The Wakanda Files

Attention Marvel fans! Epic Ink was kind enough to send me a copy of their new book “The Wakanda Files: A Technological Exploration of the Avengers and Beyond” by Troy Benjamin, and it is a Marvel Cinematic Universe fan dream.

“The Wakanda Files” is framed as a compilation of Shuri’s research of the advanced technology of the MCU. Shuri is T’Challa / Black Panther’s intelligent, savvy, younger sister, so it makes since that “The Wakanda Files” reflect her accumulated knowledge of human enhancement, weapons, artificial intelligence, armor, and more from the MCU. As anything worthy of the Shuri name, “The Wakanda Files” is full color, hardcover, with a frosted plastic slipcase. It also comes with a UV light that when shined on pages reveals extra information printed in UV ink.

I wish I could hand the book to you through the screen, so you feel the quality.

Sexy hardcover.The center “bead” is the UV light.


Hard to photograph, but the UV light works!


You know Shuri was all up in Pim’s business.


Loads of schematics throughout!


Loads to geek out on!

With so much content, “The Wakanda Files” would make a great gift for any fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

You can learn more here.

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Magic: A History

What can archeology teach us about magic? It turns out, a whole hell of a lot! I wasn’t sure what to expect from “Magic: A History: From Alchemy to Witchcraft from the Ice Age to the Present” by Chris Gosden. I don’t know who I thought would write the history of magic, but an archeologist just wasn’t what I was expecting. That said, Gosden was the right person for the job.

Gosden defines magic as “human connections with the universe, so that people are open to the workings of the universe and the universe is responsive to us. Magic is related to, but different from, the other two great strands of history, religion or science: the former focuses on a god or gods, the latter a distanced understanding of physical reality. Magic is one of the oldest world-views and yet is capable of constant renewal, so that a modern magic can help us to explore our physical and ethical connections to the world in a time of profound ecological crisis.”

With this as a guide, Gosden starts in 40,000 to 5,000 BCE and ends in spiritualism, Aleister Crowley, and the Golden Dawn. During this, Gosden spans the globe, exploring archeological sites for insights into the magical practices of the early Neanderthals, China, Africa, Greece, the Americas, and more. Obviously, a single book can contain only so much detail, but considering the breadth of time and extensive geography covered, “Magic: A History” is an impressive work that had to have involved a migraine inducing amount of research.

For years now I have longed for a complete history of magic, and now Chris Gosden has done the hard work required to make my desires a reality. “Magic: A History” fills a void that has existed for far too long and is an essential book for anyone interested in the evolution of magical practices.

You can learn more here.

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Haring-isms

What is it about Keith Haring’s art that I have always loved? He was hitting his peak as an artist/street artist in the 70’s/early 80’s, so perhaps it is because, being born in 1976, his art was my introduction to graffiti as art. His designs were cartoonish, in bold colors, simplistic to the average person, and filled with motion. Haring’s work was not only accessible as art, but accessible by being licensed for TONS of products. Cynics could say he was “selling out”, but he believed in the democratization of art, frequently giving away free doodles to fans. Haring’s death in 1990 of AIDS-related illness is an important milestone in my life. His passing, along with Ryan White, turned me into an activist at a young age, constantly following the research and injustice of the early AIDS crisis. (FYI, this is just things I personally remember, not from any official source.)

This should explain why when Princeton University Press reached out to me with regards to reviewing a book about Keith Haring, I didn’t care what it was, I just wanted it! (Also, Princeton University Press, who’s the scholarly blogger?) The book they sent me (which I did know what it was going to be) was “Haring-isms” edited by Larry Warsh. It is part of Princeton’s “ISM” series, where they try to capture the essence of a variety of artists by collecting their quotations into high quality, pocket-sized, hardcover books. Along with “Haring-isms” you can find “Arsham-isms”, “Basquiat-isms”, “Weiwei-isms”, and more.

Editor Larry Warsh writes a personal and informative introduction to “Haring-isms.” After that, it is quote after wonderful quote. Here a just a few of my favorites:

It was a long time before I was successful – or wanted to be. All I ever wanted, and what I want now, is to draw, draw, draw.

