nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Starting things off with the sumptuous work of Florida-based artist, illustrator, author and teacher Carla Golembe. I love how she describes what she does and why she does it:

We live on an increasingly small planet in dangerous times. The state of our world is impossible to ignore. As humans we straddle the river of our potential with one foot on each bank. Our capacity for love and compassion is equaled by our ability to turn our backs on one another and by the biases and hatreds that people have harbored since the beginning of time.

And yet I continue to paint beauty, joy, connection and harmony. My paintings are human and universal, multicultural and cross cultural. My intention is to create a visual haven that encourages viewers to enter my domain, dwell in beauty, rejoice in color and breathe. The figures emanate wonder and mystery. The work is evocative rather than descriptive. My interest as an artist lies in expressing how something feels rather than what it looks like. As my subject matter expands to include both my inner vision and the outer world. I find myself painting about inclusiveness and caring for the earth. I am painting hope. This is my authentic personal expression and my purpose as a painter. The world of my paintings is not “realism” but perhaps it’s “magic realism”. It’s the reality of what makes my life worth living, what makes us human and what I want to bring into the world.

She so beautifully states why art is more important than ever in a troubled and endangered world. We’re thankful for the haven of beauty and hope Carla creates with her work. Her distinctive style — lush, color-saturated and passionate, also speaks to the power of female spirituality.

For more, visit Carla’s official website and her shop at Fine Art America, where you can purchase prints and posters, as well as totes, t-shirts, pillows, greeting cards, etc.



2. New Poetry Book Alert! Just released June 4, 2019, is Soccerverse: Poems About Soccer by Elizabeth Steinglass and Edson Ikê (Wordsong, 2019).

The perfect gift for young soccer fans, this picture book features twenty-two imaginative poems that capture all aspects of the world’s most popular sport.

From the coach who inspires players to fly like the wind, to the shin guard that begs to be donned, to soccer dreams that fill the night, Soccerverse celebrates soccer. Featuring a diverse cast of girls and boys, the poems in this collection cover winning, losing, teamwork, friendships, skills, good sportsmanship, and, most of all, love for the game. Elizabeth Steinglass cleverly incorporates thirteen different poetic forms throughout the book, defining each in a note at the end, and Edson Ikê’s bold artwork is as creative as the poems are surprising.

We are thrilled that Poetry Friday friend Elizabeth Steinglass has just published her first poetry picture book. She has certainly scored big with her clever, charming, and positively delightful poems. She once played soccer herself, and has two sons who are obsessed with the game. Suffice to say, soccer is a big part of their lives, so Elizabeth has every reason to celebrate the world’s most popular sport.

Find out more about Elizabeth and Soccerverse in this excellent Today’s Little Ditty Spotlight On Interview, and don’t miss Elizabeth’s TLD Classroom Connections post. Sample poems included in both. 🙂

Congratulations to Elizabeth and Edson!



3. Ceramics Fix: From the department of the quirky and irreverent comes these talky plates that tell it to you straight by Connecticut artist Sandy Mastroni.

I can’t resist pottery with words on it (oh, you’ve noticed?) 😀

Could be because I like reading while I’m eating. Or maybe because I welcome biting commentary or good advice (henceforth I will not even dream of putting my fork in the toaster).

In any case, these are just plain fun (I wonder if the ladies pictured resemble Sandy herself or people she knows).

Sandy lives with three cats, hence this sweet design:

And she does make other things besides plates, like brooches and art dolls. Love her kitty pin cushion. Check out her Etsy Shop.



4. On my Wish List: Just released today — Writers and Their Pets: True Stories of Famous Authors and Their Animal Friends by Kathleen Krull and Violet Lemay (Duopress, 2019).

Discover how animals influenced 20 of the world’s most beloved authors, from Charles Dickens to J.K. Rowling. Did you know that a dog saved Pablo Neruda’s life? Or that Mark Twain had a cat named Bambino? Or that Edgar Allen Poe wrote with a cat on his shoulders? Writers and Their Pets tells these stories and many more with playful full-color illustrations that will delight not only children, but also literary experts, history lovers, and animal enthusiasts. Each short chapter focuses on one author’s life, using simple and entertaining text to weave tales of the pets that affected the lives and works of these writers, with illustrative artwork sprinkled throughout each page. This title features a diverse list of both male and female international authors, spanning from the 19th to the 21st century, including Beatrix Potter, E.B. White, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Kurt Vonnegut, Maurice Sendak, Ernest Hemingway, and and more.

This one’s geared for readers ages 9-12. Looks good, no?



5. I can hear your stomach growling. Always hungry, aren’t you? Well, how about a burger?

Feast your eyes on “The Munchie” from the Katy Perry Collection. I suppose it makes sense she has burger sneaks in her line, since she did dress up as a cheeseburger for the recent Met Gala in NYC.

It’s a politically correct shoe, too — no animals were harmed to produce these shoes, which consist of man-made uppers with a fabric lining. Lettuce trim is a nice touch.



6. Rewind, rewatch: Are you familiar with the early 90’s British TV series, “The Darling Buds Of May”? I first saw it on PBS years ago and fell in love with it — so much so, that I ended up purchasing the DVDs.

Hadn’t thought about it until messaging with poet friend Andrea Potos recently. We seem to be kindred spirits when it comes to certain books, films, and all things British. She was wondering what to watch next, and “Darling Buds” popped into my head, so I suggested she check it out.

