Story Engineering by Larry Brooks- the 2nd Plot Point

Story Engineering by Larry Brooks -the 2nd plot point

Make sure you check back tomorrow...OCTOBER FUN begins...

Your story should now shift into resolution mode. Finally!!

  • This occurs at about 75% of your story.
  • It is when the final "chase scene" starts.
  • It accelerates the hero's quest as new doors open, new strategies are hatched and new risks appear with immediate rewards available. In other words, the hero learns something that takes him one step closer to the final step that will give the reader a satisfactory ending.
  • The reader can totally sense the ending is just around the bend.
  • No more revelations can be given.
  • The hero has everything he needs to end it.
  • It is the lull before the storm, where it appears all hope is lost.
Can you pinpoint your 2nd Plot Point?

james, patrick & daniel

Show a Little Mercy; Free the Cuban Five! by Cindy Sheehan

Show a Little Mercy

Free the Cuban Five!

Cindy Sheehan

Nothing can make injustice just but mercy.
Robert Frost

For quite some time, I have been involved in the call to free the “Hikers,” Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, from Iranian prison. I put “Hikers” in quotation marks, because this is the term they have become known by in the media—not because I believe there was anything more nefarious in their actions. I was first contacted by Josh’s brother, and subsequently have gotten to know Shane’s mother, Cindy Hickey better—I even once had her on my radio show, Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox.

I was delighted on September 21st, the day Shane and Josh, convicted of spying and given a eight year sentence, were shown the highest mercy by the country of Iran and released. I had been invited to meet with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in NYC that day, but financial circumstances prevented me from making a last minute trip from California. I wish I had been able to go to thank him personally, but while I was not in NYC, I was at my home in California basically doing a deathwatch for Troy Anthony Davis who was ultimately “lynched” by the State of Georgia for the 1989 murder of a cop that he most likely he did not commit. However, I have noticed a pattern, if a cop is killed, someone must die—it doesn’t really matter if that person is actually the one that committed the murder.

In another recent case, two Fullerton, California cops beat Kelly Thomas, a homeless and mentally ill man, (who was begging for his life and for his dad to help him) to death on the 5th of July and Kelly died five days later on the 10th—a crime that was videotaped by passersby with cell phone cameras AND a transit camera because the incident occurred at a bus station. The charges against these murderers for a heinous crime were essentially slaps on the wrist, á la Johannes Meserle, the assassin of unarmed, Oscar Grant. What is the common thread in the above cases? The state kills “Cop Killers,” and Killer Cops literally get away with their murders. Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli the murderers of Kelly Thomas, are on paid administrative leave—the taxpayers are funding their little paid vacation (with full benefits intact).

Besides the cruelty of the police state killings of Kelly Thomas and Oscar Grant and more recently a young black man, Kenneth Harding, who didn’t have evidence of paying his MUNI fare in San Francisco, the cops surely must know that their crimes will be videotaped in this age of almost universal citizen access to this technology—yet the police state still commits its crimes supremely confident in the knowledge that they will assuredly “get away” with them. That’s a bone-chilling thought!

To me, the guilt or innocence of a person is not what’s important in the issue of capital punishment—what’s important is that the use of this state murder is barbaric and needs to end. Troy Anthony Davis was not shown mercy by the State of Georgia, or by the Barbaric State of America. Kelly Thomas and Kenneth Harding were tragically not shown mercy by members of the police sate, but the cops will be shown plenty of that elusive virtue because it's usually only reserved for the wealthy or members of this police state.

The day that the Hikers were released, the Prez of this country said, “I am thrilled. They never should have been in prison in the first place.” Well, I would like to tell you about FIVE men currently languishing in US Federal Prison who never should be there, "in the first place," either. It’s the little known case of the Cuban Five, or the “Five Heroes” as they are referred to in Cuba.

Many acts of terrorism against Cuba have been planned from the right-wing Cuban exile community in Miami. These terrorists have killed thousands of Cubans and so the Cuban Five, as they would come to be known, were sent to the US to infiltrate this terrorist cell based in South Florida so as to be able to transmit messages back to Cuba to save lives in their homeland.

René González, Ramón Labaniño, Fernando González, Antonío Guerrero and Gerardo Hernández left their families to go to the US. 

To make a long story short, in an act of good will, Cuban authorities decided to share information gathered by the Five with the FBI, and instead of rounding up the real terrorists, the Five were rounded up, put on trial in a kangaroo court in Miami where a fair trial was just not possible and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

The Five Heroes did nothing against the US and never gathered any intelligence against our government—yet they have been in prison since 1998.

