On Review: Gabriella Owens’ Book, BBQ Pizza: A Flaming Expose’ of Macho Cooking
I couldn’t believe a cookbook could keep me so engrossed I couldn’t put it down! Because I hate to cook! But by the time I finished reading, loving, and laughing my way through “BBQ Pizza: A Flaming Expose on Macho Cooking”— a book full of humor, impressive information, pizza recipes galore, and more — Gabriella Owens had made a believer out of me! I was seriously considering becoming a “barbecued-pizza specialist” and party host myself.
But I figured the least I could do, after reading her exceptional expose –even learning what pizza peels are for– was to stop three pizzas short of a pizza peel to write this sizzling review.
Gifted Author Gabriella is not only an expert on gourmet barbecue pizza parties, fine wines, wineries, and more, but a comedian — and the President of the California Writer’s Club, San Fernando Valley Branch.
Her creative pizzas put the California Pizza House to shame! But they might be interested in some of her “fabulicious-Pizzalicious” dishes and recipes.
While reading “BBQ Pizza,” I was kept so thoroughly entertained– laughing so hard all the way–I learned how to appreciate and appraise wines, put together perfect pizza parties, and much more — all with no pain!
I told Gabriella: “You’re a standup comedian in a “sitdown” position ‘neath a toadstool lampshade waiting to be discovered! So “standup” and deliver! I’ll turn the lights on any time.”
Meanwhile, everyone should at least discover her hidden talent for writing comedy by reading her book and watching her comedic YouTube movie “BBQ Pizza: Macho Cook to the Rescue—With His Pastrami Pizza Recipe!”
If you’re a standup comedian or would like to be, there are some great lines in this creative author’s book that could keep your audience in uproarious laughter indefinitely.
Hey guys, buy “BBQ Pizza: A Flaming Exposé
Of Macho Cooking” or put it on your reading list today.
You won’t be sorry:
You’ll have a fabu–lucious day!
Ode to The California Writers Club: The California Writers Club is our oyster, And we writers the pearls being polished within her. Stephany Spencer 2016
2016 marked the 30th anniversary —
The Pearl Anniversary of the California Writers Club,
San Fernando Valley Branch. For thirty years, this club has been our oyster ranch, And we members pearls growing within her dance. Polishing and developing daily our word-writing romance,
Some works now fairly sparkle and glimmer, Like well-crafted word pearls enhanced till they glitter, Reflecting our club’s lively oyster-shell shimmer. So thanks, California Writers Club —
Thanks for letting us join your Oyster-Ranch “dinner.” Stephany Spencer 2016
I’m so excited to tell you my California Writers Club, San Fernando Valley Branch, has produced another Anthology, this one in honor of our club’s 30th anniversary.
The following quote, taken from the Anthology’s Introductory pages, sizes up our Anniversary Anthology well:
“This collection is a testimony to the power of words, and to those gifted writers who have run them together like strands of precious pearls. Essay, poem, short story — each one sings out and captures our imagination … and our heart.” Victoria Zackheim (Author, Anthologist, Playwright, Educator)
“Through this anthology of short stories, imaginings, and poems,” says CWC Editor, Rita Keeley Brown, “our current members share their adventure of writing.”
A quote from Truman Capote, taken from the back cover of the anthology, aptly sums it up: “What I am [we are] trying to achieve is a voice sitting by the fireplace telling you a story on a winter’s evening.”
I’m so proud to say, I, myself, got my act together, followed my poem’s advice, “Dare to fail, or fail to dare do well,” and submitted three poems for this Anniversary Anthology.
When you buy our work of wonders, you’ll see these entries, as well as many more pieces written and submitted by our club’s gifted and creative writers.
Below is the cover of our Anniversary Anthology, “Cascade of Pearls,” sold on Amazon.com.
