Required Reading

Life is complicated enough without getting into hotwater with federal agencies so: TAKE NOTE Many things I review I got at no charge in exchange for an honest review. Consider this as informing you that ALL things I review may have been gotten at no charge. Realistically about 60% but in order to keep things above board just assume that I got the stuff free. I do not collect information on my readers. If cookies or other tracking stuff is used on my blogs it is due to BLOGGER not ME. Apparently the European Union's new rules state I need to inform you if cookies are being use. If they are it isn't byu me, consider yourself INFORMED.
Words like, “sponsored,” “promotion,” “paid ad” or even just “ad” are clear ways to disclose that you’re being paid to share information and links so BE AWARE that some of what I write can be described as an AD by the government. BTW I will NEVER say a product is great, super or even acceptable if it isn't, whether I got it free or NOT!

Books I have authored.

Many times I receive books for FREE to give them an honest review. I do not get paid to give a good or bad review. Spotlights are promotional and should be regarded as advertising for the book spotlighted. Regardless of where or how I got a book, my review will be as honest as I can make it.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

In spite of the economy, we all need to be optimistic about the future. If you expect the bird of paradise to crap on your head, more than likely it will. If you anticipate being rejected, most likely you will. However if you approach the New Year with anticipation, with hope and with courage, you will probably find yourself having a good year.

It may simply mean that you are impacting the world around you rather than just letting the world impact you. Our world is frequently how we see it. My name is not Pollyandy! I truly believe that perseverance, hard work, optimism and for want of a better description, positive thinking make a difference. I was the first person in my family to get a college education. My high school counselor told me that I was never going to get into college. Hmm, with a master’s degree and most of a doctorate, I wonder what happen. I had an accountant tell me one time to close the doors on my business and declare bankruptcy. Instead I just worked harder and 20 plus years later sold the business to retire. My point here is not how good am I but how good do you think you are.

Do not accept doom saying. Do not roll over just because someone says the sky is falling. Appreciate what you have, who you are and make your own luck. We have a new year ahead of us. This New Year means new opportunities, new friends and new successes. Don’t just hope for a happy New Year, make a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monday, December 29, 2008

On Secret Service by John Jakes

I really enjoyed the Kent Family Saga by John Jakes. I have read some of his scifi as well. I normally enjoy historic fiction. I didn’t really care for this book. It is a story of two couples that shows the difficulties of romance in such a divisive war. A Confederate officer in love with a northern actress and a Union Agent in love with a southern sympathizer face difficulties beyond the normal romantic spectrum. The overwhelming theme of the Civil War provides the back drop for the novel. I just couldn’t get into it. As I mentioned, I normally like Jakes but this book just didn’t catch my full attention.

Body of work of John Jakes


Web Site:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Deal Breaker By Harlan Coben

Coben reminds me of Parker a bit in this novel. His protagonist is physically adept as Spencer and as self depreciatingly ego centric. Myron Bolitar is an ongoing Coben character. This novel introduces him, his associates and his style. Bolitar is an ex-athlete, sports agent, lawyer, former law enforcement agent and investigator. His side kick is a preppy, butt kicking main line elitist. The combination works, the story was a tad confusing but compelling. A very good mystery and I recommend it.

Body of work of Harlan Coben

Web Site:


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

After the fact, it has been pointed out that my Christmas card is a bit difficult to read on some monitors. I guess at this point in time, it may not matter but the gist of the message is that I hope whoever you are and where ever you are that you have a wonderful holiday. I hope for peace and good will to go out tonight, Dec. 28th and every night. That message doesn't need to be restricted to Christmas Eve, it is something I hope for every night. Too often it is so easy to look at just the negative aspects of our society. Sure the economy stinks and we are involved in an unpopular war but there are still good folks out there. Every day there are people reaching out to others to show their concern. So this may be belated, but Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to any of you people kind enough to read my labored prose.

Another Web Site Company

After spending 25 years working in computers, I am used to the questions I get even on social occasions. Last Saturday at my son’s Christmas party I spent about 15 minutes trying to clarify the difference between a website and blogging. It is surprising, perhaps even shocking to me that so many people are still completely clueless about web development and creation. I have periodically tried to succinctly review different web companies on this venue.

