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Finally managed to locate the original work for “የዉበት ወጥመድ”, which went by both “Married for her Beauty” and “A Bitter Atonement” online. This is a book that shares similar themes (young and naive beautiful maidens, older husbands they signed-up with out of poverty or the need to escape their present situation, tough elder sister-in-laws, marital un-bliss, betrayal and the abandonment of children) with another – albeit superior – British work of fiction – also written by a woman. Both had had us, children and adults alike, glued to our radios (in anticipation of the weekly “KeMetsahift Alem”) for months. And still makes us pause when we come across the names “Diane”, “Bruno” and “Hester” (Sabela, Archibald or Carlyle and Cornelia). Bertha M. Clay was the writer. It was published by Millner and Company, Limited on 1892.
Sorry about the quality of the copy.
DIANE AND HER GUARDIAN.
MISS BALFOUR! Miss Diane! your cousin is here! Miss Diane! There came no answer to the quick call, and a tall, elderly woman, with a kindly face, parted the tall lilac trees and looked into the garden. The sun shone on the June roses; but the young face for which she was searching did not turn smiling to her from among the flowers.
‘Miss Diane !’ cried Mrs. Hopeton’s voice.
There was no answer.
‘Now Heaven bless that dear child!’ said the woman. ‘It would try the temper of an angel, if angels have any temper. Where shall find I her? She may have gone wandering all through the woods. There is nothing for it but patience.’
The sun was warm; its rays beat fiercely on her head. Taking off her apron she started for the woods. Through the garden and orchard, through the clover meadows; then came a green lane, with an old-fashioned stile, over which she climbed; then she stood in the fragrant shade of Rositer Wood.
‘Miss Diane!’ she called again.
This time another voice replied–a sweet voice, like the chime of a silver bell:
‘I am here, Mrs. Hopeton.’
‘Where is here?’ asked the woman.
‘Down in a nest of bluebells,’ laughed the voice. ‘Two steps farther and you will be on a level with the top of my head.’
Mrs. Hopeton went the required two steps.
There was a pretty dell where the bluebells and hyacinths grew in rich profusion.
July 14, 2014 at 12:07 am
BY Megan Amram
Originally published July 3, 2013.
How to begin this review? Few countries that debuted in the 1700s have been as controversial or long running (it’s into its 237th season now) as America. It may not have the staying power of perennial favorites such as China or the credibility of indie darlings such as Finland, but America has proven that it can at least make some cultural impact. It’s not the best, but hey, they can’t all be Louie.
America was originally a spinoff of the long-running England. Airing from the 1776-77 season through today, America focuses on a small ensemble of white people using things in the ground to become rich or kill brown people. A sprawling dramedy, it combines all of the loose plot points of a Tyler Perry sitcom with all the fun of being white.
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It has widely focused on the themes of war, freedom, sitting, Fenway Park, maps, the one true Christian god, rugs, pregnancy tits, Vice magazine, butterfaces, coal, butterdicks, “Where’s the Beef?,” Chicago, Larry Flynt, colonialism, Terri Schiavo, NBC single-camera sitcoms, toddlers, suicide pacts, Atari, penny farthing bicycles, SpaghettiO’s (Cool Ranch flavor), tiny dolls, the TLC show Sister Wives, H1N1, television, and genocide. It has some unique perspective every once in awhile, but honestly, America can be super derivative. Most of the stories have already been on The Simpsons.
A lot of episodes in America don’t really hold up. Slavery? Parachute pants? White slavery? It just feels really overdone now. Among the most memorable episodes are “The Civil War,” “Texas,” “World War” (a two-parter), and “Black President.”
Some of the storylines are also a bit of a stretch. Are they really expecting us to believe that they killed all the Indians and that all those Indians did to deserve it was invent diabetes?! And come on—that stuff in the 9/11 episode could not have happened without someone working on the inside. That makes no sense. “9/11” jumped the shark. Hard.
