The Handmaid’s Tale and the Power of a Look

The Handmaid's Tale She’s got the look. The look of defiance, the look of fear, the look of horror, the look of joy, the look of determination…it’s all about looks, glares and glances on The Handmaid’s…

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Jaqui Lividini’s Tale of Two Renovations

BUILDING AND BLOGGING: Jaqui Lividini’s blog, “Diary of a Mad Renovator,” relaunched last week on her web site, diaryofamadrenovator.com, with a new look, new logo and a new project in the works: her apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Previously, Lividini blogged on Traditionalhome.com.
The revamped blog shares what it takes to tackle a city renovation and explains some of the similarities and differences of working in an urban environment versus the scenic seaside in Connecticut, where Lividini has a 2,000-square-foot beachfront home.
“Both ran over schedule and over budget, but seriously, your main residence is always going to be a more difficult project,” said Lividini, chief executive officer of Lividini & Co. and former Saks Fifth Avenue executive. “With the beach house you can close the door and drive away, and try to forget about the heartache. Not true with a city apartment that is your permanent dwelling.
“The other big difference is in dealing with the building structure. In the city that is just not a problem. It’s the condo or co-op association’s responsibility. At the beach, it’s 1,000 percent on you and that can be overwhelming, especially if you have structural issues, like raising the house nine feet.”
Lividini was

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Samira Wiley Says ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Will Show Parts Of Gilead We’ve Never Seen

The actress opens up about filming amid the Me Too movement and addresses her past comments on the show’s handling of race.
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‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Takes On The Everyday Horror Of Disappointing Your Mother

In Season 2, Episode 3, we finally meet June’s mom, a dauntless feminist activist who “always knew” Gilead was coming.
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Stephen Webster’s New Jewelry Tale

TELLING TALES: Stephen Webster wouldn’t normally put initials on his rebellious jewelry designs, but when the idea of initials — and underwater creatures — surfaced, he changed his mind and a new collection called Fish Tales was born.
The collection consists of 26 dainty gold and diamond charms that show sea creatures entangled with a letter of the alphabet. The collection is accompanied by a short book that captures Webster’s ongoing fascination with the underwater world and tells the stories of the different types of fish featured in the new range, starting with Angelfish and ending with Zebra Turkeyfish.
“Every now and again I have an idea that’s a little outside the box, just like the knives we created last year. Those are the collections that end up becoming our signatures because we always like that element of surprise,” said Webster, who debuted the new collection with a cocktail at Hix restaurant in east London.
An avid writer who published a popular autobiography in 2015, Webster often pens columns for different publications such as the Hix magazine and is always looking to tell stories about his jewelry.
“Jewelry provides a great means of storytelling, you can narrate your way of doing things. This collection

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Showrunner Wishes The Show Was Irrelevant

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The Handmaid’s Tale Cast Unwinds on Set With The Bachelor Viewing Parties

Samira WileyThe Handmaid’s Tale is set in a dystopian world, a world where women virtually have no rights and fertile ones are assigned to households of rich and powerful men to have their children. Those…

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The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 Finally Has a Premiere Date & a Suitably Grim Trailer

The Handmaid's TaleIt’s almost time to go back to Gilead.
Coming off an incredible award season in which The Handmaid’s Tale has won nearly every award it found itself nominated for, allowing Hulu…

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Bottega Veneta Weaves a Tale at London’s Chiswick House

PARTYING WITH PALLADIO: “We wanted to bring part of the Veneto region to London for a real celebration,” said Claus Dietrich Lars, chief executive of Bottega Veneta, as he cast his gaze around Chiswick House, the 18th-century Palladian-style villa in west London.
The villa, built by Lord Burlington, was filled with northeastern Italian flavor on Thursday night, from the prosecco tasting stations and Aperol spritz cocktail bar to the Bottega Veneta craftspeople who were busily weaving the brand’s famous intrecciato designs with strips of leatherlike strands of fettuccine as guests walked among the rooms.
There were areas dedicated to all of the brand’s products, from leather goods to fragrance to jewelry, while downstairs in the garden, guests were offered Venetian-inspired food made by Giorgio Locatelli.

Lady Kitty Spencer 
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In the fragrance room, the entire Parco Palladiano collection was on display, with each juice meant to evoke a single moment in the day, including the smell of the air in the garden at dawn to high noon under the orange tree.
It was the biggest event that Bottega had ever done in London, with guests including Sabine Getty, Poppy Delevingne, Amber Le Bon, Lady Kitty Spencer, Arizona Muse, Marc Quinn, François-Henri Pinault and a host

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The Lasting Impact Of ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Is The Activism It’s Inspired

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Joseph Fiennes Says ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Made Him An Even Bigger Feminist

It’s hard to work on a TV show like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and not be “jolted” into a “state of consciousness,” according to Joseph Fiennes. 

Fiennes plays Commander Fred Waterford, the leader of the oppressive dystopian republic called Gilead in Hulu’s hit series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” based on the book of the same name by Margaret Atwood. The book has been heralded as a feminist classic and (after some initial back and forth) the show seems to be following suit. So it comes as no surprise that Fiennes says he’s become an even bigger feminist after playing the Commander on a set full of iconic women like Elisabeth Moss (the show’s protagonist Offred) and Yvonne Strahovski (Serena Joy, the Commander’s brilliantly sadistic wife).

In a June 15 interview with Marie Claire, Fiennes said the series has really awoken him to women’s issues ― especially since the “most important people” in his life are his wife and two daughters. 

“Certainly the show has jolted me into a much more alert state of the inequality amongst the sexes,” he said. “By virtue of that, I feel much more switched on to feminism, and what it means and stands for. I want my daughters to live in a world where there is equality and parity of pay. We’ve got a long way to go. I read a statistic that if you’re a Hispanic woman it’ll be over 200 years until you achieve parity of pay. So yes, the show has jolted me into a state of consciousness.” 

The show has jolted me into a much more alert state of the inequality amongst the sexes. By virtue of that, I feel much more switched on to feminism, and what it means and stands for.
Joseph Fiennes

Fiennes also spoke about the eery way the dystopian future depicted in “The Handmaid’s Tale” has begun to feel closer to real life over the last year. From the U.S. pulling out of the Paris climate deal to the constant war over women’s bodies and reproductive autonomy, Fiennes pointed to the parallels between fictional Gilead and the United States in 2017.

“When you wake up and you see that America has pulled out of the climate deal in Paris, that sends huge messages about putting coal before the planet. Gilead has suffered from a fragile ecology that is now toxic and affecting fertility rates,” Fiennes told Marie Claire. “There is truth to it ― there is connection, themes, and parallels, sadly. It’s getting sharper and sharper, especially for women ― the autonomy of their bodies, and pro-choice vs. pro-life. Look at the administration, the imbalance of the female presence ― there’s a lot to draw on.”

One silver lining? The protests and resistance the U.S. has seen since President Donald Trump took office. 

“It was wonderful seeing the woman’s marches, and seeing numbers bigger than the president’s inauguration,” Fiennes said. “It gives one great heart that there are people present, alert, and awake, and voicing their frustrations. We need more of that.”

Head over to Marie Claire to read the rest of Fiennes’ interview. 

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Vaquera Stages ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Fashion Show

Before fans of the Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale” have to say goodbye to the eerily topical dystopia of Gilead June 14 when the show’s season finale airs, Vaquera codesigners David Moses, Patric DiCaprio, Bryn Taubensee and Claire Sully gave fans in New York a little extra fix of white bonnets and red robes. They staged a “Handmaid”-inspired fashion show/performance art piece Thursday that rivaled the show/Margaret Atwood’s book’s plot line for riveting weirdness. Shown at the Angel Orensanz Foundation, the show featured a lineup of handmaids — male and female, all ages, sizes and ethnicities — in deconstructed versions of the show’s red robe/white bonnet uniform. One wore a white robe draped in cone bras; another held an umbrella shrouded in white gauze. Another wore what looked like red couch cushions. One by one they aggressively stomped around the square white stage, eventually standing in the center and giving a little personal performance. “We wanted people to come into the middle and express themselves in different characters,” said Sully. “It was taking the forced identity of the handmaid and subverting it,” said Moses.
Lest anyone think the show was the result of creative superfans, the Vaquera collective started work on the

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Yvonne Strahovski Finds The Victim In The Villain On ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

It’s been months since “The Handmaid’s Tale” wrapped filming, and Yvonne Strahovski still can’t get Serena Joy out of her head. 

As the resident baddie in Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s celebrated novel, the Australian actress is discovering new depths to a character whose inner life was largely absent from the text. 

