Attention all online surfers! The Wiz is riding the wave of the future. One of his books (he has written three) has been published online - and it is now available world-wide for downloading!
The book is "Roadkill", and the author is John Rasor - as you can plainly see from the book's cover *BIG SMILE*:
Now, if you want to do us a HUGE favor - and give The Wiz his best holiday present ever - please consider downloading his book from the publisher's site
His book is also available throughwww.amazon.com in their "Kindle" section. Is this exciting, or WHAT???
The difference is that if you download it from the publisher, The Wiz gets half the price of each download (which is $7.99); but if you download it from amazon or someplace else, The Wiz only gets half of what the publisher gets after amazon (or whoever) has taken their "cut".
Chatty could go on indefinitely about the excitement that this had generated in our house - but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Chatty wants you to READ THIS BOOK! Because truly, even if the Wiz had not written it, she would still have read it. It is an excellent book - though not for the faint-hearted. It is a thriller - and it delivers!
Please understand that this is not a "vanity press" type of thing - The Wiz paid nothing to get it published. But the publisher believes in him, and has found his book worthy of publication. If you want to read the article The Wiz wrote about this whole process, please check it out at http://hubpages.com/hub/My-New-E-Book
www.ireadiwrite.com is a small publishing company in Canada, established about a year ago. The Wiz is their 40th published author. They believe that e-books are the future, and think that the market will probably grow exponentially in the next 24 months. However, they are also considering expanding to print publishing as well in the coming months.
So, when you have a moment, give it a shot - at least go to the publisher's site
If you aren't hooked after reading the first chapter - Chatty will be surprised.
Once again - to friends and family who read Chatty's blog - downloading his book (and telling him that you did) would be the very best Christmas present you could give the Wiz. Chatty's just sayin'...
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The Arizona Cardinals just beat the
Minnesota Vikings - one of the best teams in the NFL…and, we BEAT THEM LIKE A DRUM!
Chatty adores Brett Favre, but tonight - she wanted her sweet, darling, BRILLIANT Kurt Warner to slam the Vikings into the ground and leave them there. And, he DID! It goes without saying that he had HUGE help from his defense. But still - coming off of a concussion, and the crushing defeat at the last moment ...
The Arizona Cardinals just beat the
Minnesota Vikings - one of the best teams in the NFL…and, we BEAT THEM LIKE A DRUM!
We stopped on our way to Chichen Itza for lunch, and a chance to swim in the sacred Blue Cenote.
The entrance to the cenote complex was gorgeous - flame trees, hibiscus, thatched buildings, trees that looked like ancient sculpture, and stone "conversation benches", so-called because the seats face one another, but are part of the same bench. They can be found in almost every public park and attraction, all nicely painted white. They remind Chatty of the wooden 19th century ones she has seen in museums, albeit much more modern in design.
The cenote itself took Chatty's breath away. Cenotes are huge holes in the ground that have filled partly with water from underground rivers. Because all the rivers in Yucatan are underground, cenotes were sacred in ancient civilizations - both because of their majestic appearance, and because once away from the sea, water was scarce and precious. It's hard to know exactly how deep this amazing cenote is - suffice it to say that "deep" barely begins to describe it!
Chatty - and everyone else who ventured in - had to take a shower BEFORE she climbed down the 120 (slippery and uneven) steps to the water's surface, because the state is very concerned about keeping as many non-natural ingredients (perfume, sunscreen, hair spray etc.) out of the pristine and amazingly clear water as possible. In addition to the magnificent blue-green colors, the water is also deliciously cool - about 73 degrees. You can dive off a 10 meter platform hewn from the rock, or climb down rustic wooden ladders (Chatty chose the latter!)
This picture was taken from a height of about 120 feet - at the first "rest-stop" going down the stairs carved out of the stone surrounding the cenote. The vertical lines in the picture are vines. Because they dart so quickly, in this picture you are unable to see the tiny birds that flutter and dive in and out of the foliage that descends all the way down to the water's surface - but they are everywhere, and you can hear the beating of hundreds of tiny wings above you when you are swimming. The tiny black "specks" in the water are fishes about 6 inches long, that swim around and tickle one's feet. At the bottom right, Chatty swears she can see a foamy mermaid...
Once in the water, swimming away from the platform and toward the other side, seeing no other people - only tiny fishes and tiny birds, and looking at the greenery hugging the edges of the cenote up up and up to a sky that seemed endlessly high - Chatty had a moment where she felt part of earth's long history - and could almost feel the presence of the people who swam in this ancient body of water thousands of years ago, just as she was doing now. It was eerie, and lovely - and an altogether moving experience. Then, she turned around - and there were all her fellow tourists - and she was jerked back to the present just in time for lunch (which was excellent!)
