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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Raven: Movie Review

As a mystery fan and writer myself, the name of Edgar Allan Poe is of great importance as he is the father of the American detective novel. So when I heard there was going to be a movie coming out where Edgar himself was a character I was intrigued.

In The Raven, we find an alcoholic Edgar, played by John Cusack, trying desperately to make some money with his writing as a critic as his inspiration to write his poetry and fiction seem to have dried up. Suddenly murders begin to take place mirroring his stories and the detective on the case recognizes them as such and seeks Edgar out, first as a possible suspect and then for assistance. Things go terribly wrong when the young woman Edgar is in love with is kidnapped by this killer and it is up to Edgar to save her.

I won’t give away any more of this plot because it is of course a mystery, and the fun is in discovering the clues and twists and turns as you go. I will say that I loved the little tidbits of true history about Poe thrown in this movie—I do believe most of the details about Poe were fairly accurate. However, I found Cusack’s portrayal to be less dark and brooding than Poe likely really was—this was a man who had lost everyone he loved to tragedy and whose darkness came through in his writing. Now I don’t know if Poe really had a raccoon as a pet, but it was a fun little bit anyway. Do keep in mind though, the story itself is fiction taken from a “what if” kind of take on his mysterious death.

The Raven had an enjoyable bit of history on the father of mystery along with a well done mystery plot, which I must admit I didn’t figure out until about the point where he and the detective did as well. My favorite character however was actually Detective Fields, played by Luke Evans who is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors (Immortals & Three Musketeers).

If you enjoy a good mystery, and especially if you are a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven is a must see!

Rated R for bloody violence and grisly images. Check out the trailer on IMDB, which is the official site for the movie.

Watch for more Edgar Allan Poe articles to celebrate the release of this movie when we return to our regular site!

The Raven is currently playing at the Dinuba Platinum Theatres, check their website for showtimes.

Lorie Lewis Ham is KRL's editor-in-chief/publisher. She has published in many venues through the years and has 5 published mystery novels. You can learn more about Lorie's writing on her blog Mysteryrat's Closet.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Behind The Musical: Assassins, Coming Soon To Fresno State

The Stephen Sondheim musical Assassins is coming to Fresno State next week so I thought it would be fun to take a look at this unusual musical which some say is possibly the most controversial musical ever written—that statement alone makes me want to see it!

Image source: Fresno State Theatre

Assassins is based on an idea by Charles Gilbert Jr. with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by John Weidman. It uses the premise of a murderous carnival game to produce a revue style portrayal of men and women who have attempted to assassinate Presidents of the United States. Assassins and would be assassins from different periods in history meet and interact. The music varies to reflect the popular music of the eras depicted. The musical first opened Off-Broadway in 1990, and the 2004 Broadway production won five Tony Awards. It opened in London in 1992 and through the years the show has been produced all over the world.

The original Broadway production was scheduled for 2001 but was postponed to April 22, 2004 because the content was sensitive in light of the events of September 11, 2001. It ran for 101 performances with Neil Patrick Harris starring in the roles of The Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald, Marc Kudisch in an extended role as The Proprietor, and Michael Cerveris as John Wilkes Booth, for which he received a Tony Award.

The three versions (original, London and Broadway) were not identical. Roles were combined, and the song "Something Just Broke" was new to the London production. In 1991, Theatre Communications Group published the libretto, which did not feature "Something Just Broke".

The current licensed version of the musical reflects the 2004 Broadway revival. Although the script does not combine The Balladeer and Oswald into a single role, many productions have followed the revival in doing so.

Characters in Assassins are as follows:

• The Proprietor: gun salesman who provides the characters with their weapons at the beginning of the show
• The Balladeer: narrator who provides the stories of the assassins
• Ensemble: crowd members, chorus, etc.

• John Wilkes Booth: assassin of President Abraham Lincoln
• David Herold: accomplice of John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln
• Charles Guiteau: assassin of President James Garfield
• President James Garfield: twentieth President of the United States
• James Blaine: Secretary of State who received a deluge of letters from Charles Guiteau
• Leon Czolgosz: assassin of President William McKinley
• Emma Goldman: anarchist known for her political activism who also interacted several times with Leon Czolgosz
• Giuseppe Zangara: attempted assassin of President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt[17]
• Lee Harvey Oswald: accused for killing President John F. Kennedy
• Samuel Byck: attempted assassin of President Richard Nixon
• John Hinckley: attempted assassin of President Ronald Reagan
• Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme: attempted assassin of President Gerald Ford
• Sara Jane Moore: attempted assassin of President Gerald Ford
• President Gerald Ford: thirty-eighth President of the United States
• Billy: Sara Jane Moore's son

Interview with the director of the Fresno State production of Assassins Brad Myers:

Lorie: Is there anything about your production of Assassins that is unique or different?

