Happy, Happy Birthday Cranky__Crocus!!

Yes, it is our darling Kiwibird's natal day, so of course there must be cake!

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But before we dig in, I'd like you to engage in a little observational exercise.  It's one of those things scientists often do without realizing we are doing it (and thus making us tiresome companions to others who'd rather just be getting on with eating the cake, thank you very much).  When one slices a kiwi fruit very thin, and then holds it up to the light, this is what one sees:

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That bright, sunny core reminds me very much of our Birthday Girl. *g*

Many happy returns, Kiwi dear!

Drive-By Rec

For those of you who are unware, there is a new fest, which started posting on Friday, dedicated to our favorite Potions Master.  severus_snape has just gotten started, but there's already been an outstanding piece of art which has posted.  Go check out Snapebastian.  It's remarkable.  And while you are there, check out the opening day art and the two fics which have been posted.  You won't be disappointed!

Hoggywarty Xmas Recs

Today is extended family Christmas celebration day, and as usual, I will be spending a good deal of it behind the wheel of my car.  But I couldn't go without reminding everyone who hasn't popped in yet that the party of the year is going on at hoggywartyxmas right now.  We're four days in and already there have been some smashing stories - two in particular I'd like to draw your attention to.

The first is the fest opener, Subversive.  This is a well-written, thought-provoking tale, one that takes you inside Goblin culture, and gives us a brilliant view of the other side of the story than the one we are accustomed to. It is set around a unique rare pair: Griselda Marchbanks and a goblin female named Vala.  We get to watch their relationship develop, crossing cultural, aesthetic, and political boundries, as they come to terms with what they feel for one another, all while the conflicts between Goblin and wizard, and wizard and wizard, unfold.  I just love stories like this, where the author reveals something to us that most of us just took as a superficial given in the original stories, and gives it depth and realism.  Highly recommended.

Also highly recommended, what may well turn out to be the crown jewel of the fest, is an wonderful, satisfyingly long (leave yourself some time, you'll want to savor this one and it's 20,000 words, not a one wasted) story set in the immediate aftermath of the 2nd Voldemort war, We'll Take a Cup of Kindness Yet, told mostly from Aberforth Dumbledore's POV.  And the author of this story (for once, I am fairly certain who it is, and she is a brilliant writer) has Aberforth's voice to perfection.  I wish I had all day to talk about everything that makes this story so wonderful, but since I don't, let me just say that you won't regret a single minute you spend reading this.  Every person in the story, even the cameos, is brilliantly drawn, the center love story so poignant and yet unsentimental, and gods, I'm gushing even though I hadn't meant to.  Just give yourself a gift and go read this.

Have a lovely Boxing Day, my dears! 

Farewell Nelson Mandela

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

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You were a light when all around was dark. You were courage when others were afraid. You were persistence which wore down the granite of hatred and anger. You were an inspiration to me and countless others of my generation, who would never know the privations, the heartbreak, the injustice you suffered, but were so awed that we shared a planet and a time with someone as heroic as you. May the light you shone light the way for others. In a world filled with petty hatreds and petty divisions, may everyone who claims the mantle of leadership strive to be one tenth of the human being you were. Pumzika kwa amani, Mr. Mandela.