I have met their mothers, wives and children all over the world and I have also been in solidarity with the movement to free the Five for several years.

I know that President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela used his good influence with President Ahmadinejad of Iran (in fact, as I am told, worked harder than the US did for the Hikers’ freedom) and I am wondering after so many have called for the release of the Five if there’s any humanitarian that the leaders of this nation would listen to? Of course, the “Communist Dictator,” Hugo Chávez, has no influence here in the US—he himself is on the same path of demonization that Castro, Ahmadinejad, Qaddafy, et al, are on.

The Cuban Five never should have been in prison, either and 13 years is a long time for innocent men to be incarcerated.

It’s time for Obama to show the same mercy as was just shown two of our innocent citizens by Iran and send the Five Heroes home to their families.

It’s not only the humane thing to do; it’s the just thing to do.





Happy Time With You

Share every good thing and happiness with you

share happy things, 
share story of our own.
share meaningful things
everyone of us got little power to encourage people 

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys- A Review

Between Shades of Gray BookWhat I'm reading    Between Shades of Gray
Review below.
Enter the Banned Book hop for a chance to win tons of Prizes here.

15 year old Lina is living a life she loves when the Soviet secret police come and take her, her mother and brother away from their home in Lithuania. Her father has already been taken. Delivered by cattle car to Siberia, life is suddenly very gloomy and precarious at best. The work camp threatens to destroy them. Lina fights back with her only weapen: her ability to draw, documenting their experience to the minutest detail. 
This book is riveting. I listened to this book. I bawled.

While living in Germany and on subsequent visits, I develped empathy for those involved in the horrors of WWI and II. This story highlights a side of the horror I'd never really known or understood. I do now. This story is well written and evokes a high level of emotion.

Everyone should read this book. Despite its graphic nature (it is not graphic in an irreverant way), I suggest all kids read this in junior high. It will open their eyes, not only to the brilliant life they now live, but to the cruelty that exists and must be fought-even today.

President Chavez's Letter to the UN on Palestinian Statehood.

Miraflores, September 17, 2011

His Excellency, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

Mr. Secretary General:

Distinguished representatives of the peoples of the world:

I address these words to the United Nations General Assembly, to this great forum that represents all the people of earth, to ratify, on this day and in this setting, Venezuela’s full support of the recognition of the Palestinian State: of Palestine’s right to become a free, sovereign and independent state. This represents an act of historic justice towards a people who carry with them, from time immemorial, all the pain and suffering of the world.

In his memorable essay The Grandeur of Arafat, the great French philosopher Gilles Deleuze wrote with the full weight of the truth: The Palestinian cause is first and foremost the set of injustices that these people have suffered and continue to suffer. And I dare add that the Palestinian cause also represents a constant and unwavering will to resist, already written in the historic memory of the human condition. A will to resist that is born of the most profound love for the earth. Mahmoud Darwish, the infinite voice of the longed-for Palestine, with heartfelt conscience speaks about this love: We don’t need memories/ because we carry within us Mount Carmelo/ and in our eyelids is the herb of Galilee./ Don’t say: If only we could flow to my country like a river!/ Don’t say that!/ Because we are in the flesh of our country/ and our country is in our flesh.

Against those who falsely assert that what has happened to the Palestinian people is not genocide, Deleuze himself states with unfaltering lucidity: From beginning to end, it involved acting as if the Palestinian people not only must not exist, but had never existed. It represents the very essence of genocide: to decree that a people do not exist; to deny them the right to existence.

In this regard, the great Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo is quite right when he forcefully states: The biblical promise of the land of Judea and Samaria to the tribes of Israel is not a notarized property contract that authorizes the eviction of those who were born and live on that land. This is precisely why conflict resolution in the Middle East must, necessarily, bring justice to the Palestinian people; this is the only path to peace.

It is upsetting and painful that the same people who suffered one of the worst examples of genocide in history have become the executioners of the Palestinian people: it is upsetting and painful that the heritage of the Holocaust be the Nakba. And it is truly disturbing that Zionism continues to use the charge of anti-Semitism as blackmail against those who oppose their violations and crimes. Israel has, blatantly and despicably, used and continues to use the memory of the victims. And they do so to act with complete impunity against Palestine. It’s worth mentioning that anti-Semitism is a Western, European, scourge in which the Arabs do not participate. Furthermore, let’s not forget that it is the Semite Palestine people who suffer from the ethnic cleansing practiced by the Israeli colonialist State.

I want to make myself clear: It is one thing to denounce anti-Semitism, and an entirely different thing to passively accept that Zionistic barbarism enforces an apartheid regime against the Palestinian people. From an ethical standpoint those who denounce the first, must condemn the second.

A necessary digression: it is frankly abusive to confuse Zionism with Judaism. Throughout time we have been reminded of this by several Jewish intellectuals such as Albert Einstein and Erich Fromm. And today there are an ever increasing number of conscientious citizens, within Israel itself, who openly oppose Zionism and its criminal and terrorist practices.

We must spell it out: Zionism, as a world vision, is absolutely racist. Irrefutable proof of this can be seen in these words written with terrifying cynicism by Golda Meir: How are we to return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to. There is no such thing as a Palestinian people. It is not as people think, that there existed a people called Palestinians, who considered themselves as Palestinians, and that we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn't exist."

It is important to remember that: from the end of the 19th century, Zionism called for the return of the Jewish people to Palestine and the creation of a national state of its own. This approach was beneficial for French and British colonialism, as it would later be for Yankee imperialism. The West has always encouraged and supported the Zionist occupation of Palestine by military means.

Read and reread the document historically known as the Balfour Declaration of 1917: the British Government assumed the legal authority to promise a national home in Palestine to the Jewish people, deliberately ignoring the presence and wishes of its inhabitants. It should be added that Christians and Muslims lived in peace for centuries in the Holy Land up until the time when Zionism began to claim it as its complete and exclusive property.

Let’s not forget that beginning in the second decade of the 20th century, Zionism started to develop its expansionist plans by taking advantage of the colonial British occupation of Palestine. By the end of World War II, the Palestinian people’s tragedy worsened, with their expulsion from their territory and, at the same time, from history. In 1947, the despicable and illegal UN resolution 181 recommends dividing Palestine into a Jewish State, an Arab State, and an area under international control (Jerusalem and Belem). Shamefully, 56 percent of the territory was granted to Zionism to establish its State. In fact, this resolution violated international law and blatantly ignored the will of the vast Arab majority: the right to self-determination of the people became a dead letter. 

From 1948 to date, the Zionist State has continually applied its criminal strategy against the Palestinian people with the constant support of its unconditional ally, the United States of America. This unconditional allegiance is clearly observed by the fact that Israel directs and sets US international policy for the Middle East. That’s why the great Palestinian and universal conscience Edward Said stated that any peace agreement built on the alliance with the United States would be an alliance that confirms Zionist power, rather than one that confronts it.

Now then: contrary to what Israel and the United States are trying to make the world believe through transnational media outlets, what happened and continues to happen in Palestine —using Said’s words— is not a religious conflict, but a political conflict, with a colonial and imperialist stamp. It did not begin in the Middle East, but rather in Europe.

What was and continues to be at the heart of the conflict?: debate and discussion has prioritized Israel’s security while ignoring Palestine’s. This is corroborated by recent events; a good example is the latest act of genocide set off by Israel during its Operation Molten Lead in Gaza.

Palestine’s security cannot be reduced to the simple acknowledgement of a limited self-government and self-policing in its “enclaves” along the west bank of the Jordan and in the Gaza Strip. This ignores the creation of the Palestinian State, in the borders set prior to 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital; and the rights of its citizens and their self-determination as a people. This further disregards the compensation and subsequent return to the Homeland of 50 percent of the Palestinian people who are scattered all over the world, as established by resolution 194.

It's unbelievable that a country (Israel) that owes its existence to a general assembly resolution could be so disdainful of the resolutions that emanate from the UN, said Father Miguel D’Escoto when pleading for the end of the massacre against the people of Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009.
Mr. Secretary General and distinguished representatives of the peoples of the world:

It is impossible to ignore the crisis in the United Nations. In 2005, before this very same General Assembly, we argued that the United Nations model had become exhausted. The fact that the debate on the Palestinian issue has been delayed and is being openly sabotaged reconfirms this.

For several days, Washington has been stating that, at the Security Council, it will veto what will be a majority resolution of the General Assembly: the recognition of Palestine as a full member of the UN. In the Statement of Recognition of the Palestinian State, Venezuela, together with the sister Nations that make up the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), have denounced that such a just aspiration could be blocked by this means. As we know, the empire, in this and other instances, is trying to impose its double standard on the world stage: Yankee double standards are violating international law in Libya, while allowing Israel to do whatever it pleases, thus becoming the main accomplice of the Palestinian genocide being carried out by the hands of Zionist barbarity. Edward Said touched a nerve when he wrote that: Israeli interests in the United States have made the US’ Middle East policy Israeli-centric.

I would like to conclude with the voice of Mahmoud Darwish in his memorable poem On This Earth: We have on this earth what makes life worth living: On this earth, the lady of earth, Mother of all beginnings/ Mother of all ends. She was called… Palestine./ Her name later became… Palestine./ My Lady, because you are my Lady, I deserve life.

It will continue to be called Palestine: Palestine will live and overcome! Long-live free, sovereign and independent Palestine!

Hugo Chávez Frías

President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Source: MINCI

bec and anthony







Winnipeg News Cafe

Memorial and Portage


Chicken Egg Rolls

The Eats by Cindy  Chicken Egg Rolls

You still have time to win a ton of prizes on the Banned Books Week Hop. Click here to enter. 

Chicken Egg Rolls

You've got to try these. They are so yummy. They also freeze nicely for lunches.

  1. Chop one chicken breast into small pieces.
  2. Fry in 1Tbl. sesame oil.
  3. Add 1 minced garlic clove, 16 oz washed bean sprouts, 2 cups chopped spinach leaves, 1/2 C finely chopped green onions, and 1/2 C. finely chopped water chestnuts and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Combine 2 Tbl. soy sauce and 2 tsp. cornstarch. Stir into chicken mixture.
  5. Stir in 1/2 tsp. grated ginger root, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
  6. Once thickened, remove from heat and let cool.
  7. Place about 1/4 C cooled mixture on large wonton wrappers
  8. Fold one corner towars the center over the filling and then fold the other corners to create an envelope.
  9. Roll up  jellyroll style.
  10. Heat oil in a deep fryer or in a pan to 360 degrees
  11. Deep fry the rolls for 3-4 minutes until golden brown.
  12. Drain well and serve immediately
These are fun to serve with soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce or other dipping sauces.

Happy Eating!

Banned Book Week

As you know from reading blogs around the blogosphere the week of September 24th to October 1st is Banned Book Week in the US. If you want to know more please check out ALA to find out more about it.

The  Canadian Banned Book Week will be February 26th to March 3rd 2012. I plan on taking part in this one too.

As you can see it doesn't matter where you live because no matter how much we have freedom of speech there seems to be people out there who think that its okay to have books banned.

To clear up challenged and banned books:
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.  A banning is the removal of those materials.  Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.  Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.
Here is the top 10 challenged books for 2010
  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit
  4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  6. Lush, by Natasha Friend
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  7. What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
    Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint
  9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
    Reasons:  homosexuality and sexually explicit
  10. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
    Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence
I believe in the freedom to read and not have someone tell me what I can and can't read. So during this very important week I am going to attempt to read a challenged/banned book.

I am still pondering which one I want to read. Do I want to go with a 2010 one or something earlier?

I have to admit when I was looking at all the challenged books I realized that I have quite a few of those books and I plan to make it a point to read more of them.

So I think this week one I am going to attempt to read is:

TTYL (along with the other books in the series, TTFN, L8R, etc.) by Lauren Myracle was the 3rd most challenged book of 2008 for the following reasons:

offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

I have had this in my TBR pile for quite some time so I think this is the perfect book to read. I will be reading this and posting my review and thoughts on this book sometime this week. Perhaps if time permits I will attempt to read another book.

Happy reading everyone
Don't forget to make it a point to read a banned or challenged book this week.

It's OUR Soapbox! Two listeners submit their news pieces to the Soapbox!

It's Your Turn (Up on the Soapbox)!  Click here to listen or download, beginning at 2:00 PM San Francisco time.  Today, (Sunday, September 25th) the subject is the star of the show.  Cindy welcomes two contributors who sound off!  She features reports contributed by each of these gracious journalists, one from James Rhodes, and the other from Lisa Barr.  Jim leads off with his interview of displaced Californian expatriate Rick Peltier, formerly a licensed building contractor in that state who had the good sense to get out - while the getting was still good!  This interview was conducted in Hanoi, the once feared Communist domino capitol - which Rick says is now a wonderful and peaceful place to live.  Lisa follows up with an OUSTANDING report, discussing the corporate stranglehold on our political process and the social chaos and devastation that engenders.  She proposes and advocates evidence-based social policies.  (Do we instead currently feature "the best democracy money can buy"?)