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The Monkey and the Apples

There once was a happy monkey. He wandered through the jungle, happy to be alive. He stopped to eat delicious fruit when he was hungry, and resting when he was tired. One day he came upon a house, where he saw a bowl of the most beautiful apples. He took one in each...

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Happy Birthday To . . . Jonathan & Sam

November 30, 1667 Jonathan Swift "We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another." November 30, 1835 Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) "The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice."

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Poem: “The Empathy Party,” by Sarah Sadie

My son barred me from the empathy party his fifth grade classroom hosted. In our evolving dance there are so many events I’m not invited to, moments I’m too intimate to share. Later, he tells me the snacks sucked, crackers and carrot sticks, and there was too much...

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Happy Birthday To . . . Rita Mae & Jon

November 28, 1944 Rita Mae Brown "The only queer people are those who don't love anybody." November 28, 1962 Jon Stewart "If you don't stick to your values when they're being tested, they're not values: they're hobbies."

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Poem: “Enemies,” by Wendell Berry

If you are not to become a monster, you must care what they think. If you care what they think, how will you not hate them, and so become a monster of the opposite kind? From where then is love to come—love for your enemy that is the way of liberty? From forgiveness....

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Happy Birthday To . . . Charles & Adolpho

November 26, 1922 Charles Schulz “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.” November 26, 1931 Adolfo Perez Esquivel "We know we cannot plant seeds with closed fists. To sow, we must open our hands."

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Poem: “What Is Given,” by Ralph Murre

The likelihood of finding strawberries tiny and wild and sweet around your ankles on any given day in any given place is not great but sometimes people find strawberries right where they are standing just because it is their turn to be given a taste of something wild...

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Happy Birthday To . . . George & Andre

November 22, 1857 George Gissing "It is because nations tend towards stupidity and baseness that mankind moves so slowly; it is because individuals have a capacity for better things that it moves at all." November 22, 1869 Andre Gide "One does not discover new lands...

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Poem: “A Thanksgiving Fable,” by Oliver Herford

It was a hungry pussy cat, upon Thanksgiving morn, And she watched a thankful little mouse, that ate an ear of corn. "If I ate that thankful little mouse, how thankful he should be, When he had made a meal himself, to make a meal for me! Then with his Thanks for...

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Poem: “Magnifying Mirrors,” by Judi Brown

I am getting too old for this for peering into a magnifying mirror whose sole mission is to bring into sharp focus each imperfection as though with a little care and attention I can achieve what passes for beauty as if growing old gracefully doesn't include age spots...

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Happy Birthday To . . . Howard & Margaret

November 18, 1900 Howard Thurman "If a man knows precisely what he can do to you or what epithet he can hurl against you in order to make you lose your temper, your equilibrium, then he can always keep you under subjection." November 18, 1939 Margaret Atwood "Nothing...

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Happy Birthday To . . . Nye & Theodore

November 15, 1897 Aneurin Bevan "You can't have the crown of thorns and the thirty pieces of silver." November 15, 1933 Theodore Roszak "People try nonviolence for a week, and when it 'doesn't work' they go back to violence, which hasn't worked for centuries."

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Happy Birthday To . . Kurt & Kim

November 11, 1922 Kurt Vonnegut "There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia." November 11, 1968 Kim...

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Poem: “Dulce et decorum est,” by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod....

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Happy Birthday To . . . Richard & Dorothy

November 8, 1748 Richard Cecil "Every year of my life I grow more convinced that it is wisest and best to fix our attention on the beautiful and the good, and dwell as little as possible on the evil and the false." November 8, 1897 Dorothy Day “We have all known the...

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Happy Birthday To . . Albert & Billy

November 7, 1913 Albert Camus "In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm…In the midst of...

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Poem: “A Warning To My Readers,” by Wendell Berry

Do not think me gentle because I speak in praise of gentleness, or elegant because I honor the grace that keeps this world. I am a man crude as any, gross of speech, intolerant, stubborn, angry, full of fits and furies. That I may have spoken well at times, is not...

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Sustaining the long note

From filmmaker Michael More: "This morning I have been pondering a nearly forgotten lesson I learned in high school music. Sometimes in band or choir, music requires players or singers to hold a note longer than they actually can hold a note. In those cases, we were...

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Happy Birthday To . . . Stephen & Shirley

November 2, 1773 Stephen Grellet "I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." November 3, 1924...

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Poem: “My Moral Life,” by Mark Halliday

Two years hence. When I'm ready. After one more set of poems about my beautiful confusion. After I've read Anna Karenina and Don Quixote and the first volume at least of Proust and one big novel by Thomas Mann— say three years. Three years hence: after I've written an...

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Poem: “A Brief for the Defense,” by Jack Gilbert

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies are not starving someplace, they are starving somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils. But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants. Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not be made so fine....

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