Midnight Musings with Bertena

2016 Dates

Submitted to CONjuration- waiting to hear back

Penned Con- Book Release and Signing, St Louis, September 23 and 24

Changing Culture in the Classroom- Using Pop Culture in the Classroom- May 10- Southcentral KY Community and Technical College- Bowling Green, KY

Changing Culture in the Classroom- Using Pop Culture in the Classroom- April 15- Hazard Community and Technical College- Hazard, KY

Changing Culture in the Classroom- Using Pop Culture in the Classroom- February 19 and 20, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Lexington, KY

Order The Blog on Kindle Here!

Subsrcibe to my blog and have it delivered to your Kindle daily for only 99 cents a month. Just click the logo below and it will take you Amazon to buy the Blog and download to your Kindle.

Univision's "Primer Impacto" reunites members of the Orishas in Cuba!

By Bernadette Giacomazzo

Over the past few years, Latin music has been in a bit of a drought from loss of the amazing Orishas, who haven’t released new music in nearly a decade. However, over the past few days, Univision — a division of NBC — has re-energized the interest in The Orishas by joining them on their trip… …read more

Via: Univision’s “Primer Impacto” reunites members of the Orishas in Cuba!


Country Music Hall of Famer Ronnie Milsap reveals upcoming duets album and tour

By Jeremy Roberts

Image Credit: Courtesy of Gold Mountain Entertainment, used with permission

After a fleeting three weeks off the road, revered country soul ambassador Ronnie Milsap is poised to unleash his next round of U.S. tour dates possibly in a city near you. Adept at fashioning an appealing melting pot brew of country, soul, pop, rock, and gospel, the talented blind piano… …read more

Via: Country Music Hall of Famer Ronnie Milsap reveals upcoming duets album and tour


Best rapper alive? Lil'Wayne's 5 best songs

By Bernadette Giacomazzo

He may be better known for his medical issues and Samsung endorsements than his music these days, but when Lil’ Wayne is really on his hip-hop steeze — and not just half-assing his way through it — he’s one of the best rappers to come from the south. Whether he’s working with his Young Money… …read more

Via: Best rapper alive? Lil’Wayne’s 5 best songs


Nas helps launch Hennessy's newest bottle with Scott Campbell

By Francisco Lopez

Scott Campbell and Hennessy's Newest bottle

It all started with KAWS 5 years ago, the legacy of the Hennessy VS limited edition bottle began with one of the most respected artist and has continued that culture of greatness with its newest collaboration. Scott Campbell runs the legendary Saved Tattoo parlor in Brooklyn NY where he tats some… …read more

Via: Nas helps launch Hennessy’s newest bottle with Scott Campbell


5 best Los Angeles Dodgers catchers of all-time

By David Sharp

Taken on September 10, 2011

Roy Campanella
It seems almost greedy to say that a person “just” played ten years in the majors – most people would consider themselves extremely lucky to play a full decade of professional baseball, yet with Campanella there’s a real sense that his already great career could have been, if not… …read more

Via: 5 best Los Angeles Dodgers catchers of all-time


A Kentucky Community College to offer Harry Potter Immersive Sociology Class

We have all heard of universities like Yale and Georgetown offering Harry Potter courses and we get excited and say, “I wish this were at our school.” Well after hearing her students say that very same thing, one sociology assistant professor in Bowling Green, KY decided that she would do just that.

As a result, Bertena Varney, Assistant Professor of Sociology will be taking her Soc 235 Inequality in Society class and develop a fully immersed Harry Potter themed class this fall at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College.

The course will grow from ideas that she has used in her other classes that focus on pop culture units such as Harry Potter, comic books, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Last spring she incorporated a few of the ideas from the Harry Potter series and from that unit she decided that it would be possible to incorporate the course competencies with the Harry Potter series but this will be the first class that will be fully immersive in one of these topics.

In the course, students will use the following books, The Sociology of Harry Potter, The Harry Potter Series, Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Tales of Beetle the Bard. They will be expected to read one book every 2 weeks, 1-3 articles a week and the other books as directed. She is stressing to her students that this class will be book focused and not movie focused.

The course will begin with a Sorting Hat Ceremony where each student will take their results fromPottermore.com and then work with their houses on group projects, presentations, and social campaigns to earn house points to win the house cup that will be awarded Finals Week during the End of Year Feast.

There are other professors and staff that have volunteered to play the parts of the Heads of Houses and to be mentors to these students when they are working on their projects and campaigns. Thus far there is David Jones, Assistant Professor of Art who will oversee the Gryffindor House, Librarian, Kathryne LeFevre will help the Hufflepuff House, Claudean Ellis, Assistant Professor of Math will be leading the Slytherin House and Assistant Professor of Science, Maggie Hook serve as the Ravenclaw Head of House.