For Strahovksi, her first introduction to the world of “The Handmaid’s Tale” was the pilot script ― she went back and read the book later ― and what inspired her wasn’t the character’s cruelty, but her pain. Capturing the humanity of a woman complicit in the subjugation of her gender under an oppressive regime was an opportunity to make the role her own. 

Until the sixth episode “A Woman’s Place,” released on Wednesday, the series utilized flashbacks as emotionally-driven viewpoints to juxtapose what life was like for Offred (Elisabeth Moss) before she was forced to bear children for the ruling class to which Serena belongs. 

This week, Strahovski delivered some of the finest work of her career, as the series veered away from the book and back to a time where Serena more than lived up to her surname, something that has been stamped out in the totalitarian state she helped create. 

HuffPost recently caught up with the actress.

The series paints Serena as a more complex character as compared to the book. In this version, we understand her as tragic figure. Was that something that attracted you to the role? 

It was definitely something that was important to me after reading the book and having the series flesh out Serena by humanizing her a little more. Yes, she’s the villain. Yes, she’s the evil character, but she also has feelings. It was important for me to try to attempt to have audiences connect with her in some way, shape or form emotionally because she is so unrelatable in every other way. I was going to say in a lot of ways, but I’m gonna say she’s unrelatable because she’s evil.

There’s a real sense of sadness with Serena.

On paper she is so evil, but where does she draw the line? I feel like Serena is so complicated because she is one of those authority figures who created this society, but now she has to live in it. She’s realizing it’s not so great for her either. On some level, she’s also dealing with a lot oppression as a female because she’s been stripped of her rights, to a degree. How do you deal with the complexities of trying to negotiate the fact that you did this to yourself, but also you’re living it and it doesn’t feel so good anymore?

This week’s episode was particularly flashback-heavy and shifted the POV to Serena. What was it like to explore her life before Gilead? 

It felt really unnatural and weird. It really did. It felt like a big giant leap, but I think it’s an important one, because it’s heartbreaking. We’re following the story of Offred and Ofglen and all these amazing characters who are suffering in some way, shape or form, but I think this is a story about how everyone is suffering.

Having those flashbacks with her finding some sort of happiness and meaning and place for herself in the world is important to show, even though I personally struggle to not judge her and totally disagree with what she’s doing as a passive bystander when women are totally losing their rights. 

The flashback scene where Serena isn’t allowed to speak in a meeting about the creation of this new society because she is a woman stood out to me. 

That scene was hugely important to me because it bridged that gap between Serena Joy pre-Gilead, as we see in those flashbacks, and then Serena Joy in Gilead. We spend so much time focusing on the current Gilead, so suddenly in Episode 6, the flashbacks were really hard to imagine after setting up this pent-up, very uptight character. The biggest thing on my mind was at what one point did Serena Joy exit the conversation about how Gilead was going to be set up.

I think that’s the beginning of the demise of her former self and the demise of her and the commander’s relationship. That’s where her rights started getting taken away and she no longer has a voice. It’s this weird line she walks of having a pure intention to begin with of saving the world and creating more babies in a religious-based way. Somewhere along the line, it got obviously really messed up.

Serena and the Commander (Joseph Fiennes) actually share a consensual and loving sex scene in the flashbacks. What was it like to film a sex scene that wasn’t so dark? 

It kind of felt like a normal day of a different show that wasn’t “The Handmaids Tale.” It wasn’t rigid. The walls are very thick and high in Gilead and as each character, we live bound by those parameters, so to have those parameters let go and just shoot a scene that seems pure, loving, passionate and intimate just kind of seemed like a normal day at work instead of working on material that’s really confronting very potent issues and themes. 

How did it differ from the ceremony scenes you share with Elisabeth Moss and Joseph Fiennes? What goes through your mind when you’re all in bed together? 

In the actual moment, it’s pure rage for Serena. She’s lost a lot also. She’s lost her ability to do her work as an author or a spokeswoman. She’s lost her right to connect to her husband sexually. She’s got a lot of emptiness inside her, so she holds onto the one thing that will make her life better there, and that’s having a baby. Serena also has no way out. It’s not like she can leave her house, the country or the Commander. In a way, it’s her own story of survival, but she just happens to be doing really shitty things while she’s surviving. 

I’ve always had this image of her as a boiling pot of water on a stove with the lid tightly on. Every so often, the boiling water inside gets [to be] too much and it has to release and the lid lifts and she releases her rage. There’s just no release in Gilead, so when she can abuse her power and release some of that pent-up rage, she does. 

Did you stay in character during the ceremony scenes? How did you break the tension?

No, I think I would go insane if I stayed in that mode the whole time. We have to let go. Although, I do have to say mentally it was hard to let go of Serena because she is so complex and has all these dualities that feels like a puzzle sometimes. She did stay with me in my brain for the most part of shooting the show. 

We’re not, like, freaky-deaky toward each other on set. It’s a very normal cast and crew and we all like to come to set because it’s just a workday for us. After we get past “How was your weekend?” and “How was your night last night?” we switch gears and get into this kind of stuff. 

What do you make of Serena’s smoking habit? It seems to be one the few obvious cracks in her “perfect wife” facade. 

I sort of saw it as a calming thing and also something to do. There’s just not a whole lot that she has to do in this society. She’s the master of the house and she’s supposed to take care of all things domestic. But I just feel like there would be that element of boredom if you’re in that situation. What do you do? She paints, knits and she smokes because there are no other things to do our outlets. The smoking thing did really seem to me like a time-passing mechanism or a calming mechanism when things get too much for Serena when she’s about to blow. 

Hulu has renewed “The Handmaid’s Tale” for a second season. What are your thoughts on the series moving away from the text and into uncharted territory?  

I’m excited by the prospect. I feel like each of these characters have so much to offer and there’s a lot to explore. I love that we’ve been given this opportunity to spend these 10 episode reflecting what Maragaret Atwood’s book originally told us, but now we have these established characters, so we can take them places. It feels like there are a lot of places to go because we are in such a rigid society, so when everything is so pent up and rigid there a lot of rules to be broken. For someone like Serena, it would be really interesting to see her belief system challenged against her own will. I would love to see her own walls that she built herself crumble around her.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

New episodes of the “The Handmaid’s Tale” are available every Wednesday on Hulu. 

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is Unequivocally A Story By, For And About Women

With the much-awaited release of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” only four days away, much has been said in the past 24 hours about who the story, in both its book and TV show form, is for.

In Saturday’s New York Times review, executive producer Bruce Miller discusses spearheading the show as a man when its creators initially wanted a woman to do so: 

“Offred spoke to me,” Mr. Miller said. “She’s in this nightmarish situation but she keeps her funny cynicism and sarcasm. She finds really interesting ways to pull levers of power and express herself.”

But Mr. Miller wasn’t a shoo-in for showrunner because producers were looking for a woman, he recalled. “The Handmaid’s Tale” has been a seminal right-of-passage novel for many young women for over three decades; a feminist sacred text.

“It’s sacred to me, too,” Mr. Miller said. “But I don’t feel like it’s a male or female story; it’s a survival story.”

At the show’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, the starring actors placed a heavy emphasis on the show being a “human” story and not a “feminist” one

“I think that any story, if it is a story being told by a strong, powerful woman… any story that’s just a powerful woman owning herself in any way is automatically deemed ‘feminist,’” said Madeline Brewer, who plays handmaid Jane. “But it’s just a story about a woman. I don’t think that this is any sort of feminist propaganda.”

Elisabeth Moss, who plays the show’s main character Offred, echoed Brewer’s comments

“It’s not a feminist story, it’s a human story, because women’s rights are human rights,” Moss said. I never intended to play Peggy [from ‘Mad Men’] as a feminist and I never expected to play Offred as a feminist … I approach it from a very human place, I hope.”

Atwood has since responded by neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the cast. 

“It’s not only a feminist story,” she said. “It’s also a human story.”

While the show doesn’t need to be labeled as “feminist,” and while it’s fine that a man who loves the story spearheaded its televised iteration, a story that a woman wrote about the forced subservience of women and their subsequent survival deserves to be owned by women. We get to claim it. 

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian fiction, sure, but it’s one that has women storming to their local libraries to grab a copies of the book. Last month, women dressed up as handmaids and protested anti-abortion legislation in the Texas Senate gallery. And, at this year’s SXSW festival, women wore handmaids costumes and roamed the streets of Austin, Texas, as performance art. Even though the book was written more than 30 years ago, it is resonating with women all over again.