Here’s hoping you enjoy it as much as I who am presently snuggled up by the fireplace in the process of reading and reaping the rewards of time well spent within its pages. ~ Stephany Spencer
My Memoir: My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer, Pt 3
“Mother is the bank where we deposit
all our hurts and worries.” Author unknown
*MY MEMOIRS: My Mama, Part 3
As I mentioned in Part Two of “My Mama,” by the advent of the 1900s, the US government had resorted to extreme pressure to get the Mormon church to discontinue its institution of polygamy — a relic of barbarism and a threat to our country that was unfortunately and inadvertently introduced by Joseph Smith in the mid 1800s, as delineated in the “Doctrine and Covenants,” Section 132 (Mormon Scriptures).
In reference to this, Mama, years ago, explained to me: “To avert further travails, the LDS church had begun implementin’ stringent measures to wipe out plural marriage within its membership so as to protect its people, church, and Mormon church properties.
“Passin’ of the second Mormon Manifesto in 1904 meant Pa, ‘n’ his two wives, ‘n’ children, were no longer welcome in the Mormon colonies where my family had fled for refuge in 1923 — after barely outsmarting a mainstream Mormon mob, arrest, ‘n’ bein’ thrown into a Utah jail for havin’ entered into polygamy.
“My Ma, Pa, ‘n’ family had lived in various Mormon colonies in Mexico previously, goin’ back ‘n’ forth between them and the US a number of times, over the years.
“But this time, when we come back, my parents had gone against the Mormon Manifestos of both 1890 and 1904: They’d taken a plural wife, ‘n’ thereby were considered by the church to be ‘In a state of apostasy.’
“That meant our family was now considered apostates. So we was disfellowshipped from our Church ‘n’ social activities in the Mormon colonies,” continued Mama.”
“Instead of bein’ accepted with open arms, as he was in the past when he was with his grandfather Benjamin F. Johnson [who was a key figure in developing the Mormon colonies in Mexico], Pa was now an enigma.
“So our family became persecuted ‘n’ ostracized — The church’s way of discouraging other men from followin’ my father’s example of takin’ multiple wives.”
“In other words, since the Mormon moratorium on polygamy was o’er by 1904, my parents’ havin’ gone against the LDS church’s updated marriage law now meant their raisin’ us kids in a terrible atmosphere of mainstream Mormon scapegoatin’ ‘n’ rejection — wherever they chose to settle in ‘Mormonland.’
“It was during the Great Depression ‘n’ World War II era. Them two calamities affected our family, ‘n’ also Pa’s ability to get enough well-payin’ work in “The States.”
“So our family was endurin’ extreme poverty, ” Mama opined. “Ma ‘n’ Pa couldn’t afford to move their large family somewhere else, even if they’d decided to remove us kids from the terrible ostracization ‘n’ persecution they found the small Mormon colonies now meted out on ‘specially my eldest siblings!”
So the Mormon colonies that had once been a place of refuge for Mormon polygamists had, by 1923, become the opposite: A place of persecution and ostracization for polygamists — if they had entered into polygamy after 1904, that is.
“Those who already had more than one wife BEFORE the Manifesto of 1904, were NOT rejected ‘n’ persecuted as my Pa, Dayer LeBaron, ‘n’ his family was!” Mother explained.
“We were ostracized ’cause my father was the only man in the Mormon colonies,” she continued, “who went ahead ‘n’ took a plural wife after 1904, despite the church’s mandates.” So that was the situation my grandparents found themselves in when they took their family back to Colonia Juarez, Mexico, thinking they were settling in the best place possible to raise their kids. As it turned out, it was the worst place possible!!
But at least, having moved to Old Mexico, their polygamous family was protected by tolerant Mexican marriage laws, when it came to polygamy — just not by tolerant LDS Mormon marriage laws.
That said, being “Plygs,” my grandparents simply should not have been bringing up their children in a mainstream Mormon colony where polygamy was no longer tolerated — if they knew what was best for them! But they didn’t.
Continued in: “My Memoir: My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer, Pt 4”
My book review of “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass: Confessions of an Ex-Mormon Ex-Polygamist Ex-Wife (Kindle Edition)
I don’t usually do book reviews, for lack of time. But this book was so good I listened to it straight through, on Audible — and am listening to it again, for the third time, right now. And also bought the book!
