Archive for October 31st, 2016


by Sam Juliano

O, my luve’s like a red, red rose…..            -Robert Burns, 1794

The final years of the Georgian Age brought great industrial and technological advancements to England, but the rapid and unregulated growth came at a price.  Medical breakthroughs lagged fatally behind and social impoverishment was never so pronounced.  As one of the world’s most celebrated authors was to pen in one of his most famous works during the upcoming reign of Queen Victoria, It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.  The story of one of the era’s most underappreciated intellectual adventurers is one wrought in equal measure with sagacity and tribulation, revelation and dominion, and opulence and calamity.  That it was played out in the household of one of the most revered literary figures in history isn’t at all especially surprising, though the machinations that paved the way for it and the hybrid flowering that set the stage make it one of the most remarkable accounts for those fascinated by the beginnings of a technology that now has become a dominating force in our daily life.

Three picture books on the same subject have appeared in the last few years, with two of those releasing in 2016.  Ada Lovelace: Poet of Science  beautifully written by Diane Stanley, with illustrations by Jessie Hartland first appeared months ago, and it was followed recently by Ada’s Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer by Fiona Robinson.  In just over twelve months ago Laurie Wallmark and the wonderful illustrator April Chu collaborated on Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine.  Ms. Robinson’s book is the only one of the three done by a single person and as such it is bolstered by a singular vision of how to connect the economically applied prose with the sumptuous art that places it squarely in the Caldecott equation.  Robinson is a first-rate artist who for this book has created Japanese watercolor on Arches paper, then in an intricate process the paintings were cut out and glued to achieve depth and 3D before finally being photographed. (more…)

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Danny and Jillian as Lurch and Uncle Fester in Cliffside Park High School play “Mother Lurch Visits the Addams Family”

by Sam Juliano

Halloween is here, and any sorry sucker who is reading this post, and not planning their ghoulish garb for this evening deserves to be Count Dracula’s next victim.  Reinvent yourself.  Be the talk of the town.  And don’t go to sleep until you watch at least one Hammer horror and one of the Universal gems from the 30’s.  For those with a more acute taste for the extreme try an Argento.  For those with a Gothic hankering put in a Bava.  For true horrific greatness, we offer you Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, John Carpenter’s Halloween, and The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock.  For those who tilt towards pure cinema, we have Nosferatu, Eyes With A Face, Dead of Night (1945), Onibaba, The Haunting, Don’t Look Now.  Films like The Exorcist, The Hills Have Eyes and City of the Dead fit the bill too. Those desiring definitive horror lists can refer to stellar round-ups from Jamie Uhler and Roderick Heath.  This isn’t a time to hold back my friends!  Heck even Boris Karloff’s Thriller and Rod Serling’s Night Gallery would make your day complete.  But be careful when you go out trick or treating.  There are some crazies out there, and we all want your safe for next Halloween.  Oh, and by the way, put on a jacket over your costume.  Temperatures in the New York City metropolitan area are expected to hover around 50 degrees.

Lucille and the rest of the brood – or at least those not participating attended a Cliffside Park High School Halloween production of “Mother Lurch Visits the Addams Family” on Saturday afternoon.  Our darling Jillian played Uncle Fester, our enterprising Danny impersonated Lurch, and Jeremy worked on the lighting.  We also attended a book lauching at the Stories Bookshop in Brooklyn for the new book in the “Witches of Benevento” series by John Behmelmans Marciano and Caldecott Medal winner Sophie Blackall. (more…)

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