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Category: Blog on Writing & Life

REVIEW: “Uncanny Valley” Asks Hard Questions about AI @BlackFlagTX #scifi #Visitplano

Thought provoking play by Thomas Gibbons What does it really mean to be sentient? If we create a convincing facsimile of a person and use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to reproduce a personality, does the end result truly replace the original person? Or is it a modern-day chimera? In any case, exactly what sort of legal rights would, or should, such an entity have? How should existing biological family members treat this new being? Questions such as these (and many more) have kept my husband, Larry, and I chatting for days after seeing Black Flag Theatre Company’s production of “Uncanny Valley,”…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: What does a lotus flower represent? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] Lotus flower: an Ancient Egyptian symbol The lotus flower, also known as the water lily, is an important ancient Egyptian symbol.Since the lotus blooms during the day but closes at night, it symbolized the cycle of life and death. Egyptian columns are often topped with a lotus leaf, as you can…

Scraped Graveyards – a Southern Tradition? Understanding Cemetery Symbols #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] Scraped Graveyards used to be common Lush green lawns are such a common feature of today’s burial grounds that if you could travel back in time to the 1800’s for a graveyard tour through the rural South, you might be in for a shock. Back then, many graveyards were kept free of…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: What is the Hebrew version of RIP? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] What does RIP stand for? In Christian cemeteries, it’s fairly common to see the acronym “RIP” on headstones. Although we tend to think of that as meaning “rest in peace,” it actually stands for “requiescat in pace.” Since that is Latin for “may h/she rest in peace,” it all works out! Do Jewish headstones…

How did a Victorian Era book influence cemetery symbolism? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] How did a Victorian Era book influence cemetery symbolism? In 1868, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps published a book entitled The Gates Ajar. Phelps’ book tells the story of a young woman grieving the loss of her brother, a soldier who died in the Civil War. After his death, the main character is unable to…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: What’s Spock doing in a Historic Graveyard? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] Live long and prosper? If you are a Star Trek fan, you may be surprised to see a pair of hands, seemingly giving Commander Spock’s famous “Live long and prosper” gesture, engraved on a headstone. As it happens, Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock in the famous TV show, was Jewish. As…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: What are Grave Goods? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] What are Grave Goods? When people visit cemeteries, they often leave items at gravesites such as coins, pebbles, seashells, decorations and items called “grave goods.” Two kinds of grave goods Items left at a gravesite that once belonged to the deceased or that are associated with the deceased, are called “grave…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: The strange evolution from skulls to cherubs #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] How symbols evolve: from skulls to cherubs Just like other symbols, the meaning of skulls depends upon its context in time, place, and religious belief. Skulls, or a skull and crossbones, are frequently seen on early American headstones. In the 16th and 17th century, skulls and other mortality symbols served to…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: Why are benches so common in graveyards? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] Why are benches so common in cemeteries? This historic cemetery tradition harkens back to ancient Greece: After erecting a table stone to place food and wine on during grave site celebrations, ancient Greeks often installed a type of stone bench called an exedra. Now the family had a place to sit during their…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: Doves can mean many things! #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] What do Doves symbolize? DOVES: In general, when you see dove depicted on headstones in historic cemeteries, they represent innocence, peace, and/ or the Holy Spirit. The meaning of a particular dove varies slightly, however, depending on what it is doing: DOVE FLYING UPWARDS: Stands for the soul’s ascent to Heaven. DOVE FLYING DOWNWARDS:…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: Coins on Graves: Truth vs Urban Legend #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] Coins on Graves? The practice of leaving coins with the deceased dates back to the ancient Greeks, who believed the rivers Styx and Acheron separated the living from the dead. A ferry trip was required to cross these waters, otherwise the soul of the deceased would be forced to wander the…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: Birth of the Garden Cemetery #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] Bodies spilling into the streets -yikes! From the time of the Pilgrims through the 1700’s, American city dwellers were buried in churchyards. Unfortunately, as our cities grew in population, these urban burial grounds became overcrowded. This was especially troublesome during epidemics, when city graveyards were hastily filled with new bodies. From…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: Alpha and Omega #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] What do Alpha and Omega look like? Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega is the last. Since Alpha looks like an A and the Greek letter Zeta looks like a Z, people often assume that Zeta is the last letter in their alphabet. Well, surprise! It’s…