Rebecca Traister wrote about reading the book in the era of President Donald Trump for New York Magazine in Februrary. “[T]here’s no question that reading about Atwood’s imagined dystopia is far scarier today than it was, I suspect, for adults living in 1985,” she wrote.

For anyone who has read the book, there shouldn’t be much surprise as to why women feel so connected to it in this current political and social moment. After all, it feels closer to reality than the show’s creators wanted.

Moss, who also serves as a producer, acknowledged the eerie and terrifying parallels between Offred’s nightmarish journey and Trump’s America.

“We never wanted the show to be this relevant,” she told Entertainment Weekly in December.

The relevance of story is easy to spot.

In the dystopian theocracy of Gilead, where “The Handmaid’s Tale” is set, women’s bodies are policed and controlled by the male-run state. Handmaids’ only purpose is to bear children ― they have no rights, no freedom, no lives. Women are not trusted with their own bodies. 

America now has a president who brags about grabbing women “by the pussy.” This week, a lawyer in Tennessee said that women are “especially good at lying … because they’re the weaker sex.” A Missouri congressman said last year that becoming pregnant after a rape is a blessing from God. Rooms full of men make legislative decisions about women’s bodies. A panel of men in Maryland decided that rapists can continue to have parental rights over the children who were conceived by rape. And abortion access is under threat across the U.S. 

But the beauty of “The Handmaid’s Tale” ― something that Miller misses and perhaps what women connect to most deeply ― is that it is inarguably, explicitly, a story of women’s survival and audacity. 

The first time I read the novel, in the fall of 2015, I cried. Not because its content was so traumatizing. (It was.) And not because it felt so eerily similar to what was happening in our political landscape. (It did.)

I cried for lines like this:

 “We learned to whisper almost without sound. In the semidarkness we would stretch out our arms, when the Aunts weren’t looking, and touch each other’s hands across space. We learned to lip-read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other’s mouths.”

And lines like this:

“I keep on going with this sad and hungry and sordid, this limping and mutilated story, because after all I want you to hear it … By telling you anything at all I’m at least believing in you … Because I’m telling you this story I will your existence. I tell, therefore you are.”

Atwood’s beautifully constructed prose is at its finest when she is portraying the sheer resilience of my fellow women.

In the wake of the presidential election, the resilience of women is what has kept me going. Women are resisting, calling, volunteering, donating… and living.

And like the fictional Offred ― whether Moss thinks she’s “feminist” or not ― we intend to survive.

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Essay: Margaret Atwood on What ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Means in the Age of Trump

Atwood on whether her dystopian classic is meant as a “feminist” novel, as antireligion or as a prediction.
NYT > Books

BOOK SALE UPDATE!

A Rediscovered Mark Twain Fairy Tale Is Coming Soon

A fanciful bedtime story that he told his daughters will finally be finished and released, more than a century after he wrote it.
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Trudeaubama: A Timeless Tale Of Two BFFs

We knew this day would come. But that doesn’t make it any less painful.

While outgoing President Barack Obama will be dearly missed by millions of Americans nationwide, his departure from the White House is sure to be difficult for one particular Canadian, as well.

Justin Trudeau formally met Obama for the first time at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in November 2015, shortly after his election as prime minister of Canada. 

Obama was quick to offer some friendly advice. “I just want to point out that I had no gray hair when I was in your shoes seven years ago,” he told Trudeau. “And so if you don’t want to gray like me, you need to start dying it soon, because it gets too late.”

“So young and yet so cynical,” came the prime minister’s beaming response.

And thus, a beautiful cross-border friendship was born.

The political pals have shared so many special moments in little more than a year. They put their mutual admiration on display at a White House state dinner for Canada last March, playfully teasing each other and setting the Twitterverse alight.

“We’re actually closer than friends. We’re more like siblings, really,” Trudeau told Obama at the dinner, referring to relationship between the two nations. “May the special connection between our two countries continue to flourish in the years to come, and may my gray hair come in at a much slower rate than yours has.”

Defining relationships isn’t always easy. While many have called the visible chemistry between Trudeau and Obama a political “bromance,” the prime minister has insisted “dude-plomacy” is a more accurate term.

Whatever you want to call it, here’s a nostalgic look back at their short but glorious time together as neighboring national leaders: 

When your bestie blocks out the glare in a truly selfless selfie.

When your bestie is trying to joke with you, but come on, you’re at work!

When your bestie coordinates outfits with you ahead of time.

When you stick with water and offer to be your bestie’s designated driver for the night, because he needs to unwind after a tough week.

When your bestie stares down the folks who’ve been giving you a hard time.

Because only you get to give him a hard time about stuff. Like remember when he wanted to have a custom handshake?

Yeah, that was real smooth.

But you appreciate him, not just for the stuff that everyone sees.

You cherish those private moments, too.

Sure, you’ve had disagreements.

And out of respect for your bestie, you hit up the club without letting your friends know you’ve got a beef.

But you know what? After a few drinks, you talk and realize just how much you care about one another.

And everything’s all good.

No one gets in between you two. Except maybe your significant others. 

But as hard as they might try, even they know it’s impossible to separate besties.

There’s such chemistry between you two. And when you try to get that same spark with other people …

… it’s just not the same.

Which is why (clears throat)  it’s so harrrrrrrrrd to say goodbyyyyyyyye to yesterdayyyyyyy. 

“Hey, Barack … you did good.”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Welcome To An All-Too Real Dystopia In First ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Trailer

Things might look pretty bleak in America currently, but at least we aren’t living in a totalitarian regime… yet.

The first trailer for Hulu’s television adaptation of the celebrated Margaret Atwood dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale arrived on Saturday and we’re already prepared to declare the upcoming 10-episode series as our new favorite TV show. 

“The Handmaid’s Tale” follows a group of women living under an oppressive theocracy that only values them for procreation. In the 30-second clip, we meet Offred (Elisabeth Moss), who is forced contend with this new reality after being separated from her husband and daughter. 

 “I had another name, but it’s forbidden now,” she says. “So many things are forbidden now.”

We have an endless amount of questions from watching the teaser, but all we can think about is where are they taking Alexis Bledel?!

Ugh, this would never happen in Stars Hollow. 

“The Handmaid’s Tale” premieres Wednesday, April 26 on Hulu.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Nonfiction: Woody Allen Reviews a Graphic Tale of a Scandalous Starlet

“Mary Astor’s Purple Diary,” by Edward Sorel, is a juicy, funny and, in the end, touching look at the actress’s life.
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A Fairy Tale Wedding (On A Shoestring Budget)

A Fairy Tale Wedding (On A Shoestring Budget)


He’s popped the question. The ring is on your finger. Now comes the stressful part. You want to throw the wedding of your dreams, but you?re not Donald Trump’s kid. What do you do? Statistics say the average wedding costs ,000. Most young girls dream of the fairy tale wedding: long white gown, 8 bridesmaids, a sit-down dinner, the band everyone dances to. Many brides have been dreaming about their wedding day since childhood. These dreams come with an expensive price tag and the realisation of their fairytale day may be distant. Although weddings are very costly today, your dream day can happen. I am going to share some tips to cut corners and save money without making huge sacrifices. By taking the time to plan and investigate, you will be amazed at the amount of money that you save. Would you arrive at an interview for your dream job without prior preparation? No, you would not and that is why preparation and research will make your wedding a success without re-mortgaging the house! It’s only natural to want the Cinderella fantasy wedding, complete with ice sculptures, a heavenly cake, and thousands of guests who’ve flown in from around the world to enjoy the accompanying dinner. It’s only human to cry at the bill that this dream can rack up. Costs can add up quickly. Factor in the meal, the liquor, the music, the dress, the flowers, the photographer, the decorations and the dream wedding can seem way out of your league. But it doesn’t have to be. How can the average person have a beautiful wedding with all the bells and whistles on a working person’s salary? Perhaps the three letters/words that say it best are DIY (do it yourself!) Spending your life savings on your big day is crazy. You can have elegant, beautiful weddings without breaking the bank. Having a cheap wedding doesn’t mean giving up style or sentimentality. It means using your imagination, using your own hands or the help of friends and family. Ask anyone you know to help out. Almost everyone will

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Woman’s Tweeted Tale About Picking Up An Uber Driver Is Quite A Ride

She certainly had drive.

A 19-year-old student from Howard University went to great lengths to get an Uber driver’s phone number.

Kelli Amirah, 19, who goes by her first and middle name, began her tale full of twists and turns at the beginning — when she first met the man who reeved her engine …

Being that Kelli wasn’t ready to “shoot,” or ask the driver for his number, yet, she improvised a plan:

Basically, Kelli hit a roadblock here.

