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spam comments make for interesting reading

By January 20, 2018 Learning, Writing

So what is it with spam (not the canned one) but the one online? And specifically comments? It is almost a whole line of business by itself. While spam comments can be annoying, and definitely need to be dealt with – my way is to approve comments on my blog before publishing them, and also using Akismet. But, both here on my new blog (since the past few months), and on my previous blogspot blog, I have dealt with spam fairly successfully, and, had fun reading many of those comments. You have to admit, some of those comments, even if bot-automated, need some creative thinking to get them going!!

Here are a few that made their way to my blog (were not published however, and marked as spam) that I found made for interesting reading. And a few actually seemed to be copied and pasted (and rewritten badly) from some children’s story somewhere – those are the ones below

‘Effeⅽtively boys,? Mοmmy lastlʏ said after theyd giove yoս plenty off silly concepts of what
Godⅾ did for enjoyablе, ?What God really likes is when folks love each other and care for each otһer like we do
in our family.? Tһat made sense to Lee and
Larry so Lee hhgged Mommy and Larry hugged dacdy to simply make God һаppy.’

‘My flip, my turn.? Larry stated еɑgewrlʏ wiggling too get аn opportunity to
talk. ?I feel tһe most effective factoг aƅout God is that he can Ьeat up the degil because the devil is scary and imply and uglyy andd unhealthy andd Ԍod can Ьeat him uup so the
devil сan?t dqmage us like he diɗ thuose dmon stuffed individuals in Jesus day.’

‘Eveгyone ⅼauɡһed trying to think about whaat kind of
pаryу Mary and Joseph gave for Jesus when He was six.
Larгy puzzled, ?I guess he favored the iⅾenticaal kind of toys we like.’

‘Properly, Ιm suгprised ʏou all left tthe very further greatesst one for me.?
Daddy stated with a teаsing smile. ?It?s
that he despatched Jesus to die for us and give us life eteгnally
and everr and that because of that we will be a family iin heaven for thousаnds and thousanmdѕ of
yeaгs. That?s pretty good isnt іt?’

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Silent Sentinels (No Way They’re Trunkless)

By January 19, 2018 Writing
For dVerse, a response poem – a mere faint reflection(my attempt) of the mighty poem by one of the greats. Shelley..
My response poem is as a result also of our many trips to the majestic Redwoods (and in particular, the Avenue of the Giants)

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

– Percy Bysshe Shelley

Silent Sentinels

On her way from times far-away
I met this nomadic nymph the other day
To her I had this to say
“Towering trees, so grand, so old,
Stand by the highway, upright bold;
Their sheer presence, their majesty
While fills one’s heart with awe, with beauty,
Show that mother nature with care did nurture
This treasure she gifted, that we view with rapture,
As I gazed on these silent giants
These onlookers of so many pasts,
In my mind, I recalled these words
‘To be like these, straight, true and fine
To make our world like theirs a shrine’”

– Vidya Tiru/LadyInRead


The last two lines in my poem – from Strauss’ poem ‘The Redwoods

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Make Way For Peace With Words

By January 18, 2018 Writing

For dVerse Poetics, today we are illuminating quotes that inspire social justice, human rights, global peace by selecting a quote and embedding it in our own poem with a similar theme…

The quote I selected is from a song with Hindi and English lyrics called ‘Gurus of Peace’.

Song: Gurus of Peace
Album: Vande Mataram
Artist: A.R. Rahman and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

I have included the video of the song as well here. The song itself has always inspired me with artistes across the borders joining in to produce this beautiful result. The English lyrics that are part of the song are below (I used the word ‘someday’ based on the official lyrics video, while other lyric websites use the word ‘somewhere’ instead)

What are you waiting for another day another dawn
Someday we have to find a new way to peace
What are you waiting for another sign another call,
Someday we have to find a new way to peace

My take on it using the Golden Shovel poetic form. Words from the above lyrics are in bold italics in the poem..

Make Way For Peace

We will find a somewhere someday
I know not the place it is; but we
could walk hand in hand; what have
we to lose? It’s time to
be human(e) again; to find
our humanity;let us try anew;
wait not for a sign, make our way
our own instead; this road leads to
our somewhere – here will reign peace!

