James Joyce Celebrates His Birthday

February 2, 2017, is the 135th anniversary of the birth of James Joyce (above).

In his huge biography, Richard Ellmann notes in several places that Joyce found his own birthday to be a topic most fascinating (he made certain that his novel Ulysses was published on his 40th, in 1922) and he tells how this affected his relationship with another writer, James Stephens.
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C.S.I.: North Pole

Who wrote “A Visit from St. Nicholas”? Who invented Santa Claus?

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Sometimes all a story needs for it to be spread widely is an authoritative manner behind its delivery. Like all characters in great folklore, the character of Santa Claus “feels” like something ancient, a figure who has always been around, and not something that a human being could have conceived of merely to sell, well, anything.

What we know about the jolly old elf, including that very phrase, mostly comes from Old New York of the beginning of the 19th Century. New York City in the early 1800s was already the melting pot it remains to this day, but mostly it was two cultures that were mixing together then: English and Dutch. During the period of Dutch dominance, in commerce and population, the city was called New Amsterdam, and many place names still in use in the city and parts north to Albany are Dutch in origin (Spuyten Duyvil or Catskill Mountains, for example).
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Zombies to Help Love

Aston Parsons’ 2015 novel 28 Grams Later is a zombie apocalypse horror-comedy in which the only defense against the zombie infection is … cannabis. It is tightly plotted, stays one step ahead of its readers, and has many laugh-out-loud comic moments.

Among its great insights are that even in the middle of an apocalypse, bureaucratic types will emerge to run the remains of the bureaucracy, military types will offer to shoot first, and stoners will quite probably save the world. Parsons keeps the novel’s attitude on the tongue-in-cheek side, which is, of course, an awkward compliment for a zombie novel.

Parsons has also pledged that all proceeds from sales of the novel from December 1 on will be donated to the Courage Foundation’s defense fund for Lauri Love. In November, Amber Rudd, the United Kingdom’s Home Secretary, signed the order to approve Lauri Love’s extradition to the United States to face charges of data theft.

More than 100 members of Parliament, across party lines, signed a letter in October on behalf of Love that is to be sent to President Obama to request that he withdraw the extradition requests. People around the world are fighting for Love’s freedom. Parsons’ book is one more way.

The title is available through all the E-Book retailers. Hardcover, the book is available for around £3.00. Through Amazon UK, the title is £0.49, and though Amazon in America, the title is 99 cents. Buy a copy, and then spread the word.

28 Grams Later is also available through iTunes.

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