It’s been on so long that no one wants to comment on the OBVIOUS PLOT HOLES. Such awful continuity. Like, how could it be explained that in season 170, George H.W. Bush fathered a mentally disabled son, but then in season 225, that son became president?! Really terrible continuity. I would like to point out that I do appreciate a recent callback to earlier plots. Around seasons 174-184, some of the anti-feminist and sexist storylines were put on the backburner, but it’s nice that we’ve seen a resurgence in this last season.
America has time and time again proved itself as a launching ground for young starlets. It’s fun seeing people before they became huge stars, like John Ritter, Stella McCartney, Theodore “Ted” Kaczynski, and Ted “Ted” Bundy. But the ensemble works best when we see the regulars yearn for a raise or promotion, struggle with Mary Tyler Moore’s foibles and be there for Mary Tyler Moore when the going gets rough. I stole this from a review for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but I think it completely and entirely makes sense to literally lift from that review and drop it into this context as well.
As someone with more quirky and alt tastes, I can’t say that America is my favorite thing to watch. I’m more into Breaking Bad. Have you seen season 4?! Season 4 of Breaking Bad is flawless. Season 4 of America is VERY uneven. It had no main black characters. Girls, much?! I love The Wire!
I just hope to God (the American/right one) that they don’t pull some deus ex machina shit at the end of this series. Like, there’s nuclear war with North Korea, or they’ve been dead the whole time or something.
Anyway, it may have veered off wildly from the pilot, but America is definitely worth a look. It’s an interesting experiment in the world of primetime sovereign nations. What the characters lack in consistency, they make up for in body weight, lingering racism, and inconsistency. But it makes for a quick and easy viewing, and can often surprise you with heartfelt turns. It’s like eating Cool Ranch SpaghettiO’s on a warm summer’s eve. And hey, sometimes things get really good right before they’re cancelled.
MY RATING: 50 stars (out of 100).
July 5, 2014 at 9:38 pm
BY Marsh McCall
Because I said so, that’s why.
Because nobody likes taking piano lessons, but it’s important that you do it. And that’s the end of it.
Because I’m the grown-up and it’s my house–-except for your room, which is nominally yours, but not really, I could go in there any time I want–-and my house means my rules.
Well, I’m sorry to hear that. But it’s not my job to be liked.
Because saying “my rules” is easier than laboring over a long, drawn-out explanation about why my life experience makes me a better judge of your choices.
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Okay, because my brain is more emotionally developed than yours. I’m not boasting, it’s just science. Aha. See? The fact that you’re getting angry proves it. No, I am not shouting. And no, my anger is in response to your anger. It’s not the originating anger. That’s the difference.
Because when I was your age I gave up on the piano, and now every day I regret not being able to play like Billy Joel. Early Billy Joel. Anything before The Nylon Curtain album. Not his best, that one.
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Well, I don’t care if your friend Brad doesn’t have to learn the piano. He isn’t actually your friend at all. He’s a person you think you should like because he’s part of the popular crowd, but if you try to glom on to that group, the end result will be tears and humiliation, and you’ll question your self-worth while lying in bed at night, creating imaginary torture devices you’d like to use on him. How do I know? Because I’ve met people like Barry. What? I said “Brad.” Well, I meant Brad.
Do you still not like me? I honestly don’t care, but I’m asking.
Because if you don’t practice, you can’t have any ice cream.
Because if you do practice, I’ll give you some ice cream.