The course will focus on the inequalities that are found in the Harry Potter series that mirror those inequalities in the “real” world. These will range from social status, racism, feminism, child abuse, education, poverty, government corruption, and more. The students will then take these inequalities and examine how J. K Rowling explained and at times resolved these issues in the series and then as a discussion the students will find a solution as to how they can help take this issue and make the world a better place. The students will also find a local social organization that will allow them to volunteer their time and see how they can make a change in their world.

This is what Librarian, Kathryne LeFevre had to say about the class:

Great literature provides both a mirror and a window for the reader. The mirror provides readers with the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences and how they relate to the characters of the story. This self-reflection can then become a window to the real world and help readers better understand their place in the world and help them be more empathetic to those who are different than themselves. Ms. Varney’s use of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series in her Social Inequality class will provide her students with the opportunity to explore the inequalities in Rowling’s fantasy world and connect them to the inequalities they see in their own communities and throughout the world. By reflecting on these inequalities, these students will gain a better understanding of themselves and others, and, hopefully, be motivated to fight for equality and pursue positive change. Plus, they will experience the joy of reading some really great books! ~ Kathryne LeFevre Librarian

The class will also have the option to collaborate with The Fandom of the Phoenix, a local non profit chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance with book discussions, trivia nights, and campaigns dealing with animal rights that will coincide with the release of “Fantastic Beasts” in November and The Get Out and Vote Campaign and more. Ms. Varney’s students helped with the organization’s book drive, Accio! Books which resulted in over 1100 books that are being donated to local schools and libraries this semester.

The Harry Potter Alliance is a non profit that is recognized by JK Rowling and helps make “fans into heroes” by creating social awareness campaigns that local community chapters like Fandom of the Phoenix can participate in and bring awareness to social inequality issues. A few of the upcoming students as well as Ms. Varney and the school librarian, Kathryne LeFevre are also members of the Fandom of the Phoenix.

When asked about what she thought about the upcoming class, student and Fandom of the Phoenix Vice President Jackie Travis said,

I am so excited about the new Social Inequities class this fall. I am really excited that we are g to be able to look at different inequities in the world through the world of Harry Potter. Since we are probably going to be covering topics that most people don’t like to talk about I think this is going to be a good way to bring light to these sort of issues. Yes, we are going to be having fun in this class but we will also be covering some serious topics too. I can’t wait what Ms. Varney have planned for us in the fall! ~ Jackie Travis, student

The class will also be collaborating with the schools Movie Club by attending the opening weekend of “Fantastic Beasts” for a evening of movies and food. Another opportunity they will have for collaboration is to present a project at the school’s Banned Book Week Event and the Comic Book Art Show both organized by Ms. Varney’s Mass Media class and David Jones’ Art Classes.

This fall semester looks to be an eye opening one for these students and a chance for them to experience what Dumbledore said to Harry in “The Goblet of Fire”

It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be. ~ JK Rowling

If you are interested in learning more about this course please check out the Harry Potter in the Classroom Facebook page here.

To learn more about the Fandom of the Phoenix click here or the Harry Potter Alliance click here.

And to learn more about Southcentral Community and Technical College and the programs that they offer click here.


Fandom of the Phoenix has collected over 1500 books for Accio! Book Drive

The Bowling Green, Ky. Chapter. of the Harry Potter Alliance, The Fandom of the Phoenix has raised over 1500 books to be delivered to local schools and libraries this week.

They have held multiple book drives this month including ones at Southcental Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKYCTC), Family Video, Applebees, Olive Garden and the Red Door Puzzle Rooms. As a result they beat their goal of 1000 books for this campaign.

The students have helped spread the word about the book campaign via library events at Goodnight Memorial Library in Franklin, KY, a Comic Book Art Show at SKYCTC, as well as multiple campaigns to bring about awareness of self love and body positivism in the community

They also participated in the World Book Night by attending the SOKY Book Fest and visiting Half Price Books where they discussed books and found a book for their summer book club.

They are also working with the summer library programs and their stay in shape theme this year by holding a Quidditch Workshop to help teach the children how to play Quidditch in the hopes that they may begin reading the Harry Potter books as a result.

They also collected over 300 signatures for the Library Transform Campaign that was sent to Kentucky’s Representatives and Senator to ask them to rethink their lack of funding for libraries and their scary budget cuts that would result in the closing of libraries and the losing on thousands of librarians’ jobs.

The Accio! Book Drive began in 2009 and have collected over 250000 books to distribute around the world. This year their goal is 50,000 books. If you would like to donate any books or money to help the International Chapter you can contact them here.

If you would like to learn more about the Fandom of the Phoenix or would like to start your own chapter please contact them here.





