G'day folks,

We all need to smile, especially in this harsh world. Well, here are some cartoons and quotes that might make you chuckle.

Clancy's comment: I'm sure some of these resonated with all serious writers and creative people. Dare to be different.

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G'day folks,

Katherine Langford is an Australian actress best known for her starring role in the Netflix series '13 Reasons Why,' about a high school teen who commits suicide.

Who Is Katherine Langford?

Katherine Langford was born in Perth, Australia, on April 29, 1996, but she became a star in America playing a troubled high school teen named Hannah Baker in the critically acclaimed Netflix series 13 Reasons Why starting in 2017.

 A Golden Globe Nom For Her Very First Acting Job

Except for a few student films she describes as “horrendous,” Langford had never acted professionally at all until she won the role in 13 Reasons Why when she was barely 20. 

And yet, the role of Hannah earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama (she lost to Elisabeth Moss, who won for The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu, at the 2018 Golden Globes in January 2018).

 ‘13 Reasons Why’


Adapted from a 2007 novel of the same name by Jay Asher, 13 Reasons Why is about a high school teen who commits suicide – what led up to it, and what happened afterward. Like the book, the TV show is centered on a collection of audiocassettes the dead girl left behind on which she recorded an “audio diary” detailing 13 reasons why she killed herself.

The show’s episodes were each based on a single side of a cassette. For example, Episode One was titled “Tape 1, Side A.”

13 Reasons Why Ignites Conversation, Controversy About Teen Suicide

13 Reasons Why became a sensation and so did Langford. It has been referred to as the “most tweeted-about show of 2017” – a milestone it reportedly earned within a month of its premiere in March 2017.

 The show ignited an increase in discussions about teen suicides, with on-line searches on the subject reportedly “skyrocketing” after the show’s premiere. But the show was also controversial for the graphic nature of some of its contents, including two rape scenes and the scene of Hannah’s suicide in which she slit her wrists in a bathtub.

“When you make a show like this, we expected controversy,” Langford said in an interview with Variety. “Overall, I think it was a good thing. You need there to be opinions in order for there to be discussions, and that’s really what the show is about — talking about issues that are taboo or that people wouldn’t usually discuss with parents or teachers.”

At least one distraught father blamed 13 Reasons Why for the suicide of his 15-year-old daughter. He said his daughter binge-watched the show just before killing herself.

Langford Pursues Acting After Lady Gaga Concert

Langford, formerly a high school swimmer, said she was inspired at age 16 to take up acting after seeing Lady Gaga in concert. “It was like a spiritual experience,” Langford told Entertainment Weekly. “I was so moved by her performance that I went home and that week I taught myself how to play piano.”

Langford took her first acting classes in Perth when she was 17. She concentrated on acting classes in her senior year in high school, after which she went on auditions (including auditions for parts in two network pilots that she didn’t get).


 A Successful Audition for ’13 Reasons Why’ Via Videotape and Skype


Living in Perth and unemployed, she then heard about auditions for 13 Reasons Why and sent a videotape (something actors from abroad sometimes do when they cannot audition in person). She had a follow-up audition via Skype and won the part.

“It was tricky and very, very challenging casting Hannah,” said the show’s creator, Brian Yorkey. “We saw many talented, wonderful actresses, but we just needed the person that brought that very special luminosity. We needed that, and that came via a self-tape from Perth, Australia, in the form of Katherine Langford.”

 Selena Gomez Persuades Langford to Go on Instagram


As of January 2018, Langford had 8.2 million followers on Instagram (@KatherineLangford).

In the wake of the first season of 13 Reasons Why, Langford was reluctant at first to put herself out there on social media. But it was Selena Gomez who persuaded Langford to make her Instagram account public. Gomez is one of the executive producers on 13 Reasons Why.

“It was a bit of a big decision for me actually, because I wanted to be an actor purely for the acting work,” Langford said in an interview with TheLast-magazine.com. “I have never been attracted to increasing my popularity or hireability by being on Instagram.

“I didn’t want to make myself a consumable product. I just wanted to be able to do my job and then disappear. Selena pointed out that the show is targeting young adults like me and that [social media] is a good medium to talk directly with those who relate to my character, Hannah.”

Langford and Co-star Dylan Minette are NOT Dating

Though rumors have persisted that Langford is dating (or has dated) Dylan Minette, her co-star and on-screen boyfriend on 13 Reasons Why, the rumors are not true (or at least they have been denied by both Langford and Minette). As of January 2018, she was not reportedly dating anyone.