Brad: Assassins is a wonderfully theatrical piece. Consequently, there are many opportunities to explore unique interpretations of many moments in the play. One example is the moment when John Hinckley begins to envision recurring images of Ronald Reagan and futilely tries to shoot them. It is a surreal projection of the mind of Hinckley, and can be theatrically realized in many different ways. We are using ensemble actors in Ronald Reagan masks who move across the stage like ducks in a shooting gallery.

Another distinct aspect of our production is the use of a larger ensemble than the original production. This amplifies the presence of the American people and allows for moments of greater spectacle, providing a powerful counterpoint to the intimate portraits of the assassins.

But what most distinguishes this production are the exceptional talents of the cast. Their characterizations are historically accurate while also being complex and unique. Additionally, the actors are impressive musicians, ably meeting the demands of Sondheim's intricate score.

Lorie: Did the fact that this is an election year affect the choice of this show this year? Do you think that fact may bring some added interest in the show?

Brad: Producing Assassins in an election year was not a huge factor in selecting the show. The play is less about presidential politics, and more about the American culture and its influence on the motivations of the disenfranchised citizens who are driven to assassination attempts. However, election years often bring a heightened consideration of who we are as a nation, and what we wish to become. Assassins may be an entertaining and profound part of that discussion.

Lorie: How are the Fresno State shows cast? I noticed that it's not all students in the cast.

Brad: Fresno State's mission includes a commitment to both our students and to our community. All University Theatre auditions are open to community members. We are mindful of the need to provide performance opportunities to our Theatre Arts majors, but also will cast non-students who will enhance the overall quality of the production, and help up the game of students who work with the community actors.

Lorie: What do you think is the most interesting thing about this show for the audience?

Brad: Assassins is like no other musical. Many of us dismiss historical figures like John Wilkes Booth or Lee Harvey Oswald as merely insane and safely distance ourselves from having anything in common with them. They are un-American. Other historical assassins like Leon Czolgosz and Charles Guiteau are completely unknown to most of us. The audience should be prepared to be re-introduced to these criminals and may find them funny, charming, passionate and distinctly American.

Lorie: What do you like best about this show?

Brad: Since my first exposure to Assassins, the play has always stayed with me; in part, because it is so funny, and in part because it is so passionate. I am left with conflicted feelings toward individuals that I had so easily condemned; and I find myself empathizing with people that I had deemed heartless. As I examine snippets of these characters' lives, I cannot help but consider the totality of my own life as a product of American culture.

Lorie: Anything else you feel would be interesting for our readers to know about your production of Assassins?

Brad: Most people who are fans of the American musical recognize Stephen Sondheim as a true master of the genre. Assassins is another glistening example of the composer's genius. But people who dismiss many musicals as being too silly or too frilly, may be compelled by this show's humor, grit and profound insights. There is no other experience like Assassins.

Don’t miss this fascinating show that opens on May 4 at Fresno State and runs through May 12. Tickets can be purchased from the Fresno State website and at the door. Be in mind that this show is not for children.

Watch for a review of Assassins in KRL after May 4.

If you would like to learn even more about the history of this musical you can check out the following websites:

Lorie Lewis Ham is KRL's editor-in-chief/publisher. She has published in many venues through the years and has 5 published mystery novels. You can learn more about Lorie's writing on her blog Mysteryrat's Closet.

Reedley Street Faire & Car Show

Reedley, as a town, grew up as a response to the need of gold miners for wheat. Soon, however, because of the land donation of Thomas Law Reed, a railroad station made the town that bears his name, a transportation hub. The railroad brought German Mennonites to work the land and agriculture diversified. Eventually, Reedley became home to diverse cultural groups who all brought their unique “flavors” to the town.

See more community events as well as the latest KRL issue at our sister site, KingsRiverLife.com

Reedley is still celebrating transportation. For the last twenty-five years, the city of Reedley has opened its streets for a grand party where vendors and collectors can show off their wares and display their shiny automobiles. The Reedley Street Faire has developed a life of its own.