I am an Ex-FLDS, Ex-polygamist wife, Escapee of my Uncle Joel LeBaron’s Mormon fundamentalist cult … and a recovering Mormon. So I found the story, humor, and satire in this superbly-written Memoir extra hilarious. I could well relate to it all firsthand! That’s putting it mildly: I about split in half laughing at these clever writers’ tongue-in-cheek asides and observations of life in polygamy and a Mormon fundamentalist cult!
I am still so rebbed up from this excellent, well-written book I listened to from start to finish, non-stop, that I’m following it up with this review — to help me come down from my high, after the great marathon read/listen!
I want to say it is one of the best books I’ve ever read/listened to — It’s a classic. The narrator, also, couldn’t have been better! I only wish I had words and time to give it the best review any expert writer could give it.
It not only is a true view of what polygamy and Mormon cults are all about but gives some good advice, too, on how to avoid one — or how to get out of one if you find yourself in one.
I have an aunt who, after her husband (my Uncle Ervil LeBaron) died, joined Harmston’s group — the cult Joanne Hanks and her husband had belonged to then left. After many years, now, of being married to Harmston, my aunt unfortunately still believes he’s “The One Mighty and Strong”/a prophet! So kudos to the author and her husband for seeing through Harmston’s cult — before it could “Harm” (pun intended) her and her husband anymore — and for having the wherewithal to finally leave!
A sister of mine says Harmston’s clan is worse and more dangerous than was the cult of the psychotic serial killer “Evil Ervil” — “The Mormon Manson”! I’m still wondering about this. For I have not heard anything in the news, so far, nor in “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass!” to tell me Harmston is a dangerous psychotic megalomaniac murderer like my uncle Ervil was. Though I read recently that Harmston does preach “blood atonement.”
Perhaps it was safer to not tell all that. But thanks, Joanne Hanks and Steve Cuno, for writing this book! Your words, insight, and humor have helped me in my healing journey. And it will also help and has already helped many others who’ve read or listened to your superbly written top-rate Memoir.
“Civilization is social order supporting cultural creativity.” Will Durant
*The following picture elicited the poem: “A Letter to My Art Teacher.”
This is a poem I wrote to Mr. Webb, my Hurricane Jr. High eighth-grade Art teacher (because he said he was going to lower the grade on our Christmas-scene assignment if he saw erasures!)
I always got an “A” on my art work. But was very worried I would end up with a “B” on the picture you see below because I had to erase a number of times in an effort to correct the airplane wings. I didn’t succeed, as you can see! But the strong emotion involved in the whole project elicited the following poem: “A Letter to My Art Teacher:
Dear Mr. Webb:
If you’ll take mercy on my age, You’ll excuse the mistakes on this page; But look at it and like it not, The blood in my veins will be running hot!
I thought and I drew to get an “A,” And I expected it to be that way. The smudges and the creases that you see Were made because I didn’t want a “B.”
Don’t see the badness; the goodness instead. I drew it all with a pencil lead. The idea didn’t come from brain, But I drew it’s all just the same.
Isn’t it wonderful? I think it is. The dolly was made for sister Liz; The drum was made in honor of Ted — He does so admire purple and red.
The rest was made because the idea was that way; I think it’s the very image of a Christmas Day. I know, myself, the airplane is queer, But to leave it out would ruin the design so dear.
Of course, if you don’t give me an “A,” It only means you didn’t see it that way. But I spent a very long time on it. For hours it seems that I did sit, Trying to make the whole scene perfect.
If you knew how hard it was to do, You’d take mercy on my age — My inexperience too; You’d think of it my way, And in your grade book You’d mark another “A.”
Note: It seems my lyrical letter worked: Mr. Webb gave me an “A.”
Then wrote a little poem of his own to say:
“You’ve been an outstanding student every day; Your pictures are good and well worth an ‘A’.” Mr. Webb (That made my day!)
