Google Censorship

Something is phishy at Google.

Off the Rails - Track 451

It has come to our attention here at Off the Rails, that one of our contributors, Jennifer Kiley, is having her blog censored by Google/Chrome.

Trying to access her blog the other day, we were met, out of the blue, by a “Stop: Dangerous Site Ahead” warning which blocked access. After much research and hair-pulling, Jennifer discovered that Google was cherry-picking words from her blogs, words related to psychiatric conditions and drugs and big pharma, to human sexuality, and what might be considered radical politics, etc, even words and phrases taken totally out of context in poems, for Christ’s sake!

To all who believe in the first amendment and freedom of expression, beware! You could be next. Time to fight back.

Big Brother Google is watching.

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Year of the Fire Monkey

Time for pot-stickers and Dragon dancing.

Off the Rails - Track 451

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According to the Chinese Calendar

it is 4713.

The year of the Fire Monkey.

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It is a time to be curious, energetic – to shake things up and create the change

we so often talk about but seldom shape ourselves.

Be bold and generous. Take chances.

Dance to the music you hear and don’t let anyone step on your toes.

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Happy New Year!

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Alan Rickman 1946-2016

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It has been a very rough start to the new year, losing so many incredible people so suddenly. Today. a small tribute to Alan Rickman, an actor and director of wit and humor and  great intensity. Alan-Rickman-Wallpaper-alan-rickman-6979161-1024-768

Most young people know him from the Harry Potter films. though one of my favorites has always been “Truly, Madly, Deeply.”

And for fans of Severus Snape, a little something to remind us of the hero he was.

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Alan Rickman will be sorely missed.

David Bowie. 1947-2016

Off the Rails - Track 451

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I grew up on the genius of David Bowie. Indeed, I played my cassette of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars so often it wound up spliced and respliced until it finally wore through. In music, film, fashion, life, he was as if from another realm entirely. His chiseled androgyny served as both lure and challenge, as he capered across the cultural landscape, forever reinventing himself, pushing boundaries with an eerie prescience.

Many words far better than mine will be written about Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane/The Thin White Duke/Regular Dude, et al., and his profound influence on the creative world of the past 50 years. So I won’t ramble. For now, let David Bowie’s work speak.

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Fly high and thank you. What gifts you gave us all.

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Holiday Serendipity, a Place at the Inn….

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And six degrees of Schrödinger’s cat.

In a nod to the gastronomic excesses of the season, I decided this year to rummage through my collected recipes and find something divinely decadent for Yule dessert. On a worn piece of paper slipped into the folds of Joy of Cooking, I found the perfect thing: Lucie’s Chocolate Mousse. (see below)

Which brings this story teller to a story.

When I was a kid – all of 8 ½ – we spent my father’s first sabbatical in England. Now, as some of you might know, my father is a potter, and one of his good friends in was Lucie Rie.Though we were living in Devon for the year, whenever we went up to London we would visit Lucie at her home/studio in Paddington for tea, treats, and conversation. Despite her diminutive stature, I remember being rather intimidated by Lucie.

She had a no-nonsense demeanor, not suffering fools – or perhaps just children – gladly. But her eyes had a rare spark and she was always gracious with her time and fare. One of the most delicious offerings on such sojourns, especially for a kid with a budding sweet tooth, was her chocolate mousse. Creamy, rich, but not cloying. With a cup of strong Viennese coffee, it was perfect.Tablewares by Lucie Rie and Hans Coper c1955

What does all this have to do with Schrödinger’s cat, you ask?51RswbgKulL._SY355_

Well, it all has to do with Lucie’s history and the remarkable woman she was.

Lucie came to London in 1938. The Anschluss had enveloped Austria and it was no longer safe to be a Jew in Vienna. She emigrated to London where, like refugees then and now, she had to start over. Though an artist of renown on the continent, for a time she made ends meet making ceramic buttons and jewelry. In 1939 she moved into 18 Albion Mews, a remodeled stable in the London borough of Westminster, which she called home for the rest of her life. She also opened her doors to others fleeing the violence Hitler was igniting across Europe. One of those people was fellow Austrian, Erwin Schrödinger, on his way from Vienna to Oxford and, eventually, Dublin.Schrodinger_11

Of course, this was several years after Schrödinger came up with his paradoxical thought experiment known as Schrödinger’s cat. Still, in the weird interconnected way of the world, all these years later it is interesting to wonder about conversations round Lucie’s table through the years. About Nobel laureates to wide-eyed American kids; about quantum physics and pots and buttons; about the need across the world for open hearts and sanctuary from human madness.