Today I looked at web design a web development company while enjoying the aroma of Christmas Eve dinner and listening to the Nut Cracker Suite. Q-Industries has a nice site. They seem very strong in web development services, web design and development services. Some web companies seem to ignore the fact that the creation of the site is just the first step. You have to get people to come and look at the site. (btw have you ever tried to type with the Nutcracker Suite booming, I have never typed so fast or probably made so many typos)

Getting people to look at the site involves SEO. SEO is search engine optimization. Simply getting the search engines to find your site easily is the goal of a good web design company.

Knowing that many of you are book focused and not tech focused a company such as this may be where you want to go if you decide that you want to have a website in addition to blogging.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Really, Really Last Minute Gift Help

If you are feeling frenzied, here is a solution. Blue Nile has free overnight shipping up until 6:00 P.M. EST. Blue Nile sells jewelry and their prices are very competitive. I researched them before I bought there and they came out with a very positive rating from Reseller Ratings. My order came promptly, it was priced competitively and the piece is beautiful. I have no financial connection to Blue Nile nor is this a paid blog, it is merely a life line for those of us, often male who find that time is short and ideas are sparse. Jewelry always trumps just about anything. And fellow men, remember lingerie for your significant other is really a gift from you to you, and they know it.

March To the Sea by David Weber and John Ringo

A sequel to “March Up Country”, this book is as entertaining as it’s predecessor. Prince Roger as the main character is continuing to mature. Wading through the blood of his friends, foes and assorted wild life has given him a different perspective that his pampered life in the palace. Working with civilized natives combating barbarism seems to be the only way the force can continue to their goal of reaching the star port. The marines need to reserve, at least, a portion of their technological superiority for a final confrontation with their modern foes at the star port. This reservation requires them to implement a minor industrial revolution and introduce, to the marines eyes, antique weapons to the locals. The same antiques are a marvel of technology to the industrially challenged natives. Battling through seemingly limitless barbarians, Prince Roger develops into a “true” prince and leader. Again a book I couldn’t put down, Ringo and Weber truly tell a great story.

Body of work of David Weber
Body of work of John Ringo


Web Site
David Weber’s web site is under construction.

Web Site:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gifts For Your Favorite NRA Relative

I have a nephew who is always packing. I don’t mean for a trip, I mean carrying a firearm. He has a license to carry so he is legitimate. He is studying to be a cop and is a very strict, law and order kind of guy. One has to wonder if there is a genetic component to a love of guns. I had an Uncle who literally had an entire room lined with guns. He had a shooting range in the basement. An avid hunter, he never once fired a shot in anger. My cousin and not the son of the above Uncle, no exaggeration, bought the house next door to his to house his gun collection. I am sure there are National Guard units that had less firepower. I have wondered for a long time whatever happen to both those collections as both owners are deceased of natural causes. So is there some sort of gene that predisposes some to a love affair with guns?

Anyway, back to my nephew. He is a bit of a survivalist. He isn’t overboard, doesn’t have a bomb shelter in the back yard but he never goes anywhere without a back pack full of stuff. I checked out one of his source sites, a company called LA Police Gear. They carry a wide variety of stuff you don’t see in a lot of places. Their flashlights are truly state of the art. They do not sell any guns but they do have all the accessories you can imagine. They carry a lot of Under Armour which has a line of cold weather gear that is very good. Since it is 10 degrees with strong winds as I write this blog, good cold weather gear is very appealing.

They have a line of holsters for practically any purpose. Considering how some of our professional athletes carry their weapons, perhaps they should check out how a good holster can keep them from shooting themselves and their team’s playoff prospects in the foot.

If you have a relative or friend who is into this type of stuff this may be a site you want to explore.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Card Plea

Admittedly I am a cynic about the emails that request sending some ill person a card because they are trying to get into the Guinness book of records or some sort of thing. I got this email and checked Snopes because I assumed it was another hoax. Snopes stated that it was true. Since it is too sad for words, I will just insert the email as I received it. Please check other hoax sites if you have doubts about it’s authenticity but I don’t and I sent a card to a very sick little girl who wants to get a lot of Christmas cards.