 Two New Movies in 2018


Langford’s newfound fame earned her roles in at least three new movies. Two of them – The Misguided and Love, Simon – were due to be released in 2018. A third movie, Spontaneous, is in pre-production. The second season of 13 Reasons Why is also expected to premiere in 2018.

Clancy's comment: I have not seen the film in question, but I ask why was the subject within the film considered controversial. Youth suicide should be on everyone's lips. 

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G'day folks,

This article taught me a fair bit about something that has always aggravated me - WHY IS AMERICAN ENGLISH DIFFERENT TO REAL ENGLISH? Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was an American statesman and writer who served as the 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909. 

In August 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt issued an order from his summer residence in Oyster Bay, New York, that would soon be the talk of Washington—and the world beyond.

Addressing himself to the government printer, Roosevelt decreed that all documents issued by the White House should now follow the spellings advocated by an organization known as the Simplified Spelling Board.
 Launched the previous March and financed by the steel baron Andrew Carnegie, the board wanted to strip the American language of its antiquated British baggage and create a clean and modern version for the 20th century.

Carnegie, who’d immigrated to the United States as a teenager with little formal education, had high hopes for the project. “Mr. Carnegie has long been convinced that English might be made the world language of the future, and thus one of the influences leading to universal peace,” the New York Times reported. “He believes that the chief obstacle to its speedy adoption is to be found in its contradictory and difficult spelling.”

 At the time, written German, which had been simplified in 1901, seemed poised to become the “world language of the future”—a development that neither Carnegie nor Roosevelt, both intensely competitive men, could possibly have welcomed.

Carnegie recruited a long list of luminaries to the cause, including the writer Mark Twain, the philosopher William James, Melvil Dewey of Dewey Decimal System fame, and the presidents of Columbia and Stanford universities, among others. If Carnegie’s “universal peace” seemed like a grandiose goal, they could point to other, more basic benefits. Spelling would be easier to teach in schools, possibly shaving a year or more off the curriculum, educators said. Business correspondence would be faster and cheaper to handle. 

Publishers could save on typesetting, ink, and paper costs.

In a September 1906 speech, Twain argued that the reforms would also help new immigrants assimilate. Traditional spelling, he maintained, “keeps them back and damages their citizenship for years until they learn to spell the language, if they ever do learn.”

As a first step, the board published a list of suggested substitutes for 300 words whose spelling it considered archaic. For example, it proposed that “although” be shortened to “altho,” “fixed” become “fixt,” and “thorough” be traded in for “thoro.”

Roosevelt forwarded the list to the government printer, with his official blessing. The 26th president was so “thoroly” convinced of the idea’s merits that he didn’t realize the controversy he was about to spark.

 A Man of Words—and Lots of Them

Roosevelt’s obsession with words wouldn’t have been a total surprise to Americans of the day. Despite his popular image as a hard-charging soldier, big-game hunter, jungle explorer, and all-around outdoorsy he-man, he was also one of the nation’s most literate presidents. He wrote more than 30 books throughout his life and was a voracious reader as well, reportedly averaging a book a day.

But the reaction to his spelling move was swift and mostly negative, even though many of the words on the list were already in wide use, such “honor” instead of “honour” and “check” in place of “cheque.” The New York Times, in fact, calculated that at least 131 of the 300 simplified spellings appeared regularly in its own pages.

 That seemed to make little difference, though. “Had President Roosevelt declared war against Germany, he could not have caused much more agitation in Washington,” the Washington Times reported.

“Of all President Roosevelt’s moves to stir up the animals,” the Washington Evening Star wrote a week after the order, simplified spelling seemed to strike an unusually sensitive nerve. “Abroad it has particularly aroused the latent animosity of the English,” the paper noted.

 Indeed, barely a day after Roosevelt’s announcement, the New York Times reported that, “President Roosevelt is the laughing stock of literary London,” adding that newspaper writers there were now simplifying his surname, referring to him as Rusvelt and Ruzvelt, while Carnegie was caricatured as Andru Karnegi and Karnege. (American papers also had their fun with the men’s names. The Baltimore Sun asked whether the president would start spelling his name Rusevelt or “get down to the fact and spell it Butt-in-sky?”)
Another report summed up the reaction across England: “Mr. Roosevelt, heretofore regarded as only a little lower than the angels, is now characterized as whimsical, silly, headstrong, and despotic.”

Congress Cries Foul

Nowhere was the reaction more negative than in the U.S. Congress. where many members were irritated that Roosevelt had bypassed them.