(The following is the original poem, written on the back of the above picture. Following this handwritten lyrical letter are some of the pictures I did in art classes, from ages twelve through fourteen.)
‘* Note: The following is a book review I did of an acquaintance’s book,”Hiding in a Caveof Trunks.” Unfortunately, when I copied and pasted my review, as usual, it didn’t turn out looking nearly as nice as it looks on Goodreads.com, but it will do.
My book review of Esther Shifren’s “Hiding in a Cave of trunks”
Hiding in a Cave of Trunks: A Prominent Jewish Family’s Century in Shanghai and Internment in a WWII POW camp.
Against an impressive historical background, China-born Ester Benjamin Shifren relates the saga of her family’s century-long existence in Shanghai, the city often referred to as “The Paris of the East,” and details the culture and tribulations of the colorful multi …more
My Book Review of Esther Schifren’s “Hiding in a Cave of Trunks”
Ester Shifren, highly gifted author, artist, poet, performer, musician, speaker and more, has been a fellow member of my California Writers Club for many years. I thought I knew her till I read her wonderfully written memoir and history book combined. Was blown away by her unique writing style and the depth of the material she presented.
Loved learning about her life as a Jew growing up in China during the World War II era. It was most inspiring to read how her family managed to survive almost three years of incarceration in China during that time period.
You have to read the book to know what I’m talking about. I will only say that I lost sleep reading Ester’s book far into the night. It was so interesting, fascinating, and beautifully written I couldn’t put it down.
I plan to read Ester’s historical memoir again at least one more time. Will also use it for ideas and a guide for writing my own memoirs. This book should be on High School and University required reading lists, as well as in every public library. Ester, you “made history” when you wrote your memoirs!
(*NOTE: My Review doesn’t look as nice as it looks on Amazon.com, from whence I copied and pasted it after I wrote it there. But at least I was able to post it here, for better or for worse.
~Also, below this Book Review is an essay I used by permission of a blogger friend, Bruce Holt. It ties in well with some of what author Luna Lindsey talks about in her book: Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control.)
Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control — A perfect title that says it all!, October 31, 2016
This review is from: Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control (Kindle Edition: Says Stephany Spencer: I discovered Luna Lindsey through Facebook. Her obvious brilliance and observation lead me to become a Facebook friend and follower of her’s. That’s when I learned she was also an Author and had even written a book that I, an ex-Mormon fundamentalist, needed to read: “Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control.”
Her well-researched book is a must-read for anybody wanting to understand mind control and how intelligent people can be converted to a cult — or be born into one, and not see the problems, contradictions, and errors in their belief system.
And it’s a must-read, also, for anyone needing help with undoing all the subconscious brainwashing and mind control messages and beliefs imbued in them while growing up Mormon.
Another plus for reading the book is that Lindsey is a brilliant person with a captivating and interesting writing style and a depth of insight and ideas that lets you know you are in the presence of genius.
We are all indebted to her for the work, time, and effort she put into getting this book written and published — no small task!
The research she did, alone, attests to the genius of this woman — Autistic, but you would only know it, or be able to believe it, if you knew that some of our most intelligent scientists (at such places as the Caltech Think Tank in California) are highly functioning autistic geniuses.
Luna Lindsey is a remarkable young woman who has authored a book you won’t regret having spent your valuable money and time on. And it’s a great reference guide, besides!
Why no voting buttons? We don’t let customers vote on their own reviews, so the voting buttons appear only when you look at reviews submitted by others.
The BITE model: The specific methods that cults use to recruit and maintain control over people.
“B”: Behavior Control
Promote dependence and obedience
Modify behavior with rewards and punishments
Dictate where and with whom you live
Restrict or control sexuality
Control clothing and hairstyle
Regulate what and how much you eat and drink
Deprive you of seven to nine hours of sleep
Exploit you financially
Restrict leisure time and activities
Require you to seek permission for major decisions
To me, a former member of the LDS Church, these are self-evident. To a current member, they may not be so evident. Why? Confirmation bias. Obedience to authority, depending on authority for the current word of God, behaving in accordance with proscribed actions, paying tithes and generous offerings in order to receive anticipated rewards (blessings, status, ability to participate in ordinances not available to those who don’t), sexuality (including modes of dress, abstinence until marriage, heterosexual only, personal arousal, etc.), “busy work” (Ministering – formerly Home/Visiting Teaching), time-consuming callings and assignments, recommendation to date and marry within the Church, Word of Wisdom, etc.