Hannah's Christmas Wish

This is the true story of my 5-yr old 2nd cousin, Hannah Garman, who was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a rare and incurable brain tumor. She was going to be the flower girl in our wedding in May, but was diagnosed a week after we asked her to be the flower girl. This is especially sad because her mother died 2 yrs ago from breast cancer.

Right now she has lost most of her motor skills. She is confined to bed and cannot really do anything or play with the gifts she is getting from people, but she LOVES getting cards - she has gotten so many from people she does not know and just loves to have grandma read about the people who send them and see their pictures and is so proud of all her cards. Her room is just filled with cards.

When asked what she wants for Christmas she said she wants to see how many Christmas cards she can get. Many people have passed this wish along to their churches, prayer groups, friends and family. There are school groups where children are making her cards. People are including pictures so she can see who it is that is sending her the card.

If you would like to help with her wish, you can send a card to her at:
Hannah Garman
704 Orchard Rd
Lititz, PA 17543

Thanks! Let’s see if we can have the cards coming in big postal bags for her this Christmas.

Thank You

Happy Holidays

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pentagon by Allen Drury

Drury’s book came off very dated. I guess I expected more. I found it pedantic and not terribly compelling. Seeing Pulitzer prize winner makes you think you should like the book. I didn’t. It is probably me not the book so read the review and decide for yourself.
Body of work of Allen Drury
Web Site: None found

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rescue Money Bonuses and the Financial Gluttons

Once upon a time in a land, not far from here, the evil financial Gluttons scammed the public to their hearts content with a constant plucking of the golden goose. One day they realized that they had plucked every feather from the golden goose and there were no more feathers to be had. Oh, what would they do? How could they fuel their private jets? What would become of professional sports if they couldn’t buy their privileged boxes? The economy would fail without their gluttonous spending.

One bright ogre suggested they go to the King and ask him to give them money from the treasury to enable them to continue their gluttony. The others scoffed, who would be that stupid, to give us gold without controlling how we spend it. The bright ogre said, “our parliament is that stupid.” The evil financial Gluttons looked at each other and said, “He’s right, they are that stupid, they will give us the money and not restrict our continued gluttony”.

And that Virginia, is why Santa Claus is bankrupt, people are losing their homes, the shirts off of their backs and the jobless rate is soaring. The evil financial Gluttons continue lining their golden pockets, reveling in their gluttony while feasting on the carcass of our main street economy.

Perhaps we can change the ending of this sordid tale if we all click our heels together and scream to our elected representatives, “prosecute every single soulless miscreant that uses taxpayer money to fund the bonuses of the economic Gluttons that put us in the financial toilet in the first place.”

A fitting punishment would be to strip them of their private jets, limousine and multiple homes and make them actually earn a living. Now that would be a fairy tale.

Please take the time to scream to your congressman or senator and continue to scream until they rein in the irresponsible use of our tax dollars.
This link will take you to a page with all of the email addresses. Congressional Email Addresses.

If you are too busy to write original ranting, please feel free to cut n paste what I sent to my congressional representatives.

It is incredibly irresponsible for our government to allow the “rescued” financial institutions to utilize taxpayer money for bonuses. This is particularly onerous with the unemployment rate rising and the average tax payer struggling to make ends meet. Please do something to restrict these financial gluttons.

Again, if enough of us shout out our disgust with our money being used to fuel gluttony, our government will hear us.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wizard for Hire by Jim Butcher

This is an omnibus which includes Storm Front, Fool Moon and Grave Peril.
Harry Dresden is a wizard for hire, thus the title. As the only wizard listed in Chicago’s yellow pages, Harry gets a lot of crank calls. The stories evolve around a somewhat inept wizard with a good heart and a Don Quito complex. Harry never seems to accurately calculate the odds and therefore ends up in deep doodoo with great frequency. His relationships with authorities, both mundane in the Police Department and arcane in the White Council are consistently strained. I am fond of the entire genre of the hard boiled detective with a heart of gold and I delight in the exploits of wizardry. I enjoyed all three books and will be seeking out more from the same author.

Body of work of Jim Butcher


Web Site:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Want A New Audience to Talk Books?

