This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,228) on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017.
In America, we have just celebrated Thanksgiving Day with a big meal, maybe a football game or a nap, and (I hope) a thankful thought or two. I am, of course, thankful for all you readers to this newsletter. It’s great hearing from you, so keep writing.
Puritans get credit for the first Thanksgiving in America, although the evidence of that is a bit thin. Still, it’s appropriate that a Puritan heads the items in this newsletter. We also get to a French artist whom everyone knows a bit later
Viewing tip: Click the display images link above if you haven’t done so already.
Anne Bradstreet, America’s first published poet
The first American to become a published poet was a Puritan — and a woman, Anne Bradstreet. Her collection of poems, The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, was published in London in 1650. The volume became wildly popular first in England and later in America, where it could be found in just about every home in New England. Bradstreet’s poetry shows a wide range of learning and interests and an excellent technique.
Read more about this remarkable woman here on JPROF.
You can read one of poems below the signature of this email.
True crime podcasts (continued): Real Crime Profile
Real Crime Profile is this week’s true crime podcast recommendation. This series features Jim Clemente, a former prosecutor and FBI profiler, Laura Richards, a criminal behavioral analyst and former Scotland Yard officer, and Lisa Zambetti, casting director for the CBS show Criminal Minds. Their discussions of criminal cases are riveting and insightful. Richards is an expert on domestic violence, and she is particularly persuasive in arguing that laws and attitudes should change toward this very series problem.
The link provided above is to a list of some of the recent podcasts. Start anywhere. You will be fascinated. (Real Crime Profile on Facebook.)
Last week we recommended Christopher Goffard, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, and a series he has written and narrates called Dirty John. It’s the story of Debra Newell and John Meehan and is a true crime podcast of the highest order. It will take you a while to get through it, but once you start, you’ll likely be hooked. The reporting is thorough, the interviews are fascinating, and the story is full of twists, turns, and surprises. The ending is well worth the journey. Here’s a link to part 1, “The Real Thing.”
I have also recommended a series called Sword and Scale. This website and podcast, according to its own description, is about “the dark underworld of crime and the criminal justice system’s response to it.” The folks associated with Sword and Scale have spent a lot of time producing interesting and informative podcasts about serious crimes. One episode I listened to was episode 90. It was an hour well spent.
Do you have any true crime podcast recommendations to share with fellow readers?
Misspelling can be expensive
A couple of eagle-eyed readers responded to last week’s newsletter with the information that it contained a couple of misspellings. To them and to anyone who spots mistakes and and lets me know, I say a hearty and sincere “Thank you.” I try to proofread as best I can, but I do not catch everything and appreciate hearing about it when I don’t.
So, the lesson is: Check your spelling. Not doing so can turn out to be an expensive proposition.
That’s what the folks in Livermore, Calif., found out in 2004 when they spent $40,000 for a mosaic for their new library. The artwork contained 175 words, many of them names of writers, scientists and artists. Some 11 of those words were misspelled. They included Shakespeare (Shakespere), Einstein(Eistein), and Gauguin (Gaugan).
The Miami artist who executed the work at first claimed artistic license (maybe some of your students have used the same excuse) but later said she would fix the problem words. Unfortunately, the city of Livermore had to pay her $6,000 plus expenses to do that. California law requires that public artwork cannot be changed without the consent of the artist. Some people are blaming city and library officials as well as the artist, saying they should have checked the spelling before approving the artwork.
You can read more about this in the news stories of the San Francisco Chronicle .
The Prolific Reader. Kill the Quarterback is listed there along with some other great mysteries. https://theprolificreader.com/mystery/
The winner of the Amazon gift card contest from last week’s newsletter is Linny Marcus. Congrats Linny!
More from The Devil’s Dictionary
More entries from The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, these from the letter C:
CONSERVATIVE, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
CLARIONET, n. An instrument of torture operated by a person with cotton in his ears. There are two instruments that are worse than a clarionet—two clarionets.
CHILDHOOD, n. The period of human life intermediate between the idiocy of infancy and the folly of youth—two removes from the sin of manhood and three from the remorse of age.
CANNIBAL, n. A gastronome of the old school who preserves the simple tastes and adheres to the natural diet of the pre-pork period.
CONTEMPT, n. The feeling of a prudent man for an enemy who is too formidable safely to be opposed.
Bierce was a Civil War combat veteran who became one of the nation’s foremost writers and cynics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I promised to tell you more about Bierce, and that will happen in the near future. You can get a free copy of The Devil’s Dictionary in a variety of formats through Project Gutenberg.
Finally . . .
This week’s watercolor: A card for my dulcimer teacher
This is a card I created for my dulcimer teacher Rudy Ryan, an excellent player and great teacher.
Best quote of the week: Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love. Claude Monet, painter (1840-1926)
Do not forget the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate. These and many other disasters mean that people need our help. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR.org) is my favorite charity. Please make a contribution to yours.Keep reading and have a great weekend.
His Amazon author page is where you can find more information about his books.
To My Dear and Loving Husband
By Anne Bradstreet
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
You can read more of her poetry at this location.
5-star review: I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book. Wow. This is the first book I’ve read by this author. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it but I thought I would read a few pages and then bam! I was hooked! Excellent writing. Excellent story. I could not figure out whodunit and that’s the best kind of mystery. I can’t wait until the next book comes out!
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Tags: Anne Bradstreet, Christopher Goffard, Claude Monet, Criminal Minds, Dirty John, Jim Clemente, Laura Richards, Lisa Zambetti, misspelling, Puritan, Real Crime Profile, Rudy Ryan, sSword and Scale, Thanksgiving, To My Dear and Loving Husband, watercolor