A Short Story and a BIG Giveaway!

So…. remember back in October when The Magical Buffet was celebrating 10 years of existence? And how New World Library and Inner Traditions generously donated 2 of my all-time favorite books for a giveaway for the occasion? What you didn’t know is that I also reached out to Llewellyn Worldwide Publishing for a giveaway as well. Llewellyn said hey, instead of one book you like, why not let us send you multiple copies of 4 of our newest releases? I was like, heck yeah! Send them over!

This was mid-September and I patiently waited for the books. And waited. And waited. October came and went, and nothing. However, I was like, Llewellyn is so big and busy, I won’t bother them. Then late November I got a call from FedEx Ground. They had a package they had been trying to deliver for a while, but they suspected I moved. The address on the package wasn’t my previous address, it was the one BEFORE that one! Yet somehow the professionals at FedEx tracked me down and got the box of books to me! FedEx, you the best!

Which is why the 10th Anniversary giveaway train is about to leave the station one more time! Let’s call it The Magical Buffet 10th Anniversary/Holiday Season Giveaway Courtesy of Llewellyn! It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

What’s being given away? (descriptions from Llewellyn website)

“Traditional Wicca: A Seeker’s Guide” by Thorn Mooney.
While there are many powerful variations of contemporary Witchcraft, traditional Wicca offers unique experiences for those who seek it out. This book explores structured, coven-based styles of Wicca, in which the practitioners typically trace initiatory lineages back to Wicca’s early founders. Discussing covens, initiations, lineages, practices, ethics, and more, “Traditional Wicca” shares tips and ideas on how to get the most from this profound approach to Witchcraft.

Discover how to recognize healthy, reputable covens. Learn how to navigate the process of asking for training and succeeding in an outer court. Explore the spiritual strength of lineages, hierarchies, and initiation. This book also includes contributions from several practitioners, providing valuable first-person perspectives on what it’s like to be on the traditional Wiccan path.

“Essential Oils for Emotional Wellbeing: More Than 400 Aromatherapy Recipes for Mind, Emotion, and Spirit” by Vannoy Gentles Fite.
Throughout the ages, essential oils have been used to address a wide variety of mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Bring this ancient knowledge into your modern life with “Essential Oils for Emotional Wellbeing”. Featuring more than 400 step-by-step recipes, this comprehensive guide makes it easy for you to take control of your wellness and spiritual journey. These recipes come in many forms, including:
• Bath and Shower Bombs
• Bath Salts
• Lotions
• Ointments
• Diffuser Scents
• Powders
• Rubs
• Salves
• Sprays
• Lip Balms
• Massage Oils
• Inhalants
It’s simple to find the recipes you need with this book’s well-organized categories based on conditions, emotions, needs, desires, and devotion. Learn about therapeutic properties, warnings, storage, and using essential oils for specific issues. With Vannoy Gentles Fite’s guidance, you’ll be able to use these gifts from the earth to benefit every aspect of your life.

“The Orphic Hymns: A New Translation for the Occult Practitioner” by Patrick Dunn.
The Orphic hymns are fascinating historical artifacts—87 devotions, invocations, and entreaties to the Greek gods that are as potent today as they were when they were originally developed nearly two thousand years ago. Designed to be used in contemporary spiritual practice and spellcrafting, this premium hardcover edition features spectacular new English translations by Patrick Dunn along with the original Greek on facing pages.

These translations are complete, accurate, and poetic—perfect for integrating into rituals and magical workings for every conceivable purpose, from protection to prosperity and everything in between. Written by a poet and occultist specifically for contemporary practitioners of magic, this must-have book also includes detailed notes to help you understand esoteric passages as well as suggestions for incense selection and the practical use of the hymns.

“The Orphic Hymns” also includes Thomas Taylor’s eighteenth-century translation as an appendix, an index of purposes, and a concordance with a glossary, a pronunciation guide, mythic backgrounds, and cross references of every deity and place named in the hymns.
These new translations of the Orphic hymns are powerful tools for magic and devotion. In addition to the translations of the 87 hymns, you will discover helpful notes and techniques for integrating the hymns into your practice.