I ran across a new site the other day that wants to know about your stuff. Stuff you like to read, buy, eat, whatever stuff you want to talk about. It is called Acobay. It is a beta so it is a work in progress. It is a little slow and some of the responses are sluggish. My guess it is generated by someone for whom English is a second language as some of the prose is decidedly awkward. It is an interesting premise but will need a wealth of growth before it starts to pull in many folks willing to post. However I have noticed that, in addition to me, there are many folks out there more than willing to put a few words up for discussion. I suspect that we are all striving for a little more self actualizing, self expression in our lives.

I put a brief review of David Weber & John Ringo’s “We Few” up under books and I looked around. There isn’t much on it yet but you have to start somewhere. They are undemanding in that they don’t even want your email address to register. If you are looking for an un-crowded venue to discuss your favorite books, it may be the place for you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tyrant by David Drake & Eric Flint

The Tyrant is number eight in the General Series. First, I love these guys! I haven’t read anything by Drake or Flint that I haven’t enjoyed. I also am highly appreciative of their efforts to get free books online at Baen, their publisher. This series has been great. It is a post galactic apocalypse novel. The galaxy is in a downward spiral. A lonely, relatively undamaged battle computer adopts a pseudo barbarian and helps him unite his planet. The goal of the battle computer is to prevent mankind from sliding into a eon long dark age. Several planets later, the computer is working with an AI of the long dead general helping other planets unite in hopes of preventing civilization’s decline. The characterizations are great, you enjoy them, you are appreciative of the political aplomb of the protagonists and most of all you have a great time reading about them. I highly recommend the book and the series.

Body of work of Eric Flint

Body of work of David Drake

Web Site:


Saturday, December 6, 2008

March Up Country by David Weber and John Ringo

Weber and Ringo are unbeatable in my book. I haven’t read anything by either guy that I didn’t like. This story is set far in the future in the Empire of Man. The empire is fraught with peril but the Empress has two competent children and a simpering, incompetent, bastard, youngest son. Centered around the incompetent Prince, the story basically shows the development of his character. His bodyguard, the Bronze Barberians, are an elite marine force of the Empress Own Guard. Their duty is onerous at best and worse is dealing with the unpleasant Prince. The marooning of the Prince and his bodyguards on a supposedly friendly planet leads to his personal growth and the demise of many of his new friends. I couldn’t put this down, get it!

Body of work of David Weber
Body of work of John Ringo


Web Site
David Weber’s web site is under construction.

Web Site:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Self Publishing Revelations

I just put a book up on Blurb. It is my first attempt to sell a book that I have written. “I Like to Whine” is a result of my sister asking me to write something that addressed whining. She has 12 grandchildren and I suspect one of them may have been whining. I do books for my grandchildren. A favorite, starting with the 10 year old, years back, was about our pool sweep. He named the pool sweep as a toddler and he got a big kick out of a story about her. Many friends have looked at the books and suggested I do them for other people’s kids. The books are a labor of love and are specific to each child. There is no way I could do custom books for any kind or remotely reasonable price. Therefore I thought a more generic type of book would allow me to off set the huge number of hours by addressing a wider audience. All kids whine at some point so “I Like to Whine” was the first generic type of book I wrote to try and reach a wider, non specific audience.

I have free books at on uncomfortable topics such as “When Daddy Hits Mommy”. I intend to re-illustrate them, consolidate them under one cover and market them. Considering I am not much of a cartoonist, I have to draw my basic figures, scan them in, improve them and manipulate them to get what I want through hours of some what frustrating labor. Only frustrating in that I see other people who can draw what they see in their mind in apparently and effortless manner.

Blurb is not an ideal place to market a book. The cost of the book is not prohibitive but the shipping costs are outrageous for one book. Hopefully I can get someone interested in selling the book and I can order in quantity and decrease the shipping cost dramatically. At this point the shipping cost for one book is approximately 50% of the printing cost. It costs $13.00 to print the book and shipping cost on a single book is $6.53. I based the price on what I saw kid’s books selling for on Amazon. I neglected to consider that with the addition of the shipping charge; suddenly the book is very expensive.