Reedley is best known for its fruit and vegetable cultivation and is referred to as "The World's Fruit Basket". Among its other annual festivals are the Reedley Electrical Christmas Parade in December, the Reedley Certified Farmers Market, and the Reedley Taste of the Town in September. Yet, it is the Reedley Street Faire and Car Show that is often mentioned by non-residents of Reedley in passing conversation. Hundreds of visitors make the drive from Fresno and surrounding cities to visit one of the premier events for lovers of old cars.

While not mentally dissecting chrome engines and elaborate decorations on automobiles, visitors can view crafts, eat delicious foods, participate in a taco-eating contest, enjoy local entertainment on it’s stages, get health and wellness information and treat their children to “kiddie rides.”

There is a raffle for a $1000 shopping spree! Tickets are $1.00 each or six for $5.00. They can be purchased at the show or before the date with local downtown merchants.

The Reedley Downtown Association says that there is something for everyone!
Check it out Sunday, May 6, 2012, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at G Street between 9th and 11th in downtown Reedley. For more info, call 638-5484.

View pictures of last year's Street Faire in the photo gallery on the RDA website and you can find a video from last year’s show on YouTube.

Tom Sims is a local pastor, blogger, Facebook encourager, coach, writer, online facilitator, and President/CEO of 4141 Ministries in Fresno. During the week, you can often find him behind the coffee bar and talking books at Joseph's Java Junction or changing hats from one role to another. He seems to end up on CBO boards and community round tables and is sometimes seen roaming halls of hospitals as a volunteer chaplain.

Season 2 of BBC's Sherlock Comes to U.S.

Starting its second season May 6 (PBS) is the BBC’s Sherlock.

The three new episodes will be reworks of the classics: “A Scandal in Bohemia” (Irene Adler with nudity and laptops), “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (a 20 year disappearance…a monstrous hound…I wouldn’t have missed this for the world) and “The Final Problem."

The first season garnered widespread acclaim and a BAFTA award for Best Drama. It delivered just enough in-jokes for the aficionados and enough action adventure for someone new to the characters. The addition of airplanes, cell phones, GPS and computers is accomplished in a way that is both appropriate and quirky.
See this article with its full KRL issue at our sister site, KingsRiverLife.com

Image source: BBC One

The team that put together the series honed their chops on the revival of Dr. Who.(Sue Vertue producer, Steven Moffat writer and Mark Gatiss writer and actor). In fact it was while commuting from London to Cardiff during shooting for Who, that Moffat and Gatiss re-conceived Sherlock Holmes as a contemporary character. Much of the writing and directing team also had Who experience. Vertue and Moffat are husband and wife and creators of the show Couplings (based on their own lives). Gatiss also plays the part of James Moriarty.

Benedict Cumberbatch (Warhorse, Hawking, Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy) is a brilliant Sherlock, boyishly petulant and surly when bored but sizzling with intensity when on the case. The way he flings his lanky body around seems destined to break the furniture. He can also be languid and lazy in a way that communicates the importance of using his energy for more important things. Once he starts moving he is hard to keep up with.

This Sherlock is fervid yet focused, oblivious to other’s feelings but hyper-aware of the all-important details and appropriately exasperating on many levels. He orders people about, has no patience and would rather borrow a cell phone (he prefers to text) than get up and cross the room for his own. When called a psychopath he rejoins, “I’m a high functioning sociopath, do your research.”

Martin Freeman (The Office, Love Actually, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) is Watson recently “invalided” home from war in Afghanistan, just as his forbearer. It adds a particular poignancy to realize that wars in Afghanistan are ongoing, painful and never won. This Watson is struggling with re-entry and misses the war as much as hates it. That his injury moves around and sometimes disappears suggests that it is more psychological than physical. Just what he needs is the distraction of a demanding, engaging and exasperating partner in crime. Sherlock senses this and plays to it by offering, “…dead body, gore, etc.–do you want to come?” Watson replies that he’s seen enough of that, and then jumps up to follow Sherlock out the door.

In an upcoming episode, Sherlock orders Watson to punch him in the face. When his friend does not immediately comply he snaps at him, “I said punch me in the face, didn’t you hear me?” To which Watson replies dryly, “I always hear punch me in the face when you’re speaking but usually it’s subtext.”