Turns out she now adores the series — who can resist the raucous adventures of a big family living in 1950’s rural Kent, starring David Jason as Pop, Pam Ferris as Ma, Catherine Zeta-Jones as eldest daughter Mariette, and Phillip Franks as tax collector Cedric/Charlie Charlton? This was the role that launched Zeta-Jones’s career — I think she was 21 when the series began filming, and even then she was just gorgeous; you couldn’t take your eyes off of her.

Based on the novels by H.E. Bates, this is the perfect “feel good” escapist show — funny, beautifully shot, wonderful quirky characters, lots of food scenes, nostalgic, warm, and something the entire family can enjoy together. Can’t recommend it highly enough if it’s new to you. A must-see for anglophiles! Good news: you can watch all three seasons on Prime Video or YouTube. DVDs are still available for purchase online too. 🙂

Enjoy this teensy sneak peek:



7. Sweets for the sweet: Look what’s coming to store shelves this summer: Hershey’s Emoji Bars!

For the first time in over a hundred years, Hershey’s milk chocolate candy bars — yes, the ones with the little rectangular sections you love to break apart — will feature emojis instead of the “Hershey” brand name etched into them.

Apparently the company surveyed 500 parents and 500 kids, asking them which emojis they thought would help spark a conversation and make new connections. Good way to make these favorite bars friendlier and more shareable. Here, have a thumbs up! Or blow a kiss, wink, or slip someone the big smile with heart eyes. There are 25 emojis in all, including — *wait for it* — a poop emoji! Parents and kids voted for that one too. It will only appear on one out of every seven bars, though. Can you imagine? Here, eat poop! 😀

Though as an “ahem” mature adult I’ve graduated to high end chocolates, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Hershey’s milk chocolate bars, which were a big part of my childhood, and of course, absolutely necessary for making s’mores.



8. Also on my Wish List: Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration by Leonard S. Marcus (Candlewick, 2019). Just released in early April, this is a good bet for all children’s literature fans.

A fascinating, beautiful, and definitive account of the life of esteemed artist Helen Oxenbury.

Filled with insights that span Helen Oxenbury’s life — from her early childhood through a career in children’s books that started in the 1960s and is still going strong today — here is an exquisitely designed and thoroughly entertaining celebration of one of the finest illustrators of our time. Written by acclaimed author Leonard S. Marcus, Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration is a keepsake that is sure to engage and delight everyone from scholars to art aficionados, as well as the many fans who have grown up with Helen Oxenbury’s enchanting books.


Though I’m familiar with her books, I know little about her life and career, so I’m anxious to see this one. Adore Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes (Mem Fox), There’s Going to Be a Baby (John Burningham), We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Michael Rosen) and of course, her Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which won the Kate Greenaway Medal.



9. Finally, my man just released his latest collection of limited edition graphics, “The Beaten Path, 2019.” There are twelve pieces in all, all hand signed by Bob Dylan, and they can be purchased singly or in sets of 4, 8, or 12, framed or unframed.

Abandoning the everyday imagery of consumer culture, he has painted the honest picture of America that he encountered whilst touring the United States. Depersonalised and stripped of illusion, his paintings show generalised, universal and easily identifiable landscapes.

There are pictures of Brooklyn Heights, Little Italy, Joshua Tree, and the Golden Gate Bridge. How much do I love that he also painted a “Little Factory for Ice Cream”? 🙂

Just thought I’d give you the heads up, in case you have $33,600 (for the complete unframed set) lying around in loose change. . . Get all the deets at Castle Fine Art.

*And don’t forget what’s premiering on Netflix tomorrow!! :SCREAM:





Coming in September, finally!





BLUE SONG TIME: How about a little Elton John?

“I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” was released as a single in 1983 and appeared on the album “Too Low for Zero.” Elton wrote the music with Davey Johnstone, and Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics. It was one of John’s biggest 80’s hits.

The music video tells the story of a 1950’s couple who are separated when the man is drafted by the National Service. Part of it was filmed at the Rivoli Ballroom, the only 1950’s intact ballroom remaining in London, and features one of the rare instances Elton was filmed without his trademark glasses. With Stevie Wonder on harmonica, this classic has stood the test of time. Enjoy!












* This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. When you purchase something using a link on this site, Jama’s Alphabet Soup receives a small referral fee. Thank you for your support!

** Copyright © 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

7 thoughts on “nine cool things on a tuesday

  1. Oh Jama! It is thanks to YOU that I discovered Darling Buds of May! So glad you featured it in this sumptuous post! Between that show and Lark Rise to Candleford, my soul is forever happy!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the Elton John, have now watched a few more. . . All wonderful and very cool things today, Jama. Thanks for The Darling Buds of May, totally new to me. I hope to get LIz’ new book soon & my library has the Helen Oxenbury book! Each part’s a gem, but love these words sneaked in: “biting commentary”! Ha! Happy Tuesday!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I added The Darling Buds of May to my watch-list. I graduated from Hershey’s but then I went back to it after two of my kids were diagnosed with celiac and I needed gluten-free chocolates. I appreciate their gluten-free-ness so much! Can’t read the “most peculiar mama” plate without the song going through my head. Would love the Writers and their Pets book! Thanks, Jama 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.