It remains to be seen whether this venture will thrive or not. One way or another I intend to see my books published. I will keep you apprised as to how it goes and if you have any suggestions on how I can better accomplish my desire to be published feel free to comment or email me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

World Aids Day, December 1, 2008

HIV is more dangerous than DDT or TNT. What makes those three initials so deadly. DDT has been banned and is pretty much an historic problem. TNT is available but not for the average person. Drugs, alcohol and unprotected sex is everywhere, anytime, anyplace you want to find it. Working with addicts in the 70’s was not as depressing as looking at the problem today. In the 70’s most every STD was curable. Getting stoned and stupid didn’t necessarily lead to a life of fear and medical treatment. Today you can change your life with one incident of stupidity. YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE!, and NOT in a good way either!

Preaching seldom reaches teens or young adults. Surprising to many adults, rational explanations and a discussion of consequences will be more successful in deterring life threatening behavior. If you are too drunk or wrecked to make rational decisions there is a strong likelihood that you may become prey. Yes Virginia, there are predators out there. They may not look like thugs or monsters but if they give you AIDS does it matter what their appearance might be.

Be aware, your behavior has consequences. Those consequence can go far beyond unwanted pregnancies or next day regrets, they can change the rest of your life and not in a good way. Think before you drink! (or smoke, or shoot up or pop or sniff, or snort or lick or what ever you do) I’ve seen too many people ruin their life while in an altered mental state, PLEASE don’t be another one.

Watch the video, it is thought provoking. Just because it was put out by NIDA doesn’t mean it is propaganda or bad. Even the government gets some things right. This video is put out by The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal biomedical and behavioral research agency of the United States Government. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Coyote Rising by Allen Steele

Coyote Rising picks up where Coyote left off. A new planet being dictated to by a remote by time and distance government has the story potential for rebellion. Steele depicts the different types and personalities of the citizens of the planet and what leads them to making their very personal choice regarding their future. Steele does good characterizations of people you could know and like or despise. I don’t feel the book should be read as a stand alone. I would advise you to read Coyote prior to reading Coyote Rising. A good read, I look forward to the end of the trilogy and the ensuing two books that follow it. I recommend the book.

Body of work of Allen Steele


Web site:

Friday, November 28, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion

I Like To Whine by William G. Bentrim is now available for purchase at Blurb.
Personally, I probably whine too much but this is my book for kids on whining and it’s consequences. It is my first attempt at selling a book. I have books I give away at under free books. A long time desire to actually publish something is the motivating factor on putting I Like to Whine on Blurb. If nothing else check it out and let me know what you think. Of course, if you want to buy a copy, WHOOHOO!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Reformer by David Drake and S. M. Stirling

This is the 7th book in the series the General. This post galatic Armageddon series is the attempt of a self aware battle computer trying to speed the recovery of civilization. The computer is joined by Raj an artificial personality created by one of the computer’s first successes. If this is confusing, imagine how the individuals in agrarian societies who hear the voices of these two civilized mentors. The series is the mentoring of societies to speed their return to civilization and prevent a dark age lasting a millennium. This book in particular deals with a displaced, effete Greek type of civilization trying to reclaim the sun from their Romanesque type conquerors. As all the previous six books, an excellent read. I highly recommend the entire series.

Body of work of David Drake
Body of work of S. M. Stirling


Give Thanks

Read some blogs from other countries and give thanks you don’t live there. It takes no courage on my part to write what I think or feel. I am able to express opinions on my government or church with no concern for reprisals. There are folks in other nations that express their opinions and get beaten, have their homes torched or suffer even worse fates. Give thanks that in the gold old US of A we can freely express our thoughts, verbally, on paper or on the net.

Give thanks that you have the mind and the computer to even read this missive.

Give thanks if you are fortunate enough to spend the day with family and folks you love.

Give thanks for the many small blessings that fall into your lap each day.

Give thanks for children, for they truly are our future.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Into the Darkness by Harry Turtledove (Book 1 of the Darkness Series)

Again, Turtledove is a master of alternative history. This series is a mixing of WW1, WW2 and magic. It was not as fun a read as I find many of his books. His goal is admirable but his enormous number of short characterizations becomes confusing. Many countries, many characters and many situations provide an opportunity to get lost. Most books I can visualize the situation without referring to the occasional accompanying map. I referred to the map in this book constantly. I accept that the scope of a world war is daunting but I would be happier with fleshing out the characters in more depth before introducing another new character. It was not a quick read, I put it down and picked it up multiple times. I intend to plow through all six volumes but it may tax my tenacity. I suspect it will be worth it but it may be a struggle. If you are looking for a quick entertaining read, look elsewhere.