These are methods to control behavior! Period!
Members will protest, saying they choose these things and are not forced. However, each of these things has a reward, if they are chosen, meaning they ARE, absolutely, forms of control! Sure, one does not have to follow or comply with these things, but where does that leave this member? What will happen? Will he/she be left alone?
If they are noticed, no (have you ever attended a Ward Council meeting??)!
I’m sittin’ alone in the moonlight, At the Heartbreak Hotel Café, Abandoned by women and men; And here’s all I have to say, “I’ll never eat garlic nor onions again — Not till my dying day —
NOT if it drives possible friendships away,
Miraculously keeping romance at bay!”
By Stephany Spencer
“One’s a plenty, two’s a crowd, Three on the sidewalk is not allowed.” Anonymous (But have you ever noticed in “Big Love” they might Be doing it behind your back — or closed doors? Step on a crack and try to keep track!)
Please, God, don’t let me be a fruitcake this Christmas; I don’t want to be eaten by one either! Stephany Spencer
When it comes to online dating, If you’re lookin’ for a mating, The odds are good That the goods are odd; So “wrots of wruck” with your mate-baiting! I won’t be holding my bag waiting.
Longing for a Soulmate No More
I used to long for a Soulmate, But I don’t long anymore, ‘Cause I damn well know in my core Who’d get stuck picking up after him … Plus a whole lot more!
For that same reason, In my “Golden-Sage” season, I no longer dream of Mr. Wright Nor a shining-armored knight; I’ve learned they’re all fairytales – No one’s coming to save me;
For sure, no horny, hairy males! And Stupid-Cupid least of all: Cupid’s but Libido and Nature
Having a ball. At long last, I’ve come to see My soulmate’s the other half of me; And it’s well that this should be. So I’ll leave my fate to God,
And what will be, we’ll see!
Me, Myself, and I
Sittin’ alone in the moonlight, I heard a lonesome cry; It must have come from within; There was only me, myself, and I!
Then I chanced to ask it,”Why? Why?!” Spoke the voice in soft reply: “’Because, wherefore, and therefore; That’s why!” So I gathered myself up with a sigh, To face the great by-and-by and cry, Because, in reality, there could only be Lonely me, myself, and I.
By Stephany Spencer (Written at age 14)
Bimbo Speaks: “Love may be blind,
but jealousy and envy sport
wide-angled telescopic vision
with binocular hindsight!” Stephany Spencer
Says Bimbo: “Who cares if four-inch heels Give you bunions, Backaches, ‘n’ achin’ feet?
What’s important is yer legs Look long ‘n’ sleek, And yer ankles slim ‘n’ petite!” Stephany Spencer
“There’s a vast amount of undeveloped territory just below my fancy hat ‘n’ hairdo — right betwixt me ears two!” Stephany Spencer
The Bimbo Class
My claim-to-fame is shoppin’, ‘Cause most parts of me
Are perfect ‘n’ hoppin’; So if it’s all the same to you, I’ll keep right on a-boppin’
In my fancy hat ’n’ updo; Let the intellectuals study it,
If they want to — And the undeveloped matter
Under it too!
But in “Alice, Through the Lookin’ Glass,” It didn’t matter where The Mad Hatter had ‘er — nor ‘er class; An’ it doesn’t matter a hair To the hare, either, what I do — So don’t be a “hare-up-my-ass”! (Well, did you expect better
Of the Bimbo class?!) Stephany Spencer
A Bimbo-Breakthrough: Old age ain’t for sissies …
And neither is bein’ a woman! Stephany Spencer