Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cinema 2009

My husband and I only went to the movies five times this year; however, I believe that we did pick a fairly good group of films in that we did not regret the cost. Enjoy!

Bright Star *****
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ****

Monsters VS Aliens (a guilty pleasure)
Sherlock Holmes ***+
Star Trek ***+

52 In 52 Challenge

Well, I almost made it. I have noted the placement of titles which are in a series. Some of these are very guilty pleasures. I don't believe that there is a single "bodice-ripper" among them, though I really like mysteries and books with a special eerieness to them. I wish that some of you may give a few of these a try.

Bennett A : The Uncommon Reader *****
Berry S : The Charlemagne Pursuit ****
Cussler C : Arctic Drift **+

Cussler C : Medusa**+
Cussler C : The Chase **+
Davis L : A Body In The Bathhouse****(13)
Davis L : A Dying Light In Corduba****(8)
Davis L : Alexandria****(19)
Davis L : Last Act In Palmyra****(6)
Davis L : Ode To A Banker****(12)
Davis L : One Virgin Too Many****(11)
Davis L : Poseidon's Gold ****(5)
Davis L : Saturnalia****(18)
Davis L : Scandal Takes a Holiday****(16)
Davis L : See Delphi and Die****(17)
Davis L : Shadows In Bronze****(2)
Davis L : Silver Pigs****(1)
Davis L : The Accusers****(15)
Davis L : The Course of Honor****
Davis L : The Iron Hand of Mars ****(4)
Davis L : The Jupiter Myth****(14)
Davis L : Three Hands In The Fountain****(9)
Davis L : Time To Depart****(7)
Davis L : Two For The Lions****(10)
Davis L : Venus In Copper****(3)
Franklin A : Grave Goods****(3)
Franklin A : The Mistress of the Art of Death****(1)
Franklin, A.: The Serpent's Tale****(2)
Gould, J.: Greek Winds of Fury ***+
Graziano & Graziano : Cretaceous Dawn ****
Greanias, T.: Raising Atlantis (1)
Harris C : All Together Dead ****(7)
Harris C : Club Dead ****(3)
Harris C : Dead And Gone ****(9)
Harris C : Dead As A Doornail ****(5)
Harris C : Dead To The World ****(4)
Harris C : Dead Until Dark ****(1)
Harris C : Definitely Dead ****(6)
Harris C : From Dead To Worse****(8)
Harris C : Living Dead In Dallas ****(2)
Harris, C.: A Touch of Dead (stories)
Neville K : The Fire ****
Preston, D. & Child, L.: Cemetery Dance***1/2
Reilly M : Seven Deadly Wonders **
Reilly M : Six Sacred Stones **
Reynolds A : Pemberly By The Sea ***
Rollins, J.: The Doomsday Key***1/2
Weldon P : Spectre***(2)
Weldon P : Wraith***(1)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

So Close -- Yet So Far

On Ravelry, an on-line community of knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, and dyers, I belong to a group entitled 52 In 52. The goal of the group is reading 52 books in the 52 weeks of the year. Well, as can be seen on my side bar, I am close: 50 books to be exact. I just finished #50 today. I don't think I'll make it this year; however, I have a nice beginning for next year already on my night stand. Two of these books were freebies that I won from entering contests on other people's blogs (The Other Mr. Darcy; Searching for Pemberley). Well, as I am getting geared up for next year, I wish everyone who visits a most happy and healthy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An Addendum

All sacred literatures are subject to interpretation. They are all "sacred lies", "mythologies", or "parables." This is because NO ONE can really ever, ever know the exact nature of the divine. The prequel of the Christian story of salvation is read INTO the Torah and Tanach; however, it is really NOT there. It is a much later interpretation (much later than the 1st century of the Common Era in fact) of some statements in prophetic literature, which can be read any number of different ways. St. Augustine was the theologian who derived Original Sin out of Genesis. The concept is utterly foreign to Judaism. In addition, later so-called apocraphal Jewish literature which is very questionable (I don't believe that it is in the Tanach and it is not in Protestant versions of the Old Testament) has been used as much of the buttress, along with a watered-down dualism which came from Persia and the later Gnostics, to help cobble together much of what was to become "orthodox" Christianity. I am not going to dispute the idea of an historial Yeshua ben Yosef, one of many so-called messiahs in the early 1st century, though there really is no actual historical "proof" since the Josephus citation in his history of the Judaic Wars, written for Vespasian, was later added by some unknown scribe. His mission was in continuing rabbinic Judaism, which had started during the first century before the common era. He was never interested in anyone except his own ethnic group. In fact, up to Constantine, there was never universal religion of any sort. It was always known that people worshipped the gods of their ancestors and the land in which they lived. In the Tanach it is stated any number of times that the gods of their neighbours existed; however, the Hebrews were told not to worship them along with Yahweh. The Tanach can also be said to be a sort of history of the formation of what was to become modern Judaism.
Now, seguing into the issue of "demons" as being evil -- sorry, these ideas are quite different from the ancient Greek word daimone, which is an emanation (like a numa) from a deity. They can also come from our ancestors, heroes, etc. (and saints and angels). Even in that most problematic book of the Tanach, Job, the Light Bringer who inflicts misery upon Job is sent by Yahweh in order to test the strength of his belief and love. He is NOT an evil being. In most of the ancient world the divine realm was not purely good at all. In most cases it was neutral. The gods were beings beyond good and evil -- they just were and they were deathless.
(Here is another bit of information about me: I did study Christian theology and Biblical Literature when I was an undergraduate History major at Muhlenberg College, which is still associated with the Lutheran Church. Though I am no longer Christian, I was originally brought up in the Lutheran flavour of Christianity. I was inducted into Phi Alpha Theta, international honour society in history while still a junior, and I graduated with high honors in my major.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Why Comment On Something I'll Never Read?...