This second picture will give you an idea of what the rock ledges looked like - and also how incredibly bright the sunshine was at the top! A lot of people were enjoying the cenote when Chatty took this picture - but by the time she gathered her courage, took her shower, and descended, she had it practically to herself, which was also cool, and helped create the atmosphere described above. Note that although this picture was taken from over 120 feet above, you can see the legs of the swimmers. We're talking CLEAR WATER, folks!
The Wiz did not swim in this cenote (he swam in the Grand Cenote a couple of days later), but he did climb down to the first viewing point:
After our buffet lunch, we got back on the bus for the 10-minute drive to Chichen Itza and its fabulous pyramid. More on that another time.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
- George Santayana
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As those of you who follow my blog know, I have not been well. I had planned to come back with many pictures from my trip to Mexico, and will do so soon, because I am finally feeling better.
However, I want to talk about something else first.
Those who are kind enough to follow this blog know that I rarely speak of current events - and when I do, it is only because I feel strongly about the subject, and take the opportunity my blog affords to have my say.
Perhaps you will also note that I do not speak as "Chatty" - but as myself.
So, here goes.
We have been innundated with the circumstances surrounding the death of Michael Jackson.
I have just a tiny bit of input - not much, as you will see - but something I believe to be significant in its way, because it speaks to the friendships he had that endured.
You can tell a lot about a man by listening to the friends who speak up for him in times of trouble or death, can't you?
Deepak Chopra and his son are two people I would consider blessed to have as long-standing friends - wouldn't you?
So - a bit more on that...
First, let us be clear.
I did not know Michael Jackson.
I did, however, know the mother of one of the friends who has stuck by him through thick and thin. That friend is Miko Brando, and I am happy and proud to have known his mother.
It may might not sound like much - but I do believe that we can learn a lot about a person if we know his mother.
By the way, I met Miko's father in passing at a restaurant many years ago - and only the once. He was charming, funny, and interesting. We never worked together, but I'm glad I had the chance to meet him - if only in informal circumstances.
But, that doesn't really count.
What counts is that I met and got to know Miko's mother over a period of several years. I was working as an assistant director in Hollywood, and she was working as a background talent - aka "atmosphere".
Her name is Movita Castaneda, but she was better known as just "Movita" in her years as an actress.
Yes - a single name - just like "Cher" or "Madonna" - but she was known by a single name long before anyone else (everything old is new again, right?)
Movita met Marlon Brando in the 1950's. They married, and had two children together - a son and a daughter.
As Movita told it (and I cannot know if it is true, but I prefer to believe it) she left him when he "fell" for his third wife - a beautiful woman from Tahiti - while filming the re-make of "Mutiny on the Bounty" in 1962 (ironic note, Movita had a starring role in the ORIGINAL version). Movita asked for no alimony, and whether or not he contributed child support for their two children (both of whom SHE raised) she never mentioned. She did say once that she could not abide unfaithfulness - and if Marlon wanted someone else, her only choice was to give him his freedom, though she was Catholic. I'm sure this was difficult for her
In point of fact, she did not speak of Marlon Brando often - in fact, I had known her for a year before she even mentioned it - and then it was just in passing. However, when she did speak of him after we knew one another better, it was always with affection. I liked her for that. I also believe that she and Marlon remained on good terms throughout his life, and stayed in touch - at least sporadically - and always as friends.
As I came to know her, I liked her for many other reasons as well. She was kind. She was an oasis of calm on any busy "set". She was charming and fun. She was absolutely reliable. She did things like make tamales for friends in the cast and crew at Christmas.
And, she loved her children so very much. She never bored anyone with stories, but it was obvious that she loved them - and that they were the most important people in her life.
She spoke once to me of the horrific accident that befell Michael Jackson on the set of the infamous Pepsi commercial - how his hair caught on fire and that he could have died. She mentioned it with great sorrow, but also with pride - because it was her son, Miko, who was the first to jump to help Michael. They both received severe burns. Everybody has heard how much Michael suffered - perhaps fewer remember how badly her son was also hurt.
We are hearing a bit from Miko now that his friend has died - he has been interviewed by many news organizations. I truly believe that he is trying to give us a picture of the man HE knew - his friend. I applaud him for that, and for his unswerving loyalty to a man who by all accounts was difficult to understand, though perhaps not difficult to love.
I say again - you can learn a lot about a person just from knowing his mother.
Movita - wherever you are - it was a privilege and a pleasure to know you. Miko - I have never met you, but I know your mother is proud of you for a myriad of reasons - one of which must certainly be your steadfast loyalty and love for your friends - one of whom happened to be Michael Jackson.
Let us eschew the attention-mongering hangers-on and press vultures who pretend to help us "understand" Michael Jackson's life and death before he has even been laid to rest.
And, let us remember him as we will - for better or for worse - but always as a great talent whose music made its impression on us all.
May he rest in peace.
And, while I am at it - let us take a moment to remember ALL of those who have passed away in the past couple of weeks - famous or known only to their dear ones.
Death comes as the end for all of us - but love and memories live on always in the hearts of all who are left behind.