The writer’s have said that one of their themes for the series was “friendship” and promise an arc that reveals an evolving relationship between the two.

The cinematography is both elegant and compelling. This is not just an armchair Holmes. One of our first peeks at Sherlock in the first season comes from the point of view of a corpse in a body bag. The use of unusual angles and POVs mirrors Sherlock’s ability to look everywhere and in different ways. This is a very visual retelling of the canon with strong pictorial clues replacing the traditional fingers-steepled narrative. Cinematic, cerebral, clever and compelling--I can hardly wait for the next three episodes. ‘The game is afoot.’ Learn more and watch episodes after they have aired on the Masterpiece Mystery! PBS website.

Deborah Harter Williams writers regularly for our mystery section, with a focus on TV which she knows well. She is a former mystery bookstore owner and Hollywood marketing consultant who blogs at Clue Sisters & scouts for mysteries that make good television via www.hollywoodandcrime.tv.

Hounds Abound by Linda O. Johnston Book Review & Giveaway

At the end of this article is a chance to win a copy of Hounds Abound & a link to our video interview with Linda.

The compassionate and lively Lauren Vancouver is back in this third volume of the Pet Rescue Series by Linda O. Johnston.

Lauren is the director of HotRescues, a no kill pet shelter in Southern California. She and her crew do what they can to save as many animals as possible. Reality is that HotRescues has to select animals from the “death row” of the high kill shelters that have the best chance of being finding a forever home. That means healthy young dogs and cats.

See this article with its full KRL issue at our sister site, KingsRiverLife.com

In this volume Lauren checks out a new shelter that seems to be a dream come true. The story highlights the joys and troubles of Save Them All Sanctuary. Nicknamed Save ‘Em, the state of the art compound specializes in the care of senior and special needs pets.

Bella Frankovick, the head of Save ‘Em, is starting a new life. After the public and vitriolic collapse of her marriage to a well known plastic surgeon, she is following her heart’s desire by taking in animals that have a low adoption rate. Bella’s ex hates animals and would not allow her to have a pet. She now has her revenge on him by surrounding herself with animals and making the financing of the Sanctuary part of the divorce settlement.

But revenge is not always sweet. When Bella’s former husband is found murdered she becomes the prime suspect. It is up to Lauren Vancouver to find the real killer. While Lauren investigates a mysterious, but perhaps not accidental, epidemic breaks out at HotRescues. Will Lauren find the real murderer? Will HotRescue survive the smear campaign directed at Save ‘Em that may taint all no-kill shelters? Will the dogs live to see the end of the quarantine at HotRescues? You will have to read the book to find out!

This book can be read without having read the earlier books in the series. I had not read Beaglemania or The More The Terrier and had no problem following the storyline. The series has wonderful animal characters that will remind pet lovers of dogs they have known. The adoption of senior and special needs animals is a hot topic here in the Central Valley. There was some great local news coverage about a dog receiving a prosthetic leg in the last week. So, read, learn and enjoy!

Image source: Penguin Publishing

Check out our video interview with Linda on our YouTube channel.

To enter for a chance to win a copy of Hounds Abound simply email KRL at kingsriverlife[at]gmail[dot]com with the subject hounds – U.S. residents only. A winner will be chosen on May 4, 2012.

Terell Byrd is the current president of the San Joaquin Valley Chapter of Sisters In Crime and an ongoing contributor to Kings River Life's mystery section.

Love Animals? Read Humane!

This week we have a guest post by mystery author Linda Johnston on a great animal rescue fundraiser being done by Penguin. Also in this issue is a review of Linda's latest pet rescue mystery, a chance to win a copy of the book & a video interview with Linda.

What could be more worthwhile than reading mysteries about animals? How about reading mysteries that are not only about animals, but also encourage donating to an organization that helps endangered and abused critters?

Penguin Group (USA) Inc. has made a substantial donation to the Humane Society of The United States® in support of its Animal Rescue Team as part of its new Read Humane™ program. Penguin will be shipping 50,000 special books starring furry friends, both dogs and cats. Those books have Read Humane seals on them and include information about the Humane Society and its Animal Rescue Team.

See this article with its full KRL issue at our sister site, KingsRiverLife.com

I’m proud to say that I’m one of the participating authors, which also include Rebecca M. Hale, Alison Pace, Miranda James, and Sofie Kelly. I’m especially excited to report that the Read Humane spokesperson is Nora Roberts.

