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NOTE: These books are the first books of series and end in cliffhangers.

FORGETTING THE PAST

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FOREVER COUNTRY

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A NEW BEGINNING

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LEARNING TO LIVE

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A LIFE WORTH FIGHTING

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SHATTERED DREAMS

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FREE eBook: Cakes are Not a Diet Food!

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FREE: William Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure”: A Retelling in Prose

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Dante’s PARADISE, Canto 1: RISE OR FALL

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RISE OR FALL

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Either rise or fall

Weighed down by sin? Then you fall

Purified? You rise

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NOTE: Our souls find their proper place in ultimate reality. Weighed down by sin? The soul falls into the Inferno. Weighed down by sin, but sincerely repented in life? Soul goes to the Mountain of Purgatory temporarily. Purged of sin? Soul rises to Paradise.

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https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/dantes-paradise-canto-1-retelling-beatrice-and-dante-rise-from-eden/

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Dante’s PARADISE, Canto 1: Transhumanized

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TRANSHUMANIZED

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Dante’s different

He’s become more than human

He’s transhumanized

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NOTE: By purging his sins, Dante has become different, and this difference has to be expressed with a new word: He’s become transhumanized. Now, although he doesn’t realize it at first, he rises.

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https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/dantes-paradise-canto-1-retelling-beatrice-and-dante-rise-from-eden/

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David Bruce: Good Deeds Anecdotes

People respected the dancer/ choreographer Katherine Dunham. In Paris, France, the luggage of her dance troupe was not released to them because workers on strike in the port of Cherbourg were using it to block a road. However, when the workers learned that the luggage belonged to Ms. Dunham and her dance troupe, they immediately sent the luggage to Paris. Ms. Dunham did her own good deeds: She fought prejudice. So did her parents. Her father was dark, and her mother was light. They bought a house in a mostly white suburb of Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Her father worked hard to improve the house, and neighbors thought that he was working for a white family. When they learned the truth, someone planted a bomb on the Dunham property. When the bomb went off, it shattered windows. Her father stayed up nights for a while with a gun in his hands, and no more bombings occurred. When Katherine was in high school, she objected to some songs that depicted black people as lazy and that the music teacher made students sing. She told her mother, who complained to school officials, and thereafter the students no longer had to sing the racist songs. As an adult, Katherine once performed with her dance troupe in Lexington, Kentucky, in front of a segregated audience. She told the audience exactly what she thought about segregation, and the following week, singer Marian Anderson performed in Lexington in front of an integrated audience. Katherine and her dance troupe performed in many places in the United States, but major hotels would not allow African-Americans to stay in the hotels’ rooms. Katherine filed — and won — lawsuits against some of the hotels. She also once filed suit against a major hotel in Sao Paulo, Brazil, that would not allow her and her dancers to rent rooms to stay in. Because of the lawsuit, Brazilian politicians passed an anti-discrimination bill. By the way, Katherine also painted, but her painting did not win the same respect that her dancing and choreography did. A critic in Milan, Italy, once described one of her paintings as “globs of strawberry jam.” Such criticism did not bother her.

In December 2013, Kalen Stimpson, a senior at Cedar Hill High School in Cedar Hill, Texas, lost her pink wallet. It contained a paycheck debit card with over $300 on it and such sentimental items as a $2 bill, a gift about which Ms. Stimpson said, “I got it on my 14th birthday and I haven’t spent it. I just keep it.” When she realized that she had lost her wallet, she worried about Christmas: “I was like, ‘Oh! I can’t get anybody Christmas gifts. I can’t because all my money was in there. I don’t know how I’m going to get my parents, or friends or anybody anything.’ I was just really upset about it.” Kewpie Steward, a senior at Ferris High School in Ferris, Texas, found the wallet. She said, “I was just going with my boyfriend to get his hair cut and I dropped him off and parked the car. It [the wallet] was just lying right by my door.” Ms. Stewart spent $6 of her own money to return the wallet, mailing it — and a note — to an address she found inside the wallet. She said, “I looked at her birthday and said, ‘Hey, she’s a month younger than me! Man, I know how she’s feeling.” Ms. Stimpson said, “I wish I could just grab her right now and hug her because she really went out of her way.” Ms. Stimpson’s mother wrote about the good deed on Facebook.