On one of the blogs which I follow, The Calico Critic, the blogger was telling us about a new title which she had just received from the publisher for review. Of course, after a little bit of googling I found out the the author is a major editor at Zondervan, a conservative Christian publishing house. (Some of my readers know that I am not Christian; however, I am interested in religion and theology.) Verlyn D. Verbrugge also recieved a PhD from Notre Dame. Anyway, the title of the slim volume is Not So Silent Night.
from The Calico Critic: "Traditionally, Christmas has been celebrated as a time of joy, peace and light. Verbrugge takes a different viewpoint. If you consider why Christ came into the world, His birth ushered in a new era of spiritual and physical conflict. The heralding angels should really be seen as soldiers of a heavenly army, declaring their readiness to their Commander in Chief. Essentially, "Christmas is the beginning of war." (p.74)
Now, this type of theology is very like the Jihadist theology of Islam to my way of thinking. I am not someone who believes in sunshine and roses as any mainstay for a spiritual life; however, I do NOT believe that this world is a dichotomy of black vs white. This, in fact, has been a major "heresy" since the 4th/5th century of the Common Era. People have been murdered because of it (ie. The Albigensian Crusade). However, it is always there, underneath the surface. It is the famous mind/body problem of philosophy. Guess what? It's all material, people. There is no dichotomy. Spirit and flesh, mind and brain -- these are the same things. The world is a very messy place -- and we have to clean up the messes which we create. No demonic being creates these messes -- we do. In addition, we cannot shift the blame to "The evil devil made me do it." That is the largest piece of bush-wah ever -- and it was NOT a part of the Torah. Our brains, when they evolutionally reached the state of consciousness, started to create ethics as a means by which we can live with one another. Our brains also have a capacity to learn, if we allow it to happen. I am very cynical about this happening much right now, with more and more people wanting to take the easy way out.
So, now that we are informed that this is NOT really a season of peace because "evil" is an ontological entity. We must rise and say, NO! We are the peace-makers -- and the war-makers -- and, finally, the mess-cleaners. No one makes us DO anything -- and no one else -- not even the gods -- will do it for us.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ancient Rome, Greece & Egypt as Settings for Mystery

This past year I discovered the mystery novels of Lindsey Davis, a British writer, featuring Marcus Didius Falco as her sleuth to be reckoned with. These occur in the mid-to late first century of the common era, under the reign of Vespasian. It seems, though, that I have missed a number of other authors, most of them British (one good thing for their "public" education is a good grounding in Classics) who have used the ancient world as their settings for their mysteries. Right now I have not read any of these; but, the books will be placed on my-to-be-read list.

Albert Bell: Pliny the Younger is the major character; takes place during the reign of Domitian (c. 83 CE)
1. The Blood of Caesar
2. All Roads Lead to Murder

Ron Burns: the Gaius Livinius Severus series set in the time of Marcus Aurelius
1. Roman Nights
2. Roman Shadows

Paul Doherty: three series: Rome; Alexander the Great; Egypt
1. Domina
2. Murder Imperial
3. Song of the Gladiator
4. The Queen of the Night
5. Murder's Immortal Mask
1. The House of Death
2. The Godless Man
3. The Gates of Hell
1. The Mask of Ra
2. The Horus Killings
3. The Anubis Slayings
4. Slayers of Seth
5. The Assassins of Isis
6. The Evil Spirit Out of the West
7. The Season of the Hyena
8. The Year of the Cobra

Ruth Downie: her series is based on the character of a physician, Gaius Petreus Ruso:
1. Medicus (possibly seen under title: Ruso and the Demented Doctor)
2. Terra Incognita
3. Persona Non Grata