The Humane Society’s Animal Rescue Team works with law enforcement to investigate illegal animal cruelty, targeting the worst cases of animal abuse nationwide. They get involved with rescuing animals from everything from puppy mills, dog fighting, or animal hoarding, to natural disasters. You can read about the organization, and watch some of its amazing stories, on its website.

There will be 1,700 floor displays in bookstores carrying the Read Humane message. Information will also be printed in the back of each participating book letting readers know where they can learn more about the Humane Society’s Animal Rescue Team--and how they, too, can contribute to this worthwhile organization.

The books that will carry the Read Humane logo include my first Pet Rescue Mystery, Beaglemania, as well as The Search by Nora Roberts, How to Wash A Cat by Rebecca M. Hale, Pug Hill by Alison Pace, Murder Past Due by Miranda James, and Curiosity Thrilled The Cat by Sofie Kelly.

According to Penguin: “The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, backed by 11 million Americans. Established in 1954, The HSUS seeks a humane and sustainable world for all animals – a world that will also benefit people. The HSUS works with local humane societies and supports their work through training, evaluations, publications, and other professional services. Additionally, The HSUS operates its own network of animal sanctuaries and rescue operations, providing emergency care and homes to more animals than any other organization in the United States.”

Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. It is one of the leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Viking, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset & Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne, among others. The Penguin Group is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.

Visit the Humane Society’s website to learn more about the organization, and how you can get involved in helping to save and care for lots of animals, both pets and wildlife. And visit Penguin's Read Humane website to see a video about Read Humane by author Nora Roberts, and to learn more.

The Read Humane program started on April 24, 2012, and continues through May.

Image source: Penguin Read Humane

Linda O. Johnston is the author of the Pet Rescue Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime, a spin-off series from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mystery series. The first in the new series, Beaglemania, debuted March 1, 2011, and the second, The More The Terrier was an October 2011 release, and Hounds Abound was published in April 2012, with more to come. Linda also writes paranormal romances for Harlequin Nocturne and romantic suspense novels for Harlequin Romantic Suspense. Linda lives in Los Angeles and volunteers at a private pet shelter as a dog adoption counselor. Visit Linda on her website.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Master Class is Masterful: Local Theatre Review

By the time Jacqueline Antaramian reaches the emotional crescendo of Act One in Master Class, she has completely inhabited the body and spirit of the late, great opera diva, Maria Callas. She has also summoned by her spectacular performance all of our own deep, latent emotional rawness. I was sitting in the second row too exposed to turn around to see if the large preview audience made up of Fresno State and local high school budding singers were also fighting back tears like me. My bet is that most of them were.
See this week's full KRL issue at our sister site, KingsRiverLife.com

This joint venture by Fresno Grand Opera and StageWorks Fresno draws you in like the pull of a full-moon tide. It opens tonight, Friday, April 27, 2012, at 8pm at the Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall at the Clovis North Educational Complex, for a much-too-short three-day run. That means if you want to see a memorable performance you'll take to your grave, you better get tickets now. Saturday's performance is also at 8pm and Sunday's matinee is at 2pm.

Directed by the incomparable Joel Abels, founder of StageWorks Fresno, Abels has assembled a terrific cast that includes not only two Broadway understudies, but local talent that never disappoints, like his songbird daughter, Taylor Abels. Taylor is just one of three of Callas' students seeking her expertise. There's the spry tenor who brings Callas to tears and the defiant up-and-comer. All three, along with pianist Manny are exceptional counterpoints to Antaramian's tour de force. What voices. These singers had the real-life expertise of local vocal coach Terry Estrabrook who made sure the Italian was true. What these students get from Callas, however, is not the expected cruelty and bitterness of a has-been, but the wit and vulnerability of a star who once was the highest paid opera singer in the world.

You don't have to know anything about – or even like – opera or Shakespeare, or Callas for that matter to love this play. Through the theatrical device of playwright Terrence McNally, Callas addresses the audience and explains the characters, plot and settings necessary to wring every emotion for every operatic performance. But, like each of us, Callas is full of contradictions. She is not too old and jaded to be moved – or hurt – by her students.