“When I didn’t hear back from him at first I felt a little discouraged, mainly because I left my good charger with him and my backup charger is faulty and doesn’t work all the time,” Kelli told The Huffington Post. “So I was probably the most hurt about the charger.”

Uh huh.

Kelli then decided to stop chasing her crush,  parked herself in front of a few books and began to study for a test.

When suddenly …

“When he finally did respond I was excited because: A, I could get my charger back, and B, I can actually see if I have a shot with this guy,” Kelli told HuffPost.

So, now with the plan in motion, Kelli could focus on her test and meet up with the Uber driver the next day.

Her plan on was cruise control, right? 

Exhausted, she passed out. While she snoozed, the man she had been crushing texted her.

She quickly beautified herself:

And she pulled herself together.

She shoots and scores.

And they lived happily ever after.

Uh, actually, we’re lying. 

Apparently, Kelli is no Rory Gilmore.

“When I found out he was married, I was definitely a little upset at first. I’d much rather he told me from the jump so I didn’t get my hopes up,” Kelli told HuffPost.

“It really is such a laughable situation though,” she continued. “So I got over it pretty quick.”

Well, at least he didn’t take her for too long of a ride.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Comedy – The Huffington Post
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The Plunger: Random Encounters: Book Two – A Hard & Fast Tale

The Plunger: Random Encounters: Book Two – A Hard & Fast Tale


Cher needs several items for her new apartment, including a plunger. At the local hardware store, she asks the sexy biker behind the counter where they are. He directs her down aisle two, all the while staring at her chest. Cher heads to the back of the store, browsing at all of the other items for sale that she could use. The plungers are pretty standard. She selects one and tests it. Good, solid handle, no risk of splinters. Taking it to the counter, she asks the biker how much it costs. He offers her a discount. A quickie for a free plunger. How can Cher refuse such a generous offer?Hard & Fast is a series of short, sexy stories, typically between 1200 and 2500 words. These hot stories are Action-Packed! All characters are 18+.

Price: $
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A Reversed Tale For Two Not So Wise Dwafs

A Reversed Tale For Two Not So Wise Dwafs


Gnomin and Brin think they are the cleverest, wisest dwarfs in the dwarven kingdom, while humans – a rarity in their parts – are the most stupid creatures in the land. Imagine their annoyance, when the King of all dwarfs sends them on a wild goose chase to find out if the legendary world of humans exists. A world where humans manage to fly inside gigantic iron birds and construct impressive machines that can control nature itself. Will the two wise dwarfs manage to safeguard their scientific credibility and confirm their theories about the emptyheadedness of humans or will they be lost forever in a hostile and dangerous reality?The book “A reversed tale for two not so wise dwarfs” is not an ordinary story about two dwarfs. It has been written to assist two overconfident fairy tale characters escape a fate worse than death, namely that of being stuck in a strange and unfriendly reality. Our reality! The only way this story can achieve its goal is if you, the reader, discover its true purpose by traveling along with human expert Brin and King’s advisor Gnomin not to the fairytale world but to our world, seeing it with new eyes. It’s a short story for children but it will also make older readers think about how real is actually what we consider real and how imaginary what we deem imaginary.

Price: $
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The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies (Potter 23 Tales)

The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies (Potter 23 Tales)


The six Flopsy Bunnies have a narrow escape from Mr. McGregor’s garden. —————————————————————–** Check Out More Great Titles From Penny Books **—————————————————————–Simply click on “Penny Books (Editor)” under the title to see a full list of all of our great discounted books!!New titles are being added daily, so be sure to check back often to find more great discounted books!!**Check out PennyBooksPublishing.com to get more information about Penny Books, learn how to follow us on Twitter, and look at all of our great titles!!
List Price: 8.94
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Ladies and Gentlemen: Adam Wolf and the Cook Brothers (A Tale of Drugs, Sex, and Rock & Roll)

Ladies and Gentlemen: Adam Wolf and the Cook Brothers (A Tale of Drugs, Sex, and Rock & Roll)


Ever dreamed of joining a rock band, getting rich, getting famous, and seeing the world through a private jet plane’s window?Ladies and Gentleman: Adam Wolf and the Cook Brothers – A Tale of Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll is your personal invitation to tune in, turn on, and drop out as you ride the tour bus through the night and into the next town with Paul, Ronnie, Adam and Mark. Paul is old school rock ‘n’ roll but he knows a hit song when he hears one. When he gets a demo from a St. Louis metal band, he is not impressed until he hears a track unlike all the others. He may have to make a deal with the devil to find the kid for his last chance ticket to rock glory. Ronnie is a brutal, delusional alcoholic and prescription fiend. In spite of his amazing technical guitar style, he has no talent. He can never be an original like Adam. For vengeance, Ronnie will follow a dark path of violence and destruction to the bitter end. Adam is a musical prodigy. He simply hears music in his mind while the notes naturally come through his guitar. Young and utterly naïve, music will change his life but his regret is a wound that will never heal. Mark couldn’t play a piano if it had only one key, but he doesn’t need to. Unlike Ronnie and Adam, Mark is hoping he can find the balance between his brothers though a musical bridge connecting them all forever. Paul, Ronnie, Adam, and Mark all have one thing in common – they would rather die than give up on their rock ‘n’ roll dreams. Walking down this wicked, twisted road each man will realize one important thing – this music can save them all. Ladies and Gentlemen: Adam Wolf and the Cook Brothers – A Tale of Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll will leave your ears ringing long after you’ve read it for the first time!

Price: $
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Disney Princess Favorite Moments Belle Fairy Tale Scene Playset Toy

Disney Princess Favorite Moments Belle Fairy Tale Scene Playset Toy


Disney Princess Favorite Moments Belle Fairy Tale Scene Playset Toy Based On Disney’s Classic Beauty & The Beast. Girls Can Recreate Their Favorite Fairytale Moments. Recommended Age: 3 Years & Up. Model: R4890. Features Belle, Chip, Mrs. Pots & Furniture From The Movie
List Price: $ 9.99
Price: $ 9.99

The Revenge Game: A Tale of Domination and Seduction Part 1

The Revenge Game: A Tale of Domination and Seduction Part 1


I’m just an average guy, who, like any other red-blooded male, appreciates and loves beautiful and sexy women. I love the way women smell, look, feel, taste, even their sexy voices are so alluring and arousing. The way they move their hips when they walk in those high-heeled pumps that make their legs look so shapely and tighten their asses and push out their tits. The guy who invited those high-heeled shoes should have a holiday named after him. I’ve been with my wife for a little over four years now and I have never once cheated on her in those four years. I was a senior in college and she was a senior in high school when we started dating. A year after she graduated high school, we were married. She was going to college at the time and was balancing her school work and planning a wedding. But, she pulled it off. After I graduated from college with a degree in business, I joined my dad’s stock brokerage firm and immediately began making money. It also helped that I had a trust fund, so that paid for my wife’s college and our beautiful new home. My wife graduated college this year and was taking a break, and then she is going to put out her resumes. But, I digress… Present day… So, yeah, I’m laying here tied to a bed blindfolded. I bet you are wondering how I got to this point in my life. Well, that’s not my wife over there dressed in a black leather dress. That’s my wife’s best friend. I bet you’re thinking I’m having an affair with her. If only it were that easy. Actually I wish it were that easy. Then I could just slowly slip away. But, Kendra, that’s my wife’s best friend’s name, pretty much owns me now.

Price: $
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Pirates Cove Musical Mobile by Cotton Tale Designs

Pirates Cove Musical Mobile by Cotton Tale Designs


Part of the Pirates Cove baby bedding collection, ships set sail round a pirate underneath a black and white dot canopy to the tune of Brahms Lullaby. A blue print sheaths the mobile neck.
List Price: $ 59.99
Price: $ 59.99

Penny Lane Musical Mobile by Cotton Tale Designs

Penny Lane Musical Mobile by Cotton Tale Designs


Penny Lane musical mobile has a roush trimmed canopy in eggplant mosaic. Four flowers with roush centers and a center butterfly dance around under the canopy to Brahmans lullaby. The arm cover is in retro floral. Mobiles should be removed from the crib when the baby begins to sit & pull up.
List Price: $ 69.99
Price: $ 69.99

Get to Know Singer Melanie Martinez and Her Gothic Fairy Tale Style

With shows like American Horror Story and Penny Dreadful dominating TV and movies like It Follows becoming cult hits, it's clear there's a rise in popularity in pop-culture for the dark and gothic. In music,…


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This Designer Evening Gown Collection Is Straight Out of a Fairy Tale

With petal-soft colors, delicate lace, and frothy tulle, the gowns from Alberta Ferretti‘s limited-edition spring 2016 evening collection felt like they were sprung to life from the closet of a fairy-tale princess. The pieces were inspired by her castle too, with embroidery, golden accents, and sprays of flowers all created to mimic the ornate finishings that would have decorated a grand 19th-century estate.