Jane Finnis: the Aurelia Marcella series set in first century Roman Britannia
1. Get Out or Die
2. A Bitter Chill
3. Buried Too Deep

Barbra Hambly: chief character, Marcus Silanus
1. Search the Seven Hills (aka The Quirinal Hill Affair)

Ben Pastor: his mysteries are set in the time of Diocletian (early fourth century CE)
1. The Water Thief
2. The Fire Walker

John Maddox Roberts: the SPQR series
I The King's Gambit
II The Catiline Conspiracy
III The Sacrilege
IV The Temple of the Muses
V Saturnalia
VI Nobody Loves a Centurion
VII The Tribune's Curse
VIII The River God's Vengeance
IX The Princess and the Pirates
X A Point of Law

Steven Saylor: so far the settings of his novels are in the mid-to late first century BCE
1. Roman Blood
2. The House of the Vestals
3. A Gladiator Dies Only Once
4. Arms of Nemesis
5. Catilina's Riddle
6. The Venus Throw
7. A Murder on the Appian Way
8. Rubicon
9. Last Seen in Massilia
10. A Mist of Prophecies
11. The Judgment of Caesar
12. The Triumph of Caesar
(not in the series: Roma -- an epic novel)

Marilyn Todd: Claudia Seferius mysteries (character is an ex-prostitute who marries a wine merchant who dies)
1. I, Claudia
2. Virgin Territory
3. Man Eater
4. Wolf Whistle
5. Jail Bait
6. Black Salamander
7. Dream Boat
8. Dark Horse
9. Second Act
10. Widow's Pique
11. Stone Cold
12. Sour Grapes
13. Scorpion Rising

David Wishart: Marcus Corvinus mysteries set in the early first century CE
1. Ovid
2. Germanicus
3. Sejanus
4. The Lydian Baker
5. Old Bones
6. Last Rites
7. White Murder
8. A Vote for Murder
9. Parthian Shot
10. Food for the Fishes

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Recommended Vampire Genre Authors

I know that this genre is currently in vogue and many people have taken up stories with this as a focus. I have not tried all of the newbies yet, though one taste of Stephanie Meyer makes me loathe to try others featuring teen-agers. The vampire stories of Anne Rice, as well, became quite leaden with turgid prose.

Among the newer authors I can definitely recommend Charlaine Harris, the author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. She has wonderful, usually fully-rounded characters. Settings and plots are also very good. I do recommend reading her from the beginning as the story is linear. If a teen-ager wants to read them, I admit that she does have some very erotic content sans the benefit of marriage.

An author who has been writing from around the mid-1970s, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, has a great series of novels featuring the Conte de St. Germaine. The first one was The Hotel Transylvania, which was set in Paris in the later part of the 18th century. In other volumes we go back to when St. Germaine was made a vampire (a few thousand years before the common era), ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, China, India, South America during the time of the Conquistadors, etc. She did not write the novels in order.

Finally, read the original Bram Stoker Dracula.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Modern Authors: My Ratings: Bulwer-Lytton Wannabes

Since I have retired I have been reading quite a bit. I will admit that most of it is for my amusement, though I have been known to read in some fairly esoteric academic areas. Therefore, these ratings are for novelists. My first category is the Bulwer-Lytton wannabe. There is an annual contest for people to come up with the most Bulwer-Lyttonesque opening sentence, like the infamous : It was a dark and stormy night.... Therefore, with no further ado, here they are:

Stephanie Meyer of "Twilight" infamy (I couldn't get through the first chapter -- it was THAT bad!) Friends don't let friends read Twilight!

Anne Rice: I actually read "Interview..." after it was first published and I did enjoy it. However, after that success, she let her purple prose style run amok. That, and her rather turgid writing style have placed her in the sub-basement.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Klio Must Be Laughing!

You can find more historical and literary humour at

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bucket Lists

I have always wanted to have an "interesting" life. So far, so good, then. any number of the things I have already done could be placed on my personal "bucket list."

