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Spalding Gray’s Catastrophe | Oliver Sachs, The New Yorker

Spalding had spent more than thirty years on “the slippery slope,” as he called it, as a high-wire performer, a funambulist, and had never fallen off. He doubted if he could continue. While I expressed hope and optimism outwardly, I now shared his doubt.

On January 10, 2004, Spalding took his children to a movie. It was Tim Burton’s “Big Fish,” in which a dying father passes his fantastical stories on to his son before returning to the river, where he dies—and perhaps is reincarnated as his true self, a fish, making one of his tall tales come true.

That evening, Spalding left home, saying he was going to meet a friend. He did not leave a suicide note, as he had so often before. When inquiries were made, one man said he had seen him board the Staten Island Ferry.Two months later, Spalding’s body was washed up by the East River. He had always wanted his suicide to be high drama, but in the end he said nothing to anyone; he simply disappeared from sight and silently returned to the sea, his mother.

via Spalding Gray’s Catastrophe – The New Yorker.

Maya Angelou Stamp Quote Actually Came From Connecticut Children’s Book Author Joan Walsh Anglund

A picture of part of one of the new Maya Angelou stamp sheets that were issues Tuesday, April 7, 2015. (photo: cjzurcher)

A picture of part of one of the new Maya Angelou stamp sheets that were issues Tuesday, April 7, 2015. (photo: cjzurcher)

The news that the U.S. Postal Service was honoring Maya Angelou, poet, author and civil rights advocate, with her own forever stamp was welcomed by her fans. Angelou, who died last year, was a cultural icon and mother figure to a generation of writers.

Jabari Asim, associate professor of writing, literature and publishing at Emerson College in Boston, was excited. Until he read the quote on the Angelou stamp:

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

Funny thing, he had always thought the quote came from Joan Walsh Anglund, the prolific children’s book author from Connecticut.

via Maya Angelou Stamp Quote Actually Came From Connecticut Children’s Book Author – Hartford Courant.

Carbon monoxide ‘blamed’ after father and his 7 children die in their sleep | The Washington Post

Ed: First of all, can you really blame the carbon monoxide for deaths? 

Left to right, Tykira Todd, 12, Tybria Todd, 6, Tyania Todd, 9, Tybree Todd, 10 and in front, Zycheim Todd, 7 and two other older siblings and father, Rodney Todd were found dead from asphysiated in their home in Princess Anne, Md. (Photo courtesy Sarah Hardy)

Just six weeks before his death, he implored his friends to cherish the time they have: “life is never promise[d] no matter how you look at it.”

via Carbon monoxide blamed after father and his 7 children die in their sleep – The Washington Post.

LIFE – TIME Photo Archive

The LIFE – TIME Archive is exactly what it sounds like. It’s am amazing collection of photography from the Time-Life series of periodicals dating back to I don’t even know when, but many years ago. Check it out. I’m sure you’ll see something that strikes your fancy.

Click on this blue link LIFE – TIME to visit this amazing resource.

The 12th Annual Smithsonian Photo Contest Finalists «TwistedSifter

The finalists of the 12th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest have just been announced. Selected from over 26,500 entries, these photos were submitted by photographers from 93 different countries. Smithsonian’s photo editors selected ten finalists per category—Natural World, Travel, People, Americana, Altered Images and Mobile—and it is up to you to determine the Readers’ Choice winner. The photograph that receives the most votes between now and March 30, at 5 p.m. ET, will receive a $500 cash prize and be announced alongside the Grand Prize and category winners on March 31.

The finalists range from a serene sunrise canoe in Minnesota to a train ride in Myanmar to a vicuña wandering the grasslands of the Andes. Some moments were sought out, others captured by chance. Votes are limited to one person per 24 hours.

Our friends at Smithsonian were kind enough to share a selection of the finalists in the amazing gallery below. You can see all 60 finalists at Smithsonian.com!

via The 12th Annual Smithsonian Photo Contest Finalists «TwistedSifter.

Feed the birds

by Christopher Zurcher

I think of the miracle of life.
The beauty of nature.
I get home and on my way from the garage to the house
I hear a chirp. It’s a cardinal chirp and, sure enough, he’s there in the tree next to the feeder.
My friend the brilliant red crested finch is calling me from the pine tree.
“Hey. Man-With-The-Seeds. We’re waiting on you.”
It’s been two days and all that’s left are some husks
in the bottom of the feeder and on the ground below.
“Alright. I’ll be right out.”
cardinal-cjzurcherAs I approach the feeder with my bucket of seeds,
the birds go crazy in the bushes.
I’ve never heard them this excited.
I pucker my lips and fake some bird sounds
as if I can tell them how pleased I am they’re here.
They continue to tweet and chirp and flutter about in the branches.
I turn up the driveway to walk back to the garage. The commotion stops.
I put the seeds on the floor of the garage and turn to watch
them return to the feeder.
At the very top of the same pine tree, the cardinal chirps
the short, shrill cardinal chirp, as if to say “thanks.”
If only I could tell him how beautiful he looks,
Bright red, dignified, important.
I go inside wondering if I he might not already know.

Readers’ travel photography competition 2015 | Travel | The Guardian

Have camera, will travel? Then Guardian Travel’s annual photography competition is for you. It’s an opportunity for you to capture the essence of your journeys around the world, and for us to showcase your work online and – at the end of the year – in an exhibition at Guardian HQ.

And the overall prize is pretty great too.

The winner of each month’s competition (who must be a UK resident) will see their shot mounted and displayed in the end-of-year exhibition for the public at the Guardian’s offices in London. Once the exhibition is finished digital printers Point 101 will send you a copy of your shot to place with pride on your own wall.

via Readers’ travel photography competition 2015 | Travel | The Guardian.

A reading from ‘Prime Green’ by Robert Stone on video | Narrative Magazine

Long before Robert Stone became a National Book Award–winning novelist, he tried selling encyclopedias in rural Louisiana, only to be arrested on suspicion of being an outside agitator. Regrouping from that calamity, he pondered joining a traveling theatrical troupe putting on a Christ play. In March 2009, at our Narrative Night in San Francisco, Bob gave a hilarious and moving reading of youthful tales, included in his memoir Prime Green.

Prime Green by Robert Stone | Narrative Magazine.

The purpose of schools, universities and education

Schools, universities and all forms of educational institution should be centers for the discovery and development of every individual’s innate and inherent skills, talents, abilities and interests.

Amateur Photographer Captures Intimate Photos Of Foxes Living In One Of The World’s Remotest Regions

When asked why he enjoys photographing wildlife, Kislov told The Huffington Post Wednesday that he “just likes to watch the animals.”

He added that he’s enjoyed taking photographs ever since he was a child.

Scroll down to see more of Kislov’s photographs. Visit his website and 500px page for a more complete collection.

via Amateur Photographer Captures Intimate Photos Of Foxes Living In One Of The World’s Remotest Regions.