Saturday, July 16, 2016

Is It Too Much to Ask?

Is it too much to ask that each of us appoint ourselves a committee of one and do one kind thing each day? Start with your children, your spouse, your partner, your co-workers. Few of us will have an impact on life at the global level, but all of us can affect our families, our friends, and our communities. We all have the gift of life on this one planetary ship. Our lifetimes are short and none of us will get off this ship alive. Can we not respect each other as fellow members of the one human species that inhabits Earth? You do not have to love a person to respect him or her. We all share the human condition. We are all fellow travelers on the journeys of our lives. What a wondrous gift this is, but some people live as if they hate the fact they were born and try to make life as miserable as possible for others. Years ago my mentor, well known attorney Morris Ernst, the person who helped me get my first book published, said there are no big things in life. There is only trivia. But if we tend to the trivia in positive ways, the effects are cumulative and can make profound differences. Being kind is easy: smile at a child, call a friend, touch the hand of a person in pain, speak out against injustice, have real face-to-face conversations, not just text messages. Our country is reeling from pain. We need to connect, to listen to each other, to stop playing the blame game and try to understand each other and find solutions together.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Summer Sale

My e-book, HOW TO HAVE SEX IF YOU'RE NOT HUMAN, is on sale at half price through July.
Check out the fascinating facts of of animal--and plant--reproductive strategies. Some Caribbean fishes change sex. Snails are hermaphrodites, having their erotic cake and eating it, too! Orchids seduce their pollinators with perfumes, nectar, colors, and shapes. In nature, anything goes!

little Donnie Trumpster

Little Donnie is a strumpet
A blowhard of his own trumpet
Chorusing hate, bigotry, and fear
Spreading lies far and near
With ideas from a racist dumpster
Bottom of the barrel is all he can muster
Endorsed by the KKK
He Insults women, Mexicans and gays
Violates separation of church and state
Trashes people of a certain faith
Bans members of the press
Who question his preparedness
A rich spoiled bully boy
He treats America like a broken toy
That only he knows how to fix
But offers no policies, only tricks.
Refuses to release his tax returns
Is he afraid of what we might learn?
Cares nothing for the needy
Money is his god, little Donnie's greedy.

If being president were not such a serious matter
We could dismiss him as a mad hatter
But he's made his way to the top of the Republican pack
Too late they realize they can't send their monster back
To his TV reality show
Where he can strut and deal his firing blow
He's made his way wooing right-wingers
Kissing ass of NRA gunslingers
How I wish he were a cartoon
I wish we could send him to the moon
Rocket him into space
To orbit eternally with the other debris cluttering up the place.
But we have to confront him on election day
Tell him he's fired without any pay.
This would-be emperor, as any child knows,
Is naked; he has no clothes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bully Boy, Puny Man

Trump’s sexism has always been blatant but yesterday he outdid himself in expressing his contempt for women. It was Trump, not Hillary, who introduced “the woman card” into the campaign. He did it in the way male sexists have always expressed their attitude of male superiority--women are deficient simply because they are not men. Like the flat-Earthers who believed Earth was the center of the universe and all celestial bodies revolved around it, Trump and other such males, believe they are the center of the social universe, entitled by birthright to measure females against the lie that devalues women. Sexist men are incapable of relating to women as full human beings. Their masculinity is so fragile that it depends on putting down women with insulting jokes and laws that restrict women's mobility and attempt to seize legislative control of women's bodies. Gender equality is not part of such men's world view. Trump has exposed his pitiful, deficient masculinity before, in comments meant to reassure his supporters about the size of his genitals. Thankfully, there are many more enlightened men out there who do not base their masculinity on the size of their penis or on bullying women. Trump's latest anti-woman statement takes even his campaign to a lower level: He said: “If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’s get 5 percent of the vote.” Well, Donald, Hillary is not a man, and she's doing just fine on her own terms. The question you've raised, Donald, is what kind of man are you?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Two New Books

I'm so happy with BABY ORCA, published February 23, 2016. Chris Rallis created beautiful illustrations, and the production team at Grosset & Dunlap/Penguin did a superb job designing the book. I'm grateful to them all, as well as the scientists who share their work on orcas with me. The book is perfect to show and read to a young child. First or second graders may be able to read it by themselves. They'll love the pictures.

On March 1, 2016, an updated edition of ALIENS FROM EARTH, my book about invasive species, was released by Peachtree Publishers. Beverly J. Doyle did her usual beautiful job with the illustrations. Thanks to the great production team at Peachtree. I added two new species to this edition: Asian carp and the brown tree snake. I also have an author's note in this edition. Older kids will enjoy learning about some of the major invasive species.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

BABY ORCA IS COMING

BABY ORCA, My new children's book about a baby killer whale, comes out February 23, 2015. Learn about these magnificent mammals, how mothers and grandmothers care for the young and teach them to hunt.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

New Album of Ed Bland's Music

My late husband composer Ed Bland was a prolific composer. He composed music in a variety of genres: Jazz, Blues, Soul, Gospel, Hip Hop, Ragtime, and contemporary classical. He wrote for the recording industry, TV, film, dance, bands, and orchestras. This new album URBAN FUNK contains 25 tracks of the last music he composed. The first 12 tracks he conceived of as a dance suite that might be used by modern dancers; the remaining 13 tracks are funky, top-tapping, and highly original. Ed's music synthesizes three musical canons: European, West African drumming, and African-American.

Writing about his artistic journey on his website, Ed said: "Throughout my professional life, my creative efforts have been haunted by aspects of a cultural warfare that has been simmering under the world’s cultures for several centuries. It is a warfare between a pagan prolongation of the eternal moment found in the traditional religious rites and music of Black West Africans living below the Sahara and conventional Western civilization’s pursuit of postponed rewards. As a consequence, in Western civilization there is never a Now, only a vague future.

Ironically, the African slave trade, with all its horrors and social disruption, also presented an opportunity for transformation. It was the slaves’ ability to rise to the occasion and create a new culture and persona that enabled them to survive and coexist in America. Traumatized by slave-ship voyages, deprived of languages, Gods, families, communities, and rituals, it became necessary that the slaves modify what remained from their past and invent new cultural forms. In a range of work encompassing “Urban Funk,” Atari Video Games,“Skunk Juice,” THE CRY OF JAZZ, Urban Classical, the Detroit Symphony, Dizzy Gillespie, Hip Hop, “Urban Counterpoint.” I have composed music that celebrates the pagan prolongation of the eternal Now.

You can read this entire essay on Ed's website: EdBlandMusic.com