Bowling Green, KY – The Bowling Green Chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA), titled, Fandom of the Phoenix, announced that they would be hosting a Harry Potter Countdown to Midnight Might Cursed Child Release Party at the Barnes and Noble in Bowling Green, KY on July 30 at 8:00 pm. Tickets to get in line to purchase books will begin being passed out at 7:30 pm and will be given to the first 1000 customers that show.  Books will go on sale at 12:01 am on July 31. We are super excited for this event.

There will be a lot of Harry Potter themed events beginning at 8:00pm and ending at midnight. These include a sorting hat ceremony with stations specifically for each of the 4 houses that include prizes, trivia, etc., a Muggle Wall to post your memories of HP, a HP Story Ball where you help create your own HP Story, a character Look a Like Contest, Selfie Stations, Coloring Stations, Fortune Telling, and a  Magic Potion Demonstration. There are also a lot of giveaways including Lightning bolt, Tattoos, stickers, Snow Globe Kits, Crest Cups, and a chance to win a set of 7 Harry Potter Limited Edition Cover Prints available exclusively at Barnes and Noble. These prizes are limited in quantities.

But the magic doesn’t end there. The Fandom of the Phoenix will also be ending their book drive at Barnes and Noble that begins on Warren Elementary on July 31. To participate all you have to do is go to a cashier and tell them that you want to purchase a book for a child at Warren Elementary. They are approximately $3.99- $4.99 and will be presented to the children when school returns in session this fall.

“Countdown to Midnight Magic will be one of the biggest events that we have had since the Deathly Hallows release in 2011. This is the next story in the Harry Potter Universe and it’s a big one. This is the play script for the play that took place in London this summer and I think that everyone is ready for more Harry Potter and this starts 19 years later. This event will introduce the youngest readers to the magical world that brought reading back to a generation. So it will be a celebration of old readers and new. It is very exciting and will be a great evening!. “ ~ Bertena Varney, Chapter Organizer.

The Fandom of the Phoenix will be providing information on their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/FandomofthePhoenix/ and Barnes and Noble will be providing information on their Facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/BNCampbellLane/

This is the fourth event that the community organization, Fandom of the Phoenix has completed this year. The first was Accio! Books (based off the Harry Potter spell) and collected over 1500 books that were provided to area schools and libraries, the Pre Cursed Child Book Release, and a Day of Quidditch for the Goodnight Memorial Library in Franklin, KY

The Fandom of the Phoenix is the local community chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance that engages Harry Potter fans in social activism. The Harry Potter Alliance has been praised by JK Rowling for its work with social issues all over the world. Membership is open to anyone 18 and older and if you would like to be a part of this group and their work please email their Chapter Organizer, Bertena Varney at fopharrypotteralliance@gmail.com

My interview with Kristen Bauer of True Blood

– This is an older interview but Examiner is going down and I wanted to share it one last time –

A few weeks ago I asked for fans to send in questions that they wanted to ask Kristen Bauer, who plays Vampire Pam in True Blood. I announced the winners that Friday, and Kristen has been very nice to provide us with those answers. Here are the questions, along with the fans that asked them and then Kristen’s answers. I hope everyone enjoys.

1. Petra di African wants to know, “If there was another role that you tried out for on True Blood, for example the part of Sookie, Tara, or Arlene. She also wanted to know if there was a role that she passed up to do True Blood.”

Kristen answered- Pam was the only part I read for. I started on episonde 4 of the first season so everyone was already cast and I am happy that it worked out the way it did.

2. Elizabeth Provenzano, 22 and is the Tulsa Books Examiner & Tulsa Horror Movie Examiner wants to know, “When you first got the part as Pam and you saw where season one was going, was there anything specific you were hoping to see in your character’s story? A certain conversation, an encounter, was there anything you personally hoped would happen?” and Andrea Garzón M., 27,Bogotá, Colombia, continued with that question by asking, “If there are any challenges would you like to do in the future of the show, or if you want to do a fight with a particular character?

Kristen answered-Well, this season has answered many of my questions about Pam and also I got to do so many things that of course I can’t tell you about yet! But…tune in because so many things that I hoped that Pam would get to do, I have gotten to do this season.

3. Jenny Pugh, 45, from Birmingham, England wants to know, “If she thinks Pam should become a maker, and if so, what sort of person would she like Pam to make.” Paige from Des Moines Iowa wanted to know the same question but wanted to also know if her comments in the show about “disgusting children was just a cover?”

Kristen answered- I think Pam is truly not into children. I get the feeling that she doesn’t like “needy”. It is hard to say who she would like to make….she is very happy being the baby and having no dependents.

4. Janelle Easley, 30, from Baltimore and Linda, 28, from Pavia (Italy) both want to know, “When and under what circumstances was Pam turned by Eric Northman?”