Full list of April A to Z posts for “Understanding Cemetery Symbols” #cemetery #history #GraveHour

April A to Z: “Understanding Cemetery Symbols” by Tui Snider   Master List of my 2018 April A to Z blog posts: I’m taking part in the annual April A to Z Blog Challenge for the sixth year in a row! This time, I’m sharing adapted excerpts from my latest book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Each day, I’ll add a link for that day’s featured post to the list below. [Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] A…

Historic Cemeteries: Who is the AMBER Alert named after? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

The tragic tale of Amber Hagerman Have you ever wondered why news bulletins for missing children are called “Amber Alerts”? It’s a sad-but-true tale: In 1996, a little girl named Amber Hagerman disappeared while out riding bikes with her brother in Arlington, Texas. Even though her kidnapping was immediately reported to the police, the case had a tragic end. Amber’s dead body was discovered four days after her abduction, lying in a creek bed. Her neck had been slit. AMBER Alerts named after a kidnapped little girl Since evidence suggests Amber’s abductor kept her alive for at least two days, her relatives and concerned citizens brainstormed…

Author Interview with David Kravetz (my kindred quirky traveler!) about his brand new book

Author Interview: David Kravetz’s “Unique Town Names”  Today I’m bringing you an interview with first-time author, but longtime writer, photographer and quirky traveler, David Kravetz. Does his name sound familiar? Readers of this blog may recall his wonderful guest post “All About Jackalopes.” [Disclosure: Some of these links may be affiliate links, which means I earn a few pennies at no additional expense to you if you click on them and make a purchase.]   David Kravetz: Kindred Quirky Traveler I met David Kravetz several years ago on Twitter, and I immediately realized he is a kindred spirit. We both love exploring offbeat…

Guest Post: How Does a Pantser Reach the End? by Patricia Josephine

Check out my friend’s new book: Mistakes of the Past I’m always excited when my friends release books. Case in point: Patricia Josephine. She recently published a YA science fiction romance called Mistakes of the Past. Whoo hoo! Go, Patty!  Who is Patricia Josephine? Like me, Patricia is intrigued by haunted places, UFO sightings, the paranormal, and other eerie fodder. She writes Young Adult stories that often feature paranormal beings struggling with human issues.  We met on Twitter! Patricia and I met through a weekly writing chat on Twitter. The chat is called #StoryDam and if you wonder why I…

Top Tips for Mindful Shopping – Online & Off!

[Disclosure: While the the following blog post is my honest opinion, it also contains some affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. ] Small Business Saturday Today is Small Business Saturday, and that’s great. However, if we really want local businesses to thrive, we need to maintain this shopping attitude all year long! Here are some quick tips for easy ways to support small businesses and use your dollars to make the world a little better – not just during the holiday season, but all year long:…

REVIEW: Fun Home is Heart-wrenching, Poetic & Funny @attpac #FunHome

Fun Home: Opening Night Ovation in Dallas Fun Home, which won five Tony Awards (including Best Musical) is an engaging and unusual coming-of-age tale. The show is now playing in Dallas, Texas where it opened to a cheering crowd and standing ovation last night. Fun Home: A Cartoonist’s Life Story Fun Home is an original musical play based on the best-selling graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic  written and drawn by cartoonist, Alison Bechdel. The story is revealed through the eyes of Alison Bechdel during three pivotal stages in her life: as a 10-year-old girl, a college freshman, and…

REVIEW: Finding Neverland Reveals the Real Peter Pan @attpac #FNLtour

Opening night for Finding Neverland  in Dallas ended with a cheering crowd and a standing ovation. This whimsical musical runs through July 23 at the AT&T Performing Arts Center Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in the downtown Dallas Arts District. These days, most of us know “adulting” is hard work and if you don’t believe it, we have the memes to prove it. After a long day on the job, we grown ups even have TV shows about time lords, zombies, and queens who give birth to dragons to make us forget our cares. In 1903, however, the fantasy genre…