-Vidya Tiru/LadyInRead (2018)

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How ‘Black Beauty’ Changed Animal Welfare for the Better

By January 17, 2018 Books, Memes

Today, I bring to you a childhood favorite, one that shows up in many Top Ten Lists on my blogBlack Beauty.

Black Beauty

My copy of the book – a Legendary Classic edition retold for children (1982 edition)

Black Beauty  was one of the first books that made me cry.  I got my own copy of the book when I was thirteen though I had read it earlier from the school library, as a prize I won at school. I still have my copy.. My school had this policy of handing out books as the prize to kids for all events; and when I had discovered that early on (I was always one of those – good students), I made sure I participated in competitions and did my best as well in class throughout the year. This ensured I got a few books at the end of every school year 🙂 But this was not my only source of books – my dad was the biggest supporter of my reading habits (and still continues to be!) – there is no way I can keep count of the number of books he bought for me (he never batted an eyelid when we entered bookstores and I returned with an armload of books). I digress, so returning to the book in hand – Black Beauty.

Though circumstances may be different today, there are still animals (and people) ill treated everywhere around the world and this book’s message of empathy, kindness,  and humane treatment of animals(and fellow humans too) is a much needed one. Read on for more interesting facts about this wonderful book.

  • Black Beauty was a very unique concept for the Victorian times – with the story written in the animal’s point of view. Many biographers believe that Sewell based Beauty on the family’s beloved pet horse, Bess.
  • This was Anna Sewell’s only published book, she started writing this in 1851 and it was published in 1857, a mere five months before she died at the age of 58. She did live long enough to learn she had authored a bestselling book (though she had sold it to the publishers outright for a price of £20 – the price paid for the book is unconfirmed however with varying records for the price of £20, £30, and £40!) (Source: The Oxford World Classic’s edition of the book)
  • The original/complete title of the book was ‘Black Beauty: His Grooms and Companions : the Autobiography of a Horse : Translated from the Original Equine’
Black Beauty

This copy of the first edition of the book was dedicated by the author to her mother. It was auctioned off at Christie’s in London in June 2006 for £33,000.

  • This was not intended to be a children’s book; instead, it was aimed at adults to highlight the harsh treatment of horses and as a manual to help those who worked with horses. In her own words, her purpose in writing the novel was “to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses”[1] Consequently, her descriptions of how horses were treated, and specifically,  of the in-vogue ‘bearing rein’ of the times, led to the ban of the rein, and to changes in animal welfare laws all over Victorian England as well as in the United States.
  • The book also described how horses should be treated, and as such, was handed over to stables and horse-drives everywhere as a guide.
  • This is certainly a best seller, having sold more than 50 million[2]copies to date.

References: Wikipidea

‘Black Beauty’ is definitely one book that should be required reading for all ages, and it has inspired people in so many different ways. It still continues to be a favorite of mine.

Have you read the book? Or watched any of the various movie versions of the book? If you were to write a story about an animal in the animal’s POV (point of view), which animal would you pick and why?

This post goes towards UBCJust Jot It JanuaryABC Wednesday‘s round 22 – letter B (my theme for ABC Wednesday’s Round 22, as you might have already guessed, is children’s books – I will pick one popular (and sometimes the not so popular/the unknown) book – classic/modern/old/new… – and write about it – be it a backstory or facts or something else completely).

this post contains Amazon affiliate links

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Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2018

By January 15, 2018 Books, Memes, Reviews, Writing

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Bookish Goals is the theme for Top Ten Tuesdays this week, at its new home over at ThatArtsyReaderGirl. And my bookish goals are very similar to the ones I made in previous years, with just a couple of changes.

  1. Work on my challenges – that covers many goals
  2. Read (and discuss the books we read) with my kids more
  3. Write more (those story ideas I have had since forever never made it to paper or well, the laptop)
  4. Update my book lists on my blog (TBR/completed/others) – create a new page and link to reviews wherever they are; Also update on goodreads/pinterest/bookstagram(this last one will be new to me)
  5. Start on the review of a book as soon as I am done reading it – at least a few comments/notes so I can work on it later – if I don’t then it just is not the same
  6. Find interesting bookish things – anything to do with books – and post about them (blog/pinterest/bookstagram)
  7. Write comments on my blog/goodreads for other books I have read before but not reviewed
  8. I will not continue to read books if I find them uninteresting even after 50 pages (changed from 33 before, because have noticed that some books tend to start slow). (Note: also depends on the total number of pages in the book – so this can change relative to the size – 50 pages will apply to books having around 250 pages, for my reading)
  9. Interact more with other book bloggers – one reading challenge and commenting on top ten tuesday posts/other book review posts is my plan to start on this
  10. Have fun reading and blogging and reviewing and doing all that I have stated above


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Magic Monday: Children’s Book Reviews and Short Stories

By January 15, 2018 Books, Memes, Reviews

This post goes towards It’s Monday What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA at Teach Mentor Textsand for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge as well as Just Jot It January. This also goes towards the NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge and the Short Story Reading Challenge – Deal Me in 2018.