The extreme glamour was completely intentional: Ferretti’s evening collection is priced approximately 25 to 30 percent higher than her signature range, per WWD, and is made with the most elegant of events in mind. In other words, add Queen Maxima’s pearl-and-diamond tiara and you’re ready to go.

And if you like princess gowns, you’ll obviously need a princess braid:

More Glamorous Style:
See the Most Breathtaking Royal Wedding Dresses of All Time
Fascinating Facts About Queen Maxima’s Stunning Pearl and Diamond Tiara
Some of the Most Gorgeous Gowns From This Year’s Cannes Film Festival



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Winter’s Tale

Winter’s Tale


FOLGER Shakespeare Library THE WORLD’S LEADING CENTER FOR SHAKESPEARE STUDIES "Each edition includes: " – Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play – Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play – Scene-by-scene plot summaries – A key to famous lines and phrases – An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language – An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play – Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books "Essay by" Stephen Orgel The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs.
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The Bard’s Tale IV E3 2015: Gameplay Trailer

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Our first look at in-engine footage of The Bard’s Tale IV, to be shown at E3 2015.
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Lizzie Musical Mobile by Cotton Tale

Lizzie Musical Mobile by Cotton Tale


Part of the Lizzie baby bedding collection this mobile with its ruffled canopy in bright floral and dancing daisies. Turquoise arm cover. Musical box plays Brahmns lullaby.
List Price: $ 59.99
Price: $ 59.99

Tale Of The Rock Pieces

Tale Of The Rock Pieces


To be a ten year old boy in the ancient times was definitely something no one would strive for. Being a ten year old boy, Bren knew that very well. Actually, he was certain even the experienced warriors or the skillful wizards were thinking the many dangers in their world would scare anyone of them too. As to cope with the many hordes of Brown faces, or their horrible freelancers – the cave bears, the Fiery men, the flying korks, the fish-keepers, the one-eyeds, and some of the other evil human races, was a task as horrible as the brown-skinned warriors’ cracked faces. But the most dreadful news was that Bren, the youngest one amongst his kind-hearted, but desperate people, had to save all the good creatures in the antiquity. Unfortunately, even the most experienced wizards couldn’t tell how the young boy could do that. About the Author: Ivan Stoikov (Allan Bard) is Bulgarian, lives in Sofia, the capital of sunny Bulgaria. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology, which helps him a lot in writing some of his books. Though he had many jobs in the past (telephone technician, salesman of newspapers and magazines, manager in a supermarket, consultant in a fashion house, storehouse-man, etc.), he thinks there’s no better job than writing books. “Tale Of The Rock Pieces” is his first book, but he thinks he has enough imagination to write books until the end of his days (or maybe after that too.).

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The Tale Of Mrs Tiggy Winkle

The Tale Of Mrs Tiggy Winkle


First Edition Front Cover The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is a children’s book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter. It was published by Frederick Warne & Co. in October 1905. Mrs. Tiggy-winkle is a hedgehog washerwoman who lives in a tiny cottage in the fells of the Lake District. A child named Lucie happens upon the cottage and stays for tea. The two deliver freshly laundered clothing to the animals and birds in the neighbourhood. Potter thought the book would be best enjoyed by girls, and, like most girls’ books of the period, it is set indoors with a focus on housework.

Price: $
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Fairy Tale Flirts! 5 Romantic Short Stories

Fairy Tale Flirts! 5 Romantic Short Stories


A modern take on five classic fairy tales. Each of the sweet, funny, romantic short stories can be read separately, but are linked in the collection, and wrap up in the perfect happily ever after. Stories include:”Cindi” 13,000 wordsCindi wants a perfect match-of designer shoes, that is. When her stepmother gets tickets to the Jiminy Shoes trunk sale, it looks like her dreams are coming true. Until her stepmother refuses to bring her along. With a little luck, Cindi finds herself at the sale with the shoes of her dreams, and a handsome man to boot. But when she dashes off with one of the pricey shoes by mistake, her life changes forever.”Red” 10,000 wordsWhen Rose brings her Grandmother leftover goodies from her floundering health-food bakery, she realizes she has bigger problems than Grandma’s daily fiber intake-a hot, young man is prowling around her rich Granny’s apartment. Jack Wolff seems to be preying on elderly women, but despite Rose’s protests, Granny’s not willing to give him up. And the nerve of him, Jack’s hitting on Rose, too. Can Rose save her business and her Grandma’s heart before it’s too late?”Belle” 11,000 wordsBelle’s father is sidelined by a stroke, and she’s determined to save his job as a master carpenter for the mysterious Prince Maxim. Despite her training, completing work on the Prince’s library is harder than she imagined, with the elusive prince watching her every move from the shadows. Belle’s intrigued by the intelligent, kind man who won’t let himself be seen. Is Belle the one to help him move beyond his painful past?”Snow” 11,000 wordsShawna White wants nothing more than to land a role in a musical, but she’s running out of cash while she chases her dream. Her stepmother, Veronica Midas, suggests she take a nanny job for the rich man she’s trying to land, and Shawna finds herself in charge of seven kids. But Veronica didn’t realize Shawna would be living there, enchanting Jeremy and his children. Now Veronica will do whatever it takes

Price: $
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Cotton Tale Nightingale 7 Piece Crib Bedding Set

Cotton Tale Nightingale 7 Piece Crib Bedding Set


Nightingale is absolutely breath taking and beautiful, a soft classic nursery with cotton percale bumper in subtle pink, gray and charcoal. Nightingale 7 Piece Set includes the 3 Piece bedding set(dust ruffle, fitted crib sheet, coverlet), diaper stacker, toy bag, valance, pillow pack. Sheet is in 300 thread count cotton percale with matching cord and ties on bumper. Dust ruffle has underskirt of pin tuck poly satin with a double overlay of champagne tulle. The sets coverlet is soft fancy fur, lined in pink and charcoal dot flange trim. Nightingales diaper stacker in double pin tuck poly satin with overlay in champagne tulle. Holds up to 6 dozen newborn diapers, 9 x 7 x 21. Functional and adorable this special diaper stacker is perfect for your little ballerinas nursery. Never tie on crib. Wash gentle cycle, separate, cold water. Tumble dry low or hang dry. Nightingales pillow pack consist of two separate pillows. In in pink, gray, and charcoal cotton ruffled and one in fancy fur. Ruffle pillow measures 13 x 13 inches and fur pillow measure 11 x 11 inches. Pillows should never be used in the crib. Spot clean only. Nightingales toy bag can be tied to the changer and used for storage or it may be used as wall decor. This functional toy bag can store toys or supplies, up to 10 lbs capacity, 27 x 13. Never tie on crib. Machine wash cold water, separately. Tumble dry low or hang to dry. Nightingales valance is of beautiful pin tuck poly satin with double layers of champagne tulle. Two bows adorn the ends of the valance. Valance can be stuffed for balloon effect or left straight. Valance measures 50 x 17 inches. Bows come unattached to valance, for versatility in decorating. You will need to attach the bows where you like them, by safety pin or sewing. What an amazing nursery for your sweet baby girl. Wash gentle cycle, separate, cold water. Tumble dry low or hang dry.

Price: $
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A Story is Literally Bursting Off the Page in This Intricate Fairy Tale Photograph

Alexia is currently selling a one-off print run of the incredible photograph below for one month only at a special supporter price to help fund the rest of this project. Click here to find out more and support Alexia’s work..

A storybook is merely a container — a parcel filled with wonder that, once opened by a skilled storyteller, leaps off the page and envelops reader and listener alike. This is the scene unfolding in world-renowned artist and 500px photographer Alexia Sinclair‘s latest photograph: Into the Gloaming.

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Into the Gloaming is, in fact, a whole series that is being kicked off today by the hero image above of the same name. Described better by Alexia than we could manage, she sets the stage for the storybook series in an appropriately storybook fashion:

For those not up to date on their old English. The gloaming is that time of day where the soft glow of dusk envelopes your soul. Where the nocturnal gatekeepers take control and anything seems possible. You can (at least I do) imagine secret doorways in the trunks of trees or toadstools the size of houses. It’s easy to understand why it’s commonly known as the magic hour, anything seems possible and that’s where we begin.