May each of us know a place of refuge, of love and memory, cats and mousses.

Happy Yuletide.

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Lucie’s Chocolate Mousse:

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate.
4 eggs – as this recipe uses raw eggs, be sure of their quality.
½ chocolate cake – or sponge if you prefer.

Break the cake into bits in a deep bowl.
Separate eggs. Beat whites until stiff.
Melt the chocolate in a couple of Tbs. of strong coffee. Set aside and let cool slightly. When you’re sure it’s ool enough not to cook the eggs, add the yolks.

Fold in the egg whites and layer over the cake. Chill.

Time, Memory, and Dragons….

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The holiday season is upon us. When family gathers together to break bread, knock heads, and mark the candlelit passage of time with mulled wine before the fire.steampunk-eye1

In honor of the season and memory of sweet scents and good company, a few words from pens wiser than my own.

“But what is memory if not the language of feeling, a dictionary of faces and days and smells which repeat themselves like the verbs and adjectives in a speech, sneaking in behind the thing itself, into the pure present, making us sad or teaching us vicariously…”
― Julio Cortázar, Hopscotchred dragon

“Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember nothing stays the same for long, not even pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.”
― May Sartontime dragon

“…I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire…I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it.”
― Faulkner, The Sound & The Furytimetravel1

From all of us at the Nest, wishes to you for a peaceful and memorable Thanksgiving.

Confabulation of Dragons - Scott Gustafson

Confabulation of Dragons – Scott Gustafson

Holiday Giveaway

Wonderful idea. Great writer. Spreading the word.

Eric Devine

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It’s that time of year again. Yup, the precarious plunge, post-Halloween, where all the fall and winter celebrations have been rolled into one and are sale in everywhere. Right up until New Year’s. Then it’s time for the Valentine hearts. Or maybe the shamrocks.

Therefore, in an effort to help you have one less thing to buy for whatever it is you are celebrating, let me give you something. Some things, really.

If you would like Press Play, Dare Meand Tap Out, go and enter this Goodreads giveaway. Not a member of Goodreads? Sign up. It takes like two seconds and really is a great place to keep track of books you’ve read and books you want to read. Oh, and there are tons of giveaways, like this one. So if you’ve read my work and don’t want more, cool–well, not cool, but understandable–then check…

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Dragons in the Mist….

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Halloween Dragons – Sixth Leaf Clover

Happy Samhain one and all!

The harvest is over and now the world tips into its darker half. It is also the Night of the Dead – when the barrier between this world and the Otherworld thins and can be crossed. Ghosts, goblins, elves, et al, walk abroad, welcomed by some, feared by others.

And then there are Dragons. sorcerer_magician_ghost_dragon_58209_2560x1600For Dragons, Samhain is a time to celebrate their return to the world of humans after centuries of self-imposed exile among the Fae.

Firefly hunting in silent dragon woods – Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

Dragons, of course, do nothing by halves. When they came back to us, they did it with a snort and a roar and a lively dance round Samhain baelfires. That we were having our own seasonal fun proves a bonus for all.wizards_on_halloween_dragon_lovely_weird_hd-wallpaper-1861292

Of course, tonight has its somber elements, too. It is a time to feel the presence of those no longer with us, to honor their lives and their absence. Having lost so many of their kind during the Dark Times, Dragons are particularly cognizant of this. Dragon_of_spirits_by_Ruth_Tay

You should hardly be surprised if you cross paths this evening with an enchantment of ghostly Lombard Leatherwings or skeletal Kiev Shinglebacks.1143934-bigthumbnail

If you are so blessed, do not scream or run about. Simply bow every so politely and continue on your way.phoca_thumb_l_dragon_149

One word of caution: If any Dragonlets are among your trick-or-treaters, do be careful not to give them too much sugar. As with children, it has a tendency to make them bounce off walls and that can create obvious problems. c92c419374f3a988ccf1689b913670e8

One treat we’ve found to be a huge hit around the Nest is Chocolate Habanero peppers dipped in a glaze of pumpkin and Mexican chocolate. The mix of heat and just a little sweet is enjoyed by Dragons of all ages and keeps sugar-rush mayhem to a minimum.HalloweenDragon

Wishing one and all a wondrous Samhain. And to everyone at WAFDE and dracophiles the world over, our fiercest thanks for making this Fifth Month of the Dragon so memorable. May the Great Dragon smile upon you all.e7b474c6672ee3cef84af071c14bc469

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