Because someday when you grow up and nothing’s worked out the way you thought, you might find yourself at a party, with people who all seem to know each other better than you know anyone, and they’re laughing at memories of previous parties you weren’t invited to, and they seem to have made fashion choices that you vaguely sense are clever and interesting. And then you notice you’re in the den, where a lonely upright piano stands in a corner, ignored by the world since some other children long ago gave up on their piano lessons, and as you stroll past you nonchalantly play a little riff, and somebody asks, “Oh, do you play?” And then you answer, “Not really. Just a little tinkering.” And then someone else responds, “Oh, I’ll bet you’re just being modest.” And suddenly you’re sitting at the piano, which is crowded by family photos and dusty Christmas carol songbooks, and you’re playing “Piano Man.” Or “New York State of Mind.” The selection isn’t really important. It doesn’t even have to be a Billy Joel song, but why not? His early stuff just has something… ineffable about it. And suddenly you’re surrounded by people holding glasses of chardonnay, and they’re singing along, at first ironically, laughing self-consciously and pretending they don’t remember the words, but by the end they’re all belting out “The microphone smells like a beer” as if they really mean it, because they do mean it, and little kids are poking their heads into the room to see why their parents are being so loud and embarrassing, and then finally you play those last chords, after which you incline your head modestly, and wait for the applause—and by god there will be applause—and then you say you’re going to go “grab a beer,” but instead you slip out and go home, without saying goodbye to anyone, and in your absence people will wonder whether they had it all wrong about the person they thought you were, and they’ll begin to suspect that you might even have other secrets or metaphysical insights which decorum has prevented you from revealing. And then—and this is very important—you never go back there. Why? Because our mission will be accomplished.
I said “your” mission. Yes I did. Now go practice.
Because I said so, that’s why.
June 29, 2014 at 7:31 pm
By Melissa Balmain
Pick a secret shame…
● In that online quiz yesterday, you chose Céline Dion as your favorite singer because she was the only one on the list you’d even heard of.
● You couldn’t choose a favorite 19th century novel because, as an English major, you never read any of the classics you now pretend to have read, and instead spent 18 months deconstructing Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.”
● No kind of dog is your favorite dog.
● Your true dream home—a boring furnished apartment that doesn’t smell like your ex, and where you feel no pressure to do anything but nap—wasn’t pictured.
● You’ve never seen Blade Runner.
● At least half the time when you take these quizzes, you find out you’re Chester A. Arthur.
What were you doing before you started this quiz?
● Repressing thoughts of death while Instagramming your Pop-Tart.
● Sobbing uncontrollably while captioning a goat meme.
● Posting at NakedTwerkFail.com.
● Facebook-stalking your middle-school German teacher, who you maybe saw in Key Foods yesterday and who looked sort of OK in a fat-Piers-Morgan way.
● Googling yourself to make sure you exist.
What activity are you avoiding?
● Working out.
● Standing up.
● Going to all the trouble of unwrapping that Twix bar.
Online quizzes you regret taking include…
● Which U.S. President Are You? (Answer: Chester A. Arthur)
● Which Historical Personality Are You? (Chester A. Arthur)
● Where Should You Live? (Pitman, New Jersey)
● Which Writer Are You? (Sue Schneider, author of Mulching for Dummies)
● Who’s Your Celebrity Lookalike? (Chester A. Arthur)
● Which Muppet Are You? (Some random chicken)
● What’s Your Porn Star Name? (Chesty A. Arthur)
● Which Downton Abbey Character Are You? (The yellow-Labrador butt from the opening credits)
Pick an irrational hope…
● If only a quiz would tell you you’re Virginia Woolf, you could post about it and people would finally know you’re brilliant and also worry you’re suicidal and start being nice to you.
● If you could post, “I’m Miss Piggy,” they’d think, “Wow, the sexiest Muppet—I guess she is pretty sexy.”
● Posting “I belong in… Paris!” would make your lack of showering seem earthy and European.
● No one knows you’re taking these quizzes over and over till you stop getting lame authors, obscure towns, and crappy Muppets.
After this quiz, you will probably…
● Write a text that no one answers.
● Write a tweet that no one retweets.
● Facebook-stalk your high school chemistry teacher.
● Briefly consider hitting the gym, throwing out your junk food, and going to that Singles ‘n’ Saltimbocca thing tonight, because it’s never too late to turn over a new leaf, goddammit.
● Take another quiz.
● Chester A. Arthur
June 22, 2014 at 10:18 pm
Here is what we know so far:
—The victim, Mr. Hollis, was found by a servant in the library at the stroke of midnight, with his limbs splayed, his clothes torn to shreds, and his hair matted with dried blood.
—Sometime later, after cleaning himself up, he was murdered.
—The body was noticed by Mrs. Devereaux, who was all the more shocked and confounded since the discovery came near the end of a round of hide-and-seek and just before a round of Corpse Hunt.
