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Archive for September 2011

Good Read: Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein

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Every Thing On It
by Shel Silverstein

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Product Description:

Shel Silverstein, beloved author of the acclaimed and bestselling poetry collections Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and Falling Up, will have a brand-new book of poetry published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in September 2011. This is only the second original book to be published since Silverstein’s passing in 1999. With more than one hundred and thirty never-before-seen poems and drawings completed by the cherished American artist and selected by his family from his archives, this collection will follow in the tradition and format of his acclaimed poetry classics.

Matt Markgraf says:

I grew up surrounded by video games. So why read a book when I can interact with a story on the screen? An exception can be made, says my 6-year-old self, for Shel Silverstein. I distinctly remember huddling in a group with other kids over a copy of Where The Sidewalk Ends, or A Light In The Attic, or Falling Up. We loved the dark humor, the daring whimsy and the off-beat illustrations. When I saw NPR’s feature on a new collection of poems, of unpublished work his family had gathered, I literally danced on the WKMS balcony (after pre-ordering the book).

As with other posthumous collections of unpublished things, there’s always the risk of quality. The question forms in my mind: “Why are these unpublished? Because they weren’t good or because the chance simply hadn’t come about?” To be perfectly honest, this collection soars and dives. The poems that seem unpolished are quite obvious, yet the poems that soar are absolutely fantatsic – like finding a diamond ring in a chocolate cake. If you’re willing to forgive a little and enjoy this surprising gift from Silverstein’s family, it will feel like a great bit of closure to a great body of work. Some of my favorite poems are the title poem, “Every Things On It” about a kid who regrets asking for a hotdog with everything, “A Giant Mistake” which posits a very profound ethical question, “The Clock Man” about placing a value on mortality, and the very last poem, of which all I’ll say is quite moving.

As a writer, growing up with Shel Silverstein on my bookshelf has been as much a joy as an asset. He teaches a timeless lesson of thinking for yourself, questioning everything, not taking life too seriously, finding joy in the mundane and delight in the wild.

Click here to check out more Good Reads.

Written by Matt Markgraf

September 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Datebook: September 30 – Mozart’s The Magic Flute debuts 220 years ago

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On September 30, 1791, the first performance of The Magic Flute, the last opera by Mozart made its debut, taking place at Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna, Austria. The Magic Flute is an opera in two acts composed to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialog. For the debut performance, Mozart conducted the orchestra, Schikaneder himself played Papageno, while the role of the Queen of the Night was sung by Mozart’s sister-in-law Josepha Hofer. There were no reviews of the first performance, though the show was a great success, performing hundreds of times in the 1790s to massive crowds. Its popularity had lifted Mozart’s spirits, as he had fallen ill at the time and died a few months after, in December.

It’s Friday, September 30

Tomorrow Laughing Corpse Production Company of Nashville performs “Silence of the Hams,” a murder mystery about a serial pig killer troubling the town’s annual pig festival, at Lake Barkley State Resort Park. Tickets are $45 each for a buffet dinner and the entertainment from 7 to 9 p.m. Call 800-325-1708.

The Civil War Singers perform a concert of folk songs of the nineteen sixties, not the Civil War sixties, at the Fort Donelson Memorial United Methodist Church in Dover tomorrow night at 7:00. Admission is free.

Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Bill Cunningham is keynote speaker for a program about running for political office and about the electoral process next week. Christian County Chamber and its partners call it a “Campaign School” from 8:30 to 2 on Saturday, October 8 at the Hopkinsville Community College Technical Center. $20 registration includes breakfast, lunch, snacks and materials for the day. For more, e-mail

Do you have your Prairie Home Companion tickets for the November 5th show in Murray? See Thanks!

the morning cram [another one bites the dust edition]

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An al-Qaida leader is reported dead in drone attack.

NPR reports Anwar al-Awlaki, the US born cleric and spokesperson for al-Qaida in Yemen has been killed.

Kentucky~ Fulton may lose its ambulance service. Go get your flu shot now! Restoring America saturates the airwaves with political ads.  An LGBT group responds to the latest Restoring America ad.  Beshear is not happy with Obama about coal jobs.

Tennessee~ Tenessee is one of a few states found to be compliant with the Adam Walsh Act.