This production points out the obvious: why reality shows full of Kardashians, Lohans and Snookis are so fundamentally unsatisfying. If only we had seen Kim grieving over her lost love like Maria Callas over her beloved Ari Onassis (who threw her off to marry Jackie Kennedy), we could have some empathy for Kim. Callas' romance was bittersweet and, ultimately, tragic. Kardashian's was artificial and false.

Master Class has lessons for all of us. It reminds us so profoundly that we still have the tension between ones feminism and femininity; between the cockiness and ambitiousness of youth and the power of experience; between the structure and discipline necessary for creativity to flourish and the balls-to-the-wall passion of genius.

This production brings Broadway at its best to the burbs. Just think of the money we've saved in airfare to New York. We are so very lucky, indeed. Don't miss this.

Image source: Stage Works Fresno

Patricia Brown has been practicing Family Law in the Central Valley for twenty years. She went to law school in NYC where she went through Broadway shows like M & Ms. Her biggest accomplishment in life is being a stage mom. This is her second review for KingsRiverLife and KRL has also published some of her mystery short stories.

Happy Earth Day, Earthlings

Happy Earth Day, my fellow Earthlings! Not to leave out aliens living here on Earth, nor to presume the internet doesn’t reach outer space, it’s simply probable that visitors to Earth are nicer to our planet than we home-grown inhabitants. We do tend to be more considerate in other people’s homes than our own (much to the chagrin of many a shared-dwelling occupant). As for those not living on this mostly blue marble, they’re not in a position to do as much damage to the planet itself though they’re hopefully not contributing to our already littered yard!?

As this isn’t Space Day, back down to Earth — in all her blue & green glory with a bit of white & brown. While it’s still being debated how much of an issue global warming is, with the blue parts encroaching on the white & green parts turning brown, it certainly seems a case of better safe than sorry. Simply put, the home we all share is deserving of a little [more] care. In our individual homes, many clean up when they know they’re going to have company (not me, mind you ~_^ but I digress). So, if we rightly consider our dear planet a home we’re all sharing, perhaps that consideration of others’ homes can combine with concern for our visitors’ impressions.

Fully exploring this estate called Earth is sadly not something many get to do which may well be why we don’t typically view it more inclusively. For those of us in the Americas, surely Australasia is our backyard & vice versa. Rainforests are absolutely everyone’s gardens. Asia creates an intriguing East Wing while the Caribbean provides an amazing spa & Europe makes for a brilliant parlour, if only Africa were a safer conservatory of late. Inasmuch as human conflict may be difficult to nip in the bud, the care we take of this planet which in turn cares for us may prove a uniting concern & starts far more simply.

Hugged a tree lately? Ever? Only when drunk? Whatever the case, anything we can do to promote the well-being of [possibly] less sentient living things than we & decrease the piles of debris we’ve left lying about our universal home, the better. Perhaps the hope of inspiring some spring cleaning is why Earth Day is in Spring north of the equator. Whether or not we are in the habit of sprucing up our personal homes, the world may not be suffering from neglect so much as hurting for a little consideration. There are various hues of green living & I’m not advocating any particular shade or pigment. Anytime we recycle, conserve, or keep from stepping on a fledgling plant; it’s a win.

It’s not always convenient to recycle or even possible to reach the far too few & far-flung centers; worse, using a vehicle to readily reach recycling centers may create a larger carbon footprint than you began with. Tis ironic indeed that the greener you live can make it harder to live greener. As we gain greener habits like unplugging appliances that aren’t in use & go greener routes with everyday items like chemical-free household products, the next goal is no doubt growing more greenery & it just so happens that Arbor Day is just a few days away. If you don’t have anything or anywhere to plant, consider helping others plant greener with compost (achieved by separating our trash) or just used coffee grounds. Japan’s upcoming Greenery Day — it seems May 4th was celebrated before Star Wars Day — is meant to provide time to commune with nature and be appreciative of its abundance. As appreciation is where all consideration begins, I’d say that’s really the goal. How about you?! What are some simple ways you’ve discovered to live greener?

“There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.” — Marshall McLuhan

Space Debris via the European Space Agency; An animated spotlight

Dorian Rhodes [aka coffeesister |_|)] is a California native living in San Francisco tho’ she begrudgingly left a bit of her heart in the San Joaquin Valley where she grew up. Our Webmaster & Holiday Columnist, she also serves up ‘Quotationaries’ (quotations with commentary) at her site, Coffee for the Soul.