I was never good at quite defining what is and what is not art. I mean, eventually everything can be art if we see it like art.

I think if people make art that is in tune with popular culture and comes from popular culture, they should put it back into that culture.

If I was going to draw, there had to be a reason. That reason, I decided, was for people.

Part of the reason that I’m not having trouble with the reality of death is that it’s not a limitation, in a way. It could have happened any time, and it is going to happen sometime. If you live your life according to that, death is irrelevant. Everything I’m doing right now is exactly what I want to do.

Each quote has a number so you can reference its source in the back of the book.

Obviously, I love “Haring-isms”. The only drawback is, other than the icon on the cover, none of Haring’s art is featured in it. I would easily pay twice the price to have these quotes along side images of some of his artwork. However, the lack of art keeps the book at a reasonable price point considering its high-quality formatting. If you’ve ever been inspired by Keith Haring, “Haring-isms” is for you.

Learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore <--- This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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A Kitchen Witch’s Guide to Recipes for Love & Romance

What can I say? I love food. I also happen to love Dawn Aurora Hunt, owner of Cucina Aurora, purveyor of fine olive oils and other treats. When I found out that she had a cookbook coming out, I literally tracked down the publisher and emailed them out of the blue asking for a copy. And they delivered, thanks Tiller Press! I expected a standard cookbook from “A Kitchen Witch’s Guide to Recipes for Love & Romance,” typical aphrodisiac type stuff, but it is a whole lot more.

“A Kitchen Witch’s Guide to Recipes for Love & Romance” is an amazing exploration of love, food, and the author’s journey with both. The book is divided into 3 parts: Self-Love, Attracting Love, and Rekindling the Fires. All of this covers such topics as honesty, self-care, building friendship, dating, attracting romance, and more. Of course, along with all of that are recipes ranging from beginner to advanced. And you know what happens now, don’t you? I tell you about the recipe I tried!

I went with something easy and delicious sounding, Lemon Ginger Tonic. “This tonic with purifying lemon, heart-warming cinnamon, and lively ginger will you with warmth and healing energy. With each sip, envision negativity and hurt melting away.”


This recipe was super simple and amazing tasting! Seriously, a winter addiction may be at hand because this tastes like the best mulled cider you ever had in your life…. without the cider! Take ingredients and dump them in a glass, then top with boiling water! I had a killer headache when I made this and hand to god, this with a couple of ibuprofens mellowed me right out and I slept like a baby that night.

Owning a copy of “A Kitchen Witch’s Guide to Recipes for Love & Romance” by Dawn Aurora Hunt is a guarantee of experiencing a life with more love and delicious food.

You can learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore <--- This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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Pro-Life Evangelical Leaders Publicly Endorse Biden

On October 2nd, prominent pro-life evangelical leaders launched www.prolifeevangelicalsforbiden.com and are inviting other evangelicals to join in signing a public statement. They acknowledge disagreement with Biden on abortion but believe that Biden’s overall agenda is closer to what they call a “biblically balanced agenda” than that of Donald Trump.

Prominent signers include John Huffman, board chair emeritus of Christianity Today, (one of the most prominent evangelical magazines in the country), Richard Foster, author of the best-selling Celebration of Discipline, Jerushah Duford, Billy Graham’s granddaughter and Richard Mouw, president emeritus of Fuller seminary.

The signers are diverse: a Trump voter in 2016; a life-long Republican who refused to vote for Trump or Clinton in 2016; people who never before in their life publicly said how they would vote and never before endorsed a Presidential candidate until this year.

Their statement/petition, featuring some of the signers is as follows:

As pro-life evangelicals, we disagree with Vice President Biden and the Democratic platform on the issue of abortion. But we believe a biblically shaped commitment to the sanctity of human life compels us to a consistent ethic of life that affirms the sanctity of human life from beginning to end.