For the Short Story Reading Challenge – Deal Me In 2018, here is a short short-story this week again (but not intentional – the pick of the cards!).

The Card: 6 of Spades

The Selection: Leo Tolstoy’s ‘The Three Questions

Here is the goodreads description: The story takes the form of a parable, and it concerns a king who wants to find the answers to what he considers the three most important questions in life. When is the best time to do each thing? Who are the most important people to work with? What is the most important thing to do at all times?

My thoughts: This story provides the answers to the questions posed by the king in the story (and also asked by many of us very often). Through this story, he illustrates the importance of the present moment, of mindfulness (of the whys, wheres, whos, whats, and hows of the present moment), and to simply do good. A beautiful quick read that can be appreciated by all.

Another book that I discovered after I read this story and was trying to find out more about this was an adaptation of the story for children (with a replaced character set and no violence) – named, well, The Three Questions [Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy] – by Jon J Muth. I have to yet read this adaptation but it looks and sounds like it would make a great gift (and books are my favorite books to give and receive), so I will be checking this out soon!


Epic Cardboard Adventures by Leslie Manlapig

Series: Capstone Young Readers
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers; Combined edition (March 1, 2018)

Goodreads Description: The creator behind the blog Pink Stripey Socks brings her crafting talent to cardboard! With these easy-to-make, imagination-growing cardboard crafts, kids can put on a show, travel back in time, and even rocket to outer space!

My  thoughts: This book contains many creative ideas – using, as the title says, cardboard.  And while cardboard in its many forms (cartons, paper towel tubes, toilet paper tubes, other) is not the only material needed, many of the other materials are ones you will likely already have at home! Plus, you can put those Amazon shipping cartons to fun use! A helpful material list for each craft and step-by-step photographic instructions help the reader work towards a cool end result – be it something just pure fun, a costume, playtime use, games, props to put on shows, and more. My favorite sections were those on Ancient Egypt (could be because of our recent visit to the amazing local museum here – a travel post on that to come in the next couple of weeks!), space (our Kennedy Space center visit?), and the section ‘Put on a Show’ which includes crafts for a rock concert, puppet show, and carnival fun among others.  Displaying the end results of my creations?? In a future post – coming soon!!

Note: While some crafts can be completed by kids by themselves, many of the crafts will need an older kid or adult help/supervision to complete. But – be warned, this can be addictive for those who love creating – like my DD and me (and my DH will not be a happy camper as he prefers cardboard boxes and used paper towel holders in the recycle bin usually!) This book while, will appeal more to younger kids, creative ‘uns of all ages will have fun exploring these ideas…

Rating: B+
Reading Level: Ages 7 to 11
Reread Level: 5/5


Disclaimer:Thank you to NetGalley and to the publishers for sending me a digital review copy of the book – Epic Cardboard Adventures. I was not compensated for my reviews. My thoughts were in no way influenced by the author or publicist. They are my personal opinions formed when I read these books.

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A Hello and Goodnight at the (almost) Midway-Mark

By January 14, 2018 Memes, Writing

as i wish hello to you & myself a goodnight

light greets people elsewhere

err, brain-freeze is what i face

ways to overcome it in many tries

wisely i stop right now..


It is almost the midway-mark for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge and this is my attempt to get this posted for the day and a chained-rhyme (prompt from toads)


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Attention to Details Makes Wor(l)ds Magical

By January 13, 2018 Art, Memes, Travel


These words of Walt Disney ring true as we walk around any Disney theme park. The attention to details paid in every thing, from the obvious to the little things like trash cans and benches and lamp posts, is simply amazing. A post with more photos and tips from our Disney trip to come soon…

For Six Word Saturday  hosted at Travel with Intent and  Saturday Snapshot over at West Mommy Reads, as well as for UBC

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Book Beginnings and Friday 56

By January 12, 2018 Books, Memes

For the weekly book memes – Book Beginnings and Friday 56: I have picked a couple of sentences from the book ‘The Kindness of Enemies‘ by Leila Aboulela: I picked this book as part of the Strategic Reading Challenge; it also counts towards my Continental Reading Challenge – for books from Africa. Join me in traveling the world!