“Carl Llewellyn Weschcke: Pioneer and Publisher of Body, Mind & Spirit” by Melanie Marquis.
To the countless people he inspired, Carl Llewellyn Weschcke will forever be known as the Father of the New Age. This vivid and entertaining book tells Carl’s story, from a childhood influenced by his Spiritualist grandfather to his early days as a member and president of the Minnesota NAACP. Discover the fascinating account of how he transformed Llewellyn Publications from a small publisher of astrology pamphlets into the largest and most important publisher of body, mind, and spirit literature. Read about Carl’s relationships with the most influential thinkers and teachers of the counterculture, and his public Wiccan handfasting and enduring relationship with his wife, Sandra. Written by longtime friend Melanie Marquis—and including photos and contributions from authors, artists, family, friends, and collaborators—this is a book that looks back at the kindling of a movement while empowering fellow travelers on their journey forward.

How can you win all of this? Glad you asked. You have from now until 11:59PM eastern December 24, 2018 to enter. That’s right, the winners will be announced on Christmas Day! Due to the sheer size and weight of the prize packages this giveaway is only open to those living in the United States. Don’t worry, I have many more giveaways lined up and those will be open internationally. Now, just do what the nice Rafflecopter widget asks and you’ll be entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Think Before You Pink 2017

Let’s get ready to rumble folks! It’s Think Before You Pink 2017 and this year is a great campaign. With this year’s campaign, “Knot Our Pink Ribbon”, Breast Cancer Action is taking the original pinkwasher Estee Lauder to task. And as a makeup and skincare enthusiast, I am all for it.

Estee Lauder, along with many other cosmetic/skincare companies, have profited on selling the idea of beauty and vitality, while not being forthcoming with consumers about the components of their products. America’s cosmetic industry is surprisingly under regulated putting the consumer in a position to try and understand exactly what it is they are putting on their skin.

Estee Lauder commandeered the pink ribbon from hard core, grassroots, activist Charlotte Haley to help bring more “awareness” to breast cancer, and yet today they create products that included ingredients suspected of increasing breast cancer risk, such as parabens and octinoxate.

I’m happy to participate in the “Knot Our Pink Ribbon” campaign. Hopefully it will be a signal not just to Estee Lauder, but to all cosmetic and skincare companies that it is time to consider the health of their consumers.

To learn more, and send message to Estee Lauder, visit: https://thinkbeforeyoupink.org/2017/10/join-us-in-putting-a-knot-in-the-pink-ribbon/

Banned Books Week 2017

(text from the American Library Association website)

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. 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 — in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

To continue to raise awareness about the harms of censorship and the freedom to read, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) publishes an annual list of the Top Ten Most Challenged Books, using information from public challenges reported in the media, as well as censorship reports submitted to the office through its challenge reporting form.

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.

The books featured during Banned Books Week and National Library Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. But out of the hundreds of challenges ALA records every year, only about 10% of books are removed from the location where the challenge took place, thanks to local literary champions such as librarians, students, and patrons who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

Out of 323 challenges reported to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016 are:

This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
This young adult graphic novel, winner of both a Printz and a Caldecott Honor Award, was restricted, relocated, and banned because it includes LGBT characters, drug use, and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes.

Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Parents, librarians, and administrators banned this Stonewall Honor Award-winning graphic novel for young adults because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint.

George written by Alex Gino
Despite winning a Stonewall Award and a Lambda Literary Award, administrators removed this children’s novel because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels.”

I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
This children’s picture book memoir was challenged and removed because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints.

Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
Included on the National Book Award longlist and designated a Stonewall Honor Book, this young adult novel was challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content.

Looking for Alaska written by John Green
This 2006 Printz Award winner is a young adult novel that was challenged and restricted for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation.”

Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
Considered to be sexually explicit by library staff and administrators, this compilation of adult comic books by two prolific award-winning artists was banned and challenged.

Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
This collection of adult short stories, which received positive reviews from Newsweek and the New York Times, was challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive.”

Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
This children’s book series was challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author.

Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
One of seven New York Times Notable Children’s Books and a Printz Honor recipient, this young adult novel was challenged for offensive language.

Yes, books are still banned. Five of the 10 titles on the Top Ten list were removed from the location where the challenge took place. On average, OIF finds that 10% of challenges result in the removal of the book.

