"The Einstein Sisters Bag of Flying Monkeys" by Irving Wesley Hall


Our times are especially susceptible to satire. Both the subject-matter and the satirists can come from all sides. Something that began as a real issue can be driven into the realm of the absurd, then resurface as serious discussion. Nothing and no one is safe. The new political satire, “The Einstein Sisters Bag the Flying Monkeys” by Irving Wesley Hall, is built on the situation of three Jewish great-great-granddaughters of Albert Einstein who have been abandoned by their parents and enrolled in a conservative Christian school.

Joe Crooskston

Joe Crookston is an American folk singer . He has released four albums on the Milagrito Records label: 2004’s Fall Down as the Rain, 2008’s Able Baker Charlie & Dog, 2011’s Darkling & the BlueBird Jubilee, and 2014’s “Georgia I’m Here”. http://youtu.be/kbqUpPMiSqE

"Spirit of the Gang" by A. A. Delgado


This is not an easy time, or an easy society, in which to grow up.  Adolescence itself can be a strain on body and soul.  Education takes place in settings that can feel like a prison (or, perhaps more precisely, a “correctional institution”) and the usual insecurities worsened by the presence of people involved in violent and criminal activity. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wskg/local-wskg-665182.mp3

The growth of youth gangs and their accompanying terroristic activity is no longer confined to big urban areas.  These gangs with their tight structures can sometimes provide young people the most effective discipline they’ve ever received.  The gangs have their own rituals, recognizable symbols, a code of obedience.  They may also obligate members to commit violence and can be well armed and even a connection to adult crime syndicates. A young person seeking stability or protection may find them attractive, or may find it difficult to avoid their recruitment. Julio Torres, the protagonist of A.A. Delgado’s novel “Spirit of the Gang” faces more troubles than a young person should have to deal with.  His brother Alex has been murdered in gang warfare and now the gang called the Reapers is trying to draw him into the fold.  Julio’s mother is struggling with cancer, his father tries to keep order both in the family and in the community as a police officer.  Julio attends a Catholic high school that has established an on-line partnership called Crossing the Boundaries that allows their inner-city students to chat by computer with the kids at an upscale suburban high school.  Through Crossing the Boundaries Julio hooks up with a girl named Carlie (until his explicit comments cause him to be banned from his school’s computers and he skips school to try to meet Carlie in person). “Spirit of the Gang” is realistic, violent, troubling and, like adolescence itself, occasionally funny.  Its author says that it was “inspired by true accounts”.

"Yours Truly, C.P. Avery" by Robert W. White


Judge Thomas Averill Carter of Owego, NY never really existed. Robert W. White’s novel set in the 1850s, “Susquehanna Scandal”, described a respected lawyer and jurist with a messy personal life (all fictional) who falls in love with a visiting Mohawk woman named Sakuma Gage (also fictional, but…) and is moved to memorialize her when she dies in a railroad accident just after a visit to Owego (…some factual basis here). The loss is devastating to Judge Carter, and may have been the motivation for “the pride of Owego” to leave his small town for the wilderness – and legal battleground – of Michigan. But in the end he returns to Owego to remember the lost Sakuma, and to die. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/national/local-national-734358.mp3

The character of Judge Carter was based on a real-life judge from Owego, Charles Pumpelly Avery (1817-1872).