Many things that good political decisions could change destroy persons created in the image of God and violate the sanctity of human life. Poverty kills millions every year. So does lack of healthcare and smoking. Racism kills. Unless we quickly make major changes, devastating climate change will kill tens of millions. Poverty, lack of accessible health care services, smoking, racism, and climate change are all pro-life issues. As the National Association of Evangelicals’ official public policy document (FOR THE HEALTH OF THE NATION) insists, “Faithful evangelical civic engagement and witness must champion a biblically balanced agenda.“ Therefore we oppose “one issue” political thinking because it lacks biblical balance.

Knowing that the most common reason women give for abortion is the financial difficulty of another child, we appreciate a number of Democratic proposals that would significantly alleviate that financial burden: accessible health services for all citizens, affordable childcare, a minimum wage that lifts workers out of poverty.

For these reasons, we believe that on balance, Joe Biden’s policies are more consistent with the biblically shaped ethic of life than those of Donald Trump. Therefore, even as we continue to urge different policies on abortion, we urge evangelicals to elect Joe Biden as president.

Richard Mouw, President emeritus, Fuller Seminary

Ronald J. Sider, President emeritus, Evangelicals for Social Action

Brenda Salter McNeil, Reconciler, Professor, Pastor

Jerushah Duford, Speaker, author, Billy Graham’s granddaughter

John Huffman, Board Chair emeritus, Christianity Today

Roberta Hestenes, Former President, Eastern University

Claude Alexander, Bishop

Joel C Hunter, Faith community Organizer

Richard J. Foster, Author, Celebration of Discipline, Founder, Renovare

Myron S. Augsburger, President emeritus, Eastern Mennonite University

Ray Bakke, Professor of Global Urban Mission

David Black, President emeritus, Eastern University

Bryant L Myers, Professor, Fuller Seminary

Manfred Brauch, President emeritus, Palmer Theological Seminary

John Perkins, Founder, Christian Community Development Association

You can learn more and join these signers at: www.prolifeevangelicalsforbiden.com

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Think Before You Pink 2020

Every October I highlight the work of Breast Cancer Action and their October “Think Before You Pink” campaign, and this year is no different. After taking on pharmaceutical companies and major manufacturers, Breast Cancer Action is taking on the federal government.

From Breast Cancer Action:

For 30 years, Breast Cancer Action has worked to address and end the breast cancer epidemic. We’ve pushed back on corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies that have lowered regulatory standards, undermined safety and efficacy in new treatments, spread misinformation, and empty awareness, and limited access to quality affordable healthcare. We have been doing this work and now it’s time for the administration to step up and do theirs!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an important time to examine what our public health officials are doing—and failing to do—to prevent and mitigate the devastation that breast cancer causes. The current administration, from the President down to agency leaders, has failed to take on the breast cancer epidemic. We see the far-reaching failures of the administration most notably in these four federal agencies:

The EPA focuses on profit at the expense of environmental and public health; the FDA is not doing enough for patients and consumers; the NCI ignores the environmental causes of breast cancer, and the DOJ intends to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a Supreme Court case that will be heard in November.

The federal government has an essential role in addressing the breast cancer epidemic and protecting women’s health, but instead of implementing real change, the administration implements only “pink policies.”

Pink Policies
Pink policies are political pinkwashing in action. They are policies, or a lack of policies, that fail to protect people living with breast cancer and increase breast cancer risk for all people, especially for women, people of color, and low-income people.

These types of “pink policies” are some the most unabashed and ultimately devastating forms of pinkwashing we’ve ever dealt with, in their far-reaching failures and systemic-level harms.

Join us to call out the administrations failures in leadership in addressing the breast cancer epidemic!

The Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency favors industry and ignores public health science. It has rolled back nearly 70 critical environmental and public health rules and regulations, with at least 30 more rollbacks in process this year. This blatant disregard for human health knowingly and directly increases women’s exposure to known and suspected carcinogens.

Stay tuned, action launches Monday, October 5th!

The Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration allows drugs, devices, and other consumer products to be rushed to market to benefit industry. Consumers, including breast cancer patients, who purchase FDA regulated drugs, devices, and products are misled to believe they are safe.

Stay tuned, action launches Monday, October 12th!