The First Amendment guarantees all of us the freedom to read. The Library Bill of Rights, a foundational document of the library profession, states libraries should challenge censorship and present all points of view, for the enlightenment of all people.

For the first time in Top Ten history, a book was challenged solely because of its author. Bill Cosby’s Little Bill series was challenged because of sexual allegations against the author.

Challenges continue to target LGBT material, and there is a rise in “sexually explicit” as a challenge category.

The Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles the Top Ten list by documenting public challenges (challenges that are reported in the media), as well as censorship reports submitted through the office’s reporting form, in our database.

Learn more about the American Library Association and Banned Books Week here.

10 Questions with Warren Bobrow

Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day! To celebrate we’ve got a special interview with author and “Cocktail Whisperer” Warren Bobrow all about rum!

1. How did you get involved with the world of cocktails and spirits?

Originally I trained to be a chef- This was back in the mid-1980’S- before recorded time really. I owned and founded a fresh pasta biz down In Charleston, SC- I lost it in Hurricane Hugo in 1989. I had bartended a few times while working as a cook- And it seemed like a good job for someone like myself who has the ‘Gift of Gab’… Fast forward past a 20-year career in banking- Back to my 50th birthday- when I went over to the Ryland Inn, located in NJ- and asked for a job as a bartender. Chris James, the Bar Manager told me he didn’t need a bartender, but he did need a bar back (not a glamorous job) and I was hired. But I had been writing about spirits, wine and food for a couple years- but I really had no idea just how hard it was! Physical Labor! Long Hours! Not Pretty! I held on for a year- and built my chops. How many cocktail writers do you know who worked as a bartender? Very few- and fewer still started at the bottom and worked their way up.

2. What is rum? How is it different from other spirits?

Rum is a fermented spirit not unlike whiskey or beer. the base ingredient, however is not grain. It is made from either sugar cane or molasses, or a combination of many sugar based ingredients- sometimes with the addition of caramel coloring and other synthetic ingredients. This is manipulated rum- unfortunately the backbone of the rum industry are industrially produced rums with profit as the motivating factor over quality. Raw rum or natural rum is much harder to find- and therefore these rums command higher prices.

Agricultural- or Agricole is made with freshly crushed or pressed sugar cane juice- is vastly different than industrially produced, molasses based rum.

3. Sometimes rum is spelled “rum” and other times “rhum”, is there a difference?

There is a massive difference. rhum- can be Agricole (Agricultural) or Industrial (Industrial). Agricole is made with freshly crushed sugar cane. The law (AOC, Appellation original Controlee) in the French islands reads that rhum agricole must be made with unfermented, freshly pressed cane juice. Industrial Rum on the other hand can be made pretty much any way possible, because it is treated as an industrial product. there isn’t a whole lot of oversight as to what is permissible in rum. With artificial coloring, added sugar and glycerin in the batch- there are very few correlations between Industrial and agricultural. Other than the base ingredient- which is, of course sugar cane! Small amounts of rum are also made from sorgum or sugar beets, but this stuff just sucks. I cannot stand the taste of this industrial spirit. Ick!

4. Do you know why we always associate rum with pirates?

Rum was an inexpensive product made with ingredients that just happened to grow incredibly well in poor soil and anemic water conditions that existed in the Caribbean Islands. Sugar cane propagates almost anywhere in both poor and rich soil. The juice is very easy to boil into a syrup that is treated to an industrial bread yeast- then, it is fermented and distilled in crudely built, copper pot stills. The result, a foul- ill-tempered spirit was just the liquid for an unwashed and stinking bunch of murderous thugs who would slaughter your crippled grandmother as easily as lighting a pipe filled with the local wacky weed. It wasn’t tobacco in their pipes you know! It was cannabis!

Wine spoiled quickly in the high heat and humidity of the Caribbean Islands, beer would sour in the high heat and whiskey wasn’t invented yet and vodka was not available in this part of the world. Gin was popular- but not as a commodity, it was a medicinal.

Sugar was a luxury item-coveted by the wealthy. Rum was easily made with the dregs left over from making sugar and is extremely durable stuff. In a barrel, it only gets better in the motion of the sea and the heat of the sun. Like the highly expensive, Madeira- (Truly enduring stuff that goes around the world on the deck of a ship to age), Rum is potent and healing and cheap!