Body of work of Harry Turtledove



Monday, November 24, 2008

Can’t Read If I Can’t See

I recently noticed that I was having a hard time getting my book to a spot where it was comfortable to read. Too close, too far, it was never in the right spot. Arrgghh, I bit the bullet and made an appointment with my eye doctor. It was time for a new pair of spectacles. (if that term doesn’t date me, it should)

The last time I got new glasses it was over $500.00 and I didn’t get anything fancy. In fact, the pair of glasses ended up being one of the worse I ever had gotten. Don’t know how I missed the flexible hinges but I didn’t get them. Flimsy, uncomfortable and impossible to keep clean all comes to mind. I found out later that the anti-glare treatment which didn’t work anyway, makes it impossible to keep the darn things clean.

So I went with trepidation to my appointment and got new glasses. I spent a lot less this time but…then I found the Optical4Less web site and although I am not kicking myself too much, I wish I would have seen it sooner. The site has all the normal accoutrements you would expect, including all types of eyeglasses and features at a surprising price. Two things I especially liked were the Virtual Fitting and the testimonials. I create web sites for small businesses and I always encourage them to use testimonials. I guess I always feel more secure when I see real people responding to how they were treated. The Virtual Fitting was very cool, you upload your photo and can see how their glasses look on your face. You have got to check it out and play with it, even if you don’t need glasses. When I got my new glasses, I put them on, pulled out my phone, took my own photo in the mirror and emailed it to my wife to see if she thought they looked ok. Glasses and haircuts are similar to me, their appearance is basically for others since you really can’t see them yourself. There are many discount, internet eyewear sites out there. This site looks pretty good and I will probably be shopping it for some golf glasses come spring, assuming I can find a pair that will improve my game.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber

I loved the book and strongly recommend it. That is how I usually end a review of a David Weber book. Once again the man amazes me. He grabs you on the first page and squeezes your imagination and attention until you finish the book. This has to be the opening novel of a series. Please David, let it be the opening book as I want to read more!

Again you have a very strong female protagonist. (kind of) A new universe, a new group of villains and heroes entertain you for the whole book. Big old pussycat that I am, Weber once again brought tears to my eyes with the willingness to sacrifice that his larger than life characters often demonstrate. Weber has successfully combined high tech tools with a setting than Horatio Hornblower or Frodo would be happy traversing. Read the review at the link if you want, but if you like Weber, just go get the book. If you have never read Weber, this is a great book to begin a love affair. (strictly platonic) I loved the book and I strongly recommend it.

Body of work of David Weber


Web site:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Deathstalker Rebellion by Simon R. Green

Simon R. Green may be an acquired taste. Apparently I haven’t acquired it yet. I was lukewarm on Deathstalker and not even that excited about this book. Oddly enough I am experiencing the same disinterest in the Turtledove Darkness series. There seems to a common theme of let’s not spend more than a page or two on each event and then move along. It is difficult to get attached to a character when you get so little to sink your teeth into and then onto a different and sometimes new character. It is almost like Green has written in sound bites. Perhaps he doesn’t realize that many of us have an attention span longer than two pages. What really annoys me is that I anticipated I would like the series and didn’t start it until I acquired 10 out of the 11 books of the series. I am stopping now, I guess if I can’t get interested in 780 some pages, it just isn’t going to happen.

Body of work of Simon R. Green


This site is a tribute site, well done but not owned by Simon R. Green

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Alabama Bookworm Meme

BookCalendar has tagged me with a meme.

She was tagged by Alabama Bookworm.

Here is how the meme works:
Open the book closest to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment, to page 56.Write out the fifth sentence, as well as two to five sentences following there.

I am holding The Tyrant by Eric Flint & David Drake

He had forced Thicelt to abandon the captain’s cunning tactics and try to mix it up directly with the Confederate forces.

The Confederate navy was notoriously clumsy, with none of the superb seamanship of the Islanders.

But no one in their right mind ever tried to “mix it up directly” with Confederate naval forces.

Those forces consisted mainly of marines, who were the world’s experts at turning a sea battle into a land battle.