Datebook: September 29 – Largest Dow Jones Point Drop In History 4 Years Ago

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Four years ago today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 777.68 points, closing the day at 10,365.45, the largest single-day point loss in its history. This was due to the financial crisis, mainly following the bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual. Though it remains the largest point drop, the largest percentage shift was October 18, 1987 – better known as Black Monday, when world markets crashed after a shift of -22.61%. If it’s any indicator as the instability of the markets and economy, most of the largest point drops and gains have occurred over the past four years.

It’s Thursday, September 29

Easter Seals West Kentucky’s 6th annual heart and soul art exhibit and auction is tonight. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, libations, and The Solid Rockit Boosters from 6 to 8 p.m. at LowerTown Paducah’s Madison Hall at 919 Madison Street. The live and silent auctions include works by local artists and Easter Seal adults and other items as well.

This year’s Kentucky Senior Games are underway in Murray and continue through Sunday. Tomorrow there’s a shuffleboard competition at noon at First United Methodist Church. Swimming begins at 8:30 a.m. at the MSU Wellness Center with games at the MSU Tennis Courts starting at 2. See the schedule at

Saturday is Hazel Day. Enjoy an open car show, a parade starting at 10 a.m., music with Great River Road from 11 to 4. The Purchase Area Antique Tractor Club displays tractors from 9 to 4. There’s a food Court and a kid’s area from 10 to 4 featuring inflatables and pumpkin painting.

Use to stay in touch. Enjoy your day.

the morning cram [pawpaw edition]

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The Pawpaw: North America’s forgotten fruit.

NPR reports a long lost tropical-like fruit which grows in our temperate climate is a little known treat found throughout 26 states.

Kentucky~ The Paducah Renaissance Alliance Director quits after two months on the job.   A Caldwell County judge declares a mistrial in the Allison murder case. Rand Paul is making the rounds in the Purchase Region today.  We all need a little help from our friends, says Todd P’Pool.  An accrediting body takes a long, hard look at National College. Senator Paul wants to chat with other Senators about pipeline regulations.

Tennessee~ State Senator Kyle says tweak the lottery, don’t steal from scholarship funds.

Datebook: September 28 – American and French Forces Siege Yorktown 230 Years Ago

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The Siege of Yorktown in 1781 was a decisive victory by a combined assault of American forces led by General George Washington and French forces led by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis. The culmination of the Yorktown campaign proved to be the last major land battle of the American Revolutionary War in North America, as the surrender of Cornwallis’ army prompted the British government eventually to negotiate an end to the conflict. French troops arrived September 26, giving Washington command of an army of 7,800 Frenchmen, 3,100 militia, and 8,000 Continentals – greatly outnumbering British forces. September 28, Washington led the army out of Williamsburg to surround Yorktown. That day, Washington reconnoitered the British defenses and decided that they could be bombarded into submission. After two days of negotiation, the surrender ceremony took place on October 19th, with Cornwallis being absent since he claimed to be ill. With the capture of over 7,000 British soldiers, negotiations between the United States and Great Britain began, resulting in the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

It’s Wednesday, September 28

Campbell Crossing of Ft. Campbell hosts the annual Post Wide Yard Sale Saturday starting at 8 a.m. rain or shine. Off-post residents attending the yard sale enter through Gate 4 and get a visitors pass. Present a valid drivers license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance to get a pass. A list of what’s selling at what homes is at

Prolific composer of educational piano music and clinician Dennis Alexander participates in a workshop for piano teachers from 9 to 3. Saturday at the Weldon Public Library, 100 Main Street in Martin. Registration at the door is $25 for teachers and $15 for students.

The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act program offers assistance with the Extra Help Program tomorrow from 11:30 on at the Crittenden County Senior Center, 201 North Walker Street, in Marion, Kentucky. It’s for those who have Medicare Part D or those eligible who have limited income and resources.

Enter announcements for Datebook at the community events page on Thanks.

the morning cram [return of Putin edition]

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Can US-Russia relations survive another Putin presidency?

NPR reports Russia’s leading political party, United Russia, wants Putin and Medvedev to switch jobs in the next election.

Kentucky~ Waide says no to Hopkins County sports complex. Medal of Honor winner sacrifices job opportunity to be fair. Paducah might have a police/firehouse. Conway is filing suit against another for-profit university. A judge says Iraqi terror suspects can be tried in civilian court.

Illinois~ The EEOC says Mach Mining won’t hire women.