To a pirate, it was an easy high and made weeks or months in the doldrums (the place without wind) easier to take. Being a pirate was not always attractive work. Rum made it a bit easier to chew off your foes ear or shoot all his horses before having one’s way with their women and then the children. Rum was liquid courage in the face of a wall of water in a storm, or against cannon fire at close range. Rum is refreshment after a voyage or as inner calm during a battle.

Against seasickness, rum works well as it settles the head and soothes the belly, for medicinal purposes only of course!

5. What’s your favorite way to drink rum?

Preferably in a clean glass, with a bit of coconut water ice (for anyone who has gotten stomach poisoning from bad ice) and a slice of caribbean lime plus a splash of cane sugar syrup. A Ti-Punch is what this wonderfully tasty drink is named.

6. If you were serving rum to a salty sailor, how would you serve it?

Being a salty sailor myself- I learned about rum from the stern of my Family’s Little Harbor Sailboat, so I prefer it two ways- One way it (the Ti-Punch) is made with a squeeze of lime, cane sugar syrup and rhum Agricole from Martinique. The other is a concoction named the Painkiller, liberally shaken until frosty with crushed coconut water ice, cream of coconut, fresh pineapple juice and plenty of bourbon barrel aged rum. (Naturally colored-no caramel added- maybe something from Long Pond or Monymusk- or one of the fine rums from Foursquare)

Quite refreshing after a tough sail with the sun and sweat burning your eyes and skin.

7. In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, what is your favorite pirate-y phrase?

Yar Pirates!

8. You’ve authored several books at this point, any chance of one coming out will be about rum?

That’s a very good question. I have not now pitched one to my publishers- but you never know.

9. What projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently writing for Forbes.com and other work for the American Distilling Institute, Barrell Bourbon, Total Food Service and DrinkUpNY, along with many publications on the cannabis side of this medicinal (Folk Healing) business.

10. Parting shot! Ask us at the Magical Buffet any one question.

Do you prefer heavy, sweet rums to naturally made, unsweetened rums crafted from a dunder- Read: Wild Yeast/Authentic…?

I prefer unsweetened rums, but I do enjoy the heavy, sweet ones too.

About Warren Bobrow:
Warren Bobrow, the Cocktail Whisperer, is the author of “Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today”, “Whiskey Cocktails: Rediscovered Classics and Contemporary Craft Drinks”, “Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails: Restorative Vintage Cocktails, Mocktails & Elixirs”, “Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations”. His most recent book is named: “The Craft Cocktail Compendium, Contemporary Interpretations and inspired twists on time honored classics”.

Bobrow has written articles for Saveur magazine, Voda magazine, Whole Foods-Dark Rye, The American Distilling Institute, Beverage Media, DrinkupNY and many other national and global periodicals.

He has written for SoFAB Magazine at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and has written restaurant reviews for New Jersey Monthly. He has also contributed to the Sage Encyclopedia of Food Issues and the Oxford Encyclopedia edition: Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City. Warren recently traveled to Asheville, NC to participate in their Cocktail Week. Warren attends Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and was nominated for a Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award in 2013. Warren was in the Saveur Magazine “100” in 2010 and was a Ministry of Rum Judge in 2010. He most recently appeared in High Times Magazine and contributes to The Fresh Toast in Seattle.

Battle for the Net Day of Action

Press release provided by Fight for the Future.

On July 12, 2017, websites, Internet users, and online communities will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality. Learn how you can join the protest and spread the word at https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12/.

Right now, new FCC Chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai has a plan to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies immense control over what we see and do online. If they get their way, the FCC will give companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T control over what we can see and do on the Internet, with the power to slow down or block websites and charge apps and sites extra fees to reach an audience.

If we lose net neutrality, we could soon face an Internet where some of your favorite websites are forced into a slow lane online, while deep-pocketed companies who can afford expensive new “prioritization” fees have special fast lane access to Internet users – tilting the playing field in their favor.

But on July 12th, the Internet will come together to stop them. Websites, Internet users, and online communities will stand tall, and sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality.

The Battle for the Net campaign will provide tools for everyone to make it super easy for your friends, family, followers to take action. From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we’ve shown time and time again that when the Internet comes together, we can stop censorship and corruption. Now, we have to do it again!

Learn more and join the action here: https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12