1. go overseas

a. have been to Europe 3 times (2 times for over a month each)
1st: France; Austria (4 wks); Italy; Switzerland (Germany, Liechtenstein)
2nd: Italy (6 wks)
3rd: England; Spain; Provence, France; Monaco; Italy; Greece

b. lived in S. Korea for 1 year; visited Japan (Kamakura; Fuji; Kyoto)

2. graduate from college with honor
undergraduate degree with High Honors in History; inducted Phi Alpha Theta,
international honor society in history

3. participate in an archeological dig
as part of a Trinity College summer programme in Italy, I was a part of an
archaeological dig north of Rome at an Etruscan site

4. earn a graduate degree
have earned 2 masters degrees: Public Administration; Library Science

5. act on stage
numerous parts in HS, college, and little theatre

6. learn ballet
took lessons as an adult and danced the part of the StepMother in Prokovieff's

7. learn piano and lute
have taken lessons -- need to take many more

8. learn how to sing
have taken 1 year of lessons -- need to take many more

9. learn various types of handwork and learn how to design knit; counted cross- stitch; embroidery; needle-point; beading; porcelain/ceramics
I do all of the above

The following are the things that I would like to learn/do in the future:

1. participate in a Regency re-creation in Bath, England (occurs in September)

2. take a trans-Atlantic voyage (at least 2: a round-trip)

3. continue my various music studies (voice; lute; piano; lyre)
piano goal: Kinderszenen ("Scenes from Childhood"), Opus 15, by Robert Schumann (can play "Traumerei"); Chopin: Raindrop Prelude
voice goal: JS Bach: Bist du bei mir

4. learn how to paint (acrylics/oils); sculpt (clay)

5. learn iconography; calligraphy; book-making; Gregorian Chant (also compose);
manuscript illumination (note: there are local classes)

6. learn Homeric and Attic Greek; brush-up on Latin
Goal: reading, speaking & writing

7. participate in the "Moby Dick" read-a-thon at Mystic Seaport

8. yes -- get a very nice tattoo (my Mother wanted one when she was alive)

9. write a novel

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hang Your Heads in Shame, CT Dems

I know that I am a little late with this post; however, better late than never. I remember the '06 election, when I voted for Lamont, the endorsed candidate, rather than Lieberman. After voting, I visited the public library of a town close by and ran into another Democratic voter who was just too devoted to Lieberman. Needless to say, votes like these made a real difference in this particular election. She and other voters like her must be muttering some very obscene words right now. Nee-nah -- Told you. Joe is only for Joe and not for the good af all.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

November: National Write A Novel Month

Well, I'm going to take the virtual plunge into the deep end of the pool. Ideas about novels have been in my head since I was in high school (and before, if truth be told). My major problem is procrastination, which is associated with my tendency toward perfectionism. I re-write that first paragraph so many times that it seems I can never begin! But, begin I must. I'm trying to trick myself a bit by having the very first part be my main character writing in her own journal. Wish me luck. The tentative title: String Theory.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This Year's Cinema (So Far)

I don't go out to the cinema that often because of the cost. I have a few criteria which I use to determine if I can wait for it to be shown on one of the premium movie channels. The most important criterion is quality. Two extra criteria which I use are my own non-ability to wait for it to be shown and if it would be better seen on a very large screen. Now, I enjoy a good "B" movie as much as the next person. I don't think I'm that much of a snob. However, there is so much pure dreck out there, ie. SawVI and others of its ilk, that I will not support them by either going to a theatre or seeing them on television.
Anyway, I reached into my abused wallet in order to see three movies at the theatre this year: Star Trek, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Bright Star. I did not regret the expense for any of them. I would rate Star Trek a B/B+. It was intriguing that major changes were made to the original Kirk/Spock mythos. I'm still not sure about these changes, however. Harry Potter definitely rated an A-/A. I am planning on reading these books at a later time (maybe next year for a 52 in 52 challenge), so I see these movies as something brand new for me. Bright Star, a Jane Campion film, was utterly exquisite! It is a bio-pic about the last few years of the life of the English Romantic poet John Keats. The title actually comes from the name he gave to his beloved and is as much about her as him. I highly recommend this as it is in theatres now.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Have Become A Member of a Club No One Wants to Join

With great sorrow I have become a member of the club of people who have had friends killed by a drunken driver.
I had known Phyllis for almost 50 years (she was 4 years younger than my Mother). She taught me how to arrange flowers and was the florist for my wedding over 24 years ago. Just this past Sunday afternoon after having had brunch with my Father, she was injured in a three-car crash caused by a drunk driver who had left one of the casinos in our area (I think it was the Mohegan Sun). She was transported to a local hospital where she was med-evaced by helicopter to Hartford Hospital. Around 10:30 PM she succumbed to her injuries.
There have been a number of crashes with fatalities in our area in the past few months caused by drunken drivers leaving the casinos. Another victim was a young woman who was going to Africa on a humanitarian mission and another was a young mother. Aren't there laws that hold establishments like this just as guilty as the perpetrator? They have many security people as well as having State Troopers assigned. These people should have had their keys taken away and should have not been permitted to leave. In addition, they should have been cut-off from alcohol. Just because they are so-called "sovereign nations" does not reduce their responsibility for attempting to prevent these alcohol-related crashes.