Pass this on to five blogging friends, the people I am tagging are:

Surprise!, Nice People Do Exist

A local newspaper column by Phil Gianficaro recently detailed a incident in which a mailman extended himself to help a 93 year old woman. Said infirm woman, lives alone and her only contact with the outside world is her telephone. One morning, upon arising, she discovered her phone wasn’t working. Her “life line” monitor is also dependent on a working phone. She realized the only constant person in her life was her mailman. She put a not on her mailbox asking for help. Her mailman saw the note and tried to reach Cavalier, her phone company to remedy her phone problem. Unable to get a human being, he assured her that he would not forget her and continued his route. He notified the police so they would know she was alone and frightened. He also called his supervisor who was finally able to get a human being at Cavalier and they sent someone out the next day to fix the phone problem. The mailman’s only comment about his efforts was that the 93 year old woman was somebody’s grandmother and he hoped if his grandmother was in need, someone would help her. Congratulations to the mailman, Brian Carson and to the columnist who recognized that we are really in need of hearing some good news for a change.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Discrimination Against Our Military?

I have mentioned I am into book swapping. I got a request this morning for a book to be shipped to an APO address. APO addresses are military addresses and I figure this is going to a service person. I’m appreciative of the folks who serve in the military so I agree to ship the book. Imagine my surprise when I try and do a media mail label through the US Post Office web site and discover you can not print out a media mail label to a an APO address. The PO message is:
APO/FPO Restrictions Apply
The destination ZIP Code supplied is an APO/FPO ZIP code. We regret we cannot provide a service commitment to this location. Please contact your local Post Office for assistance.
Ok why can’t the US POST Office provide service to an APO address? Is there a problem with mailing books to our service people?

So I try PayPal. I use my PayPal account to mail books all the time. I attempt to create a media mail label (or any other label) for an APO address. The PayPal system doesn’t accept an APO address.

What the hell is going on that it is so difficult to simply mail a book to someone in the service of their country?

PayPal says they are working on it. WhoHoo, why isn’t it in the system already? The PostOffice knows it is an issue, why isn’t it fixed? That is the United States Post Office, right, shouldn’t that indicated that the United States military personnel should be reachable through the United States Post Office media mail?

I have no clue why this discriminatory behavior is occurring. I have sent my Senator and my Congressman emails asking why this is occurring. Perhaps if you read this, check it out, if you find out that I am accurate in what I have found, please contact your elected representatives and find out why it isn’t easier to send a book to someone in the service of their country. Maybe we can get it fixed.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Act of War by Dale Brown

One thing you have to give Dale Brown is the action theme. There is great action in this book. Brown takes snippets of military gossip and extrapolates them into full blown novels. His imagination creates plausible situations, sometimes implausible solutions in an easily digested format. One of the many things I like about his books is that his characters are often believable. He doesn’t make the assumption that a hero has to have bulging muscles, low intellect and brash behavior. He allows ordinary seeming characters to aspire to heroic and often brash behavior. This book deals with current fears of terrorist activities, corporate greed and military technology. The dismaying aspect is that some parts are entirely too believable.

Body of work of Dale Brown

Review of the book:


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Free Audio Books

Exercise, you love it or hate it, there is so little middle of the road feelings on it. I like sports but at my age, my knees are not so fond of anything that involves running, jumping or going sideways. That limits my options somewhat. I play gold and no matter what your opinion my be, it is too a sport. I lift weights and I do Pilates to stay flexible. Frankly a big part of my motivation to exercise is I like to eat. Matter of fact, I love to eat. Thusly exercise is necessary to keep from turning into a blimp. What the heck does this have to do with free audio books?

I walk and I ride the exercise bike. I find both boring. Audio books are the saving grace. If I can keep my mind occupied, I can exercise. The library has lots of audio books but it isn’t close. I have found some sites where I can download audio books for FREE. I put them on my Clip (Samsung’s answer to the Ipod Nano. I can walk, ride the bike and still prevent screaming boredom. Audio books also keep me awake, with out them, put me on a freeway and I immediately go comatose. So here are a few links for free audio books.

