behavior during the most appalling genocide in history. How could possibly normal people become butchers of innocent families? What could drive Germans and their allies to believe that all members of a religion should be dead? What precipitated a perfect storm of blind hatred sufficient to murder their former neighbors? Why was it so easy to convince citizens that Jews should be eliminated?

Anti-Semitism has deep roots in the world, especially in Europe, where it has festered endemically for dozens of centuries. The Church promoted Jewish hatred for two thousand years. Millions of innocent Jewish men, women and children were killed during the Crusades, the English Expulsion and the Spanish Inquisition – all in the name of Christ. During those formative years, the Church held influence over its pastoral community with a firm grip. Over successful centuries, the seminal existence of anti-Semitism became latent at times; yet it was never far from the surface. Thus, when Hitler pushed for the termination of Jews, he met little resistance. Sadly, his effort to remove Jews from Europe required little vigor to impose.

Meanwhile, Jews remained large as they had always been through time. They taught Torah, worked jobs that no one else wanted, married and had families. Their values ​​changed little over time, despite near-constant efforts to isolate, expel, enslave and murder them. For Jews, the bitter taste of slavery, blind hatred and murder was a constant companion. Even their ancestral homeland, Israel, was conquered repeatedly; their sacred temples destroyed.

Humans are complex beings. There is a great deal more to us than the ubiquitous battleground of good versus evil. We are not one or the other, but a combination of both. We are beautiful and ugly, soothing and terrifying, brutal and caring; we love and we despise. Yet, even within the middle of perfidious experiences and vicious brutality, there were passionate lovers, despately trying to meet, make love and whisper passionate feelings to each other. For Jews, life has never been good or bad, but good and bad. More often, Jews found a few moments of peace within an eternity of harassment, punishment, eviction and slavery.

Holocaust victims experienced the widest breadth of experiences and personalities. Within the fetid trains and barracks of Nazi-occupied Europe, lovers dreamed of being together. Walking into the gas chambers, Jews loved their absent cherished family members. And, deep within the fear and panic of the Holocaust were decisions about ethical behavior and our human concept of morality. Unlike animals, humans are governed by principles, beliefs and values. We are not clouded by delusions of morality, but governed by them. This complex palette of emotions churned within the minds of Shoah victims. Even their captors held broadly differenting values. Some Jewish kapos were more terrifying and brutal than SS guards. Some SS guards and camp workers were gentle and compassionate. Into this churning crucible of horror, lovers were deposited. Their passion did not disappear.

Our lives are complex – especially within the garish mid of the Holocaust. Powerful infatuation and tender love also occurred during times of horror and despair. So did a deep commitment to faith and God. Beneath the veneer of terror and brutality churned the alluring beauty of passionate love and the driving power of religious devotion. Nazi Germany could remove every article of wealth from the Jewish people, but not their love of family, wisdom and devotion to Judaism. At the very end, naked and cold, Jews had only their history, tradition, thoughts and feelings; and those were a tapestry of ancient wisdom, coupled with ritual emotion and a fervent need to connect with each other meaningfully.

The world is seldom seen in black and white, or even shades of gray. During the Holocaust, in the midst of terrible anguish, beauty exhausted. That beauty was surrounded by despair. Lovers met fervently. Secret weddings were held. There were even some births, hidden from the SS for as long as possible. Here, deep within the dread of shocking murder, surrounded by the sickness, death, brutality and murder of family, we find love, compassion and faith. Repugnance, despair and darkness exist within human nature; just as love, compassion and devotion also exist there. We learn nothing about ourselves if we do not examine these vastly disparate portions of our psyche.

Holocaust survivors lost everything, but sometimes gained something as well. Certainly an honest examination of the Holocaust must reveal torturous cruelty, violence and death. It's fair to say that Holocaust survivors lost most or all of their loved ones. However, despite the starvation, forced labor, inhuman conditions, sickness and malice, the incarcerated Jews of Europe continued to practice their religion. They continued to teach their children and to love one another. Here, among the ashes of vast genocide, one can feel hope for the survival of the human spirit.

Reading in an Economic Meltdown

As I wing my way through our global economic meltdown, I'm reading whatever falls into my hands through the kindness of friends and strangers. I read the Sunday NYT and SF Chronicle book reviews (filched from the recycle bin outside our local minimart on Monday mornings) and listen to our public radio station's fantastic News…

As I wing my way through our global economic meltdown, I'm reading whatever falls into my hands through the kindness of friends and strangers.

I read the Sunday NYT and SF Chronicle book reviews (filched from the recycle bin outside our local minimart on Monday mornings) and listen to our public radio station's fantastic News and Information service (to which I have not pledged in years).

Therefore, I am always HEARING about books I'm dying to read. Constant reminders that the global economic meltdown has impoverished me of buying the latest books – my life's sole mad-money fetish. If I can not buy new books, there are lots of others like me, so I worry about how are writers getting paid.

I know I'm not.

Since I am fully aware of the writers' usual money plight – made twice worse by the economy, I URGE people to buy new books. I feel REQUIRED by writer karma to buy from and support my fellow living authors.

Two of my friends from grad school have recent books out. One is Columbine by Dave Cullen. Huge seller. The other is The Museum of False Starts , poetry by Chip Livingston.

I know these guys. I want their success. And here I am squeaking out groceries and power bills every month, and feeling guilty for not buying those guys' books.

Yet.

I'm stuck with books I've never heard of and / or would never, ever pick for myself. Whatever I'm given or I happened into, I try to try. I do not always make it through. Sometimes I just can not. Sometimes I force myself. I figure at least it's a way to learn something about writing.

Here are the best of my summer's slim pickin's:

The White Tiger . I devoted a whole blog to this I loved it so much. It's really tragic but sarcastically funny.

Cold Comfort Farm . Oldie but a goodie. Loved it! This is on my “read it again” list.

Learning to Drive . Vermont author Mary Hays. Never hear of her. A really fine read.

The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie. Approach with caution, read with enthusiasm. Very complex. Fun and fantastic (as in fantasy).

The Nasty Bits . Tony Bourdain. Duh! I read this twice and did not even remember having done it! Sure would like to read Medium Raw . Hope someone turns me on to it.

As with most areas of my life ranging from health care to clothing, being stuck with necessity rather than choice is, putting it mildly, a creative challenge. But I'd rather wear a thrift store bra than look over at the book on the nightstand and say, “The heck with it.”

Turn off the light. Stare at the ceiling. Wait for the next surprise book that makes me not want to go to sleep. That becomes a guilty pleasure I steal time to indulge in rather than just more words, words, words.