A New Jane Austen Contest

Jane Austen is getting more press in the blogosphere. The Book Girl at is having a contest this week for all things Jane (Mr. Darcy, too). Go over and see some of the great things she is giving away!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Ugly Americans

Far back in the mid-1960's I read "The Ugly American." Even though the story occurs overseas (VietNam), the themes from it are as relevant today as ever. From the early years of the 19th century with the rise of the Know-Nothing and Anti-Masonic political parties; through the mid-century treason of the Confederacy (yes, it was treason led on by those same forces); to the KKK and Jim Crow laws; and now, finally, to all the ugly faces screaming lies, with some of them being elected representatives (Wilson et al) and even governors (Texas) besides the purveyors of verbal diarrhea on Cluster Fix News (as if that somehow would make it the truth), this country has had to deal with a particularly vicious type of wacko. Like the ugly American overseas, this person thinks he/she knows it all and can lord it over anyone who disagrees -- or who is different. Needless to say, these screamers are not even close to being a majority in this country; however, they have the majority of news time because of all the noise they make. I was pleased with President Carter's interview yesterday, when he pointed the finger where it had to be pointed: at the racism inherent within the created lies of this particular group of people who do not want to be educated out of a willful ignorance caused by this. I am ashamed daily at these so-called citizens of my country. They don't know the first thing about true citizenship and how to think through what they believe.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Sunday Hat Trick

I have a ritual which I have to do everyday: 3-4 crosswords (NL Day; Hartford Courant; Westerly Sun; and New York Times); 3 sudokus (all the above except NY Times which doesn't have one -- boo!!); and 2 cryptoquotes (NL and Westerly).
Yesterday (Sunday) I completed the Sunday crossword puzzles in the New York Times, the New London Day and the Hartford Courant. I also successfully completed the sudokus in the Day and Courant as well. Yeah me!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Texas State School Board Does It Again

Well, the news out of Texas is that folks down there don't believe in a separation of church and state. Can we all say now -- take this to the US Supreme Court now, not passing Go and collecting $200. Of course, I know that there are college courses entitled Biblical Literature. I took this course myself when I was an undergraduate at Muhlenberg College many aeons ago. However, the emphasis on this is Literature and how the various books within it were written and came to be "canonized." It is not a course, usually, on "historicity" or "enerancy" because by textual criticism it can be proved that there were multiple sources for the Torah (Genesis specifically) and for the four canonic Gospels. This new requirement by these whiz-bangs is probably not this at all because, when Johnny or Jennie comes home with information like this, their fundamentalist parents will be very upset (hoppin' mad). If folks want Sunday School all week then their individual congregations should develop this after school and not make the public schools their vehicle for particularistic religion.

Monday, July 27, 2009

True Blood Versus The Originals

I have to admit that I have really enjoyed most vampire movies since I was a little girl. I remember when I was 9 or 10 years old and saw the original Bela
Lugosi "Dracula" and Boris Karloff "Frankenstein" on the Friday night late movie back in the late 1950s. Later on I read the original novels, which were very occasionally like the movies.

So, I read all the original Charlaine Harris novels after the first season of True Blood. Of course, the first seasons scripts did make changes, which can sometimes be justified. I am just not sure that they can. This became glaringly the case during the present season. Now, I really have no particular druthers on the casting choices. However, the plot changes really make no sense to me at all -- and there are many. The show is almost an entirely different thing, with some gloss from the books. I am still watching it for the only reason that I can't quite believe what the producers have done! I don't know if it will turn into a train wreck yet; but, we will see.

Health Care Redux

Health care should never be for "profit" for an insurance industry -- or the medical industry, either. Extra money should always be re-invested into making things better.
Therefore, I have useful suggestions, which I believe will help in cost containment.
1. The government should pay for ALL medical education in American medical, nursing, and allied care fields. By doing this, the egregious cost of re-paying huge loans is assuaged. In addition, all recipients of this should give at least two years to the National Health Service (preferably five -- like a military academy graduate). This will go a long way into bringing up medical care in all areas of the country.
2. Malpractice: I have always wondered why American lawyers want just "to win" no matter what the truth may actually be. (I just saw the movie "Michael Clayton" last night.) In many ways I do prefer the British system of "truth finding" to be superior in this regard. If anyone is found to be so derelict to the true well-being of patients, not only should their licenses be removed but they should also "do time" in prison for mayhem. A decent living should also be assured to all victims of true malpractice -- as well as the disabled.
3. Single-payer and non-profit/not-for-profit insurances: There is no truth to the GOP rumours about health care in Canada and Britain. The most important thing we all can do for ourselves is to be proactive about our own health: see our doctor and dentist regularly; take all prescribed medications; take needed blood tests and other tests when prescribed (ie. colonoscopy; mammography; electrocardiogram, etc.). We cannot lie to ourselves that everything is OK until it is too late. Does your family have a high incidence of heart disease (mine does) or something else? Take charge! It is cheaper to be proactive.
4. Medications should all be subsidized. No one should have to worry about living versus eating, heat, shelter, etc.
Well, I may think of a few other things; however, this is a good start.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Stupidity From The Usual Suspects

I have tried to restrain myself. Really. However, I have to point and laugh at those who have no shame in revealing their deliberate stupidity to one and all.