Ed McMahon knew a very wealthy man named Dan Kelly who often talked to waitresses about their children. One meal, he found out that a waitress named Ruth had a son who needed an operation. The next morning, Mr. Kelly told his secretary to “check on Ruthie’s son. Find out what the operation is, how much it will cost, and follow through.” “Follow through” meant “Make sure that I am the one who pays the bills for the operation and hospital stay.” Mr. Kelly’s mother lived alone in her own apartment. Of course, he often saw her, but each morning he would drive by her apartment, where he knew that she was looking out the window for his car, and he would honk his car horn. Mr. McMahon said, “There are all kinds of ways of telling your mother you care, beyond gifts and financial aid. That personal little fly-by and honk on the horn meant more to Mrs. Kelly than all the flowers and other attentions he lavished on her. It was something no one else did for any mother she knew.”

When three boys — Jason Burgess, age 10; Malachi Shelton, age 10; and LaMont Kirkesy, age seven — found a box containing $100 while they were playing in a park in Warren, Michigan, they made sure to give the money and box to a responsible adult: Carol Fame, Jason’s grandmother. She found a $10 check that was made out to the nearby First Church of Jesus Christ and returned the money, check, and donation box to the church, which will use the money for its Christmas service. In December 2013, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts gave the three boys mayoral resolutions at city hall to celebrate their honesty. Mayor Fouts said, “What a wonderful Christmas gift you have given to all of the young people in the metro area. And that is you serve as models of honesty and integrity.” Ms. Fame said, “It’s amazing. All the attention these three are getting shows that doing good things, you know, they get rewarded for it. So that’s pretty awesome.”

On 23 December 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Yellow Checker Star Cab Company taxi driver Gerardo Gamboa found a brown paper bag containing $300,000 that a gambler had left behind. He turned the money in to the cab company; police located the gambler and returned the money to him. The gambler then rewarded Mr. Gamboa with $10,000. Yellow Checker Star Cab Company awarded Mr. Gamboa an additional $1,000, gave him a gift certificate to a Las Vegas steakhouse, and named him Employee of the Year.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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Dante’s PARADISE, Canto 1: DANTE RISES

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DANTE RISES

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Soul is purified

Dante’s soul: lighter than air

Dante starts to rise

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NOTE: Now that Dante’s soul is purified, it is lighter than air and so he starts to rise from the Forest of Eden on his way to Paradise. Because Dante is a medieval person, God allows him to experience things as a medieval person would. Medieval people believed that the Earth is the center of the universe. Above the Earth is a Sphere of Air and a Sphere of Fire; above these two Spheres is the Moon. Dante passes through these Spheres on his way to the Moon.

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https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/dantes-paradise-canto-1-retelling-beatrice-and-dante-rise-from-eden/

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Dante’s PARADISE, Canto 1: Invocation

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INVOCATION

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Apollo, help me now

Before, I asked the Nine Muses

Now I need more help

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NOTE: Dante the Poet needs help to write the Paradise. Previously, he asked the Nine Muses for help in writing, but because the Paradisehas a mightier theme, he also needs the help of Apollo. Parnassus, the mountain of creative endeavor, has two peaks: One is devoted to the Nine Muses, and the other is dedicated to Apollo.

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https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/dantes-paradise-canto-1-retelling-beatrice-and-dante-rise-from-eden/

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Dante’s PARADISE, Canto 1: powerless memory

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POWERLESS MEMOEY

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Experience God

Memory is powerless

You can’t remember

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NOTE: Dante the Poet has traveled throughout the Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise, but his memory of the experience of God is vague. In Paradise, the angels and saved souls experience God continually. This is true of people who have had mystical experiences. During the mystical experience, everything is clear. Afterward, little is remembered.

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https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/dantes-paradise-canto-1-retelling-beatrice-and-dante-rise-from-eden/

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David Bruce: Gifts Anecdotes

The husband of Jodi R. Scott wanted to get his license to be a principal so he went back to school. This meant that he had to quit his job as a teacher and move to an apartment close to the school he would be attending. It also meant that he would be two hours away from his wife, Jodi, and their two daughters: Delcina (age 6) and Heather (age 3). As you would expect, this put stress on Jodi, as both she and their daughters missed him. Jodi’s mother-in-law (Jo) and sister-in-law (Annie) knew that Jodi would be under stress so they sent her a we-care package. Jodi writes that the package was “full of little things to help me cope. Each item had a cute note attached. Example: One book with the note ‘to escape reality,’ and another worn book with ‘this one has seen its share of stress,’ body scrub ‘to scrub away the blues,’ and many more. Enclosed was a little card saying they loved me and were thinking of me. I cried when I opened it. It was a gift from the heart, and it made all the difference in the world to know that they understood and were supportive.”