The National Cancer Institute
NCI’s purported mission is to lead, conduct, and support cancer research to advance scientific knowledge and help all people live longer, healthier lives. NCI’s website, accessible to both clinicians and the public, is a go-to resource for cancer prevention, but the agency leaves out critical information on environmental links to breast cancer and instead focuses on risk factors that are immutable, such as aging and family history of the disease.

Stay tuned, action launches Monday, October 19th!

The Department of Justice
The Attorney General is working to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a Supreme Court case that will be heard in November, the impacts of which would be devastating for the 29 million people covered by the ACA, and the nearly 54 million Americans with preexisting conditions, including breast cancer. Instead of attacking our health care system we need leaders who push for ensuring universal access to affordable, high quality healthcare for all.

Stay tuned, action launches Monday, October 26th!

The Pink’d Administration
Breast cancer is a social justice issue and public health crisis that urgently needs to be addressed. We need our leaders to implement policies that will ensure fewer women develop breast cancer and that no community bears a disproportionate burden of diagnosis or death from this disease.

This administration’s aggressive deregulation efforts, lack of oversight, dissemination of misinformation, and efforts to dismantle access to quality and affordable health care exacerbate systemic inequities that are the foundation of American society. The administration’s paternalistic leadership reinforces systemic racism and gender oppression by putting forth policies that are especially dangerous for low-income women and women of color. These communities are already facing disproportionately less protection from toxic exposures, less support from healthcare systems, and less assurance that their breast cancer treatments will be effective.

The time to step up and take breast cancer seriously is long overdue! Take action and tell the administration that we need policies that support public health, not industry interests, anti-science approaches, and corporate profits.

Take Action: Tell the Leaders of this Administration We Can’t Be Pink’d! We need leaders, policies, and regulations that put women living with and at risk of breast cancer first. Join us in demanding our leaders stop minimizing the harsh realities of breast cancer, sidelining science, and reinforcing health inequities!

Learn more and take action here!

The Pagan Book of the Dead

Didn’t I just publish a review of a Claude Lecouteux book? Yes, yes, I did. There is already another book? Yes, yes, there is. Is it too much? No, no, it isn’t. Theoretically, you can have too much of a good thing, like fried food or sugar (not that I reign that in). However, when it comes to Lecouteux, you can NEVER have too much of a good thing, and his latest, “The Pagan Book of the Dead” is a very good thing.

“The Pagan Book of the Dead” explores the afterlife from a variety of cultures and sources and how it evolved. Medieval Christian depictions of the afterlife were apparently the English-speaking world’s first torture porn. I have trouble handling horror (movies or books) and dude, the crazy ways a soul could be tortured was/is messed up! Rarely did I see anything about heaven, occasionally I would read about forgiveness, but primarily, that afterlife is all about torture. And although medieval Christianity takes the taco for discussing afterlife as primarily torture, they don’t own the exclusive rights to unhappily ever afters. In fact, one of the biggest features of “The Pagan Book of the Dead” is that unlike most of Lecouteux’s books, which focus on English, French, and German texts, this book also has texts from Arab countries, Nicaragua, and Asia. Believe me, they can be just as judgmental and punitive.

Which highlights one of the things I loved about this book, which is not only its inclusion of other cultures, but other formats. Along with the traditional tales (fairy or otherwise) you have come to expect, Lecouteux also features Gypsy folktales and songs as sources. With these extra inclusions he crafts an even better tapestry of the interconnectedness of our stories and the universality of many of our themes and symbols.

I am not 100% certain, but “The Pagan Book of the Dead” MAY be my new favorite Claude Lecouteux book.

You can learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore <--- This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

Banned Books Week 2020

As we all know, 2020 has been a dumpster fire. We are essentially a nation on the brink. I was expecting some sort of aggressive, war footing for this year’s annual Banned Books Week. Freedom of thought and expression is vital in times like these. However, we’re getting a relatively bland, kind of dorky theme. That said, don’t let it dissuade you from observing and participating in, this important annual event!

Banned Books Week is an event celebrating the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Banned Books Week 2020 is from September 27 – October 3. The theme of this year’s event is “Censorship is a dead end. Find your freedom to read!”