Texas School Board: You know who "they" are. They are at the top of the list of causes of the dumbing down of American education because they -- and not individual school districts -- decide what books are to be used in Texas classrooms. Talk about the thought police. They are at it again. Eliminate Anne Hutchinson et al for Billy Graham et al(gag).

Senator Jeff Sessions: Enough said.

Senators who signed on to sponsor the ridiculous bill banning cross-species creation: What!!!!! (They are all GOP except for Mary Landreau of Louisiana. Maybe she thinks Swamp Thing is real.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Vileness That Passeth All Understanding

I believe that there is a limit to being an understanding person. Evilness will take advantage of people of good will and push it back in their/our faces. Hypocrites who foment the mad/sad/twisted minds of folks to commit acts of atrocity and then try to deny their own culpability are guilty of the worst possible "sin"/crime towards all people: they are, in fact, guilty of being accomplices before the fact and should be criminally charged as such and brought to trial. This is not against "free speech," as some of my colleagues on the progressive side of the political spectrum might say. We DO NOT have a right to yell "FIRE!" in a crowded building when there is no fire. These people are doing the same thing, yet they simper and preen before their media organ, FIX (er, Fox) News, and lie with a straight face. Let us call these people what they are: Domestic Terrorists. You do not have to throw a Molotov Cocktail or kill a physician who helps women in distress to be a terrorist -- you are also the person who calls for such things.

Monday, May 18, 2009

You Really Don't Want To Win One of My Awards

Now that I have your attention: It is true, I do give "awards." However, these are not the type that anyone should be proud to receive.

Ass of the Day Award: According to Louis, in Casablanca, there are always numerous "usual suspects" who are on the permanent list: all Republicans of the far right; the Republican governor of our fair state; purveyors of stupidity, veniality, hatred, et al. However, because the terrible driving of morons who should never have been licensed in the first place affects me everyday, I ease the stress by indicating to any passengers (usually my husband) those who either are out-right winners or only nominees. Try it yourself, you'll feel better -- I promise.

Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award (R): I thank Laugh-In from 1960's television for this one. It goes to the worst of the worst every day. I also pay homage to Keith Olbermann's Worst Person in the World for this. Like one of my favourite Hans Christian Anderson stories, The Emperor's New Clothes, we are required to keep our eyes, ears and minds open in a scientific way by not believing everything we are told by pundits who cannot back up their assertations with facts.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sen. Specter: Newest Nail In GOP Coffin

Today's renunciation of the GOP by Pennsylvania's senior senator shows just how wing-nutty the Republicans have become. Sen. Specter can be said to occupy a center-right position and usually went along with his former party. However, there has just been so much bile and out-right lies out there for him to swallow that he has finally given up. Maybe Maine's two Republican senators will follow suit soon. Yes, the Republican Party has indeed jumped into the dust bin of history.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Katharine Parr -- Who Knew?

You scored as Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth and last wife. You also have the distinction of being the most married Queen of England. Before you caught Henry's eye in court, you'd already been married and widowed twice. You were being courted by Thomas Seymour (Queen Jane's brother) when Henry decided that he wanted you as his wife. Ever practical, you accepted the King's proposal. You were a wonderful stepmother for all three of Henry's children, and you helped bring the two princesses closer to their father. You worked hard for various causes that interested you, mostly education and the arts. But your usual luck with husbands remained the same, and just a few years later King Henry VIII died. You probably would have served as a guardian for the newly-crowned Edward VI (who was not yet ten years of age), except that once widowed you decided to secretly marry your old love Thomas Seymour. When this was discovered, it sent a wave of scandal throughout England and you were forced to move away from your position of power. You and your new husband obtained wardship of Henry's cousin, the Lady Jane Grey, whom you treated as your own daughter. You also took guardianship of Princess Elizabeth for a short period of time before she was sent to another household. A year later you finally gave birth to your first and only child and then died a few weeks later

Thursday, April 23, 2009

War Crimes And Why History Matters

Yes, agents of the government of the United States committed war cimes. I believe that the major fact that not enough of them stood up to those illegal and immoral orders was that they were ignorant of the history of war crimes perpetrated against us and by us in the past.