Ronald Searle created cartoons for Punch and other media. As a boy, Gerald Scarfe, who also became a cartoonist, idolized him. Young Gerald found out where Mr. Searle lived, and he rode his bike there to visit him. Unfortunately, he was too shy to actually ring the bell and so he did not then meet the great man. Fortunately, as a married man, Mr. Scarfe was able to meet him. Mr. Scarfe explains, “A few years later, my wife, Jane Asher, organized a secret meal for my birthday at this exclusive restaurant in Provence. When we walked in, the only other people there were Ronald and his wife. It turned out they had lived in this town for years. A beautiful little package sat on the table, all done up with ribbon. I said, ‘Oh, is this for me?’ And Ronald said, ‘Yeah, it’s nothing.’ So I opened it, and there was a brass doorbell with a note saying, ‘Please ring any time.’”

On 18 September 2012, Denise Campbell was riding a Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada) Transit bus when she witnessed a remarkable good deed. At the corner of Portage and Main, the bus driver pulled over and jumped off the bus to talk to a homeless man, but the bus driver did more than that: The homeless man had no shoes, and the bus driver took off his shoes and gave them to the homeless man. Ms. Campbell wrote, “The bus was dead silent. I think we were all stunned and speechless. As we proceeded to our next stop, one of the passengers got up and said to the driver, that was the most amazing thing she had ever seen; and then she asked him, why did he do that? The bus driver answered because he couldn’t stand the thought of that poor man walking without shoes. Wow! No judgement; it was just, ‘Here, buddy, you need these more than I do.’”

Ed McMahon hosted Star Search for a long time. Occasionally, the contestants were children, and he worried about disappointing them. Once, the two finalists were 12-year-old Mary Johnson and five-year-old Allison Porter. Mr. McMahon did not know who the judges would pick to win, but he worried that young Allison might lose. He said to the show’s producers, “This is just awful. You’ve got to give me something to give to the five-year-old if she doesn’t win. Get me a big stuffed animal or something. The 12-year-old won, and Mr. McMahon said, “Mary gets the one hundred thousand dollars!” Then he said to Allison, “Look what we have for you!” Allison got a big stuffed panda that was almost as big as she was—she was thrilled and Ed was relieved.

Herr von Mendelssohn was both a nephew of the great composer and a rich man. Opera singer Nellie Melba once dined at his house and then sang. To thank her, Herr von Mendelssohn sent her a gift: a large, exquisite pearl that nested in a white satin box. In Paris, Ms. Melba took the pearl to a jeweler to have it set. The jeweler was impressed by the pearl and asked where she had acquired it, saying, “I am certain of one thing, however—it has not been on the market for years, or we should have known of its existence.” Ms. Melba wrote Herr von Mendelssohn, who wrote back, “The pearl belonged to my mother. You must not thank me so much. I wished you to have something that belonged to her.”

Walt Disney was a kind man, and he was generous to his children and nephews and nieces and the children of friends, and all of these children received a steady stream of toys. Frequently, they made short trips with the goal of eating ice cream. His niece, Margaret, said, “Aunt Lilly [Mrs. Walt Disney] made me clothes for my dolls, and Uncle Walt gave me skates and scooters.” When Margaret got married, Uncle Walt paid for the wedding and for a trip to Europe. When Dorothy, his niece, was ready for her first prom, Uncle Walt bought her dress. And he sent one of Lilly’s nephews, Bill Papineau, through college.

In 1969, when opera singer Beverly Sills made her debut at La Scala in Milan, Italy, she and her daughter, Muffy, stayed in a hotel on a street that was famous for its flashily dressed prostitutes, all of whom carried large handbags. Muffy was very impressed with the glamour of the prostitutes, and she asked her mother, “Mama, how do you say ‘beautiful’ in Italian?” Ms. Sills answered, “Bella, bella.” The next evening Muffy went over to a prostitute and told her, “Bella, bella.” The prostitute was so pleased that she reached into her handbag and pulled out a gift for Muffy: a piece of chocolate.

When Count Basie’s band and Benny Goodman’s band were playing in New York City at the same time, musicians of the bands got together informally to play.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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