Category Archives: READING MATTER

Books I read & recommend

UNIVERSE WITHIN

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YOU ARE THE POWER               “You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas” — Glinda

                “Oh Dear! That’s too wonderful to be true!” — Dorothy

                “Now those magic slippers will take you home in two seconds. Just close your eyes and think to yourself, ‘There’s no place like home’.” — Glinda

                “Then why didn’t you tell her before”? — The Scarecrow

                “Because she wouldn’t have believed me.  She had to learn it for herself.”– Glinda

                “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard, because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” — Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz”

Like Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ we are creatures of our own design. We live in universes created by our own agreements and imagination. We are inside the Physical Universe looking out to find the origin of our being. We long for a place we feel certain must exist; a place where there is no trouble. We wait for wizards and witches to show us the way home. Yet we fear to close our eyes and click our heels to see the Universe Within.

Our journey home begins at the source of the rainbow; shining light upon our own eternal, ethereal selves.”

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— Excerpt from THE OZ FACTORS, by Lawrence R. Spencer

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

AUDIO BOOK:  http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00B25HTUQ&qid=1358802443&sr=1-1

PLAYERS ON A STAGE

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I PLAY A ROLE IN THE THEATER OF LIFE.
A HUNDRED THOUSAND ENCORES UPON THIS STAGE.

I’VE PORTRAYED THE PART OF A MAN:
HARD, THRUSTING, BRUTAL, AND DOMINEERING.
I’VE BEEN CAST IN THE ROLE OF WOMEN:
AESTHETIC, SOFT, SUBMISSIVE, SECRET, AND PERSEVERING.

I CHERISH DRAMA. COMIC ABSURDITY.
TRAGIC PATHOS AND MYSTERY.
I WEAR A BODY LIKE A MASK.

I KNOW WHICH ROLE I’M PLAYING WHEN I PLAY.
THE SCENERY CHANGES. THE STAGE REMAINS.
THE MASKS MAY CHANGE:
THE PLAYERS STAY THE SAME.

— LAWRENCE R. SPENCER. 2012. —

MURDER

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Murder is porn“It occurred to me at some point this fall that I had written similar deaths in at least two of my books, and popular fiction is heaped with other examples of the same thing. Have you set up a moral dilemma you don’t know how to solve? Is the protagonist sexually attracted to a woman who is much too young Bag_of_Bonesfor him, shall we say? Need a quick fix? Easiest thing in the world. ‘When the story starts going sour, bring on the man with the gun.’ Raymond Chandler said that, or something like it — close enough for government work, kemo sabe.

Murder is the worst kind of pornography, murder is “let me do what I want” taken to its final extreme. I believe that even make-believe murders should be taken seriously; maybe that’s another idea I got last summer. Perhaps I got it while Mattie was struggling in my arms, gushing blood from her smashed head and dying blind, still crying out for her daughter as she left ”

~ Stephen King, Bag of Bones

NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA EVER

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One summer, while I was in college, I spent 4 months working as a fire fighter in Lassen National Forest and Park.  I lived that summer with a crew of 10 firefighters at an isolated fire station near the entrance to the Lassen Park and fought quite a few forest and brush fires in and around the park.  It was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life.  My respect and reverence for our forests and the natural environment was heavily influenced by that adventure.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Together, we must protect and defend our National Park System:  It Belongs To All of Us!

(Here is a link to 20 video excerpts from the Ken Burns documentary film about our National Parks.  This film took FIVE YEARS to shoot and edit.  I think it is one of the very best documentary films ever made.)

http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/watch-video/#914

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American Heroes who helped create the national park system:    In 1901, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. (July 24, 1870 – December 25, 1957) was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as a member of the Senate Park Improvement Commission.  In 1910, he was approached by the American Civic Association for advice on the creation of a new bureau of national parks. This initiated six years of correspondence, including this letter on January 19, 1912:

“The present situation in regard to the national parks is very bad. They have been created one at a time by acts of Congress which have not defined at all clearly the purposes for which the lands were to be set apart, nor provided any orderly or efficient means of safeguarding the parks . . . I have made at different times two suggestions, one of which was . . . a definition of the purposes for which the national parks and monuments are to be administered by the Bureau.”

His best contribution was of a few simple words that would guide conservation in America for generations to come and were preserved in the National Park Service Organic Act (1916):

“To conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

National parks began to be designated in the second half of the 19th century, and national monuments in the early part of the 20th century. Each park or monument was managed individually or, alternately in some cases, by the United States Army, each with varying degrees of success. Beginning in 1911, Senator Read Smoot of Utah and Representative John E. Raker of California had submitted bills to establish the National Park Service to oversee the management of all these holdings. The bills were opposed by the director of the U.S. Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot, and his supporters. The Forest Service believed that a National Park Service would be a threat to continued Forest Service control of public lands that had been set aside for the timber trade. Beginning in 1910 the American Civic Association with the support of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs and the Sierra Club had led the call for a federal service to manage the parks. The noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead was also a booster of a single national organization to manage the National Parks.

Successful and influential industrialist Stephen Mather was challenged by Interior Secretary Franklin K. Lane to lobby for legislation creating a bureau to oversee the National Parks. Mather accepted pro bono (accepting a perfunctory salary of $1) and with assistance primarily by a young lawyer named Horace Albright a campaign was begun. By 1915, regular meetings were occurring in Washington at the home of Congressman William Kent of California. The group’s regulars were Congressman Kent, J. Horace McFarland of the American Civic Association, and the few Washington staff members of the Department of the Interior responsible the National Parks.

ABOUT THE VIDEO ON THIS PAGE:

http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks  PBS brings you a preview of the newest Ken Burns documentary series, THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICAS BEST IDEA. The 12-hour, six-part documentary series, directed by Burns and co-produced with his longtime colleague, Dayton Duncan.  Premiered on Sunday, September 27th, 2009 (check local listings) Buy the DVD: http://www.shoppbs.org/entry.point?entry=3473255&source=PBSCS_YOUTUBE_NAP…