Veterans Day

I don’t care how you feel about our current wars. I don’t care if you hate or love war. I do care if you honor our Veterans. Regardless of your political position, our Veterans have protected your right to have a position. Our Veterans have faced things most of us can not or will not imagine. These are people who have put their money where their mouth is, their life on the line. Please take a moment today and thank whatever deity you believe in for the sacrifices our Veterans have made for us and our country. If you know a Vet, thank them. If you are a Veteran, Thank You!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Refugees, Not Just A Word

We rudely discovered after our own Katrina disaster that refugees is not just a word. Today, Bloggers Unite are blogging about refugees. First, you don’t want to be one. Imagine losing your home, running in fear, watching your family disappear, too horrific to contemplate? Thousands of people daily go through those emotions, not just victims of genocide, but victims of natural disasters as well as political incompetence.

Bloggers Unite

If blogging about an international problem can jump start some caring, then let’s blog away. Take some time, click on some of these links, maybe you will discover that Refugee isn’t just a word.

UK Refugee Services

Lutheran Refugee Services

Aotearoa-New Zealand Refugee Services

United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrant Children

Church World Service Immigrant & Refugee Program

Women's Commission for Refugee Women & Children

Additional Links/Resources

Friday, November 7, 2008

Where Should You Host Your Website?

My other blog is Money Saving Tech Tips and Philosophic Musings. Since there is often a distinct dichotomy between book lovers and geeks, I doubt many of you are cross over readers. However if you are here you are definitely a reader and maybe a blogger. You may want to have a web site. How do you know where to go and what to do? is a site that ranks host companies. Host companies are the people who have the server on which your web site will reside. There are thousands of them so it helps to have a site like to sort things out. What is particularly nice is that they have multiple categories which let you identify what you plan on doing with your site and provide the hosts that do that the best and with the best price. Comparison of host to host enables you to make a good decisions. Below is a sample table comparing hosts.

I also like the resource section. You should read the Beginners Guide to Web Hosting even if you don’t do another thing on the site. Overall the site should help you make good decisions on where to host.

A Voice of the Retired, Labels Don’t Fit.

Retired still has a connation of old. I may be retired but in no way do I think of myself as old. In some ways I am physically challenged, I can no longer dunk a basketball. Realistically, I was never that good at basketball anyway. Retired means unemployed to me, not old.

Senior, to me, still means of high school. Somehow I have difficulty ascribing that term to myself. Age wise I may qualify but mentally, not a chance. It may be genetic. When my 93 year old mother was rehabbing with her new hip she declined to eat in the dining room because she didn’t want to hang out with those “old” people. I would guess that she was the oldest person on her floor by at least 10 years.

2005 TV Land Awards - Arrivals
If neither senior or retired is a label I can accept, what is? I have no clue, I answer to old guy, poppop, hey you and other nom de plumes but I think we have to accept that labeling is in so many ways demeaning. Look at Jacqueline Smith, does that look senior to you?

Admittedly I have little interest in going out to play football or even to shoot hoops anymore but decrepit isn’t in my vocabulary. Let some hoodlum with ill intent address my grandchildren and he would no doubt be surprised at the successful violent reaction of an old guy who lifts and works out 7 days a week.

So for you “young’uns” who most likely are the only folks, who are reading blogs, keep in mind that if you want your voice to be heard, you may want to listen to the voices of others, regardless of age or label.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Who Can Make Change Happen?

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This Alien Shore by C. S. Friedman

This book appears to be a logical extension for the computer geek fantasy. A future in which the ability to interface with the computer is limited only by your willingness to accept a level of intrusion commensurate with your desire for cyber immersion. It is also a though provoking piece on inclusion or exclusion based on differences. If you saw the premier of Amanda Tapping’s new show Sanctuary, she give a clear explanation as to why we need to accept those how may appear different and perhaps frightening. I found my self struggling to get into this book. It certainly doesn’t grab you and pull you in, you have to persevere to get hooked. I generally go between 50 and 100 pages before I cry uncle on a book. I struggled through over 150 pages before I was sufficiently intrigued to finish the book. If I hadn’t absolutely loved her Coldfire Series; Black Sun Rising (1991), When True Night Falls (1993), Crown of Shadows (1995); I wouldn’t have bothered to persevere. I enjoyed the book, I did not find it as compelling as the Coldfire series.

Body of work of C. S. Friedman


Web site: