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Strong Legs and a Lesson

My original plan was to write a post on a book review but then I saw something that had me change my tactics. The source too many is hated and one of the worst news sources in the world, and that is Fox News. So, what could I find from there that would have me creating a blog post? I’m sure there are a lot of ideas running in people’s heads, but I’m sure they are in most guesses wrong. The title of this post may have given an idea, but what brought me to this post is simple. Her name is Janice Dean; she is a meteorologist for Fox News and most importantly has Multiple Sclerosis.

I’ve posted many blog posts about my struggles and issues with that disease but what I saw there had me change plans for this week. You see some viewer asked Janice Dean to stop letting Fox dress her as the skirts were not flattering on her. I got to say I have not watched Fox News in sometime, and to be honest I do not watch any major news outlet. I only saw this story due to the fact she does have MS, and I got to say she handled it gracefully. The key thing she let that body shamer know that she’s proud of who she is and those strong legs. In her response she pointed out that she was diagnosed with MS about 10 years ago, and of course told the viewer if you do not like them you can turn the channel.

This got me thinking about not just those out there that suffer with MS wishing they still had strong legs that would allow them to walk, but much more. I for one am thrilled that my relapsing MS is under control and my legs still allow me to move around. I personally know others who have lost their ability to walk and now either rarely go out, or use a wheel chair.

Now, I want to get more to the point of this posting and bring up one of the best lines from Janice Dean’s response. The line was, “you can always turn the channel”. What makes this so interesting to me? It points the most logical thing a person can do if they do not like something, and that is turn the channel. I mean she’s not breaking any laws here so if they do not like it the option is to turn the channel. The option isn’t to boycott the station, call for a national boycott or even threaten her more so she changes what she wears.

I know what I said in the last sentence seems like a leap, but that is the world we now find ourselves in. If someone does not agree with a perceived way of thinking groups will threaten, boycott, or worse cases cause harm. It doesn’t matter the political stance of a person, or group, it’s the fact they want that offending person to pay for not thinking like they do. It’s an epidemic and makes me think that there are simple options to the issue. If you don’t like it then “turn the channel”. I know not all cases are so cut and dry but really is it that necessary to create hate, and loathing.

I mean here we are as adults saying we need to stop bullying in the in children but what type of example are we adults setting. We sit behind keyboards, smart phones, social media and other devices to speak of hate. We want a business put out of business, thus destroying not just an owner that may be the issue but all that work for them. We will threaten people with death threats; put up internet pictures of death or violence. We will even cut off long term friendships for a disagreement because they do not think the right way.

So I realize I’ve come a long way from Multiple Sclerosis and have gotten a connection to bullying. It however is in away fitting that these things are connected. We live in a society that pledges that we accept the differences of others, that we should be free to think as we wish. However, we instead shout down those differing views if they do not fit a specific ideological opinion. We scream and yell at others before even taking a moment to try and understand them.

To be brutally honest, to me there is one simple cause for much of this. It’s that simple thing that helps us all connect at same time divides. It’s social media as we have forgotten how to truly talk to each other. A simple message about someone’s looks can create the need for Janice Dean to respond to shame. A simple message can bring hundreds, if not thousands, down on a person for daring to think differently. It is really easy to do so much of this HATE when you are not looking into someone’s eyes. You do not see how your actions can hurt and scar a person when you are not up close and personal.

I’m going to end this post here as I hope it gets people to think. I mean when was the last time you actually sat and talked with someone? Do you talk to friends, or family, more over a messaging device over face to face or a phone? Ask yourself what kind of examples are we adults setting for children when we take everything so personally? Just stop and think on those questions. I’m hoping this post does not create hate as it’s not the cause, but who can say. I’m asking people to stop and think and I’ll add now if I see hate coming in comments they will be deleted. I’m not one to continue the cycle but asking people to think. Even better for those things you find so upsetting instead of attacking and wishing death, try telling them you love them and hope they rethink their opinion. Let love show that it can conquer the hate by turning that hate to love over hate. If I’m lucky some will read this and realize what I am saying in this long winding post.

**Note the two links in the article will take you to an opinion piece by Janice Dean, the other an article from Forbes on the dangers of lack of human interactions.

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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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2017 Year of Challenges

I first apologize to readers of the blog for my total lack of new content at decent intervals. I also must apologize to the authors I feel I let down by not getting book reviews out in a timely manner. I am one that hates excuses, and I feel as if I have told this story before.  I am going to share some of the challenges of the past year with you along with a New Year Resolution.

First let me start with that resolution. I say this as I normally do not make resolutions as to me they are a promise and I do HATE breaking promises.  My resolution is to provide new content to the blog at least three times a month and when possible even more times. Content will be anything from continued book reviews to short stories, or just blurbs on life. So, there I’ve put it in writing what my resolution is and I will say for readers they will get this next statement. I promise there will not be a chapter like that from the William Faulkner book, As I Lay Dying. The chapter simply state, “My mother is a fish.” I’ll wrap this up by just saying that one of those books I had to read in high school as not really my cup of tea.

So 2017 was a lot of “fun”. I believe I posted about some of this previous but it was the year filled with the following things and thankfully not all happened to me. They unfortunately do involve family and as I wish to not give too much information out on their relationship to me let me just go with the list.

First I’ll start with the issue that had me scared, and still am, and this one deals with me. I have what I call micro blind spots in my left eye. They came about early in the year and after tons of testing my Multiple Sclerosis drug changed. This appears to be for the good as I am now on an oral medication, meaning no more shots. It also meant that some new lesions in the brain have gone done which is great, but a bit late for the eye. The good news it hasn’t gotten worse, but hasn’t gotten better either. I’m sure some will understand how that would impact my reading, and writing.

Now as for the family the list below is what they went thru, and as people say…Family comes first.

We saw:

  • We saw cancer diagnosis of not one but two forms, one was very close to be pancreatic. Thankfully it wasn’t.
  • We saw an infection get out of control and hit the brain. This was scary as anything with the brain can be potentially deadly and thankfully recovery was seen.
  • Broken bones requiring surgery, and short care rehab facility.
  • Bad backs requiring scans and talk of surgery, but thankfully that did not happen.

I realize the above list does look short, but much of the items where yearlong struggles. Some of the above even has continued into 2018, but thankfully not severe. In any case it was a year, and oh yeah our Ford Explorer decided it did not want to make another year. So car payments are back as we had to get rid of the 2004, and step it up by 10 years and get a 2014 Escape. Yeah that would seem like a perk but the car payments thankfully fit into the budget. Anyway that is not changing the fact my reviews are still free with the only thing I ask of authors is a copy of their book. I give an honest review in return no matter how much it would be nice to have some additional funds. (Insert a smile here)

So as I promised at the start of this posting there will be new posts three times a month on the blog. They again will be a mixture of postings but there will be more regular new content. I thank you for hanging in there. As always I am open to feedback and can find out how to reach me on my About Me page.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2018 in Personal

 

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Seven for the Slab by Doug Lamoreux

There where comic books, radio programs and television shows that would give their audience short scary stories. These would often wrap up quickly and would allow the presenter to do an anthology of sorts as they could have several stories within the same production. These of course helped give birth to the numerous anthologies that can be found out there.  We can also get a sense of this style from the 20007 Horror film “Trick ‘r Treat”.

Author Doug Lamoreux takes this idea and does two better than the before mentioned film as he places seven stories within the pages of his novella. This novella is aptly titled, “Seven for the Slab”.  I’m sure many who see the title will draw the conclusion that the slab must be in reference to a funeral home. I will say that assumption would be very correct, but do not go thinking these stories take place in one.  In the contrary a funeral home does have some of the main story thread but it’s not all the reader will get out of the pages of the novella.

Seven for the Slab starts out with the one thing so many of dislike, and that is being awoken by a ringing telephone. If you ask me that in itself is a nightmare as you never know why someone is calling you so late and if you are about to get heartbreaking news. This phone call is one that brings good news for one Herb Flay, it would mean he had his job back and that the Fengriffen Funeral Home and Crematorium needed his services. It was a call he had been waiting on for what seemed like a month and with some odd glee he went out into the thunderstorm ready to do his job.

This is the setup to the novella as Flay heads out in the night to meet his boss at a home of not one but two deceased individuals, a brother and a sister. The scene is a small neighboring town and as Flay heads out to the scene we are introduced to a group of characters from firemen, EMTS, local police and a home owner.

The rain along with what is found at the home of the deceased brother and sister are what send many of the first responders to a home owner’s garage. The place becomes the official staging area for those involved to wait out the rain and their potential next assignment if something comes up. This is a welcoming option for those who had been in the home, as the bodies, well it’s amazing what can happen after a period of time. I’m leaving the details for the story itself as for some it could be slightly disturbing, but sadly it is part of life.

I’ve provided a bit of the background on why there are so many within this garage as this is where a push from one of those individuals will get the stories moving. One must realize that when you have so many first responders together they may have stories to share with each other. In this instance it is just that, they are all challenged to share a story that will fit their current settings. It is a chance for each of them to out-do the other as they tell their stores.

I could go into each story but as this is a novella I do not want to take away a readers opportunity to really enjoy them. I just will say that with each one they get a bit more thought provoking and there is a bit of everything involved. The reader will find aliens, ghosts, zombie like creatures, and the worse of all humanity. I say this as what man can do to their fellow man can be just as gruesome as the creatures that we see in our dreams.

Seven for the Slab shows off the creative mind of author Doug Lamoreux as his characters tell their stories. They are well crafted stories that will have you wondering not just about the character writing the stories but that of the author who wrote the novella. I must say that you can tell he was a fan of those old series like Vault of Horror and Tales from the Crypt. The thing is we hear some great stories from the first responders but the back ground story is just as traumatic. I’ll close by saying that it is amazing what some will do to keep a job.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Kindred Intentions by Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

A book is something that we pick up to read and if we are lucky will light our imagination. If we are even more fortunate it, that same book will get us hooked. The reader will not want to put it down as they are afraid to miss a moment of what is unfolding in the story that is being told by those words on the page. It is not every day that a reader will come across a book like that, and it’s even more rare to have an author continually turn out books with such storylines we cannot help but want to read it cover to cover in one sitting. Author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli really hooked me with her Red Desert set of books, about life on Mars, but has done it again with her book, Kindred Intentions.

Kindred Intentions takes the reader into a police investigation of murders that are happening at the law firm of, Goldberg & Associates. We are quickly introduced to agent Amelia Jennings who has the job of finding out who is committing those murders.  However, things never seem to go as planned and before we know it people are out to get Amelia and she has to find out who is behind this all.

The reader will also find out as Amelia runs she will have one Mike Connor along for the ride. The issue is can she trust Mike and is he who he says, well I’m sure I could say but that is giving things away.

In the previous point I mentioned, “along for the ride”, and that’s what this book is. Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli has so many twists and turns within the pages of the book you may feel highs and lows as if riding a roller coaster.  The book has spots of humor that had me laugh out loud, and get a strange look from those nearby as I read. On the other side there are points that are dark as one must recall they are after a murderer.

The story is well developed, well told and if one tried to create a murder board as seen on TV shows, the intersections and paths would be confusing to follow, at first. This is the great hidden piece of the book the way you think you may have finally figured things out only to turn a page, and realize you were wrong. It can be upsetting for sure but it also makes you dive further into the story as you tell yourself you’ll figure out who it is.

I’ll add that this was one of the complaints about Agatha Christie’s books on how she would hide things from readers that only her detectives picked up on. It did frustrate some during her time, but it’s not the case within the pages of Kindred Intentions. Instead all you need to figure things out are here but life its complex.

Now, I will add that as I read this I would have to tell myself that what I thought could be misspellings are not ones at all. The books setting is in London, England, and thus the British English is utilized in the book and to me just added more realism. I would not expect a British character to be using American terminology, and as a reminder English is not author Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli first language. It however does not matter what language you may read this in as the story in itself is what will capture your attention and suck you into the pages, be that they are digital or real. Kindred Intentions is just one well written book with plot lines that are developed masterfully and a story more twisted at times than a pretzel, but well worth the read.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Danny the Dragon Learns to Floss by Ty Mall

Children’s books are one of those areas in a book store, be it online, or in a store, that is full of titles.  It’s difficult to look through so many options, as many have cute titles, celebrity authors and unique art work to draw a potential reader in at the hopes of being purchased.  It is why it is important to understand the child’s interests when it comes to a main character of a book. This brings me to the book by author Ty Mall with some great illustrations by Alex Bjelica titled, Danny the Dragon Learns to Floss.

I am sure some of you are going why a dragon would need to learn how to floss. My response back is explained in the book as it could throw off their fire breathing. They may lose some accuracy if they have a tooth ache and are unable to shoot that flame straight. There are of course many other reasons for good teeth in a dragon but this is a children’s book.