The stage set, Alexia did what she does better than just about any other artist in the world: she began a weeks-long, painstaking process to create a scene with so much detail you could (and should) easily lose yourself in the resulting photograph.

But don’t take our word for it, she captured the entire process on video — in more detail than ever before — for Into The Gloaming Episode 1. Ever wonder how much work goes into creating a scene like this IN-CAMERA… click play and find out:

From the actual fabric print, to the dress, to the plants, to the book, to the set, to the mushrooms, to the hand-made castle, Alexia’s attention to detail and refusal to compromise on a single piece of her imagined scene is awe-inspiring… and maybe a little nuts.

The Set

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The Book

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The Dress

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The eye-opening thing about this unprecedented BTS look at Alexia’s process is seeing just how small a percentage of the work actually happens behind the camera and even afterwards in post-processing.

She literally creates her scene and props by hand, or spends countless hours searching for them high and low — the mushrooms, for example, were grown in a 600-meter long decommissioned train tunnel which prior to mushroom farming held World War II munitions for the United States Government.

The video also shows the importance of working with incredible, dedicated assistants and creatives. That hair didn’t do itself, and late nights building a castle from scratch because you couldn’t find one that was good enough aren’t nearly as fun without delirious exhaustion jokes.

Here are a few behind the scenes images of the prep process that Alexia was kind enough to share with us:

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You can learn more about the individual pieces in the photograph and what they mean over on Alexia’s blog where you’ll also find this link where you can buy a limited edition print at a special supporters price for one month only. If you love her work as much as we do, you won’t want to miss out on this opportunity.

And if you want to keep up with Alexia as she continues to create her beautiful art, check her out on 500px, visit her website, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Arts – The Huffington Post
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The Tale of Tales Official Trailer #1 (2015) – Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly Movie HD

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The Tale of Tales Official Trailer #1 (2015) – Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly Movie HD

Based on a 17th century collection of fairy tales by Italian author Giambattista Basile, the film weaves realistic and fantastical elements together into three different storylines, one of which involves Salma Hayek eating the heart of a giant beast. Vincent Cassel, John C. Reilly and Toby Jones also star.

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It Wasn’t a Fairy Tale for Someone on Dancing With the Stars Disney Night: Here’s What Happened Backstage

I don't normally get excited over Disney week, but tonight's performances totally won me over. Can you imagine Dancing With the Stars pulling this off in season one? From Rumer's Little Mermaid-themed underwater adventure to…




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The Revenge Game: A Tale of Domination and Seduction Part 1

The Revenge Game: A Tale of Domination and Seduction Part 1


I’m just an average guy, who, like any other red-blooded male, appreciates and loves beautiful and sexy women. I love the way women smell, look, feel, taste, even their sexy voices are so alluring and arousing. The way they move their hips when they walk in those high-heeled pumps that make their legs look so shapely and tighten their asses and push out their tits. The guy who invited those high-heeled shoes should have a holiday named after him. I’ve been with my wife for a little over four years now and I have never once cheated on her in those four years. I was a senior in college and she was a senior in high school when we started dating. A year after she graduated high school, we were married. She was going to college at the time and was balancing her school work and planning a wedding. But, she pulled it off. After I graduated from college with a degree in business, I joined my dad’s stock brokerage firm and immediately began making money. It also helped that I had a trust fund, so that paid for my wife’s college and our beautiful new home. My wife graduated college this year and was taking a break, and then she is going to put out her resumes. But, I digress… Present day… So, yeah, I’m laying here tied to a bed blindfolded. I bet you are wondering how I got to this point in my life. Well, that’s not my wife over there dressed in a black leather dress. That’s my wife’s best friend. I bet you’re thinking I’m having an affair with her. If only it were that easy. Actually I wish it were that easy. Then I could just slowly slip away. But, Kendra, that’s my wife’s best friend’s name, pretty much owns me now.

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Lollipops & Roses Musical Mobile by Cotton Tale Designs

Lollipops & Roses Musical Mobile by Cotton Tale Designs


Part of the Lollipops & Roses baby bedding collection, pink shimmer hearts circle a tan velvet heart under a canopy of pink angel toile trimmed with a pink shimmer ruffle in this musical mobile. Each heart is trimmed with organza ribbon and the mobile neck is sheathed in warm tan velvet.
List Price: $ 59.99
Price: $ 59.99

Going Down: An Erotic Tale of Murder

Going Down: An Erotic Tale of Murder


On the surface, Tyhedra Crawford seems to have it all. She is beautiful; the owner of a very successful business consulting firm, so to her money, expensive cars, the finest clothes, and worldwide travel are a part everyday life. But Tyhedra has a very dark secret; she is a sexual predator and a serial killer. At night she cruises bars in search of her prey for the evening. Tyhedra lures unsuspecting men for a night of no-strings-attached sex, and once she’s had her fill, she kills them.

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A Mouse Tale Official DVD Trailer (2015) – Drake Bell, Miranda Cosgrove Animated Movie HD

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A Mouse Tale Official DVD Trailer (2015) – Drake Bell, Miranda Cosgrove Animated Movie HD

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SUMMARY: In order to save their kingdom from evil rodents, Sebastian (Drake Bell) and Samantha (Miranda Cosgrove) are sent on a quest by the King of Rodencia (Jon Lovitz) to obtain a legendary magical crystal which has the power to defeat the rodents. With the help of two trustworthy knights, they must venture deep into the forest and enter the forbidden world of giants in order to accomplish their mission and restore order to the kingdom.

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North Shore Music Theater’s A Christmas Carol Proves Dickens Tale Still Resonates

Generations of us know the story of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol,” having been raised on it in one form or another. From Alastair Sim’s tour-de-force performance in the quintessential 1951 film version, to Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol (now being adapted for the NY Stage sans Magoo), Bill Murray in “Scrooged”, etc… The list of remakes of Dickens tale is longer than Jacob Marley’s chains!

This past weekend I went to see the perennial stage version at Bill Haney’s North Shore Music Theatre (NSMT). Now in its 24th year! Once again I was blown away by the high caliber of theater that the adorable Mr. Hanney and his company have assembled. The production swept me up in the story and made me realize just how and why “A Christmas Carol” will never be dated or out of fashion, a realization that is almost bittersweet. More on that later…

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Of course behind every “Bah Humbug” there had better be one hell of a great Scrooge to utter the classic epithet. For my money in the cinematic world Sir Alastir Sim will always be the definitive Ebenezer Scrooge with George C. Scott running a close second.

Clearly “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” is the catch phrase at NSMT with stage veteran David Coffee, now in his 21st year playing the part of “the wicked Ol’ screw.” Mr. Coffee could have given Patrick Stuart a lesson or two in the art of “Scrooging.”

(If you missed Mr. Stuart’s lackluster TV version count yourself lucky!) Playing a role for over two decades could easily lead to a very staid and static performance, but clearly Mr. Coffee adheres to what the great actor William Gillette (who played Sherlock Holmes over thirty years) stated: “The important thing to remember about acting is the illusion of the first time.” His performance is just as fresh today, and I had audience members next to me who confirmed that. Coffee brilliantly infuses all the blustery, curmudgeonly, miserly ingredients inherent to the part, and when the magical transformative moment arrives he leaves the audience:” as happy as an angel, as merry as a school-boy, as giddy as a drunken man.” Bravo, Mr. Coffee!

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David Coffee (Ebenezer Scrooge) and Freddie Kimmel (Jacob Marley) in A CHRISTMAS CAROL at North Shore Music Theatre from December 5 – December 21, 2014. Photo © Paul Lyden.

Also of note, Cheryl McMahon as Scrooge’s saucy housekeeper, Mrs. Dilbur. McMahon shares an incredible chemistry with Mr. Coffee, and no wonder! She is celebrating her 21st year alongside him in this production. I especially enjoyed the subtle insinuation of a possible future romance between the two upon Scrooge’s transformation.

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Cheryl McMahon (Mrs. Dilbur) in A CHRISTMAS CAROL at North Shore Music Theatre from December 5 – December 21, 2014. Photo © Paul Lyden.

The audience upon being seated sees only an illuminated crutch against a stool on the stage. Once the show begins, the audience is taken on the journey by a handsome young man who walks with a slight limp and the aid of a cane. Yes, we are seeing the story told through eyes of a grown Up Tim Cratchit, played to gentle perfection by Tommy Labanaris.

This production had other wonderful stand out performances I would be remiss in not mentioning. Including Russell Garrett as Bob Cratchit who brings a lovely warmth and kindness of spirit necessary for Scrooge’s long suffering clerk.