—The guests have convened in the study, and have agreed that no one will leave until the authorities arrive, and that Mr. Burlinson is owed an apology now that they realize where the stench was coming from.
—The head servant, Huntley, insists that no one could have gained admittance to the house without his being aware—leading to the unsettling conclusion that the murderer is among the guests, the servants, and the sixty-three strangers with guns whom he saw enter and leave.
—Dr. Morgan examined the body, and found nothing out of the ordinary other than a single gunshot wound to the back of the neck, and the fact that the rest of the body was pulverized.
—Dr. Morgan could not definitively determine the cause of death, though he was able to rule out natural causes, and whooping cough.
—It seems possible that, in the moments before his death, Mr. Hollis attempted to send some kind of message—one destined never to be received, alas, as he was unable to affix postage.
—There is no obvious reason that anyone in the house should have wished harm to Mr. Hollis, other than the fact that he stole four hundred thousand dollars from each of them.
—Mr. Higgins, suspiciously, is the only guest who refused at the beginning of the evening to sign the agreement expressly forbidding murders.
—In retrospect, everyone recalls hearing a single gunshot three hours earlier, but no one gave it much thought because they all assumed that it was simply Mrs. Tedlock committing suicide.
—The front parlor, the billiard room, the library, the family dining quarters, and the master bedroom all contain enormous amounts of blood.
—Mr. Perkins uncovered a floor plan of the house and, to assist with the investigation, marked it as follows: “X,” where Mr. Hollis was found; “Y,” at all eleven points of entry; and “Z,” on the sites of the hundred most recent murders.
—A set of suspicious footprints was found, but they were explained when Mr. Tedlock confessed that he’d accidentally stepped in a tub of orange paint.
—With the unanimous consent of the guests, Mr. Devereaux has been dispatched to interview each member of the kitchen staff, with the object of appointing one of them snack-getter.
—The maid claims that she overheard the victim’s wife, Mrs. Hollis, remark that “next weekend would run more smoothly” should her husband be “unable to attend,” an allegation that Mrs. Hollis disputes. However, a few guests recall that at around six Mrs. Hollis gave a PowerPoint presentation on killing her husband.
—Several guests recall that at the beginning of the evening, as Mr. Hollis made the rounds, he kept remarking, “If anyone kills me tonight, the culprit will be Mr. Quinn. Remember that, people!” However, everyone agrees that Mr. Hollis was an idiot.
—Every room in the house has been combed for clues, except, for obvious reasons, the corpse pit.
—By a tremendous stroke of luck, the murder weapon was found by Mr. Williamson, who, incredibly, had a hunch about Mrs. Wilson’s undergarment drawer.
—Nothing of interest turned up in the library (where the victim was found), other than a cryptic note that read, in its entirety, “You’ll never find me,” with the words “From Jim” crossed out many, many times.
—The guests have taken a blind vote and determined that a majority of them believe that Mr. Devereaux will not return, keeping all the snacks for himself.
—Mr. Cavendish has repeatedly confessed to the murder. ♦
June 7, 2014 at 9:14 pm
If you have been a fan of the movie “The Princess Bride” the way I have [the book is even funnier, if you can believe it]: you are likely to use a line from it [although none of us can be the walking talking movie-quote library that Troy is] from time to time. The first of its quotes that is near and dear to the abesheet heart, ofcourse, is: “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something”. I have had a chance to use “It’s not my fault being the biggest and the strongest. I don’t even exercise.” on Troy [or he used it on me, don't remember which] on a Tennis court. Have made friends smile, those friends who tut-tutted my inability to be a silly romantic that [they probably feel] all women are [should be], with “There is nothing better than true love in the whole world. Except a nice MLT. Mutton, lettuce, and tomato when the mutton is nice and lean and the lettuce is nice and crisp” and yelled “Why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it!” when that love turns sour – as loves most often do.