The excuse "I was just following orders" was negated after World War II during the Nuremberg and Japanese War Tribunals. Germans and Japanese military and civilians were hung because of what they did to various civilian populations (Jews & Chinese(Nanking Massacre) in particular) as well as prisoners-of-war. In addition, American soldiers were also courts martialed for water-boarding Japanese prisoners and were jailed as a result.

Treating prisoners and "other natives" has never been approved by the military and the offices if the Judge Advocate General. Lt. Calley was justly convicted by court martial of ordering the deaths of an entire villiage of South Vietnamese civilians. And, to this very day, this type of behaviour by our forces has been rightly condemned for what it is.

The problem, though, is the fact that it was not the military that ordered these acts. It was our civilian government. Therefore, the government at the time that these acts were committed should be prosecuted for their acts. At the very least , the lawyers in the Department of Justice who authored the memos, the former Vice President and the Secretary of Defense should all be indited. Federal Court Judge Bybee should also be impeached by the House of Representatives and brought to trial in the US Senate. Only by doing these things can we, as a nation, hold our heads high and resume the moral leadership of the world that we claimed be had before these horrific events.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Governor Rell IS Herbert Hoover

Right now politics is really occupying most of my thoughts. The main reason for this post is the recent "give-backs" by Connecticut state employees, which will eventually result in less employees to do the jobs required for the state to operate efficiently. The term, straight out of "1984" Newspeak, "right-sizing," is anything but. In addition, salary and benefit give-backs will additionally not put money into the economy, which is grossly needed right now. Of course, ignorant people who don't realize this like to abuse those who do have fairly stable jobs in this environment. No one should have to worry that much about making ends meet or losing a job. Of course, Connecticut has had the additional problem of a too high cost of living which was falsely inflated by the very rich minority who live here. The so-called middle class in this state can barely afford to buy a house without being put into severe financial straights. Paul Krugman, the economist who recently was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics, has stated that if the governors of the states behave like Herbert Hoover it will continue to prolong the economic depression in spite of the incentives being promulgated by the Obama administration. Governor Rell is acting like Hoover to the total detriment of this state.

Friday, April 17, 2009

GOP Going the Way of the Whigs

I admit that I hardly ever vote for a Republican candidate anymore because I do believe in voting for the best person to fill an elective office. The quality of candidates over the last 25+ years has been so-so to out-right poor. This can be seen in a number of current holders of elective office as well as their various pundits. It seems as though none of them has learned any American history and their knowledge of the Constitution is minimal, at best.
The main reason that I am writing this today are the recent calls to treason to our nation from various governors, pundits, and elected representatives of this party. I believe that the Department of Justice should be investigating these people and, when determined, should arrest them. This country lost over 500,000 lives during a Civil War which was over SLAVERY and the supposed "states' right" to determine that individuals could, in fact, own other human beings. The states only get whatever so-called rights that the federal government decides that it does not want for itself. Therefore, these "rights" can change over the course of years since the federal government should be looking out for the well-being of all our citizens which states do ignore on many occasions.
In the decade before the Civil War the Whig Party disappeared from the political scene to be ultimately replaced by the Republican Party. The Republican Party, at that time, was more socially progressive than the Democratic Party. I believe that two Presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, would now roll over in their graves to see what has happened to it.
However, as the Law of Entropy has shown, things do die. And the Republican Party is dying a long, painful death. I can foresee the probability that two political parties will arise from its ashes: one, a middle-of-the-road fiscally conservative party and another which is far-right/libertarian fiscally and far-right socially. There may well be a few people elected from this extreme wing; but, they will finally be put into a proper context in that they truly are just a very vehement, vocal, and occasionally violent minority.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lost In Austen

I am an Austenophile. Every few years, it seems, I re-read her books with great enjoyment, always finding new delights. I even, on occasion, read some of the modern novels which build upon her originals. Some of these are good while others are really awful. It is interesting; however, to see where each author takes these characters.

A British television production, Lost in Austen, is now being shown in the States on the Ovation network. On Sunday last I was able to see the entire four-part production. I was thoroughly charmed. A modern London girl, who is also entranced by Austen and Pride & Prejudice in particular, has a strange thing happen: a portal between her world and Longbourne opens on the wall behind her bath tub. Eventually, she and Lizzy "exchange" places. Then the fun begins as Amanda tries to make the novel come out right.