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David Coffee (Ebenezer Scrooge) and Russell Garrett (Bob Cratchit) in A CHRISTMAS CAROL at North Shore Music Theatre from December 5 – December 21, 2014. Photo © Paul Lyden.

Another stellar performance was given by Scarlet Keene-Connole as Scrooge’s young sister, Fan. This kid is going places! I had the pleasure of hearing her sing at the after party where she knocked “I’m The Greatest Star” out of the park (Lea Michelle, eat your heart out!) Mr. Hanney if you are thinking ahead a few years, maybe, “Wicked” starring Miss Connole as Elphaba! Yes?

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Scarlet Keene-Connole with Huffington Post Blogger Peter Mac as Judy Garland at NSMT’s Out At The North Shore after party for A Christmas Carol. Photo Credit Tess Brady

Experientially I must point out the lavish costumes as crafted by Paula Peasley-Ninesteen. From the beautiful ball gowns to Jacob Marley’s decrepit corpse like couture, Peasley-Ninesteen’s costumes are a Victorian etching come to life. Additional kudos to Gerard Kelly for his impeccable hair and wig design. Further, the marriage of Howard C. Jones’ scenic design added to Jack Mehler’s lighting design with Leon Rothenberg’s sound design all combine to provide the shows surreal Dickensian quality.

Many forget that Dickens subtitled his tale “A Ghost Story” and NSMT lives up to that in spades. When the ghost of Jacob Marley flies into Scrooges bed chamber the effect is absolutely terrifying. Freddie Kimmel conjures up Marley’s ghost wailing in agony, of an eternity chained in limbo, magnificently. As the ghost of Christmas Past Leigh Barrett offers a beautiful soaring Mezzo-Soprano. I was most impressed by Peter S. Adams as the ghost of Christmas Present, who dominated the stage on stilts, while belting out a carol in a luscious and rich baritone. Extremely effective as well is when Scrooge learns of his imminent death by the ghost of Christmas Future. Under a black veiled death shroud we learn (in an inspired twist) that it is actually Young Ebenezer!

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Peter S. Adams (The Ghost of Christmas Present) in A CHRISTMAS CAROL at North Shore Music Theatre from December 5 – December 21, 2014. Photo © Paul Lyden.

The production flows seamlessly under the direction of its adaptor Jon Kimbell. Additionally, Kevin P. Hill (NSMT’s dashing Artistic Director) collaborated to add some new touches to this year’s production. Brava to both gentlemen for making it shine brighter than one of Scrooge’s schillings.

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The striking Resident Artistic Director Kevin P. Hill with Huffington Post Blogger Peter Mac as Judy Garland and NSMT’s Owner the stunning Bill Hanney at the Out On The North Shore after party for A Christmas Carol. Photo Credit Tess Brady.

As I mentioned earlier the fact that this story still resonates is in many ways bittersweet. How many Bob Crachitts do we know? Over worked, underpaid and struggling to provide for a family. Especially those with sick children trying to make ends meet in an age where health insurance is often an unreachable goal. It is a sad commentary that in 2014 there are still “Scrooges”, who have not had the benefit of visits from ghostly apparitions to knock some sense into their money bag of a brain or their icy cold hearts.

NSMT’s “A Christmas Carol” has once more instilled Dickens belief in me to honor Christmas in my heart and keep it all the year, and allow the spirits of the Christmas Past, Present and Future to strive within me and not shut out the lessons that they teach.

Cliché though it may be: God bless us everyone!

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John Mac as Bea Arthur with David Coffee and Huffington Post Blogger Peter Mac as Judy Garland at NSMT’s Out On The North Shore after party for A Christmas Carol. Photo Credit Tess Brady.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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12 Reem Acra Gowns Worthy of a Fairy Tale Princess

Sadly, my regular life involves zero need for formal ball gowns, but that doesn’t mean I can’t flirt with a few. Reem Acra‘s pre-fall collection was just revealed, and there are a ton of beautiful, dreamworthy creations that would completely work for a fairy tale princess.





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My Very Own Fairy Tale Personalized Story Book

My Very Own Fairy Tale Personalized Story Book


Note: In order to receive your item by Christmas you place your order by 12/8.
List Price: $ 32.95
Price: $ 32.95

A Taste of Hebrew for English Speaking Kids: A Trilogy (Picture Books for Children): The Hebrew Alphabet; Counting in Hebrew; Colors in Hebrew: A Rainbow Tale

A Taste of Hebrew for English Speaking Kids: A Trilogy (Picture Books for Children): The Hebrew Alphabet; Counting in Hebrew; Colors in Hebrew: A Rainbow Tale


A Taste of Hebrew for English Speaking Kids – Three Book Volume. Kids of all ages: Enjoy the first three books in the series.”The Hebrew Alphabet for English Speaking Kids”Counting in Hebrew for English Speaking Kids”Colors in Hebrew: A Rainbow Tale.”Did you know that bilingual children are better at problem solving? This is one of many reasons for exposing your children to more than one language. Multilingual kids have also been found to be better at learning, planning and self-control. So why Hebrew? Understanding and speaking Hebrew will give you and your child a lifelong connection to Israel and the Bible. Enjoy and Shalom!1) The Hebrew Alphabet: Book of Rhymes for English Speaking Kids- ENHANCE YOUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE. INTRODUCE THEM TO A FOREIGN LANGUAGE- This first book in our “A Taste of Hebrew for Kids Series” in our Smart Kids Bright Future Children’s Book Collection focuses on the Hebrew Alphabet. In this book, the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are illustrated and spelled out in English and in Hebrew. In addition to the letters, 22 basic Hebrew words that are appropriate for young children are taught in a fun way. The words that are selected, one for every Hebrew letter, are written in Hebrew, transliterated and translated to English, and depicted with an attractive illustration. Finally, each Hebrew word included in the book is incorporated into little English rhymes that will help kids and adults not only to recognize the Hebrew Alphabet but to learn foundational words in this beautiful language. In addition, the book also offers a Hebrew Alphabet chart, a transliteration guide, and proper pronunciation help with ‘sounds like…’ examples. A bit about the history of Hebrew as well as fun facts about this beautiful language is also included.2) Counting in Hebrew for English Speaking Kids (Children’s Books with Good Values)The Counting in Hebrew Picture Book for English Speaking Kids is a beautifully illustrated book that teaches kids to count in Hebre

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Mom’s Movie Minute – Dolphin Tale 2

Mom of 2 Angela Hoover thinks Dolphin Tale 2 could make a splash with your family. Get the bottom line in this episode of Mom’s Movie Minute.
Mom’s Movie Minute

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Retro/Micro Beer Jerseys LLC Men’s Fish Tale Leavenworth Jersey

Retro/Micro Beer Jerseys LLC Men’s Fish Tale Leavenworth Jersey


Men’s Fish Tale Leavenworth Jersey by Retro/Micro Beer Jerseys From its home in beautiful Olympia, Washington, Fish Brewing Company has been hand-crafting ales of Northwest proportions since 1993. Founded by Crayne and Mary Horton and a few dozen local investors, Fish began operations humbly. With a 15-barrel brew house, two 15-barrel fermenters, and one dairy tank, we brewed for our neighbors up and down Puget Sound. Growing steadily since, Fish is now an award-winning craft brewer with distribution throughout the great Pacific Northwest and beyond.
List Price: $ 79.99
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M & M & Me (An MMF Menage Tale)

M & M & Me (An MMF Menage Tale)


Jess is not looking forward to a night out with her husband Matt’s old friend, Milton. But all that changes when she discovers that Milton is her every sexual fantasy and Matt is okay with sharing her for the night.This 6000 word story contains graphic m/f and m/f/m sex, including oral and anal.Excerpt:I start walking down the hall, pretending nothing is out of the ordinary. The men catch up to me quickly. Four hands are undressing me before I can take another step. Matt unzips my dress. Milton slips it off my shoulders and down to the floor. His eyes slide up back up my body and I see him smile, surprised that I wasn’t wearing any underwear. Those four hands all over me. Exploring like they’ve never touched a woman before.I start unbuttoning Milton’s shirt as I kick off my shoes. I’ve been dying to see that body unclothed. I am not disappointed. He’s built like an Olympic swimmer, all muscles and shoulders. I run my fingers down his abs, unbutton his dark-wash jeans and pull them down with his boxers just far enough that his fully erect cock is on display. I push him gently against the wall and stand tip-toe so that his shaft is between my thighs when I press myself against him. “Hold that thought,” I whisper, and turn around to undress my husband, who had been watching intently.“I want to watch you f*** Milton for now, baby,” Matt says, “Just enjoy yourself. I’ll take a turn in a bit.”Milton needs no more encouragement.