The story is straight forward enough as the child will get a sense on the importance of flossing. I realize some may not think that as something important but really it is. Oral care is something all children should learn from an early age, or they can have a life time of problems.

The books artwork is well done and works well with the story and is something I can see young children enjoying. A parent would get a laugh out of the art work and I’m sure a good conversation with their child. I say this as I’m sure a child may have many questions about a dragon as a parent reads this to a child.  I’ll close by saying that I did get a copy to review and can see how this book would appeal to parents interested in teaching good oral care, and more importantly getting a child interested in reading.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2017 in Reviews

 

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The Scent of Rain by Anne Montgomery

I’m going to start by saying that this book does have some frightening scenes and will delve into many forms of abuse. This can be from sexual, physical and verbal abuse that will shape many of the characters within the pages of the book. The Scent of Rain is also based on things that are actually happening today in parts of Colorado as explained by author Anne Montgomery at the end of the book.

The Scent of Rain, while fiction, is a book that could potentially be very true when it comes to what happens within the confines of a cult. The Fundamentalist Mormon (FLM) group in which the story takes places is one that is lead like so many other cults by one man, a prophet. A man whose word is law and if you do not follow his law you will not be allowed to go to the Celestial Heaven.

The story revolves primarily around the live of sixteen year old, Rose Madsen. She has plans for her life and many do not seem to agree with what her mom’s choices are for her.  Bliss, Rose’s mother, wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps and get married off to a member of the FLM. The problem with teenagers today are that often they do not wish to follow what their parents wish and some even will speak back to their parents. Rose is one of those teenagers and when she speaks up to her mother’s wishes Rose is beaten. Rose will even find herself locked into a small closet that would make the one a well-known wizard was locked in look like a suite.

The treatment of Rose is just one of the horrific stories that come out of this book as sadly there are others. A ruling from the leader of the group, their prophet, requires all children with pets to kill those pets. These type of events will eventually lead to the greatest act of Rose’s teenage life as she runs away.  She will find that she will not be going alone as a young man with just as a troubling life will go with her.

Sadly this potential of a great ending for the runaways will not go as planned. A misjudgment by those who find the two leads to even more trouble for the pair. Although there are others in the area who wish to help the FLM is a very powerful group.  It really is when others start to stand up to the prophet that things begin to show signs of hope for Rose and Adan.

This is a very powerful book and one that is not easy to put down. There is a lot of drama within these pages but at same time you get a sense of hope. The book is again fiction but really if one wishes all they need to do is some research to find out that these type of groups are out there. Groups that have older men running a compound with multiple wives and many children. Often they rule thru not just fear but psychological abuse that make others fear leaving would be like dying.

Author Anne Montgomery surely did her research on this book. You will find that out in notes she provides along with the dedication to Flora Jessop. As stated in the dedication she escaped two separate cults and now tries to rescue other girls, and women, from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She acknowledges the subject matter at the end of the book and how she hopes to shed some light on the issues that are found in groups like the FLM. I know the subject matter in the book can be troublesome if not horrendous at times but this is a work of FICTION. The book may be based on some potential real events but the story telling is top notch as you watch people try and overcome this life. All they wish to do is believe in hope and rise above what they know and become the person they wish to be.

I’m going to start by saying that this book does have some frightening scenes and will delve into many forms of abuse. This can be from sexual, physical and verbal abuse that will shape many of the characters within the pages of the book. The Scent of Rain is also based on things that are actually happening today in parts of Colorado as explained by author Anne Montgomery at the end of the book.

The Scent of Rain, while fiction, is a book that could potentially be very true when it comes to what happens within the confines of a cult. The Fundamentalist Mormon (FLM) group in which the story takes places is one that is lead like so many other cults by one man, a prophet. A man whose word is law and if you do not follow his law you will not be allowed to go to the Celestial Heaven.

The story revolves primarily around the live of sixteen year old, Rose Madsen. She has plans for her life and many do not seem to agree with what her mom’s choices are for her.  Bliss, Rose’s mother, wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps and get married off to a member of the FLM. The problem with teenagers today are that often they do not wish to follow what their parents wish and some even will speak back to their parents. Rose is one of those teenagers and when she speaks up to her mother’s wishes Rose is beaten. Rose will even find herself locked into a small closet that would make the one a well-known wizard was locked in look like a suite.