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The American Librarian Association Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country. The Top 10 Challenged Books of 2019 are:

(clicking on the book images will take you to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use these links to purchase a book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

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George by Alex Gino
Reasons: challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden to avoid controversy; for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character; because schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion”; for sexual references; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint and “traditional family structure”

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Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, for “its effect on any young people who would read it,” and for concerns that it was sexually explicit and biased

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A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
Reasons: Challenged and vandalized for LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, for concerns that it is “designed to pollute the morals of its readers,” and for not including a content warning

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Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
Reasons: Challenged, banned, and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content; for discussing gender identity and sex education; and for concerns that the title and illustrations were “inappropriate”

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Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
Reasons: Challenged and restricted for featuring a gay marriage and LGBTQIA+ content; for being “a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children” with the potential to cause confusion, curiosity, and gender dysphoria; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint

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I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
Reasons: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content, for a transgender character, and for confronting a topic that is “sensitive, controversial, and politically charged”

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Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”

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Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals”

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Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Reasons: Banned and forbidden from discussion for referring to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual curses and spells, and for characters that use “nefarious means” to attain goals

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And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson illustrated by Henry Cole
Reason: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content


You can learn more about this event and the work they do here.

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Travels to the Otherworld and Other Fantastic Realms

If you’ve been a reader of The Magical Buffet for any time at all, you know that I am a lady that LOVES herself some Claude Lecouteux. He has written numerous books about medieval beliefs and magic (many that have been reviewed on this website!). This time he, and his co-editor Corinne Lecouteux, are exploring the various realms of the medieval world with “Travels to the Otherworld and Other Fantastic Realms.”

In the introduction the Lecouteuxs (Lecouteuxes? Lecouteuxi?) explain that as you might expect, distance traveling in medieval times was dangerous business. Obviously, people wanted to hear about it, but instead of dry travelogues, people wrote tales of adventure and romance in these mystical distant lands. From the introduction, “To come alive, the stories need heroes whose epic deeds – real or legendary – have left their mark in human memory. While some of these figures like King Arthur, Roland, Siegfried, and Melusine have survived in popular consciousness, how many others are no longer remembered at all today!

Travelers’ tales open up an unusual world for us; they allow us to discover mythic geography and meet people from the far ends of the earth. In its own way, each tale reflects the reactions of the human being when faced with the unknown. The letters of Alexander of Macedonia to his mother Olympias and his teacher Aristotle are a perfect example of this. Out of these letters emerge alarming creatures of unparalleled strangeness.

But journeys did not only take place in this world. In the Middle Ages, with its profound Christian imprint, the protagonists could also make their way into the Otherworld, the land of Faery; this is the case with Thomas of Erceldoune (also known as Thomas the Rhymer) or Guerrin Meschino.”

“Travels to the Otherworld and the Fantastic Realms” presents tales of traveling to the end of the Earth, traversing the globe in the name of love and/or vengeance, seeing the fires of Hell, and more! Along with these stories are rare illustrations from manuscripts and chapbooks.

If you want to voyage to ancient, magical places, “Travels to the Otherworld and Other Fantastic Realms” by Claude and Corinne Lecouteux is a beautiful resource.

You can learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore<---This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

Marooned (International Talk Like a Pirate Day) 2020

This Saturday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. As most of you know, us over at The Magical Buffet take our “excuses to drink” holidays quite seriously, and obviously International Talk Like a Pirate Day is a great time to drink some rum! Did I mention that this year it falls on a Saturday? Guess what I’m saying is, don’t expect to hear anything from me on Sunday!

Of course, this year’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day finds us off the edge of the map. A global pandemic is keeping all our party barges anchored at the dock. To commemorate this particularly unusual year, the founders of the event, John Baur and Mark Summers, created a special t-shirt design. Seeing as throughout the years I’ve hopefully cultivated a band of merry pirates, I thought I’d share it here.


You can shop this design and more here.

You can learn more about this wonderful holiday (celebrated every year since 2002) here.

They have even written books, like this one!

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Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet