House of Stairs – the most mind-bending YA novel I’ve ever read

So here’s the plotline.  Five young men and women – all orphaned – wake up in a room unlike any other.  Staircases that go long distances to nowhere.  And a red food machine that will only dispense nutrients if the teenagers perform specific gestures. Forget Hunger Games or Twilight or any of the other dystopian…

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The “unfortunately” letter

I’ve learned through the years to accept failure.  I don’t have to like it, I don’t have to celebrate it, but I do have to acknowledge it. Failure can mean anything from my photos not getting accepted into a show, to missing out on a trivia competition, to drawing four kings in poker and losing…

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Thanks for all the good things, All Over Albany

It was ten years ago – way back when my blog was hosted on a do-it-yourself blogspot.com blogging platform – that I first met Greg Dahlmann and Mary Darcy.  They were the operators of a Capital District-themed news and information website, All Over Albany.  Both were friendly and encouraging, and they hosted my blog on…

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In dreams, the Pakistan Blues arrive …

Somewhere in the inky night between sleep, slumber and somnolence, I had a dream.  And although we all say we remember every part of every dream … in this case, I could only remember fragments.  Unconnected, dissonant fragments – something about listening to the radio, and hearing George Harrison playing a song called “Pakistan Blues.”…

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Are you able to help some teenage girls this Christmas?

Pastor Charlie Muller has achieved so much in his quest to make the Capital Region a better place.  And this year, he needs your help. See, Pastor Muller has taken care of many young people over the years, those who have survived abusive home lives, or who need to find a better home than the…

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The 35-cent Escape (Thank you, Stan Lee)

Stan Lee saved my childhood sanity and my childhood life.  So did Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and George Perez and Marv Wolfman and Bill Mantlo and the rest of the Marvel Comics creative team. Which is why the passing of Stan Lee yesterday – at the ripe age of 95 – still seems like…

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For the innocent souls of Squirrel Hill

אבל: יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא. [קהל: אמן] בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא כִרְעוּתֵהּ וְיַמְלִיךְ מַלְכוּתֵהּ בְּחַיֵּיכון וּבְיומֵיכון וּבְחַיֵּי דְכָל בֵּית יִשרָאֵל בַּעֲגָלָא וּבִזְמַן קָרִיב, וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן: [קהל: אמן] קהל ואבל: יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָּא: אבל: יִתְבָּרַךְ וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח וְיִתְפָּאַר וְיִתְרומַם וְיִתְנַשּא וְיִתְהַדָּר וְיִתְעַלֶּה וְיִתְהַלָּל שְׁמֵהּ דְּקֻדְשָׁא. בְּרִיךְ הוּא. [קהל: בריך הוא:] לְעֵלָּא מִן כָּל בִּרְכָתָא בעשי”ת: לְעֵלָּא לְעֵלָּא מִכָּל וְשִׁירָתָא תֻּשְׁבְּחָתָא וְנֶחֱמָתָא דַּאֲמִירָן…

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