The treatment of Rose is just one of the horrific stories that come out of this book as sadly there are others. A ruling from the leader of the group, their prophet, requires all children with pets to kill those pets. These type of events will eventually lead to the greatest act of Rose’s teenage life as she runs away.  She will find that she will not be going alone as a young man with just as a troubling life will go with her.

Sadly this potential of a great ending for the runaways will not go as planned. A misjudgment by those who find the two leads to even more trouble for the pair. Although there are others in the area who wish to help the FLM is a very powerful group.  It really is when others start to stand up to the prophet that things begin to show signs of hope for Rose and Adan.

This is a very powerful book and one that is not easy to put down. There is a lot of drama within these pages but at same time you get a sense of hope. The book is again fiction but really if one wishes all they need to do is some research to find out that these type of groups are out there. Groups that have older men running a compound with multiple wives and many children. Often they rule thru not just fear but psychological abuse that make others fear leaving would be like dying.

Author Anne Montgomery surely did her research on this book. You will find that out in notes she provides along with the dedication to Flora Jessop. As stated in the dedication she escaped two separate cults and now tries to rescue other girls, and women, from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She acknowledges the subject matter at the end of the book and how she hopes to shed some light on the issues that are found in groups like the FLM. I know the subject matter in the book can be troublesome if not horrendous at times but this is a work of FICTION. The book may be based on some potential real events but the story telling is top notch as you watch people try and overcome this life. All they wish to do is believe in hope and rise above what they know and become the person they wish to be.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2017 in Reviews

 

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The Media (Does it report or just looking for Ratings)

I’m going to start by just saying that all below is my original thoughts. I do not claim to speak for anyone else, or my employer. I just am writing and sharing what I have come to feel when it comes to the media today and the major influence they have on the world.

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I’ll start by saying that when I was in high school I was asked to try out for the Forensics team.  The goal of Forensics is to help high school students get better at communication through things such as theatre, debate or speech. I went for a piece of that which gave me an opportunity to take provide stories and make a news story out of it. This eventually led to one of my first paying jobs outside of my father’s auto body shop.

I did have to leave the Forensics Team but I was hired by a local radio station and I ended up working in radio in both High School and in college. I would read the local news reports and even was given options on how to edit them to keep them to a specific length. These lengths and topics were important as we wanted to keep listeners and bring them back. I was allowed to leave out important facts if I needed to make sure the newscast did not go to long and more importantly what would get folks to come back later.

I had an even a short period of time than many news casts that have maybe thirty minutes and try to fit in as many stories as they can. Actually if you think about it a thirty minute news cast may only have time for 10 minutes of news as they have weather, sports and commercials to deal with. It’s also important to note that these newscasts face ratings and really their job is to keep you coming back to their channel. Often they say they are there to inform but really they are giving the highlights, the buzz words they know will get you talking and of course watching.

They also get to pick and choose what they wish to focus on and what they wish to leave out of their newscasts. You have to ask yourself, are they really covering everything in that 30 minutes or just what someone else deems to be the topic of the day.

I’m not talking about Fake news but real news as in CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, CNN, MSN, and any other network. I know this to be true as some of what I’m saying are things I was told to do when I worked in Radio. No matter what you think the news is often spoon feeding us what THEY want us to be concerned about. They will use all the words and videos they can find to get us coming back and watching their program.

As a few examples of what I mean on the tricks they will use to get you back. They will a tease stay tuned to learn about this, or coming up in our next half hour, and things like that. However, if you stick around has the news really changed or is it basically a wash and repeated version of what you sat through already with a few minor changes. They can edit a video any way they like to get the story to tell what they wish to show.

So just stop and think who is pushing the divide in the United States. Who is reporting day in and day out about the problems to get RATINGS? You think they actually care? Well when did it go from a news report to a news story? I mean a story can be written in many ways to influence someone over a report that gives us, the facts and lets us decide. I know this as I had to write news stories and did my best to stick to the facts as it was NOT my job to influence but to report.

It’s why I personally have unplugged from the news as I see them as part of the gasoline that is creating the issues we see. Sure you can say they are bringing light to an issue, but are they doing so to alert us or to get more ratings. Just my two cents having worked in a form of media. I’ll close by saying I’m not even going to start on print news they can be just as bad as again how you phrase a sentence, or words used, can shape an opinion.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2017 in Personal

 

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