Book Review: Church of Marvels: A Novel, Leslie Parry (2015)

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

“I have witnessed the sublime in the mundane…”

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free ARC for review from the publisher.)

But this story, in truth, is not about me. I am only a small part of it. I could try to forget it, perhaps. I could try to put it behind me. But sometimes I dream that I’ll still return to the pageantry of the sideshow, hide myself beneath costumes and powder and paint, grow willingly deaf among the opiating roar of the audience and the bellow of the old brass band. It will be like the old days – when Mother was ferocious and alive, before the Church of Marvels burned to the sand. But how can I return now, having seen what I have seen? For I’ve found that here in this city, the lights burn ever brighter, but they cast the darkest shadows I know.

Why, he wondered, did he have to peddle his difference for their amusement, and yet at the same time temper it, suppress it, make it suitably benign?

How would it feel to know there were people who’d chosen to live as they felt, not as they appeared, and never looked back? Could she bear their happiness, as shunned as they were? Was she brave enough?

She had seen it done. Wherever they glittered in the afterlife – flying among the high rafters of heaven, swimming with her mother in an undersea cave – she hoped the tigers had known it, and roared.

For the first time in her seventeen years, Odile Church is alone. Her mother’s sideshow carnival, the Church of Marvels, burned to ash in the spring, the casualty of a freak fire. With it went her mother, many of her friends, and the only life she knew. Her twin sister, Isabelle Church, was spared – only to run off to Manhattan not long after. That was three months ago; three months without a word.

And then Odile receives a cryptic, ominous letter from Belle: “If for some reason this is the last letter I should write to you, please know that I love you.” Armed with little more than an old map of her mother’s and Belle’s letter, Odile hops the next ferry to Manhattan in search of her sister.

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Tiger Penis, Cow Taxing & Cocaine Honey on The Colbert Report

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

On Wednesday’s The Colbert Report (1/7/09), Stephen discusses not one, not two, but three animal-related stories!

First up: Barack Obama’s possible appointment of CNN’s Sanjay Gupta to the post of Surgeon General. Stephen includes a clip from CNN’s Planet in Peril: Battle Lines special in which Gupta attempts to purchase illegal tiger penis:
 

 
In case the video doesn’t embed/play properly (I couldn’t resist tinkering around with Comedy Central’s unwieldy block of code), the segment title (with link) is “Dr. Gupta’s Penis Pyramid”.

Then, in his Tip of the Hat/Wag of the Finger segment, he mentions

1) The EPA’s (supposed) proposed tax on cows (and pigs), in order to combat climate change and

2) Recent “scientific” “research” in which liquid cocaine was placed on the backs of honey bees in order to assess their reactions.
 

 
Because fucking with bee populations is exactly what we should be doing right about now. Not.

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Tagged:

Kinship Circle: ACT/ Death Is Price Of Freedom At SF Zoo

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Dec 28, 2007 4:05 PM
Subject: ACT/ Death Is Price Of Freedom At SF Zoo

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

12/28/07: Death Is Price Of Freedom At San Francisco Zoo
http://www.KinshipCircle.org

Kinship Circle - 2007-12-28 - SF Zoo

PHOTO: This undated handout from the San Francisco Zoo (SFZ) shows female Siberian tiger, named Tatiana, [who] managed to escape from [her] enclosure and maul three people, killing one of them. US media report that the tiger may have been helped out of its den by one of the victims.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071227/ts_alt_afp/usanimals_071227152920

EMAIL kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net FOR WORD DOC OF A FORMATTED LETTER.
Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.

==========================

CONTACT INFORMATION. Sample letter follows.

==========================

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WWF: Help End the Tiger Trade

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

UPDATE, 6/19/07, via WWF:

In a major victory for conservation, raising captive tigers for trade in their parts was rejected last week by members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting in The Hague.

Parties to the international wildlife convention also urged China to phase out its large-scale commercial tiger farms.

Prior to the decision WWF and other conservation organizations unveiled the massive two-storey-high tiger mosaic, made up of more than 26,000 of your photos, outside the conference centre urging world leaders to end all trade in tigers. Delegates had to walk past the mosaic on their way to the tiger debate.

See a photo slideshow of the mosaic being unveiled at: http://mail.panda.org/inxmail/url?vmkeq00d4gi0qbfbn3a3

Watch the video: http://mail.panda.org/inxmail/url?vmoeq00d4gi0qbvi43a3

4 countries with wild tigers – India, Nepal, Russia and Bhutan – were joined by the United States in advocating for a strong decision for tigers. India called on China to phase out the country’s privately run “tiger farms,” which house nearly 5,000 big cats and are pushing the Chinese government to allow legal trade in tiger parts. With leadership from these countries, the 171 member countries of the CITES convention adopted a strong tiger trade decision by consensus.

China has said that it will not lift its ban without listening to scientific opinion from around the world. The world spoke and urged China not to reopen any trade in tiger parts and to increase protection for tigers in the wild.

This is great news!

Thank you to everyone who took action and added their photo to the tiger mosaic. Without your help this would not have been possible!

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Via the World Wildlife Fund:

Help End the Tiger Trade

Your snapshot could help save tigers. Add your photo* to the world’s largest photo mosaic of this endangered species and your picture will be included when the mosaic is unveiled to world leaders in June as they gather to discuss trade in endangered species. Upload your photo now.

You can also sign a letter urging China to make its tiger trade ban permanent. Your views will be personally conveyed to China’s leaders.

Despite international and domestic bans, a thriving black market for tiger skins and bones threatens to wipe out wild tigers. China, with its booming economy, burgeoning human population and ancient traditions of using tiger parts as medicine and clothing, is the world’s leading consumer of tiger products.

The good news is that the Chinese government has taken decisive action to help save the species, outlawing the trade of tiger products, increasing enforcement efforts and running public awareness campaigns to curb the demand for tiger products.

But there is a new threat in China that could put every last wild tiger at risk: the increasing population of captive-bred tigers on so-called “tiger farms.” Investors in these businesses are now pressuring the Chinese government to allow them to sell tiger products.

* Where’s Kelly?

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Tagged:

DawnWatch: "Shooting Tigers" on 60 Minutes this Sunday, 11/19/06

Friday, November 17th, 2006

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Nov 17, 2006 3:34 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: “Shooting Tigers” on 60 Minutes this Sunday 11/19/06

The following promotional email comes from CBS’s 60 Minutes. Watch the piece if you can. And please take just a moment to thank the show for the animal friendly segment. Positive feedback for animal friendly coverage encourages more of it. 60 Minutes takes comments at 60m [at] cbsnews.com.

From 60 Minutes:

——–

Good afternoon. My name is Robin Sanders, and I work at CBS News. I’m writing to tell you about an upcoming “60 MINUTES” piece set to air this Sunday, Nov.19, that I thought you might be interested in. It’s a fascinating look at why the world population of wild tigers is shrinking, and we’re trying to get word out beforehand to as many people as possible with a special interest in wildlife and conservation issue. To that end, it would be great if you would consider sending something out to your listserve and/or posting something on your website. The piece will be broadcast on CBS stations on at 7:00 ET/PT on Sunday, Nov. 19, with further details and other information to be posted on our website, which you’re welcome to link to from your own site (and I should also point out that if you have any links you think might be useful to our viewers should they want further information on this subject, please pass it along to me for our web folk’s consideration).

You’ll find a short write-up about the piece below. And please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

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