Thursday, September 28, 2006

Episode Twenty-four: Mellow Yellow?

This week we listen to "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, and a little bit of "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster.

Gillman (here she is)

is a particular favorite of mine. She wrote Herland which I'm (slowly) reading for Librivox. Great little book!

Juster is a freakin' genius. Really! I can't read nearly as much of his book as I'd like, but (here HE is)

I will introduce you to this decidedly not just-for-children book.

Thanks for your patience getting this 'cast out.
Long week.

Visit Jen!

Today, "The Yellow Wallpaper" was read by Justine Young, and "The Phantom Tollbooth" excerpt was read by Yours Truly. And, as always, our opening music was provided by Joshua Christian at, for which I am eternally grateful.



AGAIN: Please Stand By...


Technical difficulties.

Should be up by Friday.

Many apologies!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Episode Twenty-three: Return of the Chicks

Well, sorta.

We have a story about a chick (I couldn't find two by women that would fit into an hour--we women seem to go ON a bit) and another by and about a chick.

I like.

I'm also excited because, while I'm pretty sure you've read or heard the first story (which I'll write about second), I'll bet small...that you've never read anything by out other writer, but I'll bet you know her name.

Edna Ferber.

Here she is.

Fascinating woman. Here's another pic of her. I think she bears repeating.

Know what she wrote that you've probably seen but not read?
Show Boat

That's right, the story that became the "Ol' Man River" musical. Our Girl took on the issue of race relations way before it was in vogue. And what else?

Yes, THAT Giant.
(Isn't he hot? Sigh...Wonder if he could'a played Darcy...hmmmm)

See? Toldja you knew of her.

So, Edna won a Pulitzer, wrote gazillions of stories, shows, and novels. Prior to writing for herself and her adoring public, she was a newspaperwoman (yeah, that'd be in 1902 at the age of seventeen). Not surprisingly, she wrote a lot about women. Not surprisingly, that wasn't always pretty. She often had characters in her stories, like today's story and in Showboat, where a characer faced prejudice and...well...not always triumphed, but came off looking way better than the other shmo.

She also got to hang out at the Algonquin Round Table.

And I Am Jealous.

Our other story (the first you'll hear) is a classic by Guy de Maupassant. (I love saying his name!)

That's him.
Oddly Trotsky-like, no?

Like many, many men of his day (1850-1893) he started as a civil servant and only later was able to flex his scribe muscles. He's considered part of the "naturalistic school" for what's that's worth. The cool thing...well...not "cool" so much as interesting, is that he died young--like Poe--and as he aged (and grew sicker--shhhh syphillis--shhhh) his stories got more and more bizzare--like Poe.

He tried to kill himself, was committed, and died in the sanatorium. Sigh...

Today, "The Diamond Necklace" was read by a mystery reader, and "The Woman Who Tried to be Good" was read by Eva Marie. And, as always, our opening music was provided by Joshua Christian at, for which I am ever grateful.



Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Episode Twenty-two: The Center Cannot Hold

This week is hard for me on so many levels. I think you'll see a decided darkness to the stories. However, "dark" doesn't mean "bad." And this week, our readers are good! Whoo hoo!

This week, "Second Coming," read by me!
Here's Yeats
Ambrose Bierce's "The Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge."
Here's Ambrose (ain't he dashing? Note the rapscallian twinkle in the eye...)
And Edgar Allen Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado."
Here's Poe (you can tell he had a hard life, no?)
If you've never read it before, after listening you should get a copy of Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles and read "Usher II"; trust me, you'll feel so smart. And once agian, if you have teenagers, THEY will feel so smart! Always nice to be part of the inside joke.

The Poe is done as a low-rent radio play, complete with sound effects. It's really rather fun...even if their Italian is lousy.

De Grave...ah hah hah hah...
A good Poe is good to find.

And for any of you who are interested in Lady Macbeth and her hand-washing. A New York Times article for you (I hope you can load the page!).

Today, "Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" was read by Matthew Fulton, and "The Cask of Amontillado" was read by Messers Zack Weismuller and Ryan Huser. As always, the theme music was "Chasing Hiro" by Joshua Christian, podsafe music from



Just heard that episode Four, Five, Fifteen, and Sixteen were AWOL. You should be able to get them from the links here. Sorry about that!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Episode Twenty-one: Irony Anyone?

This week's stories are all about IRONY!

I was famous at my school in NYC when, on 9/11, while we were standing on the southernmost tip of Manhattan, I "taught" irony to my students. We had evacuated, and were in that brief moment between the airplane crashes and the towers' collapse. I was standing on a park bench by Castle Clinton, whistling for more of our students to join me. As we stood around, trying to look calm, I had the kids look at the Statue of Liberty, then look at the terrorist attacks. Liberty. Terror.
The kids got it.

This week, however, we play with two fun short stories and a deeply satiric essay. The first is one you may or may not know, "The Lady or the Tiger," written by Frank Stockton. He lived from 1834 to 1902. Here he is. Nice lookin' fellah, eh?

The second story we'll listen to today is one of my favorites. In fact, if you have kids who are in junior high or high school, have them listen to these stories a couple of times, then talk to them. They'll never have a hard time with Irony again (which is good, because it's the easiest way for them to mess up on those high-stakes tests!). The second is "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin. Here's Kate.

The last piece I've been forced to read myself as it was obvious to me that the Librivox reader kinda missed the point...or wasn't able to communicate it clearly enough when reading it out loud. It's Mark Twain's "War Prayer" and it's pretty brutal. However, it's also timly and something important that we should probably all think about. Twain wrote this when he was unhappy with US actions in the Phillipines. Whether you're encouraged by our current overseas actions or not, it's not bad to sit back and think about the point Twain brings up in his short essay/story/parable. He's a master of satire, and like all satire, if taken at face value, he'll simply look like a monster and that will be the end of it.

Either way, I hope you enjoy this, our first day of short stories.

Today, "The Lady or the Tiger" was read by Alice (that's all she wrote, folks!), and "The Story of an Hour" and "War Prayer" was read by Yours Truly. As always, the theme music was "Chasing Hiro" by Joshua Christian, podsafe music from