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Was There Really a Need For ‘Dolphin Tale 2’?

Now we have a sequel to the popular film Dolphin Tale. The question is why? The first movie was pretty complete in its story of a dolphin named Winter who had lost her dorsal fin. Her rescuers created a prosthesis for her and she adapted to it beautifully. And she lived happily ever after – end of story. No, no! Not when that movie made a good bit of money and there was surely more loot in that dolphin. So now we have Dolphin Tale 2, the story of Winter when she got depressed over not having a dolphin friend.

All of the cast from the previous movie are back including Ashley Judd, Harry Connick,Jr., Morgan Freeman and Kris Kristofferson. The question is why. They have very little to do in this film. Their characters are basically just there to give support to the two kids who have leading roles. These are Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff who play Sawyer and Hazel.

Sawyer works at the Clearwater Marine Hospital where Winter lives and is cared for. Hazel is the daughter of Dr. Clay Haskett (Connick) who runs the hospital. They are devoted to Winter and become most upset when Winter shows signs of being depressed because she does not have another dolphin to pal around with. They have a solution but it is not one the adults are willing to use.

The storyline is one children should enjoy, and it will entertain the adults that accompany them. It is not high drama but it is sufficiently interesting. Supposedly this plot is also based on a true occurrence and that fact also interest.

The two young actors are very good in their roles and the dolphins play out the roles they have been given. Even the adult actors are fine, though they are given little to do. Judd is appropriately maternal while Connick is a bit stiff as the head operator of the hospital. Freeman gets to play the amiable man who helped fashion Winter’s prostheses.

The film is rated PG for mild drama with the animals.

There probably wasn’t a real need for a sequel to Dolphin Tale. It had told its story pretty completely.

However, since they were determined to make another one they did make it as appealing as possible. Children will once again delight in a story about dolphins being so human-like they need a friend, and will enjoy the fact that good humans are there to provide them with love, care and attention.

I scored Dolphin Tale 2 a sequeled 6 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper
www.jackiekcooper.com
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Technical Difficulties: An Erotic Office Tale

Technical Difficulties: An Erotic Office Tale


After a long day at the office, the company IT guy, Justin, just wants to go home. But when he’s called on a last-minute job, he’s forced to go and fix the computer of a sultry and domineering businesswoman on the 19th floor. Alyson, a busty redhead with a soft spot for sexy nerds like Justin, has some big plans in mind. Her husband simply hasn’t been fulfilling her needs, and she’ll do anything for some action. Alyson has a desk drawer full of toys and she loves to be in control. Justin thinks he’s just doing a routine computer repair, but what kind of kinky, erotic journey will he unexpectedly undergo?

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The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Illustrated)

The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Illustrated)


The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a children’s book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter that follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he is chased about the garden of Mr. McGregor. He escapes and returns home to his mother who puts him to bed after dosing him with chamomile tea. The tale was written for five-year-old Noel Moore, son of Potter’s former governess Annie Carter Moore, in 1893. It was revised and privately printed by Potter in 1901 after several publishers’ rejections but was printed in a trade edition by Frederick Warne & Co. in 1902. The book was a success, and multiple reprints were issued in the years immediately following its debut. It has been translated into 36 languages and with 45 million copies sold it is one of the best-selling books of all time. The book has generated considerable merchandise over the decades since its release for both children and adults with toys, dishes, foods, clothing, videos and other products made available. Potter was one of the first to be responsible for such merchandise when she patented a Peter Rabbit doll in 1903 and followed it almost immediately with a Peter Rabbit board game. By making the hero of the tale a disobedient and rebellious little rabbit, Potter subverted her era’s definition of the good child and the literary hero genre which typically followed the adventures of a brave, resourceful, young white male. Peter Rabbit appeared as a character in a 1971 ballet film, and the tale has been adapted to an animated television series. The book includes original colored illustrations by Beatrix Potter and a FREE audiobook link for download (which can be downloaded separately using a PC/Mac) at the end of the book.

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The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle

The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle


The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is a children’s book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter. It was published by Frederick Warne & Co. in October 1905. Mrs. Tiggy-winkle is a hedgehog washerwoman who lives in a tiny cottage in the fells of the Lake District. A child named Lucie happens upon the cottage and stays for tea. The two deliver freshly laundered clothing to the animals and birds in the neighbourhood. Potter thought the book would be best enjoyed by girls, and, like most girls’ books of the period, it is set indoors with a focus on housework. Potter’s pet hedgehog, Mrs. Tiggy-winkle, and Kitty MacDonald, a Scottish washerwoman, were the inspirations for the eponymous heroine. Lucie Carr, a child friend of Potter’s, was the model for the fictional Lucie. Potter’s Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny make cameo appearances in the illustrations. The Newlands Valley and the surrounding fells are the sources for the backgrounds in the illustrations. Mrs. Tiggy-winkle has been described as one of Potter’s most positive creations, but critics consider Lucie an artistic failure. Although Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is set in an identifiable place and time period, the tale is mythologized by reaching back to an age when household chores were performed manually and without the aid of modern mechanical inventions. The simple dwellings, rustic pathways, and stone fences enhance the tale’s timeless aspect and suggest an unchanging countryside and its way of life. Mrs. Tiggy-winkle became a popular character and the subject of considerable merchandise over the decades including nursery ware and porcelain figurines. The tale has been published in braille and the Initial Teaching Alphabet, and has been translated into French, German, and Dutch. In 1971, Mrs. Tiggy-winkle became a character performed by Sir Frederick Ashton in the Royal Ballet film, The Tales of Beatrix Potter. In 1993, the tale was adapted to animation and telecast as an episode of the BBC series, The World of Peter Rab

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Swept Up by the Sea: A Romantic Fairy Tale

Swept Up by the Sea: A Romantic Fairy Tale


Determined to seek his fortune, Percival Taylor leaves behind his sleepy hometown and sets out to become a legendary pirate. The only problem is, no one at the rough-and-tumble seaport of Blackshore will allow him anywhere near a ship Percival must find other means to win the heart of the beautiful Tuppence Magrathia Paddock, who has mistaken him for a pirate rogue out of one of her romantic books. She is entirely willing to swoon into his arms if he can prove his buccaneer soul and she will even arrange her won kidnaping to prove it. Percival eventually finds himself captain of a broken-down ship, complete with a crew of reluctant pirates, a jilted fianc e, a reclusive master shipwright, and an old professor with a magical secret that could kill them all. Join the strangest assortment of characters you ll ever meet on the Nine Seas as they set sail for treasure and romance

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The Tale of Peter Rabbit

The Tale of Peter Rabbit


Peter Rabbit, his sisters Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, and his mother are anthropomorphic rabbits who dress in human clothing and generally walk upright on their hind legs, though they live in a rabbit hole under a fir-tree. Mother Rabbit has forbidden her children to enter the garden of Mr. McGregor: it was there that their father met his untimely end and became the ingredient of a pie. However, while Mrs. Rabbit is shopping and the girls are collecting blackberries, Peter sneaks into the garden. There, he gorges on vegetables until he gets sick, and is then chased about by Mr. McGregor. When Peter loses his jacket and his shoes, Mr. McGregor uses them to dress a scarecrow. After several close encounters with Mr. McGregor, Peter escapes the garden and returns to his mother exhausted and ill. She puts him to bed with a dose of camomile tea while his sisters (who have been good little bunnies) enjoy bread and milk and blackberries for supper. In a 1904 sequel, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, Peter returns to McGregor’s garden to retrieve his lost clothes.

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The Simpsons Episodes, Season 12: Treehouse of Horror XI, Homr, Day of the Jackanapes, Children of a Lesser Clod, a Tale of Two Springfields

The Simpsons Episodes, Season 12: Treehouse of Horror XI, Homr, Day of the Jackanapes, Children of a Lesser Clod, a Tale of Two Springfields


New – Purchase includes free access to book updates online and a free trial membership in the publisher’s book club where you can select from more than a million books without charge. Chapters: Treehouse of Horror Xi, Homr, Day of the Jackanapes, Children of a Lesser Clod, a Tale of Two Springfields, Insane Clown Poppy, Pokey Mom, Trilogy of Error, Worst Episode Ever, Skinner’s Sense of Snow, Homer Vs. Dignity, Hungry, Hungry Homer, the Computer Wore Menace Shoes, Simpsons Tall Tales, Lisa the T

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