I particularly liked the way Alex Kingston portrayed Mrs. Bennett. She wasn't quite the flibberty-gibbet, though she did have her worries, and could be called a steel magnolia. And, Captain (not Lieutenant) Wickham was not the complete cad, either. Of course, Lady Catherine is wonderfully obnoxious as always. I won't give away anything of the plot; but, I recommend this as a very pleasant diversion. **** (out of a possible 5)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mine Own Advocate

Has anyone else noticed the fact that people seem to be unable to take any type of criticism any more? In fact, to make matters worse, they try to turn it on you, making you the bad guy by calling you abusive when the only thing you have done is point out a mistake and are asking that it be rectified. They mishear strong advocacy as "yelling." I do not yell at people, call them names, or use any form of invective. However, at times I may be thinking these things as I have a very low threshold for stupidity of any kind. In addition, I do not like to be treated with an "one size fits all" mentality. I am an individual -- I am not to be squeezed into any generic category. So what if "most people only have"..... I am not "most people"! I do not want to be treated like "most people" -- I want to be treated as an individual.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Washington Post Eliminating Daily Business Section

Last night I heard on The Rachel Maddow Show that the Washington Post will be eliminating its daily business section. The reason that I sat up and took notice of this is that I am presently writing a longer essay, which I will be posting here, on my views of the current economic system and the changes which I believe will be necessary for the future. The current system is more than in a shamble. I believe that it is totally broken. In addition, we will be needing to create a whole new paradigm for the world's total Gross Worldly Product, rather than just the GNP. The idea that a company should be making money for parasitic investors by sending out the manufacture of goods to other countries with virtual slave conditions is not only immoral; it is also inherently bad for the company in the long run. However, too many so-called executives only believe in the short-term rather than the long-term as can be seen by their actions.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another Mucha

I would probably also use this one, too, in the side-bar area. Maybe she can change the goose quill to peacock feathers?

The Alphonse Mucha

This is the other major picture which I really like. Maybe we can use both?

Planning For The Re-Design

I have decided to have this blog re-designed. It is so plain when compared to my knitting blog. I am going to hire Darcy, the wonderful designer who did my Knitting With Athena blog. So, in preparation, I have been looking up art work to use in the re-design. There are two Alphonse Mucha pictures which I like very much as well as a new one from Josephine Wall. She is very generous in letting people utilize her art work, as long as they don't make any money from it. Needless to say, a blog like this makes absolutely no money. Anyway, the picture above is one that I like very much. It especially goes well with the title of the blog.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Books Read in 2008

I can hardly believe that I read all these books last year. There is a real variety in quality represented here, I admit. A number of the action/adventure novels were just too cinematic for my tastes as the plots turned out to be just one cliffhanger after another. I will be adding more of the authors to this list as well as my awards (stars/razzberries); generally **1/2 will be applied to books which are just fun reads and/or guilty pleasures:

Amazonia (J. Rollins) **1/2
Black Order (J. Rollins) **1/2
Blasphemy (D. Preston) **1/2
Brimstone (D. Preston & L. Child) **1/2
Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict ****
Dance of Death (D. Preston & L. Child) **1/2
Deep Fathom (J. Rollins) **1/2
Deep Storm (L. Child) **1/2
Excavation (J. Rollins) **1/2
Ice Hunt (J. Rollins) **1/2
Map of Bones (J. Rollins) **1/2
Mount Dragon (D. Preston & L. Child) **1/2
Pompeii *****
Relic (D. Preston & L. Child) **1/2
Reliquary (D. Preston & L. Child) **1/2
Rip Tide (D. Preston & L. Child) **1/2
Sandstorm (J. Rollins) **1/2
Still Life With Crows (D. Preston & L. Child) **1/2
Subterranean (J. Rollins) **1/2
Temple (M. Reilly) * (very frantic; however, loved the rapas)
The Alexandria Link (S. Berry) *****
The Amber Room (S. Berry) *****
The Athena Factor **1/2
The Book of the Dead (D. Preston & L. Child) **1/2
The Cabinet of Curiosities (D. Preston & L. Child) **1/2
The Codex (D. Preston) **1/2
The Crystal Skull **1/2 (author is a veterinarian)
The Drowning Tree (C. Goodman) *****
The Expected One (RAZZBERRY)(only if you are desperate)--the worst of the Magdaleneia
The Ice Limit (D. Preston & L. Child) **1/2
The Judas Strain (J. Rollins) **1/2
The Last Oracle (J. Rollins) ***
The Last Secret of the Temple (P. Sussman) *****
The Lost Army of Cambyses (P. Sussman) *****
The Lost Constitution
The Night Villa (C. Goodman) *****
The Romanov Prophecy (S. Berry) *****
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (Willig) ****
The Secret Scroll **1/2
The Secret Supper **1/2
The Seduction of Water (C. Goodman) *****excellent mystery
The Templar Legacy (S. Berry) *****
The Third Secret (S. Berry) *****
The Venetian Betrayal (S. Berry) *****
The Wheel of Darkness (D. Preston & L. Child) **1/2
Tyrannosaur Canyon (D. Preston) **1/2