The line: “People in masks cannot be trusted” hasn’t made it to my vocabulary that often. Since I haven’t been or hoped to be a guest at a fancy dress ball [or Halloween] party, I didn’t think there would be an instance in which it would come handy. Then I was asked to wear an Easter Bunny outfit for an office function on April 20. There would be, I was warned, a lot of children, a lot of mothers wanting me to hold their children, and adults behaving like kids. I cannot talk. I cannot laugh. And I can’t bring my hands anywhere near their privates, or even give them hugs unless specifically asked by the person or parent for the purpose of taking pictures.
I was told to look out for ass-grabbers [and alarm security if felt threatened], to make sure the costume stays in place from head to toe and to being inconvenienced by the inability to pee without disrobing. But mostly I was told how hot it was going to be. “My” head, though with a pronounced smile painted on it, was made of fur. A fur head stuffed with all kind of gadgets that would render the human face behind the mask completely invisible. It was also heavy on the shoulder. And since I can’t lift it to drink water without scarring growing children to life; I was meant to suffocate and sweat like the dickens until the allotted brake-time arriveth.
Which I did.
To the casual observer, there I was.. waving, hopping back at every child that pretended to hop at the sight of me and putting both my hands infront of my smiling mouth to show shock or happy surprise. I pretended to blush or gave thumbs up every time somebody hugged me or said they loved me. When kids screamed at the sight of me, or a grown up man walked by me with stiff shoulders (“He doesn’t like Easter bunnies”, wife or girlfriend would explain. The old “I hate rats” syndrome -also a synonym for “I can’t be around rats/clowns because they scare me shitless but I am not man enough to admit it”) I roll hands under my “eyes” to show being hurt. I gave candies. I blew kisses. I protested being lifted by some jocks from the Netherlands with the wild gesture of a bunny short of a bush to dash into. On the inside, however, I was cursing the sweat the was washing my face and burning my eyes.. gnashing the teeth from both the head-ache and the stupidity of some folks and suggesting men and women get bent whenever they act too good to stand beside a fake bunny for the camera. All this.. while wearing a big smile and a happy countenance.
“I will never trust people wearing masks”, I commented, someberly studying my form in the mirror while a security guard/feet guide was busy pinning my shirt under the costume in such a way that nobody would know it was there. That’s when that quote from “The Princess Bride” came to me. I realized I may have erred in assuming the quote was only relevant to people wearing masks and/or those around them. That it may be referring to the masks we wear every day. To one in particular: the smile mask.
You see, deep down, I have always known not to trust people who laugh easily and long. I have viewed it as a defect, either the absence of a functional brain or cover for the dishonest heart. That is why I have always been attracted to people with sour faces and unhappy dispositions. Because they were wearing their hearts on their sleeves, as the saying goes, honest like. Telling passers-by to take it or chuck it.
I haven’t looked favorably at people who laugh easily and long- I said. But I haven’t gone so far as to suppose there was anything particularly sinister about them. That hot afternoon, however, in my smiling head, and furry outfit, I did. True, Americans didn’t choose to wear smiling masks as part of the daily life by choice. What with capitalism, integration and civil rights movement; wearing agreeable masks have become a necessary evil to return home in one piece around here. And …. if we came down to it, isn’t life.. isn’t society … a sort of fancy dress ball; where we go out wearing clothes, looks and attitudes we believe would give a certain impression to onlookers – with “manufactured identities” – as somebody more educated than me called it? Indeed, haven’t we been told by Morgnstern how masks were “terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.”?!
Alas.. after that day.. people who smile easily I no longer saw as men and women trying to live in peace with their neighbors or even folks trying to sell something. I started seeing them as men and women who aren’t showing their real emotions. [Neighbors who may be hiding a "finger", a sneer, a dagger]. Exaggeration much, as Blen would say? Maybe. But let us say you were walking down a dark alley and you see a man wearing a mask walking towards you. Then another chap… wearing a smile. Who are you likely to want to forge alliances with in the hope of saving your hide?! Dark stranger #2, right?. Alas the first guy may have easily been burnt by acid. The second… who knows what he was burnt with?
Me? I will take my chances with the first guy. Unless.. ofcourse.. he started with “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
In which case, “there’s usually only one thing you can do. .. Go through his clothes and look for loose change.”
May 16, 2014 at 8:13 pm