Book Beginnings: Hosted by Rose City Reader: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Include the title of the book and the author’s name.

1. Scotland, December 2010

Allah was inscribed on the blade in gold. Malak read the Arabic aloud to me. She looked more substantial than my first impression; an ancient orator, a mystic in shawls that rustled. The sword felt heavy in my hand; iron-steel, it’s smooth hilt of animal horn. I had not imagined it would be beautiful. But there was artistry in the vegetal decorations and Ottoman skill from the blade’s smooth curve down to its deadly tip.

Friday 56: This book meme is hosted by Freda. The rules of this book meme are simple too. Grab a book you are reading, turn to page 56 or 56% (whichever works), pick any sentence(s) and post it. Include the book title and the author. Link back to Friday 56

In desperation, women and children joined in an ambush. To fool the Russians that they had more fighters, Djawarat and a group of women dressed like men. Reluctantly, their husbands, fathers and brothers shared battle tactics and turbans, lent them swords and sharpened daggers, whispered advice.

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13 Board Games For Those Days of Bored(om)

By January 11, 2018 Everything Else, Family, Learning, Reviews

There are days when you want to cozy up in that little nook, with a cup of something hot (my choice – some peppermint tea or hot chocolate!), and read a book. Or you could still stay in that nook – the slightly larger cozy nook of your home – and play board games with the rest of the family to drive away bored (om). For those days, I have some suggestions that my kids always bring out and love to play (and if mom and dad join in, all the better)

From strategy games that we are still learning the tips and tricks of (like Forbidden Island) or classic strategy games like Battleship to geography games (Scrambled States and Do You Know Where You Are?); from games that require focus (like Jenga) to games of luck/throw of the dice (like Sorry); from classic favorites like Monopoly and Uno to word games like Story Cubes and Taboo – this list covers all of them. (And you might notice the absence of Scrabble – well, that is another favorite too!)

  1. Forbidden Island
    A strategy game top-rated by Mensa, and pretty popular on Amazon, this game does need you to think ahead and strategize. We are still learning the tricks of the game, each time we play.
  2. Qwirkle Board Game – 
    Another strategy game where a little bit of luck is involved too – this can be played by people of all ages – line up tiles matching shapes and/or colors to score higher with smarter matches
  3. Scrambled States of America
    How well do you know your states? Find the Sunshine State; the state that shares borders with the maximum # of states; a state that begins with A; questions on cards range from the obvious to the harder and you learn your states definitely in this fun game
  4. Story Cubes
    This game can provide hours of fun while engaging your imagination. Perfect to come up with story ideas if you are ever facing a writer’s block. A family favorite that all of us play at all odd hours of the
    day. This game is simply put, genius!
  5. Uno 
    Well, you know!
  6. Jenga 
    What is the highest tower you have built ever? Be truthful! Are you a Jenga champion? (I am not!)
  7. Sorry
    We grew up playing games similar to this in India and another perfect game to pass the rainy-days away
  8. Monopoly
    For hours and hours (sometimes over days) of building your business empire, this is it! And hoping we don’t land in that spot with all those houses and hotels built!
  9. Taboo
    Have you played this game? This is definitely one that tests your vocabulary and your attention to what you are saying…
  10. Battleship
    I played this game for the first time on a computer screen of years ago (with those bright green ships and tanks to help you win your battle)! It was smart then and is smart now.
  11. Connect 4
    A family favorite now for years…this might be our 3rd or 4th Connect 4 box..
  12. Do You Know Where You Are? World Challenge Edition
    Another geography game that is really a smart one. Bought on a whim, this is one game that I love playing and am glad I bought it.
  13. Hedbandz
    This is certainly popular (and while we stood in the lines at Disneyworld this last month, the app version of a similar game – Charades – was played often; and by so many people waiting in line that sometimes we stopped playing our game and watched the others spout their clues!)

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