Roosevelt, meanwhile, attempted to calm the spelling storm. In a letter to the government printer, he characterized his order as merely an experiment, saying that the American public would ultimately decide its fate. “If the slight changes in the spelling of the three hundred words proposed wholly or partially meet popular approval, then the changes will become permanent without any reference to what public officials or individual private citizens may feel; if they do not ultimately meet with popular approval they will be dropt, and that is all there is about it,” he wrote, managing to sneak in at least one word from the beleaguered list.

 The controversy seemed to have subsided, when, in October 1906, the U.S. Supreme Court unexpectedly got involved. Reviewing a government brief that had been prepared in accordance with Roosevelt’s order, Chief Justice Melville Fuller expressed his displeasure at seeing the word “thru” substituted for “through.” The government’s lawyer assured the court that it would never happen again.

The next month, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, noticing that the draft of a recent bill had been printed with simplified spellings, announced that it would be calling on the public printer to explain himself. Two weeks later the full committee weighed in, adding a provision to the bill that, “Hereafter in printing documents authorized by law or ordered by Congress… the Government Printing Office shall follow the rules of orthography established by Webster’s or other generally accepted dictionaries of the English language.”

The entire House took up the matter the following week, debating the pros and (mostly) cons of simplified spelling for three hours. While Roosevelt’s reforms had a few supporters, the prevailing view was that he had overstepped his authority. “Some time before very long, the people of the United States are going to insist on having a President that will attend to his own business,” one Congressman suggested.

Two days later, on December 12, 1906, the House voted 142 to 25 to withhold funding for the printing of any government document that deviated from conventional spelling. One impassioned foe declared, “If the President can change 300 words, he can change the spelling of 300,000.”

 Roosevelt Retreats

By now Roosevelt realized that he had really “stept” in it. The following day, he declared surrender, vowing to abandon the effort and admitting in a letter to a fellow advocate that it was “worse than useless to go into an undignified contest when I was beaten.”

Though the New York Times praised the president for his grace in defeat, he might have had a more pragmatic reason for backing down. The next presidential election was coming up in 1908, and simplified spelling had the potential to be a contentious issue in the campaign. As the Boston Transcript put it, “Unable to excoriate Roosevelt for squelching the coal strike, beginning work on the Panama Canal, stopping the Russo-Japanese War, cleaning up the packing houses, and irritating the trusts, [Roosevelt’s opponents] will denounce him with lurid frenzy for tampering with the spelling book.”

 Mark Twain also took note of the over-the-top reaction to Roosevelt’s fairly modest proposal. In dinner speech honoring Andrew Carnegie a year later, he joked that, “Simplified spelling brought about sun-spots, the San Francisco earthquake, and the recent business depression, which we would never have had if spelling had been left all alone.”

From its hopeful start to ignominious finish, Roosevelt’s initiative lasted barely four months. While it may have been a failure at the time, quite a few of its recommendations have long since come to pass. Although we haven’t adopted “kist” instead of “kissed” or “rime” in favor of “rhyme,” numerous words on the list are now in common use: “clue” (not “clew”), “draft” (not “daught”), “jail” (not “gaol”), “labor” (not “labour”), and many others.

Americans today might rightly wonder what all the clamor (not “clamour”) was about.

 Clancy's comment: English is English - not American. Sadly, this is an example of where society has dropped its values, and most modern dictionaries will often give you an 'either / or' for a word. Like: flavour / flavor, or colour / color, or centre / center etc etc. 

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G'day folks,

Do you recall these? I sure do.

I could say, that as a kid, I used to love looking at cutaway illustrations, but the thing is: I still think they’re just the greatest thing ever. With cutaway art, you get to examine and explore miniature hidden worlds behind-the-scenes and under an x-ray. The best stuff surely came out of the mid twentieth century, a golden age of illustration that generated a voracious public demand for new graphic art in magazines and periodicals. Fast-forward to the age of computer graphics and the cutaway has lost its way; lost its charm. But today, I found some examples of the good stuff to gawk at.

While many of the great cutaway artists are sadly forgotten or unknown, if there’s one name to remember, it’s probably Frank Soltesz, the “King of Cutaway Drawings”. He pretty much defined the look of commercial illustration in the United States between the 1930s and 1960s, so this might be a good place to start.

Check out these pearlers ...

Clancy's comment: So clever. Love them, and it's a shame they do not exist today. Kids would find them enchanting, and they would enhance their learning.

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