Kristen answered- It was 100 years ago, in the Season 2 Blue Ray DVD I did the special effects and got to find out much about Pam from these great writers- Pam said she was living in a small world with small men lining up for her, she met Eric and her world changed. She lived in a time when women were not allowed much freedon and becoming a vampire represented the ultimate release for her and she has never looked back.

5. Max Busch, 18 San Jose CA. wants to know, “What do you think the best and/or worst part about being Eric’s right-hand is?”

Kristen answered- It’s pretty much all up side. He is a great maker.

6. Chelsea Scheer, 20, from Painesville, Ohio asks, “How old is Pam, or how long has she been a vampire?”

Kristen answered- 100 Years

7. Chez Rodgers, 31, from the UK asks, “How do you see your character, where do you see her going and can we expect to see more of her in the future?”

Kristen answered- I think you will see as this season airs where Pam is going- and you will learn about the nature and depth of her relationship with Eric. I don’t see her ever not being loyal to him.

8. VampKiss, 18, San Jose, California wants to know the following: “What do you like most about the character you play? Do you relate to her? How would you describe her?” She also wanted to let you know that she is 1 of he Top 3: “Gorgeous Redhead Vampires” in Bon Temp, Louisiana.

Kristen answered- I get Pam. I think she and I are not that different in some ways.I can imagine if I were a vampire living outside the constraints of society and death I may end up more like her than not.

9. Roxanna Kipp, wants to know “if Pam ever get jealous of Sookie and Eric’s relationship?” while April, 30, from Yuma, AZ wanted to know if their relationship will continue to become close like in the books or will it take a different turn?”

Kristen answered- I am not sure where that relationships will go- I don’t think she is very jealous person in general and she seems pretty secure in her relationship with Eric- I bet Pam’s probably intrigued with Sookie as well. Sookie is intriguing!

10. Eric (@Eric_ofArea5 on Twitter) ask , “Since you are on Twitter – I was wondering if you were aware of all the TrueBlood role play on Twitter and have you ever looked at Pam’s out there? If you have, what do you think about it? If you haven’t you should take a look at @Pam_Ravenscroft – she does an amazing portrayal that I think you would enjoy!”

Kristen answered- I am not too aware of what happens in Twitter yet- I am a newbie but trying to figure it out- but I will try to branch out and meet some more folks.

11. Elsa Rizzo, 23 from Center Harbor, New Hampshire emailed, “I’m very inspired by Kristin’s work with the International Fund for Animal Welfare to help whales. I’d like to ask her: “How did she get involved with the International Fund for Animal Welfare and saving whales? What can I do to help?”

Kristen answered- I met Donna from IFA a couple of years ago when they asked me to do a voice over for their DVD’S and I said yes! And since then I hear about their projects and just want to help more. Most of us see these sad things and want to help but don’t know how. So this is what I do- I write emails and letters to stop things I don’t think are right.I just wrote to NASA to ask them to not nuke 700 monkeys for no reason. I wrote to the USDA to help an elephant named Queenie get to a sanctuary. So speak up about what you feel is right. You can donate money, even $10. You can volunteer, you can also upload a photo of you making the whale tail like Alex Skarsgard, Abri (my husband) and I did through htttp://www.tailsforwhales.org/ —- The bottom line is find your thing and speak up! When we do change the life of another for the better sometimes and that is worth the effort.

I would like to thank Kristen for taking time out of her busy schedule to do this interview. I wish her and her husband safe travels as they go around the world over the next few months.


Twelve by Jasper Kent

Russia 1812. It began as a last stand against Napoleon’s invading army. It would end as a fight against an enemy of mankind itself…..

The voordalak—a creature of legend, the tales of which have terrified Russian children for generations. But for Captain Alesksei Ivanovich Danilov—a child of more enlightened times- it is a legend that has long been forgotten. Besides, in the autumn of 1812, he faces a more tangible enemy: the Grande Armee of Napoleon Bonaparte.

City after city has fallen to the advancing French, and it now seems that only a miracle will keep them from Moscow itself. In desperation, Aleksi and his comrades enlist the help of the Oprichiniki—a group of twelve mercenaries from the furthest reaches of Christian Europe, who claims that they can turn the tide of the war.

Full of historical detail, thrilling action, and heart- stopping supernatural moments, Twelve is a story at its most original and exciting.

This is a book that has brought the violent, strong, and warring vampire back to the world. It is a great kick back to traditional violent vampires who do what vampires do best. Not to sound sexist but it is a great vampire book for the male reader. It may actually revive the vampire genre for the male readers in a time when we are surrounded with the female romantic novels. It is a true historical supernatural novel that is true to the vampire.

About the Author

Jasper Kent was born in Worcestershire, England in 1968, He is also the author of Thirteen Years Later, Sifr, and Mr. Sunday. He can be found at www.jasperkent.com


Subscribe and Stay Connected

* indicates required